Ms. Travel Chic: 2014

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Holiday Movie Time with #AMCCocaColaFreestyle


*This post was sponsored by Coca-Cola and AMC Theatres. Views are my own.


Happy Holidays!


We are officially in the holiday season, my FAVORITE time of the year! I had a very low key and relaxing Thanksgiving, avoided the Black Friday madness and spent the rest of the weekend putting up my Christmas Tree!





Pretty right? :-)


Between Christmas and my birthday, New Year’s Eve (yep I am a NYE baby) I simply love the holiday season! One of my favorite traditions is going to the movies! I can remember when I was a teenager every Christmas, after all the presents were open and we were done “throwing down” on comfort food we would all head to the theater to check out the latest movie as a family. Even as an adult and after my mom passed we still try to keep the tradition going.


So before I travel to Texas for my Christmas vacation I got together with a few of my Chicago girls for a movie night at AMC Theatres on the Magnificent Mile.


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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

GIVEAWAY: Need some new specs? Win a new pair of Firmoo Frames!

Who loves a giveaway?! EVERYBODY! :)

As a member of the Firmoo blogger program I've been lucky enough to try out a few of their amazing frames! I just got these new blue and brown stylish frames last week and I am in LOVE!  


My new specs from Firmoo.com 

This past summer I also picked out my first pair of prescription sunglasses from their website.



Firmoo is the worlds most popular online eyeglass store with frames for women, men and a great portfolio of sunglasses! Ordering on their site is a breeze, the only hard part is deciding which frames to choose from:) 

All glasses arrive with a hard case, spectacle pouch, cloth and a screwdriver for repairs. With competitive pricing, versatile styles, great user reviews and photos plus a "virtual try on view" Firmoo is a great site to update your frames and grab some new sunglasses! 



Ready to win your FREE pair of frames? Giveaway will run from 11/18 to 11/24. Winner will be contacted via email with the code to redeem your free frames! Enter below!

GOOD LUCK :-)

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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Thursday, October 30, 2014

My Disney Experience: #NicheParent14 Recap



Last week I returned from “the most magical place on earth” Disneyworld! It was five days of fun, adventure, inspiration, networking and professional development in sunny South Florida all thanks to the Niche Parent Network. As I mentioned in my last blog  I was a speaker for the 3rd Annual Niche Parent 2014 conference, an opportunity for digital influencers and brands to come together to learn, network and grow while experiencing some family fun!



Just last year I was attending my first blogging & social media conference and now to have the opportunity to speak plus take another trip to Disney World was truly a blessing and made the trip all the more meaningful!  


I want to share some of the major takeaways from the #NicheParent14 conference and some travel tips and information for those interested in exploring the magic of DisneyWorld in the near future.


#NicheParent14 Highlights


Social Media Expert and Influencer Kim Garst kicked off the conference and shared tips on “How To Build and Award Winning Blog” :


  • Know Your Unique Value   
  • Know Who You Serve
  • Know Your Competition
  • Create awesome and useful content
  • Promote Your Content
  • Consistency is Key
  • Build Profitable Relationships
“Our blog is how we showcase how we serve our customers” ~ Kim Garst


Our #NicheParent14 presentation went great! We had an awesome discussion on collaborating, networking, branding and engaging your community! My co panelists rocked it! It was a great opportunity to share some of the same information I share with my clients that sometimes connecting with others can help you achieve goals and “Real Women Don’t Compete, They Collaborate”




Nadia Jones and her team had a fun filled weekend planned for us in the midst of power packed sessions and keynotes. Safari ride and dinner at Animal Kingdom was perfect thanks to a visit and photo op from Mickey and Minnie!





Wednesday, October 8, 2014

What's in my Bag? Travel Chic Essentials: Conference Edition


Happy October


Hope you had an amazing summer! I’m excited because my favorite season, FALL IS HERE!  





October is a busy month for me! I just returned from Atlanta for Bishop T.D. Jakes Woman Thou Art Loosed Conference #WTAL where my spirit was revived and I was encouraged to dream bigger than I have ever have before. Next week I am looking forward to traveling to Walt Disney World for the #NicheParent14 conference Oct. 16 - 18. There will be empowering keynote sessions and hands-on workshops on entrepreneurship, social media, branding, blogging and more. I will be speaking at the #NicheParent14 conference on the topic of : “Collaborating within your network to create a signature brand” on a panel with my Boardroom Beauties co founder Renee B and Sonia Kang of Mixed Up Clothing.


