About Me

I am a frustrated travel buff stuck in the life of an auditor. I was lucky enough to be born to a family that valued travel and adventure. As a teenager I took a trip around the world and my love of travel was undeniable after that trip. I have a job that allows me to travel often and I take photos wherever I go. With my limited amount of sightseeing time I have become something of an expert in the art of Power Sightseeing. I have learned to make the most of my limited time and will gladly share those tips with you. I will add stories and photos to my blog after each trip so please check back often. I never know what wonderful thing I will see next and I would hate for you to miss the adventure. Thank you for enjoying my travel stories and photographs. Please visit my website at for more of my photos.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Power Sightseer's Guide to Goose Creek, SC

I am more of an off the beaten path girl than a tourist attraction lover.  Give me a good swamp any day and I will be happy.  That being said I discovered a nice combination of both in Goose Creek, SC.  Goose Creek is a suburb of Charleston and well worth the short drive if you are visiting the area.

Visiting Cypress Gardens in Goose Creek was an awesome day.  There are miles of trails you can explore in addition to the wonderful swamp area.  When walking the trail be sure to pay attention to the signs and watch out for local wildlife.  This little fellow was only two feet from the walking trail.  He didn't seem to mind posing for a photo though.

The swamp was really beautiful.  There are benches and swings scattered around to allow for rest and reflection.

There are also boats available for guided or self tours of the swamp area.

Be on the look out for the ruins and bridge that were featured in the Mel Gibson movie The Patriot.  The Notebook and other movies were also filmed in the garden.  Be sure and ask the wonderful guides to point out the locations.

Once you are through viewing the swamp and walking the trails don't miss the butterfly house and the resident guard duck.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

September Show Schedule

I have found myself doing more weekend art shows and farmers markets.  It is a great outlet for my photography and the purses and bags printed with the photographs.

During September I will be doing the following shows.

September 11th - San Jacinto Art Market in Rock Wall

September 18th - Aspasians in Rock Wall

September 25th - Four Season Market in Addison

Please stop by and see me if you are in the area.  Mention my blog and receive 10% off any purchase.  You can also check out my website and I will give you the same discount if you mention you saw my blog.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Power Sightseer's Guide to San Diego

This trip was for my grandsons, so this is the kid friendly version of San Diego.  It was an awesome trip for all involved.  We stayed at the Omni in the Gas Light Quarter.  The entire area is great and provides everything you need.  Easy walking to the train and trolley, great shipping, restaurants makes it a great place to stay.  Obviously the hotel has great views

it is also right next door to the Padre's home field.

I highly recommend the Tin Fish right next door to the hotel.  Great food and atmosphere including a great night of live music with Joe Rathburn was just what we needed to relax after a LONGGGGG day at the San Diego Zoo.   

My other recommendations for downtown eating would be Broken Yolk (awesome breakfast specials)     Mary Jane's located in the Hard Rock Hotel (vegetarian tacos - yummy) and Pink Berry.  All are an easy walk from the train or the hotel.

The zoo is very big so I suggest you take the guided tour bus when you first arrive.  The tour lasts about 35 minutes and gives you a very nice overview of the entire zoo.  The polar bear exhibit was our favorite.  The elephant area is really special also.

The only other big spending stop on our trip was Lego Land.  Great for kids, with every ride being kid friendly.  Lots of very interesting uses of legos.  Tons of fun and well work the admission price.  This year they added a water park.  The lazy river has inner-tubes with build in lego pads and floating legos for hours of fun.  When you leave Lego Land you might want to stop by Carlsbad beach.  There is a nice sandy beach with awesome smooth sandblasted rocks littering the edge.

Imperial Beach hosted a Sand Castle contest while we were there.  It was amazing.  Imperial also offered lots of great sea shell hunting.

La Jolla children's beach was an easy bus ride away for those of you traveling without a car.  The seals were fun to watch and there was a nice shallow water beach where kids could play.

