10 reasons a honeymoon safari isn’t as sexy as you think (and 1 reason it’s the MOST sexy)

10 reasons a honeymoon safari isn't sexy - @thedashanddine
This may look romantic, but really we were just too hot and tired to touch.

One afternoon on our honeymoon safari, while bundled up in the back of an open-aired Jeep, surrounded by biting flies, waiting for a cheetah to murder an impala before it started to rain, I realized: a safari honeymoon is nowhere near as sexy as I thought it would be.

Here are the top 10 reasons why: Continue reading “10 reasons a honeymoon safari isn’t as sexy as you think (and 1 reason it’s the MOST sexy)”

Snow, swan boats and sulfur: Our quick trip to Hakone

Our quick trip to Hakone - @thedashanddine

Mike: Megan gets a little overwhelmed in New York, so I thought she might get triggered in Tokyo, being surrounded by endless skyscrapers. When we booked our trip to Japan, I scheduled a night in the mountain town of Hakone as a brief respite from the city. Turned out that Megan was just fine in Tokyo, but we’re still glad we hit this charming resort spot.

Megan: After our six days in Tokyo, we jumped on the RomanceCar (the not-really-appropriate name for the very-ordinary train to Hakone) and left the city behind…
Continue reading “Snow, swan boats and sulfur: Our quick trip to Hakone”

Drunk on kitsch and booze: Our first foodie trip to Tokyo

Last year, Mike and I decided to take a last-minute foodie trip to Tokyo. It was both of our first times in Japan. Here’s Part One of our oral history: Our time in Tokyo.

Day One: Shinjuku and Golden Gai

@thedashanddine's first foodie trip to Tokyo
Trying to find our way on the subway.

Mike: We got our first taste of Japan on the train from the Haneda airport to our hotel in Shinjuku. People were extremely quiet and extremely courteous (even offering to help as I bumbled through buying a train ticket). There was no litter anywhere. And every element of life has been intelligently considered and perfectly engineered. Nothing in Japan happens by accident.

Megan: I still don’t think I’ve had as big of a thrill as getting a can of coffee from a vending machine and finding it to be perfectly hot and delicious…

Oh wait, maybe my biggest thrill was meeting my first Japanese robot toilet. It was like a vacation all in itself, and quite the opposite of the first Tokyo toilet I came across, which was basically a hole in the ground. As my jet-lagged body met the comforting heated seat, and then the warm drying feature… sigh… I was reluctant to leave the bathroom to re-join Mike in the confusing subway.

Oh wait! THAT thrill was only rivaled by the discovery of heated subway seats. (I love heated seats!)

@thedashanddine's first foodie trip to Tokyo

When we finally reached the Keio Plaza Hotel we were too early to check in. So Mike and I had them watch our luggage and we headed out to wander about the city…

Exploring the Meiji Shrine

@thedashanddine's first foodie trip to Tokyo
Washing hands before entering the shrine.

Megan: We walked through side streets to the Meiji Shrine. It was awesome. I was really glad we got to experience a bit of old Tokyo right away, since the rest of our time in Tokyo was mostly city-lifestyle-based. We washed our hands in the bamboo water fountain. We offered up some coins, and clapped and bowed. We bought a little Japanese trinket for “good fortune.” We witnessed a wedding procession. And we generally enjoyed walking around the park.

@thedashanddine's first foodie trip to Tokyo
I enjoy this poorly-timed gust of wind photo at the Meiji Shrine.

Isetan Department Store lunch

Mike: For lunch, we wandered over to the Isetan Department Store, where there’s a thoroughly overwhelming collection of ready-to-eat food of all kinds, savory and sweet. Our friend Allen recommended it for good reason.

Turns out, most major department stores in Tokyo have basement floors that try to outdo each other with more and more extravagant food counters. “Depachika” is actually a portmanteau of “depato” for “department store” and “chika” meaning “basement.”

But FINDING a ridiculous array of delicious food options was only about a third of the battle. On day one in Japan, our communication skills were pretty weak, so we basically pointed and tried not to offend. Megan pulled off a few convincing renditions of “Do you speak English?” in Japanese, and somehow, we managed to procure a fun assortment of treats to try.

@thedashanddine's first foodie trip to Tokyo
Pickled Plum Onigiri on the Isetan rooftop.

