Ready, Set, Beach!!!!

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I’ve determined that I am a beach bum.  The beach is my happy place be it the height of summer or the dead of winter.  There is something calming about the sound of the waves and sand between my toes.  It is a place where I can “hear myself think”.  Given the Zombie Apocalypse of 2020, I’m finding it to be my remote work refuge.  A place to contemplate and work and, better yet, the view is amazing!

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With the upcoming holiday, I am setting the week aside as vacation.  It’s time for some pleasure reading, beach walking, and general out of office time.  I’m packing the beach bag with goldfish for a snack, my kindle loaded with beach reads, my iPod with audiobooks and a playlist and I’ve ordered a case of sunscreen from Amazon.

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2020 beach reading list (no reviews as I’m just set to start my reading binge)

  • Feels Like Falling, Kristy Woodson Harvey
  • Hello Summer, Mary Kay Andrews
  • Chanel’s Rivera,Anne de Courcey
  • Sex and Vanity, Kevin Kwan
  • Drawing Home, Jamie Brenner

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2020 audiobook playlist (no reviews as I’ve just started listening and walking)

  • The Summer House, James Patterson
  • The Mirror & the Light, Hilary Mantel
  • Firing Point, Tom Clancy
  • Resistance Women, Jennifer Chiaverini
  • All the Ways We Said Goodbye, Beatriz Williams
  • True Evil, Greg Iles

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Packing list for the beach bag

  • Sunscreen – 30 and 50.  My go to is Coola but I couldn’t find the unscented this year so I’m opting for Supergoop.
  • Beach towel – I’m still using monogrammed bath sheets I ordered from Neiman’s years ago but I keep eyeing the ones from Weezie.  I love their makeup towels.
  • Tech – iPod, kindle and AirPod Pro (the pro are amazing at noise reduction.  I highly recommend)
  • Cooler with drinks and a spray bottle of Evian to cool you down
  • Goldfish
  • Hat

Ashford Castle and Tea

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I love tea and I wanted to stay in a Castle .  On my recent trip to Ireland I combined a few of my favorite things and spent an amazing afternoon at Ashford Castle.

Ashford is that fairytale Castle of your dreams.  The Castle has hosted Kings, Presidents and, most recently was the  site of golf pro Rory McIlroy’s nuptials, it has a wonderful golf course, excellent fishing, clays for shooting, falconry, a spa, beautiful gardens, and amazing food.  I now understand the concept of eating until you pop.

On a recent rainy Sunday, I was fortunate to spend the entire afternoon curled up by a fire having tea and champagne with my favorite gal pal.  Two pots of tea, four glasses of champagne and nibbles was the perfect setting to spend the afternoon.

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I opted for the Irish Wiskey-Cream tea.  Described as the “extravagant flavor of Irish whiskey with a hint of cocoa blended with a malty Assam tea” it lives up to its description as delicious.  Nibbles included chicken salad sandwiches, salmon, ham and cheese, scones with lemon curd, clotted cream, and strawberry and rhubarb jam.  The tip from the server was lemon curd with the cheddar cheese scone.  The pairing was perfect!  The sweets course included eclairs and other tasty sweets but the cheddar cheese scones were my favorite.

What an amazing setting to spend a rainy afternoon.

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The art of packing; the packing cube and the pouch

How do you pack?  That seems like such an easy question.  You throw clothes and toiletries into a bag and go.  It’s not that easy, especially if you are flying and have to contend with TSA.  Enter the packing cube.

 

I’ve become obsessed with the packing cube and the pouch.  It lets me organize, especially small things like cords and chargers for easy access.  I’ve got one cube for glasses, contacts, lens solution and the like.  Another I use for a small dryer, hair towel, flat iron, and brushes.

For cords and chargers, I opt for a small pouch that zips.  Intimates go in a bridal satin pouch.  I have a set of three monogrammed that I purchased from Leontine linens.  The large one is for workout clothes, the medium for intimates, and the small one for belts and scarves.

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The best thing about this system is that with everything in a cube or pouch it all stacks neatly into my carry on bag.

Ready, set, GO!

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Packing for a long weekend

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I’m off for a long weekend in sunny California and trying to pack.  This weekend is for relaxation and nothing more.  I’m planning to read, sit by a pool, enjoy yoga, walking and good food so my packing philosophy is KIS or keep it simple!

I’m taking a swimsuit, cover up, yoga pants and top for lounging and tennis shoes for walking.  I’ve packed flats, jeans, and a tee-shirt for optional retail therapy or a walking tour. For evening, I’ve got a knit dress and a tank dress depending upon how formal or casual I want to be. I’m throwing in a navy cardigan that will match everything I’m taking for the just in case it is cold concern.

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I’ve got suede mules with two-inch heels  for dress.  The heels are just the perfect height for casual or to step it up a notch for evening.  In line with my KIS strategy, I’ve gone with a blue theme to permit me to mix and match and save on shoes, one pair of flats and the mules, both navy and both match everything I’m taking.

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I decided on a navy Evelyne bag which will slip into my carry-on tote for the plane.  I’m adding my Ipad, kindle, and pouch with charger and cords to the tote. Last thing into my tote is my cosmetic bag.

