Candacetravels

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Party In Paris: 5 Things to Do To Celebrate

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Office of Tourism, Paris, France

Hey hey ladies and gents! Good day to each and every one of you. I hope this post finds you well. I recently spent some time in Paris, France and wanted to share my experience with you. Though I was there working on a project, I still managed to find some time to celebrate a bit. I’d just welcomed another birthday thankfully, so when a few friends said they wanted to help me start this new season off right, I jumped at the chance. A little late birthday jollification is always in order…and when it can be done in style, well certainly why not then?!? Also, for the record, this post will not include any drunken wild nights, with individuals passed out in the back of UBER cars or anything. We had some good ole fashion fun, hanging around town in Paris! Although, there was that one UBER driver, who drove us back to the hotel on two wheels, while blasting music with every expletive in the book, but otherwise, it was rated PG 13. We took in Paris in style! So, here goes. Here are 5 things to do, when you want to Party (celebrate) in Paris.

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Eiffel Tower, Paris France

Visit the Eiffel Tower

This was my first time seeing the Eiffel Tower in person. During my brief pit stop in the area last year, I didn’t get the opportunity to see it. However this time, I made it a priority. When I reached the vicinity of the grand edifice, I was filled with jubilee. Upon finally witnessing it in person, I was mesmerized and in awe by its strength and beauty. It was a strong tower indeed. After eating just across the way, my friends and I headed over to take some pictures. We captured shots from just about every angle imaginable, and I even got the chance to dance beneath the massive structure. It was truly a dream come true. What a special day!

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Candacetravels and Friends- Eiffel Tower

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Candacetravels Dancing – Eiffel Tower

Bon Appetit

One of the best ways to celebrate is by toasting and noshing out on some palatable eats. Paris is a foodie’s dream and dentist’s worst nightmare all in one, simply because of all its fabulous food and sweets. Known for its rich and tantalizing cuisine, the city provides a smorgasbord of options to all who come hungry. While there, I was fortunate enough to dine at some incredible places. Yes, I veered away from my primarily plant-based diet, as I am known to do on the road at times, and indulged in a few succulent, le poisson (fish) entrees and delectable, vegetable dishes. I also splurged and ate a little BREAD, too. I know I shouldn’t have, but I did. It was tough considering the French eat bread with everything. They kept shoving baskets of it on the table everywhere I went. It was awful on my system, but oh so yummy to my tummy…well at least at the time, but not so much thereafter, lol. I paid for it later. In any case, my Parisian food affair commenced at Le Bistro Parisien, which sits just along the Siene River (across from the Eiffel Tower,) with a perfectly prepared piece of salmon over a bed of vegetables. It was followed up by a delightful mousse. Can you say fantastic!! And the gastronomical jocularity didn’t stop there. We celebrated that evening at Le Passage over wine and other comestibles; fish, salad, lamb for the carnivores at the table, and a combination of chocolate inspired desserts. In the following days, I feasted on fish and chips at Leon’s, savored the best vegetable soup ever at Le Bouquet, wolfed down a mouthwatering quinoa based veggie burger at Mamie’s and reveled over a delicious vegetable, Thai dish at Bistrot Pyramide. My advice- prepare your palate for the party of a lifetime!!

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Celebration at Le Passage

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Dinner at Le Passage

Other Landmarks

There is so much to see and do in Paris- from taking in the beautiful Arc de Triomphe up close and personal, to roaming the grounds of the acclaimed Louvre Museum. Then there is the spectacular Palais Garnier, Opera House that is fit for a queen. The city is a historical gem at every turn. Day or night, it’s a party in the streets, what seems like all the time. Paris is New York City on steroids. There are people everywhere, and constant energy in the air. It is crazy! There are actually too many people for me. I like a more toned down vibe at this point in life. However, beholding the gorgeous landmarks in person is well worth the visit. If you want other ideas on things to do, stop by the Paris Tourism Board for some assistance. Be sure to get all your selfie sticks ready- for shots of yourself in front of all the famous landmarks for your visual gallery, too. Say cheese!

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Musee’ du Louvre 

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Academie Nationale de Musique

Shopping

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that Paris is a shopper’s paradise. Whether you live the fabulous life or are simply more of  a souvenir shopper, this locale has something for you. Paris, France has it all. From $2,000 (euro) Chanel bags, to $5 (euro) tee-shirts on the street, you can get something that suites your flavor. There are several areas spread throughout the city to help you spend a little or a lot. It’s the best!! Lovely handbags, scarves, shoes and hats grace the shops on every street, in every direction. While there, I also spent some time at BAUDE fashion house, and was completely smitten with the entire line. You can also skip over to Tiffany’s or Hermes for a new edition to your exclusive collection, or venture off to a less notable boutique -for a rare find. Treat yourself!…And don’t forget to pick up some Paris goodies for friends back home, or forget to enjoy shopping til you drop.