In this post I will be putting a twist on my  "What's in my Bag?" series and sharing the MUST HAVE travel essentials you need when attending conferences, whether for business or personal.


Portable Chargers
There is nothing worse than running out of juice on your cell phone while you are busy tweeting and instagramming moments from the conference. Since most conferences have limited breaks throughout the day you need to have a charger with you. Wall outlets aren't always plentiful and you don’t want to be that person sitting against the wall waiting on her phone to charge, so portable is the way to go. For my iPhone I have a Mophie Juice Pack, an extended battery and case all in one! LOVE IT! 

Photo courtesy Verizon Wireless

You charge the Mophie Juice Pack and slide it on your phone as a case. When your battery starts running low, you just flip a switch on the Mophie case and the charge kicks in. It is a very bulky case but it beats having to tote your charger around searching for plug outlets! If you have an android device there are other portable chargers that work on the go,
I have a tablet that runs on the Android system, so when I know I will be using my iPhone and tablet I bring my other portable charger that has USB hookups for over 5 different devices, including my bluetooth!



Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Summer Fashion Travel Tips: How to look your best from the Beach to the Boardroom

Photo Credit: MikeyLovesWomen
Curvy Chicks! Summer is here and that means it’s time for vacations, concerts, retreats and beautiful summer nights that call for a new wardrobe! This summer I have a wedding in Texas, vacation to Cabo and a business conference in Miami on my agenda. As a “curvy chick” I take closer notice to how well my clothes fit, flow and flatter my body, while I keep up with the latest fashion trends.
Here are some tips to help you stay chic, trendy and fabulous from the beach to the boardroom:
  • Beach Styling
    • Maxi dresses are comfortable and flatters every body type!  If you are uncomfortable showing your shoulders and arms, pair your dress with a colorful cardigan or denim jacket.
    • Whether you choose to rock a bikini or a one piece swimsuit, a loose fitting sundress or sarong makes for the perfect cover-up.
    • Not into the “short shorts”? Bermuda shorts are a great alternative if you don’t want your thighs exposed but still want to give your legs room to breathe and get some sun!
    • Summer Nights
      • The perfect pair of jeans paired with a cropped blazer is my favorite go to outfit for a date or night on the town with the girls. Every girl should have a black blazer and dark colored jeans in her closet.
      • Never leave home without your shapewear! Shapewear is a must to smooth out any rolls and help create the perfect hourglass shape...

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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Top 3 Perks of Business Travel




In my career as a Midwest territory sales manager, I spent 70% of my time traveling for conferences and client meetings. Business travel can be exciting, when you have a four day conference in Vegas but can be exhausting when you end up on a plant tour in the “middle of nowhere” South Dakota. After six years in the sales world along the way I discovered there are personal perks to be gained that can work to your advantage.

Here are three tips to help you turn business travel into a “company paid” getaway:

1.     Loyalty Points
Make sure you are signed up for every loyalty program available via airlines, hotels and rental cars.

The best way to make this work for you is to consistently book with a preferred partner.  When I travel for work 90% of the time I fly American, rent from National Rental Car and stay at Hilton branded hotels. This is to ensure I maximize my earning potential on points, credits and miles. While these expenses are charged to your corporate account your loyalty points belong to YOU! Unless stipulated in your company travel policy they do NOT have to be used for business travel. 

Source:Travelsort.com

If you use your own personal card for expenses reimbursed at a later date, make sure that card is earning you some points too! Switch to a credit card associated with your preferred airline or hotel partner so all charges will be converted to points/miles!
My current loyalty perks annually earn me: 2 FREE checked bags, priority boarding, automatic first class upgrades, average of 3 free rental car days, two free hotel stays and enough miles for at least 1 roundtrip ticket.

2.     Weekend Stays
Extend your business trip over the weekend

Monday, May 12, 2014

Stay Connected to your Grad with #FamilyMobile Cheap(est) Wireless Plans

I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser.

We are officially in May and that means graduation season is upon us! It’s a time for family, celebration and recognition of our loved ones accomplishments. I have a host of cousins, nephews, nieces and family friends celebrating 8th grade graduations and preparing to head off to college.

