I have never taken the time for a girls’ weekend with friends. I’ve done girls’ night out, lunches, breakfasts, and day outings, but never an extended period of time, with just my girlfriends. I’ve been married for 14 years, come this October. Those of you that have had girls’ weekends, bravo!
The truth is, life is so busy, it’s difficult to find the time. With our family, we treasure travel time, and each weekend together, and work to maximize our moments together. With family as our primary priority, fun extras like a girls’ weekend, tend to get pushed further down our list. I was thrilled to participate when Choice Hotels said they want to get people out there, into one of their 5,000 locations across the US, and connect face-to-face. You can do the same. Remember to sign up for a free membership with Choice Privileges and start earning points, and perks, with your stays.
So being forced to get out of our routine, and get together with my friends from middle school days, was invigorating. Most of us hadn’t had a girls weekend, since we’d been married, and the trip to Napa was the first for a couple of my friends … >> find out more...
As a family we really enjoyed downtown Boston. While we adore San Francisco, and New York, we love Boston because of how clean and open the city feels. The North End of Boston with the ocean breezes is absolutely lovely. While San Francisco can feel overwhelming and crowded, and New York can feel stifling and slightly smelly, we didn’t find that in Boston. Granted, we weren’t in Boston during the winter, I don’t think we would’ve survived if we tried winter on the East Coast.
Walk around the North End and enjoy the breezes. You’ll also find Paul Revere’s house. In fact, find and follow the Freedom Trail. Look for the red bricks, or grab a visitor’s guide at the visitor center at the Boston Common. Everyone was telling me to do the trail, but I had no idea where to start. Going to the visitor center is super helpful.
While you’re in Boston Common, look for the “Make Way for Ducklings” sculpture, which is one of Boston’s most famous attractions. The statues are of Mrs. Mallard and her eight ducklings. The sculpture is based on the 1942 Caldecott Medal winning picture book by Robert McCloskey.
The … >> find out more...
This summer we had the unique opportunity to spend two months in the Boston, Massachusetts area. While there we tried to squeeze as much out of our time on the East Coast as possible.
Our first weekend exploration adventure began in a quaint town just 30 minutes from where we were staying in Andover, MA. If you’re driving from Boston, it’s only 50 minutes. Newburyport is absolutely darling. If you’re looking for boutique shops, homemade ice cream, gelato, strolling down streets and great eats to enjoy a breezy day, Newburyport is it. Our family are official fans of Newburyport and Plum Island, MA.
Best of British is a quaint little shop filled with everything an Anglophile like me would want to browse. They also have a selection of loose leaf teas. We brought three different flavors home with us.
Village Silversmith is filled with all things silver, crystals, fossilized gifts, and gemstones, along with many more fascinating finds that my daughters loved.
Pawsitively Best Friends is a darling shop for pet lovers. They have so many cute signs, gifts, and supplies for the discerning pet friend. We also noticed that many of the shops, not just the pet shops, had … >> find out more...
We spent last Christmas in Durban, because that’s what you do here in S. Africa. You spend Christmas at the beach. It’s hotter than hot that time of year, and the only respite you can find is in your toes touching that cool water. Durban resides along the Indian Ocean making it more popular in my book than Cape Town which borders the arctic waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
There’s loads of touristy things you can do in Zulu nation, but if I had my choice, I would take my tourist hat off and spend my time doing two things.
1. Going to the beach. In my opinion, the best beach spots are found just outside the city. Aptly named the Dolphin Coast, Ballito is the best with its beautiful beaches and cafés. It’s perfect for families, but even if you’re not in that season of life yet, Ballito offers a peace and tranquility that the big city lacks. Get up at sunrise and watch the dolphins ride the waves of the surfers. Who wouldn’t like that?
2. Eating a good curry, like all the time. I’ve heard it said that every person in India has a cousin either in … >> find out more...
Maui is my favorite Hawaiian island. Frankly my dear, I would not be opposed to retiring on the island of Maui. I already envision myself at sunset, strolling along the shore with my husband, with the water lapping at our toes. I glance around the area and smile as I see my daughters, with their children enjoying the last rays of the sun. I can feel the warm breeze, and hear the comforting crush of the waves, and I feel at peace.