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BAUDE Purse

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BAUDE Fashion House

Mellow Sounds

One Saturday night, my friends and I spent the evening at the magnificent Duc des Lombards, Club de Jazz. The band was AWESOME. The vibe was relaxed and easy, and we tapped our feet and nodded our heads to the melodic tunes of the smooth harmony. It was a very chill evening, complete with a full house of spectators onsite to witness the greatness of this crew. After a long day of sightseeing, laughing and roaming the streets with cameras in tow, it was the perfect way to unwind. If you are in the mood for something a little more soothing, you’ve found it. Kick back and take in the show solo or with a group.

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Band Performing at Duc des Lombards

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Candacetravels Outside of Duc des Lombards

My time in Paris, France was a blast. It was definitely a great way to ring in a new birthday year! So much fun!! Until next time, safe and happy travels my friends!

 

 

 

 

5 Ways to Give Back While Traveling: Airport Edition

Greetings fellow travelers! I  hope this post finds you well. Today I want to discuss the topic of traveling with the goal of being a blessing to someone else in mind. We all love and appreciate the epic moments we experience while on the go, but how often are we thinking of doing something nice for others?  My question to you today is, do you travel with the goal of putting a smile on someone else’s face, or are you only thinking about your upcoming adventure? After reading this post, perhaps you will give it further consideration. I’m all for a great time! Lord knows I am, but it is important to me, to make a positive impact wherever I can. So, here are 5 easy ways to extend a blessing to others- during your domestic and international travels.

Buy a Little or Latte

We all know how long those Starbucks lines are in the airport. How about striking up a conversation with the person in back of you next time, and finding out what they plan to order. Engage in random, “How’s the weather where you’re headed” type of questions first, then work your way up to what they typically order. When the moment arrives, and you actually reach the counter 30 mins later, pay it forward! It’s not only a nice surprise for the person after you, but it also gives you and warm and fuzzy feeling inside, too. You just may make a new friend for life, and even if you don’t, at least you did something to put a smile on someone else’s face. Cheers to iced chai latte (tea) with coconut milk…in case you are ever standing in the line in front of me! Haha..but seriously! LOL.

Fork Over Your Window Seat

If you happen to find yourself on a row with the kindest person ever and their little anxious toddler, who is so excited to fly for the first time, consider doing the ultimate! Let them get the sweet taste of the window seat. Chances are you’ve flown a million times by now, and even if you haven’t it’s still just nice to do. Help make the kid’s first flight an epic ride that he or she will never forget. Your incredible act of kindness will last a lifetime, or at least for the duration of the flight, and when they grow up, hopefully, they’ll consider doing the same for the little travelers who come behind. In addition, you’ll be taking some added stress off of the parent, too. The views outside will keep their little one so occupied, that it’ll make for a smooth flight for everyone…including you! This will lesson the amount of “Are we there yets?,” because they’ll be too busy counting the clouds. Look at you!

Invite a Stranger to Lounge

I was just in this position last year. I was the stranger, who got an invite to the lounge. I wasn’t able to make a Barcelona flight out of JFK one day, and the nicest guy, who just so happened to work for Delta, didn’t make the flight either. He noticed my distress and invited me up to the Delta lounge. He totally saved the day. I was beat and had been in the airport all day. Before you freak out, I felt totally safe. If you’ve ever been in one of the airline lounges, then you know, they are packed with people, well lit and have staff available onsite. There is food, TVs, places to lounge and even access to showers. They are fantastic! If you have a pass and strike up a great conversation with a random stranger, who is on your super delayed or canceled flight, be a superhero and help them out. They will be oh so grateful! As a matter of fact, I’m friends with my Delta angel to this day.

A Not So Blind Lunch Date

I’m sure by now you can tell I spend a ton of time in the airport! With a ton of flying comes delays, cancellations and even reroutes. With that being said, the airport is a great place to meet some really awesome people. I find myself talking to people at the gate or in stores all the time. How about a not so blind lunch date? Not a date, date, unless you just so happen to make a connection with a really amazing guy or gal, but otherwise, I mean a “one good human being doing a good deed to another” type of date. You can learn a lot about life and people over a meal. And if you just so happen to find a match and meet the love of your life after reading this post- because you decided to buy someone lunch, you can thank me later! I accept payments in the form of airline miles, tickets and hotels. LOL. Just kidding….uhm…unless you really just feel led to bless me of course. But seriously, there’s no better way to make a person’s day than by buying them a hot or cold meal. Bon appetit!

