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Summer Road Safety Tips (giveaway ends 7/19/14)

 

Family heading off on a summer road trip Flickr – Photo Sharing! 14533913873_0d5025b02d_z

Are you gearing up for a summer road trip? Perhaps you are going to visit relatives in another state or take your family on a road trip across the country. If you plan on spending any time in your car this summer you need to take a few moments to think about your safety.

Before engaging on any road trip you should pay you mechanic a visit to make sure you car is in tip top shape. Don’t assume your car is OK. Make sure your breaks are in good shape, oil is changed, tires are inflated and all your fluids are checked.

Travel safety is not only about your car but also your home.

Before you leave on your trip make sure you put a temporary hold on your mail and newspaper deliveries. You wouldn’t want would-be burglars to know you are not at home. You might also want to invest in some programmable lighting sources to go on at night and off in the morning. In addition you should let a trusted neighbor know your not at home and have them keep an eye out on your home.

When you are going on a long road trip chances are your trunk space is overflowing with luggage, toys, games and snacks. It’s important that you also make room for a safety kit.

A safety kit should contain everything you might need in the event your vehicle breaks down. Some suggestions would be;

  • Jumper cables
  • Flashlight
  • First Aid kit
  • Emergency flat tire repair kit
  • Charger for your cellphone
  • Tool Kit
  • Gloves
  • Blankets
  • Non-perishable foods such as nuts and crackers

I would also like to add to this list extra change of clothes for each family member, extra diapers (if you have an infant/toddler traveling with you), spare change (to use a pay phone), things to keep your children occupied and emergency contact numbers.

You should also keep water on hand but keep in mind it’s not a good idea for plastic water bottles to sit in a hot car. I would suggest investing in some BPA-Free water bottles and fill them up prior to your trip and make sure to fill them up throughout your trip so that you are never left low on water.

I might also be a good idea to let a family member know what route you are taking in the event you don’t make it to your destination. That way the Police can retrace your steps and hopefully locate you.

These are just some safety tips to consider before heading off on your summer road trip/trips. State Farm has plenty of more great tips and suggestions on what should be in your emergency road kit. You can find them all on their webpage Summer Driving Tips.

State Farm also created this informative infographic.

State Farm Summer Travel Tips

I especially like the tips for when traveling with children and pets. Parents sometimes forget that children need to get out of the car and stretch their legs a bit from time to time.

For more great tips including teen drivers, safety, finance and more visit LearningCenter.StateFarm.com. For more information about State Farm visit www.StateFarm.com. The links to all of their social media sites can be found on the main State Farm page.

State Farm has generously offered to give a lucky reader a Trunk Safety Makeover Kit to help you get started on your summer traveling. The kit has a retail value of approx. $50.00. Thank you State Farm.

The kit contains;

  • State Farm 2014 Midsize Road Atlas
  • Roadside Emergency Kit
  • First Aid Kit
  • Shoulder Tote
  • Mini LED Flashlight
  • 21 oz. Sportster Mug

This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and will end on July 19, 2014 at 11:59 PM (EST). The winner will be chosen at random using a random number generator from all eligible entries. The winner will be notified via e-mail and will have three days to reply or a new winner will be chosen in their place.

To enter please comment on this post and share your best summer traveling tip OR why you would like to win this prize package?

For extra entries you can use the Rafflecopter widget (below) but you must complete the initial entry requirement or the additional entries wont’ qualify (I do check). Extra entries are optional.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Kimberly

*I have partnered with State Farm to give you this information. I received a free trunk makeover kit in exchange for my participation. 

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Has your “Vacay” ever gone “Cray Cray”? Find out how you can win $10,000 for a vacation “do-over”

 

VGCC

Are you and your family going on vacation this summer?

Most people look forward to their summer vacation so that they can have a great time while getting away from the pressures of their every day lives. Some people love to travel and explore new places whereas others simply like to get away for some rest and relaxation. I would have to say that I enjoy both. I love exploring new places but at the same time I don’t mind lounging on the beach doing absolutely nothing but listening to the waves and the cries of the seagulls without a care in the world.

Let’s face it – all the planning in the world doesn’t guarantee a perfect vacation. Things happen that we don’t expect or plan for. I’m not talking about missed flights or overbooked hotels. I’m talking about really wild and crazy things.

