Recent Writing Articles

The Winner of the 2012 My Life’s a Trip Vacation Photo Contest is….

The judges have voted and the votes have been tallied. The Grand Prize winner of the My Life’s a Trip Vacation Photo Contest 2012 is…

Jökulsárlón by Claudia Cooper (USA):

Blue ice, a lagoon, the people on the hill… this picture made me want to visit Iceland and warm up with some Brennivin.

Congratulations, Claudia! You made ice look incredibly intriguing and inviting.

The photographer who shot Jökulsárlón, Claudia Cooper, wins a super fly grand prize package worth $1,000 including:

For 2nd place we had a tie!

Dreamland by Jayanta Roy (India) ….

This colorful, joyful entry was wildly intriguing

and Prayer by Sudipto Das (India) :

We were wowed by these sari-clad women praying in the Ganges

Both these colorful entries had identical scores, so instead of casting a deciding between them, we chose to award two 2nd place prizes. Both photographers will receive:

  • A $50 iTunes Gift Card
  • A copy of iPhone Photography: How to Shoot, Edit and Share Great Photographs, the new eBook by Misho Baranovic

Our 3rd Place Winner is Into the Land of Snow and Ice by Zoran Stanko (Croatia):

This mountain scene is nothing short of icy and epic.

For more of Zoran’s Work, check out his

The Third Place winner receives:

Because the judges final scores were close, I have decided to award a few images honorable mentions, since it they were neck and neck with the winners and it was just a matter of points. The photographers of the following images each win Honorable Mentions and a $10 iTunes gift card.

Honorable Mentions go to:

Muir Woods by Melissa Vincent( @misvincent on Instagram and Twitter), Andalusia by Taylor Mitchie(@racingwinds on Twitter), Walled City in Dubrovnik by Laurel Stewart(@lfstewart on Twitter and Instagram), Swiss Alps by Kevin Chen, About to Touch Down (Seattle) by Dina Maccabee, and Strange Bed Pillows by Ver Latorre.

The judges all commented on the quality of the entries and how difficult it was to narrow down the selection. Much thanks to all who entered and to our international panel of Judges Misho Baranovic, Severin Matusek, and Rebecca Adler Rotenberg for taking the time to review the finalists and help decide the winners.

Congratulations to all the winners, and everyone who participated. We’re hard at work coming up with a fun theme for a new photo contest which we will announce after the holidays.

My assistant, Anastasia, will be coordinating with the winners via email to see what country they are located in, and how best to redeem their prizes.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

My Life’s A Trip Vacation Photo Contest 2012: Finalists Shortlist!

I’m extremely excited to announce the 41 finalists whose images will go on the next round of the My Life’s a Trip Vacation Photo Contest 2012. We received hundreds of great entries from all over the globe, and the images are truly a world tour of interesting places. There were and very, very few bad photos. A few images had to be disqualified because they were submitted incorrectly, and a few shooters have more than one image progressing to the finals.

There were some stunning images that I loved, but that lacked enough context to make them unable to stand alone in a contest (although they would be publishable and work great in a photo essay). All the photographs I selected gave me an emotional response. They made me want to know more about the destination, or to be along on that trip, or want to see more of the place.  I wound up being intrigued by a pillow fight, sandy beaches, mountains, giant redwoods, a smoking rasta, Hawaiian slugs, wet dog smell, saffron robed monks, trains, planes, and the rear view mirrors of automobiles. Harsh winters caught my attention as did African sunsets, fairs, fog, sun flare, rooftops, ice floes, and exotically colored Indian saris as well as moments of everyday life.

I’ve narrowed it the entries to the shortlist of 41 images featured above. Now I will pass these images along to my international panel of fabulous photographer judges Misho Baranovic, Severin Matusek, and Rebecca Adler Rotenberg,  who will decide the Grand Prize Winner as well as 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners. I really have no idea who is going to come out the winners– I am pretty sure I can guess which images might appeal most to Misho, Severin, and Rebecca individually, but together? I haven’t a clue! So this is very exciting for me too. In the event of a tie, I will cast the deciding vote.

The photographers whose images are above are listed below (but not in order, as to keep the judging process a bit more anonymous). Congratulations to all of you and thanks so much for participating. Stay tuned for the winners, which should be announced by December 15th (or earlier).

