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I loved visiting Dolly Parton’s home town in Tennessee! Here are 10 Reasons Pigeon Forge is Really Something to Squawk About!

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w hotel los angeles west beverly hills

W hotel sign

Michael and I were lucky enough to get tickets to the taping of Oprah’s Super Soul Sessions at UCLA a couple of months ago, and we decided to make a weekend out of it.

We were invited to stay at the W Hotel Los Angeles in West Beverly Hills, which is within walking distance of the campus as well as a gigantic Ralph’s, which has a Starbucks and a fantastic bakery inside. This was perfect because not having to worry about a car in Los Angeles is, just like the hotel, a luxury in itself. [Read more…]

the art of the renaissance aix-en-provence hotel

Renaissance Aix yellow chairs

I told you about the beautiful Renaissance Aix-en-Provence Hotel yesterday and promised you a pictorial of some of my favorite features. [Read more…]

renaissance aix-en-provence

Renaissance Aix Ice Drops

I have to admit that getting kicked out of that French B&B before we left the States was the best thing that could have happened because we ended up staying at the Renaissance Aix-en-Provence, which turned out to be one of our favorite hotels ever. [Read more…]

my weekend at the park hyatt aviara for the kia classic

Kia Classic '15 cars

Two of my all-time favorite cars.

For the past three years, we’ve been lucky enough to get a new Kia to test drive up to the Park Hyatt Aviara for a weekend at the Kia Classic LPGA tournament.

I will write about this year’s model — the 2016 Kia Sorento — separately because, well, you know how much I love the Sorento. But I want to tell you about the Park Hyatt Aviara and the Kia Classic so you can start making plans to come next year. [Read more…]

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…]