Kansas City Irish Fest Hotel Specials from Marriott

Kansas City Irish Fest Hotel Specials from Marriott

Kansas City will be celebrating Irish heritage with the Kansas City Irish Fest, the ‘luckiest’ event in town providing attendees with top Irish entertainment, which begins August 30 and Marriott Hotels in the Midwest are joining in on the festivities, as well as providing guests with the best places to stay near the event.

Sheraton Kansas City Hotel at Crown Center and The Westin Kansas City at Crown Center have collaborated with the Kansas City Irish Fest to offer special packages for festival goers with both event and hotel perks.


Sheraton Kansas City Hotel at Crown Center



Deal: It is $130 per night, plus taxes. This price includes two tickets to the Kansas City Irish Fest for every night you stay. Tickets can be picked up at the hotel check-in.

The Westin Kansas City at Crown Center

Deal: It is $135 per night, plus taxes. This price includes two tickets to the Kansas City Irish Fest for every night you stay. Tickets can be picked up at the hotel check-in.

  Those looking to stay near the event from August 30-September 1 can book a room at Courtyard Kansas City Airport, Courtyard Kansas City Overland Park/Convention Center, Kansas City Marriott Downtown, or Marriott Kansas City Overland Park, which are all just a short drive away from the celebration.

Founded in 2003 and located in the heart of Kansas City at Crown Center Square, Kansas City Irish Fest hosts more than 90,000 people each Labor Day weekend. The KC Irish Fest annually presents dozens of musicians, dancers, comedians and entertainment from around the world on 8 stages.


Giveaway ~ The No Stress Weight Loss Guide

Giveaway ~ The No Stress Weight Loss Guide

Can falling in love help you lose weight?

According to Nancy Bryan, author of Thin is a State of Mind, The No-Stress Weight Loss Guide, the answer is yes!

Easier said then done, and what if you are not looking for love and still want to lose? Then Thin is a State of Mind is a book you will want to read and Author Nancy Brian is offering my readers one to giveaway. Keep reading on how to enter the giveaway.

Thin is a State of Mind is emphatically not a diet book but a problem solving book, thus should be read before attempting any weight loss. The value of the book is that it demonstrates how one solves problems better if one can manage to bypass the anxiety-ridden thoughts produced by the conscious mind.

Anyone who has ever tried and failed at losing weight deserves to be given the mental tools to help achieve success the Thin is a State of Mind offers.

Readers of Thin is a State of Mind will also learn:
• How anxiety can make you fat – and what can be done to prevent this.
• Why it is that falling in love is one of the best weight-loss tricks there is.
• Why happiness makes people thin, not the other way around.
• Why weight loss is a time of learning for the body; how to stop “trying” to lose weight and let the body do its job rather than getting in the way.
• Why focusing on trivia such as obsessively counting calories is counterproductive, as is the application of “willpower.”
• What weight loss has in common with surfing.

Thin is a State of Mind helps readers embark on the path toward these inner, and then outer, changes. It gives readers the minute details of how, exactly, to encourage the body to become healthy from the inside out. It includes methods such as relaxation or meditation, as well as effective approaches to achieving digestive fitness and body awareness.

To enter the giveaway, please share a comment below. It can be anything related to dieting wether you have a great tip to share, how many diets you have tried, what your vice is, (mine is key lime pie) or anything else you would like to share.

Last day to comment to enter the giveaway is Tuesday, July 24, 2018. Winner is chosen in order of comments by random.org. Winner will be notified via email and the book will be shipped directly from the author to the winner.

About Nancy Bryan
Nancy Bryan, Ph.D., author of this revised and updated edition of Thin is a State of Mind (first published in 1980 by Harper & Row, and subsequently by CompCare Publications), has spent her entire working life as an editor:  in the sixties at The Rand Corporation; in the seventies at an ARPANET research institute; in the eighties at a worldwide employee-benefits consulting firm; and in the nineties for the J. Paul Getty Trust.  In addition to Thin is a State of Mind, Bryan has written a doctoral dissertation on the poetry of Elizabeth Bishop, and has ghostwritten a bestselling self-help book.  Her work has appeared in Vogue, Self, Family Health, and various museum and computer-science publications.  She is currently working on a forthcoming title, Metathinking: Working Knowledge for Women.