My family hasn’t been on many vacations over the past 17 years. We did go to Walt Disney World and Lake George (NY) which were “uneventful” vacations- meaning nothing bad happened. One year we went to Point Pleasant, NJ for a few days with two other families (friends). There was an incident where we thought our one friend who was swimming far out in the ocean was bring trailed by a shark. We yelled for him but he couldn’t hear us. When he did hear us and turned around to see what was trailing him he freaked out and quickly swam to shore. It wasn’t a shark but a very large fish head. The current must have made it float in his direction. It was a HUGE head too. I don’t want to see the fish it came from. Yikes!

Growing up my family and my relatives went on a lot of trips and vacations together. There is one vacation that was certainly the craziest – or to use today’s slang – Cray Cray!

Many of the older people in the photo were on the infamous crazy vacation mentioned below.

Many of the older people in the photo were on the infamous crazy vacation mentioned below. I don’t have any photos from the trip because I was 9 at the time.

I was about 9 years old at the time. My family, aunts, uncles and cousins had piled into two cars to head out to Massachusetts for vacation. We were already packed full in both cars (car seat laws were different then). We resembled a pair of clown cars where most people come out of the car then would technically fit in the car.

Our vacation was cut short due to an impending hurricane. We hopped back into our cars and raced back to NY to get home before the hurricane hit. Unfortunately we ended up driving in a lot of wind and rain.

Just our luck one of the cars broke down. We had to call for a tow truck in the pouring rain.

We did our best to squeeze and entire car full of people into the other car. When I say we were sitting on each other’s laps that is an understatement. We actually had people sitting on the floor in between people’s legs. It was “cray cray”.

The tow truck driver said he could take one person with him in the tow truck. My cousin “J” volunteered to go. He was really into cars so it was fun for him to ride in a tow truck.

We tried to follow the truck but with the wind and rain it was hard. Not using our heads no one remembered what the name of the towing truck company was or where they were taking the car.

So there we were driving around in wind and rain in a car stuffed full of people, trying to find our missing car AND my cousin!

My cousins who were on the trip include "J" who disappeared with the tow truck driver. He was around 12 at the time.

My cousins who were on the trip include “J” who disappeared with the tow truck driver. He was around 12 at the time.

After a while we finally tracked down the gas station the car was taken too. When we pulled into the station my cousin came running to our car hysterically crying. The tow truck driver thought he was being funny by telling my cousin that if we didn’t show up to get him that he was going to sell him. You don’t say stuff like that to a 12 year old who is already scared and worried that he’ll never see his family again. That’s awful!

We can laugh at all of this now, but back then it was certainly not funny.

Have you ever experienced a “vacay” (vacation) that went “cray cray” (crazy)? Choice Hotels, as part of their 75th anniversary celebration, would love to hear your stories with their summer contest called #VacayGoneCrayCray. One lucky participant will win $10,000! You can use that money to re-do your vacation that went horribly wrong.

“Every traveler has a story about a vacation or business trip that didn’t necessarily go according to plan,” said Robert McDowell, senior vice president, marketing and distribution of Choice Hotels. “This summer and in honor of our 75th anniversary, we wanted to connect with our travelers in a fun and unexpected way. Through the #VacayGoneCrayCray contest, Choice Hotels can help turn those crazy misadventures back into positive memories.”

YouTube sensations  Rhett & Link have signed on to generate buzz surrounding the contest, and will select the best of the worst trip experiences to reenact on their Good Mythical Morning Show every Thursday beginning July 17th for their millions of viewers.

Let Rhett & Link tell you more about this fun contest.

 

Entering is easy. Simply submit your extreme vacation misadventures at via www.VacayGoneCcrayCray.com or through the embedded video link on Rhett & Link’s YouTube channel.

The contest ends at 11:59 PM (EST) on August 27, 2014. The lucky winner will be announced on September 4, 2014.

For official rules and prize descriptions please visit the official website www.VacayGoneCrayCray.com.

For more information about Choice Hotels please visit www.ChoiceHotels.com. Choice Hotels covers several popular hotel chains.

Choice Hotels

You can also check out Choice Hotels on Facebook and on Twitter.

Do you have a Vacay that went Cray Cray? I would love to hear about it. Better yet consider entering the contest for your chance to win the $10,000 grand prize.

vacay

Kimberly

*I have partnered with Choice Hotels to bring you this information. Although compensated the opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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Looking for something fun to do Fourth of July weekend?

LDFJB_PR2_web

Are you and your family going to be in the New York City area on the fourth of July weekend? Or do you happen to live in the tri-state area? If so, and you are looking for something fun to do, why not pay a visit to the Bronx Zoo?

