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Celebrate the holiday season in New York City with the Radio City Rockettes

 

NYC Christmas

 

I love the holiday season. I love everything about it – the sights, sounds, music, spending time with family and friends and watching holiday programming on television.

It’s great to watch holiday movies and holiday specials on television, however it’s even better to watch holiday entertainment in person.

My family and I have been talking about going into New York City to see the Christmas Tree this year. A childhood friend of mine was talking about bringing her kids to see the tree. They have never seen the tree before. We were hoping to maybe meet up with them, or just go down on our own.

Last weekend my family and I were blessed with an incredible opportunity – tickets to see the Radio City Christmas Spectacular!

It’s interesting that this opportunity came up. We don’t have much this Christmas (compliments of our cars constantly needing repairs – ugh!), and our kids are getting older. Our daughter will be off to college this time next year. For these reasons I wanted to do something as a family that was holiday related. Going to see the Christmas Spectacular was my number one idea. I thought maybe we could go see the show, have dinner at a nearby restaurant go and see the tree in Rockefeller Center, walk up and down 5th Avenue to see the holiday displays, zip down to Macy’s and swing over to Times Square before heading home. I figured this would give our family plenty of wonderful memories. Sadly, as I mentioned before, multiple trips to the mechanic and a few other things pretty much squashed that idea.

Then a Christmas “miracle” happened. I was given the opportunity to see the Christmas Spectacular with my family and have a “meet and greet” with some of the Rockettes. To say I was overjoyed is an understatement.

We happily headed down to New York City. Thankfully the weather was nice that day.

RCCS 1

Prior to the show we were escorted upstairs to party room up on the 5th floor at Radio City. Who knew there was a 5th floor.

The man behind Radio City, Samuel “Roxy” Rothafel wanted his own apartment at Radio City for him and his family. A exclusive suit was built on the 5th floor just for him. The Roxy Suite is outfitted with 20 foot high domed ceilings covered in REAL gold, walls made out of cherrywood, art deco elements and an intimate round dining area.

Mr. Rothafel never moved into the suite. These days Roxy suite is used to host Radio City performers and VIP people like Sir Elton John and Paul McCartney.

I tried to get some photos but my camera was being very “moody” that day. The flash decided to work when it wanted to.

Our hosts had plenty of fresh fruits, pastries, bagels and beverages available for us. They also decorated the room with adorable holiday decorations.

Decoration

Food 1

Food 2

The families invited to this special event were also fortunate to have a “meet and greet” with some of the Rockettes as well as hear from a tour guide who gave us some background information about the Roxy Suite.

The dining area is round, as is the table. Even the furniture is round including the side boards along the wall. I’m assuming they were custom made that way.

The reason why the dining area is round is that is provides good sound and that everyone can see everyone else in the room. I think that is an ingenious idea.

There is also a book (under glass) in the room with signatures of people who have stopped by the Roxy Suite including Mariah Carey, Bono and many others. I tried to get a photo but it didn’t come out good enough.

My family and I also had a chance to have our pictures taken with some of the Rockettes. Too bad our son didn’t smile and both of my kids were still cold (it was cold outside) and didn’t take off their jackets. I wish they did. The picture would have turned out better.

Rockettes

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It’s wonderful to have these special memories.

Five years ago we went on a behind the scenes tour of Radio City Music Hall (there are tours available to the public). We went during the summer (August 2009). It’s fun to see how much my kids have grown over the years since then.

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Soon it was time to leave the beautiful Roxy Suite and head downstairs to see the show.

There is a lot to see in the theaters’s lobby. If you go I hope you’ll take some time to check out the beautiful architecture and the jaw dropping chandelier that hangs high in the center of the lobby.

Radio City

 

There are plenty of souvenirs and snacks available both on the main lobby and downstairs.

It was almost show time so the lobby was packed. We quickly found our seats and prepared to be amazed and entertained.

The theater was packed. There were people of all ages seated around us.

What I love about the Christmas Spectacular is that young and old will find something about the show that resonates with them. Little ones go crazy when Santa appears on stage (not not-so-little kids too). Others might find the Nativity scene especially moving and powerful. I know I do.

As soon as the orchestra started to play holiday music the crowd cheered. The show was about to begin.

Social

 

Our “host” for the evening was Santa. He was around for most of the vignettes and introduced some of the scenes we were about to enjoy.

If you have never seen the Rockettes perform you are in for a treat. They are so in tune with each other and their precision is spot on. It blows my mind how they can do that. Not one of them is ever out of step.

I tried to think of which was my favorite scene from the show. It’s next to impossible to narrow it down to just one. I loved the entire show, but several of the scenes stood out a lot to me.

