UpTake’s Bloggers

UpTake.com created seven blogs to help you plan a great trip in the United States whether it is a romantic day trip or a ten day vacation with four kids and a dog. Our bloggers are avid travelers and give tips, advice and insight about short excursions from their homes, which happen to be some of the most popular tourist destinations in the U.S. If they tell you to skip a tourist attraction or about a "don't miss" restaurant, you can rely on their expert advice.

Attractions Blog

Gudrun Enger, Lead Editor

Gudrun Enger, Attractions Lead Editor joined Uptake in September of 2007, as a founding writer of the original Uptake blog. An experienced marketing professional, Gudrun has been traveling for as long as she can remember. Her first solo trip, at age 7, was San Jose to San Diego (aboard PSA, no less) to visit Grandma. Gudrun has also written for Silicon Valley Moms Blog, and currently writes her own food blog, Kitchen Gadget Girl. In her spare time, she enjoys family travel, cooking local, and exploring the Bay Area with her family.

barbara-headshot-by-leah-2008-08-smallBarbara Ann Weibel worked in corporate marketing and public relations for more than 20 years before leaving to pursue her true loves of travel, writing, and photography. In 2007 she strapped on a backpack and traveled solo around the world for six months, visiting 17 countries in Southeast Asia, Indonesia, the Pacific Rim, Africa, and Europe, blogging about her experiences along the way. These days, Barbara divides her time between her popular travel and life blog, Hole In The Donut, and writing freelance articles for a variety of traditional magazines and online entities. She travels six months each year and is currently writing a memoir about her extensive travels.


Linda (minnemom) has been traveling the back roads since she was a child, but now has a husband and four young children to accompany her on her adventures. Shes been writing Travels with Children, since October of 2007, as a way for parents to find family-friendly destinations and to remove the fear of traveling even when outnumbered by kids. Living in rural Minnesota, she tries to find interesting places that are off the beaten path yet interesting and child-friendly.

Rhea ThomasRhea Thomas is a native Texan currently living in the Dallas area. She grew up on a ranch with all sorts of experiences and a family that loved to travel. Now married, with two boys and a dog, she shares her love of nature and traveling on her own blog, Texas Word Tangle, and enjoys learning about other cultures and exploring the world with her husband and children.


shannon-lane-hurst-photoShannon Hurst Lane works full time for the fire department and is a freelance travel writer. She like to make people smile and feels such joy when she can help others, no matter how big or small. She has traveled the world and plans on traveling as long as she can. Shannon is a founding member of Traveling Mamas and blogs about her adventures as Cajun Mama.

Beaches Blog

sebastienSebastien Tobler, Beaches Lead Editor, is a freelance producer for the Travel Channel, a blogger for Colliding Continents and a manager at an interactive marketing firm focusing on the hospitality industry. Sebastien has been blogging for two years and has been traveling for the past 26 years. He currently resides in Washington, DC but has lived in Switzerland, the Philippines, Poland, Indonesia, Thailand, and the United Kingdom. Coming from a diverse cultural background coupled with an agenda to never stop moving around, Sebastien is finding every way to inspire people to break out of their comfort zone and explore the world.

Hotels Blog

Britt Reints Britt Reints has been blogging at Miss Britt since 2005. Offline, she has a fancy title that includes words like "VP" and "marketing" - which essentially means she sells stuff. Online, she's entirely too open about her personal life and has embraced the motto, "Dignity is Overrated." She neglects to tell any of this to her editors at her paid blogging gigs where she portrays a very responsible working mother, childcare expert and travel aficionado for the entire state of Florida.

colleen-croppedColleen Lindesay writes about food and culture for Delights and Prejudices, Tonic and wishbone clover.On her frequent travels, shes sought out xiao long bao in Shanghai, fruit shakes in Luang Prabang,and the very best fried chicken in Nashville.She lives, writes and eats in San Francisco, a travelers (and hedonists) paradise.

Jenny BengenJenny Bengen, a graduate of Stanford University, isfairly new to the blogging world, though she has worked as a freelance writer and editor for the past six years. She wrote about travel for sites including Dulcinea Media, AOL CityGuide and TheExpeditioner.com. Shes also a contributing writer for AAAs Westways and Alabama Journeys magazines.Find herpersonal blog at Travel Writer Gal.

