Back in 2013, I took a trip to Cody, Wyoming to tour The Buffalo Bill Center of the West. To this day, it remains one of my most memorable trips that I talk about often – a hidden gem in American travel! If you’re going to be roadtripping next summer, then I would certainly recommend making a pitstop in Cody – and starting in the summer of 2016, you can catch Dan Miller’s Cowboy Music Revue performing at The Buffalo Bill Center of the West six nights a week with a live dinner show. Dinner will start at 5:30 PM, followed by the live show which will run from 6:30 to 7:30 PM – finishing up just in time for you to catch the Cody Nite Rodeo! For more information, visit CenteroftheWest.org.
Event consideration provided.
Yesterday, I attended TNT Portland, a blog event hosted by Traveling Mom and Techlicious at The Westin Hotel. This fun event gave me a chance to catch up with my PDX blogger friends, make new ones, and get an introduction to some of the hottest products and trends.
We kicked off the afternoon with a cooking demo in The Westin lobby where their chef showed us how to make Thai Spiced Steak Lettuce Wraps. But this was just a delicious appetizer for the three-course lunch that was to come!
This was my first time stepping foot into The Westin, and its beautiful ambiance is matched only by the amazing food and service.
During lunch, we watched a number of presentations. I got some tips on choosing age-appropriate toys for holiday gifts and was introduced to some of the hottest toys from Hasbro – several of which are going to be featured in our Holiday Gift Guide, so stay tuned!
Next, CEA presented “Connect My Car”, which was all about the accessories you can pick up to update an older vehicle with today’s technology. It was pretty timely, as I’ve actually been thinking about this a lot lately – when you drive a new vehicle, options like smartphone integration or backup cameras come standard, but these technologies have only come out in recent years, meaning that any vehicle with a few years on it is already out of date. These add-ons are a great way to update an otherwise solid car – a representative from Oregon’s own Stereo King was on hand discussing the installation process, and I was surprised just how affordable it can be.
We were also introduced to the VidMob app and service, got some holiday travel tips, and heard a great SEO presentation where I picked up a few new hints. It was a great afternoon! I hope TNT will bring their event back to the Pacific Northwest in the future.
With Halloween creeping up on us, did you know there are haunted national parks and historic sites around the country? With more than 400 national parks there are ways for everyone to #FindYourPark this season.
See below for haunted national parks to visit this Halloween:
· The Ghost Ship of the Outer Banks, Carroll A. Deering, is a ship lost in the Outer Shoals that was found abandoned. The ship was discovered without its crew, personal belongings, anchors or navigation equipment, however food was laid out as if it was prepared for a crew meal (Cape Hatteras, NC.)
· Essex National Heritage Area is the spot where the Salem witch trials occurred (Salem, MA.)
· Visit spots such as:
The Corwin House, also known as “The Witch House,” is where Jonathan Corwin lived. Corwin was one of the judges who tried the accused witches.
Salem Witch Trials Memorial is a site with 20 stone benches, each engraved with the name of the executed victims.
Gallows Hill is thought to be the location of the witch executions.
Nurse Homestead is the presumably haunted home of Rebecca Nurse, who was one of the accused and executed witches.
The National Park Foundation’s Find Your Park movement encourages everyone to get up, get out there and #FindYourPark in celebration of the upcoming 2016 Centennial of the National Park Service.
If you are planning a fall/winter getaway or a trip to New York, the Radisson Hotel of New Rochelle is the ideal hotel for their stay. Situated within walking distance of the Metro North and Amtrak rail stations and just minutes from I-95, the Radisson hotel in New Rochelle is the perfect home base for your New York City adventures without having to deal with the craziness/busyness of the city itself at the perfect rate.
The Radisson is just over 20 minutes from New York, LaGuardia and JFK airports, and Connecticut. Take the family for a baseball game at nearby Yankee Stadium, explore historic Sleepy Hollow, Rockefeller Center, or simply relax at the hotel. You can also dine on site at their award winning NoMa Social restaurant or order room service directly to your spacious, modern accommodations, which feature plush Sleep Number® beds available on request. For further information, please feel free to visit their website (http://www.radisson.com/new-rochelle-hotel-ny-10801/nyrochel).
We love to travel and wish to share some really great places with you guys! Here is this week’s Suite of the Week:
The two-story, 3,000 square-foot penthouse suite in the Hilton Bentley Hotel is made for someone looking for a home away from home.
Following a multi-million dollar facelift, the penthouse boasts a new, modern and young look.
Where is it? It’s located at the beautiful southern tip of South Beach, where the ocean meets the bay adjacent to South Pointe Park. The location is just a short walk from being surrounded by top restaurants and famous clubs.