Share the Plunder

There have been a few times in my life where people have complemented certain items of mine, and I felt led to give it to them. Just recently, on a reroute to Detroit from Boston, I met the nicest lady and her daughter. She’d just turned 21 (the daughter,) and really liked my jean tote bag. I was so exhausted that night, considering we’d just endured the day from well… it certainly was not Heaven let’s just say, and it was roughly 12:30 am by the time the airline got us all situated with a hotel. I wanted to just give her my bag then, but didn’t have the energy before we parted, to dump the contents and pass it on. Fortunately, we’d exchanged names, etc. and they reached out to me of FB, to offer me a ride the next day to Cleveland. We had all been on a cancelled flight, and Detroit was the closest place that 5 of us decided to head to. We all figured it would be pretty easy to get to OH from there, and after being stuck in Boston for 13 and a half hours, I was ready to get to just about anywhere else, that wasn’t there. In any case, I didn’t get to take them up on their offer for a ride, because I’d already made arrangements earlier that next morning to get to Cleveland. I was trying to get to my aunt’s memorial service, so it was imperative that I make it to my home state in time. In any case, I was so thrilled to hear from them and upon getting to Ohio, I got the address to send that young lady my tote bag. I have a million of them, so why not bless her with one. No biggie!! Happy to share the spoil and hope she had a super 21st birthday.

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Jean Tote with Contents Prior to Passing It On

Thanks for reading, dear friends! Here’s to happy, safe and “paying it forward” travels to you. Have a great November and remember to be thankful for all that’s been given to you.

Candacetravels

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scandic Vulkan Hotel: Oslo

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Front of Scandic Vulkan Hotel 

Hotel Info & Location

Scandic Vulkan hotel is the perfect place to lodge during a brief or extended stay in the Oslo, Norway area. It is located right by the Akerselva River and sits just a stone throw away from the famous, Mathallen market, which is sure to excite any foodie’s palate. Here, visitors can feast on prepared food, or opt to pick up something fresh to take home and cook. Scandic Vulkan is also surrounded by a host of other eateries and restaurants, including a cute little crepe shop with swings for seats and a rustic designed sit-down called the Lucky Bird! The hotel is also by a park and is a short, 5 min walk away from the popular, Grunerlokka shopping district. Additionally, Scandic Vulkan is a bus or tram ride away from downtown Oslo- where a bustling city awaits. Central Station is also located in downtown and provides direct access to the Oslo Airport in Gardermoen, as well as to a host of other Oslo area sights and locations.

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Crepe Cafe

Rooms & Views

Scandic Vulkan has 6 room types; Standard Single, Standard, Superior, Superior Plus Superior Extra and the Blogger’s Inn, which is where I stayed (get it- Blogger’s Inn.) My room was perfect! It had a comfortable bed, a night stand, 2 sitting chairs and a small table, a desk and chair with a lamp, an Espresso Machine with coffee and tea, and an iron and ironing board, a safety box, a flat screen TV, wood flooring with a plush rug near the sitting area and a good sized bathroom with a glass encased walk-in shower, a hair dryer and FACE Stockholm products; hand soap, shampoo and shower gel. The room also had a really cool wall, dedicated to social media, air conditioning, which I didn’t use because of the brisk temperatures outside, free Wifi and super duper incredible views of the area from the 7th floor. The windows are ceiling to floor length and provide a panoramic view!!! Overall, I felt that the room was a good size and that it was more than comfortable. It was a bit chilly in my room at night, so the front desk even provided me with a small heater for use during my stay. All in all..Blogger’s Inn was a hit and my visit was a huge success!

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View of the 7th Floor Room Wall- Blogger’s Inn

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Close-up View of Bed-7th Floor, Blogger’s Inn Room

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Entryway- 7th Floor, Blogger’s Inn Room

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Desk and Chair In-Room View, Blogger’s Inn

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Bathroom View- 7th Floor, Blogger’s Inn Room

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FACE-Stockholm Bath Products- In Shower

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Bathroom View of Superior Room-Media Photo

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Exterior Views-7th Floor, Blogger’s Inn

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Exterior Views- 7th Floor, Blogger’s Inn

Amenities

The hotel has a large and cozy lobby, with plush seating for use of lounging, working or mingling with other guests, as well as a business center area, library, mini shop and beverage café. There is also a fire pit that comes on in the evenings, conference space and a full restaurant on the lower level (a brand new and much larger restaurant area is actually under construction on the very bottom level,) a workout room with modern equipment, and guests also have the option of using bikes or walking poles for outdoor activities.

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Lobby Beverage Counter/Cafe

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Lobby Entryway Seating-Daytime View

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Large Lobby Area With Plush Seating Across From Beverage Cafe

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Lobby-Fire Pit

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Lobby-Library, Evening View

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Workout Room-Media Photo

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Front Exterior Bike View at Scandic Vulkan

Restaurant

The Ristorante Ferro (onsite) offers a range of locally sourced items for breakfast and dinner. Guests of Scandic Vulkan can enjoy everything from salmon lox and flat breads, to a variety of fresh fruit, granola and yogurt. There are also both traditional and gluten-free baked goods and Norwegian hash, meat and eggs, too. Additionally, there is an assortment of drinks including; fruit infused water, coffee, tea, milk and juice. The offerings for breakfast are vast and you can try something different each day during your stay. It is also a wonderful time to get acquainted with other guests. You never know who you might meet at the espresso machine! During the evening, the restaurant completely transforms their menu for dinner, offering salads, proteins and the most delicious pumpkin risotto…ever found on the planet earth! It’s the same warm atmosphere with a whole new selection of comestibles on the menu, for guest’s dining pleasure. Yummers!

