Sunday, December 25, 2011


Wishing everyone a beautiful holiday celebration and a Merry Christmas!
Chicks That Trip

*photo used from:

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Wrapping Up The Year!

Wrapping Up The Year!

Despite the hectic time of year, I always like to take a  step back and look at all of the accomplishments, hits and misses I achieved throughout the year. While 2011 started out a bit shaky in terms of the economy, there have been marked improvements in many segments in the U.S., and we can only hope for more improvements in 2012.

Travel is a significant indicator on our economy, and I can say this with great certainty; people are traveling. There was a decline from 2008 - 2010 in both leisure and business travel; however, there have been significant upticks in both sectors to show that 2011 was a great year for the travel professional, and if the market analyst are correct - 2012 should be even better!

I have talked to a significant amount of travel professionals throughout the course of the year, and most have stated they have had modest to substantial increases in their 2011 travel bookings, and are optimistic about 2012 (I should throw in there, cautiously optimistic). 

Next year is going to be amped up to another level for me, as I'll be launching two new websites as well as working on some of my own personal goals. There are going to be some changes here too, so make sure to swing through at the beginning of January when I unveil some exciting additions/changes that will be taking place here at Chicks That Trip - Lobby Bar Confessions.

Enjoy the remainder of 2011 and I look forward to writing more interesting and informative pieces in 2012!


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Holiday Gift Ideas

Holiday Gift Ideas
It's officially the holiday season and let me tell you, I can tell. I have received numerous inquiries from my friends (specifically from the male persuasion), seeking suggestions on what to give as gifts to their loved ones. Gift giving is typically a very personal experience (barring those horrible white elephant types of events that a lot of companies hold); so when I receive these requests, I do provide multiple suggestions, but I also attempt to put the onus back on them to come up with their own personal gift - something from the heart, or at least that shows they put some thought into the purchase. With that being said, I am a cold, hard cash person...but that is frowned upon by most people, so I refrain from suggesting that too often.
Free Gifts:
  • One of my most favorite gifts was a coupon book that an ex-boyfriend gave me. It was to be redeemed for various tasks to be performed and redeemed by using the hand made coupons. In addition, one of my really close girlfriends gave me the same gift a few years ago. Hers wasn't hand made (the booklet was purchased at a store); it included a lot of funny and useful coupons like, picking you up from the airport, or an all expense paid girlfriends' night out.
  • In that same vain, if you have friends who have children, or rarely get to go out, offer to babysit gratis one evening for them. Or, if you are feeling really generous, you may offer to take care of their children overnight or for a long weekend. Trust me, this gift could mean more to someone than any item you pick up at Macy's.
  • If you are a person who can cook (I've done this before for a few of my girlfriends), offer to prepare a meal for them to wow their girlfriend/boyfriend or a new suitor. A few of my girlfriends have asked me to do this for them so that they could have a home cooked meal for a beau they were trying to impress. Or, it doesn't have to be a date, you can offer to prepare a meal a month (or other designated length of time) for a friend or family member that may be short on time. They will appreciate the gesture, and all it will cost you is some time (since they will provide the food).
Inexpensive Gifts:
  • Tickets to a museum or movie are always great stocking stuffer gifts.
  • Kidnapping a friend, family member or spouse for a day excursion is always a fun idea. Pack a picnic lunch and take them to the park, beach, lake or the mountains. 
  • Put together a photo collage from a trip that you've taken with friends or family. It will not only be a thoughtful gift, but the memories will be forever captured in a lovely scrap book, poster or frame.
  • During the holidays, cooking exchanges abound because they are time to get together with friends, but you also obtain varied types of cookies and baked goods that you can package up and give as gifts. The cost of flour, sugar, butter, milk, eggs and extracts are a nominal price to pay for gifts that will provide a much needed sugar rush in this time of year. And for our diabetic and dieting friends, there are a bevy of recipes that are just as delicious as their original recipes!
General Gifts:
  • Spa gift certificates are my favorite. Wherever you or the recipient live, you are bound to be able to locate wonderful spas in their area. If you are at a loss on where to locate a spa, try
  • During these shaky economic times, for those individuals that wear perfume and cologne, this is the best time (next to Mother's Day & Father's Day) to purchase gift sets. You get a few extras like lotions and bath gels for the same price you would pay for just the bottle of perfume/cologne. Also, since a lot of us have been cutting back recently, this will be a welcomed gift by those who are running low on their favorite fragrance.
  • Plan an extravagant night out. Car services have significantly reduced their hourly rates, so you can hire a sleek Town Car and be delivered to your restaurant and club(s) of choice without the worries of driving. You are free to indulge in your favorite restaurant; sip on a delicious adult beverage, and relax at your favorite jazz bar, or dance the night away - whatever your heart desires.
  • Awww, you knew it was coming. The gift of travel. Plan a weekend, week or longer vacation. When you work with a travel professional, they can assist you in coming up with a spectacular vacation package to present as the ultimate gift. Imagine sweeping your loved one away on a weekend filled with culinary bites and wine beyond compare, in the luscious Napa Wine Country. Or, perhaps you want to partake of a bottle of Veuve Cliquot while sitting at a nondescript restaurant on one of the  intimate streets of Paris. And for the more adventurous set; perhaps a ski vacation to Switzerland where you can ski by day and cuddle at night by a roaring fire, ensconced at a cozy inn by the mountains.
I can go on all day, but perhaps some of these ideas can assist in your quest to find the "perfect" gift for your friends and family.

Enjoy your holidays and try to stay stress free!

*photo used from:

Wednesday, November 23, 2011



Wishing you and your family a food filled celebration
(and of course, football viewing)!

