Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Take $1,100 off a Friendly Planet Travel tour on CyberrMonday

Attention deal shoppers

On Cyber Monday, global tour operator Friendly Planet Travel is offering travelers a savings of up to $1,100 off per person, on  air inclusive packaged tours to more than 60 countries, including Portugal, China, South Africa, Peru, Kenya, Galapagos and much more. 

The sale starts at 12 a.m. ET on Monday, November 27th and lasts two days through Tuesday, November 28.  Prices include all airfare, accommodations, most meals, transfers, an English-speaking guide and more which you can at  www.friendlyplanet.com.  Reservations must be made online

Great gifts for the nice folks on your holiday shopping lists

Memories are made and kept from the Image3D RetroViewer

 Patti Pietschmann

Remember playing with 3-D viewers as kids, looking at pictures of national monuments or stills from your favorite movies?  What was missing from those pictures? You! Image3D allows customers to make 3-D viewers—called the RetroViewer—and custom photo reels from their own digital photos. 
And it will bring a smile to lips to everyone on your holiday shopping list.

How it work
You use Image3D’s Reel Builder website to create custom photo reels from personal digital pictures, then receive a RetroViewer and photo reel in the mail shortly after.  A viewer and reel set retails for $29.95, go to: www.image3d.com

Viewers and reels make for a unique gift for family and friends that is sure to make everyone smile—at an affordable price. Here are a few ideas for how people  can make use of  the  product on Christmas morning, New Years Eve or anytime they want:

  • A fun way to keep in touch with those you can’t see for the holidays.
  • A neat gift for the family shutterbug
  • A great stocking stuffer for parents or grandparents.
  • Change up the picture postcard with something unique and fun that everyone will enjoy receiving.
  •  A little thoughtful and romantic holiday surprise for that special someone.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Halloween happens in West Hollywood

Life is a cabaret in WeHo on Halloween

Patti Pietschmann

Thousands of often debauched costumed revelers will be swarming  Santa Monica Blvd between Doheny Drive and La Cienega Blvd. in  WeHo tomorrow night as the city's annual Carnaval  kicks off at  p.m. to 11 p.m.  And it's free for all but best to leave the kids and pets at home.  Even if you don't participate you can enjoy entertainment going on at music stages along the boulevard blasting live sets and DJ tracks. This year’s performers and Queen of Carnaval have yet to be announced.
Beware you can't drink on the street but there will be killer drink specials at nearby bars to satisfy your thirst. You can get your grub on at the many food trucks parked along the street!
Before you go, remember to pack lightly—no backpacks, camera bags or totes allowed. Attendees are asked to carry items in clear plastic bags this year. 
Expect deafening noise as upwards of  500,000 outrageously, and sometimes skimpily attired people shows  up to party hardy. Not a fan of crowds? Head to your neighbor’s Halloween party.
With so many attending this epic event, traffic is a mess (plus DUIs are not cool). Take a rideshare service like Uber or Lyft. Pro tip: don’t expect to get dropped off right at Santa Monica Boulevard—set your destination a few blocks away from the festival and walk.
Bring your costume ‘A-game.’ The competition is stiff, but we believe in you!

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Halloween happenings in Palm Springs at The Tropicale

Hitting the Springs for Halloween, check this out

by Patti Pietschmann

It's a Halloween masquerade party at the Tropicale  at 330 E Amado Road in Palm Springs.  Put on your wildest costume to win brunch for two. Come on, you can do it. Think creative, ghoulish, Donald Trump, sexy, celebrity.
The fun starts Tuesday, October 31st, for this 10th annual Halloween Masquerade Party. 

The food is delicious (been there and loved it).  Dinner is served everyday from 5 to 10 p.m. Friday & Saturday until 11 And there is a very popuar, money-saving Happy hour everyday from 4  to 7 p.m, and if it's   Wednesday, all night long. Then on Tuesdays & Thursdays it's Derrik Lewis and his jazz trio live. 
For reservations, visit www.Opentable.com or call the restaurant at (760) 866-1952.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Hollywood Hotel cheers on Dodgers with super fan package

Hollywood Hotel hits a 'Grand Slam’ with overnight World Series package
Patti Pietschmann

 Designed especially for men in blue fans, the limited package features a room with daily breakfast, a swag bag filled with World Series gear, and, get this, transportation to the game. You do have to get your own tickets to the games.

Here's the windup-- If you are already ticketed to see the games, the Hollywood Hotel is offering VIP treatment for all games taking place at LA’s Dodger Stadium – including convenient overnight accommodations, a 2017 World Series ‘Swag Bag’ and Uber credit toward transportation to the game.  In addition to being able to book the package via the Hollywood Hotel website, fans are also invited to enter to win the World Series Package via a contest hosted on Hollywood Hotel’s Facebook page. Additional entries can be gained through engagement with the hotel’s Instagram and Twitter pages.

