Tag Archives: Travel

How I’ve learned to travel

It has been a very busy time in the Cork household. The month of June has consisted of nothing but travel (especially for me). I have not been home one weekend the entire month. With all of the travelling I’ve been doing I have finally figured out the best way to take the things that I consider essential to having a wonderful commute and keeping everything organized. So today, I am going to tell you some of the things that I feel are necessities.

1) The bag. It took me until the very last trip to figure this out. Up until my trip to NYC, I was taking two bags on the plane with me – my purse and my bag of electronics and camera. I finally realized that I need to consolidate these bags and save my self so grief. I decided to pack my purse with my other bags in the suitcase and put the essentials like my wallet, lotion, and makeup bags in my carryon bag. The key with this consolidation is finding the bag that is the right size and organizing it to a “T”. This is the bags that I have found worked for me.

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2) Organization. Once you have the bag you need to have a place for everything. This is when it is important to have specific places/containers so that you can find what you need at a moment’s notice. I have read about using sandwich/snack bags to place your cords for your electronic devices. I have rubber banded them and placed them in the pockets of my bag and that seemed to work for a while, but I recently found this nifty package that has become my best friend.

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I now keep it in my bag that I take to work. I love it. I purchased one for Babydoll also. I wanted to get one for Stan, but he insisted that he doesn’t need it and I should not waste my money. Any other person would buy it anyway and show him how misguided he is in his thinking; but after 16 years of marriage I have a few new things recently. 1 is that I do not need to buy my husband technology if he doesn’t specifically ask for it and even if he ask, I need to consider it carefully because he really will not use it if he doesn’t want it. I also have purchased a couple of smaller cosmetic bags that I use in my purse and my travel bag to keep things like my lipsticks (yes, I carry ALL of my lipsticks with me because I may decide the color I have on isn’t working so I need to change it), liners, mirror, blot powder, mints, etc.

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3) Neck Pillow. Have you ever had to fly an early/late flight? I have. As a matter of fact our flight to California this year was at 5am. We did not go to sleep so that we could make sure we didn’t miss our flight; so when I got on the plane, I went to sleep so fast, I don’t remember hearing the initial flight attendant safety speech. This peaceful sleep would not have been possible without my neck pillow. I know this because I forgot my pillow on our NYC trip (this happened because Stan was rushing me, I also forgot my iPod; it was a very tense 45 minutes before I was able to let it go). On the return trip home I was trying to catch up on sleep on the train from NYC to Jersey and my head was rolling and bobbing around worse than a bobble head doll. Also I think I might have had the head back open mouthed sleep on the plane. That only happens when I don’t have my neck pillow. Go to Walmart and grab you one for about $10.

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4) I think it is vital to have a good set of headphones and music for any type of plane/train ride. For me, it allows me to drown out all of the outside/surrounding traveling noise that is inevitable. I love my music and have a very eclectic music palate. I have gospel, new and old R&B, old school Hip Hop, some new school Hip Hop, Pop, I think one Country, and I don’t know what to call some of the others, I just like them. Having said that I have a great pair of headphones by Sol Republic that conceal all outside noise that allows me to go into my peace filled zone. No crying babies (I’ve traveled with a baby so I know the plane is going to bother their ears; I don’t like when parents aren’t considerate and don’t provide a bottle, Sippy cup, pacifier so that their ears can pop), no coughing/hacking passengers (that way I can pretend that I don’t hear them coughing without covering their mouths and getting a plane full of people sick), no engine noise – just peace and great music. I can read and not be distracted/disgusted.

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5) A snack. Be it a bag of nuts, apple slices, chips, a bagel, or graham crackers; having a snack will keep you from making poor airport decisions. The snacks that they provide on the plane usually only are enough to make you want more. I haven’t flown Internationally so I cannot vouch for the quality of those snacks, but Domestic peanuts or pretzels just don’t cut it. The fact that you are traveling is putting your body into a small amount of stress/shock; trying to keep your diet as normal as possible is key. So, bring something that can tide you over until you reach your destination. Your digestive system will thank you for it later.

