Sunday, June 30, 2019

Summer Travel Idea #4: Tour Washington DC

If you are feeling patriotic or are just in the mood to brush up on American History, Washington DC is a great way to celebrate the 4th of July.

Where should you begin?  Here is my list of recommendations for a great tour.  You can always add  stops along the way.

  • Arlington National Cemetery is a great place to start.  It is a self-guided walking tour along the immaculate grounds of the cemetery.  Remember to where comfortable walking shoes, preferably with rubber soles. Considerations should also be made to accommodate slow walkers and the handicapped.  Points of interest include JFK Memorial and a few notable icons such as Joe Louis and actor, Lee Marvin who happen to be buried side by side!  

  • The Lincoln Memorial and Ford's Theater should not be missed.  These iconic sites are iconic in American History.  Points of interest include the Gettysburg Address, the Emancipation Proclamation,both carved in stone as well as souvenir shops.  

  • Check out the coffee shop, 'Abe's Cafe & Gifts', across the street from Ford's Theater.  The coffee shop is located upstairs inside the gift shop.  They serve authentic Cafe du Monde coffee, shipped from New Orleans.  Try their Vietnamese Coffee.  You will thank me later!  It is so good and creamy you will not need to add anything, just savor it and enjoy a smooth, rich, creamy cup of coffee while you shop.

Suggested Itinerary:
  • The Vietnam Memorial
  • World War II Memorial 
  • FDR Memorial
  • George Washington's Mount Vernon
  • The National Museum of African American History and Culture
  • The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial

See more suggestions for Washington DC on Trip Advisor.

Monday, June 17, 2019

June subscriber giveaway!

  • What if you could learn the habits that millionaire's use every day?
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  • Would you invest a fraction of your time to adopt these habits?

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According to Hal Elrod, "Based on the premise that how you start your day largely determines the quality of your day, your work, and your life, The Miracle Morning gives you the ultimate morning ritual and teaches night owls how to beat the snooze button, even if you've never been a morning

And that's not all!

You will learn how to put tools in place to start building a better life for yourself, one day at a time.  

The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod

This book is so inspirational that I am "Paying it Forward".  It is a little book with a lot of power so I am challenging you to take Hal Elrod's Miracle Morning 30 Day  LifeTransformation Challenge with me!  

You will learn WHAT to do and HOW to do it IF you are ready for change.  

Are YOU Ready for the challenge?

How to get your FREE copy of this amazing book

This FREE gift ($19.95 value) is available through June 30, 2019, so don't wait,  sign up to receive your free copy of this book NOW! Fill out the form below then check your email for further details.  

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Summer Travel Idea #3: A Caribbean Coffee Plantation

I toured the wonderful Croydon Plantation because of my love for coffee.  It was one of the Carnival Cruise Lines pre-approved shore excursions that I purchased online before my trip.  When I saw this stop was in Montego Bay I had to book this one.

The Carnival Dream

I was fortunate to travel via the beautiful Carnival Dream back in July 2014. 
More about the Carnival Dream in a future post.

Alicia, the perfect tour guide

Our tour guide, Alicia, was knowledgeable and friendly. Along the way, she answered questions while
pointing out beautiful plants, vegetation, and crops indigenous to the island. 

Alicia also educated us on how coffee beans are cultivated, on beekeeping, and on the myriad of plants and crops.  She was the best tour guide I have ever experienced and I've had many!

Varieties of fresh pineapple from Croydon Plantation

We were treated to fresh fruit grown on the plantation midway through the tour. I thought this was a particularly nice touch.

The highlight was at the end of the tour which is when we were served Jerk Chicken with island greens and bottled water.  I was thrilled to sample the freshly brewed Blue Mountain coffee, a product of the plantation.  I was so delicious that I purchased a few bags to take home.  It has a mild, distinct flavor.
Blue Mountain Coffee

I highly recommend a visit to the Croydon Plantation.  It exceeded my expectations and I count it as one of the highlights of my Caribean Cruise!

Plan your trip to the Croydon Plantation via TripAdvisor.  

