Posts Tagged ‘California’

Shop Morro Bay, California

Monday November 17, 2014 at 7:07 AM | 1 Comment

Here in California we dutifully recycle our leaves, lawn clippings and tree trimmings, our newspapers and magazines and even our food scraps. However, many of us don’t think about recycling clothing or shoes. Antiques are fashionable to collect, but recycled vintage fashion? This holiday season I tasked myself with giving recycled holiday gifts. I selected Morro Bay as my shopping destination because the coastal beach town has a high concentration of antique and vintage thrift shops clustered together in two areas.

 

Threads, Morro Bay, California, thrift store

Threads photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 
Threads, shoes, Morro Bay, California

Recycled shoes. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 
 

 

Thrift store alley

My shopping spree started on Main Street and moved along to Morro Bay Blvd. The other area for antiques is located near Highway 41 and 2200 Main Street. I needed to purchase gifts for guys and gals, hard to please fashionistas, baby boomers and my 90 year old mother. Of course, I couldn’t help picking up a couple of items for myself. I’m pleased to say that I did find something for everyone and I kept under my $500 holiday shopping budget.
 

Castaway, Morro Bay, California

One person’s Castaways is another person’s treasure. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 

“I like thrift store shopping because it’s about being conscious about where you are buying things and who you are giving your money to,” says Kaya Moody of Castaways.

 

At the Summer Cottage, the store is like a treasure trove for all occasions. Owner Kay Crocker says the name Summer Cottage came from the fact that Morro Bay always has perfect California weather. “It’s an older community that has come full circle,” notes Crocker. We’re a throw back to the 50’s and 60’s. There’s a retro feel to the whole town.”

 

Summer Cottage, Morro Bay, California

There’s a retro feel to Morro Bay. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 
Vinyl Isle is a perfect example of retro. The funky Morro Bay music store is home to hundreds of vinyl records and has rock and roll promotional posters tacked to the ceiling. I could easily see The Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia walking into this green-colored cottage to check out the record selection if he were alive today.
 
Vinyl Isle, music store, record store

Music posters and vinyl records hang from the ceiling of Vinyl Isle. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 
When I walked into Castaways thrift store, Bob Marley was playing on the radio and three fashionable young ladies were flipping through racks of clothes like line cooks slinging hash in the kitchen. They were quick, efficient and discerning in their intentions. As one held up an item of clothing for closer inspection, the two friends quickly weighed in with a yea or nay. It’s good to have girlfriends along on recycled shopping outings and these ladies were professional shoppers.
 
Revolve, recycled fashion, Morro Bay, California

Recycled fashions at Revolve. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 
“I love this store!” said one of the girls with delight. “I always find something that is perfect for me.” And, indeed, she was rocking the sporty black leather and wool cap that she had plucked from a display table minutes earlier.
 
I was thrilled that I scored a brown leather jacket for my brother, a gorgeous pair of snake skin cowboy boots for my college student son and plenty of name brand work clothing items for my recently graduated daughter. The boots I brought home for my husband were claimed and on his feet before they made it under the Christmas tree and I couldn’t resist wearing my hand knit scarf on a recent trip cruising along the Danube River in Europe. No worries – I will be reclaiming and wrapping these presents (with recycled paper) and stashing them until the holidays.
 
Treasures Antique Mall, antiques, Morro Bay, California

Treasures Antique Mall. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 
There are plenty of things to see and do in Morro Bay besides antique and thrift store shopping. But when it Rome, right?

 
Article, photos and YouTube video by Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown. I was a guest of Morro Bay Tourism Bureau, while researching this travel story.

Marilyn Monroe Spa Review

Wednesday October 15, 2014 at 7:07 AM | 1 Comment

I love everything about a trip to the spa; from the aromatherapy scents that hit my nostrils upon entering the spa, to soaking in a hot tub after a deep tissue or hot stone massage and the sense of calm that envelopes my body at the end of a treatment. When the folks at Marilyn Monroe Spas offered me a facial, I only hesitated for a second. That’s because I always opt for a massage over a facial. In this instance, I’m glad that I went for the facial treatment.
 

"Marilyn Monroe Spas"

Aromatherapy scents hit your nostrils at Marilyn Monroe Spas. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown

Marilyn Monroe Spas

Marilyn Monroe, while a tragic figure, knew what made her happy. “Beneath the makeup and behind the smile, I’m just a girl who wishes for the world,” said Monroe. There’s no denying that name recognition works when it comes to branding the Marilyn Monroe Spas chain. The first Marilyn Monroe Spa opened in northern California at Hyatt Regency Monterey and continues its expansion with luxury nail salons, hotel spa resort locations and Glamour Rooms.

