Thursday, February 13, 2014

40 and Fabulous Surprise Birthday Party

I can't believe that I just typed those words. But, it is true. I turned 40 last week. Craziness.

Actually, I think that my kids were more excited and anticipated it more than I did.  I can tell you that I don't "feel" 40 . . .whatever that is supposed to feel like.  At least I don't feel like what I thought 40 would feel like.

On the day of my actual birthday we were enduring yet another snow storm here in St. Louis.  Little did I know, though, that my husband and friends were scheming and planning.  I told Scott that I really didn't want/need anything big but would just like to go out to dinner with a couple of friends.  Well, they sure surprised me.

I can't tell you the shock that I had when I saw a room full of my friends.  My friend, Janice, is a fantastic party planner so I guess Scott just put her in charge and boy, did she come through. 

The room was absolutely beautiful.  We had a private room surrounded by natural wood and coolers full of wine. 

I "might" like to drink a bit of wine.  Loved my "40 and Fabulous" wine gift from some really great friends, Angie and Kori.

I also "might" like to gamble a bit . . .

Janice made tons of picture props . . .cigars, mustaches, glasses.  They were so much fun!

Janice aka "Party Planner Extraordinaire" and me

 Angie and Kori gave me the great wine glass

 After party at the casino

 Corey (my Sunday Funday buddy) and Ann--great neighbors!

Although you would think that it goes against my personality but I truly am not a "center of attention" person.  I always feel like I am putting people out.  This is why I really appreciated all of the time, effort, and secret conversations that took place to make this a surprise for me.  It was great to celebrate with everyone.  It was definitely a birthday to remember!

 My sister and me

 Hottie Scottie

Sue and me

Monday, January 20, 2014

TRAVEL REVIEW: Hyatt Zilara (formerly THE ROYAL Cancun)

I just returned from a weekend at the Hyatt Zilara (formerly THE ROYAL Cancun) and here is my honest review.

First of all, let me be upfront and tell you that I am a travel agent. I went to this resort because I have 12 couples booked here in May. With the change of ownership, I just wanted to make sure that everything is still up to the same standards as the Real Resort. I was not disappointed.

Check-In: We were met with champagne and led over to a table in which the concierge asked us about our preferred pillows, when we would want have maid service, and what kind of aromatherapy for the room. We also were able to make reservations for dinners right then. Not all restaurants require reservations but since we were there for only 2 nights, I wanted to try one of the specialty restaurants. We chose Maria Maria (more on that later). 

Our room was not ready until 3:00pm. I don't know why everyone makes such an issue about their room not being ready until later in the afternoon. Check-out is at 11:00am, they clean the rooms, and then they check you in. Just come prepared . . . we packed our swimsuits on the outside pockets of our carry-ons, changed, and got on with our weekend. It really is no big deal!

Room: We stayed just in the entry-level Junior Suite. If you cannot afford to upgrade, don't worry! Every room at this resort is ocean front! The view, as you can tell from my pictures, is absolutely amazing. There is a large spa tub right in the bedroom. We never used it. Some people love them, some people hate them. I just don't really take baths on vacation. The shower was huge with about 6 different water spout and it is big enough for two. The drains are not that great and the water did stand a bit but once the water was turned off, it drained rather quickly.
There is a mini-bar in the room stocked with name brand liquors, beers, soda, juices, and water. There was also a full bottle of wine waiting for us.
Turn down service was fantastic and little candies were left each night.

Service: I cannot say enough about the service at this resort. Every single waiter, housekeeper, concierge, bartender . . .everyone went out of their way to make sure that they gave us the best service possible. There is a pool waiter that walks around and will clean your sunglasses. The waiters hand out frozen grapes. They all are just great.
In particular, we loved Felipe at the Lobby Bar. He was so much fun and really made us feel so special. I loved talking to Felipe about his family and about Don Julio 1942 and Real(ha!). I also loved Nava's mojitos down at the beach bar. They were great!

Food: This is the one area where I can't go on and on. In all honesty, I was just there for 2 nights so I don't have a huge selection. Some of the standouts were the Mexican Coffee at Tapas & Pinxtos, my husband loved the tuna at Maria Marias, the flank steak tacos at Pelicano's were great as was the guacamole. I wish we could have tried the Chef's Table . . .another reason to go back.

Entertainment: There are nightly shows in the lobby along with other special theme nights (ie Disco night, etc). The flamenco dancer and singer were fantastic. Him singing Ava Maria was unforgettable. I also enjoyed fondue night. There is also a lady who rolls some fantastic Cuban cigars. She is great.

Beach: The beach is wide and gorgeous. The chairs are nice and the beach service was great. The ocean was very rough and not very swimmable but you can't judge that because next week, it could be great!

Location: This resort is only about 15 minutes from the airport. It has a great, walkable beach. If you want to venture out, feel free to jump on the city bus for only $1 and go to local restaurants, bars, and shops.

If you have any particular questions about this resort, please feel free to message me.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas 2013

Christmas 2013 was great.  We were able to spend the entire weekend doing Christmas activities.  It really got everyone in to the spirit.

We started the weekend off by decorating cookies and exchanging gifts with our friends.

On Saturday we had the Westerhold Christmas party.  We always go to Scott's sister's (Debbie) house.  Everyone brings appetizers and we play games and exchange presents.

Sunday we moved on over to my parents' house and my side of the family.

We had a very exciting Christmas Eve.  We took Gracie to pick out her first American Girl doll as her "big" gift.  I She had so much fun even though it was a bit overwhelming.  

In the end, she chose Marie-Grace.
We headed to church and then dinner afterwards with our family.  Back home and the kids said good-bye to our elf, Chuckie, and waited on Santa Claus to visit. 

When the kids woke up on Christmas morning, they saw that Santa came overnight and both Chuckie and Santa had left a note.

The boys both enjoyed their "big" gifts this year, too.  These awesome planes that we found on Toys R Us online.  Scott was as excited about the boys getting these as they were to get them.  I have to admit, they are really cool!

Gaga loved his new watch, it was a surprise, and his new Darius Rucker hat.

As for me, I love my new Fitbit Flex.  Most of all, though, I'm loving these three.  Hope you all had as great a Christmas season as we did.