Category: girlfriend getaways

Girlfriends Getaway To Miami: Part Two

June 24th, 2012 — 8:29pm

Last Saturday, my South Beach getaway with my dear friend Patrina continued with another relaxing day on the beach.

Later, we strolled over to Ocean Avenue, stumbling upon Caffe Milano, another fantastic Italian bistro. Then, thanks to a tip from my SoBe savvy cousin Carla, Trina and I joined the lively, scantily dressed crowd at The Clevelander hotel’s outdoor bar/nightclub.

Trina and me enjoying a night out on the town

When we found ourselves noticing the amount of cleavage on parade and commenting on it, a guy standing next to us quipped—

“Enjoy the boobies,” as he walked away.

Only in Miami.

Sunday, we opted to lounge by the cozy pool at the Marriott. Pool attendant Sophia took good care of us and had us laughing with her wicked sense of humor. When we were, ahem, admiring a few of the attractive male guests from afar, she had this to say—

“Good from afar but far from good. Kind of like when you see an Audi and think it’s hot, until you get closer and find out it’s just a Nissan from 1982 with a really good paint job.”

The South Beach Marriott’s pool is a slice of oceanview heaven

Sophia made sure we were comfortably settled in umbrella-covered deck chairs at the pool’s far end. Trina and I took a break from our fun and non-stop conversation to curl up with E.L. James’ steamy bestseller, Fifty Shades of Grey (she had it on her Kindle, I went old school with the paperback edition).

I quickly discovered why the book has become such a big hit – James’ breezy writing style and, of course, flair for romance and raunchy sex scenes, pull you right in. It doesn’t hurt if you’re a Twilight fan too, since it’s easy to see how Edward and Bella’s love story provided the template for James. Fifty Shades basically removes the vampire/werewolf element and replaces it with BDSM and lots of sex.

It was nearly 5pm when Trina and I looked up from Fifty Shades, shocked at how quickly the day had gone by. Is there anything better than reading a good book on a perfect summer day?

A big sports fan, Trina suggested we head downtown to take in the excitement of the Miami Heat/ OKC Thunder playoff game.

All smiles with the Miami skyline behind us

Bayside Marketplace was buzzing as we enjoyed cocktails at a mojito bar before a leisurely bite at Tradewinds, a seafood eatery overlooking Biscayne Bay.

Trina and I made a toast to our friendship and a weekend that was so much fun, she suggested we make it an annual tradition. Sign me up!

2 comments » | girlfriend getaways

A Sun Drenched Girlfriends Getaway

June 21st, 2012 — 9:18pm

Last weekend, my girlfriends getaway to Miami kicked off with an early check-in at the Marriott South Beach. It was just after 11am when Patrina and I arrived, but our ocean view room was all ready for us.

All Smiles: Trina and me enjoying our first meal in South Beach

After changing into beach attire, we headed down to the hotel’s Deco Blue restaurant for a delightful early lunch (grilled mahi mahi sandwich for Trina, steak Caesar salad for me) complimented by refreshing skinny colada cocktails. Like we always do no matter how long it’s been since we’ve seen each other, Trina and I had plenty to talk about – from reminiscing about long ago day as reporters in sleepy Southern Illinois to, of course, dating dilemmas and pet peeves.

Trina shared the story of a friend’s male friend paying with a gift card on a first date. Though I’m all for being frugal, we both agreed this probably wasn’t the best way or occasion on which to demonstrate that. Save it for the second date.

Taking advantage of the idyllic sunny and breezy weather, we walked a few steps to the beach, where we settled in to some umbrella-covered deck chairs for a few blissful hours. Back in our room, as I mentioned on Saturday, we were surprised with sparkling wine, white chocolate-covered strawberries and a thoughtfully personalized note.  When it comes to genuine hospitality, Marriott is in a class by itself.

Española Way is full of great restaurants

For dinner, we took a quick cab ride over to Española Way, a charming stretch of cozy restaurants and bars, settling at Segafredo for Italian fare and more of Miami’s service with a smile. One thing we weren’t smiling about – the automatic 18% gratuity that’s added to every restaurant or bar bill. This is new since my last visit to Miami two years ago. Maybe there’s something to it, though, because every single food and beverage person we encountered was beyond friendly and attentive.