While Marilyn Monroe Spas are fairly new players on the scene, the corporate team behind the brand are seasoned operators, with Disney Resort Spa experience under their collective belt.
 

"Marilyn Monroe"

“I just want to be wonderful!” Marilyn Monroe. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 

As I mentioned, I’m not a facial gal. It’s not that I have anything against facials, it’s that I sit hunched in front of a computer all day and my shoulders are always in tight knots. If money were no object, I’d treat myself to a facial AND massage once a month.

 

"Marilyn Monroe Spas"

The relaxation area in Monterey, California


 

"Nancy D. Brown" "golden glow facial"

Marilyn Monroe Golden Glow Facial

 
Marilyn Monroe facial
The Golden Glow Facial treatment, priced at $175. was 80 minutes of me time.  The oxygenating facial opened up my pores and re-hydrated my very dry skin. The Green Tea Refining Mask was cold on application, but my Esthetician Lucy patiently explained each step of the facial treatment. While the antioxidant ingredients went to work restoring elasticity and hydrating my face with moisture, I also received a hand, foot and shoulder massage – yeah! After this relaxing treatment I did feel refreshed and like Marilyn Monroe, I felt just wonderful.
 
"Marilyn Monroe Spas"
 

Did you know that Marilyn’s favorite scent was roses? As such, many of the organic spa products are infused with roses. I tried the rose cream cleanser, the rose hip cell renewing facial polish, the rose firming and brightening serium, rose hip firming de-puff eye cream and the rose hip cell renewal seed oil capsules. This last item is used as a nightly treatment instead of moisturizer.
 
Next time I’m near this spa, I’m trying Marilyn’s Signature manicure/pedicure treatment.
 

"Marilyn Monroe Spas"

Manicure, pedicure anyone?


 
Insider Tip:
Love spas, but tough on the budget? Mad About Marilyn is a rewards program offering “Mad Money”. $30 month will get you $30 toward a spa service. For every $10 you spend (including your monthly membership fee) you earn $1 in Mad Money, plus 10% discounts on products & 20% discounts on all services at hotel spas. For additional insider tips follow Northern California Travel Writer @Nancydbrown on Twitter and Marilyn Monroe Spas on Twitter @MarilynSpas.
 

If You Go:

Marilyn Monroe Spa (831) 657-6734

1 Old Golf Course Road

Monterey, California 93940

Article and photos by Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown. I was a guest of Marilyn Monroe Spas while researching a hotel review. All opinions are my own.

Houseboating Shasta Lake, CA: What to Expect

Friday August 15, 2014 at 7:07 AM | 2 Comments

A three hour drive from the San Francisco bay area to Lake Shasta, we arrived at our destination, Shasta Marina Resort, in the early afternoon. The summer sun was already beating down on us; we were happy to be greeted at Shasta Marina with misters spraying fine curtains of water overhead. Our hosts and owners of Shasta Marina Resort, Anna & John Harkrader, had fled the bay area in 1999, after successful careers and raising a family, to begin a new life on Lake Shasta. Today, their job was to teach a family of two baby boomers with two young adults, along with a yellow Labrador retriever, how to survive and thrive houseboating on Shasta Lake for three days and three nights.

"Shasta Lake" sunset

Shasta Lake Sunset

Our floating paradise

As this was our first attempt houseboating Shasta Lake, we decided on the luxurious 16 Sleeper Thoroughbred houseboat – our motto for this family vacation ‘go big or go home’. Additionally, Shasta Marina Resort offers the 16 or 14 Sleeper Mirage. Manufactured in Kentucky, the Thoroughbred is a 15 x 56 foot, full-wide cabin houseboat with a hull design, offering state rooms below deck. Two private sleeping areas with 2 queen beds, a mirror and sink, are below deck. On the main deck there were 3 state rooms, two with double beds and one with bunk beds. Naturally, “the kids” claimed the double bed rooms and we bunked in the queen stateroom below. The dining table and sofa both convert to double beds if you need the extra space.

The kitchen came equipped with stainless steel appliances, including a 28 cubic foot refrigerator with freezer and ice maker, as well as a kitchen island with bar stools, dishwasher and trash compactor. Our kitchen was stocked with Pottery Barn dishes, silverware, pots, pans, utensils and the ever important coffee maker and wine opener. The dinner plates were huge – large enough to serve Big Foot.