Cat LincolnCat Lincoln is a writer and photographer based in San Francisco. In addition to sharing her favorite travel tips on UpTake, she is a contributor to several style and green sites including StyleList, Green Daily, Holidash, and Tonic News. Cat shares her love of popular culture and bargain hunting on wishbone clover and Whata Bargain. She is also a freelance writer covering the financial services and healthcare sectors. Cat is always planning her next trip to Hawaii, although she usually winds up visiting family on the East Coast.

Kristen SeymourKristen Seymour is a freelance writer and blogger living in North Central Florida. When shes not helping you figure out where to stay for your next vacation here at UpTake, shes busy writing about a variety of topics for StyleList, Thats Fit, Tonic, Holidash, BeautyHacks, and ChatterBox. At the end of the day, if she still has anything interesting to say, she pops on over to Jeez-o-petes, where she dishes on her husband, dogs, and a million other things. She loves to travel, but is still at an age where most of her trips involve weddings, babies, family, and friends.

Lodging Blog

nancy-caldera-7-20081Nancy D. Brown, Lodging Lead Editor was horse-crazy in her youth. She passed on European travel to stay home and ride her horse. She has since traded her horse for a husband and saddle for a passport. Married with two teenagers, she enjoys international adventure travel. As a California native, her home base is the Bay Area. With family in Carmel, she considers Monterey Bay her second home.

As a journalism graduate and food and wine PR professional, she has 25 years of writing experience. Nancy writes the What a Trip column for the Contra Costa Times Lamorinda Sun and the What a Trip blog, in addition to her duties as Uptakes Lodging Travel Editor.

lisadionphotoLisa Crovo Dion has long been an adventure junkie, Lisa left Boston after college to drive across country in an 87 Chevy with two girlfriends. She camped in Bryce Canyon, drank whisky at a topless bar in Kansas City and got tattooed in Phoenix. Eventually she made it to San Francisco and never left.

Today, she works as a writer at the San Francisco Chronicle, raises two young children, and continues her exploration and exploits. She has contributed to Insight Guides for 12 years and has written for SOMA magazine, SF Weekly, salon.com, Gayots Restaurants, San Francisco and Via. She also co-publishes Defenestration, a collection of Bay Area womens writing.

betsyhusbandBetsy Husband grew up in San Diego. After two years of college she hitchhiked around Europe for a year, worked as a bar maid in a pub, then toured the United States in a Volkswagen van. She finally landed in a small town in Eureka, California, where she raised a family, worked in physical therapy for 26 years, and continued to travel extensively with her family. She returned to school in 2004, getting a Journalism degree in 2006. Her published credits include Skywest magazine, Tasmania 40 South, the Humboldt Beacon, The Eureka Reporter, and The Gringo Gazette.

brooke-morton1Brooke Morton is a travel writer who currently calls Orlando, Florida, home (because thats where her dog is). Her travels have taken her throughout Europe, North and South America and the Caribbean, as well as to Egypt and Thailand. Now the associate editor of Sport Diver magazine, she has also written for Florida Travel + Life and Caribbean Travel & Life magazines. For more about Brooke, visit bybrookemorton.com.

kara-williamsKara Williams has worn several different hats in her two-decade editorial career from newspaper reporter to corporate copywriter to magazine editor and she currently works from home as a freelance writer. The majority of her writing work is travel related, with destination articles appearing in such publications as Every Day with Rachael Ray, Dallas Morning News, Denver Post, Porthole Cruise Magazine, Denver Life, GRAND, Chesapeake Family and Mountain Parent. Learn more about her writing at karaswilliams.com.

Restaurants Blog

Alison Osborne has been with UpTake for the past year as a regular blog contributor as a member of the marketing team. Alison is a native Texan and recent transplant to the Bay Area. Two of her biggest passions in life are travel and food. When work gets in the way of travel, which it so often does, she likes to use food from other cultures to transport her across the globe. She also loves to share these culinary experiences with others, which is where the Restaurant blog comes in!

Jennifer Miner is a professional travel writer with a weekly luxury travel column at Suite101, an e-magazine. Her luxury travel column consistently gets more than 70,000 page views per month. Blogging about restaurants at Uptake has been enjoyable for Jennifer; culinary travel is an important aspect of any vacation, and she is happy to cover this angle as well. She is one of the founders and co-writers of TravelingMamas.com: This is a fun, friendly travel site created in January 2008. Going beyond the ever-popular family travel topic, they cover girlfriend getaways, romantic vacations, and destination/hotel reviews. She also frequently guests on morning radio shows, talking about all things travel.

