Posts in the ‘Travel’ Category

Photo Book Sale

Thursday, September 5th, 2013

blurb-book-idea-promo-code

I will be the first to admit that planning beyond tomorrow just seems impossible these days. I have friends who are making plans for the Christmas holidays while I am still trying to enjoy the end of summer. And even though I don’t have a clue where my family is headed for Thanksgiving – I do know that Blurb has a ‘Thank You’ Sale going on right now. It is time to download your favorite summer pictures from your cell phone and create some fun photo books to give to your favorite family and friends as a little special thank you gift this holiday. Add a few special words including a special memory or a simple note of thanks to complete your custom photo book. Another fun idea would be to collect a bunch of your family’s favorite Thanksgiving recipes and include a few crazy pictures of your cousins and grandparents and create a keepsake everyone will treasure for generations to come. Make your books (hard copy or electronic) this weekend so you can take advantage of this special Thank You promotion and you can cross one more thing off of your to-do list. Enjoy 15% OFF your order now through Monday, September 9th, 2013.

Oh wait – I almost forgot – the promo code you will want to enter is TAKE15. Let me know what kind of book you end up making!

Photo credit: Familjen, I Tove Freiij, Blurb

Jellies Experience in Monterey

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

jelly-fish-monterey

One of our favorite family activities is to visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium. It is only an hour from our home so it is a great place for a weekend afternoon trip.  Many times we get a hotel room in Carmel and make a weekend out of it.

Of course there are adorable otters, scary sharks, hilarious penguins, magical seahorses and all sorts of fabulous fish for the kids to look at and even tanks where they can actually touch creatures of the sea. And what kid doesn’t love getting their hands wet! But I have been so impressed with the current jellyfish exhibit titled, The Jellies Experience, and how the team at the Monterey Bay Aquarium has incorporate technology into a wonderful interactive experience for kids of all ages.

Here is how it works. There are about six small touch screen stations arranged for the kids. Children are able to draw images on the screens with their fingers, very similar to an iPad drawing application. They can pick from a rainbow of colors and two different widths of brushes. The idea is that they are to draw a jellyfish (my son usually likes to draw a submarine or two as well). When they have completed their picture they can release it out to sea. With a click of a button their image floats up to a large screen on the wall where their jellyfish floats around in the sea with the fish designed by all of the other children. It is just wonderful and the children squeal in delight watching their creature float in the big blue sea. As an added bonus, you can enter your email address and your child’s image gets sent right to your inbox. It is brilliant. You can go home and print you the image or make it your screen saver. You can also send it directly to grandparents or friends so they can get a colorful surprise in their email too.

Needless to say, my son is hooked on this awesome exhibit. And  I am too.

jelly-fish monterey bay aquarium

Four Seasons Resort Hualalai

Monday, April 29th, 2013

four-seasons-hawaii-pool

I recently returned from the best spring break ever. It seems like half of California heads to Hawaii for
spring break – or at least half of families from my son’s school. I hadn’t been to Hawaii in over 20 years
and this year we finally decided to go. The difficult part was deciding which island to visit and figuring
out where to stay. The more I talked to friends and friend-of-friends and neighbors and parents of
my son’s classmates, the more confused I got. Everyone seems to have their favorite island and their
favorite spot to stay. Unable to make a decision, I finally sent a short text to my very well-traveled friend
Melanie and simply asked – what is the best spot in Hawaii? Her immediate response: Hualalai.

Four Seasons Resort Hualalai at Historic Ka‘upulehu is a spectacular resort for an easy, relaxing, active
and utterly perfect family getaway. I am a huge fan of doing close to nothing and this is a fabulous place
to completely unwind and get away from everything. My husband was impressed with the wireless
connection that stretched to every inch of the property while I opted to keep my iPad, laptop and phone
turned off the entire time (ok – I called my parents once and I think I responded to 2 text messages – but
that’s it!).

Let’s start with our spectacular ‘Ohana suite. With almost 1500 square feet of space we had more than
enough room to move in and feel incredibly comfortable. My son loved the outdoor lava rock shower,
the telescope and xbox, and I enjoyed having my very own steam room. And right outside our suite was
an enormous lawn that my son could run around on as well as comfortable outdoor furniture where we
could eat breakfast or just hang out and lounge.

four-seasons-hawaii-kings-pond

The resort has a complimentary kids club and my son had a great time at the club for a few hours every
day. One of the highlights was certainly King’s Pond (pictured above), a 1.8 million gallon “aquarium” carved out of the
natural lava rock. It is stocked with over 3000 tropical fish from more than 75 species all swimming
freely about. We could snorkel for hours (which my son did every day) and I never had to worry about
my son’s safety. He even got to feed an eagle ray. And don’t worry about packing snorkel gear – the
resort has equipment for you to use at no charge.