Failed houseboat mooring attempt

After motoring down the Sacramento River arm, we had a failed mooring attempt between Slaughterhouse Island and Thunderbolt Island on day one. “Don’t you remember the fellow saying to ‘stay away from the red clay?’” our 18-year-old questioned the patriarch and newbie houseboater who had selected what looked to be a prime spot surrounded by ankle sucking, muddy, red clay soils. The two men sunk 3 foot, wrought iron stakes into the ground, along with rope attached, to moor our houseboat for the night, only to watch them slide down the hillside like a slow moving lava flow. Sweating and cursing, my husband admitted defeat and we abandoned ship in search of solid ground.

"Shasta Marina Resort" houseboat

Our houseboat from Shasta Marina Resort

Houseboat home in Dolly Cove

With our ski boat bobbing merrily behind us like a baby duckling following mama, we found success at Dolly Cove. After high fives all around, we celebrated our mooring victory with a round of wake boarding with Shasta Dam looming in the distance. Shasta Lake was as smooth as glass that evening and offered a gorgeous mountain sunset as we grilled fresh wild Alaskan Sockeye salmon and munched on Brentwood, California sugar sweet corn on the cob, followed by a relaxing soak in the rooftop hot tub. Eureka, we had discovered California gold on Lake Shasta!

wake boarding "Shasta Lake"

Wake boarding on Shasta Lake

Lake Shasta electronic free zone

The kids liked the large flat screen tv, but quickly learned that this trip would be an electronic free zone. As we left Shasta Marina behind us, we cut loose our ties to our smartphones and television, instead turning to books, card games and remembering how to kick back and go with the flow of the lake. The entertainment center offered DVD and stereo with iPod hookup, enabling us to blast tunes while we splashed into the lake via the water slide on the top deck. Thankfully, music could be piped directly into each deck, so both the baby boomers and young adults could enjoy their own music selections.

"Shasta Lake" vacation

Shasta Lake vacation

Shasta Lake recreation

I quickly learned the boating concept of Shasta Lake. Whoever has the most water toys wins! We had our bases covered at Shasta Marina Resort as we rented a ski boat loaded with water skis, wake board and tube for towing behind the boat, in addition to our Thoroughbred houseboat. Our kids loved wake boarding and water skiing, followed with a soak in the hot tub – good for restoring tired muscles. Everyone loved splashing into Lake Shasta from the upper deck slide! Shasta Marina Resort also rents jet skis – customers must rent accompanying ski boats or jet skis for the same amount of time as the houseboat rental.

Rates vary depending on off season, mid season and high season – check the website for current pricing. High season pricing for 3 nights on the 16 Sleeper Thoroughbred was $4,620, 3 night ski boat rental was $900 for a V6 19 foot boat.

"Shasta Marina Resort" houseboat

Shasta Lake Houseboat Vacation

Houseboating insider tips

Don’t forget your sunscreen! The houseboat roofs are mostly covered, but floating in the 80+ degree lake water was how we spent much of our time.

Plan on packing all necessary food. There is a large cooler on the deck of the houseboat. The marina store sells items such as ice and basic foods, but not produce.

Bring your own bedding & towels – bed sets are available for an additional fee. Check the Shasta Marina Resort website for a complete houseboat inventory list.

Make time for star-gazing – Lake Shasta by moon light will not disappoint!

Pets are allowed for an additional fee.

Expect to pay about $400-$500 to gas the houseboat and $100-$200 for the ski boat gas; depending on usage – ours was a three day trip.

Bring several good books and plenty of bottled water. While the houseboat has clearly marked spigots – lake water and drinking water – I prefer byob (bring your own beverages.)

Keep all windows and hatch to upper deck closed when running air conditioning. In our experience, the air conditioner couldn’t keep up with the demands when cruising the lake. We found it best to moor the houseboat and explore Lake Shasta by ski boat for better fuel economy and maintaining the air conditioning inside the houseboat.

For additional insider tips follow Luxury Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown on Twitter @Nancydbrown and follow @ShastaMR on Twitter.

"Shasta Marina Resort"Check-In Time: 3:00pm

Check-Out Time: 9:00am

If You Go:

Shasta Marina Resort – Shasta Lake Houseboat Rentals
(530) 238-2284 or (800) 959-3359
18390 O’Brien Inlet Rd.

Lakehead, California 96051

Article written by, video and photos courtesy of Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown of What a Trip, Travels from Northern California. I was a guest of Shasta Marina Resort. All opinions are my own.