Greetings from Edinburgh, Scotland! Again. :)

March 8th, 2014

Good morning, friends!

It is 9 am here in Edinburgh. We arrived here just under 24 hours ago and I am in love. Again.

Let me back up a bit. About one year ago I asked my husband if we could return to Edinburgh to visit some very dear friends. You know those friends that you don’t see in years and yet when you meet up again it feels like no time has passed– except you want to catch up on everything? Well, that’s how these friends are. And, amazingly, it even felt that way when we met for the very first time. And our kids are even really enjoy each other, too.

So I asked Gary last February if we could go to Edinburgh, he said “yes,” and a trip was planned for November 2013. Except then we had to postpone it so we could get more wines evaluated for the the new Wine4.Me app we are developing at VineSleuth. I am dedicated to the new business, but was sad to reschedule and wondered if the reschedule date we picked for March would really happen.


We arrived yesterday and grabbed a taxi to the hotel.

As we were loading our luggage into the taxi, we caught a look at the taxi driver behind us and realized that he is a friend of ours! His son was at our wedding in Houston! We enjoyed Friday brunch with him a few years ago in Dubai… What are the odds?! Unfortunately he didn’t see us, so we’ll have to tell him later but still– crazy! And what a nice welcome sight. :)

So we headed to the hotel and checked in.  I will fill you in more about the uber cool hotel later. Just trust me that it is pretty awesome. And that I love the heated tile in the bathroom. And the gorgeous garden outside our window. And the fact that my boots showed up polished outside of my door this morning. And that the sheets are super soft. And…

Soon after check in, I headed for my very favorite spa in the world, OneSpa, which is in the Sheraton here in Edinburgh. I love the spa’s thermal suite which has saunas and rain showers, and aroma grottos and a rooftop jacuzzi and so many ways to just relax and rejuvenate– and that’s before the spa treatment!

For my spa treatment I had the Mala Mayi, which was an exfoliating scrub, decadent mud wrap, scalp massage and body massage. OH MY GOODNESS was it awesome and my skin is still super soft and hydrated– no small feat considering I just had a trans-Atlantic flight!

During my treatment I’ll admit I fell in and out of sleep and I think I might have caught myself snoring at least once. Or something like that.

Afterwards I met back up with my family and also our dear friends at an Italian restaurant called Gusto where we had some fantastic pasta, handcrafted cocktails, wine and a great reunion. I was thrilled to see the Cusack’s again and look forward to spending more time with them during this trip. Watching all four of our boys caught up in conversation with each other was such a great gift, too. :)

In our conversations last night, we counted our trips to Edinburgh. In the last 15 years, I have been here 6 previous times! How crazy is that? I came for some friends’ wedding in a Dalhousie Castle in 1999, then back for the Millennium Hogmany, another time when I was pregnant with our first child, one summer during our oldest’s birthday and for the Fringe Festival, another time during the World Cup (It was in Germany, but Gary flew over for a game or two while the rest of us were in Scotland). Then we came back for a family vacation in conjunction to a trip to London and some more crazy Fringe experiences and now here we are, back again. I am one fortunate girl to have been here so many times and to have such wonderful friends. Really, I am.

This morning I was up early, so I crept out of the room and exercised a bit in the stairwell (Thanks, Mary of Vindulge for the inspiration here.) showered off, had a little time with God, wrote and scheduled a post for Bible in 90 Days on MomsToolboox and now am sharing with you.

It’s been quite awhile since I’ve shared much here and wanted to jump back in to let you know what’s going one. If you are in the part of the world were it is Spring Break, I hope you’ve got some great times planned– even if those great times are chilling out and enjoying your family around the table playing games, or just laughing while telling stories or reading books. If you have any travel planned, you know I’d love to hear about it in the comments….

That’s all I have for you now. I’ll try to report more through the trip– we have quite the itinerary planned. My husband has made some great choices for us and for that, I am so thankful.


Canoeing on Lake Louise in Banff National Park in Canada

January 31st, 2014

lake louise Canoeing

Have you ever canoed in more beautiful water?

That’s my younger son canoeing in Lake Louise, Canada, in Banff National Park in June 2013.

