Monday, December 29, 2008

Obama's Inauguration Travel: Balls and Parties, part 2

Just days away from the historic event of Obama's Inauguration - so many events and parties, so little time. Here's more to add to your calendar and watch list!

Check out prior helpful hints here:

Pre-Inauguration Balls

January 16, 2009. United States Chamber of Congress, 1615 H St., NW. Sponsored by the National Congress of Black Women. Tickets: $135 Dessert Reception, $285 Dinner.

44/44 Grassroots Pre-Inaugural Ball, Virginia
January 17, 2009
The Democratic Black Caucus of Virginia and The Virginia Association of Democratic Chairs
Doors open at 6:30 PM
Crystal Gateway Marriott
1700 Jefferson Davis Highway
Arlington, VA 22202

Blue Jeans Inaugural Ball "Denim to Diamonds"Fairfax County Democratic Committee
January 17, 2009
Richard J. Ernst Community Cultural Center at Northern Virginia Community College
8333 Little River Turnpike
Annandale, VA 22003

Jan. 17, 2009.
Hyatt Regency, 400 New Jersey Ave. Sponsored by The Babyboomer Professionals. Event is open to all professionals, their families and friends. Tickets: $175.
Jan. 17, 2009.
Camelot by Martins, 13905 Central Ave. Upper Marlboro, MD. Formal dinner gala, Live entertainment, special guest soloist, video tribute and more. Hosted by volunteers from the Obama For America organization. Tickets: $75
Jan. 17, 2009.
Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium, 1301 Constitution Ave. NW. DC’s most environmentally-friendly pre-Inaugural celebration. Organic food and drink, LED lighting, entertainment audio-visual production will be tailored to minimize environmental impact. Tickets: $500.
Jan. 17, 2009.
Trinity University, 125 Michigan Ave. NE. The event will give youth the opportunity to share in the inaugural festivities. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to National Network for Youth. Tickets: $75 first 200 sold - $100 thereafter.

Mocha Moms, Inc. Inauguration Gala
January 18, 2009
7pm - Midnight

$100/Mocha Couple ticket, $150/Non-Mocha Couple ticket, $50/Mocha Single ticket and $75/Non-Mocha Single ticket. Purchase tickets via Mocha Moms' website.
This Gala will be a night to remember, as Mocha Moms and their husbands from around the country join in celebration of the inauguration of our nation’s first African-American President. We will celebrate that night with fabulous food, great dancing, and intimate fellowship. There will be a live DJ, full cash bar, and a photographer to capture the night’s memories.
Jan. 18, 2009.
Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, National Mall. Tickets: $150.

Jan. 18, 2009.
Four Seasons Hotel, 2800 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. The black-tie event will bring together notable business persons, political figures and entertainers for an inter generational celebration. Tickets: $350-$550. Contact Francesca Louis at

Jan. 18, 2009.
The James Monroe Mansion, 2017 I St., NW. Sponsored by Embassies of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia and the Republic of Ghana. Tickets: $350. Available to the public after Dec. 29.
Jan. 18, 2009.
Annapolis, 100 Westgate Circle, Annapolis, MD. Sponsored by Therapeutic Wellness LLC to benefit the Diane Freeman Foundation. Black tie, four course dinner, live music, silent auction. Tickets: $150.
Jan. 18, 2009.
Hotel Monaco, 700 F Street NW. Hosted by the Junior State of America and The Junior Statesmen Foundation. Tickets: $75, or sponsorship levels available. Contact

Loudoun County Grassroots Inaugural Ball, Virginia
Loudoun County Democratic Committee
January 19, 2009
7 PM - 1 AM
O'Faolain's Restaurant and Pub
20921 Davenport Dr
Sterling, VA 20165

Inauguration Dinner and Dance, Virginia
January 20, 2009
Alexandria Democratic Committee
Evening (Time TBA)
Hilton Alexandria Mark Center
5000 Seminary Road
Alexandria, VA 22311
For More Details: 703-549-DEMS or

Mocha Moms, Inc. Inauguration Watch Party
January 20, 2009

Mocha Families will gather to watch the inauguration events in a safe and warm environment. The country club will be converted into a family-friendly atmosphere where children will be comfortable while the adults enjoy the events by big screen television. While millions converge on the Mall of our Capital, we will get to enjoy the occasion together in the comfort of the indoors. We will have a buffet lunch of grilled hamburgers, hot dogs, deli sandwiches, all the fixings, chips, fruit, cookies, tea and lemonade. This event will only be $25/adult and free for children 12 and under!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Holiday Girl Getaway - Kid Style

My 8 year old learned early-on the importance of spending time with her friends. Pure friendship, at its best. This holiday season, we took time out from the hectic holiday season, and invited 3 classmates over for her sort-of annual holiday sleepover. Crafts, fashion show, baking and much....much chatter. This year we added a twist and lucked up on The North Pole - a neighborhood house that goes ALL out with holiday decor, complete with a visit from Santa and his Elves.

Take time out this week to enjoy the simple things. Have a wonderful holiday season!

Friday, December 19, 2008


I found this fascinating quote today:

This seasonal feeling of gratitude is a huge part of why I love the holidays. The tradition of evaluting the past and planning for the future can’t even happen without the consideration and appreciation of my girlfriends. The opportunity to celebrate anything, of course, has to involve girlfriends - in order for it to be fun and special. Even the process of gift giving, is best when it involves a friend and finding the perfect gift for her. It seems the holidays are as much as about girlfriends as they are about families and kids. To me, my girlfriends are my family, so I savor these friendships and special days to celebrate them.Girlfriendology, Dec 2008

You should read the whole article.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Holiday Travel Essentials

Season's Greetings! I must say, I absolutely love this time of year. Not only do I enjoy the holiday cheer and spirit of giving, but I'm a sucker for sales!! I make it a point to finish up shopping for others early, so I have time to spoil myself with a diva-licious gift to ME! :)

Whether you're headed to spend time with family, girlfriends or your long distance love-bug, the goal is to look and feel fabulous. We've come across these amazing travel essentials that are certainly fit for a diva and will last well into the New Year. Enjoy!

Psi Bands

Ladies, trust me - keeled over in your car or plane seat due to motion sickness is NOT a good look! Prone to motion sickness or nausea? You need to check out Psi Bands. Psi Bands (pronounced "Sigh Bands") were created by two fashion-forward moms-to-be looking for a drug-free way to treat their ongoing morning sickness.

Not only do these bands relieve sickness, they are drug-free, hip and fashionable! You can wear them without looking like a runaway hospital patient with the typical white plastic band! Grab your Psi Band before your flight to see your love-bug and breathe a sigh of relief! You can purchase online or in stores of major retailers.

Casauri Triple Zip Pouch

How many times have you stood in line at the airport, fumbling for your driver's license or credit card? Me: countless! Why hunt through the endless sea in your handbag, when you can simply pull out this vibrant, Casauri Triple Zip Pouch from Artful Wears? Large enough to carry your license/passport, credit card, along with other diva essentials and most importantly, it's super cute. I'm torn between the Sun Stripes or Blocks option.

