Pageant of the Masters, Laguna Beach Ca.

Living Art in California

The Pageant of the Masters in the artistically inclined Laguna Beach California is an oasis by the sea for art, music, and food. Running from July 5th through September 1st this Festival of the Arts stands out from any other you may have experienced before. This is more than art you stroll up to like a gallery or art walk. This is art that fills a whole stage! Accompanied by live music and narration, works of art are brought to life for crowds filling the outdoor theatre. If that was not on a grand enough scale there is the fact that parts of the painting are played by live models!

Pageant of the Masters in Laguna Beach California sign.

How? Well the models too are painted, their clothes, every detail to match the style of the piece they are a part of. Part of the fun is picking out the real from the painted two dimensional portions. The scale of this event is huge, from the stage filling backdrops, the painted models, the costumes that blend in seamlessly. Even the lighting that adds so much to each scene. This year’s theme is “Under the Sun”, Impressionists from the early 20th century. These artists spent their time under that sun while creating works that are still appreciated today and you couldn’t pick a lovelier place to do the same than The Pageant of the Masters.
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CloudMover Day Spa Huntington Beach

CloudMover Day Spa Huntington Beach CaliforniaThe Beach and a Spa, What Better Day…

Huntington Beach California is a vacation destination, or if you are lucky might be right outside your backdoor. Sunshine and relaxation are only enhanced by a day at the spa and the one to hit is CloudMover Day Spa. Voted #1 seven years in a row by the OC Hotlist you want to go where the locals go to get the best service in massages, facials, body treatments, and more. My experience was eye opening.

I am going to start with the facial, because I never knew the process could be this good. I have had facials before, but just a few and I never got very excited about them. Often after my skin was irritated and I never felt it looked any better for going through the discomfort and occasionally painful burn of the peels. CloudMover Spa completely changed my mind with their HydroMicrodermabrasion facial. Their staff is amazing.

Basically in the past spas had been using treatments that were too harsh for my skin type and I didn’t know better than to ask for what others recommended, I am not experienced with the beauty treatments out there. So I ended up irritating my skin and not getting good results. The HydroMicrodermabrasion method was amazing because it is gentle enough for all skin types and effective enough to really get results even with the toughest jobs. I went in with my Italian skinned gentleman friend who spends every day in the sun, pool, and slathering on sunscreen, clogged pore city. His skin looked amazing afterwards and the effects have lasted for weeks. My face has never looked so good and all of my skin issues were cleared up without any tenderness.
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LA Travel & Adventure Show

Where in the world do you want to travel to next?

LA Travel & Adventure Show

Whether you are planning a trip or just a travel enthusiast the Travel and Adventure Show is a must. Meet wonderful representatives from destinations near and far while getting travel tips from experts, and experiencing some of the culture. Camel rides, live music, and costumes make this a colorful event enhanced by the fascinating information at the different booths.

Travel and Adventure Show Camel Ride

Want an adventure close to home? The Travel and Adventure Show is a perfect place to get a taste of all the destinations nearby too. There are shows all over the country, this one was in Los Angeles and I was impressed by all of the local travel opportunities. There are so many fun trips within driving distance it was eye opening. It was also a geography lesson finding out about all the nearby counties and their attractions. Mammoth Lake, San Bernardino County, the town of Buellton all caught my attention.
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Queen Mary’s ScotsFestival and Highland Games

Kilts, Kilts, Kilts, Lads and Ladies!

Travel is a great way to get a feel for other cultures, but there are options closer to home, like the Queen Mary’s ScotsFestival & International Highland Games. For one weekend a year Long Beach California becomes home to a boisterous celebration of Scottish food, dance, and athletics.

Queen Mary's Scotsfestival Dance CompetitionFashion, history, and accents are just the start of all the fun to be had. There were so many competitions to watch it was hard to know where to go next. The Queen Mary is a destination not to be missed on any visit to Southern California, being inside this magnificent ship to watch dancing competitions with live bagpipe accompaniment is epic. Outside in the sunshine men and women put themselves to the test in the Highland Games and I was equally captivated. These Scots have developed some sports you likely have never heard of, but man are they fun to watch!Highland games at the Queen Mary

Yes, the competitors are wearing kilts while they take part in nine feats of strength in these different events. Nine! Talk about endurance. They throw a number of different heavy items at varied weights, a stone, a Scottish hammer, a caber (the caber is a timber like a telephone pole at 15 to 23 feet long and weighing in at somewhere between 70 and 130 pounds), a sheaf toss (straw in a burlap sack tossed over a high bar with a pitchfork), and weights tossed for height and distance. They are wild to watch as men and women take their turns at each contest.
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ScotsFestival at the Queen Mary Giveaway!

