Tag Archives: travel

Indeed @SunValley has stole my heart and sun-kissed my soul forever

Sun Valley is the place where it all began. An idyllic valley that became the setting for a winter playground that drew the famous, the glamorous and the accomplished. The first chairlift was invented here. Hemingway made his home here. Step inside The Sun Valley Story and discover the people and places that helped define an American icon.  Purchase the Coffee Table Book!  

If you’ve never been to Sun Valley Idaho you’re probably expecting a vast sunny mountain with glorious skiing for the whole family.  What you don’t know is it’s so much more than that. I went with a typical ski town expectation, but once I experienced Sun Valley Resort, my soul was touched and I was sun-kissed forever. Idaho has a special place in my heart that goes far beyond traveling and skiing. The blue skies glow, the town is solid and historical and the community is very cohesive.  Every single person I met was so kind and generous and I wasn’t sure if this place was real.  But it is.  I grew up in Los Angeles, which is known for it’s rich Hollywood history.  So you can see why I felt connected immediately. It’s like I left home to get to another place that felt like home.  I began to ski at age thirteen and have been traveling the west with my kids to find the best places for families who love to ski. I prefer niche cities, cute towns and unique villages that offer that one-of-a-kind experience. And I know when I get it because my kids beg and plead to return every time.

I was such an honor to meet Carol Holding in her construction cowboy hard-hat as I took the tour of the currently-renovated lodge! She is the resort owner for the last 37 years with her late husband Earl.  I felt the charm and connected essence of the resort because of Carol Holding and all she’s invested in the lodges and community.  She says, “There are few more enduring icons of quality and hospitality in the world than the Sun Valley Lodge.  Our family has loved Sun Valley for over three decades. We have always tried to make it better while maintaining the personal and intimate feeling that makes it so special. We want to keep the wonderful feeling of the Lodge while at the same time providing the modern comforts and conveniences that our guests expect, fitting the Lodge for the next 75 years of fun in the sun.”

Jack Sibbach, the PR director (pictured in yellow jacket) encouraged me to take the tour  of the newly renovated Sun Valley Lodge – so put on my hard-hat and got a preview.  The lodge was originally constructed in 1936 as America’s first destination ski resort. The project will refurbish guest rooms as well as update the lobby, restaurant and other guest amenities. Some of the smallest rooms will be combined to create suites with fireplaces and expanded bathrooms with large showers, baths and vanity areas. I also got a few tips from Jack on how to enhance my snow bunny skills on the mountain. On my next trip back, I will be sure he takes me on the double black moguls runs! If you have kids you’ll want a condo or house for sure, check out options here! We stayed in the deluxe condos which were big and perfect for families. Just walk across the street to shuttle pick up that comes every 15-minutes on the hour.   We kept our skis at the mountain that offers free storage… so we didn’t have to carry them back and forth to our condo, it’s great perk of staying with Sun Valley Properties.

BEST PLACE TO TEACH NEW SKIERS HOW TO SKI: Dollar Mountain

Dollar Mountain is an entire mountain dedicated to teaching new skiers! How cool is that? It’s gentle, treeless terrain makes it an incredible environment to begin your life long journey in the ski and snowboard world. In addition, Dollar Mountain is home to the new and progressive terrain based learning center, new adventure trails, a variety of terrain parks and a world-class half pipe.

Bald Mountain has pristine groomers, long wide-open trails, and challenging terrain.  Bald Mountain is for skiers and snowboarders of intermediate and expert levels. The runs are gloriously long and you rarely encounter any crowds. You’ll never find more than 10 people in lift line which makes this ski resort one-of-a-kind.  All the slope-side cafes serve up dishes that range from gourmet meals to simple lunches and offer jaw-dropping views. Every structure in Sun Valley Resort looks like a luxury lodge.  For a sleepy well-kept secret, this place is very luxurious.

MOUNTAIN DINING TO ENRICH YOUR AUTHENTIC LODGE EXPERIENCE

Trail Creek Cabin is Sun Valley’s destination for romantic dining in a rustic, early-Western atmosphere. Originally built in 1937, this mountain-style log cabin-turned-restaurant sits right next to the rushing waters of Trail Creek, with a jaw-dropping view of Bald Mountain in the distance. Accessible by sleigh or car, its large outdoor patio and picnic area are the perfect backdrops for chef Wendy Little’s seasonal menu, which includes her famous Teton Waters Ranch cowboy rib-eye steak, cedar-planked wild salmon and Brass Ranch meatloaf.

MY FAV FOR OVERALL CAFÉ DINING ANYTIME OF DAY WHEN OFF THE SLOPES

Konditorei is an Austrian-inspired cafe warms you by the fire with fresh-baked pastries, locally roasted, fair trade and organic coffees, and delish hot cocoa. One day I ate breakfast, lunch and dinner here! I sat by the fire and the staff even got to know what I liked to eat! It’s very casual, simple and fast but great fresh food. And if you are seeking something beyond continental café fare, chef Hal Jardine’s focused, classic dishes bring you to an alpine state of mind in the chalet-inspired dining room.

