October 29, 2012

New York Times Watches Sandy

Photo via the New York Times

The New York Times has installed a camera on the roof of their building in New York City and will provide updated photos every sixty seconds as the storm bears down on the city. If you want to see the storm in real time as it unfolds in New York,  check out the photos here.  The above picture from last night was eerily pretty.

Where is Sandy Going Next??

Photo via ABC News from Hilton Head, SC over the weekend
I wish this was a post about some fun place where I am headed to next...but, unfortunately, I share a name with this monster storm, Hurricane Sandy, that is headed straight in my direction.  It's still quiet here in Fairfield County, Connecticut but they have evacuated all of the waterfront areas in our town. We live inland, so we don't need to worry about flooding, but all those huge trees that make Connecticut so beautiful this time of year can be very dangerous when you have a lot of wind.
I am fully expecting to be without power for an extended period of time so this may be my last post for a little while. I keep thinking I should have be really ambitious and write a weeks worth of posts to schedule for every day this week, but I can't seem to pull myself away from The Weather Channel and CNN so that probably won't happen. To everyone in the path of Hurricane Sandy, my thoughts are with you - let's hope this storm isn't as bad as they are predicting.

No More Gelati at the Spanish Steps??

Photo from "Roman Holiday"
Are the days of being able to enjoy your gelato alongside the Spanish Steps the way Audrey Hepburn did in Roman Holiday over? It looks the they may be.

A municipal ordinance in Rome that went into force this month outlaws eating and drinking in areas of “particular historic, artistic, architectonic and cultural value” in  the city's center, to protect the city’s monuments, which include landmarks like the Colosseum, the Pantheon and the Spanish Steps. Fines will range from 25 - 500 euros.  Similar laws have been enacted in other Italian cities as well.  Antonio Gazzellone, Rome’s head of tourism,said that visitors strolling with gelati, panini or pizza would not be fined as long as they throw away their trash and show respect for their surroundings. "It's a question of civility", he said "You wouldn’t eat a pizza and drop tomato sauce all over the steps of the White House in Washington.”

While the thought of not being able to enjoy my gelato from San Crispino while strolling by the Trevi Fountain saddens me a bit, I can see the merit in trying to keep the monuments clean and showing respect for their historical importance. What do you think?

October 26, 2012

On My Radar Screen - Halloween Edition

Happy Friday! We are battening down the hatches for "Frankenstorm" and hoping it doesn't disrupt Halloween here in Connecticut. In the meantime, here are some spooky Halloween travel ideas that I have found this week:

Photo of 1886 Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs, AK via Huffington Post
Twelve places to travel to get scared out of your mind this Halloween!

For some tamer fun, visit the New York Botanical Garden's  Haunted Pumpkin Garden - they are even open at night this weekend for a "Spooky Nighttime Adventure" - events are geared towards kids aged 5-12, although children of all ages will enjoy seeing the over 500 intricately hand-carved pumpkin sculptures.
Photo via VisitSouth.com
Disney fans will enjoy the Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party at Disneyworld in Florida

Photo via USA Today
If you are in New York City, head down to the Village to miss the event of the year - over two million people are expected for the Village Halloween Parade. Keep in mind, this is pretty much an event for the adults only, but it is a not to be missed experience.

Enjoy your weekend and keep your finger crossed that this monster storm stays out at sea!

