January 30, 2015

Disney Parks Then and Now Photo Contest

Remember walking down Main Street U.S.A.® area or singing "it's a small world" in the Magic Kingdom® Park with your kids? Entrants can take a walk down memory lane, and then WIN a chance to re-live those memories and create some new ones with the entire family!

Participants are invited to submit a “then” photo of a trip to any Disney Park, and win an amazing 5-day, 4-night trip to Walt Disney World NOW! The package includes airfare, accommodations, and much more, sponsored by National Geographic.

The winning photo will be selected based on Execution of Theme, Creativity & Originality, and Photographic Quality.

The contest is open only to legal residents of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia, 18 and older. Promotion ends March 9, 2015. More information is at www.thenandnowcontest.com

One Republic Founding Member Tim Myers Set to Release Sophomore Album + FREE TRACK

There’s a pretty good chance you’ve heard Tim Myers sing, but never knew his name. Needless to say, that’s about to change.  The former One Republic member and massively talented singer/songwriter has announced the release of his sophomore album, The Year.  Its first single, “Hills to Climb” has already been featured in the trailers for The Judge and When the Game Stands Tall, as well as numerous promos for ABC.
The Year officially comes out on January 27.   Listen to “Hills to Climb” here and download a copy here.
A Southern California native, Myers’ discovered music at an early age, when his father turned him on to the celebrated sounds of the sixties, from The Beatles and The Band to Paul Simon and Jimi Hendrix. He started as a piano player, but transitioned to guitar upon hearing Nirvana’s Nevermind.  Myers spent four years with the platinum-selling pop-rock band, One Republic, co-writing songs like the worldwide smash “Stop and Stare.”  Despite the band’s remarkable success, Myers decided to pursue his dream of branching out on his own.  
Over the last couple years, Myers has become the most licensed solo artist to date.  His songs have been featured on commercials for Apple, Google, Target, Macy’s, T-Mobile and Verizon, hit TV shows like Grey's Anatomy, Ugly Betty, and Modern Family, and several movies including Magic Mike, The Dilemma, and Friends With Benefits. Nearly every song on The Year has already been licensed in a commercial, TV show or movie.
The Year is a concept album,” shares Myers.  “Each song is titled a month of the year, song #1 is January, song #2 is February... and it takes you through a relationship for the entire year.  I wanted the album to be very orchestrated - every song has strings on it. I brought in friends of mine who play violin, cello, viola and I created my own mini orchestra.  The album is very cinematic and orchestral.”

Avec Eric Joins Cooking Channel Beginning February 28

Emmy® and James Beard-award winning series Avec Eric joins the Cooking Channel weekend lineup with twelve brand-new episodes beginning Saturday, February 28th at 9:30am ET/6:30am PT. Hosted by Michelin three-star chef, author and TV personality Eric Ripert of Le Bernadin restaurant in New York City, the show offers an insider's view of the professional life and culinary adventures of Ripert, who travels the globe for creative inspiration. The newly revamped series traces Ripert's journey as he explores the people, places, cultures and ingredients that influence his cooking style and directly inform simple, accessible dishes prepared from his home kitchen.

In this compelling third season, Ripert treks through Australia and helifishes for native species in the Northern Territory and explores the indigenous food culture of Western Australia. He discovers the global dining scene of Sydney, followed by a food and wine safari in Kangaroo Island. He also attends a global feast at MONA in Tasmania, prepared by Australia's culinary elite. Ripert also journeys to Korea, where he learns how over 150 varieties of kimchi are produced, along with exotic preparations including gochujang. He visits Chin Chin, Cheongdamdong and Bukhan Mountain in Seoul, experiencing temple food by day and rich nightlife by dark. He then sets out for Unification Village in the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea where war, people and nature cohabitate and produce some of the most coveted ginseng in the world.

January 29, 2015

2015 New and Renovated Hotels

Do you have travel plans coming up this year? You may want to check out these new and renovated hotels for your next trip!

