Thursday, November 29, 2012


What I am about to post is a veritable anomaly in this day and age, but it DID happen to me on my recent connecting flight from Miami - I GOT MY OWN ROW! I will be updating more about my fantastic trip to Puerto Rico, but I just HAD to jump on here and write that, because I was flabbergasted.

I had a window seat, so I know that (typically) just because no one is in the row when I get there; they will be coming. I tucked myself away into my corner and began reading. As I read, I looked up from time to time at the front of the plane. There was a fairly steady stream of passengers that were still milling about and trickling in, so I just continued reading because I knew my luck wouldn't be THAT good; I expected and waited for at least another passenger to join me in my row.

Well, lo and behold, the flight attendants began their spiel and the cabin doors were locked, and guess what? I was in flying heaven! Now, it's not as good as First or Business class, but it is something wonderful. I can say that I haven't had a whole row to myself in well over ten years of traveling. Prior to 9/11, I would fly home from college or fly across the country on  a red-eye flight, and I can say that 50% of the time I could have a row to myself, or just shared with one other person; however, in this day and age, that is a rarity, even on a red-eye flight!

So, stay tuned for my post about my fabulous trip to San Juan and Rincon, Puerto Rico!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Freedom of a Passport

On one of the money blogs I follow, the blogger discussed the freedom that money offers an individual; so it got me thinking about the freedom of having  a (current) passport.

Money notwithstanding, when it comes to providing freedom, a passport offers a plethora of options. By having this funny little booklet with blank pages - you can travel the world! I think that's pretty cool.

I obtained my first passport when I was about twelve years old. I was supposed to go to Germany...but, that is a long story, so I won't digress; however, I will say that the whole process of obtaining (my horrible photo), and submitting the application made me feel so incredibly grown up. I think it's a special experience, and without even knowing exactly why, I knew that a whole other world had been opened up to me, and I wasn't wrong.

Traveling to far flung places in order to have my passport stamped is not why I go there, but it is an added bonus. It's a conversation starter, and it's something that you can add to your own "bucket list" of accomplishments. When I meet people and they ask me what I do, and I tell them that I am a travel professional with my own agency; it's amazing to me how many of them will say some of the following, "Wow, that's cool. Is it a good business? Do you get to travel all over the world? I would love to travel the world, but I don't even have a passport." I hear that phrase more than I care to think about. And of course, being in this business, my personal favorite is the individual(s) who want to go on a trip (next week or month) to an international destination, yet, they have no passport. Those are always interesting conversations, especially when you let them know how much a. a passport cost, and b. how much it will cost to be expedited. More often than not, their plans change and they travel a bit closer to home (read: within the United States).

I was fortunate growing up, in that, my parents liked to travel (primarily throughout the United States), and it provided me a chance to see a lot of diverse places while I was young; thus, increasing my thirst for travel as I got older. I guess you could say, I saw all the U.S. had to offer at a young age, so I had to branch out and travel the world! I am glad that I was provided the opportunity to obtain a passport while I was young, because to me, it's as essential as having a drivers' license.

If you don't have a passport, go apply for your own freedom.

*photo by digitalart and provided by

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Site Launch: Chasing Women Chefs

The next best thing to eating great food is talking about it! So, it is with much excitement that I am sharing with you the launch of my new site: Chasing Women Chefs.

I have created a concept that marries my love for food and travel, while shining the spotlight on women in the culinary industry. Every month in the blog section of Chasing Women Chefs,
 there will be a featured interview on a woman chef or other woman in the culinary world (bartender, restaurant owner, etc), as well as information on new or most utilized cooking tools in the marketplace, Q&A, and so much more!

Check out the "Events" section, and for those who may be interested in participating in the sponsorship opportunities, there is a "Sponsors" page too!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Holiday Party Venue Ideas!

It's that time of year where there are parties galore! Most employers throw some type of party - whether it's a full scale, blowout event, or a low key potluck, you can be assured there will be a holiday party at your place of employment.

Unfortunately, it also means that (awful) game of "White Elephant," where you get handed off stuff that's been lying around in someones closet for several years. Can you tell that's not my cup'o'tea??? Suffice to say, regardless of the budget, there are great venues where an employer, family or any other group can hold an awesome event:
  • Restaurants -  Not the most inventive idea, but most restaurants can set-up a great spread and keep the food and drinks coming.
  • The Zoo - In Arizona, they hold a lot of specialty events at their zoo. The lights are fantastic and you can have it catered by whomever you so chose. While this idea doesn't work for the colder climates, unless you want to be covered in snow, it's a delightful idea for those areas of the country where it's feasible to hold an event at the zoo.
  • Rooftop Decks - Many hotels and restaurants have large rooftop decks that can accommodate groups for dinners and special events. Regardless if it's cold or not, there are tents and heating equipment that can be utilized to keep the guest warm and cozy while they party away.
  • Street Parties - This may not work for an office/employer event, but it definitely could be something that a neighborhood could kick-off in order to get everyone involved. Street parties are great, because they aren't held at any specific house, so you are able to drift about and get to know the people in your neighborhood. It could be a themed event where each house prepares a different dish, and you  go from house to house trying out the different foods. Plus, I like the fact that there is minimal clean up!
  • Convention Centers - While most companies would likely not hold an event at a convention center, if you have a large enough company, say, like a Microsoft, it's highly probable they could fill a convention center and really turn it into a fantastic affair with wonderful decorations, exotic food, games and more! This wouldn't be a low-key event, and would definitely be a pricey endeavor, but hey, aren't you (as an employee) worth it?
  • Destination Party - What employee wouldn't want to get a package delivered to their desk saying they are invited to an all-expense paid trip to: Las Vegas, Hawaii, New York, New Orleans, etc, in order to celebrate the companies holiday party - on the boss! Destination parties may not be common practice, but there are some (smaller) organizations that can absorb the costs and feel it's a way to bond with their employees, as well as a little respite away from the day-to-day grind. 
*photo taken by Keattikorn, and used from