October 25, 2012

Travel RX - Medical Emergencies Abroad

I recently helped a friend plan the trip of her lifetime - a four day visit to Rome followed by a Mediterranean cruise. Mary and her husband had never traveled to Europe before.  It goes without saying she was quite excited for their adventure.  Sadly, on the same day they arrived in Rome, she fell and badly injured her ankle, winding up in a Roman emergency room. This is not how she had hoped to spend her dream vacation.  Without going into a lot of detail, I give Mary a lot of credit - she toughed it out and obtained a wheelchair to use for her remaining days in Rome and on the cruise, so while her trip wasn't quite what she dreamed of, it was not ruined altogether. As difficult as the situation was, it might have been worse. Would you be prepared if you had a medical emergency while traveling abroad?
Most health insurers - including Medicare - will not cover any costs outside of the United States.  Before you go abroad, verify what your policy covers, if anything.  In some countries, payment is required up front, often before any treatment is given. If you don't have adequate coverage, you may be on the hook to pay before you are treated.  For a few dollars a day, you can purchase a secondary policy that will cover the cost of  any medical emergencies that your primary medical insurance doesn't cover while you are out of the country.  Insuremytrip.com allows you to compare policies, but both Travelex and Travel Guard are well respected. Keep in mind, some travel medical insurers reimburse the medical facility directly while others reimburse you only after you file a claim. As you may need to pay the provider upfront, always make sure you have a credit card with a high credit limit available while traveling abroad.  Additionally, most policies provide 24 hour hotlines to help you find the best doctors or hospitals in an emergency (American Express' Global Assist provides this service for their cardholders, as well).
Another consideration is the possibility of the need for medical evacuation which can cost up to $100,000. Some medical travel policies include transfer to the nearest adequate facility, so if you are in India, for example, they will fly you to Singapore, not New York.  Additionally, it is up to the insurance company to decide whether or not you need to be evacuated. You may want to consider a membership in Medjet Assist ($195/year for travelers under 75) - they will fly you via air ambulance to any medical facility you choose.  The evacuation policy from Medex will make sure you are flown home as soon as you are stabilized either via air ambulance or an upgrade to business class if your condition puts you at a risk for medical complications (such as deep vein thrombosis or blood clots).
Finally, before you travel to a foreign country, bookmark your smartphone or laptop with this site from the US State Department with helpful information in case of a medical emergency abroad, including lists of hospitals and doctors abroad, and a list of Med-Evac companies.  In case of any emergency abroad, you can also contact your local embassy or consulate for assistance.

October 24, 2012

Wednesday Wanderlust

Photo via Thumbpress.com
I may just be planning a trip that starts here...fingers crossed.

October 23, 2012

Fall Day Trip - New Canaan, Connecticut and Philip Johnson's Glass House

We finally made it to Philip Johnson's Glass House in New Canaan, Connecticut yesterday - what a wonderful time of year to visit. The colors are probably a few days beyond their peak here in Southwestern Connecticut, but it was a gorgeous autumn day, perfect for our two hour site tour of the grounds, the house, the sculpture gallery and the painting gallery. It's an interesting tour from an art and architecture point of view, but I am not sure I could actually live in that house! 
New Canaan is the quintessential picturesque New England town so it is surprising to learn that it also was the hub for many modernist architects in the mid 20th century. At one time there were over 120 modernist houses in New Canaan - 80 of them remain, but most are not open to the public.
You will need to buy tickets in advance as they sell out quickly, particularly on the weekends.  The Glass House visitor's center is in the center of town (a van takes the tours to the 49 acre site) and is across the street from the train station
The town of New Canaan is a lovely drive up the Merritt Parkway or around a one hour train ride from New York City. Our two favorite restaurants there are Gates and Ching's Table - perfect for lunch before your visit to The Glass House. The shopping along Elm Street and Main Street is excellent with many smaller local shops, as well as some larger high end chains. It's a perfect day trip from New York or any of the surrounding suburbs.  

October 22, 2012

Hollywood Costume Exhibit at The Victoria and Albert

Photo via V&A Museum
If you are movie buff, it might be worth a special trip to London just to visit the Hollywood Costume exhibit that opened this weekend at the Victoria and Albert Museum (and runs until January 27, 2013).  With costumes ranging from Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's to Marilyn Monroe's character in Some Like it Hot to Avatar, the exhibit will showcase over 100 of the most iconic costumes from Hollywood's first century, 1912-2012.  All of the costumes are from private collections and studio archives and have never been publicly displayed before.
Photo via V&A Museum
This short video about the exhibit on the V&A Channel is excellent - the next best thing to being able to actually see the exhibit.(if you are not able to view the video above try going here.)

