Details of Brazil

It’s been more than a month already since I got back from Brazil, and I’m firmly rooted in Northern California right now, working and trying to enjoy my days off despite the late summer heat. I’m planning a couple of trips for this fall (Yosemite? Portland?) and looking forward to the change of seasons. I still [...]

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Slow Food Giveaway!

Eating healthfully is a constant priority in my life, but when things get really busy, it can be so hard to eat well. Dinner consists of frozen pizza more often than I’d like to admit. When a small health food company from San Francisco contacted me recently to see if I’d be interested in trying their savory [...]

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Cutting Edge Brazil at Inhotim

Art and landscape are two of my favorite things, so when I first heard about Inhotim from my culture-loving husband, I knew I had to go there. It reminded me of a much larger version of one of my favorite art/landscape centers, Cornerstone Gardens in Sonoma, California. Inhotim, a 271-acre botanical garden and center for contemporary [...]

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Art That Inspires: The Story Behind the David

For this month’s ArtSmart Roundtable on the topic of art that inspires…Yesterday as I was leaving the grocery store, I saw a bumper sticker that said “EARTH without art is just ‘Eh’”. That sticker reminded me of what kept going through my mind as I began reading Monuments Men and watched the movie, the story [...]

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My Top 40 Travel Tips

If only all travel moments were as easy and carefree as this one! Actually, traveling can cause quite a bit of anxiety because it pulls people out of their comfortable, familiar surroundings. It’s been 24 years since my first trip abroad, but I’ve made my fair share of mistakes that continually keep me on my toes. [...]

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6 Favorite Wines for Summer

In my home region of Northern California, summer is looong…it extends through September and leads into October when the days continue to be warm but the mornings and evenings really start to feel like fall. That means there’s still plenty of time to enjoy summer wines, and I have some excellent suggestions for you. First, [...]

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Unexpected Beauty: Windows & Doors of Minas Gerais, Brazil

I knew the historic towns of Minas Gerais, Brazil, would be nice, but I didn’t expect the special atmosphere and beauty that we found in each town. One after another was filled with perfectly preserved historic buildings. The buildings’ details of color, shape, and material make up the windows and doors of Ouro Preto, Tirandentes, Congonhas, and [...]

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Design Tips for Summer Entertaining

Ahh, summer. It’s my favorite time of year, and fortunately, I get plenty of it since summer lasts through September here in the Sacramento area. I cherish my three-month vacation and its long, easy days dotted with details of summer in Northern California–cool mornings, incredible berries and stone fruits, crisp summer wines, dips in the pool, [...]

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The Truth about Traveling with Kids

In case you didn’t know, I’m donating $1 to UNICEF for every comment left on my blog in the month of August. Please consider leaving a comment on this post or another one–find more blog posts here. Thank you! Have you seen those blogs that show a beautiful family, perfectly dressed in the latest finds [...]

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An Art Day in Napa Valley

Napa Valley is one of California’s most important regions for tourism and, of course, wine, but a lot of people wonder what to do in Napa Valley besides taste wine. Actually, Napa Valley has cultural attractions because some winery owners are also art aficionados. This month’s ArtSmart Roundtable features “an art day in…” so I thought [...]

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Tiradentes, the Cutest Town in Brazil?

One of the pleasures of travel is that you never know what you will find. I’d heard about the small town of Tiradentes–that it was a cute colonial town in Brazil–but I didn’t expect it to be so…um…perfect. Tiradentes is a town of about 7000 people in the rural, hilly state of Minas Gerais, about 3 [...]

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The Best of Sao Paulo: Parque Ibirapuera

São Paulo is the world’s 9th largest city by population and also happens to be where my husband was born and raised. It’s a big, noisy, messy city, but it never ceases to surprise me, either with excellent food or with world-class cultural attractions. While I certainly indulged in plenty of excellent food during this [...]

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A Guide to the Fruit in Brazil

One of the things in Brazil that I look forward to the most is the fruit. Not only is the variety of fruit delicious, but it also takes a central role in the daily cuisine, being served at breakfast, for snacks, and as dessert right after lunch and dinner. Brazil is a tropical country with [...]

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Digging Deeper: The Historic Architecture in California

This month’s ArtSmart Roundtable is all about architecture, and I decided to give you a little overview of the architecture of California since there’s more history to be seen here than some might imagine. Because California is one of the westernmost states and had such a strong influence on 20th century culture, many people don’t realize the history that exists [...]

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Loving the Land of Samba: Favorite Things about Brazil

I never imagined that Brazil would become my second home of sorts. As a young traveler I didn’t have much interest in South America, and even after marrying a Brazilian with very strong ties to his homeland, I didn’t feel totally comfortable in the land of Samba. But after several (8? 10?) trips there, Brazil has [...]

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Inspiring Reads, May 2014

There have been more than enough stories in the news lately to leave me feeling down, but I have also found inspiration from other stories. I hope you enjoy this round-up of inspiring reads that I’ve been collecting this spring. Leaving Something Behind: Creating Community with Photos I love this idea of leaving photos behind [...]

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A Guide to Cheap Eats in Brazil

As soccer fans begin to rain down on Brazil for the World Cup, they need to know what to eat without spending a fortune. Many people don’t know how expensive Brazil can be–in São Paulo a meal at a nice but not super fancy restaurant can easily run $50 per person–but fortunately there is plenty of [...]

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