There was one part where giant snowflakes zoomed through the air. I think they must have been remote controlled (like drones) because they returned to their starting spots when the scene was over. It was pretty cool!

Snowflakes

The Nativity is breathtaking with the angel flying in the sky the parade of travelers heading off to Jerusalem to see the newborn king. There are even REAL camels and sheep on stage.

Another scene I truly love is when the Rockettes travel around popular spots in New York City on a bus, even stopping by Central Park where the audience gets to watch a couple skate on real ice right there on the stage.

One of my favorite holiday related story is the Nutcracker. I loved it when the performers danced to a few songs from Tchaikovsky’s music.

One of the audience favorite scenes was when the Rockettes performed as the wooden soldiers. There were a lot of “oohs” and “ahhs” from the audience.

There is also a 3D element to the show. In the very beginning Santa takes the audience on a sleigh ride with him into New York City. Each person is given 3D glasses to enjoy this segment. It’s fun to see things coming at you like presents and geese.

I cannot rave about the Christmas Spectacular enough. Young and old alike can delight in this experience. And it’s truly that – an experience. You just don’t sit there and watch performers. You are immersed into the entire show. You feel like you are a part of it. I loved it. My family loved it too. My teenage daughter even said she got a little teary when Santa first appeared on stage. Awww… that was sweet.

After the show we headed over to Rockefeller Center to see the Christmas tree. Sadly we couldn’t see it because it was surrounded by scaffolding. I guess we’ll just have to go back to the city a few weeks from now to see it again.

Tree

My husband was able to get a piece of the tree for me (from the trimmings – he was given a piece from a man who was working at the site).

Gift

Fancy dinners are fun. Jewelry is beautiful. Flowers are pretty. For me a true romantic gesture is asking the worker at Rockefeller Center for a piece of the Christmas tree. Awww… I love my husband. He’s the best. He knows what makes my heart smile. I don’t need things to make me happy – just happy memories. And seeing the Radio City Christmas Spectacular today and spending time with my family is truly a very happy memory, one that I will never, ever forget.

If you live in the New York City area, or are planning a trip there, there are still tickets available for the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. For more information or to purchase tickets visit www.RadioCityChristmas.com. You can also check out the Christmas Spectacular on Facebook, TwitterInstagram and YouTube.

Have you seen the Christmas Spectacular at Radio City?

What is your favorite thing to see and do in New York City – or a city near you?

Selfie with my sweetie

Kimberly

*I received free tickets to the show. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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What is it like to live and work in NY? Find out with #NYTough (giveaway ends 10/28/14)

 

Manhattan as seen from the Hudson River.

Manhattan as seen from the Hudson River.

I am a “country bumpkin” at heart. I would rather live in a place where deer and cows (or horses) roam freely in my yard rather than city buses and taxi cabs. But that is just me. I know plenty of people who couldn’t see themselves living anywhere other than a big city including one of the biggest cities of them all – New York City.

I think maybe if I was young an single I would enjoy living in the city for a few years, just to get the full New York City experience. New York City is a very exciting place. In fact my mom, before she passed away, talked about getting an apartment in the city so she could spend some time there since the kids were all grown. My mom loved to travel and experience new things. She once took a trip to China for a couple of weeks – by herself! She just decided one day she wanted to go to China and up and left for a couple of weeks.

Our son is looking forward to moving to New York City when he graduates fro high school. Sadly I don’t think he fully comprehends how expensive living in New York City is (he wants to move to Manhattan).

P&G Brands – Febreze, Head & Shoulders, Bounty, Dawn, Tide and Secret – have come together to showcase the struggles that many New Yorkers face on a daily basis and how tough they are to handle it all. The campaign is called #NYTough and it provides New Yorkers with a break from the challenges they deal with on a daily basis with brands that are tough enough to help them live and thrive in the “Big Apple”.

Manhattan as seen over the Hudson River on a helicopter.

Manhattan as seen over the Hudson River on a helicopter.

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Brooklyn Bridge under construction

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Queens, NY as seen from Roosevelt Island

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Manhattan (left), Roosevelt Island (right) and I believe that is Queens or the Bronx in the background.

The #NYTough campaign has a series of video interviews hosted by local comedian Michael Che. The videos highlight what is means to be “New York Tough” and invited New Yorkers to share their unique stories.

“I grew up on the lower east side of Manhattan and over the past thirty years, I’ve seen just how tough the city can be,” stated comedian Che. “I jumped at the chance to help share some comic relief with the community through the #NYTough campaign because comedy about New York has always been a part of my routine. It’s been a wild experience getting to interview such a diverse group of people, from taxi drivers and dog walkers to starving artists and retirees, about their own New York tough stories.”