"Clean" and "Dirty" Lingerie Bag

LOVING these! No more stashing your dirty laundry in a plastic grocery store bag - also from Artful Wears, these "Dirty" and "Clean" Lingerie Bags making unpacking after your festive journey much easier and stress free.

Shuga Bud earphones

Santa, I need these added to my stocking! Shuga Bud earphones from Crazy for That are hot! These earphones will keep you looking sharp while grooving to your favorite tunes. Shuga Buds are also a great way to dress up your IPod! A wonderful stocking stuffer for your favorite diva..i.e YOU ;)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Obama's Inauguration Travel Plans: Ball and Parties

Break out your cocktail dresses! Many details on some of the hottest Inauguration Balls and parties are being released. In case you still need travel help, check out other recent posts:

Here's a listing of what we've found so far regarding Balls:

January 18, 2009

California State Society's Presidential Inaugural Luncheon and Fashion Show

11:30 AM

The Ritz-Carlton Washington, DC 1150

22nd St. NW

Aloha Inaugural Ball

Marriott Wardman Park Hotel

2660 Woodley Rd. NW

Tickets: $250

Information: **This e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it**

Organized by former Obama campaign workers, the ball will carry out a Hawaiian theme with island entertainers and hula dancers, reminiscent of the president-elect' s years in Hawaii.

January 19, 2009

Arkansas State Society Inaugural Party for Razorbacks

The Washington Court Hotel

525 New Jersey Avenue NW

Information: 202-329-6711

Sunshine and Stars (Florida State Society)

Corcoran Gallery of Art

500 17th Street NW

Information: 202-298-7710

Land of Lincoln Inaugural Gala (Illinois State Society)

Reception and dinner at 5:30 PM, gala follows from 8:30 PM-1:30 AM

Renaissance Washington DC Hotel

999 9th St. NW

Tickets: $400, $200 for gala only

Information: 703-451-1747

Themed "Illinois Heroes," the State Society's inaugural gala highlights the many magnificent cities, towns, riverfronts, and historical sites of Illinois.

Indiana Inaugural Ball

6 PM

Omni Shoreham Hotel

2500 Calvert Street NW

Tickets: $295 before Dec. 19, $350 after Dec. 19;

reserved tables$7500 before Dec. 19, $9000 after Dec. 19


Featured talent includes the Singing Hoosiers from Indiana University and the Donati Orchestra.

Bluegrass Ball (Kentucky State Society)

6:30 PM

Marriott Wardman Park Hotel

2660 Woodley Rd. NW

Members: $175

Information: 202-399-2032

Chef Michael Paley from Louisville's acclaimed Proof of Main restaurant will serve as executive chef for the inaugural gala.

Land of Enchantment Inaugural Ball (New Mexico State Society)

Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian

4th St. & Independence Ave. SW

Information: 505-463-3908

North Carolina Society Inaugural Ball

Marriott Wardman Park Hotel

2660 Woodley Rd. NW

Black Tie & Boots Inaugural Ball (Texas State Society)

Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center

201 Waterfront St.National Harbor, MD 20745

Information: 301-809-8989

History in the Making: "A Dream & A Change" Inaugural Ball

The Babyboomer Professionals

Hyatt Regency Washington

400 New Jersey Ave. NW

Tickets: $175 before Dec. 5, $199 after Dec. 5

Information: **This e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it**

HBCU Inaugural Gala Ball

Historically Black Colleges and Universities

8 PM-1 AM

Sequoia at Washington Harbor

3000 K St. NW

Heroes Red, White, and Blue Inaugural Ball

International Conservation Caucus Foundation Inauguration Gala ICC Foundation

6:30 for VIP and general receptions, 7:30 dinner

Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium
Tickets: $2,500

Information: 202-471-4222

Pearl Gala, Asian Americans for Obama

7 PM-midnight

Mandarin Oriental, Washington DC Hotel

1330 Maryland Ave. SW

Tickets: $250

Guests are also invited to attend a morning conference about voting results, the political appointment process and the legislative issues for the next Congress.

January 20, 2009

Spirit of Hope Inaugural Ball

Tickets: $175/person, $300/couple

The "Spirit of Hope" Inaugural Ball sponsored by The Empowerment Network (, Amourai Organique ( and Point Bird Productions( will be held at the prestigious Patterson House Mansion (The Washington Club)

Inaugural Parade Brunch (New York State Society)

11 AM-4 PM

Willard Intercontinental Hotel

1401 Pennsylvania Ave.

Tickets: Member $155, Non-members: $180

Information: 301-330-6197

State Society of Arizona Inaugural Ball

8 pm-midnight

The Historical Society of Washington, DC801 K St. NW

Tickets: Single:$175, Couple: $300, Family of 4: $650

Information: 202-777-2612

Garden State Inaugural Gala

7:30-11:30 PM

Washington Court Hotel

525 New Jersey Ave. NW

Tickets: $100 single, $175 per couple; Non-members: $125 single, $200 per couple

Information: 202-333-5750

The gala features a performance by Bruce Springsteen tribute band, B Street Band.

A Night of Stars (Pennsylvania State Society)

Ritz-Carlton Washington, DC22nd and M Sts. NW

Tickets: $150 before Jan. 1, $200 on or after Jan. 1

Information: 703-415-0344

Fox News' Tony Perkins will emcee the event, which features performing artists from Mark Rivera Entertainment.

The George Washington University Inaugural Ball

8 PM-midnight

Omni Shoreham Hotel

2500 Calvert St. NW

Information: 202-994-1600

The gala celebration features live bands, talent from the GW performance community, and televised Inauguration Day coverage.

Human Rights Campaign Equality Ball

Renaissance Mayflower Hotel

1143 New Hampshire Ave.


Guests to include Melissa Etheridge, Rufus Wainwright and Cyndi Lauper

Bytes & Books Inaugural Ball

National Coalition for Technology in Education and Training

Folger Shakespeare Library

201 East Capitol St. SE

11th American Indian Inaugural Ball American Indian Society (AIS) of Washington, D.C.

Hyatt Regency Crystal City

2799 Jefferson Davis Highway

Arlington, VA

Unity in Service Inaugural Ball Unity in Service

Trinity University

125 Michigan Ave. NE

Tickets: $90 standard, $120 preferred before Dec. 20, $110 and $150 after Dec. 20

Inaugural Purple Ball

Eracism Foundation

8 PM

The Fairmont Washington, DC Hotel

2401 M St. NW

Information: **This e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it**

Guests will enjoy fine champagne and cuisine served in a purple velvet-draped ballroom; the host committee includes notable names like Amy Brenneman, Ashley Judd , Brad Silberling, Josh Lucas, Kate Walsh and Patricia Arquette.

