Caneel Bay: Rockefeller’s Paradise

caneel sunset

My husband, Derek, and I traveled to St John Island to stay at Rockefeller’s paradise, Caneel Bay. St. John is small and remote…barely twenty square miles. We flew into St. Thomas and took a fairy to St. John. When Derek and I took the fairy from Charlotte Amelie to Caneel Bay, we soon realized that we were amongst returning visitors.

Caneel Bay is lush, manicured with efforts to preserve its natural beauty. It’s a luxury resort inside of a National Park. We took a million pictures but it’s difficult to capture a place that looks so much like a postcard.


Caneel Bay is a jungle that has been tamed. In 1952, Laurance Spelman Rockefeller visited Caneel Bay on a sailing trip with his wife and he fell completely in love with the place. He bought Caneel Bay…which used to be a small West Indian Company hotel in the thirties. Rockefeller was intrigued that this unspoiled paradise was on the grounds of an old sugar plantation. Over the years, he bought 50,000 acres of unspoiled land to preserve it from development and donated most of it to the National Park Service as Virgin Islands National Park.

Caneel is a destination for anyone who appreciates unspoiled nature. Rockefeller opened Caneel Bay, the first of his RockResorts, in 1956. He wanted guests to snorkel, eat and sleep well, and be outside experiencing the benefits of being in a natural setting. Give guests a beautiful place in balance with nature.

The villas are strung out along a series of private beaches. The bright and airy rooms give visitors the sense of living outdoors. Caneel Bay is one of the world’s first eco resorts. The lighting is low, there are no radios or televisions so you can totally unplug.


We stayed on Paradise Beach and found it to be secluded and an easy walk to everywhere we wanted to be. Rockefeller also had his permanent residence (Cottage Seven) on Paradise Beach…I think he appreciated the seclusion.

Caneel Bay is a snorkelers paradise…populated by sea turtles, stingrays, urchins, enormous snails and a rainbow of tropical plants and fish. My children kept asking us, “Did you see Dory?” Yes, Dory was everywhere!

There are seven beaches at Caneel Bay: Caneel, Little Caneel, Turtle Bay, Scott Beach, Hawksnest Bay, Paradise Beach, and Honeymoon Beach. Make sure you bring your GoPro! All are uncrowded and have white sand that feels like powdered sugar underneath your feet and perfect for building sandcastles.

caneel turtle

The island is full of donkeys and deer comfortably living in their natural habitat. Mongooses also explore the grounds…they were brought to St. John to combat the snakes.


In addition to the snorkeling, we took advantage of the tennis courts, sailboats, paddle boards and massage cabanas. Derek and I were on our way to the massage cabanas when it started to pour. We stood under giant trees for an umbrella until the sky fell. Showers never last very long and by the time our massage was over, we were walking back in the sunshine.

Caneel Bay

Not much has changed sense Rockefeller ran Caneel Bay. This is a paradise protected…the Virgin Island that remains virgin!


Caneel Bay is a tennis players dream! They have ten tennis courts and offer a drill clinic every single morning.


The Sugar Mill was an eighteenth century old mill transformed into a small dining terrace. When Derek came here as a little boy, it was a burger place…now it’s ZoZo’s at the Sugar Mill, Northern Italian cuisine with a side of Caribbean sunset. It’s about fifty steps above beach level and ornamented with bougainvillea with a view that reaches the full expanse of the bays. The refreshing breeze further enhances the dining experience.

After dinner, the stars twinkled like the Sugar Plum Fairy’s tutu. Derek and I walked out to our little beach to stargaze with our feet in the sand and rum in our hands.

CaneelBay collage

I think I sampled most of the cocktail menu during our stay at Caneel Bay and my favorite was the Rockefeller Painkiller. It’s really pretty simple to make. Caneel gives it’s vistors a bottle of Cruzan Rum so we could almost make this in our room.