SKI BUNNIES NEED WARM CHIC SKI OUTFITS. MEET MY SKI SPONSOR IS @FERASTYLE and @SOYBU

I can’t ski in baggie snow boarder outfits, I work hard to stay fit and when I’m zooming down the hill I want to feel that 1950’s girlie ski vibe. I like my ski pants snug, jacket cute and skis fast.   Some of my favorites this year are the Eden Pant, Meister Snow Sweater and the Heaven Insulated Stretch Pant.  If you use my discount code GOTOMOM you’ll get 20% off any purchase at Fera Style!  Fera is the perfect fit for curvy women.  Today I’m proud to be an ambassador for Fera Style when I’m out and about in the snow or skiing. I hope you take the opportunity to try some of their products out using my coupon code listed above!  You can see by the photos that their parkas, pants and sweaters are sophisticated, classy and very functional. The price point is good as all their merchandise is very high quality and in line with the ski trends each year. Share the love! Use HASTAGS: #FeelFera #FeraStyle

Soybu’s “Peace” jacket was awesome as one of my outer layers when I was off the slopes.  Soybu has great every-day-wear and a chic line for those who do yoga or live an active lifestyle. They are planning to launch a plus-size line soon too. Check them out!

My accommodations and lift tickets were provided Sun Valley Resort. I will only promote, endorse and support companies that have the highest standards in products and/or services that contribute to the well-being of families.

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Little guys love big mountains. Indulge in Big Sky Montana.

“I’m in love with Montana. For other states I have admiration, respect, recognition, even some affection. But with Montana it is love. And it’s difficult to analyze love when you’re in it.”  John Steinbeck

The Montana hospitality and superb and luscious snow conditions are why we keep coming back. It’s no secret that I have a deep love affair with Big Sky Country.  This particular trip had special meaning because my boys mastered their very first black diamonds!  This resort is the Biggest Skiing in America with an average, dry powder snowfall of 400” and now 5,800 acres of terrain for all abilities.  In addition to skiing, Big Sky Resort offers activities beyond two planks or a board with snowshoeing, ziplining, tubing and more. With a tight-knit base area, the Mountain Village offers close proximity to hotels, condos, cabins and individual homes, as well as, restaurants, shopping, and full service spa.

Top 10 reasons you should visit Montana if you’re a ski family:

Kids Ski Free –  Yes it’s true that kids 10 years old and younger ski FREE when staying with their family in Big Sky Resort’s property managed hotels, condos, cabins and individual homes. That’s a huge factor for those families who ski often.

Super short lift lines – Who likes lift lines? Blah. There’s one thing you can count on is that you’ll have long ski runs and very short lift lines when skiing Big Sky. It makes your investment all worth the while – plus the ‘perm-a-smile’ on your kid’s face will convince you too that you picked the perfect family mountain.

Tiny ski town makes everything in walking distance – No hassle, all encompassing ski vacation makes it easy to travel with kids all ages. We’ve voted Big Sky as one of the most “Family Friendly” resorts in the West.

Mountain is vast – You’ll gasp when you pop open the trail map for the first time. Skiers and snowboarders enjoy a wide variety of terrain spanning four mountains: 5,800 acres, 4,350 vertical feet of terrain, terrain parks, tube park, snowshoeing and world class cross-country skiing nearby.

7 terrain parks & more skiable terrain -  So much to ski!  The biggest skiing in America has new intermediate tree runs from the Southern Comfort high speed quad – our kids loved it. They are between Deep South and Sacajawea and between Sacajawea and El Dorado. Off the same chair lift, the intermediate run, Ponderosa has been widened for more carving space.

They do Apres-ski right -  Big Sky Resort caters to families by offering a Kids Club during après ski 4pm – 6pm so mom and dad can enjoy a hot buttered rum while kids engage in various fun crafts and activities.  Kids Club is free! How awesome is that?  They also have daycare at Lone Peak which is slope-side for children 6 months to 8 years old offering a safe and fun environment for children to play and interact together while parents reinvigorate themselves while skiing the glorious slopes. My Mom’s Pick for Arpes-ski: When the boys did their last run the moms and I would hang out at our favorite places with spectacular views. At mid mountain we enjoyed Everett’s 8800 Mountain Top Restaurant and at base of mountain we clinked glasses on the patio of the Carabiner (in the Summit Hotel).

Family lodging perfected – Big Sky knows what families love! There are plenty of heated pools and bubbling hot tubs no matter where you stay.  The charming lodging and amenities fit every type of budget – Big Sky Resort has over 700 lodging places to stay. Condos are clean and classy and range from the quintessential family condo to luxury mountain homes. We preferred the convenience of the Village Center and enjoyed the fully equipped condos at the Shoshone Condo Hotel.

Zipline and Tube – Big Sky Resort offers two great zipline tours with our Adventure or Nature Zipline Tour. The Adventure Zipline Tour is truly an adventure, beginning with a ride on the Explorer chair lift and consists of 4 lines ranging from 800-1500 feet in length.   TUBE PARK is located within walking distance on the slopes from the Snowcrest Lodge and Village Center. The lights come on and the Tube Park springs to life featuring a 300-foot long tube park accessed via the Bear Basin Magic Carpet.

