Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Tourist and the Fisherman...

An American tourist was standing at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a boat with a fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish.

“How long it took you to catch them?” The American asked.

“Only a little while.” The Mexican replied.

“Why don’t you stay out longer and catch more fish?” The American then asked.

“I have enough to support my family’s immediate needs.” The Mexican said.

“But,” The American then asked, “What do you do with the rest of your time?”

The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take a siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos, I have a full and busy life, senor.”

The American scoffed, “I am a Harvard MBA and could help you! You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds you buy a bigger boat, and with the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats, eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats.  Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the consumers, eventually opening your own can factory. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually NYC where you will run your expanding enterprise.”

The Mexican fisherman asked, “But senor, how long will this all take?”

To which the American replied, “15-20 years.”

“But what then, senor?”

The American laughed and said, “That’s the best part. When the time is right you would announce an IPO (Initial Public Offering) and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions.”

“Millions, senor? Then what?”

The American said slowly, “Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take a siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos…”

♥        I've always loved the moral behind this story... life is short so value every minute of it.        

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Sneak peak! Feature on a fabulous travel destination

Hello my fellow traveling family! I have some new, exciting destinations to share with you soon. Here is a sneak peak of the first destination...

Windows of Italy and Croatia

Any ideas on where these windows could be???

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Costa Rican it - Four Seasons Costa Rica

Next up on our site inspection list - the Four Seasons Costa Rica!!! I had been über excited to see this resort for months and it did not disappoint. Once you get past the gated entrance you have a couple of minutes to soak in some beautiful Costa Rican scenery along with the Four Season's amazing golf course as you drive down the windy road to the actual resort. As you walk in the lobby it has a warm, welcoming ambiance thanks to the décor full of dark, natural wood with hints of citrusy colors of orange and yellow. You are greeted with a scented & chilled towel along with a cold welcome beverage.

The grounds are immaculate and the pools were very inviting but I had plenty of work to do so I had to stay focused. There were even pool boys bringing trays of scrumptious lunches out to some ladies at the swim up area along the side of the pool. Not only do they have pool service but beach butler service as well. The beaches were the nicest I had seen yet in Cost Rica. The resort has access to two different beaches.



Unlike most resorts the Four Seasons do not require wristbands for their guests so it allows you to sleep comfortably.

One of the things that left a lasting impression on me was the resorts Kids Club. It was brightly colored, festive and FUN! There were plenty of indoor and outdoor activities that would make even the teenagers jealous. This popular program is available at no additional cost for guests ages 4 to 12. They also offer a teens club for the kiddos over the age of 12.


Next up, the rooms. Each room offers things like in-suite wi-fi ($), CD/DVD players, 100% cotton bathrobes (even have them available in kid size), L'Occitane bathroom amenities, complimentary bottled water, Cafe Britt coffee and a welcome amenity. Another impressive thing was all 155 rooms had spacious screened porches which was the first time I had ever seen that before. The Four Seasons Costa Rica proves yet again that they are indeed a family-welcoming resort by offering complimentary cribs, bottles, high chairs, videos and a large selection of games that can be delivered to your rooms.


The four restaurants have plenty of options even for the pickiest of eaters. We were truly blessed to eat lunch there so I had the fresh catch of the day along with the chef's special ceviche and a side of guacamole. De-li-cious!!!

The resort is just about a 40 minute drive from the Liberia or San Jose airport. While there is plenty to do (or not to do!) at the Four Seasons feel free to adventure out and try some of the amazing activities that are within 20 minutes of the hotel.

- Sport fishing enthusiasts will enjoy catchings things like marlin, sailfish, grouper and exceptionally large tuna. Be sure and take your catchings back to the resort for supper.

- The Witch's Rock Canopy tour guarantees a thrilling experience as guests harness up and slide along a series of zip lines high above treetops and valleys. Be sure and look for wildlife along the tour including exotic birds and howler monkeys.

- The Catamaran Cruise is a more relaxing way to explore the Gulf of Papagayo and conveniently leaves right from the resort. You can snorkel or simply enjoy the sunset on their 47 foot catamaran.

The Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo is absolutely stunning and I'm looking forward to going back with my hubbie and boys.

To see more pictures click play on the slideshow below:

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Costa Rican it - the Hilton Papagayo

The alarm went off at 7 am and I quickly got ready so I could enjoy some breakfast at the hotel before our big day of site inspections.