About Hilton Bentley Hotel: The four-diamond hotel offers superior service to all its guests. This upscale beachfront hotel includes amenities such as beach butler services and the fitness center. Or relax at Spa 101 and the sauna; take a dip in the outdoor pool and then dine at either of the two restaurants located in the hotel.
About the Penthouse: The newly renovated penthouse suite has gorgeous wrap-around views overlooking the ocean. This two-story extraordinarily refined suite is complete with two master bedrooms and three full bathrooms. Climb up the stairs and find the private rooftop infinity pool, a jacuzzi, a sprawling sun-drenched deck and two spectacular private terraces for relaxing or entertaining.
Why stay? Add your name to the Hilton Bentley celebrity guest list. Whether it’s to relax and stay in or enjoy the nightlife, the Hilton Bentley will satisfy the best of both worlds.
According to the U.S. Travel Association, 90 percent of Americans say paid time off (PTO) helps them relax and 85 percent say it makes them happier, yet more than 40 percent did not use all their PTO in 2014. Today, in celebration of National Relaxation Day on Saturday, August 15, VisitMyrtleBeach.com encourages travelers to get away and use their PTO as part of a multifaceted marketing campaign that highlights the beautiful weather and calming fall season in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The effort is meant to combat the stats revealed in the U.S. Travel Association’s “Project: Time Off” initiative, showing that while 90 percent of Americans say paid time off (PTO) helps them relax and recharge, 40 percent of Americans did not use their PTO in 2014 – leaving an average of 1.6 days on the table.
Some of the primary reasons people don’t use vacation time: budget and the idea that they can’t truly disconnect from work. To help alleviate those barriers and encourage people to take advantage of their time off, Myrtle Beach has created some incentives for those traveling to its 60 miles of coastline during the months of September and October:
Budget-friendly lodging and attraction deals, including $60 off a six-night stays at Avista Resort, $60/night weekday rates at Ocean Creek Resort, and three “Hot Jersey Nights” tickets for $60 at Palace Theatre. Full list of deals available here.
Perks for vacationers willing to (at least temporarily) disconnect, such as free dessert at Croissants Bistro & Bakery for diners who ignore their phones throughout their meal and a free glass of wine at The Cypress Room for every valeted phone.
Go-to ideas for relaxing and unwinding in the destination, whether that be engaging in a new activity, indulging in Lowcountry cuisine, enjoying live entertainment.
“September and October are often referred to as the ‘perfect time of year’ by locals, and it’s no surprise to us,” said Scott Schult, executive vice president of marketing for the Myrtle Beach Area CVB. “The weather is still beautiful, ocean waters are warm, crowds subside and accommodations become even more affordable. It’s like being handed 60 more days of summertime, except that it’s even more relaxing and quiet during the fall season.”
I’m Pretty excited to be partnered with Quito Cuisine for this twitter party on 9/24 at 9:30 PM EST.
You all know how much I love to travel and I also love to eat so Quito Cuisine has a little bit of both. Quito Cuisine explores the culinary culture in Quito and how it is expanding – combining ancient recipes and flavors with more modern ingredients and cooking techniques. When I travel I love to explore the food of where I’m at. I love trying new and different things.
People are amazed by the beauty of this ancient city; it brings travelers from all over to experience Quito through many of their senses, especially their palate. The extraordinary taste and diversity of flavors of their pre Hispanic, colonial and republican heritage fuse beautifully with new contemporary and international techniques. This creates outstanding gastronomic pleasures, shaping Quito to be known as the “culinary destination of the Americas” It was also declared as leading Tourist Destination in South America by the World Travel Awards in 2013 and 2014.
Some of the establishments in the city have joined current trends in global hospitality of incorporating cooking demonstrations and preparing various Quito dishes in front of their guests and customers. Cooking classes, talks and entertaining explanations and tips are some of the elements that make this an up close and personal experience while dining in Quito.
Some of the most representative dishes of the city include:
• Locro. This soup, which is called rucru Quichua, was common among the Incas and people who cultivated potatoes. It is not really a soup or a broth with potatoes, its consistency is more of a thick stew.
• Fresh fig with cheese. This dessert is served as a specialty during Easter and as a snack throughout the year. Another variation is the white sugar powdered fig, an old recipe made by in cloistered monasteries.
Quito also has a variety of international cuisine available.
NOW FOR THE TWITTER PARTY!!!!
5 x $100 GC
Grand Prize: 4 star hotel stay for two people, for three nights and four days. This incredible experience includes round trip economy air from an international airport in USA. (Travel must be booked by Nov. 15, 2015. Booking is dependent on hotel availability. Meals are not included.)