October 19, 2012

On My Radar Screen

Happy Friday!!

We have a winner in the giveaway!! Elisabeth G. was randomly selected as the winner - be sure to e-mail me your address, Elisabeth, so I can send your goodies to you!

Here are a few fun travel bits on my radar screen this week:

An incredible time lapse video of places around the world called  Made on Earth by Enrique Pacheco

Korean Air Place Setting from CN Traveler
I love this slide show called "Forks on a Plane" (what fun!) from CN Traveler about how beautiful and stylish cutlery is on some airlines. It reminds me of vintage train silver and china. I wonder if they would notice if I slipped a few place settings in to my carry-on!

Great news for everyone in Chicago - Eataly will be opening just off Michigan Avenue in September, 2013. Interesting note - there are already six Eataly's in Japan!
Photo via American Pro Diving
I wish I had done this with my children when they were young. Maybe I will have to do it with my two nephews now - Snorkeling with the Manatees
Have a great weekend everyone!!

October 18, 2012

The Four Freedoms Park ~ New York City

Photos via AP

 The original video about the Park as narrated by Orson Welles
Four decades in the making, the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial known as Four Freedoms Park was dedicated yesterday on New York City's Roosevelt Island. Originally conceived by then Governor Nelson Rockefeller and then NYC Mayor John Lindsay and designed by the visionary architect, Louis I. Kahn (Yale University Gallery of Art, The Salk Institute in La Jolla, CA, The Kimbell Art Museum in Texas), the four acre park overlooks the New York City skyline, in particular the United Nations Building which is just across the East River.  Kahn died in 1974 shortly after finishing the design. Following Kahn's original design, the open air "room" has walls made of 36 ton granite blocks from North Carolina each separated from by a one-inch space to creating stunning views especially as the light changes throughout the day.  On the north wall, carved into the rock, are the Four Freedoms FDR believed to be the foundation of the world: freedom of speech and expression, freedom of worshipfreedom from want and freedom from fear

The park will be opening to the public on October 24th and can be reached either by the Roosevelt Island tram or the subway..

October 17, 2012

This Week's Travel Steals and Deals

Here are some amazing deals for this week found through various travel sites: 
Photo of Turks and Caicos via Jetsetter
Want to enjoy some of the most beautiful beaches in the world? Jetsetter is offering a deal at Seven Stars in Turks and Caicos for an Oceanfront,Junior Suite (700 sf) starting at just $325/night plus an additional 10%  off when you book 3 nights (by entering the code JETSET3) - but hurry, this deal ends soon!

Photo of Lumiere Telluride via Tablet
Thinking of skiing over Thanksgiving or in early December? Tablet is offering a penthouse with two bedrooms at Lumiere in Telluride for as low as $368/night ($665 over Thanksgiving).

Photo via Chanler at Cliff Walk via Sniqueaway
The fall colors are spectacular in Newport right now and Sniqueaway is offering a deal at The Chanler at Cliff Walk for as low as $199/night.

Photo of Barcelona via Wikimedia Commons
Delta is offering discounts on International Business Class to Europe - fly to Barcelona for as low as $1800 round trip from New York (this was the best deal, but there are deals from anywhere in the US to all the cities Delta flies to in Europe).

Photo of Ireland via Groupon Getaways
Plan ahead for next year - Groupon Getaways is offering a Six Night Ireland Vacation  including airfare starting at only $999.  This deal ends tomorrow so go for it soon!
Nothing like some great deals to inspire even more wanderlust...I want to jump at all of them!

Wednesday Wanderlust

Photo courtesy of Jetsetter
Today's wanderlust location is in Bali..where do you dream of going?
Leave me a comment (and follow me or like me on facebook) to be entered to win the Giveaway!!