Rockefeller Painkiller

  • 2 oz of Rum
  • 4 oz of pineapple juice
  • 1 oz of cream of coconut
  • 1 oz orange juice
  • Top with fresh grated nutmeg to taste

Pour ingredients into a shaker filled with ice, shake and pour into a tall glass. Top with grated nutmeg.

We left Caneel Bay recharged and changed for the better. That’s the magic of Caneel…this well-run resort has natural curative powers. We can’t wait to take the children!



The Pearl at Rosemary Beach


This was our family’s tenth year to return to Rosemary Beach and our first year to stay at the glamorous Pearl Hotel at Rosemary Beach. As soon as we arrived the concierge greeted us with a glass of champagne.

We were nervous that The Pearl might not be as kid friendly but this was far from true…The Pearl was full of children of all ages and with access to all of the pools in Rosemary Beach, kids activities and bikes that made The Pearl a win for kids.

The modern amenities and conveniences of The Pearl made us come to the conclusion that we may continue to come back there instead of renting a house.

A wonderful perk of The Pearl is that beach chairs, umbrellas, towels, and lemonade are included with your stay. This was much easier compared to the Rosemary Beach chairs that make you do all the leg work.

Our family loved eating overlooking the Gulf of Mexico at the Havana Beach Bar & Grill. My Mom and I enjoyed classic cocktails that reminded me of something Ernest Hemingway might have. The piano player took requests from my children…Little Mermaid for my daughter and Charlie Brown for my son. The black-and-white photography sets the tone to make you feel like Hemingway might be over at the bar drinking a Mojito.

Spa Pearl is a tranquil spa by the sea. The staff pampers visitors like a mermaid…with the healing powers of the sea.

The 55-room gorgeous Pearl hotel is known for its handsome clock tower that gives Rosemary charm and old-world elegance. Downstairs, the large glass restaurant doors let in a beachy breeze that tickles your toes while a live piano player sets the mood.

The Pearl is a place for all ages to find fabulous food, cocktails, activities, relaxation, and romance. Views are breathtaking from every corner…the beach, village view or the pool view. We wondered…why had we not stayed in the Pearl before?


IMG_6730 IMG_6803

Rosemary’s Good Eats, Shopping and Treasures

La Crema Tapas & Chocolate: a cozy courtyard invites you to enjoy a bit of Spain. I love that they even a child’s tapas menu.

Sugar Shak has an old-fashioned ambiance where the customers are always happy to find the open sign. These two are sweet places for the young and the young at heart.

Havana Bar & Grill: Spanish, French and Portuguese influence inspired by Hemingway’s favorite bar in Havana.

The Hidden Lantern Bookstore: This is not your average book store! Loaded with personality and thoughtfulness, The Hidden Lantern provides books and events that inspire a love for the written word.

My most favorite store in the world is Pish Posh Patchouli’s where you can design your signature scent at the custom scent bar; then select soaps, lotions, perfumes galore.

Fitz and Emme: this children’s boutique feels like you could be shopping in a quaint European shop.

Gigi’s Fabulous Kids’ Fashions & Toys: Offers the CUTEST European-style clothing and accessories for children. Gigi’s celebrates your child’s individual style.

Trading Company: You can’t leave without stopping by here! Get souvenirs that you will actually use!

Tracery: You can find everything you are looking for but haven’t found yet in this interior design and furnishing shop.

Crow Gallery: One of my favorite little galleries. Go see a Marc Chagall while you’re in your bikini.

Spa Pearl : Feel like a real mermaid as you’re pampered by the sea.

Marla & Shane Make an appointment for organic beach family photography that tell a story.


Related post:

Rosemary Beach celebrates twenty years


Get Lost with your family in Lost Pines (part deux)


Everything’s bigger in Texas…especially your vacation! Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort and Spa has a way of making families feel at home. This year, we brought our puppy with us and he fit right in with the alpaca.

Traveling in your own state is less stressful…it’s more like living part of your life somewhere else. It feels really exciting, especially when we feel good about taking the whole family (dog included).

