The Perfect Staycation

I have something to share with you.

I have checked into hotels over 30 times this year. I do a lot of overnight trips and am constantly in different cities. I have my routine- I always deadbolt the door, check the bed, the bathroom and hang my suit for the next day. As long as I know what city I am in when I wake up, I’m doing good. But this check-in was different. VERY different.

It was  Friday, the last day of school before Thanksgiving break.  My 9-year-old was in the back seat. I had already spent the night in another city that week but I could not arrive fast enough to this hotel to check-in. She said why are we at a Renaissance hotel? Then the valet opened the door and asked for my last name and if we were checking in. I said yes and a loud cheer came from the back as she LOVES staying in hotels.  We grabbed our bags, walked into the lobby and our experience began.

I have to give the biggest THANK YOU to Ainsley who welcomed us at the registration desk.  My daughter was so excited to check in for this surprise night and he made us feel like we were their most valued guests.  I admit, as an Elite member, I had called after making the reservation to let them know I was doing a special surprise mom-daughter staycation and to ask if they could leave something special for her in the room when we arrived (chocolate chip cookies?).  But what Ainsley did instead was to make sure that both of us would have the most wonderful experience at his property.  He told us about the pool on the third floor, and the concierge lounge we could access, and how she could get room service or walk across the street to Sprinkles for cupcakes!  After she told him how stressful fourth grade can be, he told her the room he was giving us was a NO STRESS room.  And he wanted her to just relax and enjoy her time with mom.

We headed up to the 15th floor, the top floor of the Renaissance Dallas at Plano Legacy West.  I had booked a king room and hoped they would upgrade us to the king room with the huge Asian baths I read about so she could have a fun spa night.  Nothing prepared me for what Ainsley had arranged for us.

You know the rooms with double entrance doors that you see as you walk down the hall to your room wondering how much they cost per night or how many nights as a frequent traveler you need to stay in order to get upgraded to that room when you do a family vacation?  That was our room.  And I was so surprised and appreciative that I videotaped my daughter entering the suite and exploring the entire “apartment”.

I continued to hear the words WOW and THIS IS AWESOME.  And that created a permanent smile on my face for the rest of the night.  Three sitting areas, a full dining room, a huge bathroom AND when she saw the pool table in our room – well, this hotel became her favorite place in the Dallas area.

 

We had the whole evening to enjoy.  And Legacy West had tons of shops and restaurants.  First we “unpacked” for the night and played a few games of pool in our suite.  We went to the rooftop pool and made boomerang videos.  We explored the lobby of the hotel.  Then we changed our clothes and headed out for our “date”.  We saw the fountains at Legacy West, decided on Italian for dinner at North Italia(her other favorite food besides sushi), explored the new books at Barnes & Noble, stopped by Sephora to try on fun lipstick colors and finally ended up at Sprinkles to end our night out.  We took fun pictures with the holiday lights in the background and headed back to the hotel bar to order a lemonade for her and an adult drink for me before heading up to our room.  But the evening wasn’t over.  Certain rooms have these huge tubs and Japanese bath salts for an in-room spa experience so of course we had to try it.  But the surprises from the hotel continued.  After the bath, we enjoyed cookies, milk and other treats that Rudy arranged to send up to us at bedtime.  Rudy – thank you.  Those oatmeal cookies were AWESOME and we sat on the couch (one of the three sitting areas), watched HGTV and talked about our day.  It was the perfect way to end the night before heading off to the bedroom for bed.

The next morning we made a quick run to the concierge lounge for coffee and chocolate milk and decided to order a big breakfast from room service.  I had the Asian breakfast and she had a classic American breakfast.  The service was friendly (and quick) and we got to eat at the huge dining room table in our pajamas!  A few more games of pool before we got dressed and headed out for a quick walk around the hotel and Legacy West to find a heart stone for our collection.

We finally headed back to the hotel with a stone in her hand to pack our bag and find Ainsley to say a big thank you.  A few high five’s later, we were in the car headed home, only a 15-minute drive.

A huge thank you to the Renaissance for the wonderful experience.  Time with my daughter is precious and this experience surpassed my expectations.


Now it is my turn…

Why a staycation? Because it is my time to have all of my mom’s attention. When we got to the hotel,  I was just like,  I love it, it is so modern.  Then we checked in with someone named Ainsley, and he told me it was going to be a stress-free night. We went to our room TRIPLE, NO QUADRUPLE WOW it was awesome. We unpacked and played pool. We went to the deck and went to the pool and did some boomerangs and then we went inside. After being in the room we went to go get dinner and candy. We went back and watched TV. Then we went and took a bath. Then we went to bed. The next morning we went to the lounge and got milk. Then we ordered food. We watched TV and then we had to check out, we said thanks to Ainsley and checked out. So that was the end of our staycation. That was the first but definitely not the last.