Read more from Jennifer on TravelingMamas or Suite101.

Sharon Castellanos is a writer and photographer based in San Francisco. She writes regularly about hotels and restaurants for Uptake and contributes to Tonic News. Five years ago she began her personal quest to inspire travelers with her site, Everywhere Travel, after spending the dot-com era in Tokyo as an expat. In addition to her day job, Sharon is busy working on a series of books featuring her rescue dog Cleo, the Grouchy Puppy.

Read more from Sharon at EverywhereTravel.

Julie Sturgeon is an Indiana-based writer with more than 20 years of professional writing experience. Her rsum covers everything from lifestyle reporter to sports writer. Currently, youll find her byline in Fast Casual, QSR, Instore Shopper, and Bankrate.com. Her awards include first place in the Writers Digest magazine national feature contest and a regional award from the American Society of Business Publication Editors for best special section

When shes not researching and writing, youll likely find her on the road she thinks nothing of driving her Miata from Hollywood, Florida, to Indianapolis in one day by herself. So it was a natural for Sturgeon and her husband to start a travel agency as a second business Curing Cold Feet is a home-based venture with Montrose Travel.

Read more from Julie on her blog, CuringColdFeet.

Sonia Mansfield recently moved to San Francisco from the East Bay, which is about 30 miles away, but it might as well be 3,000 miles away. San Francisco feels like an entirely different country to her, so she spends most of her time traveling within her own city limits. Sonia is an award-winning writer, who has slaved away for many entertainment websites and newspapers with every title imaginable, including reporter, humor columnist, TV critic, features editor, entertainment editor, gossip columnist, travel editor and food editor.

Read more from Sonia at her blog, The Sonia Show.

Tricia Honea is a native Californian that doesnt get to travel nearly as much as she would like. Tricia used to manage a restaurant for a major chain and though she loved it, was glad to get out of the business and get a chance to be on the other side of the table. She is a homemade gourmet and loves to try her hand at making / creating new recipes for her family to enjoy. Tricia also tries, tries being the key word, to keep up with her life as a busy mom on her own blog Turning Trix.

Read more from Tricia on her blog, Turning Trix.

Kayt Sukel Kayt Sukel is already planning her next trip. An American freelance writer based in Germany, she has climbed to Petras Al-Deir on a disobliging donkey, accidentally got mixed up in a Franciscan pilgrimage in Jerusalem, explored Maltas prehistoric temples and repeatedly indulged her street food addiction in Istanbul all with her young son in tow. Her work has appeared in such publications as Wine Enthusiast, USAToday, the Washington Post, National Geographic Traveler, Continental and Delta Sky magazines. She is also a contributing editor at Travel Savvy Mom where she openly and avidly discusses potty training on the road. A lover of food, wine and all other travel-related excess, she loves being able to share great restaurants both in Europe and the U.S.

Read more about Kayt here.

Vacations Blog

Whit Honea Editor Whit Honea is an award-winning writer in the greater Seattle area. He is a husband of one, a father of two and the lifeline to many relatively tame creatures. Whit's writing can be found at Babble, AOL, DadCentric, MamaPop, Savvy Source and the Disney Blog. His personal site, Honea Express (Honea sounds like pony), is an eclectic mix of family fun and foul-mouthed tirades.

Jay Romeo J. Edward Romeo has 16 years experience in software development and team management. He was the founder of New Jersey Online Travel and served as the director of Redbank.com before they were acquired by Banyan Vines along with ePresence, where he worked on the design and development of Switchboard.com, YourHomeDirect.com and the original Survivor site for CBS. Presently he serves as the Director of Fire Services at Emergency Software Products , as well as the co-host of the Parentograpy Podcast. He spends his free time photographing his travels and maintains a personal blog Triple Venti.

Britt Reints Britt Reints has been blogging at Miss Britt since 2005. Offline, she has a fancy title that includes words like "VP" and "marketing" - which essentially means she sells stuff. Online, she's entirely too open about her personal life and has embraced the motto, "Dignity is Overrated." She neglects to tell any of this to her editors at her paid blogging gigs where she portrays a very responsible working mother, childcare expert and travel aficionado for the entire state of Florida.

Matthew Henry Matthew Henry, CEO of Blogging at Childsplayx2, has been chronicling the highs and lows of parenting twins since he knocked up his wife in 2004. Childsplayx2 has been featured in Parents Magazine, the New York Daily News and his mothers annual Christmas newsletter. When not battling twins, Matthew is an executive for the YMCA who enjoys exercising, reading and eating fine desserts not necessarily in that order.