Abilene, Kansas ~ A Reason to Visit Every Season

Abilene, Kansas ~ A Reason to Visit Every Season

Abilene, Kansas is mostly known for being the hometown of President Eisenhower, but this small town has plenty more to offer than just a visit to his historic home and library.

brookville hotel

I know you are thinking, what in the heck is there to do in this middle of this nowhere Kansas town. I thought the same thing until I had the chance to spend a weekend in Abilene. It was absolutely charming and with only being a couple hours away from Wichita or Kansas City, makes it a fun getaway from life in the big city.

I had the chance to visit in early December and enjoyed the Night of Christmas Magic. I loved watching the hustle and bustle of the families enjoying activities and the children’s faces when santa arrived. It was wholesome and some what nostalgic. Something I think many cities are missing these days.

I also went on the Homes for the Holidays Tour, which features beautifully decorated historic homes. Abilene features many activities throughout the year, so there is a reason to visit every season! Keep reading to see what season you will want to plan your visit!


Starting with spring, visitors can enjoy watching or participating in the Eisenhower Marathon in early April. Awards are presented by members of the Eisenhower family at the Eisenhower Presidential Library, Museum & Boyhood Home Visitors Center.

abilene marathon

The Saturday of Easter weekend, Washington D.C. has the White House Easter Egg Roll and Abilene does too! Thousands of eggs are placed on the lawn of the Eisenhower Presidential Library, Museum & Boyhood Home and children rush to find them.

Reitz & Rust Vintage Market & Vintage Camper Show. This event held in late April, features more than 200 vendors and dozens of vintage campers. It is labeled a must see event by Southern Living magazine.


Abilene Vintage Camper Show


Other spring activites include the Arts & Ales craft beer sampling and the Abilene Antique Fest.


abilene antiques


In June, summer brings the opening of the Great Plains Theatre which was established in 1995. It is the only live professional theatre between Denver and Kansas City on I-70. The theatre features comedians, magicians, chart topping musicians and Pulitzer winning Broadway shows.



Celebrate Independence Day with an Old Fashioned 4th of July celebration. Activities include a variety of fun runs, pedal power tractor pull, sports tournaments, mud and sand volleyball, baby beauty contest, frog and turtle races, band performances and of course, a stellar fireworks display! Abilene is named one of Smithsonian Magazine’s “Top 20 Best Small Towns to Visit.”


The first weekend of August brings Central Kansas Free Fair and Wild Bill Hickok Rodeo, which was named one of the Top 5 Medium-Sized Rodeos by PRCA.


October brings Heritage Days complete with historic reenactments, activities for kids, farm machinery demonstrations as more! It is also your last chance of the season to catch the Excursion Train. This 10-mile excursion train ride through the Smoky River Hill Valley features a 100 year old wooden coach dining car and other vintage equipment.


abilene train



December brings the Annual Homes for the Holidays Tour, where you can tour a number historic beautifully decorated homes though out the town. Along with homes tour is the Night of Christmas magic, usually the first weekend in December and is fun for the whole family. Activities include Santa’s workshop, craft fair, lighted Christmas parade, games, lighting of the historic Union Pacific Depot and more.


abilene holiday home tour


For Valentines Day in February, couples can plan a romantic getaway and stay at one of Abilene’s quaint bed and breakfasts. The Victorian Inn allows you to step back in time while still having access to all 21st century conveniences. Or you can pamper yourself at the Windmill Inn which offers in room massages.


Greyhound hall of fame


Year around visitors can enjoy the variety of museums, including the Greyhound Hall of Fame. Abilene is full of history and 21 structures in town are on the National Register of Historic Places, including the Seelye Mansion.


abilene seelye mansion


The Dickinson County Heritage Center depicts life on the plains during the American pioneer movement and westward expansion periods. It also houses the Museum of Independent Technology which shows the telephone system history through exhibits of antique telephones. It also tells the story of The United Telephone Company, which is now Sprint, that was formed in Abilene by C. L. Brown in 1922.


abilene carousel


Children and parents both will enjoy a ride on the original 1901 C.W. Parker Carousel which is located at the Heritage Center as well.

Abilene is also home to the worlds biggest spur!


Abilene Spur


If you are a foodie or just a tired traveler along I- 70 looking for a bite to eat, Abilene offers plenty of great choices. The Brookville Hotel which traces back to the 1870’s became famous for serving family style fried chicken dinners, which still continue to this day. Reservations are highly recommended.



Another hot spot in town is Three one one and is labeled the “Key West of the Midwest.” This spot is family owned by Chef John Shaft from Florida and gets rave reviews about his fish tacos.