On our first full day at Lost Pines we couldn’t wait to get started exploring and getting outside. My husband and I knew that we wouldn’t be able to get the kids out of the Crooked River Water Park so we planned our big activities (ziplining and horseback riding) in the mornings.

There are so many kid-friendly activities for all ages. My daughter couldn’t wait to go to the hair-braiding station and my son wanted to get up close with the resident longhorn. Parents can enjoy time to rest and relax at Spa Django while the kids enjoy Camp Hyatt.

There are nine Texas-style restaurants on site to enjoy. Shellers Barrelhouse and Old Bucks were our favorites.  They both have the Austin-style musical feel (with live music most nights).  We couldn’t get enough of the BBQ chicken and pulled pork sandwiches but made sure to save room for s’mores.


Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort offers their guests a Texas experience that makes you feel like you’re deep in the heart of the Lone Star State. There are plenty of ways to enjoy a Texas-style vacation with out leaving the property… Upon checking in we were given an activity calendar of all the things we could experience: tennis, full-service Spa Django, 18-hole Wolfdancer Golf Club, horseback riding, kayaking, trap shooting, s’mores by the campfire, nature hikes, zipline, rock climbing, biking, archery, wagon rides, face painting, balloon making…My children’s favorite was the Crooked River water park because “a river runs through it!” This water park has a sandy beach, waterfalls, a lazy river, and waterslides.


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Get lost with your family in Lost Pines

Vail: Rites of Spring

Vail Collage2016

Sunshine, google tans, spring back to winter snow, cold après-ski cocktails on or off the mountain…the only thing not to love about spring skiing is the inevitable end of the season.

The clock bells chimed four times, that meant the lifts were closing. My husband said, “Hurry, we can still get on for one more run.” We weren’t out of steam just yet! The four of us hopped on the Eagle Bahn Gondola to end the day on a high note. If the lifts are running, so were we! It felt like we were the only ones on the mountain. It had just snowed like crazy and it was perfect skiing…powder on top of powder! We wanted to hold on to the day and the season just a little longer. It’s amazing how so much fun can take your mind off your sore feet and bruised shins.

Vail, how I love thee! Let me count the ways…

  1. Thousands of groomed terrain means there’s something for everyone whether you’re a beginner, intermediate or expert skier. Vail has the best and largest ski schools on Earth to help you get your kids to be future expert skiers. It’s nice to see your kids make friends with kids from around the world. Vail is the giant of ski resorts because it offers 195 named trails and it’s world-famous for its “Back Bowls” that span around 3,000 acres.
  2. Ice skating is a fun activity for the whole family. My daughter even skated with her American Girl Doll, Maryellen. Vail has both indoor and outdoor rinks. The Arrabelle in Lionshead steals our hearts with the beautiful scenery, outdoor fireplaces and twinkle lights.
  3. Vail is a foodie’s haven. These are our favorites: Up the Creek (a treasure by Gore Creek serving seasonal fresh farm to plate meals and signature cocktails), Campo De Fiori (authentic Italian cuisine with fresh and local ingredients), Mountain Standard (enjoy a rustic and relaxed atmosphere where the primal cooking method is over a wood fire), Swiss Chalet (traditional European cuisine in a casual mountain atmosphere).
  4. Vail is known for its relaxing spas. I think it’s nice to start out the vacation with a visit to the spa. After a plane ride and unpacking a massage makes you think, Yeessss! The vacation has just begun! The Spa at the Arrabelle (voted #19 of the top 270 spas in the world) was the perfect way to relax into the vacation.
  5. There’s more to Vail than winter…try hiking and mountain biking during the non-skiing months. Use the staff like you would for ski school and hire a tour guide to take you around so you don’t need the trail map. You can rent a bike and ride downhill. The bonus is that there’s a gondola bike haul.

Vail is known around the world as one of the most popular destinations for skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, fine dining, hot air balloons, spas and more. The relaxing vibe and town of world-class athletes makes Vail the perfect place to vacation. It’s the favorite place for serious athletes, foodies, and spa junkies. Experienced skiers and outdoor enthusiasts will agree that Vail is the best and most varied resort. No matter the season, it’s like nothing on Earth!
