Kilts are not required, but are encouraged… Comment and Enter Below

The 25th ScotsFestival is taking place at the Queen Mary in Long Beach California this February 17-18 from 9am-6pm and we are giving away 4 General Admission Passes for opening day! Food, fun, and family activities are all on the agenda with live music, dancers, and the Scottish Highland Games. If your only connection to Scotland is Braveheart than this is the perfect opportunity to get an authentic feel for the culture and the history.

So what are the Scottish Highland Games? They consist of some activities you might be familiar with and others that might sound strange. Putting the Shot is similar to what we do in track and field today, but then the Scotts start throwing the interesting stuff. The Caber Toss – a large pole, The Hammer Throw – an actual sledgehammer, The Sheaf Toss – throwing a burlap bag of straw with a pitchfork. Who doesn’t want to check that out?

After watching the athletics you might want to put yourself to the test. ScotsFestival comes complete with a sixty-foot obstacle course FEAT OF STRENGTH. No joke. You can see where you stand after competing against your peers and rising to the challenge. I am for sure going to give it a try! For the little ones there is a whole section of kids activities to enjoy so everyone can get involved in the games.
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Ski Mountain High in California

Just outside LA you can hit the slopes!


A short drive from the major cities in Southern California, Mountain High Ski Resort is a must visit this winter. Whether you are a skier, snowboarder, or looking to go down the hill by sled this is the place. My visit was a pleasure from start to finish. The drive is pleasant, the food is tasty, and the winter sports are where it’s at.

Me in my Mountain High Yeti mask!

If you didn’t know January is National Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month. So I figured I would take on the challenge at Mountain High. Skiing is totally new to me and I could not have picked a better destination to get started. Everyone raved about their ski instructors and I agree. Mountain High has a top notch ski school, their instructors are certified PSIA and AASI, use the latest equipment, and boast some of the highest success rates in the country with lessons for all skill levels.

If you are an expert already there is plenty to keep you busy. Mountain High is broken into three resorts, East, West, and North. Each is packed full of great runs and when the weather gifts SoCal with snow we are ready to rock. There are 290 acres of skiable terrain, The trail breakdown is 25% Beginner, 40% Intermediate, 35% Advanced to keep everyone racing along. With a maximum elevation of 8,200 feet keep hydrated and don’t be surprised if you get winded more easily. Hydration is key.
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Chill at the Queen Mary, Long Beach Ca.

A Winter Wonderland in Southern California!

Chill at the Queen Mary is the United States’ first-ever Ice Adventure Park and it is a great way to enjoy the Holiday Season. With the beautiful Queen Mary ship lit for the Holidays in the background Chill is a lovely destination of lights and activities. There are any number of adventures to enjoy, from the sweet, to the bumpy, to the high flying, they have options for the whole family. Why not also enjoy some seasonal specialties of both food and drink to add to the experience.

The most obvious activity for an Ice Park is skating of course and that is the center piece of Chill. Included in the price of admission this will keep you busy as you skate from section to section. Skate through a giant igloo dome showing the Northern Lights, enjoy the live shows on the different stages along the path. You can hop off at the Swiss Chalet for a snack, or to take a break. A large portion of the park is accessably by foot or skate.

The next Winter classic that comes to mind is sledding. My favorite to enjoy is Chill’s tubing hill where you can race down next to your friends and family. If something milder or for the very little ones is more your speed check out a ride on the Worlds Largest Rocking Horse! If you get the Ultimate Expedition there are some more rides included or for an additional fee you can ride the bumper boats, take a turn around the speedway on a tricycle, or zipline in the park. Feeling creative? Try your hand at decorating a stocking or a gingerbread house. You can also take a break for the 4D Rudolph video on the actual ship theatre and get a look inside the Queen Mary.
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A Visit to Catalina Island

It begins with a boat ride…

Located off the coast of Southern California, Catalina Island is a vacation destination and adventure start to finish. From the beautiful vistas to the quaint town of Avalon, Catalina is worthy of its hundred plus years as a travelers’ oasis. To get to the island you have two options, boat or helicopter. Most of the islands visitors go by way of ocean travel which takes a little over an hour.

There are two major towns on the island but Avalon is by far the most popular and iconic. Much of the island is undeveloped and now home to herds of bison, wild foxes, and deer. You can even catch sight of a bald eagle if you head out on one of the nature tours of the island.

JazzTrax Festival. Hearing live music where Hollywood stars of the Golden Age partied is a thrill. Or you can catch a movie downstairs in the art deco theatre. Taking a Casino Tour to learn the building’s history is a great way to get a look at everything as well.

Another adventure on Catalina Island is the underwater activities. Swimming, scuba diving, and snorkeling are a big draw.  One option to see the abundant sea life is to get in and get wet, but certain months of the year that is less enticing than others. If you want to get up close and personal while staying dry give the Glass Bottom Boat Tour a try. You can go out and give catching your dinner a try too. The island is known for its great fishing.
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