I made a little deal with myself. As long as I woke up and exercised for 1 hour then I could spend the
rest of the day lounging, reading magazines and doing close to nothing. I took wonderful long walks on
the ocean-front path and worked up a sweat at the gym too. The gym is strategically located next to a
fabulous boutique so I could go shopping every day right after jumping off the treadmill. Love that!

So if you are in the midst of making vacation plans for your family, you only need to remember one word: Hualalai.
We’ve only been home 2 weeks and we are already trying to figure out when we are going to go back
next…

Photo credit: www.fourseasons.com (because I haven’t had time to download my own pictures from my camera!)


Weekend Getaway Travel Bags

Sunday, March 31st, 2013

weekend-bag

 

I am a huge fan of the weekend getaway. In fact, the last 3 or 4 weekends we have found ourselves traveling for quick little getaways. Our favorite spot is Carmel since it is so close to our home, yet we feel like we are a million miles away. The trick is figuring out what to pack and not taking too much. I try to pack as light as possible so unpacking will be a snap. The trick is finding the perfect bag. I found these wonderful travel bags at Layla Grace.

white-gold-weekend-tote

 

These two very different tote bags are great options. This white and gold stripe leather market tote is perfect for a spring getaway. The large opening makes it easy to pile in the clothes. It has a great modern look. I also love the Petunia Pickle Bottom Organic  Wistful Weekender Dancing Daisies bag too.   It comes in so many of their wonderful, cheerful patterns.

And all weekend long (3/30-3/31) Layla Grayce is offering free shipping with promo code FREESHIP on your entire purchase. Maybe you will find a few things to put into your new note too.

Miraval

Sunday, February 17th, 2013

miraval-spa

I am just going to cut to the chase here and tell you that I absolutely loved the 4 days I spent at Miraval, a luxury wellness resort located in Tucson, Arizona. I don’t think I have ever been so relaxed in my life. It was a prefect mommy getaway.  I heard that Oprah is a big fan too and I can see why. If you just need to get away from everything and experience total tranquility and peace and yummy food and amazing spa treatments and beautiful surroundings and soft sheets and fluffy comforters – this is the spot for you.

miraval resort and spa

When you land at the airport in Tucson, there will be someone waiting for you at baggage claim with a ‘Miraval’ sign and from that instant on you will be completely taken care of. My friends and I received Miraval messenger bags, water bottles and literature to keep us occupied and the driver drove us out to the resort. Checking in was a snap and they reminded us of their ‘no cell phone’ policy which is fantastic. Yep – they don’t want to see you on your phone – no talking or texting or checking in with the family while you are supposed to be enjoying the resort amenities. It was a perfect excuse to really disconnect. (Yes – you can call the kids at night when you are back in your room!) I plopped my iPhone right into my bag and said goodbye.  I am always one to follow the rules!

One of my favorite things to do was just walk around the resort and check out all of the art work and the local foliage. But you can keep yourself busy from morning to night with all sorts of classes and activities. I started each day with a 7am stretch class and ended my days with meditation in the evenings. In between I did everything from taking a posture class to working out on the elliptical machine. You can ride horses, climb rock walls, take yoga classes, or get creative with sculpture and photo workshops. There are also a number of group session to help you heal your soul and you can even arrange one on one meetings with a range of wellness professionals.

miraval-resort

I must admit that two of my favorite things about Miraval were the meals and the spa treatments. We will start with the kitchen. Every meal is out of this world delicious. There is a buffet component to breakfast and lunch as well as specials that are served plated to your table. And dinner just gets better. If you can’t decide between entrees, they will bring you mini versions of each. And if that indecision continues through to dessert – go ahead and order one of each. Yes yes yes – it is all incredibly healthy and there is so much amazing seafood and other culinary delights, but if you aren’t looking to lose, you can certainly treat yourself too.  Rumor has it that many people choose Miraval over other high end spas because Mirval actually allows alcohol. It is nice to be able to enjoy a nice glass of wine after a long day of spa treatments…

Which takes me to the topic of the spa…It is gorgeous in a very understated way. The lovely finishes and muted colors were ideal to get you in a calm, relaxed zone. I loved that the treatment rooms were actually quite large so you didn’t feel like you were crammed into a little chamber. Of course I had to try a facial, a massage and their Hammam treatment which included lots of scrubs and clay. Miraval has a new partnership with Clarins so many of the spa experiences use Clarins products. I don’t know what else to say except that you won’t be disappointed and you won’t want to leave.