Abilene Three One One


Downtown Abilene offers quaint shops such as Cypress Bridge, where you can pick up a hand poured custom scented candle, home decor items, homemade potpourri, scented oils, bath and body products for him or her and more. RHV, is a little hardware store that will have anything you need including unique products tailored just for that area. Antique lovers will enjoy browsing the many antique stores and for the Chocoholics, a visit to the Russell Stover 10,000 sq. ft. outlet store is a must. Visitors can purchase ice cream delights, along with the many other types of candies and homemade chocolate delicacies.


abilene shops


Lodging includes quaint bed and breakfasts, hotels and campgrounds.

For more information on planning your trip, visit the Abilene visitors website. Photos are courtesy of Abilene visitor center and myself. I wish to thank the city of Abilene for hosting my visit.

For those who have visited Abilene, please feel free to comment below on your favorite thing about Abilene.

Happy Travels!




Cranberry and Blood Orange Cocktail with Pomegranate Tequila

Cranberry and Blood Orange Cocktail with Pomegranate Tequila

Cranberry and Blood Orange Cocktail

This cocktail is perfect for a variety of holidays throughout the year with just a change in the garnish. With February upon us it makes a lovely cocktail for Valentines Day.

We had an early Valentines celebration with some friends and I had the La Pinta Pomegranate Tequila that I got in Mexico while at the El Dorado Royale. I thought with it’s beautiful red color it would make a fun Valentine cocktail. After a little trial and error, I got just the right combo of ingredients for this delicious cocktail.


La Pinta Pomegranate Tequila

Cranberry and Blood Orange Cocktail featuring La Pinta Pomegranate Tequila
  • 2 oz La Pinta Pomegranate Tequila
  • 4 oz Unsweetened Cranberry Juice*
  • 2 tbsp Blood Orange Syrup
  • 2 tbsp Agave Nectar
  • 1/4 cup Sparkling Orange Water
Optional: Fresh Pomegranate Arils and Blood Orange Slices for Garnish
  1. Pour pomegranate tequila, cranberry juice, blood orange syrup and agave nectar in to shaker. Shake until blended. Fill serving glass with ice. Pour drink mixture into glass add sparkling water. Garnish with pomegranate arils and blood orange slices if desired.

    *If you are using sweetened cranberry juice, omit the agave nectar.

Round Pond Blood Orange Syrup

The blood orange syrup which you can see is gone, came in a set of syrups from the Round Pond Winery in Napa. The blood orange syrup is delicious and I have used it on a cheeseboard to be drizzled over goat cheese and have used it to drizzle over pound cake and ice cream as a dessert topping. The last of it went into this cocktail! I’m looking forward to cracking open the Meyer lemon syrup and see what happens. I already know it is delicious as I sampled it while on a visit there. I think you should be able to order it online at the Round Pond website.

Cranberry Blood Orange Cocktail Ingredients

I need to be clear that I am not getting any kickback on any of these products. It just happened to be the brands I had on hand or like.  You can certainly find a variety of brands that make a blood orange syrup, juices and agave, so buy what ever you like! I made a note in the recipe but if you end up getting cranberry juice that is already sweetened, you should omit the agave nectar as it will make the cocktail to sweet.

I’m not sure about other pomegranate tequilas. You can do some sleuthing on your own to find a brand you like or you can find out where to buy the La Pinta in your area on their website. You could certainly use plain tequila as well.

La Pinta Pomegranate Tequila

I think this cocktail would be great for quite a few holidays. Just change up the garnishes a bit.  For Christmas add a sprig of mint, basil or rosemary for a pop of green. For the 4th of July omit the blood orange slice and add blueberries.

I would love to hear what some of you favorite cocktails are so feel free to comment below or email me with any questions.










Excellence Resort ~ Dominican Republic, Punta Cana

Excellence Resort ~ Dominican Republic, Punta Cana

If you are thinking about visiting the Dominican Republic, Punta Cana should be on your list. There are plenty of all-inclusive resorts including Excellence. We stayed at the Excellence resort a few months ago and are set to go back this spring. Below I have listed an overview of the property and all of the perks of the resort that we enjoyed.

Accommodations: Our room was a junior swim up suite that has it’s own beach bed just steps away from the pool.  There are quite a few suite options that include mountain view, garden view, ocean view and ocean front. All suites range in price so it is the perfect place to stay as you can find one that fits your budget.

Food: With nine all-inclusive international dining options, one buffet restaurant and beach snack grill, you will not have to worry about getting hungry or hangry in my case. The food was quite good and elegant. It is not quite as gourmet inclusive as the El Dorado Casitas but we still very much enjoyed it.

