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What’s the big deal about Virgin America?

When Virgin America began ticket sales late last month, the site was so flooded with traffic that potential customers – frustrated by long delays – simply gave up trying. Certainly, plenty of people were trying to book at once, but the real culprit was an orchestrated cyber attack that resulted in a slow start for sales. Though the offender remains unknown, it does get you wondering. Could a rival airline have been responsible? Very unlikely, though several of the legacy carriers lobbied vigorously to block Virgin America from entering the market.

Learning to Love Hawaii

For 28 years of my life, I never thought twice about Hawaii. When you grow up in Florida in a town like Panama City whose official motto is “The World’s Most Beautiful Beaches,” you don’t find yourself pining for a trip to the Aloha State. But a year ago, I moved to the Bay Area and I began to wonder if I had been missing out on one of life’s most essential experiences, like reading a book or, I don’t know, breathing air. You see, you’re not truly a San Franciscan until you 1) have a bay window 2) learn to rhapsodize about In-N-Out and 3) fall head over heels for Hawaii and talk about it exclusively in hyperbole.

America’s Favorite Cities

I’m torn. Austin or San Francisco?

Travel+Leisure magazine asks travelers to rank America’s favorite cities in a poll that features 25 of the countries best destinations. Some of my personal favorites made the ballot – Charleston, New Orleans, New York, Austin and San Francisco – but my vote for number one came down to two inspiring cities that are actually very similar to one another.

Both Austin and San Francisco have a hip and funky vibe, but the similarities that stand out to me are their live music hot spots, love of food and outdoor pursuits. Growing up in Texas, Austin has always been one of my favorite weekend getaways. It’s a haven for music junkies and bar flies with blocks and blocks of local pubs, Mexican food joints and live music dives. Similarly, SF (my new home) boasts a bar on every block, worldly cuisine and iconic music venues.

With these two cities on the list, I’m struggling to cast my vote (maybe I’ll just cheat and vote for both!). What’s your favorite American city?

Close Encounters of the Animal Kind

What’s a trip to Australia without seeing a koala or a trek in Peru without a llama? Sure, there are zoos and animal parks that bring giraffes to the Bronx and hippos to Cleveland, but, to me, there’s nothing like seeing animals in their natural habitats.

Like a lot of people in the Bay Area, I’ve been following the story of the humpback whales that have lost their way out of their natural habitat and into the waters near Sacramento. Everyone I know is really rooting for them to make their way back through the Golden Gate and to the ocean. To have whales come in such close proximity to the Governator’s office is a novelty, and the rescue effort is drawing large crowds of both locals and tourists alike.