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Breakfast- Media Photo 

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Vast Offerings-Breakfast-Media Photo

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Current Restaurant- Dining Table View

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Delicious Pumpkin Risotto

I had an absolutely fabulous stay. The staff was delightful and helpful, the location was ideal and my room and views were superb!!! Scandic Vulkan is a must stay next time you visit Oslo! I cannot wait to return to the area for another visit. For more information on Scandic Vulkan and the Scandic Hotel line, visit scandichotels “A Home Away From Home.”

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Rear View of Scandic Vulkan Hotel

Visit Candacetravels on Instagram for a visual gallery of this property and the city of Oslo!

*I was a guest of Scandic Vulkan while in the Oslo area. This has in no way impacted my view of the hotel, amenities or location in any way. This is a true depiction of my experience and time at the property, while reviewing it.

 

Smile Brilliantly…While On the Go!

Welcome fellow travel aficionados! Today we’re going to discuss how to maintain a million dollar smile, while on the go. If you’re a tea or coffee drinker, or even a smoker, I’m sure you’ll appreciate this information. Even if the aforementioned don’t apply to you, I’m sure you’ve hoped for a brighter smile at some point in life. If you’ve ever found yourself stuck in a hotel (room) bathroom, fumbling with those over-the-counter whitening strips or gels- just a few days prior to an important meeting, then this post is most definitely for you. Since a great smile is equivalent to the perfect accessory, I have the perfect solution for you. Here’s how you can get your pearly whites to stand out in your meetings, as well as on your Instagram photos!

Today we’ll take an in depth look at Smile Brilliant, a professional grade teeth whitening kit that will amaze you by how fast it works. I recently became acquainted with this incredible product, which provided me with high quality results in record time, a short while ago. This one is most certainly a suitcase keeper!

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How It Works

My Smile Brilliant kit arrived in a square box, complete with everything I needed for a brighter smile. I must confess that I didn’t have layers of stains beforehand, but I am an avid tea, and very rare (on occasion) coffee drinker, so I wanted to lift my smile a shade or two for personal and professional purposes. I meet with a number of clients in different places, and I’m sometimes asked to be in pictures, so I like to look my best.

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The Kit– Inside I found instructions, molding putty, two trays; one for my upper teeth and a second for my bottom teeth, and 3 ml gel whitening syringes. Included was even an extra set of the modeling putty in case I had a misstep with the other, during the application. Fortunately, I didn’t have to use it, because I had my Iphone handy, to time the molding process – to ensure accurate results.

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I followed the card inside, which instructed me to mix the white and blue putty together until I could no longer see any white. Once it was ready, I spread the mixture in the upper tray and bit down to create the mold. I repeated the process for the lower tray and let them both sit for the recommended length of time. When ready, I dropped both of the trays with molds inside the envelope provided and mailed them back to Smile Brilliant, for the creation of my custom teeth whitening trays. In just a few days, my custom trays arrived, and they fit perfectly! I was eager to test them out. A short time after, I took a syringe from the Smile Brilliant kit and lined each tray with the whitening gel. I placed each inside my mouth and made sure the gel covered my teeth completely. I kept them in for approximately 20 mins the first time, and couldn’t believe the results I witnessed. Each syringe has enough gel inside for about 4-5 whitening sessions.

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Teeth Whitening Results

I could see a difference after just one use. Since then, I repeated the whitening process 6 more times to achieve my brightest, whitest smile yet. I found the entire Smile Brilliant process quite easy from beginning to end. The whitening kit provided such great results- that I would compare it to what you’d expect to find at a dental office, just minus the hefty price tag. Aside from being easy to use, the trays and gel-filled syringes are also easy to transport in any luggage. The tray container is the size of the case that houses my retainers from 15 years ago, post my braces days. It also fits effortlessly into any carry-on, tote bag or purse, making it simple to carry, if you need to lift your smile a few shades while on the run.

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Fits easily into a makeup bag!

For those with sensitive teeth, there is also a desensitizing gel that’s available for use to serve as a barrier.

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Smile Brilliant offers a high quality teeth whitening product that is sure to not only boost your confidence while talking to others at home or on the road, but it will also aid in the success of your magnificent social media selfies- one photo at a time.

GIVEAWAY!!!! One winner will receive $139.95 credit, which is 1 tray creation kit, plus 6 gel syringes of your choice (3 whitening and 3 desensitizing or 6 whitening.) Click here to enter your name and email address for a chance to win!

