Stella and Dot for Travel

Monday June 2, 2014 at 2:02 PM | 2 Comments

"Nancy D. Brown" travel

Nancy D. Brown wearing Stella & Dot Wild Hearts scarf with gold Somervell necklace and Soiree gold stud earrings.

It’s not often that I’m dressed up wearing makeup, jewelry and fancy clothes. I’m more comfortable wearing a sensible pair of travel shoes, clothes that won’t wrinkle on an airplane and simple earrings. My idea of dressing up an outfit is adding a gorgeous scarf. Scarves keep me warm, allow me to be appropriately and respectfully dressed when traveling abroad and add color to an otherwise basic wardrobe. My new best friend is Stella and Dot for travel. While the San Francisco-based company specializes in jewelry, they offer colorful print scarves and great totes and travel bags.

Stella & Dot Personal Stylist

My friend and Stella & Dot Personal Stylist, Jane Reid, is coordinating a Stella & Dot Online Trunk Show.  Shopping online is easier for those of us who opt for travel over shopping at the mall. If you need help finding the perfect accessory or have questions about the travel apparel, Jane will give you a complimentary style session.
 

"Stella & Dot" bag

Stella & Dot Getaway bag with Briggs & Riley carryon.

Stella & Dot travel apparel

As travel is a large part of my job as a freelance writer, I have mastered the art of packing light. I tend to travel with solid colored outfits and accentuate with scarves and just the right piece of jewelry or pair of earrings. Jane let me borrow her Stella & Dot “Hang on” travel organizer, perfect for holding my cosmetics and earrings – it even comes with a built in hanger (yep, that’s why they call it the Hang On) for hanging on the hotel towel bar.

I packed a couple of Stella & Dot scarves, the red & black Luxembourg scarf – Wild Hearts and the black and blue Luxembourg scarf  – Cerulean Tiger. Both scarves are 100% Rayon for a wrinkle-free look day and night.
 

"Stella & Dot" tote

Stella & Dot Avalon Tote

Stella & Dot travel gear

I typically travel with my laptop computer and absolutely love the Tom Bihn Checkpoint Flyer bag because I don’t need to remove my computer from the bag during airport security screenings.
 
This trip, I brought Stella & Dot’s multistripe getaway bag with me to The Broadmoor resort in Colorado Springs. With top zip closure, one exterior slip pocket and one interior zip pocket, my laptop fit easily in the travel bag and I sailed through the airport. (I also got a lot of compliments on the bag, as it served as my pool bag and spa bag, with its interior spill resistant material.)

An added bonus for this travel-savvy gal, I brought Stella & Dot’s Avalon Tote with me to Colorado and slid the geranium-colored tote (I call it a purse) inside my Getaway bag. Once in my hotel room, I stashed the Getaway bag and used the tote as my purse. Again, lots of compliments on my cute red bag!

"Stella & Dot" Elephant Pouf

Stella & Dot Elephant Pouf

The Elephant pouf held my charging cords, although it would serve perfectly as a cosmetics bag, too. Whether you are looking for travel scarves, travel bags or fashionable and reasonably priced jewelry, you might want to check out my online Stella & Dot trunk show. The online show is only open during the month of June, so check it out and let me know your favorite Stella and Dot for travel!

Where to buy online

Stella & Dot www.stelladot.com

Pat Benatar Neil Giraldo Rock Uptown Theatre Napa

Friday May 30, 2014 at 7:07 AM | 0 Comments

"Benatar Giraldo" "Uptown Theatre"

Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo 35th Anniversary Tour at Uptown Theatre, Napa

Rock and roll is alive and well at the Uptown Theatre in downtown Napa. Musicians Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo rocked Uptown Theatre taking listeners on a musical journey that launched in 1979 (the year my husband and I graduated high school) and continues today. The hipster baby boomers have traveled together on the road for 35 years and celebrate this June with their 35 year anniversary tour.

Baby Boomers Travel

The married musicians poked fun at themselves throughout the performance, noting that they were “old and married” but they could still rock the house at Uptown Theatre in downtown Napa.
 
In a previous interview the couple said they never get tired of performing live in concert, “it’s the travel that gets us tired,” noted Benatar.
 
Guitarist Neil Giraldo sipped on water, from a red plastic solo cup, between music sets of “Promises in the Dark” “Hell is for Children” a powerful song about child abuse, “Love is a Battlefield” and “We Belong,” among other classic music hits.
 

"Pat Benatar" "Neil Giraldo"

Baby boomers Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo rock Uptown Theatre

Baby Boomers Rock

As Pat Benatar belted out “Hit Me with Your Best Shot” the baby boomer audience sang and swayed along from their plush seats at Uptown Theatre. I had heard that “there isn’t a bad seat in the house” from Marketing Manager Shelby French, but I had to see it for myself to believe it. The historic Uptown Theatre is a lovely theater for musicians to perform in, with an intimate 800 seats and fantastic acoustics, as well as the beautiful, hand-painted art-deco style ceiling.
 

"Uptown Theatre"

Discovering downtown Napa at Uptown Theatre

Discovering downtown Napa

Before the 8:00 p.m. show, my husband and I decided to drive up from the East Bay and do Napa like a local. We picked up the downtown Napa wine tasting card from the Napa Valley Welcome Center on Main Street and proceeded to sip our way through downtown Napa.
 

With over 24 wine tasting rooms to choose from and 65 restaurants, downtown Napa is a very walkable city. We sampled wine from many places and then moved onto the Oxbow Public Market for a light dinner at Kitchen Door. I love their deviled egg salad and mushroom soup! All in all, a very enjoyable evening was had in downtown Napa. Rock on Pat Benatar!
 