I snapped that picture with my iPhone and without any fancy filters.

When we walked up to this lake and saw its beautiful turquoise waters, I turned to my husband and he knew, without me even saying a word, that I wanted our family to canoe on Lake Louise.

We had already been blown away by the incredible mountain peaks, waterfalls and wildlife-spotting in Banff. This still grabbed me and I knew I wanted to do more than just look at that water.

And so, my gracious husband reserved two canoes and we were off for 30 minutes of paddling on water that was gemlike.

It was quite different than the canoeing I did in high school in central Florida… and that wasn’t all too bad.

Our kids loved it. My husband and I loved it. It was a magical afternoon with nature.

One gorgeous view in Banff National Park in Canada

January 28th, 2014

Gorgeous views in Banff

I love this gorgeous view for several reasons.

The obvious beauty to you may be the mountains. The mountains in Banff National Park in Canada are breathtaking. Everywhere we looked on that vacation, we saw incredible mountains climbing up to the sky, and I mean everywhere.

I love this photo, though, because my kids are also taking in the view… one son and our daughter sharing their favorites while our older son captured the moment. How could I not jump in and capture it, as well?

This is just a another example of why I love traveling with our kids. We see amazing sights, share them and love how much they also enjoy sharing them, themselves.

This was truly a gorgeous view! :)

Texas Waffle Breakfast at Royal Sonesta Hotel

January 24th, 2014

Last weekend my husband and I were treated to a stay at the newly renovated Royal Sonesta in Houston. I’ll share more about the gorgeous artwork, delicious food and impeccable service later.

For now, take a look at my awesome breakfast (from room service, of course):


How cute is that? Doesn’t it look like the sun is coming up over the great state of Texas? And yes, every single bite was worth the calories.

Ya gotta love a waffle in the shape of Texas!

Yep, I bought Benefit makeup from a machine. Twice.

October 21st, 2013

This morning I left the house very early for day trip to San Francisco for a business meeting. It was super early and somehow I made it out the door without one stroke of makeup. Nothing. I remembered moisturizer, my big water bottle filled with water and a smoothie, but I forgot makeup.

I realized my mistake when I slipped on some lipstick at the airport, glanced at myself in the mirror and notched something missing… like my eyes! Aack!
Benefit makeup

I remembered the Benefit makeup vending machine in the hallway across from the United Club and decided I had to take action and I had to take it quickly- my flight was boarding!

I first looked at all the options singly.. mascara, shadow, concealer, blush.. and then spotted two kits:

Benefit makeup 2

the “ulta”mate sexy six for $24 which contained mascara, lip and cheek tint, bronzer, a primer for the eyes, primer/ light foundation for the face, and a highlighter, and the

big beautiful eyes kit for $32 which contained concealer, and all-over, contour and liner shadows. I swiped my credit card, waited a few seconds for the products to come out and I was set. I boarded the plane, feeling a bit like an idiot for being so forgetful and took my seat.

We took off towards San Francisco and the second the fasten seat belts light went off I jumped up and made my way to the lavatory to put my new cosmetics products to work. The tiny vials fit on the counter and the makeup went on beautifully. I looked in the mirror and felt a more confident me smiling back… and one whose eyes I could make out much better behind my glasses. (I have blonde eyelashes. Mascara makes a difference on me!)

I am so thankful that Benefit cosmetics vending machine was there waiting for me for a second time.

Yep, a SECOND time! I bought powder in that same machine earlier this summer. My previous powder shattered on a flight home. I was almost out and the tiny bits were quite a mess. I had only 24 hours in my hometown, not enough time to head to Sephora for a replacement, so I decided I’d just go without it on my next trip and make a purchase at my destination, if a store was nearby. Instead I discovered the Benefit cosmetics vending machine, took a chance on a new pressed powder, and became a fan of the new product. (I love how light it feels on my face and even dig the fresh smell of the product.)

Thanks, Benefit, for being there when I needed you. You’ve got a new convert thanks to your clever makeup vending machine in the Houston airport! Now I know I can by your products on the go– and I’ll buy them in stores, too.

Would you buy make up from a vending machine? Have you ever… yet?

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