Monday, August 26, 2013

Being Fabulous on the Go

Some people travel without a thought to their wardrobe. I use to! Then in college a professor impressed on me how important perception can be in the travel industry. Now every trip is planned an packed in a simple, yet fashionable manner.
It's not hard. Heck, it's not even time consuming! Here is a basic example:
What have we done here? Well is was easy! Instead of assembling individual outfits, think instead of packing a collection – with pieces able to mix-and-match to perfection. Building a foundation of neutrals will allow for maximum mix-ability. 
  • White (1 top + 1 bottom + complimentary top in black)
  • Beige (1 top + 1 bottom + complimentary bottom in leopard print)
  • Navy (1 top + 1 bottom + complimentary top in chambray)
  • Tan (1 jacket)
  • Black (1 LBD)
Then need to add your non-neutral color(s) into the mix. Keep in mind that any foundation colors you choose should have a 1 top and 1 bottom in that color, as well as another complimentary item.
  • Sea Glass (1 top + 1 bottom + complimentary topper in tropical green)
  • Kelly Green (1 accent top)
  • Emerald Green (1 dress)
As you can see the outcome is very stylish and simple. I love how easy it is and you'll love how you look!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Learning made EASY!

Ever since my friend's wedding in Italy I've been impressed with how much German I've retained over the years. Especially when you consider I never use it and only hear it when listening to the 20-some songs I have on my computer. Then my friend Holly was talking about how she's forgetting all her French and she use to be completely fluent, so she downloaded an app, a FREE app!
I was skeptical, just kinda nodding along in agreement when she would mention it. Then I see her using it in the break room at work the other day. It's soooooo perfect! She is learning all three realms: Reading, Writing, Pronunciation. Plus it works like a app game, which in this generation is the perfect solution to "homework". I downloaded it and played through 2 sets of the Basics. It was such a nice review. Each leason focuses on 5 to 8 works and proper usage.
So here it is: Duolingo
Duolingo offers extensive language learning lessons and tools with a gamified skill tree which users can progress through, and a vocabulary section where learned words can be practiced. Users gain “skill points” as they learn a language, such as when they complete a lesson. Skills are considered “learned” when users complete all the lessons associated with the skill. Up to 14 points are awarded per lesson, with one deducted for each mistake. Users start with four “lives” on early lessons, and three on later lessons, a “life” being lost with each mistake. A user must retry the lesson if they make a mistake after all lives have been lost. Duolingo also includes a timed practice feature, where users are given 30 seconds and twenty questions and awarded a skill point and seven or ten additional seconds for each correct answer.
If you've ever wanted to learn a new language, this is the ticket!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Fun for the WHOLE family

As summer break is coming to a close, the last thing you're probably thinking about is NEXT summer's vacation. But maybe you should be. I mean, how was the trip? Stressful? All-Inclusive? Did everyone enjoy themselves? Here are the top 5, as recommended by Parents magazine:
1. San Diego, CA
2. Portland, OR
3. Washington DC
4. Orlando, FL
5. Chicago, IL

Now, I'm going to help you plan this out. Maybe next year will go a little smoother ;)

San Diego, what a city?! It's really beautiful. Take my advice and stay near the downtown (Gaslamp District) the trolly will take you everywhere you need to go. My choice for major highlighs would have to be the zoo, the USS Midway, and Balboa Park. Here's a great itinerary I stumbled upon. I couldn't have planned it better myself... other than to space it out! I would suggest this same trip but over 2days!

Portland is every Foodie parent's dream vaca! And while you're stuffing your face there are some pretty cool things to see along the way. A very good friend of mine lives here now with her young family and she suggested the following:  Spend an afternoon at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI), including a tour of the USS Blueback Naval submarine. Drink a heavenly seasonal Burgerville milkshake, made with local huckleberries, caramel apples, or chocolatey hazelnuts. And finally,  get a bird’s-eye view from the Portland Aerial Tram.

Washington D.C. was a family favorite for my clan growing up. My dad lived there when he was in the Coast Gaurd so he knew all the tricks and tips. We went several times while growing and I've since been with friends. I know it as one of my homes! Here's the best part- It's CHEAP! All of the 17 branches of the Smithsoniam (this includes the ZOO!), there are several weeks worth of sights to see. Plus the area is steaped with rich revolutionary hiertage and military pride. I ALWAYS see the changing of the gaurds at Arlington- I remember doing this as a family, it really taught me so much respect for our armed forces. I also suggest picnicing on the Mall lawn. It really takes the rush out of a long day of exploring!

Orlando... well I live here, so you would think I would be it's biggest advocate. That would be wrong! But I know why everyone comes here, I work for that very company. That being said, there is more to Central Florida than a mouse and his 4 theme parks that couldn't possibly be covered in a single trip! My suggestion: Half the stay doing theme parks, half the stay at the beach- Clearwater is amazing, sometimes you can even see dolphins!

Chicago- My one true love! At least it is in this country. The heart and soul of this city is in it's communities. My favorite being Lincoln Park. I suggest staying there and taking the EL into the Loop area. It's a fun lesson on mass transit for the kids! Once in downtown you have so much you can see and do. Everyone picks the Shedd Aquarium and it is amazing, but head down the road just a bit and also check out the Adler Planetarium! They have really cool exhibits that should interest the whole faily.

