How to Have an Epic Family Vacation in Squaw Valley

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After traveling multiple hours on ground or air, with restless children in tow, many parents want a one-stop shop for fun, food and accommodations, happy if they never have to look at their crumb filled vehicle the entirety of the trip.

Squaw Valley has answered this prayer, crafting a village that offers nosh for all palates, ski runs for every level of courage, hotel rooms with a mix of luxury and minimal breakables (I’m looking at you mischievous tots) and live music that makes even the tiniest of feet burst into dance.

If family vacations full of equal parts thrill, relaxation and simplicity are your jam, use the following guide to relish the goodness of Squaw Valley.

Find Your Peace at Wanderlust Yoga Studio: This studio has multiple classes geared to prepping your body (and mind, and spirit) for a stellar day of skiing, and for restoring your muscles after that last run. The variety of offerings sprinkled throughout the schedule allow flexibility for you and your fellow child-sitter to each catch a class.

Entertain Your Kids at the Children’s Program: Because most children loathe being taught sports (or anything) by their parents, let a trained instructor ignite your child’s passion and skill for skiing or snowboarding. This program accommodates children three to thirteen years of age and ups the fun ante by utilizing kid-specific tools and games during instruction. And because we parents are nosy, the instructors provide a post-lesson report card detailing your little skier’s skill and cognitive-based progress.

Read more on Vagabond Family! 

My Mama Mint Experience

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I nestled into a JetBlue Mint seat the morning after the 2016 election results rolled in. I was tired, and in need of nourishment. I was ushered to my space by a flight attendant who smelled like a fresh-linen candle and quickly handed me a “refreshmint” (hehe, good one JetBlue) cocktail.

My first twenty-ish minutes in a plane are usually laced with anxiety, but not this time. As I settled into my cushy airplane nest (a Mint “seat” is much more than a seat) I felt safe, cared for and free of my usual need to wring my hands and breath deeply (in a kind of creepy way) until we reach cruising altitude.

The alchemy of the following Mint elements is what made my experience so… well, minty.

The Nest

I walked onto this flight with a bone deep yearning to bury myself in blankets and check out, and was hoping I wouldn’t be met with the standard itchy, thin and strange-smelling airplane blanket. My nest came with a comforter-esque blanket and full-sized pillow. “Oh yeah,” was on repeat in my mind and body as I laid my seat flat (!), sunk my head into the pillow and cocooned myself into the blanket that easily covered my entire body.

And the partition between myself, and the kind lady seated next to me, saved her from being exposed to my drooling-sleep-face.

The Food

As I slid my seat out of the supine position, my candle-scented flight attendant re-appeared to ask what food I wanted from the small plate menu created by the NYC restaurant Saxon + Parole. The menu read like an ode to edible art, each item unique and begging me to have a try.

After an embarrassing amount of time hemming and hawing (and salivating) over the menu I ordered the Tuscan kale salad, goat cheese tortellini soup and pan-seared halibut with roasted cauliflower.

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Then I ate, and it was everything.

The Drink

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Most wines served on airplanes make me feel hung-over before I reach the bottom of the plastic cup. But JetBlue’s wine-service, curated by wine expert Jon Bonne, only offers the good stuff, like really good stuff; the stuff that makes your taste buds happy, body warm and fuzzy and mind strangely more creative and capable. And the bubbly is just as lovely. (Yes, I tried both. And had them put Bailey’s in my cappuccino.)

The Entertainment

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The blue glow of the large screen situated in my nest knew how to tickle my fancy. Unlimited access to programs I could watch without conferring with another adult and my three-year-old? Yes, please. Although I usually sink my airplane time into work, I let my laptop stay in its case and binged on movies with ratings naughtier than a G, as I took tiny bites of Blue Marble Ice Cream.

The Gifts

My persona can usually be summed up by the words “stale, tired and cranky” halfway through a long flight. So, I wanted to bear hug the flight attendant when she handed me a Hayward “designed for her” kit right as I was entering the “stale” realm. The denim clutch (that is so chic I now use as a clutch) was filled with an orange towelette, lip balm, breath mints, screen cloth, earplugs and a non-itchy eye mask.

Oh, and then there was the farewell gift box of chocolaty, buttery, uber-yummy treats from Mah-Ze-Dahr Bakery that served as my dinner when I arrived at Hotel Commonwealth. The apple was nice too.