Joe Romano Joe Romano works in in the field of corporate communications and has worked as a freelance writer and blogger since 2005. His blog, Hey Joe, is a collection of random bits of flotsam concerning life, his family, dead celebrities and other miscellaneous drivel that strikes his fancy.

Charles A. Downs III Charles A. Downs III blogs at High Cotton -- tales of misguided youth/adulthood are evenly balanced by heartwarming ramblings of days spent with his two daughters, the Goat (age 7 and ruler of all things pink and horsey) and the Tater (age 1.5 and ruler of all things 36" and below). When Charles isn't reading "The Lady with the Alligator Purse" for the 27th time or getting hustled in a game of Sorry, he enjoys fly fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, writing, reading, or letting the current of one of Kentucky's scenic waterways pull him into destinations unknown.

Kim Tracey Prince Kim Tracy Prince Kim Tracy Prince is a television producer and freelance writer in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles. With two little boys under 5, she writes about the messy underbelly of family life at House of Prince and contributes to Los Angeles Moms Blog and the real estate blog Bird's Eye View on Roost.com. Kim also works with the charity blog Help a Mother Out to get donations of diapers to homeless and needy families. When she and her husband can wrestle the kids into their car seats successfully, they enjoy trips within a 7-hour drive, max.

Warren Toland Warren Toland is a VP of Development and Public Relations for a non-profit located in Central Connecticut. Warren has been blogging for over three years at his personal site, mr big dubya, and is a founding member of the irreverent and very popular dad blog, DadCentric. He also contributes to The Whinery, My Wife Hates My Xbox, and Draft Day Suit.

Phil Corless Phil Corless is a stay-at-home dad in North Idaho. He also homeschools his two kids, which makes it easier to make frequent road trips around the West as a family. He's been writing about this unique life since 2004 at his blog, A Family Runs Through It. Corless received his Masters in Business Administration from the University of Idaho and his undergraduate degree from Cal State Fullerton.

James Grayson James Grayson is a photographer that loves to write. He currently resides in Austin, TX, with his wife and kids who provide endless hours of humor in his life. He shares some of it with the world at his blog, Daddyshack. James and his partners at Quirkee Media also publish a humor and entertainment magazine at Quirkee.com. He loves to travel and plans on doing it more often as his kids grow older. He wants to discover more of the world around him with his family and capture the moments in photographs. See more of his photography at JamesGrayson.com.

Darren Farrington Darren Farrington is a theater manager and producer living in Connecticut with his wife and daughter. He got in on the blogging scene in 2005 as a daddy blogger and later incorporated posts into his professional consulting website DarrenFarrington.com. Darren began working in arts organizations in 1991, but took a much-too-long break for law school and legal practice in New York and Connecticut. Even then, his strength was writing and persuading readers to go (mentally at least) where he told them. As a big fan of vacations, hes glad to be using his cultural and writing experience to promote travel and tourism.

Ed Lamaze Ed Lamaze has spent the better part of his life dreaming of someplace else and traveling less than extensively. Elated when offered the opportunity to be a part of the Vacations Blog team at UpTake.com, his wife flatly countered, "But you don't take vacations." "I know, that's the beauty of it!" Ed is a Stay-at-Home father of five children having left a career as a Registered Nurse in a Children's Hospital ER to tend to the scrapes and bruises of everyday life at home. Rest assured that when Ed speaks of a vacation destination, it's been tested kid friendly. Born and raised in Louisiana, Ed currently resides in a historical home (that means it's old) outside of Columbus, Ohio where he will be writing of vacation adventures in America's Heartland. His personal blog, Little M Long A, chronicles some of the zaniness of raising five crazy kids.

Jason Roth Jason Roth, a resident of Las Vegas, provides UpTake readers a local's take on the hotels, restaurants, attractions and events that make for an ultimate family vacation in the City of Sin. A blogger for nearly four years, he also chronicles his journey as a husband and father under the pseudonym of VegasDad on his personal blog ivegasfamily.com. In addition to blogging, Jason is director of marketing and public relations for a private university in Southern Nevada. He has more than 10 years of experience in public relations, having served clients in variety of industries at firms in Southern California, Phoenix and Las Vegas.

