Chill – Alice in Winterland at the Queen Mary

This year’s Chill at the Queen Mary was quite a bit different from the previous two years.  Instead of ice sculptures, the event featured 130 life-size sculpted lanterns. I wasn’t expecting this, so I was a bit disappointed at first; however, it was really well done and I ended up really enjoying myself. And staying warm.

Chill Alice in Winterland

When you first get ready to enter Alice in Winterland, you come across the wildly colorful flowers of the story we all know and love. The lanterns are made of fabric with the lights inside illuminating them from within.  It creates a neat effect…like the flowers are glowing.  It’s very pretty.


Chill Alice in Winterland

Inside the Rabbit Hole you’ll find an immersive adventure full of the whimsical characters and creations from the Alice in Wonderland story. From the colorful flowers to a room full of gingerbread candy creations, it’s a visual feast for your eyes. And the attention to detail, like this particular gingerbread house on one of the walls, is awesome.


Chill Alice in Winterland

Isn’t that just cute??  I haven’t read the Alice in Wonderland story in a very long time or seen any of the recent movies, but I sure like the characters.  It’s amazing to me what artists can do with some colored fabric, wire, and light bulbs.


Chill Alice in Winterland

This was one of my favorite lanterns. There were so many it was hard to get pics of them all. And I just loved the looks on the children’s faces as they walked through. To see their eyes light up is truly one of the best parts of an experience like this.


Chill at the Queen Mary

Now, while there were no ice sculptures, the Chill event still had one of its staples…the Glacier Glide. Where else in Southern California can you slide down 150 feet of ice on an inner tube? This is my absolute favorite part of Chill and when I was there on Saturday the ice was very fast!!!

This year’s Chill at the Queen Mary was a new experience for me.  I’ve never seen sculpted lanterns like this before and I have to say I really liked it. Both the Alice in Winterland experience and the Glacier Glide are inside the big dome at the Queen Mary, along with an indoor carousel, the Magic Mushroom Martini Bar, and very sweet candy shop.

Outside the dome in the area between it and the Queen Mary are all kinds of fun things for kids and adults to enjoy. There is an outdoor ice rink for skating, a spot to decorate gingerbread houses, face painting, and lots of cute winter and Christmas spots to take selfies, to name a few.  Included with the Chill admission is entry onto the Queen Mary, which I took advantage of for some great shots of Long Beach and the harbor. And who can forget the food??? There is lots of food at Chill and this year I tried a chocolate dipped cheesecake on a stick. Hard to eat, but delicious!

If you are planning to go to Chill this year, click here for information on all the events and ticket pricing. Keep in mind the lines getting in can be long and parking was $18 there by the event. I have always gone as soon as it opened on a weekend, so I’m not sure what Chill is like at night.  If the amount of lights I see on everything outside are any indication, I am sure it’s absolutely spectacular when the sun goes down.

Vidanta Riviera Maya Resort, Playa del Carmen, Mexico

The Vidanta Riviera Maya Resort in Playa del Carmen is a vacation club resort located on the Yucatán Penisula in an area known as the Mayan Riviera in Mexico. Situated on a thousand acres in the jungle, the resort consists of five resort hotels, seventeen restaurants and bars, a half mile of white sandy beach, and pools galore. I had the opportunity to stay at this resort through my time-share exchange program the last week of October and while the weather could have been a little better towards the end of my vacation week, the resort did not disappoint.



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Los Angeles Auto Show 2015

The Los Angeles Auto Show is one of the premier automobile events in southern California. It is held annually in the Los Angeles Convention Center each November and it is one of the few places you can see vehicles from all the major automakers under one roof. I have gone to this show three times so far and while this year’s event didn’t have as many concept cars as in the past, it did not disappoint. Los Angeles Auto Show 2015Every year the auto makers design not only more advanced and stylish vehicles, they design displays engineered to entice and spark the imagination. From Mini to Lexus, Ford to Jeep, and from Smart to Maserati you can explore every car, truck, and sportscar available today. And, there were a couple of cars that are so rare only a handful are available for sale. So, if you or someone you know is an automobile enthusiast this show is the one to see. Or if you are looking for something new for yourself, there is no better place to compare models without a salesman hanging on to your every movement.