  • the ART hotel  – April 2015. Located in Denver, Colorado’s vibrant, downtown Golden Triangle Museum District, the 165-room ART hotel will offer Denver’s most premier accommodations paired with captivating pieces of contemporary art woven through the entire guest experience. Floor-to-ceiling windows throughout the hotel let in natural light so that each piece of work can fully be experienced and every gathering space in the hotel will become a vibrant canvas where carefully selected works captivate each of the guests' senses. The Fire restaurant will feature a fresh-take on New American cuisine and its stylish Terrace Bar.
  • The Ivy Hotel – June 2015. Once a historic brownstone mansion, The Ivy Hotel will open in Baltimore, Maryland’s Mt. Vernon neighborhood as the premiere luxury hotel. The 18 guest accommodations – 9 suites and 9 rooms – will have character and charm, each with a fireplace and custom painted armoire by local artisans. The relaxed and informal fine-dining restaurant Magdalena will serve refined, delicious modern American cuisine and will have a full dining room in the mansion’s old treasury, a wine cellar, and a welcoming lounge. 

  • The Resort at Pedregal – January 2015. Los Cabos’ premier, ultra-luxury, landmark destination resort, The Resort at Pedregal, reopens Saturday, January 31, 2015. As The Resort at Pedregal continues to renew, re-energize and rediscover, the resort also announces the debut of a new Champagne Terrace and dramatically enhanced spa and fitness offerings at Luna y Mar Spa.
  • The Garland – Spring 2015. Made and named for actress Beverly Garland, the Los Angeles property is currently undergoing an extensive $20 million renovation that includes transformation of all guest rooms and public spaces, including the property's dining experience — soon to debut as The Front Yard in April 2015. Upon completion in spring 2015, the newly independent, re-designed and renovated property will mirror a sophisticated, spacious and retro-cool California style and experience. 
  • The Embassy Row Hotel – March 2015. The Embassy Row Hotel in Washington D.C. has launched an extensive $15 million renovation that will feature a complete revamp of all 231 guest rooms, 6,250 square feet of new event space, and the addition of a fitness and recreation studio. Its crowning feature will be an eclectic public space including a social lobby concept, a marketplace with a coffee shop feel and 24-hour grab-n-go, and restaurant called Station Kitchen & Cocktails – all overlooking Embassy Row. 
  • The Goring – March 2015. The last stage of a complete designer renovation of The Goring in London will be revealed in March 2015, just in time for the hotel’s 105th birthday celebrations. The glamorous new Front Hall by Russell Sage will be the final piece of an in-depth refurbishment of this London classic.  Over the past seven years Jeremy Goring has overseen the transformation of his family’s hotel, commissioning four giants of the English interior design scene to effectively create an entirely NEW hotel. 
  • Four Seasons Residence Club Aviara – April 2015. Located in Carlsbad, California, Four Seasons Aviara is currently undergoing a multi-million dollar renovation to its lobby, arrival experience, restaurant and spa, which will be relaunched this April 2015. The new restaurant led by Executive Chef Jonathan Sudar will deliver seasonally driven fare through bold, contemporary creations available via an interactive chef’s table, a five-course tasting counter, and a family-style “supper club” experience. The new Driftwood Spa will feature three uniquely designed treatment rooms, a visually stunning nail salon, and state of the art fitness room in addition to a yoga and pilates studio.
  • Gurney’s Montauk Resort & Seawater Spa – May 2015. Gurney’s Montauk Resort & Seawater Spa completed the first phase of a multi-million dollar, multi-year renovation in 2014 welcoming 38 brand new luxury oceanfront guest rooms, a makeover of the famed Beach Club, and the addition of North America’s only ocean-fed, sand-filtered seawater swimming pool. Phase Two, currently underway, is slated for completion in May 2015 and will introduce 24 new oceanfront guest rooms, and a renovated beachfront 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom private cottage, and a refreshed spa in time for summer 2015. 
  • The Evelyn – End of 2015. Triumph Hotels, a newly launched New York City boutique hotel brand, is rebranding one of the city’s landmark hotels with a $30 million property-wide transformation. NoMad landmark, The Gershwin, has now been transformed into The Evelyn with a full, property wide refresh with phase one just completed. All 160-guest rooms are now upgraded to reflect an art nouveau style with nods to the hotels extensive musical and art history. The second phase of the project is underway and will focus on the full restoration of the hotel’s dramatic public spaces with the addition of new food and beverage concepts. The transformation of The Evelyn is part of a capital investment by Triumph, which has invested $50 million to renovate historic hotels throughout New York City over the last several years.
  • Four Seasons Resort Lana`i at Manele Bay – End of 2015. A quintessential beach resort set in the private island of Lana`i, Four Seasons Resort Lana`i at Manele Bay, continues to raise the bar for the standard of island resort luxury. Currently undergoing a multi-million dollar transformation, the resort will debut the final phase by end of year, which will include newly redesigned guest rooms and suites rich in the culture of Lana`i designed by Todd Avery Lenahan of TAL Studios. The resort recently introduced an exclusive airport lounge in the Honolulu Airport, new restaurants including NOBU Lana`i, high-end retail boutiques featuring top brands, a renovated spa and public spaces.
  • The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota – End of 2015. The luxury landmark on Florida's central Gulf coast conveniently located near the city center overlooking Sarasota Bay has HUGE plans coming for 2015. The hotel will undergo a massive renovation, creating a brand new look for the luxury resort. Plans include; head-to-toe guest room renovations, expansive waterfront dining, new restaurant and waterfront pool.