So what do you get the grad who has everything?!

Staying in touch via phone, text, video and photos with my grads while they are away is important. So it makes sense to give the gift of a new smartphone with Unlimited Talk Text and Data/web to keep us connected! I’m on a strict budget these days so getting the best deal is a priority and with the lowest price unlimited plans available Wal Mart had me covered!



I was excited to learn more about the #FamilyMobile Plans and check out the smartphones and rock bottom deals! There were four popular smartphones available to choose from at my local Walmart and Luis, the Walmart Electronics Rep was happy to help me choose! I grabbed the Samsung Galaxy Exhibit ($99) and a starter kit ($25) off the shelf and listened as he explained some of the amazing benefits of the #FamilyMobile Service:

-  No Contracts
-  No Credit Checks
-  No Paper Bills – Manage Account on MyFamilyMobile.com
-  Powered by T Mobile Nationwide Network

They also have the cheap(est) wireless plans available with Unlimited Talk and Text for $29.88 and Unlimited Talk/Text and Data/Web for $39.88! I’ve never seen prices this low for such a great value!


While I had the option to activate the service online, I decided to let Luis set up my phone and activate my service right there at the counter. So convenient! 
We picked a phone number, installed my SIM card, did a test call and informed me I will receive notification of my first bill in 16-18 daysI was in and out in less than 20 minutes and off to test out all the new features on the Galaxy Exhibit!


The Samsung Galaxy Exhibit was already pre loaded with so many great apps that keep you connected to your loved ones! This phone is a perfect gift for this season and will save you money! Where else can you get a excellent smart phone for under $100 and monthly unlimited talk and text data/web for under $40 but WalMart?!  


How will you celebrate the graduate in your life this month?




#CollectiveBias
#FamilyMobile

Monday, April 28, 2014

Back Down Memory Lane : Throwback #Travel Photos and Memories


Last week I started to feel a bit nostalgic flipping through an old photo album, and by" flipping" I mean scrolling through my Facebook photos..oh technology! :) While reminiscing and thinking about how my travel journey started and all the amazing experiences and memories I've made over the years I became grateful for having the courage, adventurous spirit and resources to have explored so many great villages, towns and countries over the last 20+ years.

“Once you have traveled, the voyage never ends, but is played out over and over again in the quietest chambers. The mind can never break off from the journey.” - Pat Conroy

My journey began as little girl. My mother, who passed away 12 years ago was a woman who traveled across the world with ease! Whether she was exploring France on a European vacation, hanging with the locals in Guadalajara Mexico, cruising through the Caribbean or sneaking off to Vegas, she lived it up!   (I still have the postcard she sent me from her Hawaiian vacation when I was a kid)  


Mommy and Me at "The Alamo" - San Antonio, TX 
She also made sure at an early age I embraced different cultures and experiences when at the young age of 12 she signed me up for a 8 day educational trip that took us all through Mexico, while she stayed back home in Texas. Before I was 18 I had already gone to Vegas 3 times with her and family friends, no slot machines for me of course! I'm blessed to have had a mother who was such an inspiration and I can't wait to share some of the same travel memories with my own children one day soon:)

Join me as I stroll down memory lane with some of my favorite #throwback photos from my  travels as a young adult......







“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” - Mark Twain

What are some of your fondest travel memories?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

My Top #Travel Tips!

      


      Packing - Always be strategic.  Keep it Light! Unless you want to drag around an overweight 55 lb bag (and pay the $100 fee!) you will need to have a plan for your packing. When I travel I always stay within 2-3 color themes so I reduce the number of shoes and accessories packed. Ladies, when it comes to handbags keep it simple: One large tote and a small clutch will do just fine! My number one rule on long trips: Don’t be afraid to REPEAT! Jeans and slacks can be worn at least twice during a trip.
 

Pre trip – Groupons, Living Social Deals and other city vouchers are a must! Before heading to your destination check out these sites for discounted deals at local restaurants. Most deals are between 30%-50% off for popular and newly opened establishments. Pre purchasing vouchers and planning out your meals will make it easier to stay within your travel budget.
 