New York City is such a diverse city. There are five boroughs and many different neighborhoods. My family grew up in Brooklyn (except me and my sister) and my husband’s family is from the Bronx. It’s amazing how in NYC you can turn the corner and find yourself in an entirely different neighborhood. We’ve heard so many stories about life in the big city.

My family visits the city often. I don’t know how people deal with all that traffic. Just a minor “fender bender” on the West Side Highway (or Harlem River Drive) can cause backups that go for miles and last for hours. Just the other day going into the city there was traffic on the West Side Highway – bumper to bumper – and we were at a complete standstill. For what should have taken 45 minutes to get to (location) took over an hour and a half – twice as much time.

Manhattan Street

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Random side walk vendor with a bubble machine.

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People EVERYWHERE in Times Square

Even the inner streets of Manhattan can be a driver’s worst nightmare. I don’t know how people navigate those streets. When you toss in people who refuse to obey the street signs (“jaywalkers”), double parked vehicles, truck deliveries and on-going construction – it’s insane!

The noise in some areas of the city can be so loud too. How do you sleep with all that noise going on around you? I go bonkers if there is a cricket in our home let alone listening to people talking, cars honking, sirens and other miscellaneous sounds.

If you don’t like crowds New York City is not the place for you. There are plenty of quiet neighborhoods but when you enter the more “touristy” parts of the city, or the business locations, you can barely move on the sidewalks because there are so many people.

You also have to be rich to live in the city, in my opinion. We once ate at a restaurant and ordered two cheeseburgers, one hamburger and a chef salad plus four sodas and it came to OVER $120! We eat at the same restaurant closer to where we live and would spend half that amount on the same meal.

A few weeks ago we were in the city and spent $12 on two hot dogs, $6 on two bottles of water and $8 on two pretzels. Yikes!

Don’t get e wrong. We love the city. It’s an amazing place. It’s a “one of a kind” place. To me there is no other city like New York City. It’s packed with so much culture, entertainment, education, history and so much more. Yeah, $4 for a pretzel might seem like a lot but when  you are strolling through beautiful Central Park while enjoying that pretzel the price doesn’t matter. Yes, the construction is a nusance, but when you see the end result you know why it was necessary. What the city did to rebuilt after 911 is amazing. We saw “ground zero” a couple of years after 911 and it was nothing but a giant hole in the ground. Now there are amazing buildings and a beautiful memorial and museum.

Central Park.

Central Park.

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Only in New York will you see unique people like this in Central Park.

A guy offering free hugs in Times Square.

A guy offering free hugs in Times Square.

Take a trip to the “Top of the Rock” (the top of Rockefeller Center) and you’ll be in awe of just how beautiful this great big city is.

I want to give kudos to those who live and work in the city and for being so #NYTough. I also totally “get” why they call New York City home.

You can check out the first video in the series fro #NYTough here – “Man of the Streets” videos. Here is one of the videos for your entertainment.

 

I would also like to encourage readers to check out Buzzfeed for more interesting content – Buzzfeed.com/NYTough.

To see what others are saying about this unique campaign please check out the hashtag #NYTough on social media.

Do you live or work in New York City? Have you ever spent any time in any of New York City’s boroughs or neighborhoods? Feel free to share your experiences.

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911 Memorial Fountain

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Statue of Liberty as seen from the Hudson River.

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New York City as seen from the “Top of the Rock”.

I have a prize package to give to a lucky reader that contains products from the P&G brands participating in the #NYTough campaign. The prize package consists of;

  • One (1) Crest Complete Whitening with Scope
  • One (1) Secret Clinical Strength Deodorant
  • One (1) Bounty paper towels
  • One (1) Head & Shoulders Classic Clean Shampoo
  • One (1) Head & Shoulders Classic Clean Conditioner
  • One (1) Tide Pods
  • One (1) Febreze Heavy Duty
  • One (1) Dawn Platinum Power Clean

This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and will end on October 28, 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 tell me why you would like to win this giveaway and/or if you have any stories you’d like to share about living and/or working in NYC (in case you live in the area).

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 received some free P&G products in exchange for my participation. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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Enjoying quality and comfort at Comfort Inn

 

Comfort Suites in Mahwah, NJ. PHOTO SOURCE: ChoiceHotels.com

Comfort Suites in Mahwah, NJ. PHOTO SOURCE: ChoiceHotels.com

My husband and I rarely get any “alone” time. We are almost always with our teenage children. Don’t get me wrong, I love my children with ever fiber of my being, but I also love spending quality time with just my husband. After all, our family started out with just the two of us and in a few years when our kids are off on their own it’s just going to be the two of us again. We also do everything with our children in mind. It’s nice to have some time for ourselves even if it’s just dinner and a movie.