October 16, 2012

The Tipping Point

Even veteran travelers struggle with the age old issue of tipping.  There are countless tipping charts, calculators and apps that should be able to answer a lot of tipping questions, but it still seems to be a conundrum for many. When I travel with my husband, he handles all the tipping - he enjoys rewarding good service and he likes to tip well. After our recent trip, I decided to share some of his tipping advice.
Prepare before you leave home - Go to the bank and request ones, fives and tens. There is nothing worse than only having large bills when it is necessary to tip a valet or bellman.  If you are budgeting for a vacation, include gratuities in your budget and plan ahead how much you should tip various service providers.
Research tipping guidelines for where you are traveling - Some cultures frown upon tips (Japan and the South Pacific), others are offended if you overtip (China) and many include gratuities on dining bills (many European countries). Arm yourself with knowledge about the cultural norms of the countries where you are traveling and you will not risk offending anyone. For tipping guidelines around the world check out  CN Traveler's Guide to Worldwide Tipping.
Tip higher than the recommended guidelines to recognize exemplary service - A few extra dollars probably doesn't mean that much to your travel budget but recognizing excellent service by tipping a little extra will be remembered by the staff. This is particularly true if it is a place where you are a regular (or hope to become one).
Use the local currency -  Whenever possible, tip in the local currency so the person receiving the tip doesn't have the added concern of exchanging dollars into their own currency.
Don't penalize waiters and other staff for things that are not their fault - Many waiters and service staff rely on tips for a living. If the restaurant or the hotel makes a mistake, don't penalize the waiter, bellman or other service staffperson.
Don't forget housekeeping - It's hard work keeping a hotel room spic and span and it's thoughtful to recognize this in the form of a tip. Leave a tip for housekeeping daily because it may be a different person cleaning your room each day. I like to leave an envelope or a note marked "Housekeeping" by the bathroom sink where I know they will see it before I head out for the day.
Read the fine print - Many all-inclusive resorts do not allow tipping at all. Many cruises include a gratuity charge on your rate so you don't have to worry about tipping. Most hotels include gratuity on room service bills (but remember gratiuty is not the same as service charge - the service charge goes to the hotel not the person who delivers your food). In the US, restaurants often add gratuity for larger parties, so be sure to check to see if it is included. In Europe, particularly Italy and France, gratuity is usually included in the bill, but if service is excellent, it is nice to leave a little extra. Be sure to read your hotel rate rules and check restaurant bills so you don't double tip.
There is something very rewarding about making someone's day with a good tip in response to their hard work and service  - always be generous, thoughtful, and, remember, a smile and thank you also go a long way.
For fun, try this Travel Tipping Quiz, to see how your tipping skills measure up!
And, don't forget to enter the giveaway!!!!

October 15, 2012

My First Ever Giveaway!!!!

This week is You May Be Wandering's first ever giveaway!!!!! One lucky reader will win two Baggu Shopping Bags, a set of GoToob Squeezable Travel Bottles and Travel and Leisure's Europe - The Places We Love book. All you need to do to enter is to either "Like" You May Be Wandering on Facebook, follow the blog on Google Friend Connect or follow it on Bloglovin', and then leave me a comment here with a favorite travel tip or telling me about your favorite travel destination. (If you follow me in more than one place, you will be entered for each place you follow and if you have already followed me or liked me, just leave me a comment for your entry). On Friday morning, I will select a winner randomly.  Good luck everyone!!

October 12, 2012

Dispelling the Myths about Cancun

Photo courtesy of Ritz Carlton Cancun

Whenever I tell someone that one of my favorite places to vacation is Cancun I am often met with a puzzling look and loaded questions. While Cancun might not be a destination that appeals to every one, it is most certainly much, much more than it's reputation as simply a Spring Break destination.