January 28, 2015

Healthy Game Day Recipes and To Go Options from Whole Foods Market

Super Bowl eats can be healthy, and the recipes below from Whole Foods Market prove that you can make delicious fare for the big game gathering with healthy ingredients!  You can also click here for more Healthy Game Day Favorites.

If you prefer not to tackle some new recipes, Whole Foods Market offers ready-to-cook appetizers like organic chicken wings, frozen pizzas and guacamole dip (these items and more on sale game-day weekend, Friday, January 30 to Sunday, February 1).

And, all prepared hot pizzas will be on sale for $10 ($12 in Hawaii) on game-day Sunday, February 1.

Lentil Sloppy Joes
Creamy Cucumber Dip

Buffalo Cauliflower Bites

January 27, 2015

Puerto Plata Luxury Villa Rentals Promotion


Puerto Plata Luxury Rentals announces promotion of their luxury villa rentals in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. This is a collection of high-end vacation rentals for travelers seeking the ultimate in luxury accommodations and the privacy, space and amenities of a home.

Puerto Plata Luxury Rentals offers private villas exclusively within the gated resort of the Lifestyle Holidays Vacation Club, Dominican Republic.  Each villa offers luxurious, modern accommodations, daily housekeeping, a personal chef, complimentary Wi-Fi and access to private pools and beaches.

Dining options are plentiful with access to global/international, Caribbean, American, Seafood, Mexican or Italian cuisines. Whether the choice is to relax in the privacy of our spacious vacation villas, on our beautiful pristine beaches or experience the land/water activities onsite and nearby, memories will be made. One or all can enjoy such activities as horseback riding, scuba diving, world-class golf, tennis, surfing, ATVs, zip-lining, spa services, sightseeing tours and other endless island adventures.

With its year-round tropical climate, this is the best time of the year to visit Puerto Plata.  Our sparkling waters of the Atlantic Ocean are calm, warm and very pleasant. Travelers will enjoy walking barefoot along the powdery amber sands of the beaches within the resort; partaking in Carnival parades and festivals in January through March; listening to legendary performers at the annual Dominican Republic Jazz Festival in November; and discovering this Caribbean city full of culture, entertainment and nightlife filled with friendly people.

Enjoy the Luxury
Travelers have the unique opportunity to stay 7 nights in a 5 or 6 bedroom villa while only paying for 6 nights (valid May 1 – July 31).

Contact us at PuertoPlataLuxuryRentals.com and mention “AMBER PROMO”.

Puerto Plata Luxury Rentals offers luxurious villa rentals in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic.  For more information or to make a reservation visit www.PuertoPlataLuxuryRentals.com or call toll free: 1-800-396-0167 US/Canada or 1-808-189-3411 UK.

We invite you to visit Inside Puerto Plata at www.insidepuertoplata.com.  Inside Puerto Plata is your vacation destination’s go-to guide that provides you with everything you need to know about adventure, travel tips, what to see and do and what not to miss, while visiting Puerto Plata.