My family and I love visiting the zoo. We go there almost every year. My favorite time to visit is the fall when it’s cooler and the leaves are changing. “Boo at the Zoo” is also fun too.

This Fourth of July weekend the Bronx Zoo will be welcoming special guests - Latin Grammy Award-winning trio Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band for a special East Coast appearance.

If you are not familiar with Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band, here is a little more information about them.

This Fourth of July weekend, join Latin Grammy Award-winning trio Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band for a special East Coast appearance at the Bronx Zoo. This popular children’s band features indie music sounds that are rooted in their whimsical and child-friendly imaginations. The all-star group recently made live appearances on CNN, Sprout, and Univision and is coming straight off a nationwide tour. This husband and wife duo, Lucky Diaz and Alisha Gaddis, has been named ‘THE face of kindie music’ by the Washington Post, ‘SUPERSTARS’ by Red Tricycle, ‘The Rolling Stones of Kids Music’ by the Style Network, and PEOPLE Magazine called their album “The #1 COOLEST kids music!” Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band lights up the stage with their many #1 Sirius XM Kids Place Live hits. Iconic brand Coca-Cola chose their song “Falling” as their national summer campaign anthem, playing it on television and in movie theaters everywhere. Get ready for a hip-shaking, head-bopping, dance party explosion of indie fresh pop rock beats! Join us for the interactive show. Based on their award-winning recordings, it includes a range of themes aimed at exploring all of the wonder and joy in a young person’s life.

The band is award winning too!

Latin Grammy Winner: Best Children’s Album — ¡Fantastico!

Multiple Parents Choice Gold Awards

Winner National Parenting Publication (NAPPA) Gold Awards

#1 Song of the Year — ‘Thingamajig’ from Lishy Lou and Lucky Too

#1 Cool Kid’s Album — People Magazine

Best Live Kids Band — Cooper and Kid

#1 Guest of the Year — Sprout TV (PBS) Chica Show

The band will be performing at Grizzly Corner at the Bronx Zoo on July 4th, 5th and 6th. The shows are scheduled for 12:30, 2:00 and 3:30 each day. All performances are 30 minutes long which are ideal for younger children.

If you would like more information about the band’s Bronx Zoo appearance please visit the Bronx Zoo’s Events Calendar.

Don’t forget to check out all the cool dinosaur exhibits around the zoo too. The Dinosaur Safari ride is fun. You can check out my review here – Take a Ride on the Prehistoric Side at the Bronx Zoo.

For more information about the Bronx Zoo please visit www.BronxZoo.com.

Bronx-Zoo-Dinosaur-Safari-Summer-20131

Kimberly

*I have partnered with the Bronx Zoo to bring you this information. Although I’ll be receiving free passes the opinions expressed are entirely my own and not influenced in any way. 

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Härth Restaurant Review – Located at the Westchester Hilton in Rye Book, NY

 

Harth Restaurant Logo

Nestled in the lobby of the Westchester Hilton in Rye Brook, New York is a hidden gem. The restaurant is called Härth. Until I ate there while staying at the hotel I have never heard of Härth before. Now that I have had the opportunity to experience the amazing cuisine my husband and I plan on going back again. It’s only about a half hour drive from our home and well worth the trip.

We stayed at the Westchester Hilton. If you would like to check out my review you can find it here – Enjoy a stay at the Westchester Hilton in Rye Brook, NY. 

Härth Restaurant at the Weschester Hilton is very much a gourmet restaurant. I wouldn’t recommend taking children with you. I didn’t see any “kid-friendly” meals on the menu, unless they do have one that we did not see.

My husband and I were seated near the windows which was nice because we were able to enjoy the nice view. Too bad it was raining most of the time. Our view overlooked the outdoor seating and the hotel’s swimming pool.

Our waiter was named Angel and he was more than happy to tend to our needs and make recommendations from the menu. I had a hard time narrowing down what I wanted to eat. My husband is more of a burgers and hot dogs kind of guy. He’s not into gourmet meals so he had a harder time figuring out what to eat. I ended up ordering the salmon and my husband ordered a chicken dish.

Oil Olive & Vinegar, Butter & Bacon Jam to enjoy with our rolls.

Olive Oil & Vinegar, Butter & Bacon Jam to enjoy with our rolls.

While our meals were being prepared we were served rolls and an assortment of toppings to enjoy with our rolls – Olive oil, butter and something truly unique – Bacon Jam. I have never seen or heard of Bacon Jam before. When I think “jam” I think of fruit spreads. The idea of a bacon fruit spread sounded odd, but there isn’t any fruit in this jam. It’s just bacon, onions and a few other ingredients. My husband and I loved it. We even raved about how much we enjoyed it to Angel.