Our next issue was finding somewhere to actually EAT the food, because 99.9999% of depachika customers purchase their items to bring home. As a rule, Japanese people don’t eat food on the street (it’s considered quite rude), so we had to eat our (tasty) plum onigiri, red bean rice cake, gyoza, chicken, and salad on the rooftop garden next to one lonely elderly lady in the low-40s cold.

The streets of Tokyo

@thedashanddine's first foodie trip to Tokyo

Mike: Our route back to hotel looked more like the Tokyo we expected. Megan gets anxious about the size/crowd/intensity of NYC, so we both wondered how she’d cope with an even bigger and even more packed city. But other than a few chaotic moments, she was just fine in Tokyo. Maybe it’s because the people and the traffic are so quiet and calm. When you hear the rare honk or siren, you realize just how quiet your surroundings have been.

Megan: It’s so amazingly quiet in Tokyo that if we were standing together on the corner of a massively busy street, you could actually hear one of us whisper to the other.

Heading out for the night in Shinjuku

@thedashanddine's first foodie trip to Tokyo

Mike: At night, lit up by neon, Shinjuku is gorgeous and pulsing with energy. I thought it would look a bit more futuristic — it’s more like the future imagined in the ’80s — but the size and scope is breathtaking.

@thedashanddine's first foodie trip to Tokyo
Our whiskey tasting flight at Zoetrope.

Drinks at a whiskey bar called Zoetrope

Mike: As our friends warned, finding specific establishments in Tokyo is a challenge, as street names (when they exist) are in Japanese, street numbers are useless (they’re numbered by when they were built, not geographical location), and you have to look in every direction, including up. But after some searching of the side streets, we found a small sign by a door, leading us to an elevator, and we walked into a tiny bar on the third floor.

Fatty Arbuckle movies were projected on the wall as Smashing Pumpkins played on the stereo — an oddly satisfying combination. We sat at the small bar and the bartender poured us a couple tasting flights of Japanese whiskey. My favorite was Nikka Single Malt Yoishi, which we’d enjoy a few more times soon enough.

Dinner at Sakura Sushi

Mike: Despite approximately one billion restaurant recommendations from friends, for our first dinner, we went to Sakura Sushi, a highly-ranked “kaisen” spot — one of those places where pieces of fish motor past you on a conveyer belt. Trip Advisor reviews said to order directly from the chef, instead of grabbing choices from the conveyer belt, so we pointed at various photos, said please (“kudasai”) a lot, and received some amazing sushi. Our favorite was the “tuna set” — a melt in your mouth selection of fatty, medium, and lean tuna.

@thedashanddine's first foodie trip to Tokyo
The marvelous tuna set.

Drinking in Golden Gai

Mike: We walked down to the Golden Gai to hit a couple more bars. These were even smaller than Zoetrope (which would have been the smallest bar in LA). Tokyo’s motto should really be “Fuck Fire Codes.” We really liked Albatross G, which was cozy and warm on a cold night.

@thedashanddine's first foodie trip to Tokyo
That’s a whiskey with a cat and a disco ball in the background. Albatross G is a weird little place.

That place also has the smallest bathroom of all time — the toilet paper dispenser is over the less-than-a-foot-wide sink. I couldn’t have sat down if I’d needed to. But the shrunken size of these bars breeds a fun camaraderie — every time a new person enters, everyone sounds off on how to cram another body into the establishment.

@thedashanddine's first foodie trip to Tokyo
I think this is the apple waffle.

Megan: Another thrill of the trip: Stumbling, perfectly whiskey drunk, home past a “Mr. Waffle” — a small shop full of waffles in every flavor. We grabbed an apple one and a chocolate one and wolfed them down on the walk. They distracted us for a minute from the stiff breeze and cold night.

Day Two: Our AirBnB in Shibuya and the Robot Restaurant

Continue reading “Drunk on kitsch and booze: Our first foodie trip to Tokyo”

How I packed for my weekend trip with one carry on

Flew from Atlanta to Sacramento for the weekend and all I brought was this kitty backpack and a purse!

I never feel more badass than when I board a plane with only a carry-on, then get off and walk straight to the pickup curb. That’s right, I just used a plane as a freaking taxi, yo! And it’s because I’m pretty good at packing light.