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The Lack of Arrogance

I adore the “Mint Experience” term versus “business class” or (bleh) “first class.” The lack of snootiness in the terminology employed by JetBlue conveys the message that they offer a special experience I can choose to treat myself to, not an area of the plane I deserve to be in because I’m somehow “better than” the folks sitting in the more affordable seats (the seats I’m usually sitting in.)

As a mom, my alone time usually equals being squished in my car during traffic, but no more. This mama is skipping those daily fancy coffees in favor of saving up for a Mint experience on my next solo flight, because I deserve it, and so do you.

Best Musical Festivals in New Orleans

Did you know that the yum factor of coffee and beignets ramps up exponentially after grooving your groove thang to a few sets of live music?

Do your taste buds, and ears, and eyes, and heck, your everything a favor and head to New Orleans for one (or all!) of the following music festivals, sure to leave you blissed-out and figuring out how to extend your trip by a few days.

“Sorry boss, (cough cough) I think I pulled my hamstring doing a wicked version of the Cajun Jitterbug and couldn’t possibly sit on an airplane.”

The following festivals offer audible treats for every palate, so pick your pleasure and book your flight.

Read more on Huff Post!

How to Mix Adventure with Relaxation on Your Cabo San Lucas Vacation

Have you ever gone on a vacation and felt a need for a vacation when you returned home? Or, gone on vacation and arrived home feeling like you missed out on memory making during the trip? Cabo San Lucas, Mexico offers a lovely alchemy of relaxing and adventurous opportunities sure to send you home feeling rested, yet electric with memories of stimulating experiences.

Cabo’s desert climate, warm waters, luxurious yet playful accommodations and activities in water, sand or spa, create ideal conditions for vacation magic to grow. If you’re looking for a destination that will “magically” strip your inhibitions, and give you a tender loving massage (or mud bath) in between your bursts of adventure, get on the next plane to this land of milk and honey (and tequila.)

The following activities will help you and your Cabo getaway develop undeniable chemistry.

Margaritas Beach 4×4 UTV Adventure

Burst your “safe zone” bubble right out of the gate by hopping in a UTV and exploring the desert that flows onto white sand beaches. You’ll feel much more deserving of that margarita by the pool after coating yourself in a few layers of thrill, and dirt.

Read more on Huff Post! 

Where to Dive, Sleep and Eat in Roatan, Honduras

The world’s second largest barrier reef surrounds the island of Roatan, a tropical rock located off the coast of mainland Honduras. Roatan’s warm waters are pulsating with life so colorful, playful and exotic your curiosity and lust for discovery could have you swimming in the water for hours.

While lauded as one of the most appealing destinations for scuba divers, Roatan also offers physical intrigue and mental solace for those content with a snorkel, goggles and fins, or even just a cocktail, beach chair and “I just can’t quit you” book.

Come one come all to the island you might not be able to leave; I moved back to Roatan three weeks after my initial visit, and stayed for three years.

When (not if!) you make it to Roatan, here are the top spots to dive, sleep and eat.

Read more on Huff Post!

Virginia City Is the Ex-Metropolis You Must See to Believe

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Did you know there is a quirky haven tucked in the mountains above Reno, Nevada where you can watch camels and ostriches race, spy on ZZ Top bearded locals sipping pints of brew under colorful chandeliers and explore mines where millions of dollars worth of gold and silver were precariously pulled from the Earth in the mid-1800s?

All this goodness is living in Virginia City, Nevada.

When the mining industry went bonkers in the 19th century, Virginia City provided the means for forlorn prospectors to become mining-millionaires. Subsequently, many of their wives became widows- the average life expectancy of miners in this time was 45 (if they breathed some luck in with all the dust.)

Read more on Huff Post!

5 Bali Destinations that Will Nurture Your Creativity

Every Creative is perpetually searching for the “it” spot that will unlock all the juicy ideas, and resulting creations, waiting to blossom from their mind. While there is no magic elixir for inducing creativity, being in a location ripe with sacred structures, water pulsating with life, and landscapes that not only astound your eyes but cause your heart to smile, will offer you the key to your inner world of inspiration- all you need to do is turn it.

That key is waiting for you in Bali.

Here are five locations, nestled in Bali, that will encourage your expressions of creativity to flow in directions they never before had permission to explore.

Read more on Huffington Post