First up ~ The Hilton Papagayo which is an all-inclusive resort with just 202 rooms with 4 different categories. As we stepped off of our shuttle bus we immediately noticed the gorgeous view from the lobby! So naturally I had to get a couple quick pictures. ;)


Hilton Papagayo

As the groups manager, Andy, showed us around I noticed the grounds were well kept and beautiful. The resort is built into it's natural surroundings and most of the rooms are in bungalow-like buildings with just 2 rooms per building which make them feel more intimate. Each building had a winding pathway to the front doors that was beautifully landscaped.

The oceanfront rooms were up on a the mountainside and were in bigger buildings. Also in that section the resort has 4 Jr Suites with amazing private plunge pools!

Hilton Papagayo

When we were taken down to the beach I couldn't help but to notice that it was bigger and nicer than the Occidental's beach. While I understand that most people do not go to Costa Rica for the beaches it is still important to some.

Andy also showed us their newest restaurant, 'The Grill" which is open for lunch and dinner. While it didn't have air conditioning it did have excuisite palapa roofing and it boasts beautiful views as it overlooked the beach.

They have a gorgeous three-tiered swimming pool with swim up bar and infinity pool.

In the spa section they have special pool-side service and 70 adult-only rooms. It looked ideal for wedding groups so I decided to get to know the wedding planner while there, Mr. Andre.

All in all, this resort ended up being the most impressive all-inclusive for me. It felt Costa Rican and still had the amenities to make an American satisfied.

To see more pictures of the lovely Hilton Papagayo see the slideshow below:

Costa Rican it - Occidental Papagayo

As I stepped off the plane at Liberia's airport a large white butterfly fluttered by my feet and I knew that I was right where God wanted me to be.
The ride over to our host hotel, The Occidental Papagayo, was just a little over 30 minutes. In that 30 minutes I've never in my life seen so much green! The lush grounds and flowered trees were endless all around and had me hypnotized. It was absolutely beautiful and peaceful.

When we walked into the Occidental Papagayo lobby the first thing you notice is the view. It's open to a beautiful scene of the lush mountains and waters of Culebra Bay in the Papagayo Gulf. We were warmly greeted and given our bracelets to let the hotel's staff know we are now part of the all-inclusive experience. The resort has just about 160 rooms in 23 different buildings built into the hillside of the bay so it didn't ever feel crowded.

Posing in the lobby at the Occidental Papagayo

Our rooms were not quite ready so we ate at 'the Buffet' until they were. The rooms are quaint and beautifully done. Terracotta tile and sold wood furniture made it feel earthy. The pretty, sheer cream-colored panels flowing over the sides of the bed and down over the ceiling-to-floor windows gave the room an elegant spin on things. However, the outdated bathtub and boxy television set reminded me that I was not at a 5 star hotel but it didn't bother me in the least. I'm in COSTA RICA!!!

After unpacking I decided to head down to the pool and to check out the beach. Disappointingly there was not a swim-up bar but the guests at this resort doesn't seem to be the type looking for a party atmosphere. The pool was beautiful and had a nice view of the winding staircase up to the lobby.

The small walk down to the beach was not as pretty as the entrance to the lobby. The beach was small and disappointing. Rumor has it that the tides were high so that is why it looked unpleasant. Christian, the young man working the bar hut quickly turned my frown upside down with a fresh, cold Miami Vice. Mmmmm mmm, RUM!!

That night for dinner our travel agent group ate at the D'Oriental Restaurant. This is one of their four restaurants. It was truly delicious. Another thing I will always remember about Costa Rica: the water was like Holy Water - fresh and pure.

After dinner they had a soothing live band performing in the open-air lobby. I noticed bright lights across the room... a disco! I made my way over to take a quick peek. I opened the door to a spacious room filled with loud music, a bar, a dance floor and a pool table. It had been a early morning for this girl so I decided to hike back to my room and save my pool shark skills and dance moves for another night. ;)

Since my long day had started at 3:00 am I definitely slept like a baby. I was looking forward to seeing more of Costa Rica the next day, especially the Four Seasons. :-)

To see more pictures from the Occidental Papagayo check out the Flickr slideshow below:

Friday, May 27, 2011

Lions, tigers and a GIVEAWAY! Oh my!