Change Has Come Inaugural Gala

The Babyboomer Professionals

Hamilton Crowne Plaza Hotel

1001 14th St. NW

Tickets: $125 before Dec. 5, $150 after Dec. 5

Information: **This e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it**

Demand in DC: Applauding the Empowerment of People Thru Art, Film, and Music

Black Cat

1811 14th St. NW

Tickets: $10

Information: 202-667-7960

The Creative Coalition Gala Inaugural Ball

9 PM

Harman Center for the Arts

610 F St. NW

Tickets: Bronze package (2 tickets): $10,000

Young and Powerful Black Tie Gala and Awards Ceremony

L'Enfant Plaza Hotel
400 L'Enfant Plaza, SW

Tickets: $125, includes open bar from 8pm - 9pm, heavy Hors D'oeuvres and live music

Dine, dance and toast President-elect Obama's victory with young professionals from across the nation.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Girl's Night IN - QVC Shopping

Need more excuses to shop? Today is Cyber Monday and QVC is offering Girl's Night In specials, on Monday, Dec.1 from 3-6pm, both on air and online. Shop for clothing and accessories, while learning cool party tips for throwing a fab holiday bash!

Hostess with the Mostess
Join us for Girls' Night! On Monday, December 1 from 3 – 6 p.m. ET, get prepped on throwing the best fete with pro party tips from program hosts and their girlfriends. Worked up an appetite after shopping jewelry, fashion, beauty, and accessories? Visit our Holiday Recipe Swap and share your favorites, too.


Sunday, November 30, 2008

London Bridges: Mom-Daughter Getaway

My recent mom-daughter getaway in London was fabulous! I won’t bore you with the details of my work happenings for the first few days I was there, trust me, there were enough boring details of tax rules and accounting laws for all of us ;) I got in on Tuesday morning, headed straight to tax classes (yippie) and went non-stop until Friday afternoon. Mom arrived on Thursday, so once she adjusted to the time zone (just in time for my last Friday session), we hit the streets of London! Just in case you want to cheat, here are the photos:

As I mentioned, I had a few meetings left at the office but Mom was ready to sightsee. We walked together to my office and she ventured on her own for breakfast and city photos. On your own getaway, it’s important to remember that it’s OK to separate! Many times, you’ll learn more about the city when you are forced to venture alone, and let’s face it, not everyone will always want to see the same sights. Mom took advantage of the alone time and visited St. Paul’s Cathedral, which is actually right across the street from my office. I’ve passed by the Cathedral many times and it took Mom to visit once to learn that this is the church where Lady Diana and Prince Charles were married. Way cool!

After my meetings, we headed straight to Oxford Street! Oxford Street is the busiest shopping area in London. Picture New York’s Time Square on steroids – there were people and shops everywhere. The one thing I love about London, there are many familiar stores that are in the States, so you never feel TOO much like a fish out of water. For example, there are plenty of English and European based shops on Oxford Street, such as French Connection or Harrod's, but you look up and there’s Gap or Nike and you feel at home. We landed in Primark, a discount shopper’s dream. Women stock up on fashion basics and trendy pieces at Primark – I got tights for 2 pounds, sweaters for 8 pounds...and could have gotten cool skinny jeans if I were brave enough to try them on. Apparently they have the best prices in lingerie in town but the dressing room lines…oh, the lines. Shopping overseas can pose an issue, as the sizing is different and you don’t have the option to return. Despite the “too crowded dressing room”, we did an appropriate amount of damage….as did the other tons of women with bags and bags of trendy finds :) Luckily, the dollar is SLIGHTLY better against the pound than it was earlier in the year.

Up and at ‘em! We had 3 goals for the day – visit the Borough Markets for breakfast, shop at a London street/flea market (we chose Camden Market) and don’t be late for our 7:30 theatre show of Wicked. We are professional tourists, so we accomplished it all ;)

Borough Market is an outdoor “foodie” paradise. Anything you can think of: meats, seafood, breads, cheese and wine…and everything in between, can be found here, supplied by local vendors. We sampled hot, mulled wine (yes, on a Saturday morning), caramel fudge, sausages, and for curiosity, a Bacon, Cheese, and Bubble Bap. We saw signs for Bubble and Bap combinations at cafes everywhere throughout the market, so we figured, when in Rome, do as the Romans do….or something like that. Here’s another tip – don’t be afraid to eat as the locals eat., as it will give you the best idea of what the local culture is like. So what’s a Bacon, Cheese, Bubble Bap, you ask? Bacon = thick cut, bacon, salty, really more like country ham. Cheese = thin cut parmesan-type of cheese, Bubble = potatoes cooked with cabbage….and all that goes on a Bap, which is similar to a kaiser roll, and it’s intended to eat as you walk around the market. Not a bad combination, quite tasty and filling actually.

Off to Camden Markets. One thing I should mention, London has a great underground subway system (affectionately called “the Tube”) which is probably the most inexpensive way to get around town and has stops near pretty much everything. So we tubed it to the popular Camden area. Now, I’ve read about Camden and have seen photos but nothing prepared us for the crowd and excitement we found after we hit the street. Camden is a historic former timber yard, established in the 1970's for young artists to be exposed to the public. It's geared towards the music, youth culture. The area spans for blocks and has everything from vintage and gothic fashion to household items (rugs, décor, candles), jewelry and the famous CyberDog. Only photos or video would offer the best description of our CyberDog visit but no cameras allowed, as we were quickly told by security when I whipped mine out :) Just picture a dark clothing store, with neon, glow-in-the-dark punk clothes that reminded us of the Jetsons. Camden also has its fair share of food vendors – any cuisine you have a taste for can be found here. We didn’t do any outrageous shopping but the area was perfect for people watching.

All the Camden Market excitement wore us out, so we headed back to the hotel area for Fish and Chips. Most pubs offer lunch of fish and chips (many actually claim to have the most famous fish and chips :)), so it’s not hard to find one that serves up the popular lunch.

Saturday night consisted of our London theater experience – Wicked was the highlight of my trip. Wicked: The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz, the story based on the “behind the scenes” and childhood of the Wizard of Oz witches was awesome. I’d never read the book but the production is so well put together that you don’t need to have read it. Mom and I picked up program books and tees. It was so good, that I’d actually see it again. I purchased tickets in advance but if you aren’t choosy about seeing a particular show, Leicester Square's tkts booth sells day-of bargains for most of London's hottest shows.

EARLY morning up for our tour. Almost a little too early for us to be on vacation but we were determined to see as much as possible during our getaway weekend. Again, we tube it over to where I think the tour is supposed to depart. Keyword is THINK. I got mixed up with Victoria tube Station and Victoria Coach Station, i.e. the bus station… 7 blocks away. And it’s started to snow….no worries. Victoria Coach Station reminds me of a cleaner Penn Station in NY…minus the public restrooms that cost to use :) We venture and find our tour’s departure gate – attitude and flexibility are essential when traveling in a new place. The tour didn’t seem as organized as I’d have expected of a “luxury” tour, but we had fun, nonetheless. In hindsight, I recommend NOT doing a Sunday tour, if Royal destinations are the highlight. (I’d also recommend not doing a walking tour in the cold and rain :) In London, Sundays are centered around church services, so we weren’t able to tour the insides of many of the buildings, the Changing of the Guard is more sporadic on Sundays, and shops are required to close by 6pm. BUT we did sneak a peek at the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, learn a bit of Royal history and have a fab meal at Hard Rock Café. Despite the snow, rain and slightly unorganized tour, it was a great last day.

