So Pioneer Woman, AKA PW, AKA Ree, AKA Ethel Merman, AKA Lucille Ball, I could go on...has been on this big book signing tour for the past few weeks, promoting her new cookbook. She has hit major metros all over and will keep touring for the next few months or so...check out the tour to see if she is in your city here www.thepioneerwoman.com. You should be so lucky! I was not. She doesn't have West Texas on her list. However, if you are like me and have a super duper Sister in Law that lives in Dallas and happens to be really into book signings and loves you enough to stand in huge long lines with crazy people who drool over PW, then you too can catch a glimpse thru a texted photo and hopefully get a signed cookbook for Christmas. I am truly living vicariously through my faithful Sister in Law, who didn't even know who PW was until I showed her the cookbook at Barnes n Noble a few weeks ago and sweetly mentioned, more like begged her to go to the book signing for me.
She texted me all along the way. See this is a girl who stood in line for the Twlight series, so she is no newbie to long line book signings. However, she said and I quote "These Mom's are crazy!" I really owe her, big time. She mentioned baking her a Chocolate Cake. I'll have to whip up PW's Chocolate Sheet cake, which is crazy good and super simple. Can't wait until Christmas and I unwrap my signed Pioneer Woman Cookbook. Absolutely Thrilling and a labor of love from my Sister in Law! Thanks Ren! Love ya!
PW's Beautiful Girls!
When the temp begins dropping....my desire to go find the sun and warm water starts to rise. I love to leave out from a cold place and land in a warm sunshine drenched water loving local. When I think of the prime beach destination...it's definitely Hawaii. It's just all about relaxation. Now is the time to start planning...even if you aren't going until February or March. Start shopping now. Begin by reading reviews on locations, hotels, activities. Trip Advisor is a good place to start. Then from there you can learn what other people deem a great place. Then go to that specific hotel website and view great pictures and all the amenities. This will help you make a decision. Happy Beach WebSurfing!
Check out this new way of sharing your photos. I just love it....
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We interrupt this program to bring you a much needed advertisement for the Fabulous Keurig Mini Coffee Maker. Or as I have decided to call it "Fergilicous Coffee." Something about the spelling of Keurig that reminds me of Fergie...Call me weird.
No, I don't get any payola from Keruig of any kind, but I'm all about creating THE FABULOUS VACATION...and this little baby came through for me. Perfect size for the RV, we had delicious coffee every morning. The best part, each of us could pick our own flavor and there was no leftover. Now granted, if you are a 8 cup family, it might not be the most economical for you. But with what I bought it came out to be about .50cents a cup for us. The choices are amazing and even include Hot Cocoa and Hot tea for the kiddos or non coffee drinkers. This little machine works so quickly and so charmingly, that when we returned home, I took it out of it's new home in the RV and brought it in the house for it's rightful place on my kitchen cabinet. Keurig makes all sizes, so check it out on the link above. Just another way to create a Fabulous Vacation. Enjoy!
Tiger Run Luxury Park is our choice when we come to Breckenridge. Perfectly located approximately 3.75 miles out of town and adjacent to the bike path, Tiger Run has all the amenities you need for a Fabulous Vacation. All concrete RV pads, full hook-ups, indoor pool, tennis courts, playground, game room, laundry and so much more. Two rivers run through this park - the Blue and the Swan River. Their are RV sites and chalets for rent. The Bike Path is easy to access and we ride the almost 4 miles into town, spend the day and ride downhill back to Tiger Run. It's a great work out and a wonderful way to take in the river along the bike path.
One of our favorite lunch places is right on the river in a tiny indoor mall on Main Street in Breckenridge. With only 20 or so tables and 3 outside, lunch time can be crowded. The happy couple who own Wasabi have been in Breckenridge for over 13 years and run a quick service, delicious, cozy atmosphere little place. The menu includes Sushi, Udon Noodle Soup, Terriyaki Rice Bowls and more. Great Food! Great Prices! A must for a Fabulous Vacation.
Quick, Simple, Hearty! That's what you get at The Little Diner in Vail Lion's Head Village. Open for Breakfast and lunch only. This tiny kitchen offers an array of choices, prepared before your eyes as you sit at the counter and visit with the cooks.
Summer time is off season for ski resorts and a fabulous time to check out the places you are interested in and get a super value at the same time have the place practically to yourself. Hyatt's website boasted a $111 for a weeknight stay at Park Hyatt Beaver Creek. In addition the hotel restaurant 8100 is currently offering 30% off their entire menu. Too boot, I happen to stay at the Hyatt Tamaya resort in Bernalillo New Mexico a few weeks ago and upon check out received a coupon for my next stay at any Hyatt that boasted $150 off lunch and dinner. The code offer is DELISH - you might check it out on the Hyatt site under specials when booking. There are specifications for qualifications, but it's worth checking into.