In anticipation of one of the biggest events in the history of the NFL, Marriott International is changing the game for lucky fans with an epic season long Super Bowl 50 campaign. Courtyard, the Official Hotel of the NFL for the past four years, is adding to its tradition of unique NFL experiences by hosting the world’s first Super Bowl “Suite Stadium Contest” sleepover in Levi’s Stadium. Marriott Rewards, the company’s award-winning loyalty program, launches its “50 to 50” campaign that includes a sweepstakes which gives members in three countries a once-in-a-lifetime chance to take a group of 50 their friends and family to attend the game and enjoy an exclusive VIP Super Bowl 50 weekend in the San Francisco Bay area.
“The NFL is the powerhouse of professional sports, and our long-standing sponsorship gives us an opportunity to tap into a passionate group of travelers, bringing the breadth and depth of our brand offerings to fans,” said Karin Timpone, Global Marketing Officer, Marriott International. “Similar to our relationships with global leaders in the music and entertainment industry, our NFL sponsorship represents the company’s ongoing effort to bring exclusive and memorable experiences for our guests and the 52 million members of our Marriott Rewards program.”
“Marriott provides unique and interactive experiences that have resonated with football fans across the country,” said Renie Anderson, senior vice president of sponsorship, NFL. “We are pleased to work with Marriott to reach our fans in authentic and innovative ways, especially leading up to Super Bowl 50.”
Marriott Rewards 50 to 50:
Marriott Rewards is making it possible for the winner to take a group of 50 friends and family to Super Bowl 50 in the San Francisco Bay area with its 50to 50 sweepstakes on Facebook (https://www.Marriott50to50.com). The trip includes flights, hotel, tickets to the game and an unforgettable VIP weekend experience at the biggest game of the year. Members can enter today for a chance to win through November 30, and non-members will be able to sign up instantly for Marriott Rewards which is free to join. Visit the Marriott Rewards Facebook page for info and follow the conversation with #50to50. The sweeps is available to residents of the United States, Canada (excluding Quebec) and the United Kingdom
As a part of Marriott International’s worldwide sponsorship with the NFL, Marriott Rewards will participate in the League’s International Series “NFL on Regent Street” Fan Fest event on October 24 in London, providing an interactive Football Challenge, surprise visits from special VIP guests and chances to enter the 50 to 50 sweepstakes . To extend the exclusive experience, a few lucky Marriott Rewards members will also be invited to watch the Jacksonville Jaguars and Buffalo Bills square off at Wembley Stadium from a private suite on October 25.
Courtyard by Marriott :
Courtyard offers Super Bowl “Suite Stadium Contest” an unforgettable overnight stay at Levi’s Stadium the night before Super Bowl 50 in a suite transformed into a Courtyard guest room. Following the slumber party of the century, the winner and three guests will continue to party as they cheer during the epic Super Bowl 50 game. The contest is now open and the winner will be determined through a series of social media challenges before closing in November. The prize also includes flights and tickets to the game. Visit Courtyard.com or follow the conversation with #SuiteSB50Contest.
Courtyard will also build momentum with a season-long “Journey to Super Bowl 50” road trip that travels through NFL markets across the country before reaching its big, final stop in San Francisco. Each stop brings a fun-filled fan fest complete with NFL-themed games, NFL legend appearances, samples from the brand’s Bistro and special connections to brand contests and Marriott Rewards gifts. Fans can track the journey with #CourtyardNFL or Courtyard.com/NFL.
Courtyard launches its newest NFL television campaign starring NFL anchor Rich Eisen. In the spots, the brand invites Eisen to test their latest NFL-themed hotel innovations that go to humorous, overzealous extremes to please their guests. The spots will air throughout the season and can be viewed at the Courtyard YouTube page.
Courtyard’s original comedic webisode series, “Courtyard Camera,™ features actor Ben Schwartz (“House of Lies” “Parks and Recreation”) as host, teaming up with NFL stars throughout the 2015-2016 NFL season as they surprise unsuspecting hotel guests with humorous scenarios. NFL stars DeMarco Murray and Jared Allen star in the season’s initial episodes, which can all be viewed at Courtyard’s YouTube page.
Your family might have dreams of a fun vacation to a beach, theme park, or major city. US News reports on the top family vacations in the USA, which include amazing destinations like Honolulu, Yellowstone, and Washington D.C. If your family is on a tight budget, there are ways you can free up some money for a special trip. Saving money for a vacation is easy if you find simple ways to cut costs in your daily expenses. This post will outline three painless ways to save up money for your next vacation.
#1: Stop Eating Out
Eating out is an easy way to spend hundreds of dollars extra a month on food. You might not feel like you are spending a lot for a lunch here or a dinner there, but the costs will quickly add up. The Boston Globe recently reported how eating out costs you much more than eating the same types of meals at home. If you and your family cannot live without going out a few times a month, consider simply reducing the number of times that you eat out. Not only will you save money, you can also plan to eat healthier foods.