Summer Travel Idea #2: Tour Graceland

Outside view of Elvis' Mansion

For the next review in this Summer Series, let's take a trip to Elvis Presley's Graceland!

If you like Elvis, you will LOVE Graceland.   His home is a treasure trove of memories, music, and memorabilia on a grand scale.

Yours truly, visiting Graceland in 2015

Visiting Graceland is like taking a step back in time!  Everything is left exactly the way it was while Elvis was alive to give you an idea of what it was like during his heyday.  Modern technology allows you to enhance the experience via iPad and headphones. If you visit during the holidays you get an added bonus.  The home and grounds are exquisitely decorated-- retro style.

A view of Elvis' dining room all decked out for the holidays

I went to visit Graceland during Thanksgiving in 2015 and it was a treat.  Though scheduled for 3 hours, one could easily spend that viewing Elvis' extensive auto collection alone! It is for this reason that I am recommending that everyone add the automobile package to their tour.  It is worth every penny.  Each car tells a story so be sure to read the plaques.  

Elvis Presley's Automobile Museum: It's worth the price of admission!


As you tour the home, it feels like Elvis will come downstairs at any moment.  Everything is decorated to look exactly the way he left it.  The home is dated but in a good way.  The decor helps transport you back in time enough to imagine what it was like when Elvis lived there.  The garden tour and meditation garden is another bonus.  Elvis and his Mother and Father are interred there.  

If you still have time, going through Elvis Tupelo Exhibit is a great way to reimagine Elvis' childhood.  Last but not least, the Elvis Las Vegas Museum exhibits are spectacular.  It includes everything from costumes to photos to gold records.  Time stands still and you become fully immersed in Elvis world.  

Elvis Live from Vegas Exhibit Hall

What are you waiting for? 
Book your tour of Elvis' Graceland on
Trip Advisor today!
Elvis' Tupelo Exhibit Hall

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Summer Travel Idea #1: Tour New Orleans

Beignets and cafe au lait at Cafe du Monde.  It's a coffee lover's dream breakfast!

During the month of June, I am sharing 4 of my favorite US tourist attractions.  These destinations fulfill my sense of wanderlust.  I always try to take home one item from each trip that will take me back to a particular time and place.  You can revisit these special places time and time again by giving yourself permission to daydream.  I will begin the series by reviewing portions of the "Big Easy"--New Orleans!

Tourists from every part of the globe come to New Orleans to have a good time.  Lessaiz Les Bontemps Rouler means "Let the good times roll!" In New Orleans, good times is a way of life 24/7.  This historic city is culturally rich.  There is no other city like it in the world!

Whether you are visiting for business or pleasure, New Orleans is a guaranteed good time!

You have so many options to choose from if you are considering hotel accommodations.

The Omni Riverfront Hotel is my absolute favorite for its ambiance and style.  It was awarded the coveted Certificate of Excellence in 2018.  (LINK TO MY TRIP ADVISOR)

photo credit
You are greeted at the door via valet service then enter the grand lobby which is warm and welcoming.  The registration desk is tucked in toward the left of the entrance.  I find this a welcome change to the common floor plans which put the registration desk in the middle of the lobby.  This sitting area is so much more inviting.  

There is a full-service bar on site for your convenience!
The double rooms are comfortable, clean, and spacious.  Amenities such as fridge, coffee, machine, and room safe included. 

Should you choose to stay at the Omni Riverfront Hotel, there are a few things to consider.  There is no swimming pool on site and the restaurant is limited to breakfast hours.  The hotel itself is clean and comfortable.  

The Hilton New Orleans Airport Hotel is a full-service hotel and it is right next to the Louis Armstrong International Airport.  

photo credit

What makes this hotel so appealing is its proximity to the airport and the fact that it is minutes away from shopping malls in the surrounding area.  It also includes a full-service on-site restaurant, a gym,  and an indoor pool.  

The Lobby is open and inviting.  

Rooms are clean and comfortable.  

If you want to be closer to the action, consider the Marriott Hotel downtown on Canal Street.
photo credit

The Marriott is close to all the action because it is a short walk from the French Quarters.