Park Hyatt Beaver Creek is beautiful and what you would expect in sophisticated mountain decor. The Lobby is large with plenty of room for families to have their space while enjoying the gorgeous views as they relax in comfy chairs and couches. It's a perfect option for the skier, as the Buckaroo lift is right outside. Ski in and out is the way to go. Every evening between 4pm and 5pm they offer complimentary Smore' Roasting in the large fire pit out back. The resorts boasts a great workout facility with Kinesis and Yoga classes. Allegria Spa offers a full menu and great products. The pool area is pretty with plenty of chairs, poolside menu service, 5 Jacuzzis, decent size pool and the best view of the mountains. Their is just something about laying out by the pool soaking up the sun, while gazing out at the gorgeous Rocky Mountains. Pure heaven.
8100 the hotel restaurant is beautifully decorated with a sophisticated pottery barn style. The service is good and food is marginal. They do have superb sourdough bread that comes to the table once you order. They make an excellent Bloody Mary, made with pepper infused vodka. The New York Strip is also excellent. The sides and appetizers are lacking and very small in portion size. This is the mountains people - support the active hungers of your patrons. My past two experiences with Hyatt restaurants - Beaver Creek and Tamaya have both been disappointing. However, Hyatt Maui was terrific. My advice - always try the hotel restaurant - but don't feel like you have to eat all your meals in the hotel. Beaver Creek Village - right out the door of the Park Hyatt - has a huge array of places to eat. From Thai to Mexican to Italian and Mountain Fare. So spread it out a little and you won't go wrong.
The Village offers outdoor ice skating even in the summer (evenings only). Plenty of comfy seating with outdoor gas fire pits. Plenty of shopping and eating. A beautiful place to spend an evening. Over all, we would stay again at the Park Hyatt and would even consider staying in the winter for some skiing. Keep in mind - in the winter- this place is packed.
Beaver Creek Village
Here is a sneak peak at the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek in beautiful Beaver Creek, Colorado
A beautiful place winter or summer. Here are a few highlights!
One of the 5 hottubs by the pool
Slopeside - Buckaroo Gondola - For Quick Skiing Fun!
8100 Restaurant in the Hotel
So our latest getaway was in San Marcos Texas. It's our place. Lots of history here for us. So we know it well. The San Marcos River runs through the Texas State campus and is 72 degrees year round. It makes for a refreshing and exhilarating treat from the hot weather. San Marcos also hosts the BEST Mexican Food on the planet at Herbert's Taco Hut. So I know I normally take pics of our food for you to salivate over, but I was so thrilled that we were at Herbert's, I totally forgot until after it was all gone. So as you can see by the empty plate, I really enjoyed my Guacamole Chalupa Dinner. You just can't go wrong with any plate. The hot sauce is unlike anything anywhere else. It's not tomatoey, but a hot deliciousness of jalapeno goodness.
The owner and her son Mrs. Herbert.
You hungry for a Chili Dog? Then head of to Chili Dog and get 5 for $6.25. Need a little retail thereapy? Head to the gargantuan outdoor Outlet Shopping Mall. Actually there are two. Just in case you couldn't walk your legs off at one. They are side by side and one can find any store in the world there. My faves - Coach, Pottery Barn, Williams Sonoma, Restoration Hardware, Ralph Lauren - to name a few.
We stayed at Canyon Trail RV Park while we were there. Definatley close to the action, but no shade and no cool amenities. Would only stay here again if I really had no other option. Which in San Marcos, there are many options.
A Fabulous place to vacation for a weekend or a week. For a small town, Ruidoso has so much to offer. We like to camp when we go to Ruidoso, but before we began RVing, we stayed many times in a cabin in Upper Canyon. From private cabins rented throughout the year, to commercial cabins, to hotels, to Bed and Breakfasts, Ruidoso has tons of options. We now like to stay at our favorite little campground just outside of town towards Alto called Little Creek RV Campground. Owned by the Varnadore's, it's a friendly, quiet and beautiful setting that we have been frequenting for over 3 years. Plenty of deer come up in the evening for our viewing pleasure. There is a small putting green for some practice time. A large grassy area to throw a Frisbee or football. Plenty of room for the kiddos to ride their bike's. It's a laid back kind of place with friendly travelers as your neighbors. Wide spots that make it easy to back in your Rig. They also have pull through spots, if that's your preference. You will pay around $35 a night for a spot with full hook ups, including cable TV. Make your reservations early, the word has gotten out about Little Creek and it's often full all summer long. Partly our fault, as we tell everyone we know about our favorite little campground.