Best ice tea I have ever had.

Best ice tea I have ever had.

To drink I ordered unsweetened ice tea and my husband ordered soda. I know this might sound silly, but the unsweetened ice tea had to be one of the best I have ever had. You could tell from the very first sip that it was freshly made. I would love to know what kind of tea they used. I love ice tea and I drink it often, but this ice tea was by far the best I have ever had.

The food at Härth is prepared by Chef Rafael Velazquez. He was kind enough to send out a special pita bread for my husband and I to enjoy. Looking at it you would think it was an ordinary pita bread. It’s not. I don’t know how he made it or what he did to it but it was incredibly delicious.

Warm Pita Bread - Oh so good!

Warm Pita Bread – Oh so good!

I tried to re-create the pita bread at home, thinking it was just butter with some garlic salt sprinkled on top. It’s not. My creation didn’t even come close.

As an appetizer my husband and I ordered a house salad. It was presented in a very nice way on a long, triangle plate with a decorative drizzle of dressing on the side.

Salad

Salad

My husband and I always joke about gourmet meals and how they tend to be small serving sizes. They seem small but the reality is they are the servings sizes we should all eat. Most people tend to eat way more than a serving size so when served an actual serving size of something it seems small.

I had ordered the salmon for dinner. It came with Lobster ravioli, confit tomatoes and a sweet onion cream sauce. Oh my! It was amazing. The salmon was perfectly cooked. It was big and juicy. The meat easily flaked off. It even had a bit of a crisp outer part.

My salmon dinner with lobster ravioli and sweet onion cream sauce.

My salmon dinner with lobster ravioli and sweet onion cream sauce.

The sweet onion cream sauce (the cream colored sauce on the side) was DELICIOUS! I wish I had more of it. I wish they bottled it. I would buy some. It would go great on fish, chicken and vegetables.

I loved the lobster ravioli. It was filled with nice bite size chunks of lobster. I don’t normally order lobster, even though I love it. It tends to be pricey. Having the lobster ravioli was nice indulgence.

My husband's chicken dinner. The chicken was cooked under a brick and the meal came with fingerling potatoes and kale.

My husband’s chicken dinner. The chicken was cooked under a brick and the meal came with fingerling potatoes and kale.

My husband had a chicken dish. I am sorry that I didn’t write down the exact name for it. It was chicken that was cooked with a brick on top of it to really get that cooked/smoked flavor into the meat. It came with fingerling potatoes and I believe Kale. I don’t recall what the sauce was. I do know that my husband devoured everything on his place and said delectable.

While we were savoring our scrumptious meal the restaurant’s manager came over to say “hello”. She also had two jars of Chef Velazquez’s bacon jam to give to us because she heard how much we loved it. That was very nice of her and we appreciated the gesture.

Later on in the evening Chef Velazquez also came out to introduce himself to us. That was really nice.

A jar of bacon jam that we can enjoy at home. YUMMY!

A jar of bacon jam that we can enjoy at home. YUMMY!

After dinner we were treated to dessert. I saw something on the menu that looked interesting. It was a strawberry and marshmallow “S’more” made on a flat bread. Our waiter Angel said it was made with a flat bread covered in a layer of Nutella, topped with toasted marshmallows, cinnamon sugar and fresh strawberries and finished off with a drizzle of chocolate. It sounded way too good to pass up so I ordered that. My husband orders a chocolate ganache cake with a berry compote.

Gaunache cake. Not seen is the berry compote and freshly made whip cream.

Ganache cake. Not seen is the berry compote and freshly made whip cream.

I didn’t realize that my dessert was best suited for more than one person. It was HUGE! My husband had two slices and was full but didn’t want his chocolate ganache cake to go to waste so he ate that too. Oh boy was his belly full after that.

I’m grateful that our room had a mini fridge. We were able to take home our left over dessert to share with our children the next day.

I also had a cup of coffee with dessert. Restaurant coffees can be “hit or miss”. Sometimes it’s good, other times it’s more like cruddy diner coffee. The coffee from Härth was exquisite. I consider myself a “coffee snob” and I fell head over heels for this delicious coffee. It wasn’t just a one time thing either. We had the breakfast buffet the next morning and the coffee was just as delicious as it was with dinner.

S'mores dessert made with Nutella, roasted marshmallows, fresh strawberries, cinnamon sugar and chocolate drizzle.