*Stay tuned for pics of me and my new pearly whites!! Part II coming this week~

 

 

18 Hotel Keys

I was recently packing when I discovered a number of hotel keys floating about in various pieces of luggage. I typically rotate between my duffle bag, roller bag or backpack/weekender, depending upon the length of each trip. To my surprise, I counted 18 stays, reflecting 18 keys for this year alone. In case you’re wondering, I do usually turn in at least one key, considering the hotel or resort generally provides you with two. In some rare cases, I have even received three keys, when there were room, door issues. In any case, upon making this discovery, I thought to myself – “This is a lot of hotel keys for 2016, Candace.” While most are from the Hilton family (I’m a HH member ) i.e. DoubleTree, Hilton Garden Inn or Hampton (work related,) there are some others that hold extra special memories this year. I must confess that I don’t always post on social media where I am each day, and that is partially because, sometimes…. I’d rather not be found. Forgive me. I mix and mingle when needed, but the introvert in me has to have time to work in peace alone, and other times, I simply need to refuel- and that is best accomplished solo for me.

While strolling back down memory lane, I was instantly drawn to three keys in particular out of the bunch. They naturally stood out because they looked so different from the scores of replicas from the brands noted above. Immediately, I cracked a smile. I closed my eyes and thought back to when I used each of them this year, and the fun times that I had during my stays. From boating on the Caribbean Sea in Bonaire, to snapping photos of the low-flying aircraft on Maho Beach in St. Maarten, I had a blast! Then there was the day I ventured across to the French side- of St. Martin, to nosh out at Cynthia’s with a buddy, and the day I set out to view the thousands of gorgeous cherry blossoms along the Tidal Basin in Washington D. C.  While all 18 experiences were not nearly as refreshing as these, I must say that each of them still left a lasting impression upon me. I’ve met so many cool people, engaged in countless deep conversations with individuals from all across the globe, joked with hotel staff….and complained in some cases, dined alongside some really interesting individuals, and overall just had a really good time. Life is meant to be lived, so I try my best to do just that. Although, it’s actually a pretty grueling job, despite what most people may think. Everyone sees the glitz and the glam online, but forgets about the backside of it. The flip side… is the challenging part. There are issues with business clients, unclean hotel rooms, hotel keys that don’t work after you’ve lugged tons of bags up to your door and have to go back to the front desk, those days where less than obedient children splash water on everyone outside of the pool while their parents sunbathe quietly, the nights of broken bathroom shower heads, lack of towels in the room, broken microwaves when it’s late and you want to warm up that delicious soup at 10:30pm, hard beds, hallway construction noise, loud neighbors and the telephones that don’t get a dial tone in the rooms, too. Yep, it’s not always an Instagram dream, but it’s part of the journey! Considering I’m a bit of a road warrior, a.k.a consultant, content writer, business coach and of course…travel and inspirational blogger, I’ve come up with a few things to consider before you book your next hotel/resort stay.

Hotel/Resort Tips from My Personal Experience

Remember: Not all hotel rooms are created equal. Thus, it’s important to look for certain amenities: Here is my go-to list, regardless of business or pleasure.

Driving vs. walking– If I have a rental car, which I often do, then proximity to the airport is not a major factor. However, in those instances when I don’t get a car, then accommodations near the airport and client are a real plus, since most have free shuttle service to and fro the airport, as well as within a 3 mile radius. I also consider if the property offers (free or not) breakfast, has on site restaurants, or if there are a plethora of food choices in both walking and driving distance. If I’ve had a long day, the last thing I want to do on my way back in, is to have to drive far to pick up dinner. Onsite restaurants are a winner, especially if the food is yummy. Free parking is also a plus when choosing.

Must- Haves–  I look for hotels with a business center in case I have to fax or scan items and a pleasant lounge area. If they don’t have a business center, then I need to confirm that they will fax or scan items if I need them to. I enjoy working in different atmospheres so when I’m not in the room, at a coffee shop, or in an office, I like to work from the lobby or lounge area. Change of scenery for me- is good. I also appreciate onsite laundry rooms and/or service and if it is a resort, then access to tours, beaches and other outdoor activities. Additionally, I look for onsite spa services, indoor or outdoor whirlpools, swimming pools, ocean room views (if it’s a water location) or city or garden scape views.

Also, be sure to select a property in the area of your activities. Map out to-do’s; restaurants, museums, train stations (if needed,) beaches, etc. If you have a strict diet (look for eateries that can accommodate,) walking restrictions and enjoy things like-morning jogs or strolls, your hotel location is important.

Travel Memberships & Apps

My preference for vacation is luxe! For business I’m generally in a moderately priced location. Thus, it really just depends on the trip, the client, whether it’s a vacation or business and the time of travel. I am a rewards member with Hilton and Wyndham (though not a huge fan of their brand, but I have stayed in a couple newly remodeled Wingates and Wyndhams that I liked.) Some of my favorite go-to apps for hotels include: Hotels.com, AgodaHotel Tonight, Travelpirates – primarily for flights and Hipmunk. The benefit of being a member or having an account with these companies is that you earn valuable points. Many travel-related credit cards (i.e. airline or hotel brands) work the same way. Each stay and even some purchases (credit cards,) allow you to amass points that can be applied toward “free” stays. Sign-up to take advantage of these benefits today! 