And the pitch
--the World Series package is available for booking for every World Series game played at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles from today's opener through Nov. 1 or when the series ends.  Booking for at least a one-night stay is required and there are no maximum stay parameters.  Rates start 
at $195 per night and can be booked at: http://www.hollywoodhotel.net

Hit a home run--enter the hotel's Facebook page with bonus entries given for following the Instagram and/or Twitter pages. Contest announcements and details will be shared on all pages. Participate in the Facebook contest by following the page and commenting on the contest post to share a favorite memory related to either team in the 2017 World Series. Additional entries granted for following and commenting on the hotel’s Instagram and Twitter pages. One winner will be selected at random from qualifying entries and will be contacted to select their preferred date and room type. Package can accommodate up to four guests total. Contest terms  can be viewed here        

The  iconic 130-room Hollywood Hotel is  one of the most reasonably priced hotels in the city offering a daily complimentary hot breakfast buffet, a pool surrounded by gardens and a stylish outdoor bar and lounge.  Call for deets and reservations: 800-800-9733, 323-315-1800,  visit hollywoodhotel.net, or follow the hotel on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

The hotel is actually situated just outside of Hollywood proper at 1160 Vermont Ave.,  not that far from the ballpark.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Delta Airlines looking to hire 1000 flight attendants(Video)

Great opp to travel the world 
Patti Pietschmann

Do you think you've got what it takes to be a flight attendant (watch the video), serving meals and drinks and helping passengers to feel comfortable on planes?  If so, Delta Airlines just announced it is looking to hire 1000 people to fill the job.

The airline posted today that it is looking for   dedicated, service-oriented professionals who love to be on-the-go, help others and enjoy variety in their work.
The bad news is that last year 150,000 applicants applied for roughly 1,200 coveted flight attendant jobs at Delta. After reviewing 35,000 video interviews and conducting 6,000 in-person interviews, fewer than 1 percent of applicants were selected – based on those odds, it's easier to get into an Ivy League school than to become a Delta flight attendant*. "Earning and wearing the wings of Delta is something our flight attendants are proud of and passionate about, as they should be," said Allison Ausband, Delta's Senior Vice President – In-Flight Service.  "After making it through the highly competitive and exhaustive selection process, they put all their previous experience and skills to the test during our flight attendant initial training." 
To accomplish its goal, Delta is launching the 'Earning our Wings' mini-series with  new episodes  posting on Mondays and Thursdays to YouTube and the Delta News Hub for the next ten weeks. The series will  chronicle the journey of five new hires as they make their way through the eight-week training program each new flight attendant must complete at Delta's Atlanta headquarters.
From CPR to putting out (literal) fires and water evacuations to Delta One meal presentation, these new recruits will be put to the test. With the support of their teammates, they will have to find it in themselves to accomplish each of the challenges they face. In the end, will they have what it takes to represent Delta and earn their wings? 
​Are you an ideal candidate?
First you must have a high school degree or GED, the ability to work in the U.S., English fluency and be at least 21 years of age by Jan. 1, 2018. Since Delta flights operate day and night, year-round, flight attendants must work a flexible schedule. It also helps if:
  • You have more than one year of work experience in a personalized customer service, patient care or similar role
  • Experience in a role ensuring the safety and/or care of others (teacher, military, EMT, firefighter, coach, law enforcement, lifeguard, nurse, etc.)
  • Education beyond high school
  • Fluency in a language other than English: These applicants are considered for "Language of Destination" flight attendant roles, which offer additional pay as well as special responsibilities
See the full list of responsibilities at job description.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Luxury goes to Belize by way of new Hilton resort

The perfect place for soft adventurers, nature lovers and sybarites

Patti Pietschmann

Belize rocks as one of the hottest vacationing destinations in the world.  And to add to its allure,
an exciting resort is about  to bring visitors more moments of Zen.

It's the  250-room Mahogany Bay Resort & Beach Club, Curio - a Collection By Hilton, opens on the Ambergris Caye, Belize this December. The 360º lifestyle resort village was built from the ground-up and designed sybaritic adventurers. Nestled in a lush 60-acre tropical environment, the property also includes Mahogany Bay Village resort community and Mahogany Bay Townlet that houses an assortment of dining and drinking options, shops, a marina, and an activity concierge.