6) Finally, a tablet/electronic reader or something of that nature. Even if you are not a reader like me, a tablet will come in handy because you can have movies, music, magazines, games, and/or books in one small device. Unless you are sleeping the entire flight or it’s a short flight (30 minutes) you are going to want something to occupy you. You could be like my husband and insist that your travelling companion talk to you; but if they have item 4 then they can block you out like I do him. So be kind to your fellow riders that may not want to converse with you on the plane/train and bring something to distract you in case they don’t want to entertain you.

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That’s my list for no hassle travel. I still have not figured out the best way to carry my camera, so I’m currently wrapping it up and carrying it with my on the plane because I don’t want to risk damage in my luggage. I’m still struggling to find the perfect camera bag (and neck strap). I have made them in the past, but I not satisfied after three or four years. I don’t want the typical black bags and neck straps because they’re not reflective of my feminine personality. I’ve seen some of the nicer bags that would be awesome to use once I arrive at my destination but they will not be sufficient for the actual trip. If anyone has any suggestions, I am open to them. What are your travel essential suggestions? Is there something that you feel is essential that I may have forgotten?

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Cork Vaca: Final Days

This is my last tidbits from our family vacation.  The last couple of days of our vacation were really laid back.  We hung out on the beach both days (I didn’t take my camera because I really wanted to chill-laxe.) and headed to the room for showers and our other outings around 4 or 5pm.  The first night we had dinner and then headed to one of the many Putt Putt golf courses.  Stan and the babydoll have played golf on many occasions so they went in with a so-called “advantage” over me. 

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Half-way through our 18 holes we realized that playing golf and putt-putt are two different things (I was in the lead by several putts). Smile with tongue out  My babydoll was really taking the game seriously through most of the game

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until the last couple of holes and then she announced she had to go tinkle.  At that point she decided that she would stop using her putter and use her hand as a putter. Smile  The 18th hole was my downfall and allowed my hubby to snatch victory from me by 4 putts (yes four…my ball kept going around the hole but not going in.).  Here’s his victory pose…

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luckily he is a genius with computers and not providing for his family on the runway.

You may be wondering why we had on sweaters and long-sleeves while in Myrtle Beach during the summer….it’s because it was downright chilly there.  I think the warmest it got was 85 during the hottest part of the day and that was when we were leaving.  We were extremely happy about the mild weather (and glad we weren’t home because it was averaging 100 degrees) it allowed us to be able to hang out at the beach and not feel like we were going to melt into the sand. 

For our night in SC we went to see the movie “Brave” – which was excellent – then spent some time at the boardwalk amusement park down the street from our hotel.  My babydoll spent a week asking for a bow & arrow and horse so that she could be Merida.  We didn’t respond to the request and we are happy to say that the request have died away. 

We awoke early (when I say we I mean me) and finished packing up everything, cleaned up the kitchen, and straightened up so that we could head out by 7am.  I wish I could say that the drive back was uneventful but that would be a total untruth.  We were delayed by 3 hours due to multiple accidents on the highway.  We couldn’t figure out why there were so many, but there were.

We finally walked into the house at 10:30-ish to the smell of doggy vomit.  YES, you read correctly I said doggy vomit.  My pup had been a little sick from the extreme heat and had the worst case of upset stomach that lasted for nearly a week.  My brother had reported that she had been a little sick a couple of times; but he said that she seemed to be doing well when he had left her that afternoon.  When we got home it was not the case….I ended up giving my pretty girl a bath at 11pm and rinsing out her crate in the dark.  The extreme heat had her messed up until last weekend. 

All-in-all our family vaca was really good.  We relaxed, visited a new place, had some good family bonding time, I worked on my camera skills, and most importantly…I was able to read three books and my family didn’t feel like I had ignored them to do it.

Now with school starting soon (the beginning of August for us) and the summer winding down soon, tell me about your vacations – planned or already spent.

