PERFECT FATHER'S DAY GIFTS FOR THE TRAVELING DAD

As Father’s Day approaches each year, many of you will again be at a loss to come up with that perfect gift for your special Dad. If your father loves to travel, you’re in luck, as there is always something he can use to make his travels more comfortable and efficient.

Since our father travels all year round, it didn’t take too much thought to come up with some travel-related products to make his life on the road easier.

This is not your Dad’s Old “Leisure Suit” —Hip combines with comfort for a great style

tony_tracksuit-19_2048x2048 (2).jpg

It’s always a challenge to find a comfortable travel garment that will take you from a long flight to your destination--and make you look stylish each step of the way.  The venerable San Francisco-based Mission Workshop has specialized in a wide variety of travel gear, clothing, and other products for more than 20 years.

They just introduced the Blackwell High Performance Track Jacket & Pant which features a unique vapor management system that doesn’t have the “clingy” feel of traditional moisture wicking garments. While ideal for runners, it is also perfect for the frequent traveler, as it has a high degree of tailoring and design that will provide comfort and style in every airline class, from coach to business to first.

cutout_fe101a39-4634-4662-8331-9063473de738_2048x2048 (2).jpg

Its 4-way stretch makes it a perfect travel outfit where comfort is concerned, and the state-of-the-art vapor management never washes out. Both the jacket and pants have several zippered pockets, so you’ll always have a secure spot for your passport and valuables. Dad especially loved the comfortable elastic waistband with drawstring on the pants, especially after enjoying a bountiful meal or two on his travels.

Oh, and did I mention it is wrinkle-resistant and doesn’t mind being repeatedly stuffed in a bag or back pack?

Pops never looked so good on the road!

In Vino Veritas

Dad’s parents came from Sicily, so we never go wrong giving our Papa Italian wines. He especially loves Prosecco, known in Italy as “The Welcome Wine” and we found just the right wines for him, the Mionetto bubblies, which include Prestige Brut , Prestige Rosé Extra Dry ,and Luxury Cartizze DOCG which we will open on Father’s Day in a few weeks. Salute!

Mionetto Rose Low rez.jpg

A Place for Everything, Where Everything is Safe

pelican-go-watertight-phone-case.jpg

If your father is the active type, he will definitely appreciate the gift of Pelican’s new waterproof case designed for protecting personal valuables in any conditions. The Go Case is a watertight storage case for electronics, cell phones, keys, and more. The case is crush proof, dust proof and actually, everything proof.

There are two sizes to select from. The one we bought Dad, as he has a Samsung Note 9, is a G40 model (10.6” X 5.4” by 2.4”).

So if your father likes to engage in water sports of any type, fish, hike, or be the great adventurer, these strong cases will ensure that his items are kept dry and safe even in the most adverse of circumstances.  

Certainly better than another tie for Dad, this protective case keeps on giving wherever his travels take him!

We’re In La Loop

I recently wrote about one of my favorite travel accessories, the La Loop eyeglass holder.

One day I was waxing poetic about it when Dad mentioned that he, too, was always losing his glasses on his many trips, and needed a place to secure his shades instead of in his shirt or waistband. I gave him a pre-Father’s Day present of a La Loop holder for men as he was off on an Amazon cruise. He reported that it was the best gift ever, as he got used to securing his sunglasses on the loop when he didn’t need them.

Mens dog tag_4.jpg

I bought him the black sports La Loop and it was the best $25 I ever spent, to be honest—and Dad definitely agrees.

 

JOANNE'S TRAVEL PICS: STYLISH EYEGLASS HOLDERS, LIGHTWEIGHT RAIN WRAP, & MORE

Viva La LOOP—no more lost glasses!

My La LOOP Lady in Gold arrived in its own beautiful pouch. What a wonderful pre-Mother’s Day present!

My La LOOP Lady in Gold arrived in its own beautiful pouch. What a wonderful pre-Mother’s Day present!

