California Outlet Malls

I’m not going to lie: I like wearing name brands. I work in an office where what you wear somewhat defines who you are, and pathetic as that sounds, if you don’t play the game, you won’t get the gain. When you’re wearing something nice, you act differently, more professional and more secure—and those things often lead to success. That’s not to say that I go to Rodeo Drive to get my suits; on the contrary, part of being a good dresser means being a good shopper, and I definitely know where to find the deals. And California, I think more than most states, is filled with fantastic outlet malls. Here’s a list, organized from North to South:

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Wine spas in the U.S. (mainly California)

Now there’s a concept. I only recently became introduced to the concept of the “wine spa” recently when I treated my girlfriend (who is now an ex-girlfriend, but I promise it was not spa related) to a weekend up in Wine Country that included some spa going. We discovered that it’s quite a trend to include wine and grapes in spa treatments. Apparently it’s a tradition from Bordeaux, France that made its way over to the U.S., and particularly to Northern California. Most of these spas (following) are located in vineyards or are at least nearby. I’ll list the spa and then one or two treatments offered on their spa menu that includes grapes or wine.

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A Kid’s Guide to L.A.

It’s been a while since I’ve put in my two cents on the California scene, and when my sister and her two little kids came for a visit, it inspired me to do a little research. So here’s a list of fun activities for kids in the Los Angeles area. Some are more obvious and some are a bit more obscure. Feel free to add to the list!

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San Francisco

I can’t believe our family trip has already come and gone so quickly! I don’t think I have ever had such a jam packed vacation. Usually we’ll go somewhere A LOT smaller and spend most of the time on the beach or hiking, with a museum or theme park thrown in for kicks. This time, we spent the entire time on the go. it was exhausting, to say the least, but fun. The kids had a great time and I really felt like they deserved it after a difficult year, moving and all.

We did the things that were on my list: Basic Brown Bear Factory (loved it!), the Wax Museum at Fisherman’s Wharf (helloooo Elvis!), and Alcatraz Island (Julia threw up on the ferry, but otherwise, fun!). We also went to Pier 39, at Fisherman’s Wharf where we bought tons of junk and saw sea lions (which Justin loved).

Other big hits were the Exploratorium which was fantastic, the de Young Museum which I loved, but mainly because it was just me and my dad. My mom took the kids to the Golden Gate Park. One day we went to the Ghirardelli store and then rented bikes and rode across the Golden Gate Bridge into Sausalito. Had lunch, and ferried back (Julia was fine that time). That was probably the best day.

We spent a day on Baker Beach only having to shield the kids’ eyes a few times. (NOTE: if you want to stick near clothed (at least minimally) beach goers, stay away from the northern section of the beach). We went to Oakland Zoo, Children’s Fairyland (cute), the Chabot Space & Science Center, and Waterworld Park.

And more! It was definitely our best trip. I only got into a few fights with my parents (which is NOTHING) and the kids got to see their cousin and my brother is doing great. it was such a relief to have things out of my hands, the planning, the paying, the transportation. And the best part…is that it’s nice to be home!
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New Orchid Species Discovered at Yosemite

Okay, so this discovery is already a year old, but I came across this MSNBC article just now as I was planning my last trip to Yosemite National Park (I went with some buddies last week).

There is a new species of orchid that can be found only in the wet meadow of Yosemite. The flowers have long spears with yellow colored mini ball-shaped buds. It’s not the appearance which stands out and helped with its discovery, but its smell, or rather, I should say, stench. Botanist Alison Colwell likens the smell to sweaty feet—and she’s right, I recently discovered for myself.

Meanwhile, I had fun up there. I went with four other guys, one of whom just got married last night, so it was a sort of bachelor long weekend adventure. We hiked Yosemite and went rafting on the Merced River. We stayed at the Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino where we lost a shitload of money and drank a shitload of alcohol—which is why, come to think of it, why we lost so much money.

But hey, you’re only young once.


(Thanx Alison Colwell / AP and MSNBC)

Summer Fun with your Pup

After I posted about skiing with your dog, I realized that I should’ve written something perhaps a bit more practical. So here’s another quick list of amusement parks, parks, malls, and other attractions in California that are pet-friendly—either they have kennel facilities or let you roam around with your dog. (I’m not much of a kennel guy myself…) This is more summer appropriate, right?

Happy Summer!

I hope you didn’t believe me…

I received a frantic call from my little sister (who reads my blog religiously) who was so confused about my last post on San Diego Zoo’s Future. So just to clear my record here, The Onion is a SATIRE WEBSITE where about half the articles are satires of current events, and half are just plain JOKES. So the San Diego Zoo is NOT merging with any prisons, not now and (probably) not ever.

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