Travel Photos of the Month: February 2015

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Since I moved to Las Vegas, I’ve been spoiled by mostly mild winters, except for about a month where it does get extremely cold. I’ve learned that the desert doesn’t mean absence of cold…just much more dry and less water. Regardless, on a recent trip to Miami, I got the opportunity to really experience 70 degree days in the middle of February…by the pool. And not just any pool–the Trump National Doral has an oasis of a pool area, smartly embellished with yellow loungers and striped umbrellas. The service is outstanding, and the black and red mojito may be a new favorite. Welcome to Miami  |  Bienvenido a Miami.

A Sunny Weekend in Laguna Beach

My boyfriend and I were ecstatic to join three other couples this past weekend in Laguna Beach, California. Although I used to live fifteen minutes away from there, each trip I am reminded how gorgeous this part of the world is! And the springy weather made the weekend absolutely perfect to enjoy morning walks on the beach and time on the balcony listening to the waves.

We stayed at the Laguna Brisas Spa Hotel, and it had a perfect location a block away from the water. It was close to several of the activities we enjoyed–a tasty dinner at Mozambique, Thai massages for the boys, and pedicures for the girls. I would certainly book a room at this hotel for our next journey.

One of my absolute favorite hangouts in Orange County the Ramos House Cafe. In old San Juan Capistrano, this rustic spot was an excellent brunch locale. Its owner lives in the house, stores the wine in the cellar, and grows the herbs on-site. I’ve been lucky enough to dine there on multiple occasions, and each one is a treat with their famous Scotch Quail Egg Bloody Marys. This brunch is not for the faint of heart, though: come prepared to spend a set $40 on two courses and leave stuffed (as I did on truffle mac n’ cheese.)

Another highlight of this trip–besides walking hand-in-hand with Jacob and window shopping  at many of Laguna’s amazing art galleries–was dinner at Sapphire Laguna. Our party of eight’s table was not yet available during the time we arrived, and the lovely manager treated us to sparkling champagne during our brief wait. We paid a small corkage fee and enjoyed some heavenly wine with our incredible salads and main courses. I treated myself to the Chianti Braised Short Rib, and it was absolutely delightful. The staff was attentive and festive–as they helped us celebrate the birthday of our friend Alisa. What a treat!

Laguna Beach was also the perfect place to try out my brand new camera, the incredible Sony NEX-3NL…our group took wonderful photos with it the entire trip! After only a short weekend in this seaside heaven, we were sad to leave. We had a gorgeous farewell cocktail at the Splashes Bar at the nearby Surf and Sand Resort before an uneventful and short flight home. With already-made plans to return , I look forward to revisiting this quaint beach town in California very soon.

Homage to a Cocktail: Verbena

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In honor of an upcoming staycation in Las Vegas–and my very first time to stay at the glamorous Cosmopolitan–I thought I’d pen a homage to my favorite cocktail on the Strip: the Verbena. Off of the menu at the glitzy Chandelier Bar (which is worth a trip alone), this delectable drink has a ginger-y, margarita-esque taste. What makes it unforgettable is the buzz button, which amps up this cocktail to a tasty explosion. When one chews this edible flower with the delicious drink, the palette of flavor becomes that much more intense!

Since I am a travel blogger and not one to wax eloquently about cocktailery, I will leave it at that. One doesn’t need a reservation to feel luxurious at the Chandelier Bar–and the Cosmopolitan as a whole…it’s one of my favorites!–and spending the approximately $15 for this incredible elixir will make you feel like a million bucks. Or like you are drinking nectar from inside of a chandelier…which you are. Let’s just hope my upcoming visit is as spectacular!

Chandelier Bar

Chandelier Bar

And in case you missed my first post about this wonderful city, you can read Las Vegas Like a Local here. And if you want more to drool over, why not check out this incredible TV spot from the Cosmopolitan: Vice and Virtue…can you tell I’m obsessed?