After lingering for dessert (a heavenly tiramisu), we braved a brief downpour and found ourselves seeking shelter in a boutique pet shop that specializes in puppies and toy dogs. Needless to say, the cuteness factor was through the roof here. Trina and I admitted to the shopkeepers that if we were locals, we would likely have taken two of their little charges home.

Up next…more about our memorable weekend in South Beach, which included the racy book that everyone’s been buzzing about.

2 comments » | girl talk, girlfriend getaways

A Return To South Beach

June 16th, 2012 — 7:49pm

Greetings from South Beach in Miami, where I’m enjoying a girls getaway with my dear friend Patrina. Trina and I last caught up in Houston two years ago, during my Great Dating Blitz.

Our Room With A View at the Marriott South Beach

South Beach is where I ended that adventure, so it feels really special to be back here — and to be back at the Marriott, the ideal home away from home for a single gal. Once again, I’m savoring the brand’s warm hospitality and first class amenities…not to mention a warm welcome in the form of sparkling wine and chocolate covered strawberries delivered to our room.

Trina and I are savoring this beachside getaway.

Coming up…a full report on our weekend in SoBe!

Comment » | girlfriend getaways, The Great Dating Blitz

An Action Packed Girls Weekend

June 10th, 2012 — 6:10pm

This weekend, I had the pleasure of catching up with my dear friend of 26 years Jackie. Jackie and I went to junior high school together when I was living in Toronto. We packed a lot in to the last couple of days.

Jackie and me at the Lowell Hotel

Friday, we enjoyed afternoon tea at NYC’s elegant Lowell Hotel in Midtown. While nibbling on finger sandwiches, scones and Devonshire cream, Jackie and I reflected on family ties and how good friends are just as important in carrying you through tough times. Afterward, craving a quiet night in, we rented the Justin Timberlake-Mila Kunis romcom “Friends With Benefits,” definitely one of the most entertaining and well written romcoms I’ve seen in awhile.

Yesterday was action packed. We started the day by heading down to SoHo, delighted to stumble upon a street fair teeming with cheap jewelry finds, colorful clothes and scrumptious foods. Street fairs are one of my favorite things about summer in NYC.

A delicious spread of teas and spices at the SoHo street fair that we stumbled upon

Then it was off to nearby SoHo Park, a charming eatery whose charming public garden décor lives up to its name, for some delicious veggie burgers with cheese. From there, Jackie and I went to Macy’s to take advantage of a huge sale and add to our summer wardrobe. Back at home, I whipped up salmon burgers with dill sauce for us, happy to cook for my dear friend since I was far less adept in the kitchen during her visit last year.

After dinner and a few cocktails, we went downtown again – to my favorite nightclub, Canal Room, to hear 80’s cover band Rubix Kube.

Rubix Kube ROCKED!!

As always, the band delivered a high energy set that had everyone dancing and singing along to classics like “Beat It,” “Pour Some Sugar On Me,” “Let’s Go Crazy,” and “Jessie’s Girl.” Jackie and I were hoarse and happy when we caught up with lead female vocalist Cherie Martorana outside.

Jackie and me with lead singer Cherie Martorana after the show

Another fantastic girls’ weekend from start to finish. Can’t wait for my next one…next weekend in South Beach. Stay tuned!

1 comment » | afternoon tea, catching up with old friends, girl talk, girlfriend getaways, Rubix Kube, SoHo

A Weekend Getaway To Remember

November 14th, 2011 — 8:51pm

Saturday, my girlfriends getaway to Puerto Rico continued with a relaxing afternoon by the Radisson Ambassador’s rooftop pool. Then, it was time for the weekend’s main event — Ricky Martin in concert at Jose Agrelot Coliseum.

The Pre-Ricky Glow: All smiles before the concert (from left: Donna, Jenn, me and Sheila)

Despite bad directions and a 45 minute adventure, Donna, Jenn and I arrived in plenty of time for the pre-show sound check. You could feel the warmth and joyful energy between Ricky and his amazing team of musicians and dancers, a connection that ignited in full force during the concert.

Ricky seemed euphoric to be back in his beloved Puerto Rico. He pulled out all the stops for the MAS tour finale, engaging the crowd between songs and beaming the entire time. Favorite moments: a heartstopping version of “Vuelve” and an old school rendition of “Cup of Life” (complete with confetti) that skipped the quieter instrumentation he performed it with back on opening night in March.