The hotel overlooks the popular RiverWalk  Outlet Collection.
photo credit

  • Food Court in The Riverwalk
  • The Outlet Collection at The Riverfront
  • Mulatte's Seafood & Tavern (on the same corner as the Omni Riverfront Hotel)
  • Cafe du Monde (all locations)
  • Tanger Outlet Mall in Gonzales (a short drive from the Marriott New Orleans Airport Hotel)
  • Don's Seafood (in Gonzales near Tanger Outlet)
  • Lakeside Shopping Center (Metairie, LA)
  • Creole Mississippi River Cruise
  • The French Quarter
  • MARDI GRAS! (February)
  • The Mercedes-Benz Superdome/ Saints Football Game
See more recommendations on Trip Advisor.

Saturday, June 1, 2019

The Benefits of Packing Light

In an earlier post, I recommended traveling by air using a "carry-on only" bag.  I thought I would show the benefits of this particular way to travel in this post and highlight some of the carry-on bags that help to make this a viable option, no matter how long you plan to be away.

  • Faster Airport Arrivals. ...
  • Moving Around Isn't a Hassle. ...
  • Packing is Simple. ...
  • You'll Save on Checked Luggage Fees. ...
  • You're Going Somewhere Warm. ...
  • Fixed-Length (Short) Trips. ...
  • It's Stress-Free!                                

Below are some items for your consideration.  As you will see, there is a wide range of styles to choose from that come with price options to fit any budget.   All bags are unisex.

Amazon Basics Underseat Carry-on Luggage
I am partial to this one!  It offers the most bang for the buck.
Features include:
  • Rolling luggage for savvy travelers; fits in most airline overhead compartments and under the seat in front of you
  • Telescoping push-button handle locks into place; luggage handle pass-through panels; smooth-rolling wheels for easy mobility 
  • Price: $49.99

Travelon Anti-Theft Carryall Weekender Duffel
Features include: 

  • Zip Front organizer compartment has a zippered pocket that is RFID protected. Side pocket holds a water bottle or umbrella 
  • Slash-resistant carry handles and an adjustable, removable shoulder strap. Add a bag strap allows the tote to slide over the handle of wheeled luggage
  • Price: 73.48

Heys Unisex Spinner
Features include:
  • Zipper-released expansion system allows for an extra 20% in packing capacity
  • Built-in zipper divider ensure packing optimization
  • Price: $143.95

Samsonite Underseat Spinner with USB Port 
Features include:
  • FITS UNDER MOST AIRLINE seats (unpacked exterior dimensions = 16.5" x 13.75" x 9"), for easy access to belongings en route. Under seat storage capacities and dimensions vary by airline - please check with your airline for more information
  • FOUR, MULTI-DIRECTIONAL SPINNER wheels allow for 360 rolling in multiple directions for easy mobility
  • USB PORT lets you charge electronics on the go (batteries not included)
  • Price: $79.99

The secret to packing "carry-on only" lies in the use of packing cubes.  Check out the selection and choose the ones that appeal to your style.  They come in a range of colors and sizes, depending on your style of organizing.  For example, I personally prefer small packing cubes.  I tend to pack by the day.  Some pack like items.  You might prefer to vary the size of your packing cubes which would allow you to pack multiple items and organize your luggage by varying the sizes of your cubes.  It really does not matter how you decide to use the packing cubes as organization style is all a matter of preference.

Dot and Dot
I love these multicolored sets!  Pictured above are the "small" cubes.

These are the industry standard.  They come in a variety of sizes.  Pictured above is the multi-size set.

Compass Rose
These bags are different!  They are numbered, allowing you to pack by number, or by color coding.  You decide!

Compression bags
These bags are double zippered to allow you to pack, push down, and compress the contents.  The extra zipper function allows you to press the excess air out of the bag, creating a smaller, more compressed package.  They are almost like space bags, only better!


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Touring Historic Downtown Guadalajara

Photo by  Texas wedding photographer, Matthew T Rader This is Guadalajara Cathedral at Plaza de La Liberacion in Guadalajara, Jalisco ...