A Vegas New Year’s that gave me everything I needed

With all the razzle and dazzle that Vegas represents, wouldn’t it seem like the perfect location to bring in your New Year’s? Well for me this year the answer was yes and no.  The trip was everything I did not expect Vegas but in the perfect way.  When I first thought of the idea of going to Vegas for New Year’s Eve of course you think of all the parties and fun there is to be had on a regular weekend in Vegas.  Surely on a holiday weekend the fun is amplified.  Unfortunately while that might be true so is the traffic and cost.  I learned the hard way after arriving in around 8:30 pm that Vegas shuts down the strip after 5:30 pm for New Year’s Eve.   This means a 15 minute ride to get from the airport becomes a harrowing tale of getting around blockades taking closer to two hours.  But once you hop out the Uber you are again feeling on top of the world.  We ran over to check only to find out that hotels are limiting guest to those staying on premises for New Year’s Eve.  Okay now that is a real delay but it goes to show that good times are not always planned.

The key to a successful New Year’s celebration for me then became about hotel choice and exploring some of the other fun things about Vegas. Room choice cannot be easily corrected, so lucky for me I made a wise choice with the Aria.  As one of the more recent hotels on the strip the rooms are new and still luxurious.  As with all Vegas hotels they have their share of clubs and restaurants, even if they are not home to some of the main events.  But with an hour left to New Year’s I got my first fill of New Year’s Eve jollies with the phenomenal fire work display blasting from the roof of the Aria.  It was a great way to just stop the rush and hurry to get to the next thing and just enjoy!  From there instead of big clubs, lounges and restaurants caught my eye as a great way to have some things that feel your belly and things that fill your soul, enjoying quality time with the important people in your life.  The champagne I brought in the airport did not hurt at all as soothing my disappointment that my New Year’s did not go as planned, but instead went exactly as it should have gone.  I ended my night with late night winning on the roulette table that put some padding in my pocket and the fun mix of people circulating the table made sure to put a smile on my face.

The rest of my short trip to Vegas was dedicated to something that is equally renowned when it comes to sin city…the food. I popped into the Wynn to get a taste of a jazz brunch that had eluded me in other trips.  The Country Club in the Wynn is a popular steakhouse with a brunch that is nothing short of phenomenal.  The buffet items were barre none and I have been to a lot of brunches!  From cauliflower salad, to crab legs, to too many meat variations to name and personalized waffles this buffet had it all.  With a bottomless mimosa/Bellini, Bloody Mary selections and views of the golf course that made you completely forget where you were the Country Club had it all.  Mix in a great live band and yes even more food as you have an entrée selection at your table there was nothing more I could want from a 36 hour trip to Vegas…to my surprise.

Cabo Azul: A shining star in luxury family vacations in Cabo

Cabo Azul redefines luxury family vacay on the beautiful coast of Cabo.  At some family hotels you have to sacrifice some luxury in order to get the amenities that make it work for your family, especially small children. In an unexpected turn of events I ended up doing a quick booking at Cabo Azul with no idea what to expect.  I was literally blown away as this is a luxury hotel where you can do both, family fun and max out the luxury.  My go to last minute hotel app, Hotel Tonight, specializes in providing immediate hotels available at discounted pricing so it’s a great way to find a great hotel in a hurry, such as a cab ride from the airport.  They break the hotel down in categories of luxe, modern, basic, etc. so I hopped in a taxi, booked a hotel and hoped for the best.

With low priced booking you are almost left waiting for the other shoe to drop, how can a great hotel be super cheap???? With hotel prices in Cabo ranging from the hundreds and work its way up pretty quickly it can be a mixed bag of what you get in reality.  With my expectations low price I found I figured at the very least I would have a safe place to lay my head for the night.  But upon walking in I got waaay more than I expected.  Across the street was a great strip center with food and hand crafted vendors to give you every bit of the luxury but an escape from what can be high hotel prices.  Inside the hotel, everything from the doors, to rooms to pools was big and lux! With various buildings it can take your while to make it around the whole complex as bigger is better is definitely the theme for the hotel.

