February 9, 2010 at 1:13 pm , by Sue Erneta
My husband calls me a master packer. I think he means that I have a knack for stuffing more into a suitcase than is humanly possible. But I like to think that after many years of traveling for business and pleasure, I’ve gotten it down to a science. I just got back from a beach vacation and I was very pleased with my packing results. Here are my tips:
1. Wear chunky stuff on the plane. Those sneakers for the gym or the cardigan that you might need in an air conditioned restaurant should not be taking up space in your suitcase.
2. Carry on the essentials. I like to check luggage but I always make sure that I have a pair of sandals, a bathing suit, and a dress that can double as a cover-up and out-to-dinner-wear in my carry-on. And that brings us to…
3. Dresses. Period. Other than gym clothes and some pjs, I packed all dresses. They work day and night. Who needs dorky shorts when you can throw a cute jersey dress over your bathing suit?
4. Don’t forget about accessories. I always throw in a few fun belts and some jewelry so I can feel pretty out at night. That jersey dress you wore to the beach looks great for dinner with earrings, a metallic belt, and heels. Which brings us to…
5. Don’t pack too many shoes. They’re heavy and they take up a lot of space. I opted for Havaianas for day and one pair of taupe high heel sandals for evening. Keep with one basic color so they’ll go with everything.
December 10, 2009 at 11:44 am , by Sue Erneta
I love vacationing with my parents. It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved. And here’s why:
1. My kids get to spend a big chunk of time with their grandparents. Rather than a quick overnight or a weekend visit, it gives them a week to really get to know each other and have some great bonding experiences. My mom just took Sophia to see the Nutcracker—and I got the day off! Which brings me to my next point…
2. You actually get a break to spend time with your spouse. My husband and I always have one date night when we’re on vacation with my folks: Last year it was a beachside dinner on the 10-year anniversary of the day we met (everybody now…AWWWW!). It’s so nice knowing that the kids are well cared for and bonus—we don’t have to pay the babysitter. Which brings me to my next point…
3. It saves money. This one’s a biggie. I’m lucky enough to have parents with a house in Florida so we can take a day trip to Disney World without getting a hotel. And since they own the house, you don’t get a big hotel bill at the end of your stay. We also get free hotel transfers, free room and board, and free babysitting services. What could be wrong with that?
So, tell me…do you vacation with all three generations? Where have you been? Where are you going to next?
October 23, 2009 at 11:59 am , by Jennifer Castoro
I am from New Jersey. (No, I do not have teased hair, a mob connection or a cousin named Vinny.) As a native Jerseyan, I’m much more city chick than country girl. And the only contact I’ve ever had with a horse was during birthday parties circa grammar school, when all the girly girls would have pony rides in their backyards. So I was super excited to be able to visit Tanque Verde Ranch, in Tucson, Arizona, this past weekend to experience a taste of life as a cowgirl.
As I hopped up on my horse, Katmandu (that’s him in the picture), my first thought was, good Lord, I’m high off the ground! That quickly gave way to oh crap, he’s moving, followed by please don’t turn your giant head and bite me. But I was pleasantly surprised; not only was he (and the other two horses I rode during the weekend) calm and docile, but I quickly got used to the feeling of maneuvering him along the trails at the ranch and getting him to slow down with a little woah and a gentle tug on the reins. He did stop about every 10 feet to scoop some unsuspecting foliage off the ground and chomp on it, but otherwise he was perfectly agreeable.
I also got the chance to do some hiking in the Saguaro National Park (a snapshot is to the left), a breathtaking expanse of giant saguaro cacti, little prickly pear bushes, sweeping mountain views and lots of plants with needles on them. And at night, my fellow travelers and I sat around a roaring campfire, listening to classic western tunes and chomping juicy mesquite barbecue. Delish!
I’m normally a beach-vacation kind of girl, with a little European traveling thrown in for good measure, but I was surprised how much I enjoyed the wild west experience. Perhaps I’m a little bit county…
What’s your favorite place to vacation? Have you ever traveled anywhere totally out of your comfort zone?