Decor designed to complement the area-- an array of cozy cottage and villa-style rooms that fill in spaces between groves of coconut palms and tropical foliage. are crafted with lofty ceilings all grounded with the warmth of local hardwoods., and outfitted with furnishings that reflect a modern take on the country's British Colonial heritage.
The theme reflects  a framed tent - a structure with minimal skin and an open plan to capture the cooling Caribbean cross breezes. With open-cavity walls and a novel tin-lined indoor/outdoor shower that lend an air of "glamping" to the guestrooms, the details, such as state-of-the-art Hansgrohe double shower heads, plush linens, and Malin and Goetz amenities are simply luxurious. Each of the buildings embrace the indigenous details of Caribbean living: open windows, high ceilings and spacious porches. Accommodations range from garden cottage, garden cottage with loft, lower and upper keeping suites and family cottages.

A 15,000 square-foot pool with private cabanas.  The most exclusive amenity of the property is the Beach Club-- 10-minutes by boat shuttle from the resort--with a private white sand beach where guests can enjoy the crystal-clear Caribbean water and relax with a full restaurant and bar, beach service, watersport activities, changing rooms, and full bathrooms. Luxurious day beds and hammocks strategically placed in the tranquil sea will be a hot spot for guests to lounge and relax.

Caribbean flavor: open windows, high ceilings and spacious porches. Accommodations range from garden cottage, garden cottage with loft, lower and upper keeping suites and family cottages.

Mahogany Bay Resort & Beach Club has been built using sustainably-harvested local materials including five different species of wood: Bullet Tree, Cabbage Bark, Caribbean Pine, Santa Maria, and, of course, Mahogany. The unique characteristics of these specialty woods gives the resort a timeless elegance and exceptional style.

Splashes of color compliment the aesthetic of Mahogany Bay Village's all-white exteriors. Furnishings we commissioned  from, a custom "primitive modern" collection that celebrates the natural woods of Belize. Each piece was purposely and specifically designed for the spot they occupy in guestrooms and public areas and are hand-hewn and possess the distressed quality of an heirloom. The collection of chairs, tables, dressers, nightstands and beds is available for retail purchase and international shipment.

Foodie tips--
authentic local cuisine is cooked at tje  Taco Shack which is a go-to spot for the best Belizean tacos around. Open for breakfast amd  lunch, the small outpost on property serves a taste of the delicious flavors of Belize. For a healthy, light option there is the Hive, which serves a menu of globally-inspired bowls using local Belizean produce and organic grains. Mahogany Chocolates is a bean-to-bar chocolatier that uses locally-sourced organic chocolate varieties and also offers private chocolate-making classes. JYOTO serves up the highest-grade sushi, sourcing fresh fish daily from local fisherman on Ambergris Caye, with an extensive tea and sake menu for pairing. Opening in 2018 is the Dirty Martini, a tapas bar featuring a selection of premier vodka and gins. 

Getting around--Mahogany Bay Resort & Beach Club is situated 1.5 miles south of San Pedro, the only town on Ambergris Caye, Belize's largest island and a mere 10 minutes from San Pedro Airport with 15-minute air connections to Belize's International airport available hourly, year-round.
For transportation around the expansive resort, Wheels! offers guests fun and easy options to maneuver throughout the property and across the island. Golf carts and pedal bikes are available for rent by the hour, day, week, or month.

Room rates-- start at $369 for garden cottage accommodations and all reservations include complimentary WiFi, continental breakfast and roundtrip transfers to San Pedro Airport. To book a reservation click here.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Sad news: Catalina Express ending free birthday rides promotion

Free rides end  as of 2017 but you can still grab one if your birthday's coming up until Dec. 31, 2017. 

A public service announcement by Patti Pietschmann

The promotion began on the 30th anniversary Catalina Express in 2012. Since then, it  ferried around  500,000 registrations on 200,000 round-trip voyages. Alas all good things come to an end. Greg Bombard, president/CEO, says, “Catalina Express wishes to thank its more than 45 island partners who participated in the Birthday Island program over the past six years, offering discounts, perks and value-added products and services for birthday celebrants. This program made visitors’ special day on the island even more meaningful with other visitors, residents and business owners wishing them a happy day."

“We launched the program not only to celebrate our 30th anniversary, but to provide an incentive for visitors to get a ‘taste’ of the new Catalina, which has grown and evolved with the opening of new attractions, restaurants, culture and entertainment.”

Keep an eye out for future Catalina Express deals which I will post when they happen. 

