A trip of unforgettable firsts in Negril, Jamaica

I have often said that over the years traveling with my family has grown to become one of my absolute favorite forms of travel because they, my children especially, take in the world in a way that I haven’t in a long time or never did. Experiencing places through their eyes or for the first time again (because it is the first time for them) reminds me of how precious these moments are. I take nothing for granted.

Our recent trip to Jamaica was a great opportunity for us to come together as a family and a fun vacation full of first-time experiences for my kids, which helped to make the trip even more special.

Winter travel inspiration

Right now I am home preparing for the holidays with my family. We like to spend them here. With New York City as our playground, we enjoy all the lights and scenes.

However, once all the festivities are over, we start feeling the urge to get out there for some winter fun, and boy have we had some over the years.

Here is a collection of some of my favorite winter escapes to help inspire your next trip:

How to prevent your teen from driving drowsy

‘Tis almost the season for festivities, gatherings and all that is good as we prepare for the holidays and having our college teen back home.

It’s also the time for exams, which means long nights of studying and even longer drowsy days. This is a fact. What is also a fact is that chances are your teen, like mine, will try to drive somewhere in this low-attention state.

Most parents, and certainly many teens, don’t really think much of driving a short distance while a bit exhausted. However, the number of teens who do this is rather high and quite dangerous for the rest of us. In fact, new research conducted by Liberty Mutual Insurance and SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions), revealed that 56% of licensed teens have admitted to driving when they felt too tired to drive their best, 32% are driving drowsy at least sometimes and nearly 1 in 10 teens have completely fallen asleep at the wheel while driving. One in every ten. Those are scary numbers.

Traditions and things

As the winter months start to settle in, my family and I start planning at least one big trip for the incoming year. I think the reason we initially started taking our annual excursions was because after our very first cross-country 2009 road trip with little ones, we returned feeling like there was nothing we couldn’t do. We still don’t know where we will be venturing to in 2017. The list is long, we’re still figuring out the budget, and with the boys getting older, their input on how and where we travel has become more valuable.

November was hard, but it also changed my life

It’s the last day of November 2016 and what seemed like a hopeful time at the start of the month has become somewhat filled with uncertainty for so many. Who knew 30 days could pack such a punch?

However, this isn’t my first rodeo. There have been a lot of really tough times – which honestly have felt even tougher because they have been so much more personal in the past. I have allowed myself all the emotions that come as a result of these past few days (ahem, the election), but I also quickly was able to identify what I wanted my role to be and how I wanted to approach it all. For all its crappiness, November has brought some really positive changes too.

Letting go of the parental wheel, to help your teen be safer behind the wheel

One of the biggest hurdles I had to overcome as a parent was learning to let go once my oldest hit those teen years. Of course, any parent will tell you that “letting go” is something we are always doing, but when they become teenagers, and especially when they get their license, letting go is both heart wrenching and more necessary than ever.

Our teens need more opportunity to learn to navigate the world on their own, mistakes and all, without the hand holding and the constant check-ins. But it’s even more important to consider how our concern as parents can actually make it more dangerous for them, especially when they are driving.

Last minute NYC weekend on a budget

This post is sponsored by OneMain Financial.

As a native New Yorker one of the things I pride myself on the most is in being able to bypass all the expensive, shining things that draw visitors to the city, but also put a burden on their budget.

So when OneMain Financial, as part of their Customer Appreciation Days, challenged me to take on two days and one night in New York City with only $200 in my pocket – including a hotel stay – I jumped at the opportunity, and ended with $20 still in my pocket, smack in the middle of holiday season too!

Getting Married with Elle King, and other things I am thankful for

On December 30, 2003, my husband and I got married on a sandy beach in the Dominican Republic, just as the sun set.

Were I to leave that story there, it would be beautiful.

Opening up to the beautiful things

Deep breathing.

It’s going to take a while, folks, so bear with me.

That said, I have to thank professional responsibilities for forcing me to focus on the world in a different way. It’s healthy – not easy – but healthy. Strategy and purpose requires a clear mind.

I especially have to thank my kids. My boys’ biggest concern now is whether they have behaved well-enough this week to merit extra video gaming time over the weekend. They want to know what’s for dinner, and if their friends can come over to play for a few hours after they are done with their home school work.

These are the beautiful things, the things that inspire me to wake up and do something new.

Traveling while brown through Trump’s America: Tips, advice, and words of empowerment

At the posting of this blog, it is day two post-elections. The country is more divided than ever and emotions are raw. But I know many of my readers, as well as many of my peers, on both sides, are already tired of hearing all the chatter and want the lot of us to just move on and get over it. But before I get back to business as usual, I will share some tips on how my community and peers can start to take care of themselves, because I know there are many of us out there living scared now and I am not going to pretend you don’t matter.