You'll never forget dining in BogotaSo, you and I are chatting, and I mention I’m packing for Bogota, Colombia. “BOGOTA? Seriously? WHY?” {insert concerned facial expression here.} The short answer… food.  The long answer…

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18394070652_d9b0a240ed_o We devoured these beauties… farm fresh cucumbers, sliced ribbon-thin and tossed as a crispy salad, savored while dining under peach and apple trees, serenaded by giddy bees. This was a Chef’s Lunch in the garden at The Ecology Center in San Juan Capistrano.

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Home Design? SURE; this is a Lifestyle Blog, so it doesn’t always have to be cooking and travel, right? I took a field trip on the Metro to the Convention Center in Downtown LA to Dwell On Design.  I have five cool things to show you.

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Mountain House FoodNot by choice, but I head up the Emergency Preparedness Committee here in Playa Vista (a gung-ho neighbor started the idea, then moved and I stepped in). Made a website, then lined up CERT training. Class #1, our firefighter instructor talked about his shelf-stable food for disaster preparedness. With a little research, I found Mountain House Meals.

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12 Tiny Travel Tools

Someone recently asked if I “always kept my makeup case packed” for trips. On the contrary, I continually fill and tidy it. It’s substantial, has everything. I can solve needs of practically any fellow traveler. If you want to be an intrepid traveler, add these to your kit:

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IMG_7600Looking at our Belize beach tents with plenty of lines for drippy stuff, you might wonder why I think a traveling clothesline is necessary.  Well, I’m a laundry nut and I like dry stuff.

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SHOES BLUES – What Footwear to Pack for a Snorkeling, Hiking, Kayaking, Rafting, Sightseeing Trip.

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Now that I know what I know, I’ll share “experienced” recommends for footwear on a National Geographic Adventure to Belize and Guatemala – Reefs, Rain Forests & Ruins. We read their packing list, and still made some footwear mistakes. But we also did some smart things.

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Repurpose Wine Bags For More Gift Uses

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We drink wine. We give parties. A LOT of wine gifts come thru our door, no complaints! The wine bags? I often repurpose them into smaller gift bags.  Here is the easy 1, 2, 3…

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Four Best Thanksgiving Sides (as in, BETTER than what you usually serve)

As years pass, who sits at your Thanksgiving table will NOT be just the people you grew up with. You’ve got new in-laws, step-families, brides, grooms, neighbors, friends.

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Kahlua Holiday Fudge + Drawing: Win 2 Vintage Kahlua Recipe Books

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My cousin, Jeff, is horrified that I would post a Christmas Fudge recipe in the middle of October.  Sorry, Jeff, this is important. People have LOST their Kahlua Recipe Book!  Here is Kahlua White Chocolate Holiday Fudge… and a drawing for two of my vintage booklets. {And yes, those walnuts are naturally red.}

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Renaissance Halloween Costume Secret: eBay + Old Duvet + The Cat’s Toy (P.S. Read How I Made The Hat)

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This is sewing. Cheap project, but still requires knowing how to use a sewing machine, read a pattern, cut fabric and follow instructions. Here’s how I made my Renaissance Halloween costume for about $70.

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Patricia Rose’s Bacon & Potato Salad ~ A Real Crowd Pleaser

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I tripled Patricia’s recipe to fill this big-ass container for my mom’s birthday party. Friend, Chef Patricia Rose, blogger at Fresh Food In A Flash served this dish at her OWN birthday and it was exactly what I needed for the Mom Gig. I’m thinking it was the TANG that caught my attention. Slurp.

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Postcard From the Land of Juan Valdez ~ Colombia

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Some TV commercials stick in my memory for decades. JUAN VALDEZ, remember him? He taught us about “the richest coffee beans in the world.” Sort of cartoony, he did his thing hand-picking coffee beans in the mountains of Columbia, always accompanied by his donkey.

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Mind-Blowing Dessert ~ Bogota!

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Criterion Restaurante, Bogota, Columbia   Watch and drool. Dessert at Criterion in Bogota, a gastronomic masterpiece. Brothers Jorge and Mark Rausch, chefs and brains behind the brilliance –attentive, warm, funny, genuinely deserved their honor as #19 of Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants.  And the “Best Restaurant in Colombia,” per Ron Zacapa Rum.

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