I wish I had a list of all the sunglasses I’ve lost on my travels over the years. Most recently, I dropped my Gucci sunglasses while hiking over the cliffs of the Shetland Islands; my Maui Jims plopped into the waves as I leaned over the railing on a cruise; and my Dolce & Gabbanas met their end when they fell from my head as I was photographing the Grand Canyon. Trust me, propping your sunglasses on your head or stuffing them in your clothing, doesn’t quite provide the security you need to protect those expensive shades.

Those standard schoolmarm eyeglass holders were no solution, as not only were they unattractive, they constantly got tangled in my camera strap—to my constant annoyance.

This is why I was so excited when I learned about La LOOP, a company that specializes in stylish and functional eyeglass holders.

There are a wide variety of lovely styles and materials available at all price ranges, but my eyes lit up when I discovered the LADY IN GOLD.  I knew this lovely design would take me through all sorts of press trips, from casual to formal.

Thanks to my daughter and family for an early, and much appreciated, Mother’s Day gift.

Comfy, and Effective, Eye Mask

Manta Mask.jpg

I’m always on the quest for travel items that help provide comfort during the long hours we spend strapped in airline seats.  Eye masks are crucial for me, not only on the plane but in hotel rooms, as I simply can’t sleep if there is ambient light in my vicinity.

 I can recommend the Manta Mask for a variety of reasons. The mask is super comfortable and boasts deeply molded eye cups, so your eyelashes have no contact with your mask, no matter what. This is so important for us ladies if we’ve applied full makeup on a business trip and just want a few quick winks on the plane without disturbing our makeup. The mask offers a super soft fabric and 100 percent black out, which makes it a wonderful traveling companion on long, transcontinental flights.

These Gloves Got You Covered

No matter what time of year, it is cold somewhere on this earth and you may need a pair of good gloves to fight off the chill while having the oh-so-necessary ability to operate your cell phone’s touch screen.

Photo courtesy @falzuh

Photo courtesy @falzuh

We tested out the touchscreen gloves from Mujjo both on a frigid trip to New York City in January, as well as an equally cold trip to the Grand Canyon just a few weeks ago.

The gloves provided an excellent degree of warmth, but their forte was being able to easily operate a cell phone and camera with the excellent touchscreen tabs provided on the glove’s tips.



When It Rains……


My home in Southern California has been hit with unprecedented rainfall this winter, and so I have had the opportunity to try out the innovative RAINRAPS “Pashmina for the Elements.” The wrap, which is super lightweight and water-repellent, has taken me through a few major downpours. It is without doubt a practical alternative to traditional bulky rain gear, is fast drying, and reversible too.

Rainwrap.jpg

Best thing is, I still looked fashionable while staying dry. My RAINRAP is going to be a packing staple when I travel to wetter climes around the world, especially since it will take up very little room in my carry-on (the only way I travel, incidentally).

 

 

 

IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT TIME OF YEAR YOU VISIT, HEALDSBURG IN CALIFORNIA’S SONOMA COUNTY WINE COUNTRY IS A PERFECT DESTINATION

We’ve had the pleasure of visiting Healdsburg, California in every season of the year. As a photographer, my favorite season is the fall because of the colorful leaves, but you can find an unbelievable vacation experience every month of the year in California’s lovely Sonoma County. And of course, wine tasting has no seasonal limits!

Enjoy the food, wine, and ambiance of this beautiful destination. We invite you to explore our photo gallery for first-hand experiences and personal photos of our visit to one of California’s most beautiful wine destinations.

HEALDSBURG, SONOMA COUNTY CALIFORNIA PHOTO GALLERY

PLAN YOUR SPRING BREAK NOW AT SAN DIEGO'S HIP AND HISTORIC KONA KAI RESORT AND SPA

We recently had the opportunity to tour the newly-expanded Kona Kai Resort and Spa on San Diego California’s beautiful Shelter Island. As long-time San Diego residents, we remembered this venerable property which has quite a fascinating history, having attracted its share of famous celebrities over the decades, from Presidents to pop stars.

And baby, look at it now!