Seasons Greetings,
Chicks That Trip 

*photo used from:

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Restaurant Spotlight: Positively Postino ~ Phoenix, AZ

Whenever I visit the Phoenix area I seek out one of my favorite restaurants, Postino Winecafé, which is nestled in the Camelback corridor.

The first Postino Winecafé was opened in 2001, and I began going there in 2002. The owner, Craig DeMarco, and his lovely wife Kris were both there the majority of my visits during their infancy. Craig’s calm smile and low key demeanor were always a welcome sight. During the early years, Craig and I were both pursuing our MBA’s, so we would commiserate on the difficulties of having “work, life, balance.”

On this particular afternoon, I arrive right before they open at 11am. The parking can be a nightmare in this area; however, they do offer valet parking, so the patrons will not have to search high and low for parking if they arrive during the lunch rush. My friend and I notice that the staff is in their last minute prep to get ready before they open. I see Craig and walk over and shake his hand. He still has the same genial demeanor, but he has lost the wide-eyed wonderment he had when he first opened Postino; he is now a seasoned business owner. We briefly discuss his other restaurants, Chelsea’s Kitchen, located off of a canal, just a few blocks away from this Postino Winecafé location on Campbell street, as well as another Postino's that has opened in Central Phoenix. I compliment him on his successes and wish him many more. I get his blessing to write this article, and he says, “Make sure you say nice things about us.” I smile and tell him “I definitely will. What could I say that would be bad?”

My friend and I pull out the wine menu first and peruse the selection of whites. We settle on a mixed blend white wine and let our waitress know. They change their wines on a regular basis, so whatever I could recommend today may not be on the menu next week, month or year, but that is one of the concepts I have always loved. In respect to the food menu, I have favorites like the Mediterranean salad with added chicken, or a plentiful selection of Panini’s and Bruschetta’s topped with fresh produce, figs, cheeses and meats.

Knowing that I will not be back for awhile, I settle on my favorite: Mediterranean salad with chicken, and select just two Bruschetta's so I can have my fill of both. One is the Roasted Peppers with Goat Cheese, and I decide to try a new one that is on their menu that is a Burrata, Bacon, Arugula and Tomatoes.

The Mediterranean salad is wonderful, as expected, with crisp romaine lettuce, olives, onions, feta cheese and light tzatziki dressing melding together beautifully. The Roasted Peppers with Goat Cheese is difficult to eat, simply because the chopped peppers tend to slip off as you are biting into it, but that’s what a fork is for: so you can scoop up every divine morsel. The Burrata, Bacon, Arugula and Tomatoes Bruschetta is easily one of my new favorites; the saltiness of the bacon combined with the bite of the arugula is delicious. This one, like the Roasted Peppers, is a bit messy, just given there is so much going on, but that doesn’t stop me from devouring it with great aplomb.

Postino Winecafé is the type of place that every neighborhood dreams of having. It attracts a wide variety of clientele: residents who can walk over from the neighborhood, business professionals that trickle in from downtown Phoenix, and those of us who travel a farther distance, knowing that it is worth the trip. The first Postino was originally a Post Office, so during the spring months, before it is too hot, they raise the doors and the indoor and outdoor patio seamlessly become one with each other. The seating is abundant, with several outdoor patio and high top tables, sofas and other intimate seating arrangements inside. Postino does not try too hard with their décor. The concrete floor, multi-colored painted walls, and eclectic wall art make it – just right.

*Photos taken by That Chick Té ***For some unknown reason my photos have disappeared from this page; I apologize for the inconvenience. That Chick Té 9.3.2012

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

International Wine Guild - Denver, CO

International Wine Guild - Denver, CO

Floor in Lobby Area of Barteldes Building
There are times in your life where you just have those, "Ah ha," moments. Mine came when I was met by Claude Robbins, GWM, MWE, President & Director of Education of the International Wine Guild. Claude was placing signage on the entrance of the building so that the other (potential) students would be able to locate them at their new facility. During our short elevator ride up to the wine open house, he explained some of the history of the Barteldes building, which has been in existence since early 1906. There are thick, trunk sized pillars throughout the entire building; Claude explained that these pillars helped to support the significant weight of the seeds that used to be housed at this location. Now, the Barteldes building is a snazzy office building, and the new home of the International Wine Guild.

The open house was being held in order to showcase the curriculum that is offered by the International Wine Guild. Let me be clear here, this is real work. While the idea of sampling wine sounds fantastic, their accredited program is one of the most aggressive and highly noted Wine Education programs in the US. They were praised in 2009's Food & Wine magazine, as one of the Top Five Wine Schools in the US for Professional Wine Education - not too shabby.

They have various programs available, so I won't go in to great depth about them since you can check them out directly at: Needless to say, this Chick will be taking their level 1 Certification next Spring/Summer of 2012, and hopefully advancing to level 2 later in the year or the beginning of 2013. I appreciate that they have a multitude of programs and classes available for any level of student. Regardless if you've been in the wine industry or not, you'd be hard pressed not to find a program level that would suit your individual needs. 

Claude's wife, Sherrie Robbins, ECW, is the Vice President & Corporate Executive Chef at the school. She supplied our group with a delightful spread of cheeses, crackers, meatballs, and other tidbits that tantalized my taste buds.*Sherrie will be a featured Chef in a new blog I'll be launching in early 2012 called Chasing Women Chefs, so stay tuned for more information.

We were taken on a tour of their new facilities, and then were given a short slide presentation by Claude regarding all of their available programs. The space they are in is incredible. I felt warm and cozy as I noshed on some appetizers and sipped on wine. Claude explained that they had been housed at the Metropolitan State College of Denver, and had recently moved to their new space less than six weeks before my class, which was held on November 5, 2011. And while they loved being at the Metropolitan State College of Denver for many years, they were definitely enjoying their new space and making it their own.

