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Bring on the April showers! I wrote about 10 Stylish Items That’ll Keep You Dry in a Downpour for USA Today 10Best. Bet you’ll especially love the cute boots and the heart-shaped umbrella!

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surf & sand: my new laguna beach home!

Surf & Sand balcony

Oh, if only that title were true.

I mean, don’t I look like I belong on that balcony overlooking the Pacific?

Michael and I discovered Laguna Beach not long after we moved to California almost 17 years ago, and we fell in love with it immediately. It’s a gorgeous, art-focused beach town which I will write about separately but, because it’s less than an hour’s drive, we’ve never stayed overnight there.

Boy, have we been missing out. [Read more…]

shade hotel

Shade pool

There’s nothing like a night at a great hotel to rejuvenate you and make you feel like you’ve been on a real vacation.

That’s what happened a couple of weeks ago when Shade invited Michael and me to stay at their beautiful luxury boutique hotel in Manhattan Beach.

Just a couple of blocks from the beach and smack in the middle of the adorable seaside town that’s filled with some of my favorite stores (hello, Free People!) and new favorite restaurants (Rock’n Fish, I’m talking about you!), Shade can be either the perfect retreat or the hub of social activity.

I’ll give you one guess which we chose. [Read more…]

marriott’s oceana palms

Marriott Oceana Palms view

With the weather so cold and snowy around the country, I figured most of you could use a little respite. So today I’m taking you back to Riviera Beach, Florida to the Marriott’s Oceana Palms, where I stayed a few months ago, thanks to Marriott Vacation Club.

Just take a minute to enjoy that view — which, by the way, was the view from the private balcony of my villa. Imagine you can feel the sun warming your face and breathe in the salt water of the ocean. [Read more…]

me and a harley-davidson

Desert Springs Peter and me bike

If you had ever told me I would one day be whizzing down the highway on the back of a Harley-Davidson, I would have laughed and said you were crazy.

Yet, there I was yesterday, doing just that – and checking off the new addition to my bucket list.

When I told my daughter we had been offered the opportunity to take a motorcycle tour during our press trip to the J.W. Marriott Desert Springs, she said, “Mom, please say ‘no.’ I’m getting heart palpitations just thinking about you on a motorcycle.”

The idea kind of gave me heart palpitations, too. I mean, if I hadn’t done this ever before, did I need to start at the age of 55?  Of course I had to say “yes,” though, because when else would I ever get a chance to do this with a professional doing the driving?  [Read more…]

marriott vacation club: the answers to your questions (and maybe your prayers!)

Marriott Vacation Club pool

When I went to visit Marriott’s Oceana Palms last month to learn about Marriott Vacation Club, you had lots of great comments and opinions about timeshares.

I shared all of your thoughts, asked all of your questions, and got in-depth answers – some of which may surprise you. Some may actually motivate you to check out the Marriott Vacation Club website and make an appointment to take a tour to see if this can work for your family. [Read more…]

spending the night on the legendary – and haunted? – queen mary

Queen Mary from Hotel Maya

From our beautiful room at the Hotel Maya in Long Beach, we could see the Queen Mary – which was actually where we would be sleeping the next night. [Read more…]

hotel maya, a.k.a. my hotel

Hotel Maya Playa

My friend, Ruth, and I were invited on a press trip to Long Beach a few months ago and had such a good time, we decided to take our husbands back last weekend.

We really wanted to stay at the gorgeous Hotel Maya, which we had fallen in love with when we toured it. [Read more…]

nature’s spa by jurlique at kimpton’s hotel palomar

Hotel Palomar feet

You know how much I love Kimpton Hotels, and you know how much I love massages.

So, when I was offered a chance to experience a massage at the new Nature’s Spa by Jurlique in the Hotel Palomar, well, there I am, above, patiently waiting in the relaxation room.

And, let me tell you, they’re not joking by calling it that. [Read more…]

marriott vacation club oceana palms

Marriott Oceana Palms

I’m so excited about spending the weekend in Florida at Marriott’s Oceana Palms, especially since the PR Director just sent me the photo above, saying, ” I just took this picture … worst view at the resort.”

Well, if that’s the worst view, I may need to spend more than a weekend there! [Read more…]

hotel monaco portland xoxo

Hotel Monaco sign

The only problem with staying in a hotel as nice as the Hotel Monaco is that you never want to leave. [Read more…]