Our situation is a bit more complex. My husband and I have to sleep in the living room due to lack of space in our condo. We sleep on a sofa bed. Not only is it the most uncomfortable thing ever, we also have no privacy. It’s kind of hard to cuddle with your significant other when the bar in the bed is poking you in the back. Sigh…

A few months ago we spend the night at a hotel. Our kids are teenagers and we figured they could handle things on their own, especially caring or our “mini zoo”. Everything worked out great. The kids worked together to get things done and they even remained civil to one another (ha ha). Not only did that give us peace of mind but it was nice to know our pets were well taken care of. My husband and I were really able to enjoy ourselves without having to worry about anything. It was a wonderful experience.

Recently my husband and I decided to go away for the weekend. We chose to stay at one of Choice Hotels brand of hotels. Our first choice was all booked up but we found a great alternative.

Choice Hotels encompasses the following hotels.

  • Comfort Inn
  • Comfort Suites
  • Quality
  • Sleep Inn
  • Clarian
  • Cambria Suites
  • Main Stay Suites
  • Suburban
  • Econolodge
  • Rodeway Inn
  • Acend

Growing up my family and I traveled a lot. We stayed at a lot of Econolodge and Comfort Inn hotels. I am very familiar with those hotel chains. They are all a part of the Choice Hotels brand.

My husband and I opted to spend the weekend in near by New Jersey. It was far enough to be “different” but close enough in case we had to go home in case of an emergency.

We opted to stay at a Comfort Suites in Mahwah, New Jersey. The hotel is conveniently located on Route 17 and close to many great restaurants and plenty of shopping. It’s even close to New York City and both Newark Liberty International Airport and LaGuaridia Airport are approximately 15 miles away (please take traffic into consideration).

I liked the location but I was a bit “iffy” on the noises from Route 17. Route 17 is a very busy roadway and the Comfort Suites hotel is right on Route 17.

We found the hotel with no problem at all.

The two gentlemen who greeted us at the front desk were very cordial and immediately made us feel welcome. We were checked in promptly and headed up to our room.

I should make note that this hotel is smoke free. We are grateful for that. There is nothing worse for a non-smoker then to be put in a room after a smoker was in it.

After a brief elevator ride to the 3rd floor we found our room. We were pleasantly surprised when we opened the door. The room was HUGE! Not only did it feature a king size bed but there was also a pull out sofa bed, fridge, microwave, coffee maker and a large flat screen television. Even the bathroom was huge.

The bed was so inviting that we wanted to dive right into it.

Check out our lovely room.

bathroom

HUGE bathroom – plenty of counter space.

Bed 1

Check out this inviting bed.

Bed 2

The bed had plenty of pillows.

chair

Chair and desk.

Closet

Huge closet

fridge

Coffee maker, microwave and large fridge.

Room

View from the door looking toward the bed. My husband stuck his foot out so I could see him.

soap

A nice assortment of bath products and soap.

TV

Flat screen TV with cable.

 

The Comfort Suites in Mahwah, New Jersey offers guests FREE wireless high speed internet access, which was great. Most hotels charge extra for that.

In addition the hotel offers guests FREE coffee, FREE weekday newspaper, FREE local calls, FREE use of the exercise room and a FREE breakfast.

You can also find some snacks and drinks for sale in the hotel lobby and vending machines.

The hotel was so quiet

The hotel was so quiet

The hotel is not very big. Or at least it doesn’t seem that way. There were plenty of cars in the parking lot but we barely saw anyone while we were there except for some hotel employees.

The room and the hotel were very quick, even being right on a major roadway. We were very surprised by that.

I used the coffee maker that is in the room. I don’t recall what brand of coffee we had but it was very good. I figured it wouldn’t taste all that great but I found the coffee to be very good.

Coffee

The bed was SO COMFORTABLE. My husband and I didn’t want to get out of it. We slept like babies on the bed.

The bed featured several pillows. Some were soft and some were firm. Guests can pick and choose which pillows they prefer to sleep with.

My husband said it was one of the best night’s sleep he’s had in a very long time.

Sleep

Each room comes with plenty of accessories to make guests feel right at home like copy and fax services, hair dryers, ironing boards and plenty of AC and USB outlets to charge up your devices. There is even a coin operated laundry and valet service on site. There is plenty of parking too.