 If you are a wine enthusiast, or a person who wants to possibly enter the world of wine, I would highly recommend checking out the International Wine Guild, you won't be disappointed.

*photos taken by That Chick Té

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Hopping Your Way -

I must confess, I try not to do shameless self promotion, but sometimes it just can't be helped! There is a new kid on the block called, It's chock full of interesting topics, blog writings by traveling professionals, and information on how to reach travel professionals to help plan wonderful travel experiences all over the world.

I do some freelance writing for them, so I feel it's only right for me to give a "shout out!" There are some wonderful articles there to read, and should you decide to scoot on by, you can check out a few of my articles there too. The most recent article they've posted of mine can be read here at:

Hop on over to and check them out.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Bizarre Travel Ideas From Books

Bizarre Travel Ideas From Books

Have you ever read or seen something out of the ordinary and thought to yourself, "Man, I wish I had come up with THAT idea!" I try to read a lot, because I have found that by reading it helps to stimulate my own writing endeavors, and in so doing, I've come up with a lot of ideas simply by reading a variety of books.

I recently finished reading a book called, Electric Barracuda, by Tim Dorsey. If you've never read a Dorsey novel before, you are in a for a trip...yes, a trip. I won't give away too much information, but suffice to say, Dorsey has a vivid imagination (which I'm certain is fueled by reality). His writing is not for the faint of heart (read: adult language, sex and violence - everything I prefer in my readings). The main character, Serge, and his ridiculous sidekick, Coleman, spend a majority of their shenanigans in the state of Florida; however, I have read one of Dorsey's books where Serge and Coleman infiltrate Los Angeles.

In Electric Barracuda, Dorsey intertwines his regular cast of characters; interesting and intricate plot development, with moments that make you laugh so hard that your sides ache. In this most recent installment of Serge and Coleman hilarity, they take the roads of Florida in order to create what's called a "Fugitive Tour." Serge deftly takes the reader through the back roads of Florida in an effort to show where fugitives can hide out when they are on the run. Serge blogs on his website about his tour, and unknowingly is being pursued by a motley crew of law enforcement officials who are just as bizarre as Serge.

While the concept of a "Fugitive Tour" is something most people would not necessarily want to admit to signing up for; it's clear by the success of the "Sex & The City Tour," and "Sopranos Tour," that people do like to step outside of the ordinary and into the extraordinary. Maybe the next book you read, or movie you watch will give you inspiration to go somewhere you have never been before.

Happy reading!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Do You REALLY Need To Know Where Your Friends Are?

Do You REALLY Need To Know Where Your Friends Are?

I'm all for social media and networking, but some of the apps that I've seen out there are a bit too much for me. Also, it would seem, that a large portion of our population is "twitterfied" (not a real word, but maybe it should be). The constant following of people and/or companies has risen to epic proportions, and a lot of people love it. Ok, that's cool...I guess, but what about the app that lets people know where you are eating? Now your friends (and probably strangers) can hunt you down while you are enjoying a fine meal, or maybe a NOT so fine meal. Certainly there is a way to disengage this feature, but I have a problem with people knowing my every movement. Sometimes you want time to yourself, where you are inaccessible to anyone. But now days with all of these apps, and GPS devices on every thing we own, we are bound to be hunted down anywhere and everywhere, by just about anybody who cares to know our whereabouts.

I will readily admit that I am a bit of a privacy seeker. While I'm not exactly a hermit, I do prefer some semblance of anonymity and privacy. I know that in this day and age I am definitely the exception, and not the rule, but I find it a bit disturbing that instead of people organically getting to know one another, they "Google" them to death, to unearth every imaginable piece of information that's available about that person. I, personally, think that takes the fun out of "getting to know somebody." What's the use of going to coffee or dinner to get to know someone, when in actuality they may know MORE about you than you realize?

Obviously, there is no way to get around it - our information is everywhere. Is it fun to look up interesting factoids and information? Absolutely, but there is also a time and a place for everything, and in our zeal to know everything instantaneously, perhaps we are missing out on simpler things in life. I love meeting new and interesting people, and simply striking up conversations with them because it feels good. And while I appreciate technology and all of the incredible advances we continue to make; I recommend people take a step away from technology from time to time and simply - be.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Part 24 of Series: 101 Reasons To Use A Travel Agent

Part 24 of Series: 101 Reasons To Use A Travel Agent

I must confess - I love to travel. Yes, it makes sense; especially since I own a travel agency, but it's much more than that. I was talking to a gentleman about the airlines, TSA agents, and I could hear the vile in his voice as he described the indecency of essentially being stripped down by complete strangers in the middle of an airport - yea, that sucks, I can't pretty that up...not by a stretch. During my conversation with him, I tried to express that while the airline portion of travel leaves much to be desired, there is so much more to a vacation than the airport. It's inconvenient, and you feel like you have to spend the night there, but I personally feel the ends justify the means. His responses during the conversation were geared towards shying away from air travel and now traveling more by car or train. I told him there is nothing wrong with that form of travel either; it's still traveling, but he would have  a tough time taking a train to Europe, get the picture. He conceded, but continued to rally on about the injustices of flying and how awful it has become.

If I were a magician I would do everything in my power to change the air travel, but I'm not, and I don't see any changes anytime soon. Maybe one day air travel will become friendly again (I doubt it, but I can hope);  until that time, it is better to anxiously anticipate arrival to that wonderful destination; versus the way in which we make our way there - wherever, "there" may be.

