Where to Ring in 2015 in North Lake Tahoe

mt rose

The days are filled with skiing and snowboarding, but where to celebrate the new year? Here are a couple of events I’m looking at:

Mt. Rose’s 50th Anniversary Celebration
Mt. Rose, 3pm-6pm
Live music at the Main Lodge followed by a torchlight parade and fireworks show.

Northstar California
New Year’s Eve Fire & Ice Celebration, 7-9:15pm
DJ’s all day in the Village with a Tom Petty tribute band & fireworks at 9pm

Squaw Valley
Fireworks, Olympic House Party, 6:30pm-2am
Torchlight parade at 6:30pm, fireworks show at 7pm, then a raging party for those 21+ at the Olympic House from 9pm-2am

Pastime Pub
Free New Year’s Show, Truckee, 9pm-2am
Free show (Actors Killed Lincoln) and Jagermeister goodies all night

If I decide to take it easy…

Carnelian Bay, CA
New Year’s Eve dinner specials with complimentary champagne and party favors at midnight

Incline Village @ Midnight
Enjoy a champagne toast with the locals


West Shore CafeWSC_BrunchishLunchPage
Homewood, CA
$20 endless mimosas on New Year’s Day from 3pm-9pm with a gorgeous view of the lake- yes, please!

What to do in Incline Village during the holidays

There’s snow on the ground and you’re stuck in a cabin with your family for 5 more days. Luckily Incline Village is only 4 miles long and the forecast is showing mostly sunny skies, so my suggestion is to go outside and explore! Here are some things for you to do:

1) Ski or snowboard at Diamond Peaksanta and pete 12.24 c
Diamond Peak is open top to bottom with terrain for all ability levels and it’s always nice to take in some fresh air while sliding on the snow. Learn how to ski or ride with one of affordable lesson packages, and take the chairlift up to Snowflake Lodge to soak in the most incredible views of Lake Tahoe.

2) Take a hike
One of my favorite places to run is along the Tunnel Creek trail. Hike for miles up to Marlette Lake or drop down to Hidden Beach and hang out on the shore of Lake Tahoe. Afterwards, Try the delicious Reuben sandwich and a craft beer at the always friendly Tunnel Creek Cafe.aspen hike

3) Go shopping
Places like the Potlatch (located in the Raley’s shopping center) offer gifts unique to the area, like the signature emerald Lake Tahoe necklace and locally made food items. Bourgeois Interior Design has upscale items made by local artists, like Aspen leaf-patterned boxes, candles, and abstract paintings to complement any home.

4) Start your New Year’s resolution early and work out
Swim some laps in the pool at the Incline Recreation Center, or work your way up the Rock Climbing Wall at High Altitude Fitness. Both are nice places to just relax, too.

5) Put in a sports bet at the Hyatt and watch the games at Rookies
Weekends are great for visiting the William Hill sportsbook at Hyatt and laying a couple bucks down on the Raiders/49ers to parlay with the Sacramento Kings/Golden State Warriors to parlay with the San Jose Sharks. Then go to Rookies, open up your College Bowl bracket, and see how it all plays out on the big screens.

6) Treat yourself to a massage
After the day of skiing, hiking, shopping, rock climbing, swimming and watching sports, maybe consider a massage at Aloha Skin Spa or Stillwater Spa at the Hyatt.

dec 25

7) Take in the Lake Tahoe sunset at the Lone Eagle Grille
After your massage, melt into an adirondack chair next to the fire pit and enjoy the lake, maybe with a Golden Eagle/s’mores kit in hand.

All right, I’m going to take my own advice and go snowboarding. Happy Holidays!

PayPal’s Epic Experience Gift Guide (My favorite marketing campaign of 2014)

To get in the Christmas spirit, I just read Cision’s “5 Great Holiday Campaigns” and have to say I’m completely impressed with PayPal’s “The Epic Experience Gift Guide”. (Maybe because I love to travel and go on adventures?) Targeted towards millennials, PayPal gives users the opportunity to bid on one-of-a-kind experiences to benefit charity.

But my favorite part of this campaign is the graphic and web design. I love how these one-of-a-kind experiences are displayed in a creative and entertaining fashion. Here are some examples:

paypal 2 paypal 1


When you hover over an experience, it give more insight as to what it actually is, (ex. Hand Out Your Digits is for manicures and pedicures) and the simple design translates to the rest of the site and sweepstakes information. Genius.