My top tricks for packing light include:

  • A simple color palette (mine is always black and grey)
  • High-end athleisure wear (Athleta is my go-to for comfort and style)
  • Comfortable walking shoes that can also look dressy (I’ll get to that later)
  • Wearing the bulkiest items on the plane (coats, extra layers, bigger shoes, etc)

We just flew from Atlanta to Sacramento for the weekend, and I managed to pack everything I needed (including some of Mike’s clothes) into one backpack. Here’s what I packed for my trip with one carry on… Continue reading “How I packed for my weekend trip with one carry on”

From sobremesas to so much cheese: The 12 things I learned about Buenos Aires

Mike traveled to Buenos Aires a little while back. These are excerpts from
the journal he kept while there…

It’s 9:45 on a Sunday morning in November, and Buenos Aires is a ghost town. Guess this can be expected when everyone stays out until 5 am, which apparently is the norm on a Saturday night.

I’m sitting a cafe right out of what I imagined Buenos Aires to be… and when the friendly waitress walks over, I’m reminded for the fifth time in five straight encounters: I don’t speak Spanish. (It’s as if 15 minutes of Rosetta Stone for a single month isn’t enough to master a language!) I order a combination plate without understanding the components.

It’s ridiculously comfortable out. A touch more humid than Los Angeles. Blue skies. A slight breeze ruffling through the trees overhead. My cafe con leche arrives… and it’s fantastic. Same goes for the orange juice. And then… a ham and cheese sandwich (tostado). I will come to find out that many orders result in a sandwich — Buenos Aires loves sandwiches. It was just okay.

Here are some other things I learned during my time in Buenos Aires:

Continue reading “From sobremesas to so much cheese: The 12 things I learned about Buenos Aires”

#Morocstars: Tips for managing your “traveling women in Morocco” anxiety

OMG! I’m in Morocco and it’s awesome!

While Mike was producing Prison Break Season 5, we got the opportunity to go to Morocco, since they needed to use the desert town of Ouarzazate for their exterior “Yemen” scenes.) This meant we’d be “living” in Morocco for almost three weeks.

While I was excited as hell about traveling to Morocco, I was worried about a few things… I googled stuff obsessively: “Women in Morocco,” “what to wear in Morocco,” “American women in Morocco,” “living in the Berbere Palace,” and on and on and on… including brushing up on my travel safety tips and freaking myself out a little bit more.

But in short: Living in Morocco is a lot more chill than I expected to be.

To be more specific… Continue reading “#Morocstars: Tips for managing your “traveling women in Morocco” anxiety”

“Happy Hallowsemite!” Our last-minute weekend trip to Yosemite in October

It had been a couple of months since our last weekend trip, and Mike and I had been itching to get out-of-town again. Based on a genius hunch, Mike checked to see if there might be some last-minute availability in Yosemite in October — specifically over Halloween weekend. Lo and behold, he was right! He snapped up the (seemingly) last-remaining room at the Yosemite Lodge at the Falls, and the last-remaining dinner reservation at the Ahwahnee (now “The Majestic Yosemite Hotel”) and we were off on a weekend trip to Yosemite!

Here’s the thing, I grew up in Los Angeles, only four and a half hours away from Yosemite, and yet, I had NEVER BEEN. My high school boyfriend was obsessed with the place, and told me all about how much I would love it there. But it took 20 more years and a few more boyfriends to finally get me there!

Oh boy, it is EVERYTHING everyone said it would be… Continue reading ““Happy Hallowsemite!” Our last-minute weekend trip to Yosemite in October”

The perfect recipe for a weekend trip to the Santa Ynez Valley

weekend trip Santa Ynez Valley
Me with Mike and his sister Jessica.

For my mother-in-law’s 70th birthday we rented an awesome house and had a perfect, fun and sun-filled family weekend trip to Santa Ynez Valley. It was easy and successful because we had a team of producers (the Horowitz siblings) mostly running the show.

If you’re thinking of taking your own weekend trip to the Santa Ynez Valley, here’s a peak at our itinerary, complete with grocery shopping list! (Don’t get used to that though.)

Day one

This was the driveway at our weekend rental.