  • Back-up Distributor of Documents - You can give your travel agent a copy of all your travel documents so if anything were to get lost you have someone to call that can send copies.
  • Because We Said So - Our business is to help you find a qualified travel specialist.
  • What to Expect on the Flight -Your travel expert can give you good answers on what to expect long flights to be like, and maybe some interesting activities to do while flying.
  • It is Their Job - Travel agents actually work to get different accreditation's to increase their qualifications as a travel expert.  
  • Lost Baggage - If the airline should lose your baggage, your travel agent can get on the phone and make sure the airline works as quickly as they can to solve the problem allowing you to at least go relax at the hotel.
*Source: American Society of Travel Agents

Friday, September 30, 2011

Ticky, Tacky, Tipping

This conversation comes up from time to time because there are some people who honestly have no idea how much to tip. I cringe whenever the tipping issue is discussed, because, while I pay close attention to where I spend my money, I am a good tipper. I compare going out to a nice dinner, to buying an expensive car; if you can't afford the maintenance of the expensive car, then you can't afford the car. Going out is essentially the same; if you can't afford to leave a decent tip (I describe decent as at least 18%-20%), then you probably shouldn't be going out to a nice place to eat.

Tipping is a very personal thing, but what some people fail to understand (or maybe they understand, but just don't care), is that the person doing the serving actually is working for that money - it's their job. I am, at least, a 20% tipper, and if it's really great service, it is significantly more.  I have been in heated debates with friends regarding the issues of poor service, etc, and what I always recommend is simple, "Don't go back." If you experience an anomaly of poor service at one of your favorite restaurants and want to continue frequenting the establishment, then I highly recommend speaking with the manager on duty. If you are a regular, they will want to know about your experience, and they will want to rectify it. I typically am not a person who complains about poor service; I figure me not going back again speaks for itself. There are literally hundreds of restaurants that would want my business, so complaining about a select few that are sub par is not worth my time nor energy. I'd rather just go to another establishment that acts like they want my business, by providing me with great service and atmosphere.

In the general scheme regarding the actual amount to tip, I have a few tactics that are easy to remember and make tipping a breeze:
  •  Double the tax amount
  • If it's just a drink, and the amount is less than $10, a dollar or two is fine
  • If you are not a mathematician, and you want to make things easy on yourself, roundup. If the amount is $74.69, roundup to $75 and leave a tip of at least 20%; which would be $15
Group tipping is always a nightmare, because you have the generous tippers who are surrounded by those who feel throwing a dollar or two down for a $50 meal is perfectly acceptable (which it's not - by the way). That's not to say that a person who buys a $12 salad should have to absorb the cost of their friends Filet Mignon and multiple cocktails, that's not fair either; personal accountability and common sense needs to prevail, so the person who eats and drinks $100 worth of food and beverages, should definitely tip the larger amount than their $12 salad eating friend.

In our current economy, we all are watching our pennies a little more closely, but when you treat yourself to a nice dinner, make sure you tip your waitstaff the appropriate amount, because they are just trying to make a living too.

Bon Appétit!

*photo of calculator from:; photos of cash:

Friday, September 16, 2011

Want to Get Away? Hit the Road!

Yes, I know. The last, fleeting moments of Summer are easing out of our system; being replaced by the beauty of Fall.

It is an antsy time of year for me, because the weather is still nice, and all I want to do is jump in the car and let my foot hit the pedal and cruise off someplace fun and exciting.

Road trips are cathartic and allow you to become one with yourself. It is a time to mentally begin  preparation for the (soon to arrive) holiday season. These are the last vestiges of sanity before we are catapulted into the pressure filled months of November, December and lest not forget, "Resolution January."

If there is one last personal trip you would like to take before the end of the year, I recommend you packing up a little overnight bag and hitting the road. Enjoy these last moments of Summer - any way you like!

*photo used from:

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Part 23 of Series: 101 Reasons To Use A Travel Agent

Part 23 of Series: 101 Reasons To Use A Travel Agent

Misleading information seems to be par for the course in many industries. There are "teaser rates" in the credit card industry; unbelievable car deals at the car dealerships (which turns out to be one car at their deep discounted price); and the "out of this world" airfare rates. No wonder people are so confused when they are researching a product or service.

In relationship to the travel world, there are some things that truly are "too good to be true," and also in the realm of, "you get what you pay for." Some of the companies with discounted prices are not intentionally trying to be misleading, but in an ad, there is only so much space, so some information has to be left out; therefore, when a person on the East coast sees an ad for a deeply discounted flight to say, Hawaii, but then they call and find out the price is three times the ad price, it makes the person scratch their head and automatically think they are getting duped.

The reality is (using the aforementioned example), given the geographic location where someone lives, their flights to certain destinations may be more or less than someone else in another geographic area. Case in point, a person (typically) flying from the West coast, can oftentimes get a better price on a flight to Hawaii, than a person flying from farther away in the Midwest, or from the East. Just like you will see there are sometimes better (direct) flights from New York to London, than anywhere else in the country. The time of year you travel also plays a large part in pricing for certain destinations (Mexico in the Winter, Europe in the Summer), as well as just plain ole' "supply and demand." When you work with a travel professional, if there is flexibility within your travels, they are able to ask  the right questions that will assist them in making the best recommendations for you and your travel needs.

