23 November 2008

Preppy Get-a-way to the Islands

The final holiday get-a-way idea is to the Islands. What a great time to get out of the cold, especially when it has already snowed in some places and it isn’t even Thanksgiving yet!! Puerto Rico, Martinique & St. Lucia are some of my favorite places. Cory & I spent every waking moment on the beach or in the water, with a couple of retreats for a couples’ massage to recuperate from all of the sun exposure. The nice thing about an island get-a-way is that you can pack very lightly and you don’t have to travel far to submerge yourself in a foreign language. I loved Martinique because they truly put my French skills to the test. The islands are full of unusual things to do. Where else can you ride a horse bareback into the ocean? I grew up riding horses, but taking one out into the middle of the water was quite an experience. Snorkeling among tropical fish is incredible. You may even catch a school of fish following you as if you are the lead fish! One of my favorite days was a morning trip by Jeep through the rain forest, which lead to an afternoon bike ride through a banana tree-filled jungle to a lagoon. At the lagoon, a group of us cooled off under the waterfall. At night, you can find party boats and ships on the water. One of the ships used in Pirates of the Caribbean can also be seen sailing among the many Caribbean islands. You can still find a lot of deals during the holidays and there are a lot of housing options at your destination. Instead of booking a hotel, look for house rentals along the beach-of course, booking them well before you get there. Renting a home with another couple can also cut down on your expense. While everyone else is shut inside trying to stay warm during the winter holidays, you can return after the new year with a tan.

18 November 2008

Preppy-get-a-way to the Mountains

The second Preppy get-a-way pick for the holidays is an escape to the mountains. A lot of people hit the slopes during the holidays, but I love snowmobiling! Ironically, growing up on the right coast, I always envisioned the left coast as perpetually sunny & hot-until I met Cory. He introduced me to the mountains of California and specifically of his second home in Bear Valley. What a blast it is to stay in the mountains where the snow is “deafening”. With a ground powdered in flakes, you can’t hear a thing in the woods. Everything is silent and peaceful. Peaceful-until we kick the snowmobiles into gear! We spent all day hitting the different trails along the mountainside, even giving a couple of kids a lift along the way. When we took a break inside the clubhouse, we ran into actor, Bob “Duke” Conrad. The three of us sat alone in a restaurant with a bottle of vino and talked about his movies. Several years before, he had judged a pageant where my sister was a contestant and he called her on the phone to chat a bit. If you have to be in a cold weather climate during the holidays, I would recommend a nice mountain hideaway where you can spend every night by the fire.

15 November 2008

Preppy Get-a-way to Italy

As the holidays are rapidly approaching, people are booking their get-a-ways & I am putting a few suggestions on the blog. The first is Italy. Although Italy is not my favorite country, I have had an amazing time each time I have visited. My sister picked our dog’s name, “Giuseppe”, after one of our visits. Below is a photo of Seppe and his very famous Shih-tzu underbite. In addition to obvious destination sites like the Vatican, Pantheon and the Coliseum, it is always fun to find more obscure things to do while traveling abroad. After spending time in the more common areas, Cory found a cute hotel in Costiera Amalfitana (the Amalfi coast) for us. Every day, we walked down the winding roads of the coastline to a small restaurant for our meals. It wasn’t so bad going down to the restaurant, it was the walk back up that became a challenge! We also had a tiny grocery store nearby & stocked up on all sorts of Italian treats for our room. There are few tourists in this area, making it a very romantic part of the country too. There is not a lot of shopping available either. It is best to book a private car & have the driver take you to nearby Positano, down to Sorrento or out to Capri for the shops. With a breath-taking view (as seen in the above photos), we also spent an entire day in the room & on our patio sipping vino, watching the children in the street below our window play football (soccer) and simply enjoying one of the most spectacular parts of Italy. The truly nice thing about where we were along the Amalfi is that few people spoke fluent English, which forces a person to really brush up on one’s Italian skills! By the way, I took the photo of Cory & me looking out over the coast. I am especially proud of this one because it looks like a third person would have taken it. I think I should make photography my day job too.

08 November 2008

L.L. Bean comes to Illinois

One of my favorite stores finally made its way to the midwest. L.L. Bean has finally migrated from the East coast. In the past I had to wait for a trip back home to stock up on my duck boots and other goodies from the preppy outdoor store, or I had to order from the catalog. Now I can roll into The Bean without any great fanfare. This is my brother-in-law trekking it through the snow to the store with me shortly after their grand-opening.

07 November 2008

What was your favorite concert?

I have been to some amazing concerts in my life & all of them vastly different. Seriously, how does one compare a multi-band rock concert featuring Def Leppard, Foreigner and Styx to a concert with Kenny Rogers; or Destiny’s Child to Sting?  Other than flirting with Philip Bailey & the rest of Earth, Wind & Fire while sitting front row with my husband, I have to admit that Kenny Rogers will always be at the top of the list, considering the number of times that I have had the chance to go back stage and “hang” with the bearded one before he performed. Kenny has even called my mom on my cell phone, which needless to say was quite a shock to her.  They had a great conversation talking about his music and Texas-the native state to both of them.   I met Kenny Rogers in a Dallas parking lot in May 2001,when I was an anchor/reporter. The night before the parking lot encounter, my friend,Guy,called me to say that Kenny was giving an interview at a country music radio station & suggested that I go to the station to try and meet him. I drove my car into the lot singing to his music and happened to park next to Kenny’s car driven by one of his promotional guys named Gator, who still remains a good friend. It was incredible! I just stood there in the parking lot telling Kenny all about my childhood crush and the poster of him that I kept over my bed when I was 9 yrs old. It was right next to my poster of Benji. Here’s a secret: I still have that poster, but now it stays rolled up in my closet (and yes, it really IS in the closet and not back over my bed for you doubters!!). After that, I received a lot of autographed things from Kenny and a lifetime backstage pass.   WHAT IS THE BEST CONCERT YOU HAVE EVER BEEN TO? My top three, not including Kenny Rogers are Elton John,  Phil Collins and a tie between Earth, Wind & Fire & George Michael (yes, I’m reaching way back on this one, but George was hot).