S’mores dessert made with Nutella, roasted marshmallows, fresh strawberries, cinnamon sugar and chocolate drizzle.

We enjoyed the breakfast buffet the next morning at Härth. The buffet had everything you would expect – eggs, french toast, pastries, home fries, sausage, bacon, fresh juice and more. And of course a great cup of coffee.

When we left the restaurant after dinner we were stuffed. We couldn’t eat another morsel. We had a full and very satisfying meal.

When we arrived back at our room I went straight to the bathroom (I had an eyelash in my eye and I wanted to get it out). When I came out of the bathroom my husband was standing by the window and he said “I think this surprise was meant for you”. I asked him “What surprise?“. He moved to reveal a table with a chocolate cake on it with the words “Happy Birthday” on it as well as plates, forks, a knife to cut the cake, glasses of water with ice and two huge glass bottles of Voss water.

Happy Birthday to me!

Happy Birthday to me!

This is what the cake looked like on the inside. YUMMY!!!!

This is what the cake looked like on the inside. YUMMY!!!!

We went back down to the restaurant to see if they had a box we could put the cake in (there was no way we could eat another bite). THANKFULLY they still had the box the cake came in. We enjoyed it the next day with our children. It was so good!

The cake is still a mystery, but I do have my suspicions as to where it came from. :-)

My husband and I don’t normally eat at fancy restaurants, but we are going to make the exception when it comes to Härth. We plan on eating there again in the near future. There are a few more menu items we’d like to try and we must have the strawberry and marshmallow S’mores dessert again. It was so good!

Härth is open to the public. You do not need to be a guest at the hotel to enjoy a meal at the restaurant.

Härth is open seven days a week. From Monday through Saturday it’s open from 6:30 AM to 10:00 PM. On Sunday it’s opened from 6:30 AM to 1:00 PM.

Breakfast is served from 6:30 – 10:30

Lunch is served from 11:00 – 2:00

Dinner is available from 5:00 – 10:00

Here are the various menus in case you would like to check them out.

Härth Breakfast Menu (PDF)

Härth Lunch Menu (PDF)

Härth Dinner Menu (PDF)

If you you are interested in experiencing Härth yourself you can always Book a table in advance or simply show up when it’s convenient for you. 

Härth also has a lounge where you can enjoy cocktails seven days a week from 4:00 PM – 12:00 Monday through Thursday and Sunday and from 4:00 – 2:00 AM Friday and Saturday. 

The restaurant is located at 699 Westchester Avenue in Rye Brook, New York 10573 in the lobby of the Westchester Hilton. 

You can check out Chef Rafael Velazquez too.

Chef Velazquez seated outside of Harth at the Westchester Hilton. PHOTO SOURCE: Chef Velazquez's Facebook page.

Chef Velazquez seated outside of Harth at the Westchester Hilton. PHOTO SOURCE: Chef Velazquez’s Facebook page.

Kimberly

*I received complimentary meals in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. This post also contains and affiliate link. 

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Enjoy a stay at the Westchester Hilton in Rye Brook, New York

 

Westchester Hilton Photo Source: Hilton

Westchester Hilton
Photo Source: Hilton

I know that my readers come from all across the country – even Canada and other countries. I post about New York things (events, places…) because sometimes readers find themselves in New York, whether it’s for business or pleasure. I like to post about New York things so that you have some suggestions on what to do and where to stay while you are in the area.

Last weekend my husband and I spent the night at the Westchester Hilton located at 699 Westchester Avenue in Rye Brook, New York 10573.

Westchester County is located just north of New York City. It’s a great location that allows you to easily get in and out of New York City without having to stay in the city (hotels in NYC can be very pricey). The hotel is located approximately 30 miles north of Manhattan. There is train service available into the city and you can drive (it’s approx. 45 minutes depending on traffic).

There is a lot to see and do in Westchester County, as well as places to visit that are not too far away.

  • Bronx Zoo
  • Westchester Broadway Theater
  • Hike the Aqueduct Trail
  • Rye Playland Amusement Park
  • Empire City Casino
  • LEGOLAND Discovery Center

The area also has many historical sites and cultural centers. In addition there are plenty of trails and outdoor activities you can immerse yourself in.

Westchester is also home to many fabulous colleges and universities. If you are planning a college visit in the area and need a hotel to stay at consider the Westchester Hilton.

My husband and I arrived at the Westchester Hilton around check-in time (3:00 PM). The hotel was easy enough to find. It’s also set back from the main roads by a long drive way.