#2: Get a New Quote on Your Insurance Plan
Many people do not change, compare, or update their auto, home, or rental insurance for many years. This can result in a plan that may not suit your needs and may not be a good price. Speak to an insurance agent near you to compare other insurance coverage options to see if you can save money. There are also online resources that will search for competitive prices from multiple different insurance companies. Make sure that you research carefully the company you want to go with to make sure that it provides good coverage and excellent customer service.
If you are highly committed to your current insurance company, simply call your insurance company customer service line and talk with an agent about options to lower the price of your insurance. In many cases, there are simple things like increasing your deductible or changing plan options that can significantly lower your insurance bill. It is also a great idea to ask the agent about discounts available to customers. If you have a good safety record, a military background, or you work for a government organization, you might have access to great discounts.
#3: Get Rid of Your Cable and Expensive Phone Plans
If you subscribe to cable and have a cell phone plan, take time to add up the total costs of these services a month. Your jaw will likely drop! Instead of cable, think about subscribing to an online video subscription service, which could save you at least $40-50 dollars a month. Consider changing your cell phone plan to a cheaper alternative plan. Wifi hybrid calling companies are beginning to offer unlimited plans for half the price of major cell phone companies.
You Can Save Money and Not Miss Out on Anything
When you budget and save money in one aspect of your life, your newly freed up resources can be spent on other things, like a wonderful vacation!
Although there are many features that are important in a car, the top priority for me in any vehicle is safety. So when I received an invitation to visit Santa Monica for a test drive of the Volvo XC90, the first thing Jai said was: “That’s great, Volvo make very safe cars!” I’d heard a lot about Volvo’s reputation for safety but had never driven one personally, so I was excited to see what they were like.
I arrived at LAX and made my way to the Shore Hotel across from the Santa Monica Pier. I dropped my bags, had a bite to eat and headed to our first briefing and test drive. We were paired off into teams for the drive, and my first driving partner was Dave from Everyman Driver. We got behind the wheel of the XC90 T8, which is the hybrid edition of this vehicle.
The T8 is a beautiful vehicle, complete with a unique hand-crafted crystal gear shift knob. You can switch between the electric motor and gas engine using five different drive modes, including the custom “Individual” mode. It was a smooth, lovely drive around Santa Monica – click here to watch Dave’s video of our first drive to see the vehicle in action and my initial impressions.
After our first quick drive, we headed down to the beach for a clam bake. My dining companions included members of the Volvo engineering and safety team who had flown in from Sweden to talk about the development of the XC90 and answer our questions. It was a unique opportunity for me to learn about the research that goes into creating new safety features and how Volvo tries to anticipate and address some of the most common road dangers. Hearing firsthand the attention to detail that goes into making these cars, it doesn’t surprise me at all that Volvo is such a leader in vehicle safety, boasting 16 world firsts in car safety including the first child safety booster cushion.
The next day, we headed off for a longer road trip in the XC90 T6, the standard edition of this model. This time, my driving partners were Tabatha from The Motor Mistress and Kaitlin from Surf and Sunshine. We set off down the road and enjoyed the stunning scenery on our way to Ojai for a lunch at Twin Peaks Ranch.
The road trip was a blast – the car was so comfortable to drive. I liked the size of the vehicle; although it’s an SUV, it was easy to handle with good visibility, so I didn’t get that feeling of it being too huge as I do in some SUVs. The XC90’s impressive list of safety features were a huge help during the drive. The XC90 starts out with a steel body and optimized seats and safety belts, and then adds a number of safety assists inside the vehicle such as:
- Pilot assist that adjusts the steering if you start to veer out of your lane
- Alerts to warn you about getting too close to other vehicles, cyclists, pedestrians or crossing a lane marking
- Blind spot information
- 360 degree camera to help with backing up and parking
Los Angeles is a notoriously challenging place to drive, and being in the XC90 gave me a lot more peace of mind than I would usually have. From cruising by the Santa Monica Pier and heading down the Pacific Coast Highway to getting stuck behind construction and crossing multiple lanes on the freeway, having all of the safety options made it that much easier to navigate the roads and enjoy my trip. There were also a lot of fun features in the XC90, with a Bowers & Wilkins sound system that had an amazing amount of controls to create a concert-style surround sound experience. We turned on the Sirius Satellite Radio and enjoyed the tunes as we cruised along the beautiful California coastline!
After we returned from our jaunt, we headed to Austere in downtown LA for a rooftop dinner, where they also gave a live demonstration of the XC90’s Park Assist Pilot and other features:
Now that I have driven the XC90, it’s made me a big Volvo fan!