When I saw that Trip Advisor had named Maui number two in the world, of the top 10 islands for 2015, I was pleased, but not surprised. I raised a shaka sign, and smiled.
In April, our family of four went home to Maui for about ten days. I say home, because as soon as my feet touch the ground in Hawaii, and I breathe in, I’m home. In all our travels, there isn’t another place that has felt like that to me.
Maui is the second largest of the Hawaiian islands, and the third most populated, following O’ahu and the Big Island. For us the Big Island is wild, and arid. O’ahu is busy, … >> find out more...
Dublin! Have you ever been there? I have. For a day. Seriously. We were in Ireland visiting friends, and we had one day as a family to explore. Cliffs or Dublin? We chose Dublin, because the hazy, rainy day would have blocked any beautiful views of the cliffs. I guess we’ll have to go back someday.
First bit of helpful information you will receive today…how to get there. Since we were already in England, we opted to rent a car and take the ferry over to Dublin. It was such a fun experience for my kids! We took the StenaLine which was fantastic. There was plenty to keep the kids entertained.
I found Dublin to be a quaint little city. It lacked that hustle and bustle which was just fine with me. My husband was happy because there were so many people that looked like him…red hair, freckles, and fair skin!
When you only have a day, you have to plan wisely. Of course, we didn’t do everything we wanted (another reason to go back), but I’d say we covered a fair bit to etch a memory. Here’s what we did and my take on the experience.
1. Visited Trinity … >> find out more...
Just the name conjures up mysterious treasure, mythical stories, and mountains of adventure. The Atlantis resort on Paradise Island in the Bahamas offers up all of that intrigue.
My husband and I visited Atlantis in October of 2008. It was a sales incentive trip through his company. It was an amazing trip, but I desperately missed our young daughters, who were just four and two years old at the time. We kept thinking, during that trip, of how lovely it would be to return with our girls, once they were older.
In February of 2013, we were able to do that. We were grateful that it was another sales incentive trip, so we only had to purchase flights for our daughters.I’m not going to sugar coat it, Atlantis for families, is an expensive vacation. Yes, the resort runs deals, and special offers throughout the year, and I do recommend you take advantage of them. Since everything has to be brought to the island, there’s no way around the high prices, even when someone else is footing the lodging bill. However, there are things you can do to try to save your budget.
Since we had been to the … >> find out more...
The end of last year I was homeschooling my kids when an opportunity for our whole family to go to Kenya came up. It was a chance to find education outside of a textbook and to do something for others. It was right, so we went. This is the first time I’ve sat down to write and reflect on the trip and the impact it had on my kids. I don’t know if I will ever fully know how what they witnessed with their eyes, traveled to their hearts, but perhaps telling the story of the day I met one amazing sho sho will help…
First stop…the market. While waiting to buy food parcels, the kids and adults gathered to see the song and dance show that we were performing to entertain the kids gawking at this small army of white skinned weirdos who obviously weren’t from around these parts. We failed miserably at trying to be inconspicuous to avoid mzungu prices. However, if the color of our skin affected the price, I wouldn’t have noticed. Seventy dollars to buy food parcels for 24 elderly families was a steal, and I would have gladly paid more.
By the time we arrived at the … >> find out more...
Frankly, my dears, I am not made for winter. Maybe it’s the low blood pressure, but I am always cold. My nose, my toes, my fingers, and my rear, sweet cheeks, are always a bit chilly. This is why in the winter, even in Northern California, my heart sings arias for tropical climates. Hawaii is hands down, my favorite place to visit when I crave ocean breezes, fresh flavors that make my mouth water, and a laid back, relaxed attitude towards life.
Hawaii is a perfect place to visit, and fantastic with kids, if you’re looking for easy. There aren’t any passports, language barriers, or currency exchanges to worry about. I’ve found that if you go off-season, you can usually find fabulous flight deals from Hawaiian Airlines.
Oahu is great for families, and is a great pick for the first island to visit. It’s the third largest Hawaiian island, and is the most populated of all the eight islands. About two-thirds of Hawaiians live on Oahu. With so much to do, or not to do, you won’t get bored on Oahu. Oahu is also ideal for discovering the flavor of what Hawaii is like, and from there pick the other … >> find out more...