I’m off for my long weekend!

 

Work and Play at the Waldorf Astoria Beach Resort in Boca Raton

 

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I occasionally get to travel for work and recently I decided to take advantage of a presentation I was making on a Monday and spend the weekend in south Florida at the beach.

The Waldorf Astoria Beach Resort is a beautiful hotel designed by Addison Mizner as part of his plan for Boca Raton. The resort is divided into two by the intercostal waterway. The original hotel is designed in a mediterranean cloister style with a more modern hotel on the beach side. You can take advantage of the beach, multiple pools, golf, tennis and a world class spa. I also recommend walking around the grounds. The grounds are manicured with lush vegetation.

If you elect to stay in the “old” part of the hotel you can take advantage of either Mizner’s Dream, a boat to shuttle you to the beach club, or the resort shuttle. There was something so fun about taking a five minute boat cruise down the ICW to the beach club.

I took advantage of both the pool and the beach spending a lovely weekend day submerged in the Atlantic and the pool. The ocean was so clear that I could see my feet. I was fortunate to have a calm ocean with gentle waves but just enough to make it fun.

Since I’ve not met a resort spa I was willing to pass up, I booked my weekend with the Sip, Sun, and Spa package. This gave me credits for the spa, dining, beach chairs and a free drink at the Monkey Bar. If you are a gin drinker, try the homemade infused gin at the Monkey Bar. I’m not, but a friend is, and they highly recommended the home infused gin. I opted for the Southern Hospitality at Bar Luna.

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The spa package included a “ritual bath” that was to die for. My favorite parts of the ritual bath are the sorbet and the plunge pool with the rain shower. I think I could have remained in the plunge pool for ages. The entire spa experience was out of this world. I followed my ritual bath with time in the steam room, the inhalation room, and an artisanal massage. The facility was beautiful and the staff lovely.  They also have a private pool and waterfall jacuzzi. I arrived at 9:30 spent the morning in a lounge chair under an umbrella with sporadic dips in the pool.  Around noon, I opted for lunch by the pool.  If you need to pamper and indulge, I highly recommend a visit to the spa. It was the perfect prelude to a long day of work on Monday in the wonderful conference center!

Leaving on a Jet Plane . . . What’s in my Carry-On Bag?

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I love to travel be it across an ocean or within the U.S.A. There is something exciting about discovering something new or seeing the familiar in a new light.

Where I’m going and how I’m getting there is  always my first consideration when it comes to packing.  Plane, train, or automobile, is key. When I travel by plane, I use my rollerboard luggage to make it easy to move through the airport. Then, to check or not to check, is the question. What size plane am I flying? If it is a small regional plane where you have to check anything larger than a lunchbox, then I pack to check. Domestic or international is my next question. Carry-on restrictions for some international carriers are smaller than on domestic carriers. I also have to be able to lift my bag over my head into the overhead bin. When you are vertically challenged, like I am, this is key.

My current trip is oversees. That means I will have a carry-on bag full of things I want to make certain arrive with me, things I will need while traveling, and items  that would be difficult to replace, especially in a foreign country.  This list is usually longer and more comprehensive than when I travel domestically. So, what’s in my international carry-on?

 

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This trip, I’m using my T. Anthony duffel. If I need to, I can check this bag for the trip home.  It is durable and I don’t need to be worried about it traveling under the plane. Added bonus for the fact that it is roomy, has multiple compartments, is light, durable, and has a shoulder strap for carrying.

First into my bag is an LV cosmetic case with medicine. Since I’m traveling internationally, I carry a few extras here. The usual of contacts, contact solution, eye drops, Advil, vitamins, and my inhaler go in accompanied by a ridiculously large selection of bandaids, and Emergen-C.  I also add a few extra disposable tooth cleaners.  They are indispensable on a overnight flight.

Next in is a clear zip case with power cords, earbuds, and extra battery packs. I’m flying for close to twenty hours this time and I want something to entertain me. I also make certain I’ve got iPad, iPod, and Kindle – all fully charged. This case also has my converter and adapter.  The clear case let’s me see everything at a glance so I can quickly grab what I’m looking for.  A large ziplock bag serves the same purpose.

My camera bag with camera, extra SD cards, extra batteries -all fully charged, and charger is next.  On my first trip oversees I learned my lesson as my camera battery died on the funicular on Anacapri. The first thing I did upon returning home was purchase extra battery packs.

Snacks go in next. On the menu this time are Godiva Milk Chocolate Pearls, breakfast bars, and Pringles.  These go in a ziplock bag so they don’t roll around the bottom of my bag.  The ziplock saves you if the packaging fails.  You don’t want melted chocolate pearls everywhere.

Makeup kit that meets TSA requirements goes on top so it is easy to get out and put back after I clear security.

Travel guide, itinerary in a circa binder with all the details of my trip printed out, passport, and foreign money go in on the top.

A cashmere poncho, bed socks, and boudoir pillow are stuffed in the side pocket where I can get to them if  needed.  There is nothing worse than being cold on a long flight. Anything that helps make things comfortable is a plus, thus the pillow and the socks.

 

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