If you have any questions at all about going to Miraval – please don’t hesitate to send me an email. I can’t wait to go back….

 

Tea Collection SALE

Sunday, February 10th, 2013

tea-collection-south-africa-boys

I have always thought it would be so fun to work at Tea Collection and travel all over the world to find inspiration for their upcoming collections. I envision it as nothing but a creative adventure, but I know they must work really really hard. I am always excited to see what country or continent they have picked out. Since I have always wanted to visit South Africa, I was thrilled to see that South Africa was the inspiration for their latest collection. And it gets better, because from now through Valentine’s Day, 2/14/13, Tea Collection is offering 15% off sitewide with promo code GOTHERE15. You can shop the hottest spring looks inspired by Tea Collection’s travels to South Africa or take an additional 15% off already reduced sale items. Spring will be here before you know it so it is a great time to stock up for the sunshine. Hurry, don’t miss your chance to shop this great sale from Tea. Happy Shopping!

tea-collection-south-africa-girls

2012 Family Photo Book

Sunday, December 23rd, 2012

blurb-books

So all year long you have been snapping photos with your phone and having so much fun trying out every Instragram filter. I don’t want you all to end up like me with 1000s of photos that never see the light of day again. When you have a little downtime over the holidays, you can take some time to pull together a family photo book to recap your favorite moments for 2012. I have a few friends who actually create a separate book for each of their children and one for the grandparents too. Luckily Blurb makes it super easy.

So take some time and download all of your 2012 photographs, including vacations, birthdays, and special occasions so you can put all of these wonderful memories into a keepsake book. From now through January 7th, 2013 you can save 15% on your entire book order with code BOOKS15OFF.

And one other fun idea – at Blurb you can also create 2013 planners full of your favorite photos! For more ideas and inspiration go to: Blurb.com orBlurb.ca.

Stella & Dot Scarves

Friday, October 5th, 2012

stella-and-dot-pink-scarves

Have you heard the great news?? Stella & Dot has just launched a line of chic, colorful scarves. I am so excited because I love love love to wear scarves. These scarves are the perfect accessory for modern moms everywhere because they are so versatile and so easy to wear. In two seconds you can add a pop of color to any outfit with a luxuriously printed rayon scarf. Love that! The Stella & Dot scarf collection offers 5 different colors and each one has a unique pattern. And yes – it will be hard to choose just one so yes – you can buy 2 or 3….

Shop this pretty pink scarf during the month of October and all net proceeds will be donated to the Noreen Fraser Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to raising women’s cancer research funds and promoting early detection awareness.

stella-and-dot-orange-scarves

I know there are many of you out there who are thinking, “Yikes! I just don’t know how to wear a scarf.” A few of my dearest friends find scarves to be a much bolder accessory than a necklace or bracelet and are simply too scared to give them a try. I happen to think they are the easiest accessory to just throw on over a simple t-shirt or even a big sweater. Depending on the rest of your outfit (and the weather of course) you can let it hang down, wrap it around closer to your neck, or do just about anything. Scarves are not just for bundling up in the winter! Stella & Dot created a little video called 10 Ways to Wear a Scarf in case you need a little inspiration. You will see the video icon on this page to check it out.

And for moms with little ones… a colorful designer scarf can easily cover up any ‘little mishaps’ your child has on your favorite top so you should always have one tucked in your bag.

Vacation GIVEAWAY

Monday, September 17th, 2012

tea-collection-girls-clothes

I don’t know about you but I always find myself day dreaming about our next family vacation. I think my son will actually be able to survive a longer flight now that he has his iPad fully loaded with games and movies. I want him to see the world – just like I did as a kid. I have my fingers crossed that our next family vacation will be FREE.

Join me in entering this simple contest to win a FREE Vacation! Tea Collection has partnered with Jetsetter and is offering you the chance to win a Nordic Getaway + a Tea Collection gift certificate to pack your suitcase full of super cute Tea clothes for you and the kids. What a perfect combination!

tea-collection-jetsetter-nordic-getaway

I have visted Denmark, FInland, Norway and Sweden (and of course would love to add Iceland to my list too) and I have to tell you they were all absolutely wonderful. So many Americans think that Europe consists of Paris, London, Rome and Barcelona. They don’t even think the venture beyond those famous cities. Scandinavia is spectacular! I know I am a little biased since I am half Swedish, but they are simply gorgeous countries with friendly people and spectacular sites to see (and great shopping too!).