Easy travel to resort – plus a river runs threw it – Most major airlines fly nonstop to Bozeman and the scenic drive is well worth the ride up to the resort. Your kids will marvel at all the wild life you’ll pass and at the river that leads you up to Big Sky.

Montana Dinner Yurt – is an out of the ordinary dining experience featuring a snowcat ride, live music, sledding and a bonfire. Details: Check bigskyresort.com for operator contact information. Reservations recommended. They do have dining for all occasions – Whether you’re a couple, family or on a guys/gals retreat there’s a variety of dining to suit your needs. We love that at the Shoshone, you could access food very quickly.

Kids pictured above are taking their  BURRITO / TAMALE run! Oh Yes! Perched at 9,160 feet on the slopes of Lone Peak at Big Sky Resort, this cute little shack they call, Black Kettle Burritos is a must stop. Indoor and outdoor seating offer unbelievable views while enjoying our awesome breakfast and lunch burritos, tamales, and assorted snacks, treats, coffee and cold drinks. Located at the top of Swift Current lift on the ski run Jay Walk.

Be sure to follow BigSkyResort for up to date happenings on Twitter @bigskyresort #bigskyresort and on Facebook.

The Go-To Mom was given a complimentary stay at the resort. Kimberley Blaine only supports products and services that contribute to the overall well-being of families and children.

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The Fine Art of the Perfect Family Getaway in Soutern California – Montage Laguna Beach

Montage Laguna Beach is an ideal retreat for families. You get what you pay for – five star service and a luxurious experience. The hotel is not cheap, but if you’re a hotel junkie like me, you’ll stash your cash and come back for sure… My family LOVES the beach and most of our family trips are beach getaways…Besides sun, sand and sea, the Montage has a realm of fun family activities and programs, right at the resort. We never wanted to venture out!  A beautiful  tortoiseshell colored bunny rabbit was always hopping around the pool area…We named the bunny, “House.” They said it’s their house bunny, so the kids said, “Let’s name him HOUSE!” So I called him “Hugh Laury” instead.

When my hubby and I wanted some time alone, we had Paintbox and Paintbox Petite at our disposal. It’s an amazing exclusive children’s programs that celebrates the art of being a child. And boy do they LOVE children…Paintbox is specially designed for children ages 5 to 12 and 2 to 5 respectively, The kids were running around all day, keeping fit, doing crafts and constantly engaged by the sweetest staff. Stacey, one of the Paintbox leaders, greeted our kids at the pool while we were swimming. Now, if that’s not door to door hospitality, than what is? All the kids at the hotel were smiling and having a blast.

I could go on and on about our stay, but I made a video to show our true affinity for the resort. The dinner, lunch and breakfast were all 5-star cousine. The staff were on top of everything. I’ve never been to a hotel were they actually treated us like we lived there. Just looking at the home page www.MontageLagunaBeach.com is enough to make anyone go and visit. It’s serene, classy and luxurious. Their slogan is more than true..

“A hotel is where you visit, the Montage is where you live.” Wow. We’re thinking of an excuse to go back real soon!

This is a perfect getaway for the day too. Check out the “Moms Chilling for the Day” Video. You’ll be sold for sure…

The Go-To Mom Productions was given a complimentary stay. Kimberley Blaine will only promote, endorse and support companies she believes to have the highest standards in products and/or services that contribute to the well-being of families with young children.

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Dancing with Mickey Mouse, Keynote Speaking and Eating at Epcot!

It was not only an amazing experience for me to attend the Disney Social Media Moms conference as a key note speaker, but it was such a warm and humbling experience as an attendee because Disney always wins my heart over. Even at a corporate event like this, the room was filled with love and admiration for families and children. Any time a character came into the room or a video was displayed about the creation of Disney, my eyes teared up. I now know whenever I am in a room of Disney promoters, I will need a handful of tissue to capture my emotional tears.  It is such a delight for me to help moms and their blog presence via video. Having Sony there to run the Handycam contest was so thrilling because I was asked to speak on their behalf about how we use the camera at TheGoToMom.tv. After my official duties were done as a speaker, I jumped into comfy clothes and indulged myself with the many wonders of the world by going to Epcot.  I was joined by my Canadian mom ambassadors, UrbanMommies and yoyomama. We giggled, we took pictures and we shared insights about our Disney experience together. I was so honored that Annmarie from yoyomama was able to grab my Handycam and capture me dancing with Mickey and Minnie at one of our dinners. She did such a great job and wasn’t even in my vlogging workshop! I want to thank the Disney World PR team in particular for always “getting it” and seeing social media moms as their #1 mouthpieces. And for always making us feel like princesses. As a social media mom, it is my honor to help preserve Walt Disney’s dream in letting everyone know that Disney World and Disneyland are “the happiest places on earth.”

     

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