  • Help, I’m Lost!!!!!! - If you should get lost somewhere along the way your travel agent could be a good outlet for help. 
  • It just Makes Sense to Use a Travel Agent! 
  • They’re There… Use Them - Why do the work if someone else like a travel specialist can. 
  • Possibility of a Free Gift - Some travel agents offer free incentives. Who doesn’t like the possibility of free presents?
  • Even if the Internet Goes Down Your Trip Can Still Be Planned -Your travel agent is still getting your trip planned even if your internet at home or at the office is not working.
*Source: American Society of Travel Agents

Monday, August 29, 2011

Nostalgia: Remembering When Air Travel Was Glamorous

Nostalgia: Remembering When Air Travel Was Glamorous

It is hard to imagine that there was ever a time when air travel was glamorous, but it was, many moons ago. This hearkening back to the by gone days of travel was precipitated by a commercial I saw, advertising a new show that will be airing soon on ABC called, Pan AM. I must confess, while I do not watch a lot of television (barring my sports and food shows), I am curious to see how, and what this show will depict in respect to air travel, but more importantly, I wonder if the show will have any (positive) impacts on the airlines, as well as for those who travel? Maybe I am expecting too much. (Added 9/20/2011 - link to ABC's video of Real Pan Am Stewardesses:

In that same vein, I happened to catch the end of How to Marry a Millionaire, with the divine Marilyn Monroe. One of the scenes depicted Marilyn portraying the near-sighted character, Pola Debevoise. Pola accidentally mistook a plane to Kansas City, instead of Atlantic City (since she refused to wear her glasses). What caught my attention in the humorous scene was the fact that everyone was dressed to the nines. Clearly, I realize it is a movie; therefore, it would not be probable given the setting, and the age the film was created, that there would be anybody on the plane with flip flops on; however, I found myself longing for that type of glamorous travel too. The kind where people are polite; the planes are not smashed with people like a can of human sardines; the flight attendants appear to actually enjoy their jobs (excluding Southwest employees, who seem to enjoy their jobs), and the food is edible. Did I just say food? Yeah, I know, good luck with that!

My intention is not to say that I think we should be parading around in ball gowns and three-piece suits during our travels, and goodness knows that given the TSA requirements now days, less clothing would probably be better - from their point of view, but I digress. I simply found myself wishing that the days of air travel were easy and unencumbered like they were years ago. Obviously I know numerous things have transpired that have necessitated these changes, and anything that has to do with my safety, I am definitely embracing. But, there are those times I recall when I was very young, traveling on a plane with my mother in the early 80's, flying to Washington D.C. (in 1st Class), enjoying a bowl of raspberry sorbet with chocolate sauce, and looking around the cabin at all of the business travelers, and even then, a lot of people dressed up for their travels. There also was an unspoken etiquette that permeated the air. There was no pushing, shoving, hovering, or just plain rudeness that has become commonplace in today's air travel.

I often fantasize about having my own private jet. Yes, it's a luxury and decadence I will likely not see in my lifetime, but I can still dream. Needless to say, despite the air portion of travel (which I'm well seasoned at), I still enjoy traveling, and look forward to doing some more before the year ends, and also to start getting ramped up for the destinations I will embark upon for 2012!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Complete the Survey for Sanctuary Camelback Mountain in the Condé Nast "Reader's Choice Award"

I must confess, Sanctuary Camelback Mountain is one of this Chicks most favorite places to stay and play (and if you've read this blog before, then you probably already know this).

They have been nominated, so they would appreciate our votes so they can secure this win! Also, as an added incentive, if you vote, you might even win a luxurious Crystal Cruise for two by answering the survey - what can it hurt? Follow this link to cast your vote:

Monday, August 15, 2011

Part 22 of Series: 101 Reasons To Use A Travel Agent

Part 22 of Series: 101 Reasons To Use A Travel Agent

As a part of the travel professional community, we all seem to live by that old saying about "the best laid plans," because sometimes, even the best preparation can not dictate what the weather will be like in a certain destination; if there will be civil unrest; and any other oddity that can occur while traveling. The reality of the matter is that we really have very little control over most circumstances, so it's imperative to control those aspects of travel we have control over: reserving accommodations, booking an airline ticket vs. going standby and "hoping" everything will go as planned, packing reasonably and maintaining your own level of sanity throughout the process. 

A vacation should be a relaxing, fun, and inspirational experience. When you work with a travel professional, they want you to have the best time as well, and will work hard to ensure that your trip is everything, if not more than what you expected!
  • Someone to Complain to - If that slim chance were to occur that you do not get what you were promised, you have a real person to go back and complain to. Travel agents will work hard to rectify the matter. They will work as hard as they can to make sure you are happy so that this doesn’t happen and so you will use their service next time.
  • They Are Considered Travel Experts and Specialists - Wouldn’t you rather have a travel expert plan your trip rather than a pre-programmed website?
  • Best Pre-Seat Assignments Possible -Travel agents can talk directly with the airline to arrange for you to get the seats with the most leg room that might not otherwise be released until the day of the flight. (*Although, if you book your own reservations, oftentimes travel agents are unable to handle any changes since the airlines have become much more strict in their handling of changes, and we all know about the fees - just an fyi from That Chick Té).
  •   Mapping Routes Out Ahead of Time - Not really good at reading maps? A good travel expert can help you map out any basic directions you might need on your trip ahead of time.
  •   Family with 3 Small Children and Only Want 1 Room? - A travel expert might be able to find a way to help a family with small children get around the hotel policies of only 4 to a room.
*Source: American Society of Travel Agents

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Thoughts for London...

Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to all of those residing in, and traveling through the areas that were/are a part of the civil unrest.

Chicks That Trip

*photo used from:

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Keeping Up With the In Crowd

Keeping Up With the In Crowd

 There is a never ending amount of information out there in cyber space. Sometimes it can be overwhelming and time consuming to figure out just what you should, and want to read in order to stay "in the know." I get asked a lot by people who know that I blog and do other freelance writing, "Who/what do you read?"