View on the marina from our suite’s balcony. © Joanne DiBona Photography

View on the marina from our suite’s balcony. © Joanne DiBona Photography

The property, now a Noble House Resort, boasts its very own private beach, multiple swimming pools, waterfront restaurants, an award-winning spa, 55,000 square feet of versatile indoor and outdoor event space, a 500-slip marina, and a renowned private club— the Kona Kai Club.  Paloma Pool and Bar, a new and exclusive pool area for adults only, allows guests to enjoy poolside craft cocktails and California Coastal cuisine while overlooking some of the region’s most breathtaking sunsets.

Since a photo is worth 1,000 words, we would like to share our gallery of original photos taken during our two-night stay at one of the property’s brand new suites that featured a pleasant island decor, a balcony overlooking San Diego Bay, and a deep soaking tub. I must admit the tub was the ultimate in relaxation after a long day of kayaking, hiking and other activities we enjoyed during our stay.

JOANNE & TONY DIBONA PHOTOGRAPHY: KONA KAI RESORT AND SPA

The only photos missing from our experience are from our oh-so-relaxing couples massage, which we relished as part of our experience at SpaTerre, the property’s state-of-the-art spa. We put down our cameras for an hour to luxuriate in the outstanding massage therapy we received under our therapists’ excellent hands.

For those of you who may be bird watchers, we were astounded at the number of magnificent sea birds that make their home in the marina just steps away from the hotel. It was such a pleasure to photograph them from the shore and as part of our exciting kayak excursion down the marina. Click on our photo link to see some lovely images of the amazing sea birds we encountered during this kayak adventure.

As San Diegans, we can honestly suggest the Kona Kai Resort, located just minutes away from San Diego International Airport, the historic downtown Gaslamp Quarter, and all of the city’s top attractions, for a Spring Break experience that is sure to please.

The property is currently offering a variety of Spring travel specials. These include:

Stay Four or More

Guests who book four or more nights at the resort will receive a $300 resort credit and a cabana rental at the new Paloma Pool and Bar overlooking the Kona Kai Marina, steps away from the new luxury suites. The credit can be used for additional amenities at the hotel, such as brunch at Vessel featuring bottomless mimosas and live music every Saturday and Sunday, signaturecocktails enjoyed at the pool or bar, stand-up paddle boarding, couples massages and more.

SoCal Suiteness

The resort’s new spacious, waterfront, adjoining suites are the perfect coastal accommodations to keep the family close this spring break, but with enough space to relax. The SoCal Suiteness package offers guests the following:

  • Two of the resort’s brand-new waterfront suites

  • Adventure credit for water sports of $100 per day

  • A couple’s amenity and kids’ amenity

  • Poolside cabana rental

Spring it On

This package provides all you need for a fun and stress-free getaway for the whole family. The

package includes:

  • Daily breakfast credit for four

  • A daily $100 adventure credit to enjoy all the amenities and activities the resort has to offer, such as kayaking, pedal boats, or Jet Ski rentals

To learn more about other spring travel packages, call 619.221.8000 or visit www.resortkonakai.com.







JOANNE'S DECEMBER TRAVEL & HOME PICKS, FROM TRAVEL SUITS TO HOLIDAY SMART LIGHTS

All suited up

It’s not easy to be a travel journalist when your goal is to travel light. My husband Tony and I share the pain. He carries our heavy camera equipment in a backpack and packs his wallet, cell phone, and our passports, etc. in his beloved ScotteVest.

My backpack carries my 15” laptop, wallet, printed itineraries I may need (you can’t always ensure that you will have internet connection) and my cosmetics. That leaves two small carry-on bags in which we need to stuff a variety of clothing options. This includes some “dress up” items for cruises, special events, and those press trip itineraries that require somewhat more than jeans and T-shirts.

Haggar suit.jpg

For any man on the road needing a suit, we can highly recommend the affordable Haggar “Active Series” line. This suit is super light-weight (so important if you are carry-on only travelers) and features an amazing stretch fabric designed to move with you all day, no matter what your activity. This includes a waistband that flexes 2 inches, perfect after a multi-course meal.

The fabric is wrinkle-free, so important for us folk who live out of suitcases, and boasts a state-of-the-art ventilation and moisture-wicking system. Bottom line is, this amazing suit will stretch with you from the airline seat to the board room and to activities beyond.