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Vail: like nothing on Earth

Ski Colorful: packing list

Ski Colorfully: Packing List



Skiing is too much fun not to dress bright and happy. Maybe you just came back from the slopes and wish you were still there or your planning for an upcoming spring ski and checking things off your list. Either way, it’s fun to channel the skier the way Dutch artist, Sabastiaan Bremer does. Whether you’re post-ski, during-ski or apres-ski…hit the slopes cheerfully and colorfully!

Ski necessities

A warm, waterproof ski jacket and snow pants are a must.

Find some colorful goggles to hit the slopes in.


Layers are the key to staying warm and dry in the mountains.

Thermal leggings & undershirts
When you’re warm on the top of the mountain, you’ll be so glad.

Good quality ski socks
Your toes will thank you!

Take a pair of jeans for the time you’ll spend off the slopes. Casual is key…everyone will want to be comfortable after skiing all day.

Something cozy for both skiing and apres-ski. These Norwegian sweaters are timeless.

For the apres-ski time in the hot tub.


Bring a pair of comfortable winter boots for walking through snow.


Dry shampoo
Give your hair a break on your ski vacation.

Don’t get sunburned! Protect your skin from the rays that bounce off of the bright white snow.


Bring waterproof gloves and mittens. These sweet mittens will warm your heart and hands.

Bring a colorful hat…maybe with a fur pom!

If it’s a nice day, sunglasses might be more comfortable than goggles. These sunglasses are my favorites!


GoPro Camera
Bring your GoPro so you can capture your kids runs.


Hand and toe warmers
Just in case…better comfortable than sorry.

Just in case…

The mountains are calling, it’s time to ski…colorfully!

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Five things you might not know about the Rockettes


Tourists have been flocking to Manhatten to see one of the New York City’s oldest traditions…The Rockettes.

The Rockettes are the world’s most beloved precision dance company…legendary for their high kicks. Their style of dance, called precision dance, is a combination of ballet, jazz, tap and modern dance.

Since their start more than eighty-five years ago, the Rockettes have been steadfast and iconic to New York City. These beautiful dancers are an example of the American dream performing for grateful audiences everywhere. Founded in 1925 and since 1935 they have performed out of New York City’s, Radio City Music Hall.


Many girls have dreams of being a Rockette…(I was one of those girls) and wish that I was tall enough! For those who have the height, auditions to be a Rockettes are held in the summer in New York City then their rehearsals start in September and are everyday Monday through Friday, from 10am to 6pm. They are about to end their Radio City Christmas Spectacular (ending January 3rd) and get ready for their New York Spring Spectacular.


Here are five things you might not know about the Rockettes…

  1. The Radio City Christmas Spectacular kicked off in 1933, and two of the original numbers still light up the stage…”Parade of the Wooden Soldiers” and “The Living Nativity.”
  2. Rockettes have to be between 5’6″ and 5’10 1/2″ tall. In kick lines, thirty-six women stand with the tallest in the middle, moving down to the shortest on the ends, which creates the illusion that they’re doing everything in unison.
  3. Rockettes do their own hair…everyone wears a French twist, bright red lipstick, and red cheeks stay put thanks to the magic of double-sided tape.
  4. They “feel the fabric” of their neighbors’ costumes and rely on their core strength to stay upright instead of holding on to each other.
  5. They have more that six costume changes per show…more than 1,300 costumes cross the stage in the 90 minutes of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular.

02 Onstage in 1937, the Rockettes cut a sharp, diagonally receding line—in white and top hats—against the dark backdrop

The high-kicking precision-dancing Rockettes are full of New York City’s energy and enthusiasm. Never underestimate the beauty of a super-straight line and high kicks.