My grandsons loved San Diego.  This was our second trip and they have already started planning our next.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

New Website

I have been doing a lot of traveling the last few weeks.  So I have hadn't posted as much as I should, but I have some new material to work on.  I will have some new material posted soon.  I have accomplished one thing though.  I have a new website - yeah!  Come check me out at

Let me know what you think.  I would love your feedback.

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Power Sightseer's Guide to St. Thomas

Before I go anywhere I consult my 1000 Places to See Before You Die book. It is a great resource for off-the-beaten-path ideas. For St Thomas the recommendations included Magens Bay Beach. I will give them that it is unspoiled. Not a big resort in sight.

 I much preferred Sapphire Beach on the other side of the island. I think the name sums it up nicely. Sapphire water, nice sand, great waves. This was an all around great beach. You can even make friends with the sunbathing iguanas.

As long as you are there take the short hop over to St John Island, it is only a ferrie ride away. Keep your eyes open for great photo opportunities along the way.

On St John I quickly abandoned the tourist shops at landing and took the local bus to the trailhead at Cinnamon Bay. Riding the local bus up provides you the easy hiking down to the beach. This is a nice walk with the opportunity to see some amazing mud nests. Keep your eyes open for glimpses of the beach as you pass openings in the flora. At the end of the trail there are some ruins of a sugar plantation. Be sure to check them out.

Your ultimate reward for the hike is Cinnamon Bay beach. It is a wonderful place to spend a afternoon after your hike. There is camping available at the beach also. When you are ready to head back to St. Thomas there is a very convenient shuttle to the landing to catch the boat.

All in all the USVI is a great place to catch a little sun, decompress and relax.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Power Sightseer's Guide to Grand Cayman

I have been to beaches all over the world, but I have to say Grand Cayman has some of the best water I have ever seen. I was impressed with the amazing clarity and brilliant color. I am a sucker for things that are out of the normal tourist attractions. I always ask around for places the locals love. Hotel housekeeping, store clerks and taxi drivers are wonderful sources of information. One of my best finds was starfish beach close to Rum Point beach on Grand Cayman. Rum Point beach was packed with tourists but just down the road there was an amazing little beach tucked behind a housing development. You could wade out pretty far and the best part was the starfish. There were dinner plate size starfish in the most amazing color right by your feet. A little effort to find, but well worth the effort.

The island also sports a coral strewn beach on the East side with an almost continuous spray spouting forth from a blowhole. Road side signs marked the spot, but even though it was a gorgeous photo opportunity it was not ever crowded.

As you drive around the island be sure to look for iguana. The prehistoric looking creatures were prolific.
I did indulge in one decidedly touristy activity and took the redsail catamaran out to swim with the stingrays. I have to say it was a wonderful experience. By cleaning the days catch in one spot, generations of fishermen have trained the rays to hang out on a sandbar near a break in the coral reef looking for food. The huge rays have very sensitive skin on the underside of their noses and will nussle you feeling for food. Having the wild creatures swimming around you and resting your arms was an otherworldly experience.

I absolutely loved Grand Cayman. Go, you will love it too.

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Power Sightseer's Guide to Dallas Arboretum

One of the best lessons I have learned is to treat my own city as a sightseeing opportunity. Since I obviously love flowers it was only natural that I seek them out close to home. The Dallas Arboretum is a wonderful little oasis in the heart of the hustle and bustle of the big city. Situated on the banks of White Rock Lake, the Arboretum is an ideal place to visit nature, have a picnic or just relax. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love living in Dallas. Periodically though I like to see a tree and hear a bird without any disruptions. The arboretum is a great little get-away.

The Water Walls area with its winding paths and beautiful water features is my favorite garden in the Arboretum. I could sit for hours with a good book and just relax. If you are looking for fun with the kids there are the Texas Town and Texas Pioneer areas. Child size houses a teepee and garden area offer limitless opportunities for imaginative play. But don't stop there, Toad Corners offers the opportunity for kids of all ages to splash about in the water spouts. You also won’t want to miss the koi ponds and other wonderful hidden spots.