Of course the first pit stop is your bag drop off to your room. The entire decoration provides an exotic Moroccan theme with separate living and dining rooms, perfect for family living.  With a bed so comfy it was hard to want to move around but with an adult’s pool jumping from my balcony I knew I had to make my rounds.  The grandness of the hotel reaches its pinnacle in its chapel area.  With handcrafted details surrounding the chapel it is the perfect place to commit to something sacred.  The gorgeous ocean views on top of it do no hurt one bit.  As nice as the first two pools are, the real masterpiece is the main pool.  As I approached at night the pool was lit by large fire pits inside the pool.  Complimented best from the luxury lounge areas that surround the pool so you can watch the kids and have a good time of your own throughout the area in their warm waters of the pool.

With great restaurants mixed in within the pool area is a great showpiece that you could really spend the entirety of your vacation on.  But oh wait you can’t because the beach area is equally breathtaking.  With meticulously combed sand and sprawling beds and beach chairs, every seat is the best seat in the house to enjoy the sunrise or set and get a bit of the local flavor.  As opposed to some busier beaches I spent an entire morning out on the beach almost by myself, making it a great place to give kids freedom to play without worrying about who is around.  I capped off my stay at the Cabo Azul having breakfast by the pool, waited on by some friendly and attentive waiters who went above and beyond to make sure I got the most out of Cabo Azul.  Although my stay was short the Cabo Azul has my full attention on a perfect place for a family getaway in stunning Cabo.


The Cape Hotel: Unparalleled luxury escape in Cabo

Finding the right luxury hotel is all about the right fit, some can be fancy but a little too stuffy while others can have all the amenities and none of the soul, but The Cape Cabo provides the perfect blend of sophistication and passion for an amazing stay in Cabo San Lucas.  When searching hotels it is easy to be swayed by elegant pictures and long lists of features from pools to spas.  The challenge can be that from a distance it is very hard to tell what the heart of the hotel is.  For me the heart of The Cape Cabo is the ocean, as the modern architecture of the hotel is masterfully sculpted out of a beach.  This pulse of the hotel makes everything fluid from walking into the entrance to the smooth flow from reception to relaxation and even to the attitude of hotel staff.  Everything breathes in and breathes out like the rhythmic pattern of the beach or the soft pull of the wind coming onto shore. 


With the ocean as its core everything else in the Cape seems to revolve around this foundation.  Walking in it is your first breathtaking view and from your rooms, especially the suites it is a prized centerpiece.   The suites offer an open concept again readily pulling your eyes to the ocean with nothing to interrupt your view.  While the large bed, open shower, and claw foot tub were all exceptional, the balcony bests puts you at the foot of the heart of the hotel, the beach.  From the swing bed you can eat, drink and even sleep to the sounds and sites of the ocean, which is particularly amazing at night as the stars call to you from universes beyond our sight. 

Once out of your room the easy yet elegant flow of the hotel is a showcase.  My favorite is of course the pool.  With infinity edges overlooking the ocean and seats both in and out of the water that celebrate your views you cannot help but feel like you are a part of a very small, very exclusive club.  The staff do all they can to support that notion, cheerfully teaming up to provide every comfort they can.  When our bartender stepped away to see about us extending our stay it was completely confirmed to me that the soul of the hotel emanates through all the eye can see when at the Cape.  On Sundays especially there is a brunch and live band that stole my heart in a serenade sealing The Cape Cabo as one of my top hotels in Cabo and beyond. So as we dined on their exquisite cuisine or pulled out the speakers and had our own private dance party I could not help but let this passion creep into me, gently washing away the demands of a busy mother and business woman. 

ME Cabo: Beach, party and tequila in the heart of Cabo

With gorgeous sea views and situated just moments away from the pulse of the city the ME Cabo Hotel is a party lover’s dream in the heart of Cabo.  Initially I noticed ME Cabo when I stayed at a neighboring property and could hear the pulse of the hotel from my much more quite family hotel.  Moments like this always make you think the grass may be greener on the other side and in the case of the ME Cabo you may just be right.  Located a quick walk from Downtown Cabo whether you want to stay onsite or venture out into Cabo fun is just minutes away.