Related posts:

Frank Sinatra: Five things you might not know

Mary Cassatt: Five things you might not know

Amelia Earhart: Five things you might not know

It’s not New Year’s Day without Black-Eyed Peas and Cabbage


It’s time to eat that famous southern dish to assist in your New Year’s good fortune. All the best superstitions are gastronomic. Most American’s know that black-eyed peas and cabbage are a must for good luck and good fortune for the New Year. I don’t think that I’ve ever had a New Year’s Day without them.

For the New Year’s good fortune, a plate of black-eyed peas or other beans is considered auspicious, forecasting wealth and prosperity. We all need luck and money! In the American South, they are traditionally to be enjoyed either just after midnight or sometime on New Year’s Day. Adding cooked greens (the color of money) is said to make them even luckier. Simmered with onion and a meaty ham bone (other options are salt pork, bacon, pig’s feet, hog jowl and ham hock), black-eyed peas are often seasoned quite simply, with just salt and pepper. They may also be made highly seasoned with hot pepper and spices.


Black-Eyed Pea and Cabbage Soup

  • 1 smoked bone-in ham (about 10 lbs)
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 red bell peppers, diced
  • 1 garlic, minced
  • 1 lb dried black-eyed peas, rinsed and picked through
  • 2 quarts water
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 T whole cloves
  • 1/2 C honey
  • 1 C coarse German style mustard
  • 1 large head of cabbage, cut into 8 even pieces
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a large bowl, soak beans overnight covered by at least 2 inches of water. Drain and rinse beans.
  2. Preheat oven to 350.
  3. Place peas, onions, garlic, salt, and bay leaves in a large pot and add water to pot just to cover beans. Place the ham on top of the black-eyed peas. Combine the honey and mustard, and brush a small even coat on the surface of the ham.
  4. Transfer to the oven. Baste about every 45 minutes with the remaining honey mustard mixture. Bake for about three hours.
  5. Season the cabbage with salt and pepper and add to the pan with the peas. Cover and return to the oven, cook until the cabbage is tender, about 30 minutes.

Every New Year’s Day, my mom would have a pot of black-eyed peas, cabbage and ham cooking on the stove. Aside from their potassium and fiber, the beans impart a bit of luck and the ham and cabbage…the promise of prosperity. This hearty dish delivers dreams in a bowl. Even if you’re not superstitious, having a batch of this soup on hand will feel like a stroke of good fortune.

Hopping John Soup

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It’s not too late to find the perfect gift! Here are some of the most exciting gift options around…each and every item is something mothers, fathers, husbands, kids, best friends, brothers and sisters would love to receive. I really hope you like it. Happy Shopping! xx



Stacking Monster Blocks $54.  Stack and create your own monsters with these colorful blocks. Notice the detailed scalloped dowels, scales, robotic diodes, monster heads, hands, feet, patterns and much more. Mix and match to create endless monster combinations.

BB-8 App-Enabled Droid by Sphero $149.95  Bringing a new part of Star Wars: The Force Awakens into your home, BB-8 is the app-enabled Droid whose authentic movements are at your control with iPhone or iPad. BB-8 relates to your interactions, showing a range of expressions and actually perking up at the sound of your voice commands.

Dartboard $140. Five color silk-screened cork with a key hole on the back for easy hanging.  The dartboard will probably be the most popular activity (for children of all ages) in your house.

Elephant Doll House $170. The most charming elephant doll house…notice the trunk is up (that’s good luck). All the best toys are made of wood. These sweet little peg people $24. can be dressed in the design of your child’s choice. A pop up doll house book $24.95 would be a treasure to add to your favorite little person’s library and add to her doll house enjoyment.

Warm up Booties $36.40 For your little dancer or athlete who needs to keep her feet warm in a stylish way.

Rosie Revere, Engineer $9.28 Rosie is a brilliant inventor of gizmos and gadgets who dreams of becoming a great engineer. You can only truly fail, she explains, if you quit.

Playing Cards $12.95 Housed in a pretty box with foil stamping, these cards feature a full spectrum of colors on their face and a uniform black and white pattern on their backs.  The package also includes a mini booklet with history and lore, game instruction, and information about the artists.