Although the Arboretum is great during the spring and summer there is really no time of year when it is not wonderful. Throughout the year there are many events including the concert series held on Tuesday and Thursday nights. Dallas Blooms is held every spring and is a great time to get acquainted with the Arboretum. In the fall each year the Arboretum is transformed into a giant pumpkin patch.

Even during the winter there are many opportunities to see beautiful things.

If you live in the area I would highly recommend an annual pass. I know once you go you will want to return often.

Once you have experienced everything the Arboretum has to offer be sure to take a stroll around the lake. There are usually wonderful boats to see and the bird watching is exceptional.

Enjoy the sights no matter where you are.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Power Sightseer's Guide to Morocco

I had no idea what to expect from Morocco. I could never have imagined the warmness of the people or the beauty of the country. I flew into Casablanca, but immediately caught a flight to Ouarzazate. Ouarzazate is located in south-central Morocco and is the Hollywood of Morocco. Many films including Star Wars and Gladiator were shot in the area. I arrived not too long after September 11th. It was very gratifying to see the signs roughly translated to Terrorists Keep Your Hands Off Our Country. Morocco is very serious about being anti-terrorism.

From Ouarzazate it was a two hour drive to the village where I would be staying. My first oh-my-gosh moment occurred during the drive when I saw camels roaming the sides of the road. Being from Texas all I could think was that they were like huge jack rabbits.

The most amazing thing about Morocco was the people. I have never met any group of people that were so welcoming. Every person I met invited me into their home for VERY sweet mint tea and snacks. No matter what they economic situation, I was welcome to anything they had. While I was there the country experience the worst flooding since the 1960s. The devastation was amazing but so was the spirit of the people. I saw those with nothing sharing what little they had with others. Stranded goat herders were given food and shelter. People pitched in to get vehicles through the flooding and make sure everyone was safe.


The ancient kasbahs began to soak up the water and crumble at the bottom. Their mud brick construction, perfect for the normally arid climate was completely unfit for the torrential rains. As soon as the rain ceased, repairs were being made to ensure that the kasbahs would survive so that their amazing structure could be enjoyed for decades to come. Some of the kasbahs were enormous and being used as apartments. It was shocking to see such ancient palaces with satellite dishes and laundry hung from the balconies.

Eating in Morocco was a little bit of a challenge for me as a vegetarian. Typically Moroccan food is cooked in an earthenware pot called a tagine. A tagine, which is also the name given to the dish, cooks similarly to a crock pot. The dish will include meat, vegetables and possibly fruit such as prunes.

Bread is utilized instead of utensils. The meal is served family style with everyone sharing one tagine. I became very proficient at picking out potatoes, carrots and prunes with my bread “spoon” and leaving the meat for the others in my group. One bonus on the eating front was that pomegranates and mandarins grew everywhere. I was able to often pick them on the side of the road. It was absolutely the best fruit I have every eaten.

One thing you should make every effort to experience is a local bath house or hammam.  The hammam consists of several rooms where you steam, scrub, rinse and refresh yourself along with a group of your closest friends and complete strangers.  The soap provided appears and smells to be a mixture of tar and lard. It proved to be a wonderful exfoliant. For obvious reasons, there will be no photos of this activity.

All in all, Morocco was a wonderful place to visit. Leaving the hustle and bustle of the big city and arriving in a country village was somewhat of a culture shock. However, being able to slow down and relax was an amazing addition to the trip.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Power Sightseer's Guide to Healthy Travel

Keeping up my healthy routine is VERY important to me when I am traveling. I have worked really hard to achieve and maintain a significant weight loss. No pills or surgery, but lots of sweat and healthy eating. As much as I love my travel time I don’t want to jeopardize everything I have worked so hard for by taking a week or two off my routine. I am definitely not saying you need to be perfect while you are traveling, but doing a little something every day will help keep you on track. Plan to take walking tours when possible. They offer better photo opportunities as an added bonus. Walking is my favorite activity. I can relax and just take in the sights and still burn calories.