January 24, 2015

Go Big or Go Home - Hilton Bentley Valentine's Day Package

True love is priceless – but how about an ultra-luxurious getaway at the magnificent Hilton Bentley Penthouse Suite ($2,700-$7,500/ night) to impress your Valentine? Nothing says, “I love you” like a 3,000 square-foot two-story penthouse that offers breathtaking panoramic ocean views of the southern tip of South Beach, a private rooftop pool, Jacuzzi, and spacious deck with two terraces. Pop the question or simply enjoy an intimate weekend in the Hilton Bentley’s extravagant penthouse with bottles of bubbly! Add on an over-the-top surprise for you and your beau with a romantic spa day for two at the Hilton Bentley’s Spa 101. Additional amenities include a full stainless steel kitchen, a personal wine chiller, dining room & living room with an LED television and Dolby surround sound. This penthouse suite is ideal for you and someone extremely special to celebrate your love – make this year’s Valentine’s Day an exceptional one. (101 Ocean Dr., Miami Beach; 305-938-4600).

January 23, 2015

ModCloth 15% Off Sale and Sweetheart Shop

Disclosure: The below links are affiliate.

ModCloth has a great sale going on right now - 15% off with code Googly - now through Monday, 1/26 at 10am PT.

It's the perfect time to save on that cute dress for Valentine's Day, and you can find it in ModCloth's Sweetheart Shop!

The Sweetheart Shop has so many great dresses.  Some of my favorites include the City Sway Dress in Wine -  the color is beautiful and perfect for the a date night!

The Fete of Florists Dress is also very pretty - it would be a great dress to wear on Valentine's Day Brunch!  It's long, flowy, and simple pretty!


Another of my fave's is this Craft Cocktail Dress in Coral.  The color is just fresh and and the dress itself would be cute for a fun Valentine's Day lunch with the girls!

Don't delay - take advantage of this sale before it ends on Monday!

January 19, 2015

New Food Network Series Kids Baking Championship Premieres February 2

Hosts and judges Duff Goldman and Valerie Bertinelli lead eight talented kid bakers through tasty challenges designed to find the most impressive and creative young baker on Kids Baking Championship, premiering on Monday, February 2nd at 8pm ET/PT on Food Network. In each challenge, the kid contestants (ranging in age from 10 to 13) will be tested on their baking skills and originality, as they whip up delectable desserts including creative cakes, mouthwatering cookies and pastries making it seem as easy as pie. At stake, a sweet prize package that includes a complete set of Food Network bakeware products, a profile in Food Network Magazine, an original cake featured at Charm City Cakes and a $10,000 grand prize. Only one will take the cake to become the Kids Baking Champion!

"Duff Goldman and Valerie Bertinelli are the perfect hosts of Kids Baking Championship. Their charisma, boundless enthusiasm and unwavering encouragement expertly lead these young competitors through the obstacles and challenges of the baking championship," said Bob Tuschman, General Manager and Senior Vice President Programming, Food Network.  

Kids Baking Championship contestants include: Caroline Binkley (Delaware, Ohio; age 13), Annika Coffman ( Boise, Idaho; age 12), Jackson Fujimori (Torrance, California; age 11), Hollis Jackson (Jacksonville, Florida; age 13), Payton Pelaez (San Francisco, California; age 10), Anthony Smith (Rochester, New York; age 11), Cody Vasquez (Gilbert, Arizona; age 12), and Natalie Venable (Thousand Oaks, California; age 11).

Episodes include:

Premiering Monday, February 2nd at 8pm ET/PT
"Bake Sale"
For the kick off to the Kids Baking Championship, the eight kid bakers are hard at work to serve up two delicious signature items for a bake sale. Midway through the challenge, hosts Duff Goldman and Valerie Bertinelli reveal that the kids must also make a third item using the classic childhood flavor combination - peanut butter and jelly. Two kid bakers will melt under the pressure and will be sent home.

Premiering Monday, February 9th at 8pm ET/PT
"Dessert Imposters"
In this challenge, the kid bakers are asked to create dessert imposters - a sweet treat masquerading as a savory item. How convincingly will the bakers be able to make delicious sweets that look like pizza, spaghetti, tacos and bagels? Half way through the challenge, Duff announces a surprising twist. The kid bakers must also create an imposter side dish to accompany their main dessert, in order to slice the competition.

Premiering Monday, February 16th at 8pm ET/PT
"Stuffed Puffs"
In this episode, the kid bakers must make two dozen puff pastry desserts. While hard at work creating the dough and delicious fillings for their stuffed puffs, hosts Duff Goldman and Valerie Bertinelliannounce a savory twist. The kids must use the secret savory ingredient in at least one dozen of their treats. Only four bakers will grease the competition and advance to the final round.