I'll be the first to admit that I am selective about what I sign up for, because my in box is already stuffed to the gills with items I have to read; therefore, anything I read for enjoyment is fairly limited.  With that being said, I'll share just a few of my favorite sites that I have signed up for:
  • Reign ( - This is a newly re-launched site by Betsy Martin. Her website is hip, cheeky, sleek and definitely one that I look forward to reading when it's delivered to my in-box on Tuesday & Thursday. That is one of its benefits; I am not inundated by daily emails. Their delivery method is twice a week, and the information is fresh, interesting and in tune with the type of lifestyle I like to live.
  • Tasting Table ( - Yes, we all know I love food,  so it would go without saying that one of my favorite websites is Tasting Table. They send information on everything food related. It can be about a new chocolate bar infused with Scotch; to a new Chef who has launched a new cook book; farmers' markets around the U.S., and everything in between.
  • Urban Daddy ( - Urban Daddy provides timely information about what is going on in select cities of the U.S., like D.C., New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. Whether it's a new art gallery opening; an innovative new restaurant on the scene; or information on businesses that serve your every whim, Urban Daddy is one of my premier sites to find out what's going on in some of the areas I enjoy and/or frequently travel.
If you have never heard of these sites before, I would recommend you take a cruise through and check out what's going on so you stay "in the know" too!

*photo taken by That Chick Té

Friday, July 22, 2011

Always Time to Eat, Drink and Be Merry - TAG Restaurant - Larimer Sq. - Denver, CO

I love to have friends come and visit me, because that gives me a reason to try out new restaurants and bars. Not to say I need any encouragement, but it's always fun to experience a great place with a friend.

Bar @ TAG Restaurant - Denver, CO
This past weekend, I had the pleasure of one of my friends visiting me, and let  me tell you, we ate, drank and were extremely merry! We didn't cause a raucous or anything, but we enjoyed ourselves immensely.

In order for us to be able to partake of libations, we decided to stay downtown. Everything is close and in walking distance, so that was an easy decision to make, plus our hotel at the Westin, had a great pool to lay out on...come on, life just does not get better than that...or can it?

Mini Chicken Tacos (yum!)
There were a few places I took my friend to, where I had been before, (some of which are my favorite haunts). On Friday evening, we strolled into TAG restaurant during their "Social Hour." My friend had a "Black Rose" (which she loved) and I just had a simple vodka tonic, but as you can see from the picture above, the bartenders here are mixologist! The muddler was working hard that evening, as our bartender mixed up a bevy of cocktails. While the drinks were delicious, our food was absolutely fantastic! I had the appetizer of chicken tacos, and my friend had some delicately, exquisite sushi rolls. I can not begin to tell you the joy my mouth felt as I took in the delicious mini bites of tacos. The chicken was chopped small and crispy, served with shredded napa cabbage, a light sauce (of some sort) and a slice of avocado. While it may sound simplistic and easy (which I'm sure is what they are going for), the taste was big, bold and in your face. We did not stay there for dinner, but I assured our bartender that TAG would now be on my rotation of restaurants to go to on a regular basis.

The atmosphere  is laid back; although, some may consider it a bit foo, foo...I revel in foo foo, so it worked just fine for me. Also, it seems they have a sense of humor too, as the decor is sleek and contemporary with beautiful lighting; yet, fun and interesting paintings on the wall.

We ate at more places during the course of the weekend such as, Snooze, a delightful breakfast joint that is oh, so, worth the hour long wait (I'll be showcasing them in the future). Also, Rioja, again, this will be its own write-up as the food there was divine and intoxicating, and is well deserving of its own kudos. All in all, we had a great time and relaxed. Ah, for the lovely summer days!

*photos provided by that Chick Té

Monday, July 11, 2011

Part 21 of Series: 101Reasons To Use A Travel Agent

Part 21 of Series: 101 Reasons To Use A Travel Agent

There has been a lot of chatter in the news and in the Travel Professional community about travel to Mexico. I am not going to belabor the point, because I know it is a "hot button" topic; however, I did want to show my support regarding travel to Mexico, and in so doing, here is a link to a site that is requesting support for Mexico travel:

Many points have been discussed within the travel community regarding our responsibility to advise our clients on the pros and cons of any travel destinations; not just to Mexico. While there is sufficient reason to be alarmed regarding some of the news we've been hearing, there is also another side, and to that point, many agents that reside in Mexico (year round or part of the year), have been vocal about the misleading information in the news, although conceding that there are some areas that are dangerous; however, there are dangerous areas in every major city throughout the world, and I always recommend to my clients to be aware of their surroundings and exercise good judgment whether they are in New York City, or Amsterdam.
What to Pack - Your travel expert can give you great advice on what to pack to those exotic destinations.
Plan a Trip Where you Bring the Kids but Can Still Get Some Alone Time - Many cruises and resorts now offer activities throughout the day for young children that make the day fun for them and give you some time to yourself. Travel experts can help you find great family destination options such as these.
Higher Productivity Benefits - You have your trip planned while you are hard at work in the office.
You Get to be the Boss - You get to tell someone what to do for a change (politely).
Great Group Trips - Trying to organize a trip for big group of people? A travel expert can help get all the details finalized and do the work of updating everyone in the group.

*Source: American Society of Travel Agents

Friday, July 1, 2011

Stress Reducing Your Travel!

Stress Reducing Your Travel!

It's that time of year again, where anxious travelers all over the world are gearing up for their holiday travel. The air in their houses is thick with the anticipation of a new adventure; beach lounging; hiking; surfing; gallery hopping; browsing, or just plain relaxing. Having done a fair amount of travel in my life, I can say this with great certainty, the way you start your trip is likely an indication of the rest of your trip. NOW, with that being said, I am not saying a trip that starts out a bit whacky can't be improved, or a trip that started out great can't go down hill; however, from my experience, your trip begins before  you even leave your house. If there is a lot of stress prior to your vacation, I can tell you that the probability of you encountering stress throughout your vacation is inevitable. When people are stressed, they are unable to relax, and such, any derailment (no matter how small), is given greater importance; versus if that person were relaxed, and simply took the inconvenience with stride and let it "roll off their back."