Although rooms and amenities are normally pretty important to me (make no mistake their rooms are in line with a Four Diamond hotel) when you step in the Me Cabo and look out at the gorgeous pool and seascape you know what the main attraction is. Yes Blue Marlin Ibiza Beach Club and the Night Rose Bar call to you as you walk in the door and if you aren’t careful may never let go once you get the party started.  We arrived to welcome drinks and tours of the hotel begging for us to change clothes and get out in the fun.  With pool parties vibing on the weekends and festive guests ready for shots and convo you can quickly lose yourself in the fun.

A little too much of the above and I did not make it out to Downtown Cabo for late night fun but all the clubs and bars to your hearts content are just a straight walk away. What I was able to enjoy however, was lots of pool and beach fun.  Depending on where you visit in Cabo you may be hit with the unexpected when it comes to making a stop for a beach vacay… beaches that you cannot walk on due to the rocks.  Yes often in Los Cabos the rocks on the beach can make it a pretty unusable area.   For the Me Cabo, however, they are directly located on Playa El Medana with a beautiful view of Land’s End, the Arch and Lover’s Beach so access to the beach is just a stone’s throw away.  Once you hit the sand you understand that the party is not just a night close to Me Cabo but a lifestyle as vendors and popular restaurants surround the beachfront property.  I started my morning at The Office and with their generous pours of Don Julio 1942 the party quickly got started.  So if fun in the sun is your main objective you really don’t have to look much further, Me Cabo has a perfect blend of luxury and party in the heart of Cabo.

Grits & Biscuits: The Traveling dance party and down south celebration

If you hear ’99 and the 2000’s and automatically want to hop up and relive your glory days then you might just want to perk up when you hear Grits & Biscuits is coming to your town.  Grits & Biscuits is more than just a party as it has garnered a cult like following in many cities.  It is a celebration of down south dirty music that usually you loved in a time where your life was free of responsibility and problems.   Instead your main plans revolved around what time the party started and what your fit would be for the party.  Yes that’s right the traveling dance party is a capsule of the good old days and if you now spend your days wrestling with the pain in the butt called adulting this will be the just what the doctor ordered. 

As I had long heard of the Grits & Biscuits myth I knew it was a dance party on steroids.  From celebrations in New York to Washington DC the parties normally sell out in hours if not minutes from those who miss the grit, grime and glory of a good down south party.  So I prepared my friends that sneakers were a must for the dancing that was going to be a certainty.  For its inaugural Houston event it was hosted at the House of Blues and the crowd proved that the party’s reputation had proceeded them.  From the second we walked in both the DJ and the party goers were serious about the fun they already counted on. 

From Juvenile to Trick Daddy to Outkast and lots of everything in between the beat of the party is meant to get your feet moving and your booty in the air.  With special sets from guest local DJ’s they manage to tap into a little of everyone’s preferences and as we are already in Houston they could not forget some of the Houston favorites.  To say I had a great time would be to putting it lightly as I only came up from air from the dance floor to make some rounds greeting friends.  Otherwise I was making sure to put the pass on fancy lady shoes to use and enjoy this great dance blast from my past.

Diner en Blanc: A dinner party like no other

What originally started nearly thirty years ago as a handful of friends gathering for dinner dressed to the nines in all white in Paris, has exploded to the famed Diner en Blanc celebration of food, friends, fun and all things fabulous.  Recently I had the opportunity to attend the Houston edition, however this traveling dinner party has stops all over the world including previous locations at the Eiffel Tower and Champs-Elysees.  But utilizing the elements of surprise and the host city’s natural beauty the event draws crowds of the city’s movers and shakers all with a have fun while “you see and be seen kind” of attitude.

As much of the event is hazed in mystery that quickly intrigues you and pulls you in I walked into the experience still in the fog.  And by experience I do mean the entire process as it is more than just one night.  It starts with registering, or trying to register, and if you have not been before waiting to see if you are pulled off the waitlist.  Then quickly moving to buy your tickets and as a newbie finding out that they supply the place and the party but it is your job to bring everything else.  And when I say everything else I do mean the whole shebang.  From chairs and tables to linens and plates the work is on your end to get things done within the all-white guidelines provided to you by your section leader.  As I opted to bring my own food I spent the day of the dinner in full panic mode.  From finding plates to putting together a dinner menu that would work on the move to my dinner date making table arrangement plans for the entire week.  After all of this and the huff and puff of moving yourself, your settings and your food to your space you are left with your heart and mind pumping with the following question: Is it worth it?????