If you want even more activity, you don’t need workout equipment to get in a little exercise. Do a few squats using the hotel room chair, a few lunges, some crunches and push-ups each morning before you head out for your day. Twenty or thirty minutes in the morning will get you off to a good start. I feel so much more energized when I start my day off with a little exercise. I can enjoy myself and maybe indulge a little in the local cuisine.

Carry health snacks with you and find out if there is a grocery store within walking distance from your hotel. Fresh fruit is great and depending on where you are you might find treats that aren’t readily available to you locally. I practically lived on mandarins and pomegranates picked from the side of the road in Morocco. It was the best fruit I ever had. Being a vegetarian I am a little more challenged, but healthy food is available if you are willing to look. Eating healthy at least part of each day helps me not only stay on track with my goals; it also helps keep me feel good on my trip. Making major changes from your normal eating routine can lead to stomach issues and no one wants that when they are trying to have fun.

The Power Sightseer's Guide to England day two

I have been accused of being a princess or at least acting like one. Maybe that factored into my decision to make my first excursion out of London to a castle, Leeds Castle to be specific.

It is such a beautiful spot and the history of the castle just enthralled me. I chose Evan Evans tours for my trip. Their tours leave from the Victoria bus station which is within walking distance from bed-and-breakfast. They also offer highly qualified and very interesting tour guides. One interesting tidbit I learned is that there is a difference between a castle and a palace. I had no idea. A castle was built for defense and would have fortification. A palace is just a fancy house. Who knew?? Anyway, Leeds was built in 1119 and was eventually used by King Henry VIII in the early 1500s. Henry’s son King Edward VI gave the castle to one of Henry’s courtiers and it has been privately owned ever since. The interior of the castle is as spectacular as the grounds. My favorite room was the queen’s bath, the ultimate in luxury for the time.

 There were peacocks from the aviary roaming the grounds. This beautiful fellow was more than happy to pose for photos but he wouldn’t open his tail for me.

From Leeds we were off to Canterbury. It was a lovely little town and of course the cathedral was amazing. The history of the cathedral began in 597 when the Pope sent the first Archbishop of Canterbury to establish a church. I really enjoyed seeing all the crypts and reading the stories about their occupants. It was very humbling to think that these individuals had passed away so long ago and I was still reading about their life. I wonder if they thought we would still be talking about them all this time later.

Our final stop of the day was in Dover. I am something of a World War II buff so I was very interested in seeing the White Cliffs of Dover. The cliffs are strikingly white and face France across the English Channel. Pilots returning from battle saw the cliffs as a sign that they were home.

The entire day was wonderful and just made me even more excited for the next day and what I would be able to see then.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Power Sightseer's Guide to England day one

You can, in fact, see a lot of England in just a few days.  With a little planning and a lot of Power Sightseeing energy you can turn 4 days into a ton of memories.  Pre-planning was a big help.  I bought the London Pass before I left.  The pass allowed me to skip standing in lines to buy tickets at a lot of sites and also cut the line to get into others.  I also booked my bed-and-breakfast at Cartref House  This place was perfect.  It is walking distance from Victoria train, tube and coach station so travel is a breeze.  The bed and breakfast is family run, super clean and the breakfast was great.  They were more than willing to accommodate my vegetarian diet.

One of the tricks for me was timing the travel.  I left Dallas on Thursday evening, ate my dinner on the plane and took an Advil PM.  That allowed me to sleep pretty well until we arrive bright and early on Friday morning.  Well it was bright and early in London, still dark and way too early in Dallas.

The first thing I like to do in any large city is take one of the city wide bus tours.  You can catch several right from Victoria station.  You get on/off privileges for the entire day.  I generally ride all the way around once which doesn't take very long.  They I go back and stop at the places where I would like to spend more time.  Be sure you take a bus with a live guide as opposed to a recorded tour narrative.  The live guide will give you much more information than a recording ever could.  I was able to take the entire tour and get back to Buckingham for the Changing of the Guard.