Premiering Monday, February 23rd at 8pm ET/PT
"Celebration Cake"
The four remaining kid bakers are tasked with a massive challenge for the finale: create a celebration cake for the moment they win, along with baked party gifts that complement their cake in flavor and design. One kid baker will be crowned Kids Baking Champion, and take home the $10,000 prize.

After graduating from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, with degrees in history and philosophy, Duff Goldman went on to study at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in St. Helena, California. He worked at several acclaimed culinary destinations, including French Laundry, Vail Cascade Hotel and Todd English's Olives before returning to Baltimore to become a personal chef. In March 2002, he opened Charm City Cakes, and it soon became a household name on the hit Food Network show Ace of Cakes, which aired for 10 seasons. Goldman served as a judge on Holiday Baking Championship and has also appeared on Donut Showdown. He has also been featured in episodes of The Best Thing I Ever At, Iron Chef America, Food Network Star, Diners, Drive-Ins and Drives, Cupcake Wars, and Chopped. In 2011, Duff was nominated for two James Beard Foundation awards for Best TV Food Personality/Host and Best Television Program. In addition to owning and operating Charm City Cakes, Charm City Cakes West and Duff's Cake Mix, Goldman is also a sculptor, artist, and musician, and has an affinity for wearing his signature hockey jerseys.

Two-time Golden Globe® award-winning actress, Valerie Bertinelli, first became a household name for her role as Barbara on CBS' long-running series, One Day At A Time. Over the years, hercareer has expanded to include television personality, spokesperson and best-selling New York Times author of Losing It, Finding It: And Satisfying My Hunger for Life Without Opening the Fridge and One Dish At A Time. Bertinelli has also helped develop, produce and star in several television movies and mini-series. She currently stars as Melanie Moretti in TV Land's critically-acclaimed sitcom Hot in Cleveland. In August 2012, Bertinelli received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Find behind-the-scenes photos, kids casting videos, host interviews and more on FoodNetwork.com/BakingChampionship. Fan can also join the baking banter on Twitter using #BakingChampionship.

Kids Baking Championship is produced by Triage Entertainment.

January 15, 2015

2015 Northern Lights Alaska Tour with The Old Farmer's Almanac

Going to see the Northern Lights? Go with The Old Farmer’s Almanac, the ultimate travel companion and “original calendar of the heavens” since 1792. North America’s oldest continuously published periodical—best known for its weather forecasts and astronomical information–and its astronomer Bob Berman have partnered with travel adventure company Special Interest Tours to bring the experience of a lifetime to readers and sky watchers. Now in its second year, this trip gives travellers a chance to witness the blazing and magical curtains of the Northern Lights.

Behold the radiantly glowing night sky in the wilds of Alaska on this 6-day, 5-night Old Farmer’s Almanac Northern Lights Tour. Packed with special events, breath-taking sights, fascinating people, and thrilling adventure, you’ll not only learn about those flashy flares in the sky, but also become immersed in the unique history, culture, and art that Alaska has to offer.

As if viewing the aurora borealis from several of the best and most stunningly gorgeous locations in the world isn’t enough, The Old Farmer’s Almanac Northern Lights Tour has far more in store. Nothing says Alaska like a dogsled ride, a hike to the top of a mountain for a beautiful sunset, a visit to the glittering ice kingdom that is the Fairbanks ice-carving show, a tour through the innovative “green” city of Chena, or a dip in the Chena Hot Springs while icicles form in your hair. So naturally, the tour includes it all! Plus, we’ll provide a photography tutorial so you can capture all the best moments on your camera.

The adventure begins on March 17th, 2015. Reservations are being taken now.

This is all just a flurry on the frozen tundra of fun to come! For more information about the tour, including registration and pricing details, please visit: http://specialinteresttours.net/northern-lights-march-2015/

Not a fan of the cold? The Old Farmer’s Almanac has more than one adventure to offer! Enjoy the sunshine and fragrant flowers of the East Coast on our Glorious Gardens Tour! This 7-day, 6-night tour begins on June 22nd. Visit http://specialinteresttours.net/garden-tours/ for more information.

