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The only Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum in the country is located in Gatlinburg, Tennessee and it’s a must-visit!

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the meaning of family travel

Posted on September 20, 2013

The Spanish Steps

My family on the Spanish Steps in Rome.

By the time you read this, I will have shuffled off to Buffalo for the TMS Family Travel conference in Niagara Falls.

I’m so excited about this because, at this stage of my life, travel is the only extravagance I really indulge in. I don’t really care about “things” any more, but give me a chance to visit a different place, experience a different culture or activity, or try a different mode of transportation, and I’m packed.

Camel in Dubai

This conference is all about family travel, and you may wonder what that means to me since my husband and I are now empty nesters. Well, it literally means the world to me! more »

celebrating our 32nd anniversary at la costa

Posted on September 19, 2013

 La Costa Spa and Resort

Michael and I celebrated our 32nd anniversary a couple of weeks ago. How that can be possible when I feel like I’m still 30 myself is one of those mysteries of life – and a topic for a future blog post. more »

my oasis: healing with elephants in thailand by julie lemerond

Posted on August 18, 2013

Elephant Nature Park in Thailand

About a year ago, a friend of mine referred to us as “middle-aged” in a blog post. “What the heck is she talking about?” I thought. And then it dawned on me that we were turning 40 and, if an average female American life expectancy hovers somewhere around 80, then we are indeed “middle-aged.” Because I still get carded and people seem shocked when they find out how old I am, it’s hard to wrap my brain around the idea that I am halfway through life. more »

finding my oasis in africa

Posted on July 14, 2013

I’m re-posting this because our Generation Fabulous BlogHop this month is all about transformative travel, and my trip to Africa was absolutely that! Click here to read how my fellow GenFab bloggers have been transformed by their own trips. Would love to hear about yours, too!

I just came back from my looooooong-anticipated two-week bucket list trip to Africa, and am having a hard time getting back to “real life.” Michael and I spent a wondrous week glamping in Botswana and Zimbabwe, and then a night in Johannesburg before heading off to Martha Beck’s amazing African STAR Retreat at Londolozi. The whole experience was life-changing, and I pretty much felt like this all the time:

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welcome to the hotel la jolla

Posted on March 31, 2013


Hotel La Jolla

Every time I travel, I struggle with choosing a hotel. Should I go with a place that’s unique to that city or stick with a brand I know I can trust?

Whenever possible, I look for a Kimpton because they’ve found the ideal way to combine both of those features. Bill Kimpton opened the first boutique hotel ever – San Francisco’s Clarion Bedford in 1981– and his company has been revolutionizing the business ever since.

So, when HerHighway.com invited me for a tour of the Hotel La Jolla, the newest Kimpton in San Diego, plus lunch in the hotel’s ocean-view Cusp restaurant and a spin in the 2014 Aston Martin Vanquish, I cleared my calendar. more »

my “a-hot-stone-massage!” moment

Posted on January 29, 2013

Spa weekend

You never know when you’ll experience what Oprah likes to call “a-ha!” moments — moments, as defined by Merriam-Webster, of “sudden realization, inspiration, insight, recognition, or comprehension” — but I’ve come to expect mine when I’m in the middle of a massage. This was brought home so clearly to me during my girls’ spa weekend that I’ve decided to more accurately call those times “a-hot-stone-massage!” moments.

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titanic: the belfast exhibit, the blu-ray movie release and an interview with gaelic storm

Posted on September 24, 2012

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, so Michael and I were eager to visit Titanic Belfast when we were in Ireland this summer.

The Belfast Exhibit

The Titanic was built in Northern Ireland, and it was fascinating to stand in the spot where the highly-touted ship launched its historic journey, and imagine the hopes and dreams of the passengers as they left the port. Many of those stories are shared in the actual exhibit, and they put real, human faces on the tragic event. more »

Tiger Women by Katy Yocom

Posted on July 14, 2012

It’s a frigid January day, and I’m sitting in an open jeep on a tiger reserve in India. This is not a place I ever expected to find myself. Some women my age develop baby lust; at thirty-nine, I’ve come down with a critical case of tiger lust. I’m obsessed. A few months ago, I started writing a novel centered on tigers and quickly realized I had research to do. And so, here I am.

Much about this trip surprises me. But nothing more than the fact that I’m here with my mother.

Katy Yocom in India

When I was young, my mother seemed a force of nature. She piloted airplanes, rescued animals, lunched with the town’s most powerful businessmen. She said what was on her mind, consequences be damned. I adored her. more »

Sara Blakely of Spanx Just Joined the Forbes World Billionaires List!

Posted on March 14, 2012

Congratulations to Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx, for becoming the youngest self-made woman to join the Forbes World Billionaires list this year.

I feel a special kinship to Sara whose appearance on The Oprah Show so inspired me as my partners and I were developing StyleSubstanceSoul.com. Because of this, we were chosen to accompany Oprah on the trip of a lifetime to Australia as “Ultimate Viewers.” You can read the whole amazing story here.

Using her life savings of $5000 to start her company, Sara literally changed the shape of women’s fashion. Fourteen years later, she joins Oprah – to whom she donated $1 million for her Leadership Academy for Girls in Africa – in the elite group of women making ten figures (figures probably ensconced in Spanx!). She has also taken on her own philanthropic causes, supporting a variety of charities and organizations which empower women through her Sara Blakely Foundation.

I applaud Sara, who continues to be an inspiration to me. I hope to have as great an impact on women as she has, and I hope to one day join her on this list. (Hey, putting it out into the universe is what got me to Australia with Oprah!)

This post originally appeared on my former blog, StyleSubstanceSoul.com.

Our Journey to Australia with Oprah: The Back Story Featuring Sara Blakely of Spanx!

Posted on December 6, 2011

It was one year ago yesterday we took off on our Ultimate Australian Adventure with Oprah — and it still feels surreal! We landed Down Under on December 7, and in honor of our anniversary, we will be reliving that once-in-a-lifetime trip by re-posting our day-by-day journal starting tomorrow. For those of you who weren’t with us last year, we hope you’ll come along and learn — like we did —  to dream big. For those of you who have been so supportive and have vicariously accompanied us through every step of this amazing journey, thank you. For the 299 other Ultimate Viewers who really did accompany us to Australia, we are so proud to now call you friends.

Oprah Winfrey ShowSo many of you have asked how we ended up on that Season 25 premiere to begin with, so we thought we should preface our adventure with that story. They say, “it’s the journey, not the destination,” but in this case, both were pretty remarkable. more »

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