After extolling the virtues of my recent trip for this entire week, I thought I should lay to rest some of the misconceptions about Cancun. Here are answers to a few questions that I often hear about Cancun:

Is it safe there?  Yes, Cancun is safer than many American cities based on recent statistics.  While there has been a lot of press about Mexico being unsafe for tourists because of drug violence, Cancun has managed to remain unscathed in that area. The biggest risk to tourists is the rip tide in the Caribbean rather than drug cartel violence.

Isn't it just a bunch of drunk Spring Breakers?  No, since Spring Break lasts approximately 2-4 weeks every year that leaves approximately 95% of the year with no partying college students. During those few weeks, Cancun does fill up with kids looking to have a good time, but if you stay in a five star hotel you probably won't even know they are there. I have been during Spring Break and because I keep a completely different schedule than the typical 21 year old, I haven't even seen them.

What is there to do there?  While the majority of the time I spend in Cancun is spent lounging in a cabana in front of the Ritz Carlton catching up on my latest novel, there is plenty to do. Beyond the typical resort activities, Cancun offers many options for tourists. It is a mecca for scuba divers and snorkelers with amazing reefs nearby and the Underwater Museum discussed here.  There are many Mayan ruins such as Tulum or Chitchen Itza within easy distance for a day trip. If you love to shop, there are several lovely modern shopping malls with high end retail outlets.  The Ritz Carlton even offers cooking classes with their chef several times a week.

Is it safe to drink the water? Most large hotels have purification systems, but at the same time, all restaurants and hotels offer bottled water. Just be smart and you don't have worry about the water.

Is it "authentic" Mexico? Okay, so Cancun isn't a charming little village. It's a modern resort community with high rise hotels and modern conveniences. I would compare going to Cancun more with going to Miami. If you want charming, authentic Mexico, you should go to San Miguel de Allende. If you want to five star hotels, excellent restaurants and a gorgeous beach then Cancun may be perfect for you.

Is it hard to get to?  That is the best thing about Cancun. It is within a four hour flight of most of the continental US. There is a modern airport a few miles away from the hotel zone and it is easy to book transfers or take a taxi to and from the airport.

"Behind the Scenes" at the Ritz Carlton Cancun

When my husband and I were offered the opportunity to go "behind the scenes" last week at the Ritz Carlton Cancun, we jumped at the chance. How amazing would it be to see what goes on back stage at the hotel which we love so much?  

Chef Rory Dunaway courtesy of Ritz Carlton Cancun
The affable Chef de Cuisine, Rory Dunaway, met us in the lobby and took us an extensive tour of the "heart of the house" - the staff areas, the laundry departments, all of the kitchens and food preparation areas, even the security room. 
We began at the place where all the fresh produce literally enters the building. It is quadruple washed with special fruit/vegetable cleaners and sorted for quality as soon as it is unloaded by the vendors. They want to make sure that no guest is served anything that isn't top quality.  
Housekeeping getting their evening assignments
Next we walked through the human resources department where the employees are selected (on average only one out of a hundred applicants is hired) and special events and rewards for the employees are organized.  In housekeeping, it was shift change time, so we saw the housekeeping staff lining up to get their evening turn down assignments. 
Preparing linens to go into the pressing machine
We visited the laundry facilities and saw the gigantic washers and dryers, as well as the state of the art pressing machine that presses and folds linens. An interesting note, the hotel provides the staff with three uniforms and dry cleans them on their behalf each day, so when an employee arrives at the hotel, a clean uniform is waiting for them.
The Pastry Chef making truffles
We then toured the all the various different kitchen areas, including the bakery, the cold storage, the banquet department, the dishwashing area, room service preparation just to list a few! The pastry chef greeted us with freshly made truffles and was pleased to show us his chocolate creations.  There is an on site butcher and separate kitchens for each of the hotel's restaurants.  We also saw the wine and tequila room. Every single space we visited was spotlessly clean with the staff preparing delicious looking and impressive quantities of food.