Hope this makes next summer a little easier!

All Aboard!

Many a rail did I ride in my times overseas, but here in the US it's a bit different. I've been missing my train hopping days, especially after master the day trips during my recent Italy experience. So I've been researching some exciting Train-focused adventures to share with everyone. Oh boy have I found a few! My bucket list is growing by the minute.

1. The Classic- The Trans-Siberian Railway
       On this amazing trip you will pass through eight distinct time zones, and travel over 6,000 miles – one third of the way around the world! The best option is with the golden eaglel uxury trains, but the price is pretty high. Although you have to consider just how big of an experience this truly is!

2. The Palace on Wheels
       India’s original luxury train. Every Wednesday, the Palace on Wheels sets off for her seven day journey from Delhi to Delhi. The train visits Jaipur, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Ranthambhore, Chittaurgarh, Udaipur, Bharatpur and finally Agra, before heading back to Delhi. The Palace on Wheels travels by night, whilst its guests are sleeping on board in private luxury cabins. During the day, the Palace on Wheels is parked at the station as its guests explore the ancient Rajasthani forts, crumbling ruins and exquisite palaces. SO COOL!!!!
3. Rovos Rail
      This multiply journey company has earned a reputation for world class rail travel and offer a variety of enticing itineraries that will take you though the heart of the African bush to a time when the journey was just as important as the end destination. A few of their highlighted trips are:
                                                 The Pretoria to Cape Town itinerary
These 48 hour journeys are a wonderful addition to a luxury South Africa safari.  Covering a distance of 1600 kilometres, you will see why South Africa is often referred to as the “world in one country”.  You will travel through the golden grasslands of the Highveld, to the starkly beautiful semi desert region of the Great Karoo before trundling through the fertile and lush valleys of the Cape Winelands – finally ending your journey in the vibrant city of Cape Town, nestled beneath the imposing mass of Table Mountain.  Highlights of this trip include a visit to the historical town of Matjiesfontein and a stop at Kimberly to visit the Big Hole.
                                                    A luxury Durban rail itinerary
This luxury rail journey between Pretoria and Durban takes place during the summer months and includes game drives in two exclusive private safari reserves.  The journey starts in Pretoria and meanders its way through the grasslands of the Highveld region and the scenically spectacular escarpment between Belfast and Waterval Onder before stopping at Malelane (on the border of the Kruger National Park).  The journey then continues onwards towards Swaziland where you can enjoy an afternoon game drive at Mkhaya Game Reserve.  You will then travel on an overnight journey to the Hluhluwe Game Reserve where you will stop for an amazing safari where you will the endangered white and black rhino and a variety of other species.  The last stretch of the journey takes you into KwaZulu Natal – arriving in Durban in the afternoon.

4. The Wine Train.
      Watch the sunset from their elegantly restored, vintage Pullman cars as you pass through wine country. This train travels through some of the most famous vineyards in the world and gives you an unobstructed view of the golden, Napa Valley sunset. Dine in elevated style in the Vista Dome Car, or chose a more traditional rail dining experience with a Gourmet Express Package.

5.  Hiram Bingham Train.
      Totally just made my Bucket List! This train has it all. Cocktail and traditional dances at the greeting, guides roaming the train, 2 hour tours of the Ruins... SIGN ME UP! I've already texted my friend, we are so going to experience this first hand some day.


Hey everyone! Just found one of those once in a lifetime bookings. Royal Caribbean 10night Cruise from Venice to Greece for only $624. You better believe that if I had the money I would be on that ship!
It sails in October, so if you have a passport and you're looking for a fun getaway this is it.

Invisible Issues

Greeting blog followers! Sorry I've been MIA for about a month now, but work and life have been crazy. It's almost like they're trying to say "Well you went to Italy so now you have to work 6 days a week at 50+ hours. You're welcome!" It's getting to be a bit much. Add that to the fact I keep getting passed over for this training I deserve... Well it's all very frustrating! But that's not what I want to write about today. Today is all about the hidden problems that a traveler might face!
I'm sure you've all heard about the Summer Bay Resort horror. If not, here have a quick read! This actually just across the road from me. We were in our apartment when it happened and it felt like somebody drove a truck into our building!
What I think is really interesting is that I had family stay at this resort less than 3 weeks ago! They loved it. Raved about it, in fact! I was planning to go check it out on my weekend, but now it's a media nightmare. News trucks EVERYWHERE. This is just one of those that you can never expect to happen to the property you're staying at! Mold, pests, aging damages- these all can be prevented, but if the ground just opens up below you, what can you possibly do?!
Short answer? Nothing. As a traveler you need to be aware that there are going to be issues beyond your control and the control of the properties you visit. There's a time and place to threaten lawsuits, this is not it!
Here are a couple other invisible issues that you should be aware of!

1. Food Recall. Is it really the end of life as we know it if they pull all the cucumber from the buffet line of your cruise?! Would you rather they let you get sick?! It is out of everyone's control if the government decides something is unsafe and issues a national recall. I guess you'll have to substitute carrots!

2. Weather. Now this is one that goes both ways! If they are predicting a hurricane and you still choose to fly into Miami, well I think we know who is at fault in this situation... However if the forecast says mostly sunny and it rains for about an hour every day of your Disney trip there's nothing you or I or the hotel can do to make it stop. Just load up your poncho and tough it out!?