I cannot believe it is the end of January. With our holiday trip over and having just come back from Miami I am craving warm weather. I have never been to Miami in January and it was 80 degrees every day which was so nice. It looks like we will have a staycation this February school vacation week. Well, maybe we will plan a night or two away. April school vacation week is the same as sports will occupy most of that week as well as drivers ed! Wow…how did that happen? Anyway our goal is to travel more this year…..yes, I say that every year but it is a good goal to strive for right? On my list of course is London, Paris and Italy but also South Carolina, California and maybe Bermuda too. As for the staycations for school vacation week we love our day trips to Boston and Maine and NYC is a quick overnight so think about those locations if you are planning a staycation. Enjoy this lovely cold weather we are having and dream about spring temperatures!
This year I was prepared and got everything ready for Christmas the weekend before so we could travel to Canada for a quick get-a-way. Our destination was the lovely Quebec City and what a beautiful, magical city. The Fairmont Frontenac offered me a discount to stay at their hotel and of course I said yes. This magical castle located on Cap Diamant overlooking the majestic St. Lawrence River is the place to stay.
It is a castle and it is magnificent! The lobby was decorated for the holiday season and had about 20 Christmas trees all decorated I believe from local companies. A cute dog greets you when you check in. The hotel is very dog friendly and you can pay a bit extra to have your pup stay with you. Daphnie is their St. Pierre breed (a cross between a Bernese Mountain Dog and Lanernese) and the story is she was trained to be a guide dog by the Mira Foundation. But because of her amazing social skills she is now the Canine Ambassador at the Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac!
We loved everything about the resort — especially the food. We were lucky to be offered complementary breakfast at the Place Dufferin – Lovely views of the Saint Lawrence River and croissants for everyone! The hotel also has a Starbucks and we had wonderful drinks and light bites at the 1608 bar. There was so much to explore on the grounds of the hotel. The kids loved the pool. I loved the cute shops and really all the holiday décor was magical. I highly recommend traveling here during the holiday season. It is a hotel unlike any other I have ever visited – charming yet grand, magical and stunning – a perfect retreat for the Christmas season.
Fun winter activities in Quebec
In addition to exploring the grounds of the Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac we ventured out to the Quartier Petit-Champlain. This area right below the hotel with adorable shops and restaurants is a must to visit. With the holiday lights and Christmas trees with snow it was like being in a snow globe! We were also able to experience the German Christmas Market. Beautiful decorations, tasty treats, choral singers – all around a magical time! The toboggan slide at the Frontenac is a must ride! It is open Mid-December to March and what a rush and fantastic views of the Frontenac and the River. I read that it can be as fast as 40 miles an hour! This is one activity that you have to experience! In addition, we took a ride and went dog sledding! This was the best experience. We went to Aventures nord-Bec Stoneham. The whole experience was a dream! First you learn how to maneuver the sled (yourself!) Then a guide takes you on a ride in the forest with your dogs. Each sled is for two people so you get a chance to ride and then steer the sled – it was a magical experience. We also got a chance to visit with the puppies after. They also served hot chocolate and cookies to us. This activity is a must if you go in the winter to Quebec. We also went ice skating too – there are a few places to go and here is a link. I do believe we stopped at this place – the Plains of Abraham. There are so many outdoor activities to enjoy in Quebec in the winter.
I would highly recommend a winter trip to Quebec and to stay at the Fairmont Frontenac! We loved it!
Disclosure: The Frontenac offered me a discount on the room and complementary breakfast. As always all opinions in this blog post are my own.
Well this summer flew by so fast. Anyone else think so? Swim and Dive season, Beach days, my daughter’s senior trip and of course now running around trying to get everything in order for her move to college. How did that happen???
Earlier in the summer it was all things summer swim and dive season. Then onto travel. Summer is so packed and we usually do multiple trips in the summer. This year was the big senior trip for my daughter and her friends. If you haven’t heard the story we were booked to Punta Cana. Well, with everything going on there we just didn’t feel comfortable going so we rebooked to Aruba. SO GLAD WE DID. If you haven’t been you must go. We chose an all-inclusive and I would do this again. Aruba is known for its great food but we had kids with us so this was the best option and it was great. Food was really good and no worries about the dining bill! We did venture out with ATVs and went to the natural pool and baby beach. One interesting stop was the fish pedicure. It was different and weird but I loved it.
