Archive for the ‘What to do on the road’ Category

Downtown Houston

Downtown Houston by telwink, on Flickr

When picking a new travel assignment, you can compare the “cool” factor of cities across the country.  Forbes ranked 65 American cities based on how cool a place they are to live. Cities with abundant entertainment and recreational opportunities, large number of restaurants and pubs (excluding chains), young diverse population, significant migration into the city, and low unemployment rate were the factors used to compile the list.

Houston’s strong economy has spurred its enviable growth. Residents and visitors enjoy world-class arts, pro sports teams, award-winning cuisine and loads of shopping in the nation’s fourth largest city.


  • •Buy a $2 METRORail ticket and go explore Houston’s Museum District. With 19 museums and a 50-acre zoo, the intellectually curious will find a range of satisfying topics from the Holocaust to postmodern art.
  • •Bike or hike on trails inside the 10.4 acre downtown Sesquicentennial Park or kayak through Buffalo Bayou during a four hour urban excursion.
  • •Play at the number #1 ranked children’s museum in the country or take the kids to the Health Museum—it’s part of the world renowned Texas Medical Center.
  • •Shopaholics can spend days in the Galleria with more than 375 stores. Take a break at the indoor ice skating rink.
  • •Spend an evening at the 17-block Theater District. Reserve a seat at the Alley Theater, the Houston Grand Opera, or Houston Symphony.
  • •Sports fans can back their favorite pro team. H-town has its own football, baseball, basketball, soccer, and hockey teams.


The top ten coolest cities in America are:

Houston, Texas

Washington, D.C.

Los Angeles, California

Dallas, Texas

Seattle, Washington

San Diego, California

Boston, Massachusetts

Orange County, California

San Francisco, California

New York, New York

Jim Twardowski, BSN, RN, CMSRN, is a travel writer based in Louisiana. His work has been featured in AAA Home & AwayGlobal Traveler, and QUEST magazines.

Read Full Post »

Photo: Big Hassle

If being on the move is stressing you out, try creating a pick-me-up playlist to improve your mood and relieve tension.

Need a few recommendations?

Check out these tunes to help maintain your sanity while on the road.

Settle Down – No Doubt

The Southern California band is back and better than ever with this dancehall-inspired track. Sure, the chorus will get stuck in your head but just sway with the melody and go with it.

Roll Away Your Stone – Mumford & Sons

If you aren’t already acquainted with this indie favorite, there’s no better Mumford & Sons song to introduce you to the British folk rock band than “Roll Away Your Stone.” The tune is contagious and perfect for highway driving with the windows rolled down.

Lights – Ellie Goulding

Get your dance on with this radio darling that was a hit in the UK a whole two years before it caught the attention of music lovers Stateside. Ellie Goulding had the honor of performing at the wedding reception of Prince William and Kate Middleton so if she’s good enough for royalty, she’s good enough for your playlist.

Everybody Talks – Neon Trees

It’s nearly impossible to be in a bad mood while listening to the rockin’ feel-good tunes from Provo, Utah’s own Neon Trees. Upbeat and catchy, “Everybody Talks” is sure to be in heavy rotation on your MP3 player.

Unashamed Desire – Missy Higgins

Slow things down with this first single from Australian singer Missy Higgin’s latest disc The Ol’ Razzle Dazzle. Bluesy and emotional, you’ll love her powerful voice and confident lyrics.

Kelly Bryant is a freelance entertainment writer based in Los Angeles, California.

Read Full Post »

Photo: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Every year, our family buys season tickets to Summer Lyric productions at Tulane University in New Orleans. For more than 45 years, they’ve been producing a made-in-America art form—musical theater.

We’ve seen singing nuns march down the aisles in “The Sound of Music,” and anxiously watched Norma Desmond—arms akimbo and eyes wide open—descend the staircase for her final close up in “Sunset Boulevard.”

Each season, three musicals are staged with a live orchestra and amazing casts. Attending these shows is one of the highlights of our summer.

Colleges across the country produce a wide range of theatrical performances from elaborate musicals and classic plays, to the avant-garde and absurd.

To find out what’s playing at a college near you, visit the university’s website and search for its theater or dramatic arts department.

The following schools have announced their 2012-2013 season:

Carnegie Mellon (CMU) — Pittsburgh, PA

The School of Drama Subscribers Series kicks off with a funny and sexy production of “The Rivals,” directed by a guest artist from Britain. The season also includes the Tony award winning “Angels in America, Part One: Millennium Approaches,” the new musical version of “Spring Awakening,” and three modernized versions of Shakespeare plays. Visit the CMU School of Drama website for more information.

Florida State University (FSU) — Tallahassee, FL

The MaGrath sisters are having a particularly bad day in the Pulitzer prize winning, “Crimes of the Heart.” Additional highlights of the season include: “How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying,” “The Monster Under the Bed,” and “Much Ado About Nothing.” Visit the FSU School of Theater website for more information.

California State University (CSU) — Fullerton, CA

Wacky wit and black humor skewers Mom and Dad in “Baby with the Bathwater,” the season opener at California State University. Ticket holders can also see a range of shows from the mature and daring “Metamorphoses,” to the classic musical “Carousel.” Visit the CSU Fullerton Department of Theater & Dance website for more information.

Jim Twardowski, BSN, RN, CMSRN, is a travel writer based in Louisiana. His work has been featured in AAA Home & AwayGlobal Traveler, and QUEST magazines.

Read Full Post »