Tuesday, September 25, 2018



Another one of my favorite adventures has been Chicago. So full of life and culture. I must admit I am a bit of an architecture geek. Not kidding, I dare to admit I actually have a Frank Loyd Wright Coloring Book, and I may or may not actually have colored it in with the precise Pantone shades, LOL. Speaking of being an architecture geek, the hotel I stayed at was Embassy Suites in Rosemont just a block or so from the Airport, it is with in walking distance from the subway station. This hotel is an homage to Frank Loyd Wright. The hotel has windows, carpeting and many other details that all reflect the images of FLR inspiration. The crown moldings and traditional recessed wainscoting treatments on the walls and it has a very craftsman type feel. The hotel did not disappoint. I can say the Hilton brands in general never disappoint me and always go above and beyond my service and quality expectations. The complimentary breakfast was hot, fresh and made to order.

 The first thing I did after getting settled into my room  was to grab a bite to eat for lunch at Basil's (the hotel's restaurant and bar) I had a refreshing summer salad and a tall glass of unsweet tea (why yes, yes I am a northerner lol). I went back to my room and enjoyed a nap. It sounds like a waste of time but that bed was so fluffy and soft!  As a mom to three kids, I take advantage of nap time when I can. After my nap I was able to explore a bit and found out from the friendly front desk staff that there was a free concert and fireworks show in the park across from the hotel later that evening. I spent the rest of my afternoon exploring the Rosemont area and found there was a large outlet mall and a King's concept bowling alley/gaming center with  food and drinks. I also discovered an I-fly indoor skydiving center nearby.

The next day was an all day conference and they brought in Giordano's deep dish Chicago style pizza for lunch! Giordano's is something one must experience while in Chicago, I am more of a Brooklyn style pizza lover but Giordano's was really good. Once the conference was finished, I decided to jump on the subway and take the blue line to downtown. Once downtown,I walked around a bit to see what I could see. Then I ran across a BIG BUS tour. In just about every major city in the U.S and abroad you can find Big Bus. They allow you to hop on and hop off as much as you like throughout your day and you pay a flat rate or a multi day rate. There are also several different tours you can choose from. It's an inexpensive mode of transport too. I am just going to let my photos speak for themselves. I had a terrific time.

So much to do and so much to see in this amazing city. Since I was actually here for a business convention, I only had one day to see and do it all. I took in as much as possible, the bus tour helped me to see a lot of the city and get some great photos. I kept hearing about this great place I just had to try called Eataly. Eataly is an authentic Italian dining and shopping experience. When you walk in the door downstairs you are surrounded by all sorts of Italian wines, spices, and pastas for purchase, just off to your right there are several different dessert counters, offering Gelato, and countless hand made desserts ordered ala carte and customized to your liking. I tried the salted caramel chocolate gelato with chili.  It was a party on my lips!  Afterwards, I headed upstairs for appetizers and the main course:  Yes, I ate dessert first!   Upstairs there were many different food counters to choose from:  a caprese bar, a micro brewery,  wine and antipasti specialties, and of course fresh from scratch pizza and pastas. I sampled several of the charcuteries and then had the house made goat cheese Agnolotti with a Granita. I finished off my Eataly experience with a nice limoncello.

The nice thing about Chicago is that it is a very walkable city, I took the L train from the airport to the down town red line and was able to safely walk and explore everywhere I wanted to go.  I left Eatly, and headed a few blocks away to the Navy Pier. The Navy is an iconic Chicago landmark housing a plethora of local city vendors, arts and cultural acts. The city holds many different cultural, artistic and community events. The day arrived they were actually hosting a community foam party in the front of the venue and everyone was invited to participate but I refrained. The pier was bustling with people, there were all sorts of shops and what I like to consider carnival or fair type food vendors. The Navy pier has a giant Ferris wheel and snack vendors of all types and in the summer on Saturday nights they offer a complimentary fireworks show that would put most 4th of July shows to shame.The fire works were spectacular, I sat on the steps of the venue with many other viewers taking in every moment!

Photo Courtesty of https://navypier.org/

Monday, September 17, 2018

Surfers Healing Virginia Beach

In August, Kristy and I spent 2 glorious days on the beach with over 450 surfers and their families at the Surfers Healing Camp in Virginia Beach.  We were there sharing what travel services we can provide for those families who have special needs to consider when making their travel plans.

For 21 years Surfers Healing, an organization whose mission is "to enrich the lives of people living with autism by exposing them to the unique experience of surfing"  has been hosting camps where surfers from all over the world, help children on the spectrum experience surfing.  This year marked the 14th year the camp has been held at Virginia Beach.  The event is so popular that families register in order to participate in a lottery to win slots for their children to surf.

We fortunately had our tent next to the speakers tent and the massage tent where the surfers and event organizers congregated. We met surfers from all over the world, including Hawaii and Australia who traveled to surf with these children.

 Event organizers thought of everything - including tents to shade surfers as they awaited their turns.

Families watching their surfers

One happy surfer!

We met families from faraway states who traveled for this event.  We are happy to help with any travel plans you may have to participate in my local event or any other events across the country.  With the exception of the Hawaii 2018 camps, which are TBA, registration for all 2018 camps is closed.  2019 is just around the corner though!

If you would like more information about Surfers Healing Virginia Beach click here.

For information on Surfers Healing Camps nationally click here.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Meet Becca, the Newest Member of Our Team!

 Today, we'd like to introduce you to the fabulous Becca!  Becca is a mom of five, wife to a military veteran, military mom, homeschooling mom, and Disney lover extraordinaire.  Please help us welcome Becca to the team as she tells us a bit about herself!

My favorite way to spend time is helping friends plan their Disney trips.

I love sharing tips and tricks along the way to help make their vacations more memorable and stress-free. Planning itineraries, making dining recommendations and reservations, making fastpass recommendations
 and reserving them for you - these are all services I provide with pleasure! If you’re looking for a travel specialist who feels like your knowledgeable Disney friend - you’ve found her! Message me for a quote today and let’s start making your Disney travel
 dreams come true. ❤️

My first disney World trip was in 1989, followed by another in 1992, when I was a teenager. I began taking my own family in 2002, followed by trips in 2005, 2006, 2007... you get the idea! We visit
 our favorite magical destination nearly every year, sometimes more than once. ;-)

Though our first family trip was as a family of four, our latest trip included all five of our children and our new son-in-law! We have stayed multiple times at Disney’s Pop Century, Disney’s Caribbean
 Beach, Disney’s Port Orleans (Riverside and French Quarter), and at Animal Kingdom Lodge - as well as a few nights at a Disney Springs Resort.

After my family’s second trip, I discovered that the planning is one of my favorite parts of going to Disney World. I started sharing that love with friends and planning itineraries that worked
 for them, too. My friends and family have finally convinced me to put my passion to work, and now I am excited to make it official - and I can’t wait to help you with all of your Disney booking and planning needs!