Nestled off  the coast of Southern California, some 22-miles across the sea, Catalina Island is accessible by boat from three ports via  Catalina  Express:  San  Pedro,  Long  Beach  and  Dana  Point.  Catalina  Express runs up  to  30  daily departures and year-round service to Avalon and Two Harbors, transporting nearly one million passengers annually. It offers comfortable airline-style seats and grouped table seating. Traveling to Catalina Island in as little as one hour, each vessel was designed  and built/purchased  specifically  for comfort  and speed. Catalina Express is an unparalleled resource in Southern California, and one of the world’s most respected ferry fleets. For information and reservations, call 800-429-4601, or visit Catalina Express 

Chef Mavro creates fabulous four-course fall flavors menu for discerning tastes

A fall feast of flavors from one of Hawaii's top chefs

By Patti Pietschmann

Peterson farm egg   
yukon potato, san danielle prosciutto, poutargue
(photo credit: Melissa Chang)
day-boat catch          
saffron, zucchini, aïoli
2 lady farmers roasted pork rack
wilted romaine, star fruit, mac nuts, apple cider pork jus

a side of upcountry vegetables

Jose Calpito's fig & pistachio declinaison   
tapioca, celery

 Chef Mavro-- fine dining at its best in an intimate, candle-lit setting. Make reservations online, or just drop by 969 South King Street, Honolulu  (just 15-minutes by car or cab from Waikiki).
Brought to you by
Most of the Chef Mavro team

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Southwest planning Hawaii flights but not for this Diva unless it adds business class

Being cramped in seats for 5 or more hours not my way to fly

What's more I want seat selection

Patti Pietschmann

Go ahead call me a Diva but when I fly to Hawaii, which is often, I want to be comfy, cozy in First or Business class.  But as I understand, since I haven't flown it in awhile, budget-saver Southwest Airlines is all economy all the time.

I usually fly Delta to the islands but my ears perked up when I heard that Southwest is flirting with the idea to fly to the Big Island, Kauai and Oahu. But then I remembered about the no seat assignments etc. unless you pay for Business Select for which you get priority boarding and a free drink and fast lane through TSA lines, but no more leg room or bigger seat. But of course the fare is right for  and popular with non-discerning flyers on a budget. A friend who flies Southwest often from coast to coast likes the cost and service and doesn't mind a little inconvience.

Southwest Airlines Co. is planning on selling tickets in 2018 for service to Hawaii, "A day long-awaited by our customers, fans, and more than 55,000 of the world's most-loved airline Employees is finally within sight—a day that will showcase your hospitality, about as far Southwest as you can go in the U.S.," chairman & CEO Gary Kelly told thousands of Southwest Employees at a Company gathering in Southern California. "Hawaii is an important place for Southwest Airlines because so many people count on us to take them everywhere they want to go reliably and affordably. We're ready and excited to address a request we've heard for years."
Southwest President Tom Nealon joined the announcement via satellite from Honolulu's famed Waikiki Beach and introduced the Governor of Hawaii, the Hon. David Ige, who shared his welcome with Southwest Employees. "The unmatched combination of our people and low fares with nothing to hide will be a game-changer in the U.S. to Hawaii market," Nealon said in accepting the Governor's invitation.
The Company's aircraft and available seat miles plans for 2018 are unchanged with today's announcement.

KLM/Air France drop Business Class fares for spring flights

Purchase by Oct. 17 for spring savings 

Patti Pietschmann

Relax, or sleep, in heavenly comfort in dreamy full flat and spacious beds, after enjoying fine wines or spirits and  delicious dishes crafted by Michelin starred chef Daniel Boulud, such as Braised Lamb with Spring Root Vegetables and Favas; Rice Pilaf with Asparagus, Morels and Peas; and Curried Lobster Salad, on  Air France  without busting your budget.


Both Air France and KLM are offering special Business Class fares for spring travel for purchase now through October 17, 2017 that can be booked  for departure  beginning March 25, 2018, with all travel needing to be completed on or before April 18, 2018. Terms, conditions, restrictions and black out days apply. 
 KLM is  providing Business class travelers with a Delftware miniature house filled with Dutch gin, in celebration of the airline's lnniversary. This year’s Delftware house was modeled after aviation pioneer Anthony Fokker’s house in Amsterdam, celebrating both KLM’s 97th anniversary, and the ending of KLM’s longstanding relationship with the Fokker airplane.
 Sample Fares 
Boston, MA (BOS)
Amsterdam, Netherlands (AMS)
New York-Kennedy, NY (JFK)
Amsterdam, Netherlands (AMS)
Newark, NJ (EWR)           
Paris-Charles de Gaulle, France (CDG)
Minneapolis, MN (MSP)
Amsterdam, Netherlands (AMS)
Atlanta, GA (ATL)
Madrid, Spain (MAD)
San Francisco, CA (SFO)                
Paris-Charles de Gaulle, France (CDG)