So come on, enter to win the vacation giveaway right here. Don’t miss your chance because this contest ends on 9/25/12. Good luck! If I don’t win, I at least want you to win…

LEGOLAND

Monday, September 10th, 2012

legoland-legos

My 5 1/2 year old son loves Legos. Virtually every table in our home is covered with Legos – the dining room table, the table in the playroom and the coffee table in the living room – you name it. We are left with the small table in the kitchen for all of our meals and are forced to get very creative whenever we have guests over to eat.

Right before school started I treated my son to a trip down to LEGOLAND California Resort in Carlsbad, which is just north of San Diego. It turned out to be a perfect 2 day adventure that he absolutely loved. I can’t recommend it enough.

legoland-ca-hotel

We stayed at the Grand Pacific Palisades Hotel & Resort that is literally right around the corner from LEGOLAND. Overall the hotel was great – the rooms were very clean and the beds were comfortable. I do have a few little tips and things to share. As you can see by the photo above – we carried our own luggage up on the luggage cart. My son thought it was so cool, but I wish we had valet parked so someone else could have dealt with our over-packing…I liked the fact that the hotel had a free shuttle over to the park that was relatively easy to catch. On our first day the driver gave us the wrong phone number to call for our return trip. That was a bit unpleasant after 9 hours at the park, but we got back to the hotel eventually. The second day things went more smoothly with the shuttle. As far as food goes you have to walk over to the restaurant across the parking lot to eat – it is not right in the hotel. I wished they had had a coffee shop or lobby bar right in the hotel so I could have more easily picked up a latte in the morning or a glass of wine after my long long day at the park. The restaurant was a little on the loud side so the 2nd night we ordered dinner to our room. My son loved his mac ‘n cheese and I had a great grilled shrimp salad.

legoland-ca-hotel-water-slide

If you were to ask my son, the highlight of the hotel was definitely the kids pool and water play area. After a long drive to get down to Carlsbad he was thrilled to throw on his bathing suit and head to the fun. In addition to the slide and water attractions they had a huge pool that was just 3-4 feet deep. All of the kids were splashing and playing together and there were plenty of chairs for the parents. One piece of advice – be sure to ask for pool towels at the concierge or front desk before you head over – just to be sure you get some.

legoland-lion

LEGOLAND was made for my son. I bought the two day pass and am really glad I did. We were at the park for 9 hours the first day and 5+ hours the second day. Going during the week was wonderful because the lines were very manageable. At some of the more popular rides, they brilliantly have tables of Legos strategically placed so kids can build and create while parents hold their place in line.  The Lego play area is all gated and you can always see your kids while you are in line.

One thing I especially liked about LEGOLAND California was the variety of activities and entertainment for my son. He got to drive a car (four times in fact), ride a pirate ship, watch a 3D movie, dig for dinosaur bones, splash in the water, play miniature golf and build and race Lego cars with other kids. I was surprised by how much he loved just playing with the Legos – in some instances more than being on the rides themselves.

legoland-ca-tip

My number one tip is to bring a stroller – even if you don’t have a baby. I was happy not to have to lug my bag around. It also helps in case you bring a change of clothes or food. (We were soaked after the pirate ship ride and I would have done anything to get out of my wet pants.) I love the fact that they let you bring in your own food and beverages too. I was happy to have a few snacks I could just grab from my bag. They also have some of the best amusement park food. Right near the entrance there was a little store where you could get turkey sandwiches, string cheese, yogurt, fruit, granola bars, gluten free cereal, and that much needed morning latte. You weren’t stuck with 5 pound chicken legs, blue cotton candy and 80 ounce soda cups like you are at some parks. I even spotted a room for nursing mothers and a vending machine with diapers and other mommy essentials. So smart!

legland-ca-water-park-tube

And yes – I would recommend a little visit to the LEGOLAND Water Park. Pictured above is an area where kids can create their own Lego rafts and float around a little river. As you can see it was great fun for my son. I was lucky that I never had to put my bathing suit on and actually join him in the water at the water park – I just wanted to stay dry (and yes I can’t help but wonder what hundreds of children are doing in the water now that they are newly inspired by Ryan Lochte’s admissions) and I was still able to keep a close eye on my son.

So yes – I would highly recommend a trip to LEGOLAND California to anyone. To be completely honest, I would say my son actually enjoyed it more than Disneyland. If you have any questions at all about visiting the park, please don’t hesitate to send me an email. I am sure your kids will love it just as much as mine.