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Cork Vaca Day 4

On the fourth day of our vacation, we decided to chill out on the beach. We I arose bright and early at 6:30 am to spend some time with God on the patio overlooking the beach.  It was so sunny and beautiful and was giving promises that it was going to be a beautiful day.  Mr. Stan came out a little later to wish me Happy Anniversary (it’s been 14 years y’all) and we chillaxed with a few minutes of chatter less time from the babydoll. 

After breakfast, we changed to swimwear, grabbed our beach haul, and headed off.  The sun was mighty bright so we decided to rent an umbrella (it was only $15 for the day; I don’t know why we haven’t rented one in the past).

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Now I’ve said multiple times that the babydoll is a water baby; but for whatever reason the ocean intimidates her.  Do you think it’s the sight of the vastness of the ocean?  Don’t get me wrong, she plays in the water and digs for shells, rocks, and crabs a lot, but there is a limit to how far and deep she will go.  Now that I think of it, it may be the taste of the salt water that she doesn’t like, so if there is a possibility to it getting in her mouth she heads in (I just had that epiphany…my own “lightbulb moment”).  Having said this I feel like I won an Olympic event when I convinced her to jump a few waves with me.  We didn’t go as far out as some people, but it made it to her waist people.

I forgot to check the exposure before Mr. Stan started taking pics so they were a little over-exposed.

We got Mr. Stan to come out with us and she was really able to jump, because we were kind of helping her out.

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The craziest part of the day for us was when the tide came in.  As many times as we have spent on the beach we have never witnessed this. 

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The waves got REALLY high and soon passing the line where everyone was chilling out under their umbrellas.  You would be playing in the water and then you would see your shoes floating by from being grabbed by the  receding tide. Surprised smile  At one point I was scrambling to get my camera bag and beach bag – my beloved Nook and camera were in jeopardy of being damaged.  It was supposed to end soon (someone was telling us that it would end around 2:15 pm) but the waves were still pretty high and coming in when we headed back to the room around 5pm.

As stated it was my anniversary and we wanted to go to someplace nice for dinner.  We are not buffet people…we had gone to one the second night we were here because we were told it was the “normal” place to go around here; but we weren’t making that mistake twice – especially not on our anniversary.  The front desk recommended the “Flying Fish”. 

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It’s in the Barefoot area – a off the water that has quant shops and restaurants.  It reminded me a lot of an area we went to while in Seattle.  The food was good and we had a great time as a family.  Babydoll took a few pictures of us so that I could have one of me and hubby.

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(Excuse the lipstick at the bottom of my chin, it was right after eating and I didn’t realize the corn on the cob had caused the smearage.)

When we were walking back to the car, we noticed some young gentlemen with HUGE animal crates.  As we got closer I said, those are baby tigers.  They had the cutest faces. Smile  We were told the adults were in another location around the corner and to check them out.  I took several shots, but it was dark and they were moving around a lot (playing with each other)and I was shooting through glass, so none of the shots came out worth squat (If anyone has any advice, it would be greatly appreciated  – keep in mind I’m in Manual mode on my camera). 

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All in all it was a great family day.  When I woke up that morning I was thinking about my anniversary and reflecting on our 14 years…thinking about what it will be like after 40 years.  Mr. Stan is my friend…even when he makes my butt itch as my husband, he’s still my friend and he still “pops my panties” when I look at him so I think we’ll be good.

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Cork Vaca 2012, Day 2 & 3

With me being sick on my birthday, I felt like the next day should be a do over.  We got up and had a nice family breakfast (this is why we always try to get a room with a full kitchen…who wants to have to rush getting up just so you can find someplace to have breakfast?  we want to lay around a bit..it’s vacation after all.).  Then we headed to the beach.  The weather here has been very mild, not too hot at all; so we have been able to chill out without feeling like we are going to pass out from the heat or have to gussle tons of water to keep us from suffering from heat exhaustion. 