Black Tipsy Writer $35. The Tipsy Writer is a pen holder weighted by a half brass, half wooden ball. You would amuse your boss or child’s teacher…no matter how much you tip it over, it always finds a way back up.

Matchbox Puzzles (set of three) $12 The Matchbox Puzzles are handmade in Germany and make for a universally appreciated spatial diversion. Matchbox Puzzles are worth stashing in a stocking to give sweet little hands creative potential.

Small Ships $74. Christmas break is the time to create! Pick up the hammer, choose your paints, the nautical vessel of your choice awaits!

Copper Mug $30 (each) Imagine drinking Moscow Mules this winter in front of the fireplace…they are so handsome that you’ll be begging your recipient to invite you over for cocktails!

World Magnetic Travel Map $199. This is a fun way to track your families adventures. It’s easy for young children to use because it’s magnetic…not push pins.

Panini Press $99.95  This Breville panini is a family-friendly machine that accommodates up to four sandwiches at once.  A great choice for that busy family that needs a quick weeknight meal after basketball practice.



Telephone Dial Compact Mirror $30. How cute is this! I imagine the ladies from Downton Abbey would have something like this in their clutch.

Lace Ring $315.  I can imagine my Mom gasping as she opened this beautiful rose gold-plated ring. Aurelie Bidermann’s laser-cut jewelry also comes in silver.

Floppy Brim Fedora $136.50 This navy fedora is classic and chic for that best friend or sister that is super stylish and hip.

Paris Cocktails $19.95 This book is sure to pique the interest of any female Francophile. Paris Cocktails provides an inside guide to celebrating, entertaining and drinking like the French.

Satin Macaron Tea Tin $8.95 For your stylish tea drinking friend that has a fetish for all things French…and tea!

Pajama set $95. These polka dot pajamas are the comfiest and chicest way for your sister to get her eight hours of sleep.

Miu Miu Parfum $86. This is a classic and stylish fragrance…the first for Miu Miu. The girl you give this too must be stylish, sporty, intelligent, feminine, strong, quirky, and playful.



Morning After Cocktail Mix $56. This holiday season, give that notoriously boozy boy their choice of two delicious hair-of-the-dog options…Hellfire Bloody Mary Mix and Giovanni’s Nectar of the Gods Bellini Mix.

Solo Kayak $799.20 Your guy can break this kayak into two pieces, allowing him to easily haul his kayak to his favorite paddling spot and back again in a tight space at home.

Zojirushi Travel Mug $32.77 These new, bigger Zojirushi travel mugs are wide enough to fit your coffee filter holder inside the rim, avoiding messes.

The Golden Age of American Football $33.79 This beautiful book will be very popular on your coffee table.

Leather Football $150. These footballs are built to be used. Individually hand cut and sewn with highly durable thread by Leather Head Sports in Glen Rock, NJ.

Flask Funnel $10. A must-have accessory for your flask. Engraved with the saying, “Don’t waste a drop.” Equipped with a chain to hang over bottles or the top of your flask.

Pomade for his beard $38. This tin should last your man 3 to 5 months. It’s just what he needs for grooming his beard…you can use it on the ends of your hair!

Have a holly, jolly Christmas; It’s the best time of the year. I don’t know if there’ll be snow but have a cup of cheer.

Need more gift-giving inspiration? Check out gift guides from 20142013, 2012, 2011 and 2010 if you need more inspiration. subscriptions are also great for last-minute shopping. Wishing you a holly, jolly Christmas now GET GIFTED!! xx


Rosemary Beach Celebrates Twenty Years!!



Rosemary Beach is twenty-years-old this year. It’s easy to see why it’s the best family beach community in the United States.