Another EARLY morning up to catch our flight home. Traveling overseas is great but after a week of being in a different time zone, we’re both ready to see family and eat American food. Our flight leaves at 8:50am, so we reserved a taxi at 6am, to arrive at the airport by 7am with time to shop in the duty free shops.
5:55am – checkout and wait in hotel lobby
6:00am – no reserved cab
6:10am – lobby receptionist doesn’t show reservation. Nice.
6:15am – cab arrives. Drives us to Paddington Station, to pick up Heathrow Express train.
6:45am – depart on Heathrow Express. Note: Express. (15 minutes, we should be at terminal)
7:05am – “Express” train slows and comes to halt. They have detected a trespasser on the train tracks. WTF??
7:20am – Express doesn’t stop at Terminal 4. Look up our Terminal…Terminal 4. Must wait for another shuttle.
7:35am – Arrive at terminal. Yay! Only my boarding pass doesn’t print…we’re scheduled to board at 7:50am. Clerk helps me print pass.
7:45am – At counter to check luggage. Of course, my bag is too heavy. Whip out credit card, only cannot pay at counter. Must pay at “cashier”, way on other end. Clerk slowly handwrites a few receipts. No worries.
7:55am – Cheery cashier, rips up my 10-minute-to-print boarding pass and proceeds to handwrite several receipts for my baggage fee. She must have missed that we have already started boarding AND I still need time to duty-free shop.
8:15am – Finally cleared security and they are doing last call for boarding. Quickly purchase a few “souvenirs” for hubby and hop on plane!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Girlfriend Getaway: Holiday Shopping/Spa Weekend

Hey Divas - the holiday season is upon us! This came across my inbox from Colesville Travel and I thought I'd share:

Girlfriend's Getaway Shopping/Spa Weekend
2 Outlets – Vanity Fair and Philadelphia Premium Outlets
Sheraton Reading Hotel, Reading, PA
December 5 - 7, 2008

It's time to get away! Would you like to relax in luxurious accommodations? Or would you prefer to dance the night away? Maybe you just want to relax and be pampered at the spa? How about a little retail therapy - outlet shopping? Why choose when you can have it all!
Join us for a Girlfriend's Getaway Weekend!

Our weekend package includes:
· Overnight Accommodations for TWO nights
· Roundtrip motorcoach transportation
· TWO Relaxing Spa Services (OPTIONAL)
· (2) Breakfast Buffets at Market Street Café'
· (1) Italian Buffet Dinner
· Free Admission to Goodnites Lounge
· Girlfriends Getaway Gift (compliments of Vanity Fair Outlet Village)
· VF Factory Outlet Coupons
· Transportation to VF Factory Outlet
· Transportation to PHL Premium Outlets (Sunday) (opened November '07)
· Dinner at Old Country Buffet on Sunday

There's Plenty To Do, Without Ever Leaving The Hotel
At the Sheraton Reading Hotel, you'll never be bored. Relax in the area's largest heated pool and Jacuzzi. Work off stress and tension in the fully equipped, 24-hour fitness center and sauna. Head over to Goodnites Lounge for great music and dancing. Enjoy a good laugh at The Reading Comedy Outlet.

Goodnites Lounge & Nightclub
Make any night good at Goodnites. One of the area's most popular nightclubs, there's always something special going on. So stop in and have a good time! Dance the night away Friday or Saturday night to all the latest dance hits!

Quad - $230.00 per person ~~Triple - $240.00 per person ~~Double - $255.00 per person ~~Single - $355.00 per person

*All rates and prices are per person and include tax and everything listed above.

To reserve your space, contact: Cynthia Amin Hall Phone: 301-989-1654 (office)
Email:, Website:

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

London Bridges: Mom and Daughter Style

I'm headed back to London for business mixed with pleasure - this time my Mom will be joining me for a weekend fit for an English Diva ;) The cool thing about traveling with Mom, rather than hubby (no offense) is we can do all the tours and sightseeing that may be too "cheesy" for men. We can eat...or not. Sleep...or not. And of course, the shopping and people watching is way better when shared with another diva!

Currently on the agenda:
Work for 4 days
Flea markets
Sat evening theatre, Wicked
Walking tour of top attractions

With the sliding economy, I had to be extra resourceful on making our dollar stretch. Budget Travel's Expensive Cities on the Cheap offers great tips on enjoying all that London has to offer without breaking the bank. London's tourism site also offers a wonderful listing of free and affordable performances, restaurants, sites, etc. Visiting London on a budget CAN be done!

Stay tuned for a full update on our Mom and Daughter getaway, in London. Feel free to check out the recap of my last London adventure, which includes my hunt for a lost Krispy Kreme donut ;)


Friday, November 7, 2008

Obama Inauguration Travel Plans: Getting There

Fellow Divas - There's no doubt that many of us will be traveling to the Nation's Capital for President-elect Barack Obama's Inauguration celebration on January 20, 2009. Since I'm in the heart of DC Metro and have been getting tons of info already regarding the historic event, I figured I'd share everything I find to make your travels to and within DC easier. I'm still in awe of the history made on Nov. 4 and there's no doubt, Jan. 20 will be the largest historical event of the decade!

Getting to DC

While it may seem obvious, if you haven't booked airfare for Inauguration weekend, do so ASAP! With the hype surrounding this weekend coupled with the holiday season, rates are bound to sky rocket. Book your flights NOW! The closest airport to Washington, DC is Ronald Reagan National (DCA) but depending on the rates, Dulles International Airport (IAD) or Baltimore-Washington International (BWI) are also close enough for them to be an option.

Train is great if you are on the East Coast - if you are in NYC or Philly, the Acela Express is a breeze.

Car - either yours or a rental, driving may be the most affordable, especially if the low gas prices hold. Driving is actually perfect if you plan to bring the whole family and need to cut back on the expense of flights.

Bus - there are PLENTY of churches and organizations planning bus trips. Keep your ears peeled for one being organized in your city. Try Inauguration Road Trip's super cool Road Trip for Change website to connect with transportation from all major cities.

Metro - DC's underground train system will be the best way to transfer in/out of the city for all Inauguration events. Buy or load your SmartTrip tickets early to avoid the lines! Info on using DC's Metrorail system can be found on

Hotels - By the time you read this, every hotel in DC and 25 miles out is sold out....or too expensive to even consider. If you are lucky enough to find something "affordable", book it ASAP! Check here for hotel rooms that may be available:

Family/friends - Think of everyone you know in the DC Metro, Richmond and Baltimore area. Don't be too shy to call on family, friends (even those long lost college alum) to bum lodging for the weekend! Just be sure to offer a donation to the hostess ;)

House rental - There are plenty of folks renting out their homes, apartments, and timeshares for inauguration visitors. Visit these sites for private rentals OR if you'd like to share your place:
Craigslist DC

Several sites have dedicated Inauguration packages...don't scream at me when you see the prices ;)

Stay tuned for more info, including planning tips for Inauguration activities.