Viking Demonstration Kitchen courtesy of Ritz Carlton Cancun
Rory finished up the tour by showing us the gorgeous oceanfront Viking demonstration kitchen where he holds cooking classes and his Chef's Table, a four course menu with wine pairings prepared while you watch. He kindly shared a tasting of his favorite tequila with us. Sadly for Cancun, Rory is leaving this week for the brand new Ritz Carlton Reserve at Dorado Beach, Puerto Rico opening in December where he will lead three new restaurants. We will have to be sure to make plans to visit Rory in his new location as soon as it opens!  As much as Rory will be missed, The Ritz Carlton Cancun should have no problem finding another excellent chef to join their ranks.

Staff Dining Room - they are served three meals a day
What amazed us more than anything was how genuinely happy all the employees seemed. The hotel was selected the Best Place to Work in Mexico by Expansion Magazine last year. Rory explained to us that the Cancun property, as well as the Ritz Carlton corporation, works hard to ensure employee satisfaction.  They are clearly doing a great job - every employee we encountered, both on our tour and during our stay, was clearly proud of his or her position and worked diligently on behalf of the Ritz Carlton and their guests.
Room service preparation

One of the restaurant kitchens

The pantry

Another restaurant kitchen
Thank you, Rory, for the incredible tour and best of luck to you in Puerto Rico!

October 11, 2012

Sea Turtle Release

Photo via Wikimedia Commons
Every summer, on the white sand beaches of Cancun endangered sea turtles come ashore at night to lay their eggs. Visitors to Cancun during this time have the opportunity to participate in one of the best kept secrets in the area  - participating in a program releasing hatchling sea turtles into the ocean. Several resorts participate in sea turtle nesting and release programs.

At the Ritz Carlton, Kanan-Aks (Turtle Guardians in the Mayan language) protect the eggs at the resort's "Turtle Camp" where they will be watched for 50 to 60 days until they hatch. Once they hatch, the Turtle Guardians, assisted by guests, gather in the evenings to help the hatchlings on their way into the sea.

Photo via Palace Resorts
It is remarkable to see these tiny baby sea turtles hatching and then making their way into the ocean.  Adult sea turtles grow to be around 300 pounds, but the hatchlings are small enough to fit into the palm of your hand. The trip from the nest to the water is one of the most dangerous times in a sea turtle’s life, because crabs and seagulls often grab them before they can make it to the water, so turtle release programs are beneficial in helping in the turtle's survival.
If you have the opportunity to participate in a sea turtle release program, do not miss it - it is an experience you will never forget.

Thank You Ritz Carlton Cancun

Sometimes we all need a vacation that is simply about relaxation. The Ritz Carlton Cancun can always be relied upon for those occasions.  I have traveled to many luxury resorts in the Carribean and Mexico, but for some reason, I always want to go back to Cancun for one reason - The Ritz Carlton.

Photo via Ritz Carlton
Last week, my husband and I went again (this trip was our ninth time!) for a four day vacation. It was the first resort trip we have taken in a few years - between sending all three children off to college and out into the working world and taking several trips to Europe, we hadn't taken a relaxing getaway for just the two of us.  Despite the rainy weather, we still had a wonderful time and it all comes back to one reason - our wonderful hotel.

Photo via AAA

Hotels aren't awarded five diamonds by AAA easily - the Ritz Carlton Cancun earned five diamonds for the resort and five diamonds for both of their fine dining restaurants, making it the only hotel out of 62,000 rated by AAA to earn this distinction. They take this seriously down there - their service and quality reflect it in everything they do. 

Before I even booked our trip, I began e-mailing with Fernando in reservations who assured me he would be reserving the exact room where we always stay - a gorgeous oceanfront suite on the 7th floor with picture windows and a balcony facing the ocean and another balcony facing the pool. We were fortunate enough to get a great deal that included breakfast and a daily resort credit.  Fernando also arranged our transportation to and from the airport.