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After around 3-4 hours on the beach we came inside had a snack of meat, cheese, and crackers along with some grapes, everyone hit the showers and we headed out.  I really wanted to get to Bath and Body Works because they are having their Semi-Annual sale and this is the only time I can get my favorite body wash – Dancing Waters- that I take with me on all my trips. The babydoll had picked up a $5 off coupon for Build-A-Bear and that was her requirement for the day.  We found an outlet mall and I found some items at Old Navy while trying to find a light sweater for my babydoll (I can’t believe I let her leave without checking that she had a sweater of some kind).  I walked out with stuff for her, but no sweater.  We spent some time in the Adidas store, cause I love shoes and I’ve really wanted some shell-toes in pink and white every since I saw a pair at the mall in Natchez, MS when we were in the South for my grandmothers funeral.  I didn’t find the shoes there.  And can you believe it…there was no Bath and Bodyworks to be found in the outlet mall.  We headed to another mall, Boardwalk on the Beach, to get the bear.  We walked away with Myrtle Beach (yes that is the name of this bear Smile with tongue out)

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and some fabulous earrings, because I have short hair and must have my dangly earrings to emphasis I’m a girl (like my hips and backside don’t emphasis that enough) and I love, love, love my accessories; (I found this accessories store, Bijuju, be still my over beating heart)

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but I still found no Bath and Bodyworks. 

We went to dinner at Captain George’s Seafood Buffet (there are a lot of seafood buffets around here) and came home for some more of the wonderful ice cream cake.  It was a better day than the previous, so I couldn’t complain.

The next day was a beach and pool day.  Two hours at the pool and another three/four hours on the beach.  It was another cool day (it was actually a little chilly) and Stan and I didn’t feel any burning desire to get in the water.  My babydoll spent a lot of time finding shells and and attempting to find a crab. 

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We encouraged her to search without us being right beside her.  She got so comfortable and distracted that my little one had walked away from us and hadn’t noticed.  I had to go get her.  On the walk back we came across a baby stingray.  Of course I didn’t have my camera…can you imagine my angst to miss that photo opportunity. Sad smile

We had Mexican for dinner.  And I was finally able to get to Bath and Bodyworks to get my shower gel.  They didn’t have the creamy version, but I have gel no-the-less.  As much as we wanted to walk down Ocean Blvd to look at some to the night attractions, as I stated earlier it was too chilly.  We wanted to get to the room to warm up.  Maybe tonight we can do some nighttime sight seeing…the day promises to be a warm one.

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Cork Family Vaca 2012

When we plan our family vacation, the babydoll has two requirements…a beach and a pool.  Because of this we have tended to find ourselves somewhere in Florida or California.  Don’t get me wrong we have traveled to some amazing cities that do not have a beach, but we can’t spend a week away and not have a pool.

This year we wanted to try something different.  We have heard from many people about Myrtle Beach, SC.  It’s funny to think that we’ve never been here, but have been to locations really close by.  We decided to make the drive (for several reasons – the cost of airfare is crazy stupid right now and there’s a boat load of stuff you need for the beach that we already had at home so why buy more when we get there to throw it away when we couldn’t take it back with us on the plane.) and headed out Saturday morning.  I have to have a side note really quickly…we left a lot later than we expected Saturday and one of the biggest reasons was my niece gave birth to her baby girl at 3am Saturday morning and we needed to get keys to my brother (the proud grandfather), who was dog-sitting for us, so we had to go to the hospital.  Of course we weren’t leaving without seeing my new great-niece who looks like a beautiful babydoll.  She reminded me so much of my babydoll.  There were a few complications with the birth (just like with my babydoll), but I’m confident babygirl will be just fine.  Now back to our vaca.

The drive was fun and very mountainy (is that a word?  it should be.) and we didn’t arrive at our hotel until around 11 (did you know that North Myrtle Beach is actually the name of the city and not a division of Myrtle Beach?)  We checked in and got on pajamas and checked out for the night.  I’m an early riser…so I was up at 6am the next day to a beautiful view of the beach.  It was my birthday…the big 4-0.  I was excited to begin our time here to see what everyone was raving about.