Well, 18 hotel keys later, and all I can say is that it’s been a wild ride already this year. Prayerfully, several more incredible travel experiences are on the way. In the meantime, happy and safe travels to you, and stay tuned to learn about more adventures, tips, products and services.

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For the Tea Traveler in You!

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I spend a good portion of my days throughout the year on the road and/or in the air, so when it comes to finding ways to unwind, I try to make it as simple as possible. One of those ways is by enjoying a hot cup of tea after a long day- to help me relax. I recently became acquainted with the Teavery line, and I was blown away. I would consider myself a bit of a tea connoisseur, so I’m speaking from experience when I say, “This is some delicious tea!” I have tasted a variety of teas from all around the world- so I take my tea drinking pretty seriously. I purchase teas locally, as well as abroad and look for exotic blends at tea shops, who import them in from various parts of the globe. Besides water, tea is my favorite beverage….and of course organic apple juice (which I used to think was only for babies and old people, but that’s another story for a different day.) In any case, I sampled three extraordinary blends from Teavery’s vast collection, and here’s what I think:

 

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My Experience

I found each of the teas from the Teavery line to be rich in texture, bold in flavor, aromatic in scent and soothing to the palate. I drank each of them in their natural state, as well as tried them with a sweetener (-I recommend agave nectar or honey and/or lemon.) I sampled the raspberry black currant first. It smelled fantastic and tasted even better! I could literally drink this one every day. It was my favorite of the trio. I paired it with organic, almond oatmeal and fresh fruit for a complete breakfast. A few days later, I steeped a kettle of the ginger peach rooibos as part of a post-dinner nightcap. The tea’s beautiful fragrance filled the length of the kitchen, and I savored the flavor throughout the rest of the evening. The mix of the two flavors; peach and ginger, made for a spectacular duet. The following week, I made a cup of the triple greens with jasmine blend, alongside some granola, and was once again extremely pleased. I have had my share of green tea in particular, and this one is quite strong and rich, yet with a hint of softness from the jasmine. It was a delightful cup of goodness with a kick!! It was wonderful. I even shared the raspberry blend with my mom, who loves raspberry, but is a regular coffee- drinker and she said it was quite “delicious!”

Teavery Collection

Teavery has three distinct tea collections; Urban Tea, Classic Tea and Herbal Tea. They are a mix of “organic, classic loose leaf teas, blended with a variety of herbs and/or fruits.” They are also”imported from farms across the globe.” I selected one from each category as noted above; Ginger Peach Rooibos (Urban Tea,) Raspberry Black Currant (Herbal Tea,) and Triple Greens with Jasmine (Classic Tea.) Teavery boasts that their teas are “fresher, healthier and tastier,” and I would have to agree. When scrolling through the list of blends online, I was so torn between which selections to try first. For a tea person like myself, it was a tough choice to make. I wanted to request one of everything, but somehow managed to narrow it down for the order!!! When they arrived, I was thoroughly impressed with the quality, fragrance and taste. They came in 3 small pouches with the ingredients and instructions for each on front. On the back, a portion of the encasement was transparent, so I could see the rich blends in all their splendor. When I tore each one open, the bold scents immediately hit me in the face- in the most pleasant of ways. I remember thinking how I couldn’t wait to taste them, and when I did, I just wanted more – and to sample other flavors.

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Tea Connoisseur Club

If you are anything like me, you’d probably want to try a little of everything, too. Thankfully, Teavery has come up with the perfect solution! They created a Tea Connoisseur Club for tea lovers to join, so that we can “sip” on something new each month. They offer 3 plans; Tea Addict– which comes with 224g per month, Tea Enthusiast– which comes with 56g per month and Tea Fanatic– which comes with 112g per month. Each provide 4 different  “organic, hand blended, loose leaf teas.” There are 5 types of tea available; green, black, white, chai/rooibos and herbal. Teavery “hand selects (these) unique blends each month” for members, as well as provides them with “exclusive”benefits, where they can “save 60-70% on loose leaf teas.” All subscriptions are “personalized and all orders are also shipped at the members convenience.” (Teavery ) The tea is easy to transport and I can start or end my day over a hot cup of tea, while home or away. You can purchase tea blends by the month or individually.

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New to the Teavery Line

On September 1st, Teavery will introduce their new glass thermos, equipped with a removable tea infuser. I had the pleasure of testing it out and it is PERFECTION! It’s slim, great for the environment (glass, as opposed to plastic,) and it houses the tea, allowing it to marinate the full length of my drink, if I want it to. I can take it on the go, by securely packing and carrying it with no problems. It slides right down the side of my tote bag. The glass cylinder also fits in any cup holder and comes with an insulated cover for effortless handling, to prevent touching the hot glass directly. Be sure to visit Teavery to order yours this coming Thursday, September 1, 2016.

