The Magic Of Mackinac Island and Mission Point Resort

Living in the suburbs of Chicago for a couple of decades now, common conversation with friends and colleagues often focuses around  family road trips to various Midwest destinations– Mackinac Island being the first and foremost…with an abundance of oohs, ahhhs and starry-eyed stories of this dreamy far-off Michigan land. When I dared mention that I had yet to experience Mackinac Island, looks of disbelief, disgust and dismay abounded. How was this possible?  To be honest, Mackinac has been on my bucket list for many, many years now, but life just didn’t allow me to find my way to this charming storybook location …until this glorious June week.

Now that I have seen the Mackinac light, I am furious at myself for robbing  my family (and myself) of one of the most beautiful destinations in the United States, if not the entire world. But we cannot live in the past; I am profoundly elated that we made this trip, for it has positively impacted our lives forever.

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Door County, Wisconsin in the Spring

After visiting Door County, Wisconsin last Fall, we felt it only fair to experience this picturesque area of the American Midwest during the season of renewal.  We were a bit skeptical about our return, since our fall visit was utterly surreal, but Door County certainly does not disappoint whether you prefer a kaleidoscope of autumn leaves or a rainbow of tulips dappling each picturesque town.

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When Menopause and Puberty Book The Same Flight

Once upon a time, there was a calm and patient mommy who traveled the world with her sweet-natured, soft-spoken little darling. Side by side they sat and smiled dreamily, gazing out of the 747’s picturesque window, at the wondrous world below.

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Suddenly, the flight became turbulent!  Temper tantrums, tears and cursing matches flooded the aisles. Innocent passengers trapped… victim to the barrage of bitching and bickering.

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Five Reasons You Have to Visit Jamaica, Ya Mon!

1. The Beaches

So this probably goes without saying, but if you are in need of long stretches of powder­ white, footprint-­free sand, and swaying coconut palms,  and if you long to hear the lapping of soft Caribbean sea waves, Jamaica needs to be on your bucket list. Whether you are looking for a secluded cove to escape the world or every type of adventurous water activity, Jamaica has it all. From snorkeling to horseback riding, from glowing bioluminescent beaches to kayaking, and steel drum  reggae beach parties,  there is something for everyone.

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Our Life Changing Visit to Ochos Rios Primary School in Jamaica

Last summer my friend, Gabi, told me about an amazing charity called Pack for A Purpose.  (If you’ve followed previous posts you’ve read all about this incredible organization. If not, click the link to read all about it!)  I loved the idea of taking action to positively impact the lives of students globally, so beginning a book drive was the perfect idea.  I would have never imagined in a million years that we’d collect 7,000 books and that I’d have the opportunity to actually visit the recipients of our donations. This past week has changed my life forever. It is so true that when you give, you receive even more in return.

On A Mission To Spread Happiness

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Mother-Daughter Milwaukee Weekend

1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8…Schlemiel! Schlimazel! Hasenpfeffer Incorporated!  (Millennials, ask your parents.) I showed Brooke an episode of Laverne and Shirley before we headed out on our mother-daughter Milwaukee weekend.  And yes, I made her reenact the opening right out on the street in public.  Considering I was taking her to a Miranda Sings concert, it was more than a fair exchange.

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Milwaukee is such an easy weekend getaway from our Chicago suburb of Naperville…just under a two hour drive.  Packing for a weekend is so simple: one wheelie suitcase (of course from Baggallini) with two outfits for each of us, bathing suits for the pool and spa, pjs, and loads of textbooks so Brooke could get her homework done in between  the concert and sightseeing–let’s not discuss whether that happened or not.

Brooke’s backpack was filled to the brim with makeup for the Miranda Sings concert at the Riverside Theatre. I’ve never seen more red lipstick in my life!  I had no expectation for the concert and it was actually so funny. Colleen Ballinger is super talented, although not appropriate for children under 15 in my opinion.

 

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A lot of prep for a 60 minute concert!

 

Where we stayed:  

If you visit Milwaukee, I can’t imagine you’d want to stay anywhere other than The Pfister Hotel.  If you don’t know it’s history, it’s fascinating.

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Known as  the “Jewel of Milwaukee,” the first thing you’ll be swept away by is the ornate Romanesque Revival architecture. Built in 1893, it truly felt like we time traveled.  The opulence of staircases, chandeliers, muraled ceilings and marble accents will make you instantly feel like royalty. The Pfister Hotel has the largest collection of Victorian art in America.  The pool, spa, suites and lounge areas all get 5/5 ratings in our book. The only disappointment was the restaurant, Mason Street Grill.  It was honestly the worst Halibut I’ve ever had and Brooke’s flatbread pizza had the soggiest crust.  We were greatly disappointed but the beauty of the hotel and the city definitely made up for it.

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What we did for two days in Milwaukee:

Knowing basically nothing about Milwaukee, we were excited to explore the city.Here’s what we learned just by meeting people, asking questions and a bit of research:

Milwaukee is a German settlement and the influential Captain Fredrick Pabst’s name is everywhere. He was a German-American brewer who purchased the Pabst Theatre in 1890. Milwaukee is divided by the Milwaukee River. The east sits along the Milwaukee Bay which spills into Lake Michigan.  The buildings here are full of character.  City Hall could probably be mistaken for Big Ben and the Federal Building looks like a European castle.  The west side of Milwaukee seems more suburban and is home to Marquette University–now on Brooke’s college radar. Along the lake is the Museum of Art.  It looks like a ship or perhaps a whale.  Either way, it’s a work of art in itself!

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Although we were surprised not to find any breweries, there’s definitely not a lack of churches in Milwaukee.  There almost seems to be a church on every block and the architecture is magnificent.  Again…European teleportation.

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Overall, we’ve decided that we’d “walk” all over Milkwaukee anytime!  What an architecture gem!

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Have you ever visited Milwaukee?  We will definitely return…maybe for a college visit!

 

 

Baggallini-We’ve Finally Found a Winner–The Perfect Luggage for our Travels

As you may well know, Brooke and I travel a lot…just about every other weekend, school breaks and pretty much the entire summer. What you may not know is that we have literally gone through seven carry-on pieces of luggage, bags and backpacks in the past two years.   No matter how short or long our trips may be, our goal is to solely have carry-ons; we truly despise waiting for eternity at the baggage claim carousels. In fact, we layer up what we wear to the airport, so we can bring as many clothes as possible and simply walk off of the plane to begin our adventures.

But from broken zippers, cracked wheels, and damaged handles, the bags just haven’t endured.  Here are out latest victims:  May we introduce busted handle and broken zipper:((

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