  • Alex Hamilton-McLeod.
  • Ali Jardine.
  • Amber De Grace.
  • Amo Passicos.
  • Andre Boto.
  • Claudia Cooper.
  • Dina Maccabee.
  • Edi Caves.
  • Eva Lim.
  • Harsh Wardhan.
  • Jayanta Roy.
  • Joe Kunin.
  • Karen Hanson-Sharp.
  • Kevin Chen.
  • Kristin Luna.
  • Laine Walden.
  • Laurel Stewart.
  • Lesley Towns.
  • Lorenzo Gonzalez.
  • Marita Hodges.
  • Melissa Vincent.
  • Michael Blades.
  • Mike G. Abelson.
  • Misha Zagorac.
  • Natalie Taylor.
  • Ravi Kotecha.
  • Robin Bengtson.
  • Ron Murnik.
  • Ryan Hickey.
  • Shuhei Nishikawa
  • Stephanie Mueller.
  • Sudipto Das.
  • Taylor Michie.
  • Ver Latorre.
  • Zoran Stanko.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The My Life’s a Trip Vacation Photo Contest has been Extended!

Marita Hodges: Nothing says Hawaii vacation like skydiving at dawn. Shot this guy on my window this morning.

The MLAT team has been blown away by quality of images that have entered in our First Annual Vacation Photo Contest, and due to popular demand, we’re extending the deadline for the contest by two weeks. The new deadline is Wednesday, November 14th. Then we have to decide which images we will move forward to our international panel of really cool judges.

In this post we’re showcasing some of our recent favorite entries.

Remember- There’s a Super Fly Prize Package in store for the Grand Prize winner worth over $1,000!

The grand prize winner of the first ever My Life’s A Trip Vacation Photo Contest will get enough goodies to take an actual vacation (or at least a weekend away). I’m throwing my hard earned points and miles in the kitty to put together this grand prize package worth over $1000*:

25,000 United Airlines Miles (good for a domestic US roundtrip coach ticket)
50,000 Club Carlson Points (good for nights at properties by Radisson, Park Plaza, Park Inn, and Country Inn & Suites)
A copy of iPhone Photography: How to Shoot, Edit and Share Great Photographs, the new eBook by Misho Baranovic
And, since every other contest gives one away… a $100 iTunes Gift Card!

The amazing images in this post are by the following talented photographers from around the globe:

    • Ali Jardine.
    • Andre Boto.
    • Angela Failor.
    • Aoife Kirk.
    • Biondić Josip Joža.
    • Claudia Cooper.
    • Curtis Matwishyn.
    • Danielle Jurgens.
    • Diego Camposeco.
    • Dina Maccabee.
    • Eva Lim.
    • Halbert Bai.
    • Harsh Wardhan.
    • Joe Kunin.
    • Karen Hanson-Sharp.
    • Kevin Chen.
    • Kristin Luna.
    • Leka Huie.
    • Lesley Towns.
    • Lindsey Williams.
    • Marita Hodges.
    • Mihai Scorpan.
    • Misha Zagorac.
    • Ravi Kotecha.
    • Ron Murnik.
    • Timothy Henry Charles Tamm.
    • Verity Bowater.

Remember, as a condition of entry, it is necessary to “Like” the MLAT FB page.

Here’s how you enter. Good luck and keep those entries coming!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Where to Eat in Monterey County: The Choke Coach in Castroville, California

Famed Castroville Artichokes

No Central California road trip would be complete without stopping at a local joint for some of it’s famed produce. Head to Gilroy for all things garlic (garlic wine, anyone?), but if it’s artichokes you’re after be sure to stop in Castroville, aka “the Artichoke Capital of the World.”

Artichoke Pesto and other specialties at Pezzini Farms

I recently stopped at The Choke Coach, which features farm to food truck seasonal fare. Located in the parking lot at Pezzini Farms, The Choke Coach serves the local specialty, artichokes, prepared several different ways.

Who wants an artichoke Po’ Boy?

The French Fried artichokes ($6) are always a crowd pleaser, but there are some more unique artichoke offerings on the menu as well. There’s an Artichoke Po’ Boy sandwich for $5.50, a fried artichoke wrap sandwich ($6), and a shockingly good bratwurst.

Monterey County artichokes at Pezzini Farms

My favorite preparation was the grilled artichoke served with garlic dijon and lemon dill dipping sauce. It took a while for the friendly folks at the Choke Coach to prepare, but arrived at my table with a nice char on it. The house made dipping sauces– including Garlic Dijon and Lemon Dill aioli, were flavorful.