January 14, 2015

New Cooking Channel Series Dinner at Tiffani's Premieres February 25

Actress Tiffani Thiessen has charmed audiences throughout her career, while making great friends along the way. As a mom with a busy work schedule, Tiffani stays connected with her friends and former castmates by hosting intimate dinner parties at her home. Follow Tiffani as she prepares to host Dinner at Tiffani's, premiering on Wednesday, February 25th at 10:00pmET/7:00pmPT on Cooking Channel. Every dinner is filled with special guests, entertaining stories, and party-pleasing recipes.

"Viewers will want to be on the guest list for Dinner at Tiffani's," said Michael Smith, General Manager and Senior Vice President, Cooking Channel. "Tiffani's talent and passion for throwing effortless, intimate get-togethers for her closest friends and family is contagious."

"I have played many characters, but my favorite role is playing host," said Thiessen. "For every party, my ultimate goal is to make my guests feel welcome. I want my guests to enjoy delicious meals in good company, with good conversation and lots of laughs."

Food, fun and friends are always on the menu in each of the 10 half-hour long episodes. Every good host knows that the best bash includes a fun theme with matching decorations, and of course, a star-studded guest list. In attendance throughout the season are special guests Sharif Atkins, Jillian Barberie, Lance Bass, Bill Bellamy, Elizabeth Berkley, Tim DeKay, Jennifer Finnigan, Seth Green, Willie Garson, Mario Lopez, Matthew Lillard, Ross Mathews, Tim Meadows, Jason Priestley, Emily Procter, Jonathan Silverman, Brady Smith, Michael Turchin, Bree Turner, and Ashley Williams.

Whether it is a competitive game night with sweet and savory Roasted Dates with Smoked Bacon and Goat Cheese, or a refined pizza party with Homemade Grilled Pizzas topped with gourmet ingredients such as ricotta, arugula, grapes, pine nuts and lemon zest, or a relaxing girls' night with Watermelon Champagne cocktails, guests will come for the party, but stay for the food!

Fans can access Tiffani's recipes and dinner party tips, as well as exclusive interviews on CookingChannelTV.com/Tiffani. Beginning on Monday, February 9th, fans can also stream the Dinner at Tiffani's pilot for free. Fan can also connect on Twitter using #DinneratTiffanis.

Actress Tiffani Thiessen began her acting career with a starring role in the television series Saved By the Bell. At the same time, she made her feature film debut in Son In Law opposite Pauly Shore. In 1993, Aaron Spelling cast her in Beverly Hills 90210, where she portrayed Valerie Malone.   A versatile performer, she has proven her talent from comedy to drama in a variety of film and television roles. From Woody Allen's comedy Hollywood Ending to SNL's "The Ladies Man," Thiessen's charisma has kept her career moving constantly forward and has gained her the adoration of millions internationally. She most recently stared as Elizabeth Burke in the USA Network original series White Collar, which just completed its sixth final season.

Tiffani splits her time between New York and Los Angeles, with her husband and daughter.

Dinner at Tiffani's is produced by H2R Productions.

January 13, 2015

Choose Your Own Adventure in 2015 with Joie de Vivre Hotels

Joie de Vivre Hotels encourages you to choose your own Hawaiian adventure by embracing Oahu by air, land, or sea.

Base Offer: Book the Choose Your Own Adventure Package and enjoy a four-night stay with rates starting at $596 at one of Joie de Vivre Hotels’ Hawaii properties, Shoreline Hotel Waikiki and Coconut Waikiki Hotel. Plus, experience your preferred adventure at an exclusive, Joie de Vivre Hotels-only 20 percent discount.

Choose Your Adventure:
  • By Air: Fly to new heights and see Oahu from a unique perspective with Oahu Air Tours. Take in a bird’s-eye view of Oahu’s beautiful mountains, beaches, harbors and coastlines from a R44 Robinson Helicopter or a Cessna 182S fixed-wing aircraft.
  • By Land: Prefer to stay grounded? Cycle around Waikiki on a specially-curated bike excursion with Pedal Bike Tours, which promises glimpses of local haunts, renowned public art displays and a unique ride under a banyan tree.
  • By Sea: Sail away Polynesian-style on a hand-built sailing canoe with Hawaiian Ocean Adventures. Participate in an ancient boating tradition while exploring Oahu’s natural history and beauty.  
Adventures are not included in package price and vary in cost. Package and/or adventures must be booked 14 days in advance of arrival. Once your hotel reservation is confirmed, please call the hotel directly to schedule your discounted tour.