To review the extensive collection of Teavery teas and to place your order today, visit Teavery, and use code CT10 at checkout to receive 10% off, as a thank you to all of my wonderful followers!! All orders $10 and over, will also receive free shipping. Cheers to happy and safe travels, and to several delightful cups of yummy tea!

*I reviewed these sponsored products for Teavery. This has in no way impacted my opinion of them, and I have provided readers insight, as well as my true experience with each of the tea blends. 

 

3 Tips for Spontaneous Travel…

 

How long has it been since your last, spur of the moment getaway? If you took longer than 30 secs to answer, then boy are you overdue for a trip! Not sure when you will find the time to steal away? Well, here are 3 quick tips to help get you out of the office-and on the road, or in the air today.

  1. Pack a Bag

Whether you choose a weekender or duffle bag, just grab something- and fill it up! Yes, pack it and leave it out in eye view. Place it outside of your closet, or somewhere near your bed..so that perhaps, you can trip over it, lol. Let it serve as a constant reminder to you that some time away- is needed soon. Also, don’t forget to toss in your favorite travel  and lifestyle magazines, books and any favorite, non-perishable snacks that you’d most enjoy.

     2. Prepare Cameras & Other Devices

Pull that camera from atop the shelf in your closet and charge up that battery -NOW! Gather your flashes, hoods, lenses, SIM cards, as well as any portable chargers, adapters or other must-haves, for the road. Once you’ve collected all the items, toss them in the bag that you packed, and again, remember to set it outside of your bedroom closet. Yes, that weekender that you’re going to keep bumping into- unless you get serious about getting away!

      3. Create a Checklist

The major benefit of having a check-list readily available, is that you’ve already taken all the guess work out. Remember, spontaneous trips are…well… spontaneous! We’re cheating a little by preparing in advance, but it’ll be oh so worth it. Make a list of necessary contact numbers and must-do’s before leaving the premises today. This will ensure that you’re not disregarding any previously confirmed engagements, nor sacrificing any necessities in the last minute process. Have a person or kennel on hand that would agree to keep your pet or mini-you (like an overnight daycare,or trusted granny, who never turns down time with your favorite little persons,) for a day or two, on short notice. Let these individuals know ahead of time that one day in the very near future, you will be calling them for help! It may surprise you to see just how much they’ll encourage you to do it, too. Also, remember to make arrangements now (by putting them on notice that a spontaneous getaway is in the making) for taking out the trash or picking up the mail.

Sooo, now that you’re ready- you are going to ditch work one Friday, (only if you have vacation time to use…and even if you don’t,) and catch a flight or hop in the car for the spur-of-the-moment time of your life!

Now that you are all set- get ready for some spontaneous travel fun! Share your stories with the Candacetravel team when you return, as well as of any adventures from your last spur-of-the-moment trips. We’d love to hear from you!! Safe travels!

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Charles de Gaulle Airport- Paris, France

 

 

 

The Perfect Stowaway

Looking for the perfect “stowaway” for your summer 2016, travel schedule? If so, then do I have a great suggestion for you. It’s a traveler’s favorite- the fantastic line of Stowaway Cosmetics. I’ve trekked across the country with these goodies for the last 3 months, and it’s been quite the pleasure having them in tow. Since I now refuse to leave home without them, you can bank on spotting me with one or more of the beauty products on. From the smooth and silky lipstick, to the gorgeous, natural shades of the eye shadow palette, these beauty enhancers are a must-have for your upcoming adventures. Below are my top 3 reasons why you should add Stowaway Cosmetics to your packing list- today.

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  1. Size

Stowaway Cosmetics are compact and portable. They are the ideal size for weekend getaways or even extended business or leisure trips. The primary benefit to having smaller sized cosmetics, is that they take up much less space. As a result, they leave room in your make-up bag for other essential travel items; like nail files, facial cleansers and mini perfume bottles. The lipstick tube is about the length of a pinky finger and the eyeliner is about the size of a ring finger, whereas the cheek and lip rouge is just a tad larger than a silver US dollar. The eye shadow palette is the size of a hotel room key (or credit card,) and the mascara stick, complexion balm (foundation) and tiny concealer are about 2/3rds the size of traditional ones. Since I’ve become a minimalist over the last couple of years, these items work well with my current lifestyle. I’m certain that just about every road warrior and person on-the-go, would appreciate this line. Aside from being an absolute home-run for travelers, Stowaway is also fantastic for nights out on the town. They fit perfectly into just about any clutch, wristlet or small purse.

Where has Stowaway Cosmetics been all of my life???

