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I met the most amazing craftspeople when I was in Portland last week. Read my USA Today piece, 10 Portland makers who will make you say, “Please take my money!” and get all your holiday shopping done early!

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best of scottsdale, day 3: hotel valley ho and a taste of old town

Posted on February 18, 2014

bar stool

I’m hoping my butt doesn’t end up looking like this bar stool at the Rusty Spur by the time we finish eating our way through Scottsdale.

Michael and I love to eat.

Ha ha! Like that’s news to anyone! more »

the best of scottsdale, day 2: birthdays, balloons, burgers and butterflies

Posted on February 12, 2014


Michael’s birthday started on a high note – literally – with a hot air balloon ride over Scottsdale/Phoenix. It was his 57th birthday, he was born in 1957 and 57 is my lucky number, so it had to be a special celebration. more »

what you didn’t know about scottsdale

Posted on February 11, 2014

Lois and Priscilla

My good friend, Priscilla Nelson of NelsonArt.com, recently moved to Scottsdale, which has so inspired her stunning paintings.

Before I share our day two adventures, I think I should clear up a couple of misconceptions about Scottsdale, in general, and the Phoenician, in particular.

1. First of all, contrary to popular belief, Scottsdale is not just a spa location. Trust me, this kind of surprised me, too, having gone there every year for, well, spa weekends. When I called my sister and told her some of the things we were doing, she kept saying, “I didn’t know they had that. Why didn’t we do that?” more »

the best of scottsdale, day one: the phoenician

Posted on February 6, 2014

Phoenician Oasis

No wonder I feel so at home at the Phoenician!

I’ve had a love affair with Scottsdale for years. Michael played in the Pro-Am there when it was called the FBR Invitational, and my mom, sister and I have celebrated six annual birthday weekends basking at Scottsdale spas.

So this year, when I was trying to figure out what to do for Michael’s 57th birthday – which is today! Happy birthday, honey! – I thought, “Scottsdale!” It’s less than an hour and half flight on Southwest, there’s so much to do there and it’s one of the few places in the country that isn’t snowed in right now. more »

miraval: my oasis in the tucson desert

Posted on January 27, 2014

Miraval sky

Now that our nest is empty and Michael is “retired,” we spend a lot of time traveling. There’s nothing we love more than discovering new places, and we rarely go back to the same destination twice.

Except for Miraval. more »

the equine experience at miraval

Posted on January 16, 2014

Lois and Cherokee

We’ve always been taught to get our information straight from the horse’s mouth.

But, as I recently learned firsthand, the deepest truths just may come from the horse’s hoof. more »

kids laughing


Posted on January 1, 2014

Amsterdam sign

Let me start at the beginning.

We were on a tour bus in Amsterdam when the guide mentioned Hans Brinker.

“Who’s that?” my daughter asked me.

“You never heard of Hans Brinker? The boy who put his finger in the dyke?”

There was a pause as the kids looked at me in horror, then looked at each other and burst into the kind of obnoxiously loud, hysterical, can’t-catch-your-breath laughter that is absolutely inappropriate in public places – and impossible to control.

kids laughing

“Put his finger in the dyke?!” spurted my son, gasping for air.

“Oh, my God, you guys, you know what I’m talking about,” I said, rolling my eyes and trying to shush them while the other passengers gave us dirty looks and my husband pushed his Earbuds in deeper.

And so began another Mark family vacation. more »

my ski.com video

Posted on December 2, 2013

snow bunnies

Candace Derickx and I had a (snow)ball at the TMS Family Travel Conference!

I know winter doesn’t officially start for another three weeks but once December hits, it’s on, as far as I’m concerned. more »

my family travel stories: a guide through the forest

Posted on November 5, 2013


One of the biggest takeaways from the amazing TMS Family Travel Conference I recently attended in Niagara Falls was an impassioned quote from Keith Bellows, editor-in-chief of National Geographic Traveler, who stood up and declared, “Passports are the new diplomas.” more »

6 reasons to fall for niagara falls

Posted on October 22, 2013

The Maid of the Mist

My dad, my sister and me on The Maid of the Mist, 1971.

The last time I went to Niagara Falls was when I was 12 years old. I remember donning a raincoat to ride the legendary Maid of the Mist, and laughing out of pure joy and awe as we got totally soaked. more »

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