Time spent at Rosemary Beach is all about sunshine days full of love, laughter and leisure. Cool coastal colors can’t help but put vacationers in a laid-back frame of mind…the whole reason (no matter the season) for coming to the beach. It’s impossible to resist the pull of the timeless architecture and the easy-going attitude of the stretch of the Florida Panhandle known fondly as Scenic 30A. The colorful emerald coast offers the perfect backdrop for unforgettable days along the Gulf of Mexico.

pretzel Collage

This was the year of the pretzel float and sand mermaids. My sister and I couldn’t stop laughing when we pretended that we were mermaids with my daughter.


beach Collage

It’s exciting to take in the sights and smells of Rosemary Beach just as the sun rises and everyone begins to wake up to a brilliant blue sky, soft clouds and an endless emerald coast shimmering before you…the day is filled with an endless possibility of fun! What should you do? Maybe rent a catamaran, take a family bike ride, look for dolphins, take tennis lessons, stroll through a gallery, yoga class, sandcastle lessons, enjoy a delicious ice cream cone from the Sugar Shak or a refreshing cocktail from the Havana Beach Bar…you can’t go wrong. It has the perfect balance of the serene residential area and a lively Town Center.

One of my best memories of this trip was standing in front one of my favorite Chagall paintings in a bikini and flip flops…only at Rosemary Beach! New River Fine Art and Tommy Crow Studios hosted a very special exhibition: MASTERS Modern to Contemporary featuring original works by Picasso, Miro, Dali, Chagall, Warhol, Stella and more. I visited the gallery every day…it was impossible to pass by so many of my favorite artists and not say hello.

tennis Collage

Rosemary Beach is a tennis lovers paradise. The staff is knowledgeable and ready to help you and your children with great instruction.


This special community is organized around keeping people happy and it’s easy to do with the places and events that thrill you around every corner. It’s how I imagine the 1950’s were…picture the kind of vacations your grandparent’s may have taken when they were children. Rosemary has a West Indies feel but also a mix of Charleston and Europe (think Italy and Austria) to make the perfect relaxing atmosphere.


Rosemary Beach has a low-key sophistication and charm that blends well with it’s high-style coastal living. The houses are bright, airy and cheerful for big family get-togethers like ours. This was the second year our whole family met at Rosemary for our summer vacation…coming from California, North Carolina and Texas, Rosemary felt like home.

Rosemary has selected the concept of New Urbanism…the sense of community that encourages friendliness. The special residential structures of the courtyards, Town Hall, carriage houses and pools all contribute to a harmonious experience.

My children always look forward to movie night under the stars (face painting and popcorn included). This year we watched The Muppets. Adults could also enjoy cocktails at “Dive in classic cinema” at The Pearl with movies like Sabrina and Rebel without a Cause.

lawn Collage

This sense of community is especially strong celebrating Independence Day. It’s a dream for a family with young children. The fun begins in the morning and last until it’s firework time! Imagine bike decorating contests, parades, family field day, NOLA-style jazz band and a star spangled fireworks display on the beach..the best on 30A.


z fireworks

The 30A Farmers Market features locally-grown vegetables, fruits, eggs, honey, cheese, preserves, sauces and much more. The Florida tomatoes at the 30A farmer’s market were bursting with juicy flavor…freshly harvested in the sunshine state to brighten your day.


This year, my daughter was thrilled to celebrate her birthday at Rosemary Beach. Family birthday celebrations are the best celebrations.

z birthday

For our summer family vacation, Rosemary Beach is as good as it gets.

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A watercolor of a vacation





Vail: Like Nothing on Earth



Vail, Colorado looks like a quaint European village. It has jaw-dropping postcard views of sunny blue skies and spectacular powdery snow conditions. Vail is plentiful in great restaurants, spas, and fun. Vail’s slogan is “Like nothing on Earth.” It’s true… Vail is a dream vacation.

Growing up, my family spent many spring breaks in Beaver Creek and we’d visit Vail to ice-skate and have dinner. Those happy memories are now being creating for our children. Both Beaver Creek and Vail have such a relaxed atmosphere that make you want to stay longer. My husband looks like a typical Vail skier now because he started to relax while we were there and grow a beard…I love it! It’s very easy for me to get into the haute hippie style of Vail. I like the healthy vibe and appreciate that it’s a town full of real athletes. The relaxed atmosphere was enhanced by the music that would follow us…it seemed that everywhere we’d go, eighties music was playing!