The grilled artichoke from the Choke Coach had a nice smokiness to it

Heirloom Green Globe Artichokes at Pezzini Farms

While waiting for my food, I strolled inside Pezzini Farms to find lots of gorgeous local produce, including bargain artichokes and the dipping sauces available for purchase. There was other seasonal produce as well… including a ton of pumpkins.

Pumpkins are party of the bounty of produce at Pezzini Farms

Should you find yourself looking for a casual place to taste some of the local fare, The Choke Coach at Pezzini farms is definitely worth a stop.

The Choke Coach is located at:

Pezzini Farms

460 Nashua Road (Just off HWY 1),

Castroville, CA  95012

Phone:(831) 757-7434

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A Stay at the Andaz Maui at Wailea

The adults-only pool at the Andaz Maui lit up at night

I recently visited the Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort in Hawaii for the first time. The Andaz definitely caters to a younger/hipper crowd than some of the other high end hotels in the area. If you’re looking for in-your-face Hawaiiana, look elsewhere. The Andaz Maui has warm, zen minimalist vibe.

The Modern Facade of the Andaz Maui

My husband and I arrived before check in time, and our room (we booked a suite) was not yet ready. The Andaz host suggested we head the Bumbye Beach Bar to wait until she came to escort us to the room. The bar had wifi access (no password required), great views of the lagoon pool and Mokapu Beach, and particularly delicious Mai Tais. After two rounds, our host showed us to our suite, room 640.

The resort’s open and airy entry

The staff at the Andaz was friendly and top notch. I was particularly impressed with the concierge. She remembered my food allergies and made sure they were passed on to restaurants, even when we changed restaurant picks or re-scheduled reservations.

The seating area in living room of suite 640

Suite 640 was spacious, well laid out, and technology friendly– great for a modern day couple who both work remotely. 

Left: the work desk in room 640 Right: The dining room table in 640

There were several pools, including an adult/no kids one and several cabanas for hire, which was nice. Loved the wifi access (even at the beach) and I always appreciate the no password required. Every hotel should be this tech friendly.

The welcome amenity and lei

If I had to nitpick, I thought the ukelele player in the Lehua Lounge could have bothered to wear an aloha shirt. I also noticed a few room service trays lingered in the hallways a bit longer than the should have. Minor complaints for an otherwise fabulous stay.

The patio was filled with modern furniture and comfortable

One of the Andaz’s most amazing features is Morimoto Maui restaurant, which is FANTASTIC. My husband and I almost always get tired of every hotel’s restaurants after three days. Not so with Morimoto. We dined there four times during our stay and I’ve been missing it since I got back. Even if you choose to stay somewhere else in Wailea, don’t miss heading to the Andaz Maui for dinner at Morimoto Maui.

Left: the window seat in room 640 Right: a reading nook in the bedroom

The room’s king sized bed has sliding doors that can open to the shower windows

The walk-thru shower and soaker tub in Suite 640

My husband thought the furniture in our suite could have been more comfortable, however I had no issues with it. I LOVED the bathroom’s huge shower and soaker tub. The room was quiet and I slept well in the king bed.

The hanging chair on the patio was a great place to watch the Wailea sunset

The Lagoon Pool at the Andaz Maui

How fun is this indoor sandbox in the reception area of the Andaz Maui?

Yogurt with granola on the breakfast buffet at Ka’ana Kitchen

The breakfast spread served at Ka’ana Kitchen was amazing. Since my husband is a Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond Member member, our breakfast was included. The staff went out of there way to clarify which menu items were not included so there were no surprises on the bill. (Note: The Breakfast Amenity for Diamond Gold Passport members was recently downgraded.) The mimosa made with passionfruit and guava is not to be missed.

Delicious Mai Tai served at Lehua Lounge

The view from Bumbye Beach Bar

Obligatory selfie in sunglasses of the Andaz Beach Crew

The Andaz Beach Crew was very helpful and also has a great instagram account @andazbeachcrew.

Gorgeous sunset as seen from room 640 at Andaz Maui

Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort

3550 Wailea Alanui Drive

Wailea, Hawaii, USA, 96753

Tel: +1 808 573 1234

Rates start at $423.00

Andaz Maui on Twitter

Andaz Maui on Instagram

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Facebook YouTubeTwitterSubscribe via RSSSubscribe via RSSSubscribe via RSSSubscribe via RSSSubscribe via RSSSubscribe via RSSSubscribe via RSS