There is no shortage of places to eat close to the hotel. We ate at the Olive Garden which was only minutes down the road. Smash Burger is also down the road and that is another great food option. There are also plenty of coffee places to be found near by. The State Line Diner is across the way and they have great food too.

The hotel is located near A LOT of retail stores. If you like to shop Route 17 is the place to be.

Guests can enjoy a FREE morning breakfast at the Comfort Suites in Mahway, New Jersey too. There is plenty to chose from including make your own waffles (which are really good!), eggs, meat, cereal, pasteries, coffee and more. My apologies for not remembering to take a photo. Actually, my apologies for the poor photo quality of the images in this post. I had left my good camera at home and had to use my cellphone to take pictures.

If you happen to be checking out early you can enjoy a Your Suite Success™ Grab & Go bag which is available for the two hours prior to breakfast.

When we were ready to check out of our wonderful stay at the hotel I had noticed a pre-authorization charge on my account. I figured it was nothing to be concerned about but I figured I’d ask about it anyway. The gentleman at the front desk was very nice and explained to my that it was exactly what i thought it was – pre-authorization. He assured me the charge wouldn’t actually go through. He set my mind at ease and I appreciate that.

My husband and I had such a pleasant experience at this Comfort Suites hotel that we are planning on going back again.

If you are planning on a vacation or just looking to get away for a night or two, check out the hotels available in your destination at www.ChoiceHotels.com. You can also check them out on Facebook and Twitter (@ChoiceHotels).

Have you ever stayed at any of the Choice Hotel brands of hotels and suites? What did you think about them? Feel free to share your thoughts.

Choice Hotels Logo

Kimberly

*I received a gift card to pay for my hotels expenses. There was no other compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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myCharge Transit 2600 for quick and easy portable charging (giveaway ends 8/15/14)

 

Charger 1

Has this ever happened to you – you are stranded at the airport or on the side of the road when you car breaks down only to find that your cellphone is out of power? It happens. It’s happened to me before.

Once I was taking a “red eye” flight home from the West coast and I needed to find the car service driver that I hired to take me home. I didn’t see him where he was supposed to meet me. I was going to call the service to find out where he was but my phone was dead! Even worse I didn’t have the charging plug with me. I had no way to charge my phone.

It was the middle of the night and I didn’t have change. There was no place to get change either since I already existed the airport. I was stuck.

I had to call my husband collect from a payphone. He in turn had to call the car service to find out where he was. Then I had to call my husband collect again to find out what was going on with my pick up. It was a mess!

From that day on I made sure to carry my charging plug with me whenever I traveled.

I’ve noticed that finding a place to charge a phone at the airport is easier said than done. Ever time I go to the airport all the charging stations and wall outlets are being occupied by other people who are charging and using their smartphones or other devices. It’s for this very reason that having a portable charging device is a must have.

TRANSIT inCar_1000x1000

One great portable charging option is the myCharge Transit 2600. This tiny power house gives you two different ways to charge the device – built in wall prongs and a car adapter. This allows you to charge up the myCharge Transit XT where ever you are – in the car, at the airport, at a hotel or at home. I really like that feature. Sometimes it’s not easy to find an empty wall socket or when you are driving you need to be able to recharge from your car.

Here is some more information about the myCharge Transit 2600.

  • Extra 11 hours of talk time
  • USB port delivers 1.0A output
  • Four-light LED battery indicator
  • High Efficiency Technology, maximizes power to your device
  • High Density Battery, more power in a smaller footprint
  • Smartsense Technology, identifies and charges any device
  • Fast Charging Technology, shortens charge time by 25% or more
  • Built-in wall prongs and car adapter for recharging anywhere
  • Pre-charged and ready to use

TRANSIT Wall_1000x1000[1]

The myCharge Transit 2600 is small in size making it very portable and easy to take with you. You can toss it in your purse, backpack, glove compartment in your car or even tuck it in your pocket.

Never, ever get caught without a backup charger. You never know when you’ll need your smart phone, especially when it come to emergencies. After all, you wouldn’t want to be stranded at the airport or stuck on the side of the road in the middle of the night without no way of calling for help.

For more information about myCharge Transit 2600 please visit www.myCharge.com. You can purchase the device at various retail locations like Home Depot and Meijer.

You can also find the myCharge brand on the various social media sites.

Charger 2

myCharge would like to give a lucky reader a myCharge Transit 2600. Thank you myCharge!

This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and will end on August 15, 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 tell me why you would like to win the myCharge Transit 2600 or share a story with me on a situation where you found yourself in dire need of a charge.

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 received a free product sample to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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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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