We were surprised by the massive parking lot. It was huge and to our surprise there were plenty of cars parked in the lot as well as several buses that appeared to be picking people up to take them somewhere. I’m assuming the group was staying at the hotel.

Depending on where you park it can be a bit of a walk to the front door of the hotel. We intentionally parked away from most of the cars because we were using a loaner car and wanted to make sure no one dinged it.

The hotel lobby is huge. There is a very large lounge area, complete with a beautiful fireplace. There is also another seating area with a massive bookcase that spans the entire wall.

The people in the reception area seemed “perky” and were pleasant towards us.

Our room was located on the 4th floor, not too far from the elevators.

The room was very large. It featured a king size bed, nightstands, dresser, desk and a lounge chair with ottoman. It also featured a huge closet. I have never seen a closet so big in a hotel room before.

Bathroom

Bathroom – features a shaving mirror and comes with a hairdryer, shampoo, conditioner and a massage soap bar.

Bed

Soft and comfy bed.

Chair

Nice lounge chair and ottoman

Desk

Desk and dresser.

Dresser

Dresser features a mini fridge and a coffee maker.

Inside Closet

Really big closet with iron and ironing board. Plenty of storage.

Night Stand

Phone, alarm clock, lamp (with outlets) and remote control.

Room

Large room.

Shampoo

Shampoo & Conditioner

Soap

Nice massage soap bar.

 

Plenty of mirrors.

Plenty of mirrors.

Mini Fridge

Mini Fridge

The bathroom was fairly large. I like that it had two different lights. There is nothing worse than a super bright light in the middle of the night when you have to use the facility. The light for the bathtub area was much gentler on the eyes.

The bed was SO COMFORTABLE. It was like sleeping on a cloud. My husband and I lied down and didn’t want to get up. My husband even did “snow angels” on the bed. LOL!

Enjoying the bed

Even the pillows were soft and comfortable. It was one of the most comfortable hotel beds I have ever slept in.

Outside our window we noticed a walking path. We decided to explore the hotel and grounds a bit before heading down to dinner.

Walking path/trail outside our window.

Walking path/trail outside our window.

The hotel is a lot bigger than it appears from the outside. We only explored the 4th floor (we didn’t go to other floors) and found that there are very long hallways. I joked with my husband that we needed a map to see where we were going.

Long hallways

Long hallways

On our floor we found the ice machine and a soda vending machine which was handy. We also found an upstairs access to two of the ballrooms. We didn’t go into either of them because there were parties going on in both.

After exploring our floor we headed down to the lobby area. As I mentioned earlier the lounge area was huge. There is more than enough seating. My favorite spots were near the fireplace and near the bookcase.

Bookcase

Nice lounge area with a floor to ceiling bookcase. The indoor pool is located on the other side of this bookcase.

Fireplace

BEAUTIFUL fireplace and plenty of places to sit and enjoy it.

The lobby also had a huge television and computer work stations (including printers).

Computer

Computer

Lobby and Computer

Lobby with plenty of tables, chairs and the computer/printer work stations.

Lobby TV

Large TV in the background (4 panels) plus a large table with chairs – ideal for a meeting.

The lobby was nicely decorated.

Hilton Sign

Plants

Aside from the fireplace and huge bookcase there is also a huge interactive display with a touchscreen that gives you access to a lot of information including airline information, local weather and hotel events. My husband and I have fun touching the screen to see all the information we could pull up.

Interactive display - it was like a huge iPad on the wall.

Interactive display – it was like a huge iPad on the wall.

We eventually headed outside to check out the trail we saw. We didn’t get too far before it started to rain and we had to head back inside. It’s unfortunate because I really wanted to see where the trail led to.

We went back inside and took a peek into a couple of the ballrooms (one was occupied so we couldn’t really get a good look at it). We also found the indoor pool. I wanted to go in and take a picture but I didn’t want people who were swimming to wonder why I was taking pictures. There were also a lot of little kids in the pool and I didn’t want their faces to appear on my blog for their safety.

Indoor Pool

Indoor Pool

Outside of the hotel (back of the hotel) there is plenty of seating (tables and chairs), what appeared to be a barbecue pit (or fire pit?), lounge chairs and a really nice looking pool. It was raining so we were unable to get too close to the pool.

Outside of party room

Outside Pool Lounge

Outside Pool

Outdoor Pool

Seating Area

Umbrellas

Volleyball court near the outdoor pool.

Volleyball court near the outdoor pool.