Yesterday, the Ricky-inspired fun continued with a road trip to Ponce. Jenn, Sheila and fellow fan Lee joined Donna for a visit to the Centros Sor Isolina Ferre. Donna’s been supporting the Centros — a Christian humanitarian organization that Ricky has been affiliated with — for many years.

We were greeted warmly by Sisters Margarita, Mildred and Sylvia, who treated us to a traditional lunch of arroz con pollo that reminded me of the meals my beloved grandmother (who was born in Puerto Rico) used to cook. After touring the center and learning more about the incredible work the nuns do with education and community outreach, we visited La Guancha, Ponce’s lively boardwalk featuring music, open air restaurants and local artisans.

During our visit, it was Sister Margarita who most inspired me. With more energy than most people half her age, she is a woman who sees the beauty in every thing great and small — who believes happiness is always closer than people realize.

“Life is good,” she told us. “You have to look at it, face it and embrace it.”

In addition to all of the inspiring missionary work she’s done, Sister Margarita is multi-talented — she’s taught aerobics, writes poetry and makes heavenly candy from papayas that she grows in her front yard.

As she spoke about the importance of feeling gratitude every day, I thought about how easy it is to lose sight of that. And how thankful I felt for the weekend that had introduced me to her.

Just before we left, Lee’s phone rang to the tune of Ricky’s classic hit “Maria.” We all laughed and Sister Margarita started dancing. Who would’ve thought a celebrity crush could connect me with so many amazing women?

She’s so right — life is good. 




3 comments » | girlfriend getaways, Ricky Martin, road trips

Girlfriends Getaway To Puerto Rico

November 11th, 2011 — 4:04pm

Longtime readers of this blog know that I’m a big fan of both Ricky Martin and girlfriend getaways. So there’s nothing I enjoy more than a vacation that combines both — which is exactly what I’m experiencing this weekend in Puerto Rico.

For the second time this year, I’m in San Juan with a group of fabulous women who adore and admire Ricky as much as I do — New Jersey gals Donna and longtime RM friend Jenn and fellow New Yorker Sheila. Since arriving yesterday afternoon, we’ve been savoring the sights and sounds of PR’s capital city, and of course, looking forward to seeing Ricky perform in his hometown.

I’ve often said seeing Ricky here is like what I would imagine seeing Elvis at Graceland would’ve been like. There’s a different level of excitement — you hear his music everywhere, see promotional posters on every other street — that only adds to the fun. Tomorrow, we’ll be front and center for the finale of Ricky’s MAS world tour.

How luckyI am to have a fabulous group of women to share it all with.


Comment » | girlfriend getaways

A Fun-Filled Weekend

May 31st, 2011 — 2:19pm

Playing tourist in your hometown is always fun — especially when you do it with a dear friend. This weekend, that’s exactly what I did with my galpal Jackie, visiting from Toronto.

Saturday was action-packed. After taking in 360 degree skyline views from the Top of The Rock observatory, we strolled through Times Square, found some accessories in a bargain boutique and browsed at Macy’s before heading down to Union Square.

At Lady’s Mendl’s: Jackie and me

Our destination — Lady Mendl’s Tea Salon, rated the best afternoon tea in NYC for good reason. With its cozy Victorian B&B vibe and first class service, Lady Mendl’s delivers a truly memorable experience. Jackie and I savored the multiple variety finger sandwiches, classic buttermilk scones, cheesecake and petits fours for dessert.

Sunday, we got in touch with our inner child and walked through FAO Schwartz then stopped in The Plaza’s Food Hall by Todd English for lunch (Caesar salad for me, falafel sliders for Jackie, complimented by a round of mimosas). Taking advantage of the glorious weather, we ambled through Central Park, where the sight of kids playing got us talking about motherhood — Jackie has a three-year-old son — myths and realities.

What A Ride: Enjoying The Beast

Yesterday, we beat the heat with a ride on The Beast, a 30-minute high speed boat ride around NYC’s harbor. Refreshed from our mild soaking at the end of it, we stopped in Grand Central for cupcakes at Magnolia Bakery, then capped off the day with a delicious dinner at cozy UES bistro Mediterraneo.

Of course, our weekend itinerary was also full of conversation. We talked a lot about the lingering power of first love, the importance of finding yourself before finding a mate and, of course, the slumber parties we had during our junior high school days. Jackie and I are already planning our next one, when I visit Toronto later this year.