Obama's Inauguration Travel Plans: Activities

Now that you're all set on the travel front, check out the various activities going on during Obama's Inauguration celebration!

**Just in case you haven't locked down all of your travel plans, check out the Getting There post for travel tips.


Helpful sites:
Barack Obama's official site:
Official Site regarding Inuagural history:
Private site, Inuagural events info:
Private site, Inuagural events info:
Text alerts on activities:

Saturday, January 17 - Obama, Biden and their families will travel by train to Washington, DC and will host events along the way in Philadelphia, Wilmington, and Baltimore. (Details to be Announced)
Sunday, January 18 – An official welcome event will be held on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to kick off the inaugural celebration. The event will be open to the public. (Details to be Announced)
Monday, January 19 - Martin Luther King, Jr. Day - To honor Dr. King’s legacy, Obama, Biden and their families will participate in activities dedicated to serving others in communities across the Washington, DC area. Additional events will be held throughout the week. See the schedule of events.
Inaugural Eve Concert for America's Children - A free youth concert will be held at the Verizon Center. The concert will be free, but tickets will be required. (Details to be Announced)
Do I need tickets to attend the swearing ceremony?

To be seated in the "official" ceremony section, you need to contact your local Congress member for tickets and they are distributed a week before the event. However, there will be plenty of "non-ticket" space for the public to view, with bleechers and big screen televisions for families to watch. Don't be fooled into buying tickets - see important notice from The Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies (JCCIC) below:

E-mail received from the JCCIC..."Ticketing Information for the 56th Inaugural Swearing-In Ceremony

The Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies (JCCIC) has issued the following information regarding the availability of tickets for the 56th Presidential Inaugural Ceremony on January 20, 2009:

Tickets to the 56th Inaugural Ceremonies will be provided free of charge and distributed through Members of the 111th Congress. The Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies does not provide tickets to the public. Members of the public interested in attending the Inaugural Ceremonies should contact their Member of Congress or U.S. Senators to request tickets.

The public should also be aware that no website or other ticket outlet actually has inaugural swearing-in tickets to sell, regardless of what they may claim. Tickets will not be distributed to Congressional offices until the week before the inauguration and will require in-person pick-up.

'Any website or ticket broker claiming that they have inaugural tickets is simply not telling the truth,' said Howard Gantman, Staff Director for the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies. 'Tickets for the swearing-in of President-elect are all provided through members of Congress, and the President-elect and Vice President-elect through the Presidential Inaugural Committee. We urge the public to view any offers of tickets for sale with great skepticism.'"
Those who come to witness the swearing-in ceremony will be able to watch and listen to the ceremony on large screens that will be set up along the National Mall.

Inaugural Balls

There are several balls that take place during the week. Of course, the biggest is the President Ball at Washington DC Convention Center i.e. the hardest to get tickets for, even for the savviest of divas ;) Don't fret - many States and organizations have balls that are open to the public.
**Read our posts for updated Ball and Party info: Balls and Parties and Balls and Parties, part 2

Inaugural Parade
For F*R*E*E and being in place at the crack of dawn, everyone can attend the Parade! President Obama, First Lady Michelle and a host of family, military regiments, marching bands, etc. will stroll down Pennsylvania Avenue! BE CAREFUL PURCHASING ANY TICKETS ONLINE, most of the sites are taking advantage of the hype.
Here's a link for the proposed route:
**The public will not be allowed to lineup along the parade route before 7 a.m.**

Stay tuned - much more info will be posted.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Traveling to the polls: Tips for the long wait

I made my way to the polls this weekend to early vote in Virginia. I figured I’d have a long wait, 4 hours to be exact, so I prepared myself with a fully charged Ipod, comfortable shoes, magazine and a great attitude. 4 hours IS a long time to wait in line but honestly, I’d have waited longer -very few moments like this arise to change the course of history.

If you haven’t already voted, I urge you to take time on Tuesday, Nov. 4 to do so. Prepare for a wait – this election has drawn crowds like none other and tomorrow is sure to bring record turnouts! I got a list of tips this morning from on making your day at the polls a party. I love the idea of turning your poll line wait into a party, so thought I’d share:

How to Start a Party at the Polls
You can do this while you're waiting in line yourself, you can come back after you've voted, or you can go to other polling places in your area where you hear there are long lines. Here are some ways you can make the wait easier and more fun for voters:

Bring water, food, snacks. A lot of people might not have realized how long they'd have to wait. A little food and water can help give people the energy they need to power through. Cook something the night before, buy some bottled water to share. Healthy snacks are good, but you can also use the opportunity to get rid of extra Halloween candy.

Bring some folding chairs. Some people may need a break from standing; you can give them somewhere to sit.

Rain? Bring umbrellas, ponchos, plastic bags. Help people stay dry.

Tell jokes, juggle, provide some other kind of entertainment. Are you a comedian, dancer, or street performer of some kind? Put on a show! Make sure it's family-friendly.

Play some music or bring a boombox. Play an instrument? Bring it to the polls and play some songs. Bring a boombox. Take requests. Avoid music that might be offensive or abrasive to some people. Keep in mind that not everyone may like your music, so pay attention to how people are reacting; you don't want to drive anyone away.
La Diva's note: Just bring your headphones ;)

Be prepared to cover up campaign t-shirts, buttons, etc. Some places have rules against campaigning within 100 feet of the polls. Wearing a t-shirt or button can be considered a form of campaigning, so if you're wearing gear from a particular candidate, be prepared to cover it up or change into different clothes if someone asks you to.

Above all, have fun, and spread it around. Help everyone out, not just people supporting your candidate. This is about making sure everyone has the right to vote. Voters disagree on many issues, but we should all be able to agree that participation in our democracy is an exciting thing. Help bring a festive spirit to the polling place.

You can find more tips on Color of Change’s website.

Don’t take anything for granted – head to the polls, vote for your favorite candidate and make a difference!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Contest: Perfect Ideas for "Me" Time

Here's a contest from one of my favorite magazines, Girlfriend Getaways, from the publishers of Budget Travel. They are looking for cool ideas for "mevenings", i.e, how you relax solo. Have an idea to share? Here are the details of the contest - submit your idea for a chance to win a fantastic bag of spa goodies! ;)

What's Your Recipe for a Perfect "Mevening"?
"With work projects, demands from family, and making time to see friends, it can be tough to schedule "me" time. We want to hear all about the way you prefer to spend alone time. Take a bath, put on a face mask, bake a cake—or maybe all three? E-mail with the details by October 24 and include a photo. The reader with the most interesting Mevening will be featured in an upcoming issue and will win a fabulous bag of spa products." Source

Haven't had any quality "me" time lately? What are you waiting for!? Head to your local library or bookstore and pick up a juicy read, take yourself out for a latte, rent a movie, or splurge on a spa pedicure.