Fortunately for the Diner en Blanc brand the answer to that questions is a resounding YES!!! As people began to pull out their table settings I knew I was in for a treat.  The average park we arrived to was transformed to all the elegance and glamour you would imagine on a beautiful night on the River Seine. With everyone pulling out all the stops from their outfits to their table décor the ability to just sit and peek the scene is absolutely thrilling.  The added bonus surprise is that all the work and hassle that it takes to get people prepared for Diner en Blanc has an amazing effect on the crowd.  I think its easiest to describe as the work makes attendees humble and hungry.  Not just hungry for food but for experiences, for laugher, for the opportunity to check into their friends and check out of social media, for the break  in their life where in a room full of other grown and sexy folks they can kick their shoes off and just enjoy life.  At the end of the day I believe this attitude is what the Diner en Blanc brand is built upon and without question after attending this reputation is on solid footing.  If you hear of Diner en Blanc coming to your city start doing the work to get in the know, it is well worth the work!

Dream vacation of relaxation in Cabo

Cabo is full of everything perfect for a dream vacation. There is something for everyone, beautiful beaches for the sun soaker, adventure galore for the thrill seeker, more clubs than you can count for the partier.  For all of these reasons plus the quick flight time from the US makes Cabo a mainstay in weekend getaways.  So for my most recent trip to Cabo what fun did I get myself into??? Well absolutely nothing and it was just what the doctor ordered!

I am all for a vacation that helps me break my normal cycle of business and gives me some of the spice of life I am normally missing. Especially when this destination involves a beach my sites are almost automatically set on getting in some fun in the sun with jet skis or scuba diving to zest up my life.  For this vacation, however, I was all about the R & R and man it looked good on me.

I will admit part of my freefall into my relaxation sabbatical was my hotel. The Cape Hotel is a beautiful luxury hotel nestled into the scenic Cabo Oceanside.  After a long flight and long car ride the Cape offered a beautiful escape.  With clouds and rain in the forecast it all merged together for the perfect storm of why not just chill.  So chill I did.  Yes I chilled at the pool where poolside service can even mean in the pool service.

I chilled in the cabanas when the rain began to pour instead of standard scatter to the room to get out of the rain. 

I chilled on my fantastic balcony with swing included and allowed the sound of the ocean to draw me to sleep.

I even chilled in their soaking tub in the middle of the room as I let the bubble bath take me away.

Pretty much despite my pre-trip plans I took relaxation to a whole new level on the trip.

For me this very, very relaxing trip to Cabo was a great reminder of just how good change is. As I spend most of my days constantly in motion I have convinced myself that this is just a part of who I am.  While this is true it is important to devote time in your life to things that do not come as easy…like being still and relaxing.  By nurturing a less prominent side of yourself you all your body and mind time to recharge and actually take on your life bigger and better than ever.  As I sat starring at the crashing waves of Cabo San Lucas I was reminded that life is indeed filled with wonderful things and most of them are just a reach away if we allow ourselves the opportunity.

Sugar Land Wine & Food Affair Sip and Stroll Ticket Giveaway

The Sugar Land Wine & Food Affair 2017

While the Houston area may boast several events for wine and food enthusiast, the ultimate food and wine celebration in Houston is the Sugar Land Wine & Food Affair.  Over the past 6 years Sugar Land Wine & Food Affair has been raising the bar on the culinary standards in the city with a decadent celebration of food, wine and spirits in a collaboration that is truly unforgettable.  This year the Sugar Land Wine & Food Affair is making some exciting changes to the mix to not only showcase some of the best food Houston has to offers and the top tier of wine and spirits from around the world.  Attendees win as the festival gives you an insider’s glimpse that will take your knowledge and appreciation to the next level.