The hotel does have tennis courts and a fitness room but we were unable to visit them.

The grounds are nicely landscaped.

Flower Buds

Flowers

Front of Hotel

After we were done exploring we headed back to our room for a bit to watch TV before heading downstairs again for dinner. We shouldn’t have lied in bed to watch TV. We were so comfortable we almost fell asleep.

We did enjoy an amazing dinner at Harth Restaurant at Hilton Westchester, which is the restaurant located in the hotel lobby. You can read my review here – Harth Restaurant Review.

Birthday Cake

After a very satisfying meal we headed back upstairs where I was greeted by a mysterious Birthday cake. No one has come forth and taken credit for it but I do have my suspicions. Thankfully the room had mini fridge so I was able to keep the cake cool until we got it home.

We slept blissfully that night. The bed was so comfortable. Even in the morning when we knew we had to get up we tried to stay in bed as long as possible.

In room coffee maker.

In room coffee maker.

The room came with a coffee maker and supplies but I opted to wait until we went for breakfast to have coffee. Harth has a breakfast buffet and other breakfast options.

We stayed for as long as we could but we had to head back home to pick up our kids to go upstate for a Memorial Day / Birthday barbecue.

Check out was quick and easy.

Overall we very much enjoyed our stay. I don’t know which I enjoyed more – the amazing meal at Harth or the super comfy bed.

The room was large and nicely appointed. The furniture was a little outdated, but I was not there for the furniture. As long as it’s comfy I don’t care how old it is.

We didn’t like the TV set up. There was a bit of a lag when you changed channels. I guess we’re just spoiled because we have satellite TV at home. There were many channels which was nice, including HBO. There are paid movie channels as well.

TV

The bathroom had shampoo and conditioner and only one soap. It was a massage bar, which was really nice, but I wish we had a second bar of soap instead of having to use the same bar of soap to wash our hands and take a shower.

The bathroom had a shaving mirror which was handy and a hair dryer.

When we stayed at the hotel there were a few parties going on and A LOT of young children. The children ran around the hotel – up and down the stairwells, up and down the elevators, running around the lobby, playing hide and seek in the restaurant area… The kids trashed the place too. There was garbage on the floor in the lobby area and in the hallway. I DON’T BLAME THE HOTEL. I blame the parents. The children were unsupervised. The hotel staff did what they could to control them even though it was not their responsibility. For example, when we were having dinner some kids came running in to play hide and go seek behind a table near us. The waiter nicely gathered up the children and told them to play elsewhere. There were no parents to be seen.

I feel bad for the hotel because someone checking in might think the hotel was trashy when it’s NOT. It was from the children that were running a muck around the hotel. Those parents should be ashamed of themselves.

We enjoyed our stay. If given the opportunity we would stay there again. Hopefully next time the weather would be better and we can enjoy the grounds.

If you find yourself in New York or Westchester County and you are looking for a hotel, consider the Westchester Hilton.

Hilton Logo

Kimberly

*I received a free hotel stay and meals in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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Staying connected and having fun this summer with HP

*I wrote this review while participating in a program on behalf of HP and received an HP PC, a Snapfish gift card and other items as part of my participation.

Luggage

I don’t get to travel as often as I’d like to. Having pets and a limited budget sometimes puts travel plans on hold. Finding the way to fund something is actually a lot easier than looking for someone to care for our pets. Two of our pets have health issues. One of our cats needs and inhaler for her asthma and I’m the ONLY person who can administer it.

When I travel for business (aka – blogger stuff) I never know what to pack. I always feel like I’m going to leave something important behind.

When I travel I must bring my cellphone, a charger and a back-up charging source. I need to stay connected with my family and have the ability to check on my blog and e-mails.

I do have an iPad but I find it very hard to type on the touch keypad. I’m a “creature of habit” and I prefer typing on an actual keyboard. I don’t mind the touch features of the iPad but when it comes to replying to e-mails or writing blog posts I need a keyboard.

Once I traveled with my laptop. The entire time I was afraid I would drop it or it would get stolen. My entire blogging life is on my laptop. I also used to own a very old laptop which was big and heavy (I’ve since replaced it). It was awkward to travel with. That is why I like taking my iPad with me – because it’s lightweight and can easily tuck into my purse.

What I really need when I travel is the best of both worlds – something that is small and lightweight with touchscreen capabilities and something with a keyboard that functions like a regular computer.

Thanks to HP I now have the best of both worlds.