Consider this a quick "tune up" for your travels throughout the remainder of this year. None of the tips I am providing are new, nor are they anything you likely haven't heard before, but if I can impart any tiny bit of wisdom and save at least one person from a stressful travel experience - well then, my work is done!

These tips are in no particular order, but I've found that most of my travel experiences are relatively stress free because I do not worry about anything I have no control over, such as flying the plane, the catch my drift.
  • Pack ONLY what you absolutely need - really! Pull out whatever you THINK you might want to take on your trip and reduce it by almost half.
  • Eat a small breakfast, lunch or dinner (depending on the time of your travel) - this helps to keep you energized, as well as keeping you from eating all of the horrible items posing as "food" that are available at the airports. And with that being said, take along some healthy snacks. A few nutrition bars, dried fruits, nuts and an apple are small, compact, and easy to stuff into little pockets on backpacks and in handbags. 
  • While not always possible, get some rest before your trip - you'll need it.
  • Make sure you have a small first aid kit available that contains band-aids, gauze, antiseptic, pepto bismol (tablets only, not liquid form so you can place it in your carry-on) and any prescription medications you may need, and make sure you keep them in their prescription bottles - just in case.
  • Bring two good books to read. You can buy some from the airport, but if there is a book you have just been hankering to read, bring it with you; trust me, you'll have plenty of time to read.
  • Which leads me to this point. NOTHING kicks off a vacation the wrong way than arriving to the airport late and having to RUN at break neck speed through the airport in HOPES you can make your flight. I know that I am one of those freakish people who arrives creepily early, but truly, it reduces so much stress because you are there, through security, and don't have to worry. Yes, flights are sometimes canceled and/or delayed, but if you are there early and they begin locating flights to redistribute the passengers on, you are there, and will have the highest probability of getting on the next available flight to get  you where you need to go, with the least amount of pain.
  • Finally - SMILE, you're going on vacation!
*photo used from:

Monday, June 20, 2011

Part 20 of Series: 101 Reasons To Use A Travel Agent

Part 20 of Series: 101 Reasons To Use A Travel Agent

 I will be writing a more in depth piece on Travel Insurance in the future; however, I had a recent situation whereby, two clients were in another country where some political unrest was taking place; their inter-country flights had to be changed, as well as their itinerary. Also, one of them fell slightly ill and had to get medication prescribed. Obviously, the moment I heard of the political unrest via my Tour Operator, I emailed my clients to assure them that we were aware of the situation, and were ready to do whatever was necessary to assist them while they were abroad. Fortunately, while there were some changes that were made, my clients still had an enchanting holiday in one of the most intriguing places in the world, and thankfully they had Travel Insurance.

As a travel professional,  I never want to hear any stories of my clients not having the most perfect trips; however, in this day and age, there is so much that we have no control over, that it stands to reason there are going to be moments of uncertainty, changes and down right frustrations during travel. The good thing about working with a travel professional is that the traveler is never alone and on their own. They have an advocate who is accessible to assist in some of the most bizarre circumstances (think: Iceland Volcano), and that is peace of mind that anybody would want while they are traveling.

Clarifying the Fine Print - Your travel agent can advise you of all the cancellation penalties and restrictions hidden in the fine print of your travel documents.
Detailed Itineraries - Your travel expert can help you plan your trip out day- by- day to give you a good mix of fun and relaxation.
Advice on Activities to Book Beforehand - A travel expert can forewarn you of any activities that tend to sell out early so there are no unexpected disappointments when you are there. For example, character dining in Disney sells out months in advance.
General Ideas on Where to Go -
A travel expert can offer excellent trip advice based on the details of what type of a trip you want to take. Internet booking sites tend to require a destination up front.
A Trip to Nowhere…Sort of - Want to take a trip to get away to somewhere that is really not a normal vacation hot spot? Your travel specialist can help you find that perfect place.
Great Single’s Trips - A travel agent can help you to match you with help find you an exciting singles’ trips and cruises.

*Source: American Society of Travel Agents

Sunday, June 19, 2011



Wishing you all a relaxing day.

Chicks That Trip

*photo used from:

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Hotel Spotlight: Fairmont Olympic Hotel - Seattle, WA

Circular Drive into Hotel
The Fairmont Olympic Hotel is located in one of the easiest areas to navigate in the Seattle area. Anybody who has read my blog before knows that I have specific hotel requirements, and while the Fairmont is a lovely property with an understated elegance, it is not totally "me." I say that with the utmost respect.

Located in a premier area surrounded by such high-end retailers like Louis Vuitton, the Fairmont Olympic Hotel is in good company. What I appreciate the most about this location in general, is its easy walking distance to great restaurants, shopping, wine shops, Pike Place Market, Nordstrom, the theater district and additional shopping. Also, other delicious and trendy hotels are located well within the same area like, the 'W' Seattle, Hotel 1000 (two of my favorite hotels in Seattle, by the way), the Hotel Monaco, and many more.