For a suit that moves with you all day, is lightweight, and looks sharp, this is definitely our recommendation.

Better safe than sorry

As frequent travelers, we know the importance of protecting our home while we are touring the world. As such, we are always on the lookout for innovative products to enhance our home security system.

If you have a notion to improve your home security, the NOTION is for you!

The Notion is a small, Oreo-sized sensor that you can place around your home to monitor various activities. Notion can tell you when someone enters the door, opens the garage, tries to access a liquor cabinet or opens a window while you are away. But most importantly, Notion sensors can quickly recognize water leaks almost immediately, temperature changes and smoke alarms going off, sending alerts to users via a mobile app, helping to prevent severe water and fire damage before it’s too late. 

Notion.jpg

Set up was simple. The instructions lead you through a simple calibration mode, using your smart phone, for each component as it is installed. The first application was on our garage door, a prime spot since we often forget to lower the door especially when we’re in a hurry. If we aren’t sure if we closed it, all we need to do is refer to the app to check the status.

We also placed one on the floor next to the water heater. In the event of a leak (this happened to us a few years back and we came home to a flooded kitchen), we would be immediately notified via our phone.

Check it out. Better safe than sorry, as the old adage goes.

 

cuisineart.jpg

Home for the holidays

Since cooking is my passion and the holidays are coming up, I couldn’t resist telling you my latest and greatest find, the Cuisinart Air Fryer Toaster Oven.  For years, we’ve used a deep-fat fryer to make a few favorites such as fried calamari (a favorite in our Italian American family over the holidays), shrimp, and French fries. We were, however, careful not to use it too often because of the fat content that inevitably comes with the process.

When I discovered this Cuisinart product, I knew I hit the culinary jackpot. Not only does this attractive stainless steel appliance bake, broil and toast, it also lets you air fry right inside the oven! This means I could toss my aging toaster oven and greasy fat fryer (which needed constant cleanup and a new gallon of oil after just a few uses) and place this kitchen workhorse on my counter to satisfy a wide variety of culinary applications.

Our delicious coconut shrimp, right out of our Cuisinart air frying oven!

Our delicious coconut shrimp, right out of our Cuisinart air frying oven!

The true test came when my husband made his favorite recipe—coconut shrimp. I must admit, he was skeptical that he could get delicious results just by spraying a light layer of olive oil over his breaded shrimp and popping it in the air fryer for ten minutes. But he was sold when he saw, and tasted, the outcome.

Air fying is the way to go for a healthier diet, and this oven does it all in one attractive stainless steel unit. Bon appetit!



Twinkly Lights for the Smart Home

You know you are in a brave new digital world when holiday lights go high tech!  Gone are the days of buying those cheap strings of lights that are so frustrating to unravel and inevitably crash after one season of use-- if you get even that.

We decorated our outdoor tree with two boxes of Twinkly 56 LED lights in less than 20 minutes! I can change the colors at a whim with my smart phone. Too cool!

We decorated our outdoor tree with two boxes of Twinkly 56 LED lights in less than 20 minutes! I can change the colors at a whim with my smart phone. Too cool!

In comes the Twinkly series of products, a new generation of LED string lights that work with your smart phone to display an infinite and customizable number of effects on your tree, wall, or window. You can even create your very own animations in the app. They are designed for use indoors or out. Each light is designed to produce an intense light effect, resulting in super-vivid colors.

It took us all of 20-minutes to string the lights on our outdoor tree and program them in all sorts of cool effects we can change with a tap on our smart phones.

Thanks to Twinkly lights, we are the talk of the neighborhood this holiday season!


A Place for Everything

I came across a new product that just might be a solution for those of you who don’t want to wear a travel vest, but still want an efficient, and hands-free, way to carry all your essentials while on the road. The iBand Sling is worn across your chest and has several pockets that hold your ID, smart phone, business cards, sunglasses, passport and cash. There’s also a spot for your water bottle and a secret passport pocket, as well as a carabiner for keys.

iband-dog.png

It’s great for a wide variety of activities, from hiking to theme park adventures to dog walking, to name a few. But it’s really useful if you are a frequent flyer, as it makes going through security so much easier. Just toss it on the conveyer and avoid the hassle of removing everything from your pockets before you pass through screening. Just make sure your water bottle is empty!