In lieu of some of introductory events the Sugar Land Wine & Food Affair will take on the road as teacher as it showcases food and wine in a more intimate setting.  In order to provide the perfect setting the On the Rocks Bartender Challenge has been replaced with private dinners to kick off the weekend festivities.  Choosing either the Boiling Point seafood boil or The Italian Invasion Dinner guests can mix great food and wine with intimate company and some great insight as they enjoy their favorites or try something new.  Additionally the Sugar Land Wine & Food Affair has added several learning experiences that guest can attend Friday and Saturday.  There is nothing like identifying the why of your love for some of your favorite flavor profiles.  Taking the time to get deeper into the educational side only strengthens your appreciation for your favs and gives you clues on how to find other top picks based on your own palette.

The Sugar Land Wine & Food Affair made sure not to mess with the best, with their program changes, and Friday nights Grand Tasting is sure to be one for the books.  The Sugar Land Marriott Town Square serves as the perfect location to meet food and wine nirvana.  With everything from inventive culinary creations (I still dream about the upscale Frito pie) and tried and true favorites from HEB and local restaurant superstars the event provides a something for everyone in an unforgettable night.

Other favorites, such as Saturdays Sip and Stroll will keep more recent location changes, now done at Constellation Field but enhanced it with a two day option so you have all of Saturday and Sunday to get a chance to grab your favorite bites and beverages while enjoying some of the great performers who always deliver during the event. As the Sugar Land Wine & Food Affair promises more of the core that has built its following as well as some great new opportunities to appreciate the food and wine on a different level this event is going to be a must on any food and wine lover’s schedule.

Day 2 in Tokyo Enjoying the mix of fun, fashion and serenity of Meiji Shrine

One of the big draws for me to visit Tokyo was getting some peace from the beautiful scenes and parks the city is renowned for so the Shibuya district was at the top of my list.  On my second day in Tokyo my quest lead me to Shibuya and the Yoyogi Park and Meiji Shrine to take a walk in the park if you will.  Often my travels are about seeing all I can see but crossing a city off your travel list does not have to be what wanderlust is all about.  Coming off the death of my grandmother, my motivation for traveling to Tokyo was just to take a break and appreciate my blessings and nature is one of the best spaces in which life is put into perspective for me.

Meiji Shrine is a huge area encompassing the temple area, covered walk ways and bridges, museums and historical buildings.  Unfortunately for us the access to the Treasure Museum is limited to the weekends, however the grounds in themselves are a looking glass into the world of ancient Japan.  During your stroll to the Temple you get to enjoy the tree lined walk ways and trails.  From the old wine barrel displays to the bonsai garden you have a sense of reverence for the history that is contained within the park area.

As we approached Meiji Shrine you are reminded that despite it begin a tourist attraction it is a place of worship for many as well. From the ritual cleansing of the face and hands instructions at the entrance to the shrine and prayer area there is a real sense of peace in watching others celebrate their beliefs.  I was lucky enough to even see a wedding processional solemnly parade through the courtyard.  This temple also did a great job of giving some explanations to the ceremonies and celebrations that were ongoing in the space.  During my visit I saw the harvest festival which used elaborate fruit offerings as a celebration of blessings.

Outside of the Temple the park is an explorer’s paradise. The grounds allow you to visit several historical buildings or just relax in the grass and enjoy the peace and beauty of it all.  Outside of the temple, however, the city is still bustling all around.  We decide to just wander our way to our next destination, even passing some comforts of home such as Garrets Popcorn.  We grabbed lunch just blocks away at the Omotesando Hills.  This is a go to destination for premium luxury brands, but as usual there was just food on the brain.  After a tour of the ten restaurants and their menus we settled on a small restaurant doing what Japan does best when it comes to food, showcasing simple ingredients in an exceptional way.  Even with my simple order of chicken the barrage of colors and sauces and flavors on my dish made it one of the most memorable meals I had in Japan.

While luxury brands were not my cup of tea this trip I am always interested in exploring local shops so we headed deeper into Shibuya to see what we could find. This is a huge area for shops and stores, most that are original to Japan.  After a long day of walking and exploring we headed back towards our train stop but the relaxing tour of the Meiji Shrine stayed with us as a sense of appreciation for the beauty found all around us that is celebrated in Japan.

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