Arrive at your (hopefully awesome) rental home

We highly recommend the house we stayed in — it has incredible views, a pool, spa, four bedrooms, and an adorable GIANT dog to frolic with…

Dinner: Tacos and/or burritos

This’ll easily feed six adults and a couple kids with leftovers to use on other meals…

  • Ground beef 85/15% — 3 lbs
  • Taco seasoning mix – 3 packs
  • Tortillas — either taco or burrito size
  • Beans — refried beans (2 or 3 cans)
  • Rice-a-Roni Spanish Rice — One box
  • Lettuce — head of iceberg
  • Tomato — 4-5 ripe tomatoes (depending on size)
  • Cheese — bag of shredded cheddar
  • Salsa
  • Sour cream
  • Tortilla chips
  • avocado — 3-4 ripe avocados or pre-made guac
  • Margarita mix
  • Tequila

Day two

Take a gorgeous morning walk

No matter what time it is, the lighting is so freaking gorgeous in the Santa Ynez Valley. Morning was my favorite time to get out of the house and take a walk, and appreciate the early morning sun shining through all the trees. Then it’s time to come back and make…

Breakfast: Waffles and/or pancakes

  • Pancake and waffle mix — pick your poison
  • Eggs — a dozen
  • Fruit — whatever floats your boat
  • Syrup
  • Jam
  • Bacon — one pack is plenty
  • Orange juice
  • Milk

Free swim

Hopefully you’ve rented a place with a pool (and jacuzzi for the folks who are always cold, like me).

Hopefully your rental also comes with awesome pool toys!

Lunch: Full of Life Flatbread

One of our favorite restaurants — Full of Life Flatbread — is a 20 minute drive away, in Los Alamos. If you’re EVER within driving distance from Full of Life, GO THERE. Warning: It’s very busy at night, and service is very slow during the day. But it’s all worth it for their amazing pizzas.

Bob’s Well Bread Bakery

Mike and the birthday girl outside of Bob’s Well Bread.

As you head back home from Full of Life, you should stop a few blocks down the road at one of the best bakeries in the world: Bob’s Well Bread! Grab one (of five) of their kouign amanns (don’t be surprised if they’re already sold out though — they’re popular). Then grab a bunch of different pastries for breakfast the next day!

Wine tasting

Sampling wines at Bridlewood Winery

Good thing you carbo loaded with all that pizza, because it’s time to go wine tasting! We were right down the street from a couple of wineries, so we hit up Bridlewood Winery (not our favorite, but the staff is lovely and fun).

The cheese and charcuterie at Vincent Vineyards and Winery.

Then we drove a little further down the road to Vincent Vineyards and Winery (where we enjoyed the wine more and was a little weirded out by the staff). Definitely take advantage of their cheese and charcuterie and, if you have any more time before dinner, play some corn hole and enjoy their brightly colored lawn chairs…

Sun, grape vines, wine, and friends. What more could you want out of a weekend!?

Buy a few bottles of your favorites from the day so you can use them when you get back for your special dinner…

Dinner: Hire a private chef (optional, obviously)

The Petit New York Steak from @santa_barbara_private_chef

Okay okay, this is a Big Over-doing It step for us (and for a lot of people, I’m sure). But we wanted our big birthday gift for our mom to be an intimate family dinner where no one had to worry about cooking, cleaning, or setting the table. So I got in touch with the highly rated and the highly amazing Chef Mattias Blom and together we planned a menu, using all local ingredients, and he took it from there!

Day three

Breakfast: Kill the leftovers + pastries

  • Scramble all the left over eggs from the day before
  • Cut up and throw in all the leftover avocado
  • Top with sour cream
  • Use leftover bacon
  • And break out those Bob’s Well Bread pastries!
The chocolate almond croissant was amazing.

Take a final walk

Maybe it’ll a cool foggy morning and you can watch the sun rise over the valley and think about what a kick-ass weekend you just had. And start making plans for your next weekend trip to Santa Ynez Valley!

Do you have travel tips for Santa Ynez? Leave them in the comments!

My ode to the best travel pet carrier ever

the best travel pet carrier ever

I agonized for weeks over what pet carrier to get for Pita. She’s a small dog (8-10lbs) but not a TINY TINY dog. And the space under airline seats (much like overhead bins) are so unpredictable. I also didn’t want to have to carry her on my shoulder the entire time (bad back). So I needed something big enough for her to move around comfortably in, but not so big that it didn’t fit under any seat, and something that I could wheel and/or wear like a backpack.