Source: https://static1.squarespace.com/static/55b...

JOANNE'S TRAVEL PICKS: A PERFECT ALL WEATHER COAT, WORKING IN BED, AND MORE

IT’S GOT YOU COVERED

As travel journalists, my husband and I need an arsenal of clothing that will take us through any weather condition we encounter. Since we live in Southern California, we really have to rely on some savvy outfitters to suggest the right clothing for our travels to cold weather climes.

Men_Cache_Creek_Coat_Black_A01.jpg

Since we only use carry-on for our voyages, no matter where we go and for how long, we definitely look for versatile, light and easy-to-maintain garments.

We often travel to rainy, windy (and cold) climates, so I was definitely in the market for a jacket for my husband that would protect him from the elements.

His Cache Creek Coat definitely filled the bill during our recent visit to the Canadian Rockies where weather conditions can vary greatly in October. It is light and breathable enough that he was able to wear it on the plane from San Diego to Vancouver without ever having to remove it during the flight! When we arrived in Vancouver, it was pouring rain. No problem. He put up the jacket’s hood and didn’t have to deal with a travel umbrella to protect him from the elements, as I did! And it equally protected him from the nippy wind and cold we encountered in Banff.

For travelers needing lightweight but robust outwear to stand the elements while traveling, this is a product we can highly recommend.

BEDSIDE MANNER

Working daily in front of the computer is a way of life for all of us, and it isn’t going to go away anytime soon. I’m always looking for a way to alleviate the pain of sitting in front of my computer for 10+ hours a day. Even though I take breaks and try to exercise a bit in between, sitting for hours can be exhausting, and painful.

33768_DC_02_2048x1048.jpg

If you work from home, as I do, the LEVO G2 Deluxe Tablet Stand might just be the answer to your needs. You can sit in a cushy recliner or lie in bed and the Levo will securely hold your equipment at the perfect height and viewing angle. I love using this to read my emails in the morning on my tablet. It’s also perfect for reading a good book on your Kindle as you lounge in your recliner.

I do want to mention that this stand is not designed for use with a heavier laptop. I’m anxiously waiting for LEVO to make a heavy-duty version that will hold my 17” laptop securely and allow me to work on my assignments from the comfort of my adjustable bed.

When that happens, I’ll be their first customer!

SAVING YOUR NECK

As frequent flyers, we are always on the quest for the perfect neck pillow to get us through those tortuous long flights in coach. My husband is one of those people who naps during a flight and constantly wakes up when his head bobs suddenly onto his chest.

Travel head rest.jpg

When I saw this new Kickstarter product, NapUpFly, I knew it might be the right device for him. He tested it during a recent flight and gave it a definite “thumbs up.”  The device comes in two parts:  a soft support cushion and a non-restrictive forehead strap that fastens onto your airline seat head rest.  The forehead strap can be moved up and down and is adjustable to all head sizes.

Since my husband loves to listen to music during his flight, the built-in headphone speakers were definitely a welcome accessory.

So for those of you who are prone to “bobbing” during your flight and need some head support, this new product is definitely worth consideration.

MAKING THE WORLD SMILE

5896_025-re.jpg

You may not think of toothpaste as part of your travel arsenal, but it definitely something you don’t want to leave behind when you are on the road.  I did come across a product I really enjoyed taking on our trips. The SprinJene line of toothpaste offers a wide assortment of natural flavors. It’s also certified in FIVE categories: Vegan, Gluten-free, Kosher, Halal and Cruelty-free). I loved the Black Seed Oil version and there are lots of children’s options to select from too. They come in convenient travel sizes. Check them out!

 

Disclaimer:  Please note that the opinions expressed in this review are strictly my own and will not receive any future compensation based on sales arising from my recommendations. My goal is to share my favorite travel tips with my followers, in an effort to improve the travel experience for us all.