Share your ideas - we'd love to hear them!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Mandarin Update: Off to the Gaylord National

Quick update on my hotel test run project. You remember, I needed to test out a few hotels for office guests in from overseas - I promptly made my reservation at the lavish Mandarin Oriental hotel for me, hubby and the kids....NOT! After getting excited about the free hotel stay and my Cherry Blossom Ritual massage reservation, I find out that the hotel has a STRICT policy on kids staying in the room. Obviously, they don't factor in families with twins +1, because the Mandarin only allows 2 kids per guest room. Repeat - if you are traveling with kids, only 2 kids allowed (or else pay for another room). Bummer!

So I passed the Mandarin project off to our assistant, "K" - she quickly accepted my Cherry Blossom massage and enjoyed 3 nights at the 5-star hotel. I even tortured myself by dropping her off to check-in. The lobby is grand and screams 5-star excellence. "K" fully documented her stay: from the plush king size bed, LCD TV in the bathroom, perfect view of the city and turn down service that includes hot chocolate chip cookies and fresh berries (they had me at hello), she says that the Mandarin Oriental won't disappoint. Even at a whopping $500+ a night, she swears the service is worth it. I guess hubby and I will have to travel there minus kids.

Next stop: Gaylord National Resort at National Harbor

Update soon!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

In the Company of Friends: BlogHer DC Reach Out Tour 2008

Picture it – a day away from the office and kids. The smell of Starbucks coffee, yummy breakfast croissants and fruit. A room of sponsors and giveaways. The sound of women buzzing about anything from kids, weight loss, mid-life, html codes, and politics. And best of all, the sweet sound of laptop keyboards….sound like heaven? Almost – BlogHer DC was planned as a blogosphere heaven, with the woman blogger in mind. Monica, with Urban Charm Chat, and I spent an amazing day in the company of internet friends. The BlogHer DC Reach Tour was a one day conference designed to inspire and motivate women bloggers by offering training, technical support and encouragement. In addition to the seminars, with topics ranging from: “Blogging Basics”, “Steps to Personalize, Polish and Promote Your Blog” to “Building your Blog for a Cause”, bloggers were given the opportunity to network during a quasi Speed-Dating icebreaker and freely ask questions from blogging pros throughout the day. The conference was perfect for a newbie blogger, as well as the expert.

During the day, I met a diverse group of women whose blogging experience ranged, yet all were valuable in offering new ideas. Rachel Rappaport, with Coconut and Lime, gave me awesome tips on staying organized, Karen Batchelor with Midlife’s a Trip, gave me encouragement to find my “voice” through blogging and De in DC with A Spiced Life, gave me the creative spark to bring cool business cards to an event!

I was excited to come home, browse the business cards from the incredible women I met and dig through my swag from the day. All in all, I’d say it was a day, well spent ;)

If you haven’t hooked up with BlogHer yet, I’d suggest checking them out. They may be headed to a city near you!

Until the next Reach Our Tour….

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Hotel Test Run

So get this…my boss has several guests visiting our office from other countries (apparently visitors think our office is the best thing since sliced bread), and he’s burnt out from the nearby hotels in walking distance that we usually have guests stay, so he wants me and my coworker to “test” a few upscale hotels to see if they are up to par for the Head Dudes traveling in from overseas. Are you serious?? My assignment is to try a few hotels in Washington, DC, staying long enough to cover both a weekend and weekday, order room service and try out various hotel amenities….for free. Say what?!

So my first assignment is (no, I didn’t choose, my boss did) the Mandarin Oriental located in Southwest Washington, DC. I’ve only heard rumors about the luxury hotel and all have been fabulous. I made reservations for this weekend for hubby and the kids (why not share the fun).

Described as grand elegance within walking distance of Washington DC’s best sights, and ranked one of the top 100 hotels in the world, this 5 star hotel is sure to please, as least I hope.

Stay tuned for my adventure – after detailed review of the website and spa booking, I trust I won’t be disappointed!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Beauty on the go

When I not traveling or trapped at the office, I love to just CHILL and flip through magazines and catalogs. Last week, I received my cherished Sephora fall catalog in the mail and Oh My! I came across quite a few definite must haves that are perfect for jet setting divas.

I MUST try this! How cool is this - just throw a few of these press & peel eye shadows in your carry-on and go! No fuss, no complicated makeup - just choose your color, press on your lid and wallah! The Eye Envy kit is only available at Sephora and is available in 6 different kits. My personal favorite for a night out with the girls is Exotic, which includes animal prints and camouflage. Fierce!

I'm a sucker for bath products. You can never have too much. Philosophy has a new limited edition gift set, 10 "classic cookbook" scents in 2 oz. bottles that are the perfect size for throwing in your dreaded quart-sized Ziploc bag ;) Scents included are Cinnamon Bun, Vanilla Birthday Cake, and Red Velvet easy luxury from your hotel room! (or home shower ;)

Perfume on your getaway is a must have but with all of the new travel rules and luggage charges, who can keep up with what's allowed and what's not? Luckily Sephora has an entire Airplane Friendly section for all girly products but my favorite in the Perfume section is the Marc Jacobs Perfume Solid. Lightweight, stylish and because it's a solid, no risk of spilling all over your undies in your luggage!!!....sorry, just had a flashback of the entire right side of my luggage being WET because of a beauty project spill! :(

I can't wait to log on to Sephora and order up these beauty travel essentials. Have travel friendly beauty products that you can't live without? Please share!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Guy's jumping on bandwagon

Now it’s the guy’s turn to getaway from the Rat Race for a custom made man-cation. Hubby just couldn’t stand the divas having all the fun, so he and his friends are heading to sunny San Juan, Puerto Rico (with my planning assistance of course ;) He calls it "El Caballero Fiesta", roughly translated as an exclusive gentleman's only party!

San Juan is an awesome vacation spot because it offers wonderful weather, water sports, golfing, and electrifying nightlife! So even though the men are headed there, it's still been on my radar for a future Diva getaway! Check out the lavish Ritz-Carlton Resort and Casino, located right off Isle Verde beach:

or even better (although more secluded from the city) is the fabulous Rio Mar Beach Resort and Spa by Wyndham:

Watch out guys - here we come!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Where's The Diva?

Hey fellow travelers! It's been a while since I've logged in to chat - unfortunately the delay hasn't been due to awesome traveling adventures :( The only place I've traveled recently is on and off the Capital Beltway to my J-O-B. Fun stuff.

I am, however, in the midst of planning a London getaway with my Mom (taking advantage of another work trip), a Mother's Day Vegas adventure and of course, the 2009 La Diva Loca trip! I'm still torn on location ideas for the Diva trip, so any ideas for a groovy girlfriend getaway, send them my way ;)

Until next time - lata!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Speaking of Cabos - Last Minute Getaway

Hey - I just got a note from a fellow traveler about her condo that she's renting out in September. It's at the fabulous Sol Melia ME Cabo resort located right on Nikki Beach with a ton of onsite activities, just minutes from downtown and nightlife. The rental dates are Sept 6 through Sept 13. 7 days, sun and great resort....all for only $500!!!