Photo from my Instagram account (SheScribes)

Photo from my Instagram account (SheScribes)

I was sent to review the HP Pavilion x360. It’s a tablet and a laptop all in one. It’s exactly what I’ve been wanting for when I travel.

Now I’ll be able to stay connected when I travel or when my family travels. We’ll be able to check e-mails and reply using the built in keyboard. We’ll also be able to upload and share travel photos on the various social networking sites, as well as provide updates and check on what others have been up to.

The HP Pavilion X360 allows me to everything that I can do on my laptop or desktop. I can even write blog posts when I travel. I couldn’t do that before with my iPad. That is a huge relief for me because sometimes I do need to access my blog and do some work. I always had to wait until I got home. Now I can work from anywhere (not that I want to work when I’m on vacation or traveling).

My kids can even enjoy the HP Pavilion X360 too. It comes with Beats Audio dual speakers to provide amazing sound quality. That means my kid can enjoy listening to their tunes on the beach, poolside (as long as they keep it far from the water) and relaxing in grandpa’s backyard.

Even better my whole family can enjoy watching movies on the HP Pavilion X360 too.

Hubby checking out Facebook on the HP Pavilion X360.

Hubby checking out Facebook on the HP Pavilion X360.

When you are traveling with kids on long road trips (or even long airplane rides), they can get bored and restless. With the HP Pavilion X360 they can enjoy their favorite movies on the go. This is even a handy feature to have at a hotel room. Sometimes hotel rooms don’t have many channels on their televisions, and you don’t really want to spend extra money to rent a movie. With the HP Pavilion X360 you and your family can enjoy your favorite movies whenever you want to watch them without having to pay extra.

You can even play games on the X360.

Your kids can even watch movies in the backyard if you are planning on some “staycations” this year.

HP Pavilion X360

A unique feature with the Pavilion X360 is it’s ability to to move the screen around. One way it looks like a small laptop. The other way it looks like a tablet complete with a touchscreen. You can also open it up part way (like a tent) so you can watch movies hands free.

This little wonder has it all and does it all – from getting work done while on the road to entertaining the kids. I love it!

HP 5530

The HP Pavilion X360 works with the HP ENVY 5530 e-All-in-One printer too. It allows you to print wirelessly from the X360 to the printer. That means you can have your vacation photos printing out before you even started to unpack your luggage. The HP ENVY 5530 e-All-in-One Printer prints lab-quality photos directly from your smartphone, tablet and of course you X360.

I don’t know about you but I LOVE to look over my vacation photos as soon as I get home. I love that with the click of a button my family’s photos will be ready and waiting for us (make sure to leave your printer on so it can receive them wirelessly).

Make sure to sign up for the HP Instant Ink program so that you never find yourself without ink for your printer too. The service monitors your printer and when it sees that it’s low in ink HP automatically sends you the ink you need. You don’t have to drive all over town looking for the correct ink cartridge and you don’t have to stop your printing job because you ran out of ink. With the HP Instant Ink program your ink will be on it’s way to you just in time for when you need it.

HP-Instant-Ink-screen-capture

I did a review for the service if you care to read my review. My review also includes the price list (it’s cheaper than you think) – Don’t run out of printer ink again.

Please note that the giveaway on that review is no longer running however keep reading for an exciting giveaway that you won’t want to miss out on.

We have a few plans for the summer. In fact we’re going away for a brief getaway in two weeks (around Memorial Day weekend). We are also planning a visit with relatives in PA in July and a trip upstate (NY) in August. We also plan on going to the beach (Point Pleasant, NJ) this summer and probably day trips to New York City and area state and local parks (we LOVE hiking and picnicking).

When the summer is over I plan on taking all the photos I took and turning them into a photo book. I love photos books! I have a few of them. They are a great way to preserve memories and much nice to look at than a photo album. I love that you can combine photos to make it a themed book too (like Summer 2014).

I use Snapfish for my photo books. I have a gift certificate for Snapfish that I plan on using to make a photo book.

Snapfish

What are YOUR plans for the summer? What does summer time mean to you?

I’ve created a Pinterest board simply titled “Summer Time!”. You can find it here – Summer Time!

On the Pinterest board I plan on pinning summer “must haves”, things I want to try this summer (recipes, activities) and more.

Now for the wonderful giveaway news – HP has generously offered to give a lucky reader an HP Pavilion X360 AND an HP ENVY 5530e-All-in-One printer. Thank you HP!

The giveaway post will go up in the next week or two so please keep an eye out for it. In the mean time feel free to share your summer time plans with me.

HP-LOGO

Kimberly

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