Drink: You may get drunk, but you will not go thirsty. Unlimited alcoholic beverages and soft drinks are just a beck and call away wiith 24-hour room service and pool and beach waiter service. Or you can visit one of the 12 bars on the property! My favorite is the Piña Colada served oceanside in a fresh pineapple.

Activities: I was pretty content to just hang out in the beach bed or pool most of the day but I did manage a few workouts in the fully equipped fitness center. If you are not like me and want to get up and go, there are plenty of daily activities, snorkel gear and scuba lessons available. If you wish to venture off the resort, there are plenty of excursions including four wheeling, shopping in the local village, spelunking down the Caribbean’s longest underground cave, golf and more.

Entertainment: If you haven’t worn yourself out during the day and are still sober, there is nightly entertainment featuring a different theme show every night you can enjoy.

Spa: If laying out in the beach bed all day is not relaxing enough, you can pamper yourself at the Miilé Spa.The grounds of the spa are tranquil and tropical with a flock of flamingos lounging in the nearby lagoon.

There are plenty of treatments to choose from including massage, body wraps, facials, manicures, pedicures, salon services and more. I enjoyed a body scrub with a massage and it was heavenly!

Service: The entire staff is friendly and ready to serve you what ever your heart desires and being that it is all-inclusive all taxes and gratuities included.

Booking Specials: The prices are always changing but there is usually some type of special going on so just check out the Excellence Resort Website for information on rooms, pricing, amenities or any other questions you have.

As a traveler I enjoy researching and reading about people experiences on places we may visit so I hope this helps if that is what you are looking for. I need to be clear that I am not endorsing the resort nor was I compensated to write about this.  This was a vacation we took and paid full price.

We very much enjoyed it and as I mentioned earlier already have a return trip booked. Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions by commenting below or contacting me.



Airline Compliant Carry-On Travel Essentials

Airline Compliant Carry-On Travel Essentials

These travel essentials that are airline compliant can be put in your carry-on bag and will save the day should something go awry!

I have been traveling quite a bit over the past few years and am guilty of being an over-packer. After some trial and error have finally scaled down my bag but always include these travel essentials in my carry-on.

Whether I need to wipe down my tray table, my face, hands or take a spit bath when stranded in the airport.  I love these chemical free Waterpura wipes. I received these as a sample and have fallen in love with them.  I don’t see any sample packs available for sale on the website, so I will be investing in a travel wipe container as the next package I get will be way to large to carry-on


I am usually not a fan of the hotel soaps and shampoos and like to bring my own. I found these great containers at an IKEA store in Dallas.  I cannot find them online to give you a link.  They could be an in-store product only. The banded labels came from the Container Store.

IKEA Travel Containers

If your shoes start rubbing you the wrong way, the Fab Feet stick from target will help prevent blisters from forming. The tinted sunscreen from Chanel I found at Macy’s and that with a little tinted lip balm from Pacifica can help brighten up your complexion after a long day of travel. I also love the roll on perfume from Pacifica. It is lightly scented and easy to pack.

To freshen up my breath I love the Mouthwatchers travel toothbrush. MouthWatchers uses antimicrobial patented silver technology on its bristles which eliminate 99.9% of bacteria build up on the toothbrush bristles. The special designed bristles are thinner than that of other toothbrushes which clean in between teeth better and adds a flossing effect.

Mouthwatchers Toothbrush

I love having a pill box when traveling and fill it with prescriptions, pain relievers and any other medications or supplements I want to have on hand.

For a quick fluff of the hair, a travel brush and pony tail holders are a must. Tissues, mints, hand sanitizer, glasses, contacts, saline are a few of my other essentials. I always have a nail file and a little travel size of nail polish remover pads.

To put it all together,  the non liquids go in a zipper pouch from re-pac bags and for liquids we all know by now they must be in a TSA approved container.  Mine is a zipper package that some pillow shams came in.

Instead of spending money on those packaging cubes, save those clear zipper pouches that a lot of sheets or bedding comes packaged in. They make great packing cubes for items that will go inside your checked luggage. I love using them to organize my workout gear, swimsuits, accessories and anything else I want to keep from getting mixed into my other clothes.

Now that you have all of your carry-on items packed.  What is the best bag to use to put them in? I love a bag that has multiple storage areas like my Tumi bag.  It fits my laptop, carry-on essentials, sunglasses, snacks, chargers, headphones and pretty much whatever else I need while still being slim and compact.

I would love to hear some of your ideas on packing for travel and what essentials you take in your carry-on.

Safe Travels!