After opening about approximately 36 Amazon pages of travel pet carriers, I started whittling away at them… This one’s not squishy enough, this one looks too small, this one doesn’t have wheels, this one gets shit reviews, this one is just a super-ugly color. (Yeah, I started to get really petty at the end.) And then there was The Snoozer… It had wheels, backpack straps, could sit upright, or flat on the ground, got great reviews, and had this adorable chihuahua photo as an example:

the best travel pet carrier ever -- wheeled pet carrier chihuahua

It seemed like a sign. So I Amazon Primed that bitch for my bitch. And guess what — half a dozen flights and many many car rides later — I’m in love with this wheeled pet carrier. Here’s why…

Continue reading “My ode to the best travel pet carrier ever”

#EatDrinkDesire part 2: In which we bring non-erotic softcore porn to The Edinburgh Fringe Festival

We already filled you in on part one of our trip: My birthday experience in London. Now it’s time to tell you about Edinburgh — the trip you helped make possible. Here’s the Mike and Megan oral history of bring their softcore porn play to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival!

Us in the middle of the Royal Mile during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Mike: We arrived in the center of Edinburgh and walked to the Carnal Desire Team’s Scotland Street flat. One of two that we rented for our actors. It was a fairly nice place: big rooms, high ceilings, great location, and huge windows with views of gorgeous church steeples and green trees.


Only problem: there was a single bathroom for six people. And… ONE towel.

Megan: Here’s Mike: “I think we’re just going to nap and take showers.” Here’s Kinkaid (one of our actors): “I’ll see if the towel is dry.” THE TOWEL.

Mike: When Megan and I heard that, our eyes went wide. We decided to head out towel-shopping immediately. Which gave us an excuse to explore the neighborhood. The scavenger hunt ended at Primark (basically: Target), and we headed back to nap and shower.

After catching up on the various trials and tribulations of the show, we headed for dinner at the Printing Press Bar and Grill, where we enjoyed some gastropub fare that pleased Megan to no end. She may love all things UK, but she definitely prefers (quality) pub grub to the local gourmet fare.

Megan: I wouldn’t even say it has to be quality. Is it well-done meat in some kind of Guinness-related stew? Are there “chips” involved? I’m a happy girl.

Mike: Does the waiter have a British accent? Megan will not notice the fact that she’s been shivering for the last two hours, the trash outside, or the fact that we’ve been eating the same meal again and again.

Megan: Our daily routines were pretty much determined by rain. Summer weather in Scotland means that it was generally miserable out — raining off and on for the whole trip. So during the day, Mike and I would try to walk as much as possible — grabbing food, and finding cafes to grab wifi. But mostly we’d work inside the awesome flat we rented.

The cast practicing at the flat.

Mike: Average number of miles we walk a day: 11. Average number of floors: 95. Which slightly mitigates the unhealthy Scottish meals and endless pints of beer. We explored all corners of the city, from the chaos of the Royal Mile to quiet Stockbridge.

Arthur’s Seat

Megan: My favorite of which was hiking up Arthur’s Seat, but I also enjoyed touring Edinburgh Castle, and buying my very first proper rain jacket. (There’s not much need for them in LA.)

Me rocking my brand new rain coat in front of The Elephant Room, where JK Rowling wrote a lot of Harry Potter.

And then, perfectly timed with my new rain jacket, we had an awesome experience of getting caught in a very heavy rainstorm and running into a bar where we had “no choice” but to sip yummy Old Fashioneds, as we watch the rain ABSOLUTELY POUR outside.


Mike: Our nightly routine was grabbing dinner at some fun restaurant. Then grabbing drinks while the cast went flyering in courtyard. Which may or may not have helped attendance.

Us in the Pleasance Courtyard
Us in the Pleasance Courtyard

Megan: Then we’d head into The Pleasance, to our theater space (The Pleasance Above), which was WAY too big for the most common nightly attendance of our show. (It seated 100+ and we would generally pull in 30 or so on a good night.)

Which bring us too… Continue reading “#EatDrinkDesire part 2: In which we bring non-erotic softcore porn to The Edinburgh Fringe Festival”