A good hotel is my kryptonite. For real, there’s nothing better than a gorgeous hotel in a cool city. Fresh linens, a plush bed, room service (in theory, if you’re a kazillionaire), and if you’re really lucky, a thick white robe and slippers.
I have a weakness for white robes in gorgeous hotel rooms. It will be my ultimate downfall.
So a few weeks ago I went to New York City for some meetings around the United Nations annual meetup, as a social good fellow with Shot@Life for two days of the Social Good Summit (which is where all the smart people of the world gather to rally around global issues). It was amazing, and I’ll share the details of that later, because you all want to get involved.
Anyway, I stayed in the most adorable boutique hotel on the Upper East Side called Hotel Wales. If you were walking past the building on the street you probably wouldn’t even notice it’s a hotel, which is pretty much the best. I totally forgot to get a photo of the outside of the hotel because I was all caught up in being in NEW YORK CITY without being in charge … >> find out more...
Wasatch Mountains, Utah
Hello friends, I’m so happy you’re here today! I really am. Because I want to introduce something new I’m going to try on Petit Elefant. I’m picking up the pieces of my life, and will be for a little while, but I want to stay connected to you and yours while I do it.
The best way I can think to do that is to post a photo with a little something about what you’re looking at. This way we can stay in touch and you’ll still get your daily dose of Petit Elefant with something pretty to look at. <—— (preposition)
Sound good? Anything in particular you’d like to see? Today’s photo is one I took last week during a brief detour from the elementary school carpool lane. The mountains near my house are absolutely stunning, always, but this time of year they’re spectacular with the changing leaves and low Fall sun. So pretty.
Have a wonderful Tuesday, friends. I hope life is treating you right today. xo
The Thousand Islands isn’t just a salad dressing after all. It’s a real, and really lovely, place well worth a visit. For our tenth wedding anniversary, my husband and I went to a cute little bed and breakfast in Gananoque, Ontario, Canada which hosts part of the 37 km stretch of the Thousand Islands Parkway. Along the American-Canadian border is a stretch of over 1800 islands in the St. Lawrence River as it emerges from Lake Ontario. 1800 islands!
We enjoyed a 2 1/2 hour boat ride along the Thousand Islands. It was easy to spot which side was the American side and which side was the Canadian side because of the flags being flown!
I loved seeing Boldt Castle, home to George C. Boldt who was general manager of the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in New York City. Looking at that castle, I think he did well for himself!
The boat tour was great for learning a little history. Did you know that Thousand Island salad dressing was named after this part of the world?
I think the most fun we had on our little getaway was biking the Thousand Island Parkway. While my husband and I both enjoy biking, we … >> find out more...
Free is always great, right? Especially when it comes to FREE things to do in LONDON! In my London travels, I’ve always appreciated the free things there are to do in a city where my dollar doesn’t go as far as I’d like. If you’re looking to have a fun time AND save a buck, then please enjoy these suggestions!
1. Visit a museum. London has some of the best museums. My favorite is The British Museum. It was even fun for my kids! It houses the Rosetta Stone and real live mummies as well as so much more! If you’re looking for educational, the Science Museum and Natural History Museum are also great. If you’re looking for art, try the V&A.
2. Go geocaching. The last time we were in London, we tried this geocaching thing that I’d heard so much about. We were newbies at it doing it in a city that we didn’t know super well. It’s such a great way to explore! For those of you who don’t know what geocaching is, it’s basically like a huge online hide-and-go-seek scavenger hunt. People hide little caches, literally, all over the world and you find them … >> find out more...
If you are looking for tips for visiting London, you’ve come to the right place. You might call me a pro on traveling to London. (This is the part where I blow on my fingers and dust them off on my shirt.) Well, maybe not a pro, but I’ve definitely done a fair share of travel through this fascinating city. I’ve learned a few things along the way, so, in the spirit of helpfulness, I want to pass along a few tips for foreigners visiting London.
1. Bring an umbrella. Hum a little Mary Poppins during your packing madness, and pack an umbrella in your suitcase. I’ve been to London during different seasons, and it’s always rained at least a couple of days during my stay. Trust me. You will use it.