While there be sure you check out the gates, statues and gardens in the area.  They are truly amazing and not to be missed.

My next stop on day one was the Tower of London.  

This place is so full of history and things to see plan on a few hours.  I recommend the Yoeman Warder tour.  The Yoeman Warders have been guarding the tower for over 500 years.   There was so much to see I can't begin to list them all.  But, I loved the fact that you can still see carving in the walls from prisoners.  It really makes you wonder who was in prison here and for how long.  

I guess someone loved Edward, Edna, E???  Don't miss the jewel room.  It holds so many amazing things, but they won't let you take photos. I am sure it is a security risk.  One thing I found fascinating was the fact that the the Yoeman Warders still live in the ancient housing on the grounds.  It was interesting to see their laundry hung to dry on the balconies and think of how many centuries of laundry had been hung in the same place.  

That wrapped up my first day.  I returned to my great B & B to plan out my attack plan for the next day.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Powersightseer's Guide to Packing

Packing is an essential skill for every Power Sightseer. It can make or break your trip. People have been known to marvel at my superpower packing skills. You know everyone has at least one superpower and this is my only one so don’t make fun.

When I first started traveling I took WAY too much stuff. I finally decided to make a rule. If I didn’t use something on my last trip it didn’t go in the suitcase for the next trip. Pretty soon I could go for a long weekend in London with just a backpack, Morocco for a week with one small carryon and a backpack and I was even carrying things for other people.

Here are just a few of my hard learned tips:

• No matter how special your hair is hotel shampoo won’t mean the end of your perfect do forever. If you think about it, beauty experts say it is good to take a break from your shampoo periodically, so you are really helping your hair. Also, if you do end up looking like something the cat dragged in you can always tell people you are in the next Twilight movie and going for am I am too tortured to wash my hair look. The same goes for blow dryers, rollers, straightening irons, etc.

• Jewelry – seriously??? I am the jewelry queen. The bigger and gaudier the better and I don’t even carry any on trips. Besides it will probably only end up being a tangled jumble of chains, baubles and beads. Your only use for it at that point would be to use it as a weapon in the case of a bear attack.

• Hotels do have laundry facilities or at the very least a sink. You really don’t need a new pair of jeans for every day. Besides jeans are heavy. If your outfit makes you cringe when you think of stepping on a scale choose something different.

• You don’t need four books. If you are really a Power Sightseer you will be too busy to read them anyway. As for travel guides, copy the pages showing things that interest you. Once you have seen the sight you can throw away the page.

• I am the pickiest eater in the world. I am a vegetarian and I only like a few things. On top of that I am a healthy eater fanatic. So I do carry food on most trips. You can go to one of the 99 cent stores and purchase a medium sized plastic contained with a lid. Make sure it fits nicely into your backpack. Fill this with breakable food, pretzels, rice cakes, etc., so you don’t end up with a pile of crumbs. Pick dehydrated soups or rice dishes. I put my protein drink mix into snack sized baggies. Tearing off one corner converts it into a perfect funnel to put the powder into a bottle of water. Bonus – as you eat things you free up space for souvenirs. You can always toss your 99 cent box or use it to transport breakable things you pick up along the way back home.

I will impart more wisdom as it pops into my head. Watch for future updates.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Power Sightseer's Guide to Oregon

OK, I admit it did not sound like one of my greatest ideas, but being the Power Sightseer that I am I know it would be awesome. Spend 2 days drive 872 miles from Seattle down the coast of Oregon to Yachats and cut across through Eugene to Boise, Idaho. I, of course, was right. It was one of the best trips I have ever taken. I had never been to Washington or Oregon so I really didn’t know what to expect. Rain, Sasquatch, trees and the danger of ending up on a post earthquake island was all I expected. Little did I know, the coast of Oregon is a truly wonderful place. Beginning with my sighting of The Goonies’ rock I was hooked.