Coconut Waikiki Hotel
Coconut Waikiki Hotel Reservations: Room reservations can be made by calling (866) 974-2626 or at the hotel directly at (808) 923-8828, or by visiting jdvhotels.com

Shoreline Reservations: Room reservations can be made by calling (855) 931-2444 or by calling the hotel directly at (808) 931-2444 or visiting www.shorelinehotelwaikiki.com

January 12, 2015

Four Seasons Resort Hualalai at Historic Ka`upulehu Review

Four Seasons Resort Hualalai at Historic Ka`upulehu lobby
Our family's stay at the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai at Historic Ka`upulehu can be described in a single word - AMAZING!

However, a stay in this spectacular resort did come with some challenges.

For instance, I had to face some tough decisions, such as:

Do I take a relaxing bath in the deep soak tub, a stand-up shower, an aromatherapy steam shower, or take an outdoor shower?

Outdoor shower
Do we take the kids to the Keiki Pool, the Sea Shell Pool, the King's Pond, or the Ocean Pool, or do I sneak away to the adults-only Palm Cove Pool or quiet Beach Tree Pool?

Beach Tree Pool
Do I walk around to enjoy the natural beauty of the resort's grounds, or do I rest and relax in the magnificent `Ohana Suite?

Nature's beauty
All kidding aside, from the moment I contacted the resort inquiring about a stay, until the moment we were dropped off at the airport, service was fantastic, and our entire experience at the resort was one that I'll never forget.

We were met at the airport by Mark, who assisted with retrieving and transporting our luggage to our vehicle - a Cadillac Escalade driven by Tom.  Tom offered us some water and oshibori, and we were soon on our way to the resort.

Had I not asked how long Tom was with the Four Seasons, I would've assumed he's been there for years because of how knowledgeable he was about the property and how passionate he was about his job.  Imagine my surprise when he told me he started just a few months ago in a management training program!

As Tom talked more and more about Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, my excitement just grew and grew as we approached the property.

Upon arrival at the resort we were greeted with lei from Lindsey and warm hugs from Cindy.  

We were then escorted to the lobby where our entire family sat down for some refreshments while Lindsey went over a few things with me about the resort, the restaurants, and our suite.

Welcome refreshments and oshibori
Shortly thereafter we all hopped onto a golf cart and were driven around the resort for a quick tour.

Getting a tour on a golf cart
Soon we were in the beautiful `Ohana Suite.
The living area (yes, that's a telescope on the right!)
We were in awe with how large the suite was, as well as all the amenities, services, and welcome gifts that came with the suite!

Mahalo for the Big Island Candies Cookies!
The decor was warm and inviting, with kid-friendly touches that made us feel at home (you can read more about the `Ohana suite here).                              

As much as I wanted to stay in the room all day long, we only had a weekend at the resort, so we tried to explore as much as we could.

During our weekend stay we checked out the Ka‘upulehu Cultural CenterKids for All Seasons, and Hale Kula.

Ka‘upulehu Cultural Center
We dined at `ULU Ocean Grill and Beach Tree Restaurants, as well as by the pool.

The kids had a blast in the Keiki Pool and King's Pond. There are so many pools to choose from, and while there you'll get treated to ice cold water and complimentary refreshments. They offer sunscreen and lotion, sunglasses cleaning, and you can also borrow some reading material.

There are also many activity areas where the kids would play ping pong, Konane (aka Hawaiian checkers), and other games, and I loved that there were lots of Hawaiian elements all throughout the resort, such as the Hawaiian Star Compass, and the Golden Cloak `O Kamehameha feather cape in the lobby.

Playing Konane
Hawaiian Star Compass
On property there is also the Jack Nicklaus signature Hualalai Golf Course, business services, complimentary self-laundry, tennis courts, fitness facilities, boutiques, and more!

In your room you'll find a Resort Activities daily guide, which includes a variety of activities, such as Kona Coffee tasting, Pilates, Shark Adventures, and more (fee applies to some activities).

Golf course
There is so much to see and do at the resort.  Whether you're Kama`aina looking to indulge in a weekend getaway, a couple on a honeymoon, or friends on a golf trip, a stay at Four Seasons Resort Hualalai will make it obvious why it was ranked number one in Hawaii and number twenty-two in the world on Travel + Leisure's World's Best Awards in 2014.