Upon arrival at the very modern and spotlessly clean Cancun airport, we were met by our driver, Ricardo, who also drives for the owner of the hotel.  We had a lovely conversation with Ricardo (he speaks fluent English as most everyone who works at the resort does) on the short drive to the hotel, while he filled us in on all the new restaurants in the area that had opened since our last visit.

Photo via Ritz Carlton Cancun

After being "Welcomed Home" by name by several staff members, our suite was ready for us as soon as we checked in.   A gorgeous flower arrangement, and  a tasty amenity of  fresh bread, meats and cheese were waiting for us in our room and room service quickly brought a bucket of ice and some soft drinks, courtesy of the hotel. We did indeed feel as if we were home thanks to the warmth of the staff at this lovely hotel.

One of the highlights of our previous trips to the Ritz Carlton Cancun has always been the buffet breakfast.  Once again, El Cafe Mexicano did not disappoint.  There is something about awakening to the sound of the ocean and going downstairs to be treated to a gorgeous spread of champagne cocktails, fresh fruit and omelets prepared while you wait, all served by the warm and friendly waitstaff, that starts off your day perfectly.

Photo via Ritz Carlton Cancun

We didn't get as much beach time as we would have liked but when the sun was shining, we enjoyed relaxing in one of the blue cabanas on the beach, riding the waves in the crystal blue Caribbean (Cancun is one of the only places in the Carribean that has real waves, something we enjoy) and swimming in one of the two large swimming pools at the resort.  Waiters brought us ice water and thirst quenching margaritas to our cabana - it just doesn't get any better than this!

The highlight of this trip was a "behind the scenes tour" of the hotel given by the Chef de Cuisine, Rory Dunaway. This tour was incredible and is deserving of it's own post which I will write about tomorrow.

Another special event at the Ritz Carlton Cancun is the Sea Turtle Release which we have been fortunate enough to experience on previous trips - I also am going to dedicate a special post to this as well.
Photo via Ritz Carlton Cancun
Whether dining in one of the two amazing five star restaurants, eating on the beach in one of the candlelit casitas, relaxing in the spa or just walking in the lobby, everyone at the Ritz Carlton Cancun is always treated with such genuine warmth and kindness. The service is what takes this resort to a level beyond any luxury hotel where I have ever visited.

There is no doubt in my mind that the Ritz Carlton Cancun is more than deserving of all of it's many accolades - this hotel is truly special and is on the top of my list for places I would recommend my readers to visit.

Thank you to all the wonderful Ladies and Gentleman at the Ritz Carlton Cancun! We can't wait to return!

October 10, 2012

Wednesday Wanderlust

Photo of Ritz Carlton Cancun taken from the balcony of our room
Four days just wasn't long enough...

October 9, 2012

An Amazing Girls' Weekend and A Relaxation Vacation

I have been traveling the past two weeks and returned with a souvenir of a terrible cold. I have a lot of interesting posts planned and my very first giveaway for later in the week when I am feeling better, so stay tuned.
My first trip was to Charlotte, North Carolina for an incredible girls' weekend with all my favorite girls - my sister, my mother, my daughter and my niece.  It was a "Say Yes to the Dress" weekend to help my niece, Ashley,  pick out her wedding dress. Ashley's future sister and mother-in-law joined us as well.   We shared a lot of laughter and a few happy tears, did a lot of shopping and ate some amazing food (lots of yummy Carolina Barbeque and other southern treats).  Ashley looked gorgeous in every dress she tried on which made narrowing it down to just one a bit difficult.  But, my mother found the perfect Grandmother of the Bride dress and I found a gorgeous dress as well.  I couldn't have asked for a better weekend - thank you to my sister, Pam, for being an amazing hostess to all of us.
My second trip was a much needed "relaxation vacation" to Mexico with my husband. Unfortunately, our weather wasn't the greatest (you would think if I write a travel blog I might figure out that it is rainy season in Mexico in October, but you know what they say about the shoemaker's children), but we still had a wonderful trip and managed to unplug and relax completely. Much more on Mexico coming up...