This was such a memorable trip. We were relaxed and felt safe in Aruba. Lots to do – with shopping and gambling lol. There was even entertainment at our hotel pool which everyone loved. We stayed at the Barcelo and would recommend it. We can’t wait to go back!
Here are my two favorite scenes from the trip – the pool photo and the beach view from the trip we took out to the middle of the ocean to the Tarzan boat. There was this place in the middle of the ocean that had rope swings, trampolines and high dives. Yes, I did go off the high dive. It was amazing but sometimes you have to remind yourself you are not 20 anymore, but I will always try new things!
Happy 2018! January is well underway and it is a new year! I hate to say the word resolutions….I like New Year’s Goals better! What are your goals for the new year? How do you achieve them? I do like to write them down in a travel journal. I also loved the last time I was at lululemon they posted the employees vision and goals worksheet. It is just one of the many sheets that to help you visualize and plan out your goals. Last year my goal was to travel more and this year my goal is to travel monthly. I don’t mean get on a plane each month, but I do mean travel – day trips, new experiences, spending time with family and friends. Whether it’s that girls’ weekend you have been planning or a birthday celebration…just do it! We love our trips into Boston, the beach, skiing, visits with friends, the beach, the beach….Did I mention the beach? Anytime my toes are in the sand, the waves are crashing and my kids are taking selfies (lol) or just spending time together traveling is worth it. Happy 2018 and here’s to a year of good travel and health and happiness!
Christmas is almost here! Are you ready? Any travel plans in the near future? Whether you are traveling near or far to visit family or spend time with friends on a vacation it can be stressful traveling during the holiday season. We just got back from the Bahamas as we were lucky enough to head there for my daughter’s gymnastics meet. There were lots of kids from all over the world and a great opportunity for all the girls at our gym. It was such a fun experience. I like how it was the week before Christmas although we did need to take the girls out of school for a few days but it was a great opportunity! Sun and warmth when it was in the teens and 2os for temperatures in Boston was a welcome relief. We got to enjoy beach activities, all the slides at Atlantis and quality family time. It was THE BEST trip. Next time we go to Atlantis I will plan ahead a bit more and bring snacks for sure as the food can be a bit pricy. Speaking of planning if you are traveling before or during the holidays here are a few tips!
1. Plan ahead – I did all my holiday shopping and wrapped the presents before I left. So right now I am relaxing and watching holiday movies! If you are headed someplace for the holiday think about sending your packages ahead of time.
2. Use the plane or car ride for lists, planning and any last minute work – My girls had to do some school work and homework and I suggested they do it on the plane so they could enjoy the time on the beach. I got some work done as well – use the transition time to your destination wisely.
3. Limit technology if you can – It was nice to do activities without being glued to our phones. That and the Wi-Fi was spotty in places so it was forced family fun lol – no, but seriously I tried to take some photos, relax, and check the phone at night before bed. The kids were really good at taking breaks with their phones. Plus the slides at Atlantis are just crazy fun so no phones allowed! See video below.
Here are some photos from our Atlantis get-a-way.
Well July came and went super quick! My girls are active in a summer swim and dive league and with daily practices it can get hectic. Summer sports seem to fly by and I cannot believe it is August! Usually I am quite active in the summer with barre, jogging and tennis and it seems once we went on vacation and came back to work that all stopped. But the summer is not over yet so I hope to get out more and play tennis and enjoy a bit of paddleboarding too. Our travels this summer focused mostly on the beach including trips to #Maine. This is my new favorite place to visit – Anchorage by the Sea
There is so much to do in #Ogunquit. It really is a beautiful place by the sea. What are your summer adventures?