For more information, contact Kim directly via her craigslist listing.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Finally! Cabos Recap...

Finally a run down on the Divas adventure in Los Cabos and to say that we had a blast in Mexico would be the understatement of the year! For those that weren’t there you will feel the Mexican air blow through your hair and be able to see the palm trees...

Once we touchdown in Mexico, the hundred degree weather hits us like a sauna as we walk down the plane steps and straight to customs before retrieving our bags after the long flight. Getting into the country is complicated mainly because of all the forms you have to fill out. They ask for everything but your precious fingerprints.

One thing about Mexico I must tell you is it is all about the hustle. So after getting through customs and grabbing our luggage, we were escorted into a big space before we were even allowed to go outside, where they jump on you like a cowboy jumps on a horse! Even though we already had ground transportation to the resort and have told the “transportation reps” this several times, they are extremely aggressive in asking what hotel you going to (I guess everyone has to have a hustle). The trick is to just walk away and then go outside where there is an even bigger crowd of reps…..and you are supposed to trust that they will drive you safely to your destination. Off we go!

Ahhh….The Intercontinental Presidente. We are promptly greeted and because of our fabulous “Diva” skills we were all upgraded to ocean view rooms and got VIP wristbands…, don’t ask me what that means because even the lady at the front desk could not explain the difference in the arm bands she just said it was better than the others ;)

As we stepped into our room it is what you imagined a Mexican paradise would be and stepping on the balcony just confirmed it! Our room overlooked the crystal clear pools, gorgeous palm trees and ocean. What more could a girl want! Alright so enough of the scenery – everyone’s checked in and settled, so we head to the poolside bar – if you see Jorge, give him a shout out for us!

Day Two:
Now that we were all rested, the group met at the breakfast buffet to decide our activities for the trip. We knew we wanted to go ATV riding and on the glass bottom boat so we stopped by the concierge desk for reservations, only for our youngest Diva to get bamboozled into sitting through a time share presentation with the promise of getting all of our excursions at a deep discount. (For the timeshare presentation, you had to be single and K was the only one to fit the bill….she has vowed to get married soon so that won’t happen again ;). But FREE party cruise tickets in downtown Cabo and crazy cheap ATV and horseback riding….we couldn’t turn it down! Poolside chilling, horseback riding and an adventure to a downtown San Jose martini bar, Day 2 was complete.

Day Three:
We awaken at the crack of dawn to go on our ATV sand dune adventure….although not all of us participated because a few didn’t want to get dirty (such divas). Actually getting to the sand was an adventure in itself because we had to ride the ATV’s in the road alongside regular car traffic! Then with a few of us driving on the wrong side of the road and V’s bike kept breaking down, the adventure started long before we even got to the dunes. Our tour guide, Manny, was great! We went though very narrow paths and got bumped by trees along the way but he was awesome in keeping us focused and excited. Some of us even got bold enough to try “wheelies” on the beach :) On our way back, again we are riding in the street with regular traffic but it is the “rush hour” with even more cars on the road….definitely a risk for amateur diva drivers. So risky in fact, that the cops pulled our whole brigade over and forced us to wait for the heavy traffic to go past before we could proceed. I swear we saw our lives flash and questioned our sanity for even signing up on the tour, however, we all agreed it was a blast!

Our last night and we head to downtown Cabo for shopping and the party boat ride. Shopping was interesting because you would think things would be cheaper in Mexico but like I said everyone needs a hustle and that is exactly what all those shop owners were doing, hustling. If you like tequila, downtown is definitely the place – they give out free samples in “tequila boutiques” across town…so needless to say, we were partying before we even hit the boat :)

Once we arrived on the glass bottom party boat and were rolling, life was perfect. The boat crew served fabulous margaritas and homemade guacamole, chips, salsa, and peanuts (not sure how peanuts fit into the menu, but maybe that’s how they do it in Mexico). We had adopted a Mississippi fan who looked like the detective dude on Law & Order: Criminal Intent. Mississippi was very nice until he kept talking and drinking, which led to more talking and eventually a rum and Coke spill all over one of the Divas. Not only did the rum and Coke make him talk (slur) nonstop, but it turned him into a dancing machine and boy you should have seen this southern boy go! Everything was perfect until we hit a sour note when our 3 hour party turned into a 4 hour buzz kill - the tide kept taking us further and further away from shore and the crew had a tough time bringing us back. Cold, hungry and a few margaritas too many, we were excited to finally see land!

Leaving the resort is bittersweet because we needed to say goodbye to our mini paradise and mostly, our girlfriends. Sleepy, tired with super early flights, our “paradise” is abruptly halted when our flights are either cancelled or delayed. Cabos airport is the only airport I know that doesn’t have air conditioning, limited food service and NO amenities. It was a hundred degrees, at least, and with our flights continuously delaying, many of us debated the idea of staying in Mexico another night. Finally, we are called to board! Guess who we see boarding our flight…. Mississippi from the party boat! He apparently was so wasted after the party boat ride that he slept on the street in downtown.

After countless hours of travel, delays, and time zone adjustments, we all finally landed…some of us as late as 2am. Despite the soreness from the horseback riding, Mississippi’s spilled drinks and airport drama, we all agreed the getaway was fabulous! Who knows where 2009 will lead the Divas….perhaps coming soon to a state or country near you!
For more photos from Living La Diva Loca 2008 - Cabos, click here:

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

On the Road again....Vegas, baby!

Sometimes, enough is enough...and I'm starting to get to the point where enough is enough. I've been on the road non-stop for the past 3 weeks - Detroit, Mexico. Miami and now Vegas. But who can pass up a company paid trip to Las Vegas, with accomodations at the grand Bellagio!! My bags are packed, Ipod charged and magazines I go again!

Once I am able to sit longer than 5 minutes, photos from the past few adventures will be posted - I promise!

Until next time.....

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

On the Move Again....

Hey divas! I know I'm slow in providing the Cabos laughs and photos but believe it or not, I'm on the move again! I'm headed to Miami for a quick weekend for "work" (i.e. another way for my boss to travel to a cool place for free ;), and then off to Vegas, baby!

I'll be sure to update you with travel adventures as soon as I am able to sit longer than 5 minutes ;)

Chat soon!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Cabos FAQ

Headed to Mexico soon? Here are a few Frequently Asked Questions about Mexico in general and Cabos!

Where is Cabo San Lucas?
Cabo San Lucas is located at the southern tip of the Baja Peninsula in the State of Baja California Sur. Cabo is approximately 1,000 miles south of San Diego, California, 10 degrees below the Tropic of Cancer at a latitude of approximately 22 degrees. Cabo San Lucas is approximately 20 miles southwest of the Los Cabos International Airport.