     

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Travel Smart Tips: Staying productive while you #travel

Delayed flight and stuck at an airport for 5 hours?
Bored in a hotel room alone?
Can't sleep on an airplane?     

                                 


The delays and downtime of traveling can be annoying but can also be an advantage. 

Check out these three quick tips to remain productive while you travel:

1. Catch up on reading - When you are delayed at an airport for hours or sitting in a hotel room you have to find something to do to avoid boredom! Getting a chance to catch up on reading is becoming my favorite part of traveling. When you are home and caught up in the daily tasks of work, family and managing life, the simple pleasures such as the joy of reading can take a backseat. Instead of playing on social media while you sit at the airport you can use this time to read the latest edition of your favorite magazine or book your friend keeps recommending. 

Here are two books that I read on my most recent trip to Florida. Both are great personal and professional development books that I recommend:)

 31 Amazing Life Lessons by Mel Roberson and You Lost Me at Hello by Donna Smith Bellinger      
     
                       


*Smarter Tip: Be even more productive by listening to an audiobook. The Audible  app is my new best friend! My latest download? The Love Playbook: Rules for Love, Sex, and Happiness by LaLa Anthony


2. Clean up email - Like most people my email inbox is always insane! Between personal, work, blogging and event planning I have 6 email accounts that I am trying to manage on a daily basis. I'm always overwhelmed trying to sift through unwanted newsletters, coupons and invites. So when I'm sitting at an airport gate or in-flight I use this time to clean out my emails. Make the most use of this down time by getting organized. Trust me you will feel accomplished when the unread items in your email read: ZERO :-)




*Smarter Tip: Don't connect to Wi-Fi. Delete emails from your tablet or Outlook mailbox in the offline mode to avoid the distraction of incoming mail.

3. Clear out clutter - Similar to my email I also find my purse, wallet, work/travel bag, notebook also cluttered and unorganized. During the downtime you have during travel it's a good time to start cleaning this stuff out. Sometimes I will sit in the hotel and go through all my receipts and random papers in my purse and clear them out. 
Just dump everything out on the bed and go for it! 

How do you stay productive while you travel?
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Monday, February 17, 2014

Top 10 things to do while visiting New Orleans

I spent this past New Year’s Eve holiday in one of my favorite cities, New Orleans! 

This was my third time in the “Big Easy” and it was a fabulous time as always! 

From the food, the music, atmosphere and rich culture all around you are always guaranteed a great time in the “most unique” city in America!


 


If you plan on traveling to New Orleans, check out my list of things to do on your trip:

  1.  Hang out in the French Quarter - The bars around Bourbon St., boutique      shopping, specialty shops and all the fine New Orleans cuisine can be found in and around this historic area.
  2. Have a “Hand Grenade” - One of New Orleans most famous STRONG drinks can be found at any of the Tropical Isle locations on Bourbon St. Be careful it only takes one! 
  3. Stroll down St Charles Ave. and the Garden District - This beautiful and historic district is located in Central New Orleans. Boasting antebellum mansions and manicured gardens this popular neighborhood is full of southern charm. 
  4. Revisit History - Take advantage of the many museums, walking tours, riverboat cruises and unique experiences to learn more about the rich culture and history. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

How to #Travel Better with Samantha Brown of The Travel Channel


This past Sunday I attended the 10th Annual Chicago and Travel Adventure Show, the largest travel show in the Midwest. Over the weekend over 200 travel experts, tour operators, tourism officials and travel companies gathered to share knowledge and inspire us all to book our next vacation and discover our "dream trip". As a travel blogger I'm embarrassed to admit I knew nothing about this expo until the wonderful Beth Santos of Go Girl Travel Network organized a meetup. I would have missed out on all the expert speakers, cultural cuisine, travel deals, networking and of course all the FREE GIVEAWAYS!

Once I looked at the lineup of speakers which included experts Rick Steves and Pauline Frommer, one name had me rushing to the convention center,Samantha Brown, world traveler and everyone's favorite travel TV host! Long before I started blogging I loved watching the Travel Channel and following her adventures to exotic destinations, historic European cities and local destinations. Having a career that included traveling over 200 days a year, earned her the title of "The girl with the best job in the world"  Seriously! 
This is why her face is on my vision board:) 

Samantha Brown in Malaysia at a village of the Orang Asli (www.samantha-brown.com)