Anyone who has school age kids knows June is one busy month. Between sports ending, Father’s Day, final exams and vacation, getting it all done during this last month of school is challenging. I am a big fan of taking a night away if you can to relax and enjoy the view. Plus if you have older kids it provides a nice way for you to spend some family time together (the teen years tend to be the sulky, silent ones 🙁 ) We were lucky that our night away in beautiful #Ogunquit Maine was sunny and in the 90s. To make it feel like you are away for more than one night we arrive at the destination early, like by 9:00 am and leave late. If you cannot get into your hotel room that early, check out the facilities, visit the local beach or have breakfast. We were out and about all day, checked in a bit early, lounged by the pool, had dinner with friends and then got up early for breakfast. The first weekend in June is the perfect time for a get-a-way and to enjoy the beginning of the warm weather before the month’s activities pick up. We were also able to use the pool the following day and did not head home until 5:00 pm! It truly felt like we were gone for five days. So if you can only get a way for a night try the early in late out method if your hotel allows as that is a great way to recharge and refresh before the summer season kicks up. Take time to enjoy the view, spend time with your family without technology and the good times will follow.
I love my travel size beauty products and I love this line of beauty products from Tatcha which the creator started by taking a holistic approach to beauty based on classical Japanese beauty secrets and the approach that that less is more. The Tatcha collection has something for everyone.
The website says, “The foundation of the line is Hadasei-3™, a trinity of anti-aging superfoods born from the Japanese diet, and the basis for the original geisha beauty rituals: green tea, rice and algae. Every ingredient is carefully selected and minimally manipulated to be gentle and safe with maximum effectiveness.”
Here are a few products the company sent me to test out.
The Deep Hydration Firming Eye Serum is a weightless serum of Okinawa Red Algae, Honeysuckle Leaf and Caffeine. In one use I noticed an instance difference. Loved the hydration it offers.
I have a ton of hand creams everywhere. I like the soothing hand cream as it is super hydrating and it calms irritated skin. What is different about it is that is has a blue color which is a natural Japanese Indigo and disappears upon application. Super cool!
The Camellia Gold Spun Lip Balm is unlike any other I have tried. The packaging is so nice and it is ultra hydrating. Made with Camellia Oil it leaves your lips with a bit of golden shimmer. The glossy finish is perfect and it has 23-karat gold flakes right in it! A must for your make-up bag!
Disclosure: The company sent me the above items to test out. All opinions in this blog post are my own.
Crazy busy few weeks! Can you believe it is May?? I was so upset that I could not get to Florida for April school vacation week! What the heck did I have to complain about that for???? My younger daughter and I had a very nice couple of nights at two very special properties.
April is a great time to check out hotels in New England. The weather was pretty good for school vacation week too! Our first venture was an overnight at the Sea Crest. This property in Falmouth is unlike any other place on Cape Cod. This beach resort is right on the water with a restaurant, pool and parking right there. The rooms have great water views – check out our ocean front room! The restaurant Red’s is just great. One night at this hotel is so relaxing that is will totally refresh and relax you. The front desk staff is always so nice!
Our second overnight was at The Delamar in Greenwich CT. This was a very nice property that was right near the rodeo drive of the east – lots of shopping right up the street so it was a great gals get-a-way. When you check in they give you champagne and they even had a wine and cheese reception. My 12 year old enjoyed the complementary tea and hot chocolate. The Delamar has a lovely spa right on the premises but we did not have time to experience it. (My daughter asked if it was complementary lol) Next time we will check it out and take a trip to NYC too. The train was close by the hotel and it was a 40 minute trip in to the city. The reception desk was quite helpful and suggested we come back in the summer when they offer local boat rides and a complementary ride to a local beach!
Both resorts are ideal for a girls trip too!
Disclosure: I received discounted hotel rooms at each location. As always all opinions are my own in this blog post.
This February school vacation week was unlike any other. The temperatures hit 70 degrees in Massachusetts! We went skiing one day and the beach the next. It was crazy! We were lucky to be able to stay with friends at Loon Mountain and skied a couple days. Then we headed to Ice Castles! This has been on my list of must sees this winter. Luckily Ice Castles sent us tickets and we went earlier in the week as with the crazy New England weather they cannot guarantee it will be open, because, well due to melting! While they are closed for the season now, this is something you need to put on your list of things to do with the kids during the winter vacation next year! I thought it looked beautiful and if you have kids that love the movie frozen it makes it even more magical. The Ice Castles are built by hand using only water and icicles. We did go during the day but I hear they light up at night so will have to check it out at night next year! Here are some FAQ’s from the Ice Castles website so plan a bit before you go and wear your snow pants as they have a fun slide!
Disclosure: Ice Castles sent me tickets to check out the venue. All opinions in this blog post are my own.