What time zone is Los Cabos in and does the time change with daylight savings time?
Los Cabos and Baja California Sur are located within the Mountain Time Zone. The time changes here whenever Daylight Savings Time changes.

What will the weather be like in Los Cabos?
Most of the year Los Cabos is warm and sunny, with an average temperature of 78 degrees F., or 26 degrees C. Occasional rains fall in the stormier months from August to October. Winters are cooler and nights can be chilly on the water. Late summer is hot, with temperatures in the high 90s F., and warm nights.

Will I be able to use my credit cards? Can I get cash from the banks with my credit cards?
Answer: Yes, to both questions. All major credit cards (except Discover) are widely accepted. In restaurants, it is best to ask before ordering, not every business accepts credit cards, just as back home. All of the banks will give cash advances, most have ATM machines at their locations, for after hours cash.

Currency and money matters...The peso is Mexico's official currency, but almost all purchases can be paid in US dollars with change in pesos. Dollars are accepted almost everywhere, however large bills can be difficult to break. It's a good idea to bring along plenty of $1's, $5's, and $10's or use ATMs. If you go on an adventure out of the main tourist areas, take small denominations of pesos. Before traveling to Los Cabos, we suggest you have $100 US in small bills for tips and unexpected expenses, etc.

Are there dress codes, and how late will I be staying out?
The dress code is casual, some clubs do not accept sandals, tank tops or shorts, but generally anything goes, as long as you are wearing shoes! You can stay up as late as 5 am in some bars in Cabo San Lucas, known as the party capital of Mexico.

Will my hair dryer (portable iron, electric toothbrush, etc.) work in México?
Yes, if you are from the U.S. or Canada. México uses the same voltage as the United States. If you are coming from Europe, or any country that uses 220 volts, you will need the proper adapters.

Will my cellular phone work in Mexico?
Answer: We have local cellular service. Some (very few) cellular services will allow you to roam in Mexico. Most cell phones will work, but they must be reprogrammed by the local service provider (Baja Celular or Telcel). Remember to have it reprogrammed again before returning to the U.S.

Can I drink the water?
Answer: In the hotels and most restaurants, you will get purified water. I would not drink the water from a private home or condo, unless you know there is a purification system installed. The water here is very pure, but the distribution system is not so perfect. Buy bottled water. Why not be completely safe!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Chick Lit Perfect for the Beach!

There's nothing better to pass the time on a long flight or lazy lounging on the beach than a great book! Check out these picks for a literary adventure!
Stephanie Plum Series (start with One for the Money) by Janet Evanovich. Please take my word for this series, you won't be disappointed! Women of all ages will love the comedy and adventure of Stephanie Plum, fearless female bounty hunter. Hurry and get up to speed - Number 14, Fearless Fourteen will be out June 17!

Murder, Mayhem & a fine man by Claudia Mair Burney - now if the title alone doesn't grab you, how about this review? "Claudia Mair Burney does a great job of blending mystery, romance, humor, and Christian truth to create a story that is hard to put down. I laughed out loud and I teared up, but I never stopped turning the pages. I'm ready for the next book." -- Angela Benson, author of The Amen Sisters

Good in Bed by Jennifer Weiner Loved this one! A humorous, touching story of Candice, a plus size woman, who discovers her Ex's feelings of dating/sleeping with a "larger woman" (her) via his new magazine column "Good in Bed". A perfect addition to your carry-on bag!
Certain Girls by Jennifer Weiner
The sequel to Good in Bed is here!
"Weiner's follow-up to Good in Bed is, in a word, fantastic. You'll laugh, you'll cringe, you'll cry as you follow Cannie and her now nearly teenage daughter, Joy. Told through alternating first-person narratives, Weiner's tale gives mothers and daughters alike a treat to devour."-- Romantic Times

Casanegra: A Tennyson Hardwick Novel by Blair Underwood

I admit, I was skeptical at first - I mean, I know Blair is fine but can he write as good as he looks?? I wasn't disappointed - this murder mystery with a hip hop setting is a definite page turner! Teamed with sci-fiction greats Tananarive Due and Steven Barnes, Blair shows his talents expands beyond acting. The next in the series comes out in the fall!

Monday, May 19, 2008

New inspiration for your next Getaway?

The newest issue of Girlfriend Getaway magazine is on the shelves and perfect as usual. From the same minds as Budget Travel, the Girlfriend version offers fab trip ideas, spa how-to, as well as beauty tips and much more! If you haven’t read an issue before, it’s sure to become your travel bible – the articles are extremely intriguing and the tips and products featured are amazing!

Pick up your own copy and check out the following hot articles:
- Diva Las Vegas: packing for a sizzling time in Vegas
- Planning a Great Long Weekend
- How to Plan a Bachelorette Party
- Hosting a Cooking Party (perfect for a Girl's Night that won't break the bank)

Many of the articles are featured online, but for me, there's nothing like curling up with a good magazine and "dog-earring" all of the best pages ;)

Don’t take my word for it! Grab your own copy at your local bookstore or order online at Girlfriend Getaway's website.

Happy reading!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Cabos or Bust!

Part of the fun of going away with girlfriends is the anticipation – anticipation of relaxing, endless laughter and inside jokes btwn friends. This year is sure to be no different. The Divas will take Los Cabos by storm in just over a month. Our getaways have no rules, except for everyone to come with an open, pleasant mind ready to par-tay! Because we often have “newbies” that join the group, I plan a few package “excursions” to get everyone involved and as a way for us to bond/get to know each other.

In addition to the fabulous spa and yoga sessions that the InterContential Presidente Los Cabos Resort offers, the Presidente Concierge staff has been great in suggesting fabulous ideas for our group. So far on the agenda:

VIP Diva Welcome Reception. What better way to hop off the plane with personalized service and cocktails! Welcome to Cabos!

Los Cabos Encounter Tour. Enjoy the Jesuit mission of San Jose del Cabo, the Square, Municipal Palace, Old Houses, Shopping Area, Tourist Corridor, Golf Courses, the best beaches, the best resorts, Blown glass factory, the best bars in Cabo San Lucas, areas of purchases, restaurants, etc. Stops later on to go up to a glass bottom boat to the marine wolves, rock formations, the famous arch at the end of the peninsula, Lover’s Beach, colony of pelicans…. Etc.

ATV’s Sand Dune Adventure. I truly believe this will be a trip favorite! Read one of the comments posted by a fellow TripAdvisor member!

“This was a BLAST! Even my mother and father-in-law kept up! The 3-hour tour on the beach and through the sand dunes was so much fun; we went twice and bought the shirt! WARNING: Wear clothes you don't mind getting dirty, 'cause you even find sand in your underwear. Also, cover your camera with a towel, even in a backpack; it got dirty. We framed our group pictures that we took at some of the scenic spots--make sure you take one. This was everyone's favorite part of the vacation!”

Other than our planned excursions, the “PLAN” is to relax, forget about our worries we left behind the States, eat without restrictions and party!

More fun details to follow!