Aston Martin DB10 at the Los Angeles Auto Show

The Los Angeles Auto Show is the perfect setting for the debuts of new cars and models. This year there were 27 world debuts, 24 North American debuts, and 4 auto show show debuts including the above pictured Aston Martin DB10. For you James Bond fans, that’s the car from the movie Spectre. Did you know that it was designed and hand-made by Aston Martin specifically for the movie and there will only be 10 available to own?  It was a beauty for sure.

Ford GT at the Los Angeles Auto Show

This car is one of my favorites. It is a Ford GT and one of my personal favorites.  Now at the auto show you can actually sit in most of the cars in order to get a feel for them, but not this one.  It was on a turntable surrounding by drooling sports car enthusiasts.  Isn’t it a beauty?

The Los Angeles Auto Show 2015

And, as I mentioned earlier, the displays the automakers showcase their vehicles in are phenomenal. With super huge video displays, cool lighting, and working displays of engines and transmissions, the presentation is awesome. And, the colors of the cars this year are very unique.

So, if you are looking for something fun to do this next week the Los Angeles Auto Show is a great choice. It runs from November 20th to the 29th at the Los Angeles Convention Center and tickets can be purchase online or at the door. I’d go early in the day, though, because it gets pretty crowded a couple of hours after it opens.  There is food and beverages for sale if you start to get hungry and lots of places to sit if you need to rest for a bit.  It can get pretty warm in the halls from all the lights, so take that into consideration before you go.  You can click here for more details and the pricing of the tickets.

Enjoy the show!


Fright Fest at Six Flags Magic Mountain – 2015

Halloween is one of my favorite times of year and Fright Fest at Six Flags Magic Mountain is one of my favorite events. I had the pleasure of the being there for opening night this past Saturday and it did not disappoint.


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Rose Parade Float Viewing

I have always wanted to go to the Rose Parade Float Viewing and this year I finally got my chance. I’ve seen floats like this before up in Portland, Oregon, for their annual rose parade, but nothing prepared me for the floats in Pasadena. I was literally speechless for about an hour as I walked alongside the most beautiful floral creations I’ve ever seen.  For a flower love like me, it was pure heaven.

rose parade float viewing

This year’s theme was Dreams Come True.


rose parade float viewing

Any part of the float that is exposed has to be covered in a natural material. Check out this classic car.

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Placerita Canyon Nature Center

Tucked in a canyon off Highway 14 in the Santa Clarita Valley is a little gem called Placerita Canyon Nature Center. Operated by the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation, Placerita Canyon is a east-west canyon on the north side of the San Gabriel Mountains. It has a seasonal stream and waterfall and is home to interesting landmarks, different plant communities, and California wildlife. With lots of hiking trails and some picnic areas tucked in various places, it’s the perfect place for a quiet stroll through the wilderness. It also has a small museum with exhibits from the area and park guides to answer all your questions about the surrounding landscape and to introduce you to some of the canyon’s inhabitants. Read more

Castaic Lake Fit For Fun Program

This past Saturday I attended the first event of the Castaic Lake Fit For Fun Program. Designed as a preview of events to come in the following weeks, this first hike was a Preview Hike and the park guides gave us a quick tour of the main area of the park and the starting points of some great hikes in the park.

Fit For Fun Program, Castaic Lake, CA

We gathered at the park headquarters for some introductions and then started out on our tour. Read more

Hummingbirds in Winter

It’s good to see that the hummingbirds are still hanging around here in the winter.  It was pretty cold this morning, but that didn’t stop this little gal from coming to get her breakfast.

Hummingbirds in Winter

Isn’t she cute?  And she doesn’t even look that cold!  (It was 38 degrees when I took these shots.)

Hummingbirds in winter

Fall Color in January?

Yes, it’s true.  Some of the trees here in Southern California are a little bit mixed up. This picture was taken yesterday, January 5, 2013.

Fall Color, Castaic, CA


Space Shuttle Endeavour – California Science Center

I finally made it.  After watching the space shuttle fly overhead on its journey to the California Science Center, I finally got to see it in person.  Words can’t describe what you feel when you stand next to the Endeavour.  It was just plain jaw-dropping.

The first thing you need to know is that you have to purchase a timed ticket.  Seeing the shuttle is free to the public, but there is a $2 service charge when you buy it online.  Then when you get there you get in line at the appointed time.

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