James Austin James Austin is a longtime Seattle, WA resident and Pacific Northwest native. A husband of 10 years and a first time father of an energetic toddler, James enjoys discovering and experiencing all the diverse beauty and wealth of exciting things to do within minutes of his Seattle home. James has been documenting his experiences as a new father for the past year on his dad blog Luke, I am your Father. In his free time, James enjoys managing people, as well as systems and operations, for a mid-sized office in a non-profit organization.

Jason Avant Jason Avant lives and works in the Southern California beach town of Encinitas, in north San Diego county. As he lives right across the street from the beach, "works" is somewhat misleading, unless you count being a full-time dad and avid surfer who blogs about being a dad and avid surfer as work, which he does. Jason is the founder and managing editor of the popular dad blog DadCentric , and also rants, babbles, and muses at his personal blog, Pet Cobra.

Laura Charon Tiffany Joyce (the blogger formerly known as "Laura Charon") has had an online presence since 2000, blogging at Snerkology and various associated websites over the years. She is a native of Maine, and currently resides in Arizona. Her "day" job is in Supply Chain Management in the semiconductor industry. At any given moment Tiffany can be found with her nose stuck in front of the computer, in a good book, or behind the lens of her camera. She and her husband are enjoying a renaissance of their honeymoon, as the children have both grown up (well, mostly) and moved out of the house.

Keith Morton likes to consider himself a "globe trotting playboy philanthropist," however when he's not engrossed in this delusional fantasy he's more like a chubby husband, father of a six year old boy, writer, charter school professional, and student. When he has spare time and can manage to scrape together a few bucks he mostly knocks around the New York quad-state area (New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania) with his family in their Hyundai, looking for GPS-guided adventure. In addition Keith writes and maintains his well-regarded daddy/life blog, African American Dad.

Leah Peterson Leah Peterson is a published writer and has been writing online since 1998, back when blogs didn't even have a name besides "my website page." She has been doing columns, essays and interviews for print, online and video since 2004. Leah lives with her family in Southern California, including some actual teenagers and a pet cockatiel named Senator Bird. She is a consultant for the Showtime series United States of Tara. You can find her at Leahpeah, RealMental, TryHandmade and CoolMomPicks.

Rosalind Cummings-Yeates Rosalind Cummings-Yeates is a freelance journalist, blogger and arts critic specializing in travel and lifestyle topics. Her credits include Hemispheres, MSN, Salon, Brides, Yoga Journal, Rough Guide to Women Travel and the Chicago Sun Times, among other publications. Shes based in Chicago, from which she manages to escape during the Windy Citys six official winter months. The rest of the time, she shares the cold with her husband, two kids, rabbit and cat. You can read more of her work on her web site, www.RosalindCummingsYeates.com and on her blog, Farsighted Fly Girl.

Jeremy Banas makes his way in the world as a claims manager for a large financial services that serves the military community. By night, he blogs away about all things related to brewing and craft beer on his own site Ruination Press. He even finds time to impart his meager knowledge about particular brews in the form of review. He's still trying to get the hang of this writing thing. An avid homebrewer, who can't seem to get enough, Jeremy is also working toward his Cicerone Certification, the beer industry's equivalent to a sommelier in the wine world.

Nightlife Blog

Jason Avant Jason Avant lives and works in the Southern California beach town of Encinitas, in north San Diego county. As he lives right across the street from the beach, "works" is somewhat misleading, unless you count being a full-time dad and avid surfer who blogs about being a dad and avid surfer as work, which he does. Jason is the founder and managing editor of the popular dad blog DadCentric , and also rants, babbles, and muses at his personal blog, Pet Cobra.

Kim Tracey Prince Kim Tracy Prince Kim Tracy Prince is a television producer and freelance writer in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles. With two little boys under 5, she writes about the messy underbelly of family life at House of Prince and contributes to Los Angeles Moms Blog and the real estate blog Bird's Eye View on Roost.com. Kim also works with the charity blog Help a Mother Out to get donations of diapers to homeless and needy families. When she and her husband can wrestle the kids into their car seats successfully, they enjoy trips within a 7-hour drive, max.

Whit Honea Whit Honea is an award-winning writer in the greater Seattle area. He is a husband of one, a father of two and the lifeline to many relatively tame creatures. Whit's writing can be found at Babble, AOL, DadCentric, MamaPop, Savvy Source and the Disney Blog. His personal site, Honea Express (Honea sounds like pony), is an eclectic mix of family fun and foul-mouthed tirades.


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