You can valet at the hotel or park around the corner at one of the parking garages. Like every major downtown area, parking is not an inexpensive proposition. Even with the slightly discounted rate you receive by having the charges billed directly to your room key, you are still essentially paying $30 a day for parking. My strong recommendation would be to avoid parking at all cost and take either the Gray Line service into Seattle, a shuttle service, or a private car service, because even at a private car service rate, once  you throw in the cost of the rental car and parking, you would still be paying about the same price, if not slightly less by having a private car service, and obviously with the Gray Line and shuttles being approximately $15.00 or so each way, this is definitely the least expensive route. Once you are in Seattle, parking is not only atrociously expensive, but if you are not use to hills and slanted parking, you are in for a rude awakening. This was the first trip I've ever driven myself in Seattle, and I can tell you right now, I will not be repeating this mistake ever again.

Sitting Area Entering Hotel From Valet
There is no shortage of doormen as you enter into the hotel; they are all polite and attentive. The first lobby area upon entering the building by the valet court is a simple and elegant sitting area. It is a bit worn for wear, and I think that the entire property could use a face lift. There were no blatant items that were in need of immediate repair; yet, the property did not leave me with a "WOW" factor. The check-in process was much like any check-in at a major hotel. They were sufficiently staffed, and the total process took approximately five minutes; including my waiting, giving her my credit card and obtaining my room key.
The elevators are conveniently located off of the main lobby, so you will not find yourself roaming  randomly throughout the property in an effort to locate an elevator. Also off of the main lobby are comfortable seating areas, as well as the seating for The Georgian restaurant, where high tea is served and the happy hour, served Monday - Friday.

King Size Bed
My room was large, clean and suited my needs. Again, given the type of property the Fairmont Hotel proclaims itself to be, I was not blown away by the room; which contained a King size bed, an armoire, a desk area, closet with an in-room safe, and a well stocked mini bar (sidenote - there is a mini market located directly across the street behind the 'W' hotel and connected to the parking garage, where you can buy water, wine and snacks). The bathroom was spacious and clean, and they also supplied Miller Harris bath products.

All in all, it is a nice property and the main reason I likely would not stay there again is simply because it's in close proximity to other properties in Seattle that I prefer more and fit my personal taste. With that being said, if I knew someone or had clients who were visiting Seattle, and they wanted a laid back, quiet and simple elegant property, I would recommend the Fairmont Olympic property without hesitation. They have several restaurants on the property to suit various tastes from the Georgian, the Georgian Tea, Shuckers, the Terrace, and of course, in-room dining. I did not eat at the Fairmont because there are so many restaurants I love in Seattle, that I simply did not have sufficient time to check out their restaurants.

Seating in Room

Armoire & Desk Area

*photos taken by That Chick Té

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Sit and Relax

Sit and Relax

It is easy to get stuck in a rut; be unproductive; kvetch about what is not going right, versus reveling in what is going right - the list is endless. What I do know, is that this type of behavior is counterproductive and does not help to further your goals. I know this, because I had been having a moment of the "blahs" recently too, but imagine my surprise when a simple bagel, and chicken salad (with a glass of wine) helped to brighten not only my day, but my outlook on everything.

I ventured into a Denver neighborhood haunt, Zaidy's Deli, located in Cherry Creek, Colorado. Zaidy's has been around for years, and if you crave a bagel with chicken salad, or a delicious pastrami sandwich with tons of pickles and sauerkraut (or any kind of sandwich), delightful breakfast, or scrumptious and embarrassingly large desserts, then Zaidy's will hit the spot.

On this particular afternoon I could not decide what I wanted to eat, so I decided on an everything bagel with a side of chicken salad. I sat on the porch that faces a relatively busy street (1st avenue), but since it is set back in the tiny strip mall where it is located, it is not as if I was huffing diesel fuel as cars passed me by. My waitress brought me my delectable bites and I was immediately transported to the days when I was a child, and my mom would bring me a special treat of chicken salad on a pumpernickel bagel. I smiled and relaxed as the sun hit my face, and I felt all of the stress and annoyance ease out of my body. I sipped my wine and simply enjoyed my food. No rush. No fuss. I read several articles from Travel Leisure magazine and actually forgot about all of the issues and worries that had been forefront on my mind.

The act of simply sitting seemed to rid me of my negative energy. After I finished eating (and yes, I munched away on every last bite), I remained seated and soaked in the fresh air with no pressing sense of urgency to be or do anything - I simply relaxed.

Hoping you find your own special place; wherever that may be, so you can also sit and relax.

*photo used from:

Monday, May 23, 2011

Concerts, Music & Fun in the Sun

Concerts, Music & Fun in the Sun

I have a love of music - I always have, and I always will. If I am having a lousy day, nothing can make me feel better than listening to some good music. I can move between a lovely concerto; to hip hop; to big band. Regardless if it's Eric Clapton, Mtume, Kenny G, Maxwell, Rod Stewart, Kanye, Tu Pac, Carrie Carpenter, U2, Van Halen, Cyndi Lauper, George Michael, Kelly Clarkson; the list is endless, because I simply appreciate music and all the aspects of it.

During this time of year I start looking for the outdoor concerts and seeing which ones may fit my tightly packed schedule. The summertime makes me want to be outside, so I am fond of venues where the concerts are held out doors, and the closer to the beach or wine country they are - the better. California is flush with concerts throughout the year, but one of the big ones is the Playboy Jazz Festival, held at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. If you've ever been to this concert, you know that it's a cornucopia of top performers in the jazz industry. There are a host of other concerts held in the Los Angeles (or surrounding) area - it makes me a bit envious that they are stocked piled with the some of the best concerts and venues.

Despite the fact that (in my opinion) California is one of the best places to attend outdoor concerts, there are a host of other cities and that have fantastic concerts throughout the year; for instance, here in Colorado they have an awesome Winter Park Jazz Festival. My advice is to get online and check them out in your area, so you can take a break, sit back, and sip on a nice beverage of choice and enjoy a relaxing day or night of music and fun.

*photo used from: