Colorful Candy at Honeyduke’s, Harry Potter World

By Jessica Willis

If you don’t mind a nose-wrinkling surprise, try Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans – “A risk with every mouthful!” Will that red candy bean taste like very cherry or tomato paste? Will the speckled tan and brown bean taste like English toffee or earwax? The only way to know is to try a bite. “You…

Wand Shopping at Ollivanders, Harry Potter World

By Jessica Willis

All aboard the Hogwarts Express! We’re headed to an exciting afternoon in Hogsmeade, just a stone’s throw away from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The conductor helped us with our bags on Platform 9 3/4. First things first, we need to visit Ollivanders Wand Shop to pick out our very own wands…or should we…

Universal Studios Trip and Midweek Concert in Hollywood

By Jessica Willis

Never have I ever…gone to a concert on a weekend. Seriously! The best concerts always seem to fall on a random weekday, never conveniently on the weekend. I guess musicians value their Saturdays too. Instead of fighting it, we embraced the opportunity to see Durand Jones and the Indications on a Tuesday last fall, which…

Secret Tunnels on San Francisco’s Barbary Coast

By Jessica Willis

Have you ever taken a food tour in a place you’ve never been? I’m convinced there is no better way to learn the heart of a town and meet its people than by tasting their signature cuisine. When Brandon and I took a food tour through the North Beach district of San Francisco, better known…

The Best North Beach Food Tour in San Francisco

By Jessica Willis

Welcome to beautiful San Francisco! Let’s spend the afternoon eating our way around the city’s historic North Beach district, better known as Little Italy. We’ll try all the delicious cheesy and tomato-y recipes our Italian-American friends are famous for, plus some cold, refreshing surprises in this four-course adventure. Booking this food tour was no happenstance.…

23 Ice Sculptures That Celebrate Winter

By Jessica Willis

Everyone asks us why we moved to Chicagoland, especially right before winter? Don’t we miss sunny California, with its endless 75 degree days? Why move to the land of snow and ice? I tell them, yes, we miss aspects of California life, but something we love about the chilly North is how its residents embrace…

High-Flying Lion Dancers in SF Chinatown

By Jessica Willis

Here’s the routine: Park in the affordable garage below the public park in Chinatown. Walk through Chinatown and grab a boba drink from Lady Luck Cafe or a moon cake from Eastern Bakery. Walk through the North Beach Little Italy area and hike the steep hill to Coit Tower. Pause to catch our breath and…

Experiencing Vincent Van Gogh in San Francisco

By Jessica Willis

My first dive into Vincent Van Gogh’s art and legacy was at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. In the neatly arranged two-story exhibit, we viewed his paintings in the typical setting; a frame here, a paragraph of text there. We examined some of the Dutch artist’s most famous works and learned the sad story…

Return to Fine Dining at Erna’s Elderberry House

By Jessica Willis

In a few short months, our friends José and Roya will be first-time parents! This sweet couple has been our rock through the pandemic with every Zoom happy hour and game night around our tiny dining table. When Roya announced her pregnancy, we shouted “road trip!” and promised to take them on one last fancy…

Mochi and Malasadas – Exotic Sweets on the Big Island

By Jessica Willis

Everyone knows my favorite part of any meal is dessert. When we visited Hawaii’s Big Island earlier this summer, I made it my scientific duty to test every sweet delicacy across the archipelago to bring you this definitive list of the best treats. Thanks to the island’s large East Asian and South Asian populations, it…