Travelzoo also just stated that “The Wall Street Journal recently reported that people are happier when they spend money on experiences instead of material goods.” Shop the Travelzoo Gift Guide here.

Happy Holidays and best wishes for 2015! Bring it on.

The Best Tour Guides Ever- Part 1

As some of you may have guessed, I love to travel. There is just nothing more exciting to me than getting out in the world- experiencing new things, trying different food, going on adventures, and meeting people along the way. Over the years, certain people have taken me under their wing to show me their history, heritage, life as they know it. Some of these people work as actual tour guides, some just friends met along the way. But they were the ones that were icing on the cake of some unforgettable experiences.

2014: Tom @ Bigfoot Hostel & Volcano Boarding- Leon, Nicaragua

I just got back from Nicaragua, where randomly on my birthday we decided to go sledding down a big volcano. The experts at this sport live at Bigfoot Hostel, where they fulfill the needs of adrenaline junkies. Tom was very entertaining, explaining safety aspects and history of the volcano in great detail before cutting you loose down the volcano and clocking your speed. Afterwards, after Tom runs down the volcano and together everyone enjoys a beer and a cookie. It was an extra treat that Tom borrowed a camera and took photos of all of us, which can be found here.

2013: Yazmany Pachay SaVal- Isla Isabela, Galapagos

Yazmany was one of our tour guides on the Galapagos who traveled with us from Santa Cruz to Isabela Island. He took us to Tintorenas Island where we saw dozens of iguanas on the rocks, white-tipped sharks playing with sea lions in a small pool, and we did a bit of snorkeling. That evening, we drank tequila and salsa danced at the Iguana Bar off the pier, and met fellow locals of Isabela, who shared their rum with us on the beach.

2014: Steve @ the Underground Tour, Seattle, WA

I had one day in Seattle and wanted to see it all. I started my morning at Pike Place, then visited the Space Needle, Chihuly Gardens, had crab at Miner’s Landing, then did the Underground Tour in Seattle. There were over 100 people in our tour, and Steve gave a widely engaging and entertaining history of Seattle before going underground. This city that I always wanted to visit just became more endearing to me, and after I read Bill Speidel’s Sons of Profits, I’ll probably go back and do it again.

2012: Jon W., friend of a friend, Sydney, Australia

I took a snowboard trip down to AUS/NZ back in 2012 and spent a week hanging out in Sydney while my friend was at work. Luckily his roommate Jon, a DJ, had a couple of days off, and took me to the Darling Harbour Aquarium one day, and introduced me to music trivia night and books like Life by Keith Richards and Paul Carter. We all went snowboarding at Thredbo and partied in the village. I love how those Aussies are warm, carefree and genuine.

2012: Chris A., lift operator at Coronet Peak, New Zealand

I actually can’t remember how I met Chris…I think I started talking to him at the ski resort. We probably took a few runs together and he gave me a ride back to Queenstown, where we enjoyed Speight’s Ale and rode The Remarkables the next day. The house that he grew up at has an incredible view of the Remarks from the backyard, something I’ll never forget.

Top 12 Summertime Things to Do in Incline Village

1)      Go to the Shakespeare Festival (July 11-Aug 24)
Sand Harbor State Park http://laketahoeshakespeare.com/
The festival kicks off on Friday, July 11th with the play “As You Like It”. The Sand Harbor Ampitheater is unique with its incredible backdrop of the lake that makes even the actors vying for a spot at Lake Tahoe. Tickets start at $25 and offers fun for the whole family.

2)      The Sunday Afternoon Thrill & Grill Golf Event (Sundays at 3pm)
Mountain Golf Course, 690 Wilson Way, Incline Village
www.golfincline.com, (775) 832-1150 to make a reservation
Thrill & Grill is a great, non-intimidating way to play the course! Start out at a Make-Your-Own-Bloody-Mary station before playing a 9-hole scramble with silly rules putting into an 8” cup. Afterwards enjoy a BBQ-style dinner with a draft beer and maybe even other beer tastings.