There was also the charming music of the old world clock tower at the Arrabelle. Every four hours the clock would play a sweet tune and the king and queen would come out to ring the bell. My children were enchanted and it made it feel like we were visiting a little town in Austria.

The Arrabelle has a warm and inviting ambiance that is enhanced by Vail’s crisp alpine air.  It has a European feel and is ski-in/ski-out…only steps from the Eagle Bahn gondola. The Arrabelle suites are cozy with a fireplace and warm colors. The ski service is a families dream… storing ski gear at the foot of the mountain. The ski concierge makes it so easy that you never need to carry anything. After you ski, the Arrabelle’s hot chocolate trolley welcomes children with endless combinations of how to decorate your hot chocolate. My children choose fresh raspberry whipped cream and chocolate marshmallows…happiness is a hot chocolate trolley.

Vail, Colorado is THE giant of ski resorts in North America… offering 195 named trails served by 31 lifts. It’s world-famous for its “Back Bowls” that span around 3,000 acres. Vail is VERY family friendly… (it’s not all about the bowls) there are plenty of groomers to enjoy with your family. No matter your level, there’s huge terrain for beginners all the way to the crazy advanced skiers.

A nice perk is that Vail’s interchangeable lift ticket lets skiers explore the many possibilities of nearby mountains like Breckenridge, Beaver Creek, Arapahoe Basin and Keystone.

The ski schools are out of this world offering every possibility, age and ability. They are known to have the best and largest ski schools on Earth. Our children loved their ski instructor and also enjoyed meeting other kids from all over the world.

Getting to Vail is super easy! It’s about forty minutes away from the very user-friendly Eagle-Vail airport. Like my children say…”it’s easy peasy lemon squeezy.”

Vail is like the Disney World of skiing… it’s a decorated amusement park for skiers (but the lines are not at all like Disney)! The many lifts are fast and easy and they’re always improving to make them even faster.

Getting around Vail is just as easy with free shuttle access to shopping, activities, food, spas, ice-skating… Vail reminds me of Rosemary Beach in the way that you never need your car. It’s nice to be able to walk or ride the shuttle and always feel safe to stroll around the town.

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Here are a few recommendations if you decide to visit Vail:

  • GEAR: Pack your GoPro Hero3 so you can capture your kids runs.
  • EAT: 

For lunch…

The 10th at Mid-Vail has incredible views of the Gore Range and a wide range of healthy energetic food choices to keep you going.

For dinner…

Up the Creek is a contemporary American cuisine that is family owned and serves fresh organic local foods on the banks of Gore Creek. Get the tri-color quinoa, Ashley baby beets and a berry crush cocktail.

Montauk Seafood Grill: Has wonderful fresh fish selection and you can mix and match your sauces. The seared Shi Tuna and the linguini and clams are favorites…the clams were a hit with my children! Try the Bee Hive cocktail.

Lancelot Restaurant: The most old world charm. My husband enjoyed the prime rib. My children and I loved the Weiner Schnitzel and homemade apple strudel. Try one of their signature Moscow mule cocktails.

La Bottega: Traditional Italian cuisine. They have wonderful wood-fired oven and make their pizza from scratch. The arugula salad with fresh burrata cheese is a must before your pizza. I also couldn’t help ordering an Aperol Spritz in an Italian restaurant.

  • Après-ski:

The swimming pool on the roof at the Arrabelle and the many spa treatment options or sip hot cocoa around an open fire pit after taking a spin on the ice skating rink. A nice glass of wine at the Arrabelle’s Tavern on the Square is also a nice Après-ski treat.



IMG_2184Every serious skier will agree that Vail is the best and most varied resort. Whether it’s your first time on a snowboard, or you ski the bowls, Vail will be the ski trip of your dreams…it’s like nothing on Earth!