Articles by Stacey Ebert

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In December of 2014, we got tired of the blizzards and the cold of the New York winters. We drove across the country thinking we’d spend three months in sunny San Diego avoiding the wind, ice and snow of the northeast. Twenty six months later, and we’ve yet to move back to New York.

We knew we’d exchange the Atlantic for the Pacific, EST for PST, and triple-layered everything for a lightweight sweater once and awhile, but what we didn’t realize were the differences in food. Sure, we knew that there would always be a struggle between east and west coast bagels, that fish tacos were real, and that access to Mexican food was a trolley ride away instead of a flight – but I’m not sure we realized the magnitude of the dietary changes that would ensue.

Each of the individual neighborhoods in San Diego has a personality all its own. Avocados can be purchased practically everywhere and we have even learned how to make our own black beans since we now go through them faster than I ever imagined. And no matter what time of day, what neighborhood, or what price range – there are always tacos to be found.

In the short time we’ve been here, we’ve learned a few things:

  • Ask three people for their favorite fish taco shop and you’ll get at least five different answers
  • Wander each neighborhood and you’ll find a special treat in each five-block radius
  • Food trucks are everywhere
  • Hit the coast and you’ll find a combination of five-star everything from a deli shack to a waterfront tablecloth setting

Amidst sandy feet and a craft beer explosion, San Diego has its fair share of all things delicious running the gamut of price range.

Fans of Mexican cuisine, healthy and organic anything, avocado fanatics, fresh fish fiends and those who like the options for diverse eats from around the globe find a home in San Diego. There’s a place to go for awesome northern and sub-continental Asian food. An insane number of options for tacos of all kinds exist all around you. All sorts of Mediterranean, British and South African options abound, there are empanadas aplenty, and even a few New Zealand foodie establishments to add a bit of South Pacific flair.

There’s more to San Diego than meets the eye. You may come for the sun, sea and surf, but you’ll stay for the food. Read on for some recommendations: Click to continue…

Since I was thirteen years old, I’ve been 4’11’’. Whether this is the gift of scoliosis, gymnastics, genetics, or pure luck, I have no idea – but that’s my height. I’m happy being shy of 5 feet. As a public high school teacher I heard the best gossip in the halls because no one saw me coming. As a shopper, I benefit from being able to wear kids’ size clothing and shoes. And as a frequent traveler, I have plenty of room when placed in a middle seat on a flight. The trouble I come up against, however, is finding a grown up style backpack that fits little ol’ me.

Finding backpacks for small torsos isn’t easy. When researching options, you find many articles geared to petite and small women. Then upon opening them, there are comments about being 5’1’’ or 5’3’’ and although I know they’re helpful to many – for me, this is still a struggle.

In 1996, I backpacked Europe after university. At the time, there were few sturdy backpacks that even came close to fitting me and nothing in the realm of women specific sizing. Comparing that giant, heavy, duffel bag that was constantly strapped to my back, pulling on my shoulders and wreaking havoc on my already crooked hips to today’s options is like comparing elephants to apples.

Today’s versions have women specific sizing, sturdy straps, lightweight frames, pockets upon pockets, removable hip belts and can be adjusted by each wearer.

I remember that first backpacking journey well. It was my first venture to Europe, my first venture with a guidebook and no net, and my first true foray into traveling on my own terms. But when I think about the actual pack (if you can even call it that), I wind up wondering how different that schlepping might have been had I had the technology of today.

Two decades later, I’m in the market again.

After a few visits to REI, online research, and conversations with friends who have similar issues, here are a few tips in searching for backpacks for petite women with small torsos. Click to continue…

Las Vegas, Nevada: Aka Sin City, Disneyland for grown ups, and the playground adults crave. This glam-filled oasis in the heart of the desert has an appeal all its own. For decades, the allure and excitement of Vegas has centered on gambling, glitz, and glee galore. Consider the excitement with which little ones squeal at the thought of a first visit to the land of Mickey Mouse – now extrapolate decades – you’ve arrived.

There are those who focus their visit on the nightlife and glamour of the strip, while others ditch it altogether in favor of the natural surrounds of the desert oasis. Whether you’re spending your 24 hours each day in the air-conditioned playground of casinos, sipping mojitos at a poolside bar, or exploring the surrounding canyons, you’ll have to pack something.

Hanging in downtown Las Vegas often involves visits to hotels and casinos. Although definitely within walking distance, those hotels are further apart than they appear, so those sturdy walking shoes are no joke.

Your packing list will be determined by your choices of activities:

Are you the traveler to pack comfy clothes to hang in the casinos 24-hours a day?

Do you need those heels, gold lamé, and feather boas for the nightlife frenzy and glam of Sin City?

Are you a bathing suit and flip-flops friend of sunshine and pools whose only decision is when to flip over and which umbrella filled drink to order?

Or, do you need only those sturdy shoes, extra layers, hat, and water bottles since you are the hiking fiend who can’t wait to climb the red rocks that decorate the desert landscape?

Whether it’s an overnight for a bachelor party, a two-day stint of shows, slots, and buffets, or a long weekend of natural elements – pack wisely, organize accordingly, and don’t forget your wallet. Remember to plan for your social media presence and selfie fixation too; at least once, you’re certain to utter that ever-important mantra: “What happens in Vegas… stays in Vegas.”

Then again, perhaps it’s as simple as my Grandfather’s advice to take out half the clothes and put in double the money. This alternative approach leaves room for the option of shopping ’til your heart’s content. Click to continue…