2. Avoid the Heathrow Express Train. As soon as you come out of customs, people are there trying to sell you a ticket into London. For the newbie traveler, you might think that’s the only way to get to the city. It’s not. The Heathrow Express Train is the fastest way, but it also costs about three times more. Go via London’s Underground rail system. It … >> find out more...
It’s easy to forget to enjoy little moments of bliss and joy, with our lives so hectic and pressured. Inspired by recent travels, I compiled a collection of photos called Looking Out My Back Door. It does make me want to hum a little Creedence Clearwater Revival, yes, but it also makes me marvel at how quickly the scenery can change. As in life, if we’re not careful, it can pass us by in the blink of an eye. As you browse through this collection, remember the wise words of Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around for a while, you could miss it.” With that, I’d like to share what I see looking out my back door and encourage you to enjoy little moments, whether out your back door or far from home.
While in Texas, this was my scenery most of the time. Oh, how wonderful it was to open the blinds and see the peaceful serenity of a lake and horses! It was my daily reminder to pause and breathe.
My husband and I snuck off kid free to downtown Dallas for a night. Since we live in the bush … >> find out more...
We officially crossed something off our proverbial bucket lists this summer: a family trip to the Oregon coast. If you’ve been there, you already know the joy of it. Never been? Go. You’ll be forever delighted with the memories, sights and sounds of a rugged, breathtaking, magical slice of the Pacific coast.
We enjoyed hikes through the towering forests, running across crescent beaches, kite flying (a favorite pastime here), a first attempt at skim boarding, early misty-morning beach combing, sand dollar discoveries, beach sunsets, and ice cream cones. All reasons to find a spot on your personal bucket list for the Oregon coast, for a perfectly amazing weekend.
Our Oregon coast weekend was spent mainly on Cannon Beach, home to iconic Haystack Rock. It’s a behemoth rock right on the shore that serves as a nesting spot for Puffins and other sea birds. The rock is also surrounded by tidepools. At low tide we could walk right out to it and view hundreds of sea anemones, barnacles, mussels, even sea stars and hermit crab. Any fans of the movie Goonies. (“Hey you guys!”) will recognize lots of Cannon Beach scenery. I could not have anticipated the boundless joy my boys,… >> find out more...
Understanding a different “culture” is more than just knowing about traditions and foods of a place you are visiting. It’s understanding what different countries & people value, or find humorous or consider offensive. For example, this conversation that really happened to me:
“Jen, did you sit behind a computer the whole time you were in the states?”
“Because you look a little bit fat.”
Gasp! This is a real life conversation I had with one of my African friends upon returning to S. Africa after 2+ months of traveling around the U.S. and England. I mean, yes, there were a few more fat cells stuck to my thighs, midsection, and derrière (thank you Austin food trucks), but no one is supposed to actually point that out, right? Isn’t is supposed to be rude to say things like that?
Well, that’s what my American culture tells me. Fat equals a four letter word that should never be used to describe someone, and is definitely not a compliment to an American’s ears.
Did you know that calling someone fat in African culture is a compliment?
Take a moment to wrap your head around that one. I’ve lived in Africa on … >> find out more...
Disneyland is called the Happiest Place on Earth, and my family is not disagreeing.
After taking our very first trip to the West Coast park last summer, I’ve been back solo four times since, which translates to some pretty good tips to help you make the most of each visit.
And just as I did in my Walt Disney World post, I focused on basic ways you can make a long weekend at the parks that much more pixie dusted for your family. Bonus: Disneyland is a lot smaller than Walt Disney World, which means hitting a lot more attractions before the kids start getting tired.
Disneyland is always busy, making it a little tricky to figure out when the very best time to visit might be. That being said, the least busy times (it’ll still be crowded) are the first few weeks of December. The Christmas decorations are out and the general merriment in the air is awesome. Other “slower” times are usually when school is first back in session (excluding any school holidays or three-day weekends), early January, just before most schools start Spring Break, and almost any time mid-week (Tuesday-Thursday).
There are three themed hotels on property at Disneyland – Disney’s Grand … >> find out more...