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Unfortunately I ate something for breakfast that deflated me.  It hit me while we were in the grocery store (which was about 30 minutes after breakfast) and stuck with me for the rest of the day.  My birthday dinner consisted of a piece of chicken from Bojangles (first time having that) and the ice cream cake that my hubby picked up while at the grocery store.  Another side note: some people would think an ice cream cake is cheesy, but my favorite dessert is ice cream and cake so this was perfect for my especially since it contained tow real layers of cake sandwiching vanilla ice cream.  I have got to make one of those when I get home.  Smile

The babydoll did get to spend some time in the pool.

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I think she would have had a hissy fit that would have made any “queen” be proud if she had not.

Stay tuned for more details of our trip.

How about your family…are there any big trips planned for the summer?

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(I’m including a signature, tell me what you think.  Should it stay or should it go?)

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The busy season

I always knew the month of May was a busy one for me with the Babydoll’s birthday, ending of the school year, Babydoll’s choir Spring concert, Mother’s Day, etc.  This particular May I also had to add my annual Book Club trip to West Chester, OH for the Lori Foster Reader/Author Appreciation Event (check out sugarbookclub.wordpress.com for more about that) to the schedule as it is always the 1st weekend in June and that ended up including the last few days of May as well.  Oh yeah…did I mention my sister, her husband, and eldest daughter graduated this month.  My sister and her husband finished up Bachelor degrees and my niece from high school.

I was prepared to tackle this month.  I had my game plan ready.  One thing I could not, nor had I not, plan was the death of my grandmother.  My grandmother had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s several years ago when we had brought her up her from Louisiana for a visit.  She had doctors here because we just didn’t feel that she was getting adequate diagnosis where she was.  Not to say that the doctors where she was were not competent, just that here there was more thorough testing done.  Anyway, Mrs. Lady as I ended up calling her along with the formal Grandmother, lost her fight with the disease the same week of Babydoll’s choir concert and birthday (yes, there were in the same week – dress rehearsal and concert Wednesday & Thursday and party that Saturday. Surprised smile).  My family had to coordinate massive travel arrangements because we had to go back to Louisiana for the funeral and burial and we had quite a few of us coming from various locations.  It turned out we headed out the week in-between the birthday party and my trip that was already paid for.  But ended up missing Aleesha-Boo’s graduation (she’s going to get me for saying that – she Tweets that I always find a way to embarrass her; but I remember her as my beautiful niece who stole my stuffed bear when she visited before going to Italy.)

The funeral was very nicely done with a minimum amount of drama.  And I stress the word minimum – this could have been a colossal event that went down in the history books of drama.  Better than any episode of Real Housewives of New Jersey.  I’m going to really miss Ms. Lady and her quick wit, sharp tongue, and abundance of love.  My dad used to call her the 4 foot general (I think she was around 4’10” or 4’11”, but she was a short one compared to my 5’10.5”)

My Babydoll’s spa party was another big success.  We had sent out 10 invitations, but I’m really glad only half of that showed up.  The girls had a good time getting facials,

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getting mani’s and pedi’s

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and drinking “champagne” from champagne flutes (plastic of course).  I spent three weeks making face mask and spa robes and they really didn’t wear them long.  You see, the control panel for the HVAC battery went out and so we were unable to adjust anything until we had a battery.  It had been cool enough throughout the week that we didn’t need to have anything on, but Saturday it got HOT.  By the time we found a battery it took a “minute” to get the house cool again.  The girls just didn’t want to wear the robes longer than what was needed for the facial.  I hired a wonderful young lady to do the mani’s & pedi’s and I did the facials.  It was loads of fun for everyone.   I can’t wait to hear what her thoughts of next years party will be.  She’ll probably coming to me soon with her thoughts on the matter.