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The Hearts in our Home

We have something to share with you.

img_1364When I travel for work, I bring home a postcard of that city for my daughter.  Years back I decided with the help of a colleague to do postcards instead of stuffed animals or t-shirts (easy to pack, educational, will not grow out of them).  A few years back we were at a friends house in Colorado and my daughter saw a beautiful bowl of rocks on their kitchen counter.  Why do you collect rocks she asked our friend Amy?  Her answer –  these were not just rocks, but these were heart-shaped rocks that she collected from places she had visited and she would love to have my daughter take one home with her.

My daughter loved the idea and now we have our own small bowl of heart rocks that we have collected over the past few years.  It’s a nice addition to the decor in the house and we have fun looking for heart rocks on all of our trips!

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My Favorite Things: Bath and Body Works

I have something to share with you.

img_1147You know the holidays are coming up, right? Whether I’m getting a gift for a friend or treating myself, this is my go-to place.

One of my favorite things at Bath and Body Works is their Pretty as a Peach sugar scrub. Why is it one of my favorites? Because it makes your skin really soft and it also smells so good. It also kind of tickles so if you are very ticklish- watch out!

Another one of my favorites is the Happy Vibes super smooth body lotion. The scent really makes you happy. When you smell it,  it actually makes you smile! After about 5 minutes your skin is so smooth.

The next product that I love is the Watermelon Lemonade shea butter hand cream. That one was for a season so it is not available anymore but there are plenty of other hand creams. For example the Hello Beautiful shea butter hand cream.

Another product they have that I like is the Magic in the Air ultra shea body cream. The smell Magic in the Air was my first scent. It makes your skin so soft,  SO SOFT!!!!!!! It also is one of the best products there.

The last one I will share is the Japanese Cherry Blossom fragrance mist. It smells exactly like your actually in a forest of cherry blossom trees! It is actually pink and there is a big glitter bottle. I use this as a perfume but you can use it to make your room smell great!

Almost all these smells come in a lotion, body wash or scrub and some have a candle- ask my mom about those.  So after hearing about all those products, do you think you should treat yourself to a nice lotion or candle? I think you should!

P.S.they just got a new scent that is called In the Stars. (it smells awesome)

P.P.S. Don’t forget to sign up for there emails so you can get lots of discounts!

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On the Road Eats: San Diego

I have something to share with you.

I headed out to a conference in San Diego.  One lunch and two dinners were mine.  The rest- conference food.  I stayed at the San Diego Marriott Gaslamp Quarter and took advantage of the easy walk to various restaurants.  I even tried out the scooters left around the city- super fun and a must try if you see one laying around!

Volcano Rabbit
I was staying in the Gaslamp district and arrived right before lunch.  I needed a quick spot close by so I could eat and then head to the conference hotel and grab my shirts and badge.  This was a short walk and a great meal to start my trip.  Time for some tacos – Chili rubbed Octopus and Sticky Beef Short Rib…..YUM!

Double Standard
I decided on a solo dinner and wanted something hearty.  I found Double Standard on OpenTable and I was able to sit outside.  My meal was fine but next time I will opt for a different spot.

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Lucky’s Lunch Counter
Right around the corner from the Marriott is Lucky’s lunch counter.  I wanted a breakfast burrito since I was going to be in meetings and in a sales booth most of the day.  Lucky’s hit the spot.  Egg whites, cheese, veggies, bacon – perfect start to the day!

Lionfish Restaurant at The Pendry Hotel
Some hits, some misses.  This restaurant got great reviews but I should have listened to the server and stayed away from the sushi.  You should never use avocado that is not ripe in a roll – never.  But on the positive side, the appetizers- octopus, mussels and the duck tostadas were a hit!

Jsix Restaurant at the Kimpton
Sometimes sitting down with a colleague after a work event is a necessity.  Debrief on the day and get ready for the next.  A refreshing adult drink, crispy spring rolls and guacamole hit the spot!

Soleil @k at the San Diego Marriott Gaslamp Quarter
I ended up with one monring to grab an early breakfast and decided to do so at the hotel so I easily bring my laptop with me.  Chilaquiles were on the menu and a must for me.  A bit spicy but really good!  Ready for the day ahead!


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