You remember The Goonies – right? You know cute kids, creepy bad guys, pirate treasure and Cindy Lauper. How could the movie be any better? I loved the fact that I wasn’t expecting the rock, it was just there. This is one of my Power Sightseer’s rules. The best things to see are the ones you never thought of seeing.

Continuing my drive down the coast I went from one small picturesque town to the next. I could have spent forever exploring, but had to just add this trip to my VERY short list of places where I want a do-over. There were lighthouses, bridges, sea lion sightings, something for just about everyone.

This bridge was my favorite. With the mist rolling in and the perfect lighting it was just breathtaking. I spent way too long hanging out here at the little park across the street.

Yachats, Oregon was a really nice place to stop for the night. Everyone in town was very hospitable. I stayed at The Fireside. It was wonderful. I had a huge room with a fireplace, giant whirlpool bath and patio. They even allow all pets. Just outside the door was the most breathtaking beach. It was rocky, strewn with huge pieces of driftwood and more crashing waves than I could ever imagine. I walked up and down the beach taking photos until it was too dark to see.

One word of caution – DO NOT go on the patio to look at the ocean and shut the door behind you while water is running in the whirlpool. Oh yes, I did that. Door is locked. No way off the fenced patio. Water is running. Panic is setting in. All I could think of was water slowly climbing up and overflowing. How would I explain to hotel management? Well you see, it sounded like a good idea at the time… I had to climb up on the fence using the patio chair, jump over all the time hoping no one saw me and run to the office for help. Disaster averted just in time. Water was running over, but still on the tile. I bet housekeeping wondered how many showers I needed to use up all those towels.

The next morning I left Yachats and headed back to Boise. My last adventure was to drive through the Deschutes National Forest and up Mt. Hood. I have to admit the Mt. Hood was a little eerie. You are driving through an enchanted forest full of huge ferns and trees and then the landscape opens up and you are on the moon. The top of the mountain is covered with lava flows. Amazing, breathtaking but very out of your realm of expectations.

Absolutely worth the drive, the time and the effort. I am so going back to Oregon.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Power Sightseers Guide to Charleston

During a visit to Charleston - yes of course for work - I ended up with 3 extra hours before my flight.  I took this as a sign  that I should indulge my sightseeing passion.  I love the old south and quickly settled on a trip to the Magnolia Plantation and Gardens.  Located just a few miles from the Charleston airport the Magnolia Plantation gave me a perfect location for sightseeing the power way.   The plantation was founded in 1676 so it was sure to provide me with my history fix as well as possible photo opportunities.  I was thrilled with what I found.  The gardens are beautiful!  There were so many hidden nooks, secret spaces and wonderful treasures I was thrilled.  In addition to the garden  there was a magical Audubon swamp garden that seemed to be from a completely different time and place.  The Magnolia's gardens were so amazing I spent my entire time there.  I never made it to the plantation house that day. Since my first trip I have been back to the Magnolia Plantation every time I traveled to Charleston.  Each time was magical.  Every season offered a complete different experience, unique scenery and wonderful photo opportunities.  

This is one of my favorite photos. I was taking photos of the lovely flowers when this huge bee started buzzing around. I followed him from flower to flower and got several wonderful shots, but this is my favorite. If you look closely there is also an ant on the flower. Apparently it was a very popular bud that morning.

Otherworldly is the only way I can describe this landscape.  The moss dripping from the ancient tree and the reflection in the glassy water below combine to make the scene pull you into another world.  I still feel very peaceful whenever I look at this photo. 

Fall in the swamp gardens proved to be just as beautiful as spring and summer.  Being a Texas girl I don't get to experience the seasons like others.  Don't get me wrong we have four seasons in Texas - Early Summer, Too Hot to Breath, Late Summer and Ice - but it just isn't the same.  We don't have the lovely colors and falling leaves, not to mention the trees for the leaves to fall from.  I really enjoyed seeing all the color that Autumn can bring.

No matter the season, I highly recommend the Magnolia Plantation and Gardens to all of those brave enough to take Power Sightseer challenge and squeeze the most out of every trip you are lucky enough to take.