Who knew such luxury could be built in the middle of a lava field?

Colorful sky

Everyone who assisted on our last day was great as well - from Tony at the reception desk to our driver, Edwin, and once again Tom, who we saw upon leaving.   

The aloha spirit that all of the employees exuded, as well as the beauty of the resort, really made it hard to leave.

A great big MAHALO to everyone who made our stay the most amazing ever.

A hui hou kākou!

Picturesque views everywhere

Thank you to the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai for offering a media rate and upgrade for the room and hosting our transportation to/from the resort.  All gratuities were paid on our own.

January 9, 2015

Sabrina - Secrets of a Teenage Witch: Magic of the Red Rose DVD Review

Disclosure: A complimentary product was provided for review purposes.

The newest adventure from everyone's favorite teenage witch has arrived!  Sabrina - Secrets of a Teenage Witch: Magic of the Red Rose is now available on DVD from Lionsgate Home Entertainment. Inspired by the Archie comic, "Sabrina: Secrets of a Teenage Witch" airs weekdays on Discovery Family Channel (formerly the Hub) and has received two 2014 Daytime EmmyR nominations including "Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program" for Ashley Tisdale.

The DVD includes four fun episodes where you will watch Sabrina preventing Werewolf Flowers from causing havoc, enduring a bad date with a snobby warlock, reuniting a baby dragon with its heartbroken mother, and rescuing her best friend Jessie from the clutches of an angry sprite.

Because I was a fan of the series starring Melissa Joan Hart, I enjoyed watching the DVD with my 7 year old daughter.  I thought the animation was good and the story lines humorous.  Ashley Tisdale does a great job as the title character.

My daughter likes to watch shows like Barbie and Monster High so Sabrina - Secrets of a Teenage Witch was right up her alley.  I think she wished there were more than 4 episodes as she watched the DVD over and over again.  She said her favorite scene was when Sabrina and a boy had a food fight and his mother was caught in the crossfire.  This DVD would make a very cute Valentine's Day gift for your Sabrina fan at home!

Running time is 88 minutes.

January 7, 2015

Reebok Spartan Race 2015 News and Free Race Code Giveaway

2015 is an exciting year for Reebok Spartan Race!

Spartan Season Pass
True Spartans don’t have limits. Join now for unlimited racing, special travel discounts and more.
A no-brainer for those training for a TRIFECTA in 2015

A Season Pass allows you to race any and all races in your region of choice (there is a pass for the USA and a separate pass for the UK and a separate pass for parts of Canada) at a greatly reduced price. Once you purchase your Season Pass a unique discount code will be issued to you, allowing you to register for each race.

You can learn more and buy a Season Pass here.

Spartan Cruise
Sand, surf and obstacles await you on this one of a kind Spartan adventure. Join fellow Spartans March 6-9, 2015 when you'll be taken on a cruise liner from the Port of Miami to Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas for a first of it's kind Spartan Sprint! Can you say, "Best. Vacation. EVER!?" Don't Miss the Boat - Cabins are selling fast!

Visit http://thespartancruise.com/ to for more information.

Spartan Up! Podcast
The epitome of grit, Joe Desena, founder & CEO of Spartan Race and NY Times best-selling author, travels the globe seeking answers from experts like Sir Richard Branson, Steve Pressfield, Barbell Shrugged, and many more. Joe’s interviews with authors, academics, athletes, adventurers, CEOs and thought leaders will shift your thinking, make you laugh and and give you the tools you need. He’s on a mission to find the secrets to success in all aspects of life. Not only does Joe interview epic people, he has brought together an amazing panel to break down and analyze every aspect of these interviews. We give you the ultimate blueprint and action steps to assimilating these powerful conversations into your own life. You can subscribe to the podcast here.

2015 World Championship
2015 World Championship Spartan Race will take place in Lake Tahoe in October!

For information on upcoming Spartan Races, click here.

Savvy Savings:  Get 10% off of any race with code SPARTANBLOGGER, and get 50% off the Spartan Cruise with code Cruise50.

Win: One lucky winner will receive a free race code good for a 2015 Spartan Race in an open heat in the continental US.

Congratulations to Seth!
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