Another big event was my Babydoll receiving a “Personal Best” award from the school Superintendent.  It was a surprise for her, and Stan and I had to act like it was school as usual that morning.  What made it super crazy was the fact that there was a lot of construction going on on the way to school that morning and I got her to school just in time to walk down with her classmates to the gymnasium.  I had to run back out to the car to get my purse and camera and find us a seat.  The only bummer was that I didn’t get a good picture of her getting her award.  The zoom lens that I’m currently using is not for my camera; it’s my husbands old lens and it was made for a Nikon that has the focus built into the camera and my camera requires the zoom to be in the lens.  I have to manually adjust the zoom and tight focus and sometimes my camera does not recognize the lens as being attached to the camera – usually at a crucial time like when I’m ready to take a shot.  Can you say birthday gift boys and girls?  This is what I did get (excuse her attire…it was PE day and I couldn’t dress her up without giving away the surprise)

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Memorial Day was spent relaxing and doing laundry (I had to go to work the next day and leaving for Ohio two days later.), but we did spend several hours in the French Quarter before we came home.  Can you say HOT?  I mean HOT!!

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I had every intention of sitting down to have Biegnets at Café du Monde and getting a Shrimp Po’Boy.  The line at Café du Monde was way too long.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen the line that long.  I just kept walking on by.  We went to the shopping part of the market and I was able to find a few things (a gift for my Mommy’s birthday & a couple of souvenirs for Babydoll – she loves to bring home something for every trip we take.)

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My husband and daughter was able to get a crawfish Po’Boy, but we could not find a FRIED shrimp Po’Boy for me. Sad smile  I did get a icee – Tigersblood is the bomb, and found my Po’Boy once we got of the Quarter Smile man do I love those things.

With all of the traveling that I did, I’m glad I’m back home (for now) and I had a great time.  Even my grandmothers funeral trip was enjoyable because I had the opportunity to spend some time with family members that I had not seen in a while.  Aren’t we a handsome group (this wasn’t everyone either –  more like half)?

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My handsome brother in his suit (everyone wore a touch of purple because it was my grandmothers favorite color).

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The one I married 14 years ago…be still my heart.  He cleans up so nice.  He really isn’t a drinker…I think that was iced tea. Smile with tongue out

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My cousin from New York husband…all the men looked really good.

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The month of June promises to be just as busy (my Mothers birthday, my nieces baby shower, MY BIRTHDAY!!, MY ANNIVERSARY!!, family vacation) you know how my life is. Smile

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Cork Vacation 2011 – Day 1

As promised, I’m going to share with everyone some photos from our family vacation.  I know our vacation was months ago, but I’ve been busy.  See the previous post. 🙂

This year we decided to travel to Fort Lauderdale, FL for a week and then to Chicago, IL for another 4 days.  We left on Saturday morning very early (I mean REALLY EARLY), but we were able to arrive in the beautiful city before noon.  We had searched high and low on the internet for a hotel that would allow us to have a kitchen and living room.  If we were going to be staying in a room for a week, it was really important to us not to be in a room with just beds and a bathroom.  So…after much searching we found a hotel that was designed like a mini apartment that was also on the beach.  The Lago Mar.

After we got off the plane and got our rental car, we decided to head to the store to pick up a few things for snacks and a few groceries before checking into the hotel (plus it passed the time we needed for check in).  The lobby of our hotel had some really beautiful tiled murals.

My baby doll was on cloud nine at the pool and insisted that we spend a lot of time there.  The hotel had its own private beach as well as a putt putt coarse, large chess board (like the one in the Harry Potter movie), volleyball court, and awesome pool.

Stan and I did not sleep the night before (because we had to get up so early) so we were beat.  We slept on the plane, on the pool chairs by the pool, on the sofa in the living room; if we seat still too long – we would doze off.   We finally called it quits early, which allowed me to be able to wake up early and take a couple of photos as the sun was coming up .  Remember, I had all of my new photography tips to implement and ended up taking alot of shots of the same thing.  But I think I got some pretty good shots of from our balcony.

I woke up at 6am to get these last two shots.

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