Giveaway time! Anne from 500 Places with Kids is hosting a fantabulous giveaway including:

1. A copy of Frommer's 500 Places to Take Your Kids Before They Grow Up to help you decide where to go. (Value $20)
2. Three cute luggage tags from to put on your packed bags (Value $25)
3. A full tank of gas from Shell Oil to get your family wherever they're going - valid in United States only - (Value $50)
4. A $50 gift card good for a night's stay in any of the Marriott family of hotels.
5. And last, but not least a free 8x8 all New Custom Path photobook AND free shipping from Shutterfly (Value $25) to create a wonderful keepsake of your fabulous trip. (LOVE THESE!)

All you have to do to win is go comment on her blog, 500 Places with Kids by May 30th, 2011. Go on now and GOOD LUCK!!

Much love to you all and I hope you have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!
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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Journaling during your travels

How amazing is it to see your family take in all the beauty and excitement while on vacation?? Why not capture what they are feeling?? Sure you can create still shots with fancy cameras but try to take it an extra step further with journaling.

Since I was a little girl I've been a journal / diary writer and I find it so interesting to go back and read what I was thinking and feeling at certain stages in life.

My boys are finally getting old enough to where I feel 110% confident in taking them outside of the hotels & resorts to explore historical and adventurous sites. Sites such as a helicopter ride over an active volcano in Hawaii or taking a tour of the Mayan ruins in the Yucatan.

My dear friend Anne Patron of 500 Place With Kids is the one who inspired me to invest in some Moleskine journals for my boys to write and color in while we go on our adventures. You can read more about her experiences on journaling with kids HERE. I absolutely love the picture below her little one drew of the Chichen Itza Pyramid (known as one of the 7 Natural wonders of the World).

I'm excited to see what comes of this new project! I encourage you to give it a try for it may just be something you will treasure forever.

Enjoy your Easter weekend lovelies!
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Monday, March 28, 2011

HUGE announcement for those traveling from Texas...

Starting June 2nd there will be NONSTOP flights round trip to Punta Cana from Dallas/Fort Worth airport!! The flights will operate Thursdays and Sundays on Apple Vacation's charter.

We have been fighting for nonstops to the Dominican for a couple of years now so I am beyond excited about this! The Dominican Republic is a favorite beach destination. The white sand goes for miles and miles and the water is crystal clear. It is also home of some of my most favorite all-inclusive resorts.

Picnik collage

Pristine beaches HERE WE COME!!!

Call me for your D.R. vacation. I'd love to help!

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Monday, March 14, 2011

Sunday Sampler ~ Spring Break edition

blog sunday sampler

Yes, it is perfectly safe to travel to the touristy destinations in Mexico right now. The guy at the Texas DPS who is giving out false statements should be ninja kicked. Hard. Thank you to the Vacation Gals for your post this week on the subject. Cheers to us who are enjoying the beautiful country of Mexico and all of it's fabulousness!



Don't forget to check out hotpants' Talk of Tinseltown to catch up on your weekly juicy & gossipy goodness.


Wishing you all a lovely week! xo

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Fabulous and FREE weddings at the Iberostar Grand Resorts!

Oh my, I can barely contain my excitement!!! The Iberostar Grand Collection have announced that they are currently offering their amazing weddings for FREEEE!!!!

This is a 5 star luxury all-inclusive hotel chain that stole my heart and respect when they opened their first resort in 2006.

They have since built two more making a total of three:

* The Iberostar Grand Paraíso located in the Riviera Maya of Mexico

* The Iberostar Grand Hotel Bávaro in the Dominican Republic

* The Iberostar Grand Hotel Rose Hall in Jamaica

The free wedding package includes:

  • Minister Fees
  • Flowers for bride & groom
  • Wedding cake
  • Champagne toast
  • 10% off spa services
  • Complimentary room for the groom the night before the wedding
  • FREE room upgrade for the wedding couple

In the years that I have been helping plan destination weddings I can honestly say the wedding team at the Iberostar Grands have proven to be the best of the best. They are friendly, eager to help and create AMAZING weddings. Another key element to know is that they only do ONE wedding a day so you can have the peace of mind that you will be treated like royalty.

If you are getting engaged to get married feel free to call me to check availability and to get the best weddingmoon package available for you and your guests.

Iberostar Grand