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Stowaway Cosmetics- Taken at The Ritz Carlton- Pentagon City, Arlington, VA

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Lipstick tube in comparison to a standard M.A.C. tube

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Essential Eye Palette – The size of my (The) Ritz Carlton hotel room key

  1. Customization of Products & Packaging

It’s easy to customize a kit online, as well as to select individual items. The online store is user friendly and provides information about each beauty product. The available colors are listed under each item, along with the price. The Stowaway Cosmetics line (lipsticks, rouges and lip glosses) primarily features colors within the pink and mauve family. There is also a beautiful red, creme lipstick to choose from and a range of moisturizing tints. The Essential Eye (Shadow) Palette is comprised of beautiful matte and shimmer earth tones that can also be used for brows, as well as for a liner. The gorgeous Cheek and Lip Rouge complements the lipstick and lip gloss line impeccably, and the Effortless Eyeliner and Extreme Lash Mascaras both come in black, and the eyeliner is offered in brown as well.  Most of the products come in a cute matte, gray encasement with the word “Stowaway” in white – on the outside of them, and the Radiant Complexion Beauty Balm cream moisturizer and Creaseless Concealer come in white tubing with gray lettering. The packaging is adorable!

When my kit arrived, it was in the most charming little white box with all of my goodies packed away inside!

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Stowaway Cosmetics upon arrival- in individual boxes

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Stowaway Cosmetics upon arrival- enclosed in tissue paper and label

  1. Use

Product Review

I have used all of my Stowaway products for the last few months, and have really enjoyed them. They have traveled with me from airport to airport and from hotel to home and all points in between. They’ve held up well under fierce travel conditions and have proved to be durable despite being small.

Use- I really like the feel and the creaminess of the raspberry lipstick. It’s brighter than what I normally wear, but I wanted to step out-the-box with this one a bit. It feels great on my lips and complements my rich brown tones. The mascara is also pretty great and goes on easily. I like the thickness of the product, for the perfect lash. The eyeliner is soft and silky, but actually takes a few applications before showing up for me. The cheek and lip rouge is a real winner. I appreciate that it’s a two-in-one, allowing for maximum use. I can wear it on my lips and cheeks, which cuts out the need for a separate lipstick tube some days. It’s cremey and applies rather effortlessly for a little pop of color. The eye palette is probably my most favorite of the bunch, because of the beautiful earth tone shades. I typically aim for a more natural look, so the long lasting colors worked well for me. The complexion balm wasn’t exactly a match for my skin tone, especially since I’m summer sun-kissed, so I passed it on to my niece. I’m a deep caramel and rich brown, so the darkest shade available, “tan,” wasn’t quite deep enough for me. However, I did like the texture of it when I tried. Even though it is a tad darker than what my niece normally wears, she loved it! The concealer was equally as smooth, but was also a shade or two lighter than my normal tint. This too, was passed onto my niece, and she absolutely adored it. She said that it was one of the best concealers that she’s ever used- and that’s a real complement coming from her. She is a makeup connoisseur. She models, dances and acts, so she takes her beauty items very seriously. I look forward to seeing the addition of some new tints and lipstick/gloss colors in the future, but all and all, my overall experience with Stowaway Cosmetics has been an extremely positive one!

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Raspberry Lipstick and Peony Cheek and Lip Rouge 

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Radiant Complexion Beauty Balm and Creaseless Concealer -both in “Tan”

Stowaway products are cruelty, paraben and phthalate -free, and are appropriately priced. From $8 for tinted lip glosses, to $22 for beauty balms, these items are a treat.

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Stowaway Cosmetics Packed inside my Tumi bag with room to spare

*I reviewed these sponsored products for Stowaway Cosmetics. This has in no way altered my opinion of them, and I have provided readers insight, as well as my true experience with the beauty items. 

 

 

 

The Age Old Mystery: Work/Life Balance for Superheroes on the Go!


For useful tips to find that perfect equilibrium on the go, click here to review my guest post on GoWonder.co. You can also download my FREE, mini Work/Life Balance ebook here on The Travel Diary site. 

Happy, healthy and well-balanced travels to you!

Packing Tips: How To Pack The Right Way

How difficult is it to pack some trips? If you’re anything like me, then you may have to decide between travel companions. When an assignment comes in, I have the daunting task of selecting who will accompany me. No, I’m not talking about a person, but instead am referring to which of my lovely travel bags will have the pleasure. If it’s a short trip, then possibly my Vera Bradley backpack will do. However, if I have need additional items, then it may require my faithful (of over 20 yrs,) Ralph Lauren tote bag and small roller bag. Then there’s my trusty Genius Pack Entrepreneur laptop bag, my large roller bag…my denim duffle, and of course my many weekenders to choose from. Regardless of who makes the cut, it’s super important that I have room for all the essentials- for my journey. For packing tips, click here to review a great little visual guide to help you prepare, before your next trip. Happy packing and safe travels!!!

IMG_4971Short trip- leaving out of MCO Airport – Vera Bradley Backpack Weekend

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