3)      Farmers Markets at the Tunnel Creek Café (Thursdays until 7pm)
During 4th of July weekend I decided to avoid the crowds and get my groceries at the Farmers Market to kick off the holiday. I was greeted to a band in the parking lot (playing to the finishers of the Flume Trail race) and felt like I ate like a queen all weekend with my local, organically-grown Tri-Tip steak, sourdough bread, blackberry honey, beefsteak tomatoes, and bison hot dogs. Plus, everyone takes credit cards now thanks to the new Square technology.

4)      Yoga at the Beach (Mondays at 5pm, Thursdays at 6:10pm)
There’s nothing like winding down the day with yoga on Incline Beach. There’s way more space outside to stretch out and observe your surroundings. I try to make Naomi’s class on Monday afternoons at 5pm and/or Suzy’s class on Thursday afternoons at 6:10pm. Visit the Recreation Center to inquire about memberships and drop-in rates. Incline Beach is restricted access to Incline Village Picture Pass holders.

5)      5 Peaks in 5 Weeks Challenge

The Recreation Center is offering up a hiking fitness challenge open to anyone 18 and older. This program kicks off July 12th starting with moderate to advanced hikes. Register by calling the Rec Center at (775) 832-1310 and while you’re on the hike use #peakyouradventure on Instagram for a chance to win a $300 adventure package through gotahoenorth.com!

6)      Thursday Slot Tournament at the Grand Lodge Casino
Located at the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe
Every Thursday from 4pm-6pm participate in a slot tournament for your chance at $500. Sign up at tournament machines. It’s free for Players Advantage Club® members.

7)      Have lunch at the new Mountain High Sandwich Co.
120 Country Club Dr. #28, Incline Village
Even though this place just opened a couple weeks ago, it’s already rated 4.5 stars by Yelp. The menu accommodates healthy lifestyles and food sensitivities, featuring vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free dishes and humanely-raised organic meats. Menu items include: unique sandwiches, healthy salads, wholesome grains, thoughtful soups, delicious sweets, freshly prepared grab-and-go selections and rotating beers on tap.

8)      Hit a bucket of balls at the Championship Course Driving Range
955 Fairway Blvd, Incline Village
Sometimes when I need to let a little steam out during my lunch break, I head over to the Driving Range at the Championship Course and hit a bucket of balls. Grab a small bucket (22 balls) for $6; a large bucket (66 balls) for $12.

9)      Play pickleball at the Tennis Center
964 Incline Way, Incline Village
With the big demand for pickleball (the sport involving a combination of badminton, tennis and table tennis), the Incline Tennis Center relined a court specifically for this craze and has pickleball paddles to demo. Grab a few friends and head to the courts for this easy-to-learn, fast-paced game for all ability levels. Call the Pro Shop for info on reservations, drop-ins and socials at (775) 832-1235.

10)   Get on the lake (via paddleboard, kayak or boat)
I love that we have a boat ramp here that gets me on the water in 5 minutes. When it gets too windy to wakeboard, I like to cruise by the beautiful houses on Lakeshore. But for people who don’t have access to a boat, paddleboarding or kayaking is a great way to get some exercise and enjoy the crystal blue waters below. Go to Redemption Sports on Hwy 28 for paddleboards.  BONUS: The Recreation Center is hosting two paddleboard yoga sessions starting Aug 7 and Aug 21st. Space is limited, so reserve your spot today by calling (775) 832-1310.

11)   Attend the July 30th meeting on the Diamond Peak Master Plan
The Chateau at Incline Village, 955 Fairway Blvd at 6pm
Diamond Peak is updating its Master Plan to include summer operations, which may just give our loved ones a mountain experience that you don’t have to find on skis. A Diamond Peak Master Plan presentation highlighting the proposed upgrades is scheduled for the a Board of Trustees meeting on July 30th at the Chateau at Incline Village, with a Meet & Greet preceding that. The Master Plan will come up for approval on Sep. 10th. If this Plan gets passed, residents and guest could have even MORE things to do in Incline Village.

tahoma skate

12)   Skate the Lake, a Boarding 4 Breast Cancer Event Aug. 16th, Kick-off party on Aug. 15th in Heritage Plaza, Tahoe City

This is an annual event where you can bond with fellow skateboarders and roller skaters for a good cause- breast cancer awareness. Even though this skateboarding event takes place outside of Incline Village, it’s worth mentioning that big supporter Chuck Buckley, owner of Lake Tahoe Longboards, resides in Incline Village. http://tahoeboardcompany.com/