"Neil Giraldo" "Pat Benatar"

Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo


 
Insider Tip
The warm up act was a talented young bay area musician named Roem Baur. His band that night was his electric guitar and a tambourine strapped around his ankle. This guy has quite the set of pipes and got the crowd fired up. My personal favorite, “Natural Disaster.” Expect to hear more good things from Roem Baur. For additional insider tips follow Luxury Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown on Twitter @nancydbrown and @TheUptownNapa on Twitter for upcoming concert information.
 
If You Go:
Uptown Theatre (707) 259-0123
1350 Third St.
Napa, California 94559

Article and photos by Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown. Publicity photo of Neil Giraldo and Pat Benatar supplied. I was a guest of Uptown Theatre for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

Oahu, Hawaii Like a Local

Wednesday May 28, 2014 at 7:07 AM | 0 Comments

If you’ve never had the opportunity to experience the Hawaiian Islands, like myself, you will certainly feel like you are in no way, shape or form in the United States.

Upon landing in Honolulu, Hawaii, my entire family and I were graced with fresh leis that smelled just as good as the sweet Hawaiian island air.

Our family does not lean toward the all-expenses included resort kind of vacation. We prefer renting a house or villa where we can essentially “move-in” for a few weeks and experience Oahu, Hawaii like a local.

 

"Lanakai Beach"

Oahu like a local at Lanakai Beach in Hawaii


 
Hawaii’s Lanakai Beach
 
We rented a home that was about a half hour away from downtown Honolulu. Our home was just a short walk away from a secluded bay on Lanakai beach. Because the beach was mostly used by the Oahu locals, there were plenty of friendly dogs and islanders that seemed to “catch up” on the shores of the Pacific Ocean.

Having a family full of older adults, college students and even an energy-filled two-year old there were plenty of requests for different activities. One place we could all attend was the Polynesian Cultural Center in Laie, Oahu.
 
Polynesian Cultural Center
 
Hearing “cultural center” led me to believe that we were going to walk through a museum filled with artifacts and ancient stories, I wasn’t sure how my little nephew would feel about this. I was completely wrong. The Polynesian Cultural Center was like the Hawaiian version of Disneyland, without all of the mascots running around. Our family opted to experience the Cultural Center like a VIP; our package included daily admission, personal private guided tour, prime rib buffet, HA: Breath of Life Show (front row seats), private backstage tour and Kukui Nut Lei greeting upon arrival.

"Polynesian Cultural Center"

Hawaii’s Polynesian Cultural Center

We were taken on a trip into each of the Polynesian Islands (Fiji, Hawaii, New Zealand, Tahiti, Samoa, Tonga, Marquesas). Every island we visited, we learned about the ancient culture and customs accompanied by traditional song and dance. At the end of the day we attended a traditional luau and were privy to front row seats at a Hawaiian cultural show, complete with grass skirts and fire breathers.
 
 
Hawaiian Cuisine

"Honolulu Burger Company"

Honolulu Burger Company

Most of the time spent on the beautiful island of Oahu was hanging out with family and indulging in the classic Hawaiian cuisine. Make sure to check out the hidden treasure of a restaurant, Honolulu Burger. Tucked away in downtown Honolulu, the grass-fed burger joint is a local secret. With burgers such as the Kona Burger, which is rubbed with a coffee spices atop a bed of sautéed onions, beets and chipotle sauce, this place is culinary lovers dream. If the burgers weren’t so filling it’s worth ordering more than one of these unique creations. Besides the local Hawaiian grills and fresh Farmers’ Markets, the fruit on Oahu is something you do not want to miss. We cut up a fresh pineapple almost every day and it was gone by the end of the day. To embrace this cultural fruit, we even visited the Dole Pineapple Plantation, specifically for the Pineapple Whippie Ice Cream.

The Dole Plantation is located on the North end of the Island, where all the real surfers hang out. We ventured up to Kee Beach, secretly called “Turtle Beach” because of the sea turtles that tend to swim right up onto shore in front of you. You might even catch them laying their eggs. But what the North Shore is known for is the 20-80ft waves that happen almost every day. We caught a few surfers toward the end of the day that told us the Nalus (Hawaiian for waves), were supposed to be the best at the end of the week.
 

Whale watching

Whale watching in Oahu

Whale Watching in Oahu

We ended our trip in a possible cliché way by Whale Watching off the West Coast of Oahu. The winds on shore were about 15mph, so out at sea they kicked up to 30mph. This gave us an incredibly bumpy boat ride that felt more like an amusement park ride than a smooth catamaran boat. But the trip was well worth it when we finally saw a female Orca Whale with her calf only a few hundred feet from our boat.

Ocean Joy Cruises was an excellent company that took us safely out in the middle of the ocean. The staff was incredibly accommodating, and cute I might add. Lunch was provided along with some margaritas. While anchored for lunch we also had the opportunity to snorkel atop a large coastal reef. Let’s just say, I have never seen a tropical fish that looked as big as if he could swallow me in one bite.

The small town of Lanakai was a calm and unique part of Hawaii but Honolulu was incredibly busy and even the drive to the north shore was breathtaking.  Filled with local residents and young surfers, the island of Oahu is like taking a break from the hectic world and indulging into the sweet ways of island life.
 
Insider Tip: No matter where you are headed on the island of Oahu and no matter what the forecast says, make sure to always pack a rain jacket. Many of the storm clouds get stuck just above the mountains, which is the pass between Honolulu and the rest of the island.

This is a guest post by Natalie Crandall