Many times over the last couple of days, Jackie and I marveled that we’ve known each other for a quarter of a century. Old friends really are like good wine — they simply get better with age.

1 comment » | girlfriend getaways

A Girls Weekend

May 29th, 2011 — 11:04am

When it comes to friends, there’s nothing more special than the ones that manage to withstand time and geography. This weekend, I’m enjoying a wonderful reminder of this thanks to a visit from my beloved galpal Jackie.

Reunited: Jackie and me enjoying the view from NYC's Top of The Rock observation deck

Jackie and I have been friends for 25 years, since we went to junior high school together during my years of living in Toronto. Though we haven’t seen each other in seven years, we effortlessly picked up right where we left off. Then again, that’s what forever friends always do.

We’re playing tourist in the Big Apple this holiday weekend. Coming up…details of our action-packed itinerary!

Comment » | girlfriend getaways

Weekend In Puerto Rico

March 29th, 2011 — 1:45pm

My action-packed weekend in Puerto Rico was everything you could want from a girls getaway.

Thursday afternoon, my friend Jenn and I lounged by the Radisson’s rooftop pool, soaking up sun and comparing notes on speed dating. Unlike my experiences with it in NYC, Jenn has found the New Jersey versions she has attended to be largely absent of eligible bachelors.

“He had no teeth!” she said, describing her most offputting speed dater.

For dinner, we ventured into Old San Juan, enjoying stuffed mofongo and pina coladas at Café Puerto Rico.

Before The Show: Jenn and me at El Coliseo de Puerto Rico

Friday, after a little beach time, we got ready for the weekend’s big event — seeking Ricky Martin kick off his MAS concert tour. Thanks to our membership in Ricky’s fan club, we were able to book a ticket package that also included a meet and greet with him.

Backstage: Ricky Martin and me. Heaven.

As he has been every other time I’ve met him over the years, Ricky was exceedingly gracious (and, yes, irresistibly cute). The Latin superstar’s nearly two-hour set proved he still has the pipes and powerhouse moves to deliver an exhilarating, unforgettable show. In addition to songs from recently-released MAS, he performed a seamless mix of beloved Spanish tracks like “Vuelve,” “Tu Recuerdo” and “Maria” and English pop hits including “Livin’ La Vida Loca,” “Loaded” and “Cup of Life.”  

Saturday, Jenn and I joined four other Ricky devotees for a fun afternoon at the Bacardi Rum distillery. A quick ferry ride from San Juan, Bacardi is well worth a visit (and it’s free too).

The weekend winded down with a visit to Humacao, where I caught up with relatives from Florida that happened to be on vacation at the same time. My aunt had me and my cousins in stitches with her tips on how to pick up more than produce in the supermarket. I just might take her advice, stay tuned!

6 comments » | girlfriend getaways, Puerto Rico, Ricky Martin

A Weekend Of Pampering

July 2nd, 2009 — 12:45am

Last weekend, my friend Bobbi and I enjoyed a much-needed getaway to The Spa at Norwich Inn.

Nestled in the heart of Connecticut, it was exactly what I always imagined a destination spa to be – bucolic setting, soft-spoken and friendly staff and bathrobe-glad guests (most of whom were female) strolling the grounds.

Bobbi and I all aglow after our treatments at The Spa At Norwich Inn

Saturday afternoon was devoted to on-property pampering, including a rejuvenating facial and massage combo. Continuing the relaxation vibe, Bobbi and I went from the hot tub to the indoor pool before making our way to complimentary afternoon tea.

Over buttermilk scones with clotted cream and blackcurrant tea, we talked about old boyfriends, new romantic prospects and the importance of paying attention to dating dealbreakers. We applauded ourselves for finally learning how to move on from Mr. Wrong more swiftly — Bobbi ended her last ill-fated romance after six months, I exited from my most recent entanglement after only three.

After lounging by the outdoor pool and one more dip inside, we spruced ourselves up and headed over to nearby casino Mohegan Sun. Bobbi lost $200 playing roulette and I picked up $50, buying us a round of drinks with my small winnings.

Bobbi and I are already planning our next getaway, and a future return to Norwich. Because the joys of pampering are always multiplied when they’re shared.

Up next…drinks with a handsome, charismatic tabloid newsman and the allure of the unattainable.

Comment » | afternoon tea, Connecticut, gambling, girlfriend getaways, Mohegan sun, The Spa At Norwich Inn

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