We love to eat when we go to Ruidoso. Green Chili is the thing to have when you are in New Mexico and Ruidoso doesn't fail to live up to this reputation. Lincoln County Grill is our breakfast spot. The Huevos Rancheros call out to us. It's two eggs over easy perched on top of two soft corn tortilla's, with pan fried potatoes, pinto beans, two sausage patties all covered in Red Chili or Green Chili or if you feel Cheery, Christmas. That's both Red and Green chili. Delicioso! Our son loves the Buttermilk Pancakes with hot maple syrup. Our favorite snack is at Farley's and it's the Fried Green Chili Wontons. It's a hangout for locals and tourist. Sort of a Sports Bar/Apres Ski Joint. Family friendly, so don't worry about taking the kids. It's totally fine. For good, straight up New Mexican Fare - try Casa Blanca. It's our go to place when we bring first time Ruidoso visitors with us. It never let's us down. Hungry for some Pizza? Try Casa Rio right in the heart of the town on Suddereth. Total local joint, the pizza is great. Great prices too! If you are feeling way more Italian - go to Michalena's. It's got your pizza and so much more. Great pasta dishes and great ambiance.
Enough on food. Although I can never get enough. Walk off that chow with a little shopping. One of my favorite stores of all time is right in the heart of midtown - J. Roberts. Sooo Cute! They have the most fun fashions. Great prices and things you can't find everywhere. The owner is a talented buyer. I always find something or somethings I want when I go in there. She never lets me down. This time I found cutie patootie green flower earrings, a sexy dress and a peacock essence t-shirt.
After you get your shopping on, you can burn off more calories with all the outdoor activities. With an outdoor park, bike and walking trail, tennis courts, golfing galore, hiking, fishing, you name it. Winter time brings skiing. Summer time brings jeep and hiking trails. Got more time? Take the hour drive up to Cloudcroft for a whole new experience. Feeling lucky? The Inn of the Mountain Gods Hotel and Casino offers breathtaking views, golf, a lake, more good food and gambling. Owned by the Apache Indians, this Hotel and Casino sits on part of the reservation and is operated by the Natives themselves. A top notch outfit with some of the most beautiful scenery you will find in all of New Mexico.
For the less active and outdoorsy type, head on over the the Hubbard Museum of the American West. Located in Ruidoso Downs, it offers different exhibits throughout the year ranging from artists to movie making exhibits like Tombstone. Also in Ruidoso Downs is it's namesake the Horse Race Track itself. An experience unlike many others, you can enjoy the sport, people watch and place a bet. A real trip.
I'm only hitting my highpoints. Ruidoso has so much more to offer. Check out the Chambers site for a calender of events. There is always something going on. You really can't miss.
Okay, so here's the scoop on Maui: (I'll post pics later)
The weather is warming across the country, except for those hold out areas that still have to get a few freezes and snow storms in before Spring swings in full tilt. Those snow storms just make us hanker for sunshine even more and fantasize about warm beaches and turquoise water. Last April we had the pleasure of visiting one of the most diverse islands in the world. Maui has much to offer those seeking The Fabulous Vacation. From high end retail shopping, food experiences galore, to the laid back slow paced side of the island where you see one or two people in a few hours. Glorious beaches, crystal clear blue ocean water, whale watching, blowhole spraying, sun like crazy and just a chillaxin way of life. You want to slow down - this is the place to do it. The locals are so friendly and warm. They make you feel to welcome and have this "surfer dude" way of just spreading the "No Worries Dude" approach to everything. The two words you will use often are "Aloha" which are used for hello and goodbye and "Mahalo" which means thank you. So get them down, cuz it's fun and it's polite. When in Rome.....
More on Maui later...
Ya gotta hankering for some great pizza pie? Well, if you are ever in Santa Fe New Mexico, you must make a stop at Upper Crust. Right off the Plaza, this place has Fabulous Pizza and Salads. The dough is amazingly thin and crispy w/ a soft and bubbly crust. The large Meat Combo is a great choice along with the Spinach Salad and enough to feed 4. Good atmosphere and reasonably priced, make sure to visit Upper Crust!
Harry’s Roadhouse in Santa Fe New Mexico
Located at 96B Old Las Vegas Hwy about 8 miles out of town, you will find a truly Fabulous eating experience. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, locals and tourist alike find eating at Harry’s a delicious experience. American and Southwest fare will tempt your tastebuds. The baked goods are a special surprising treat. Displayed in a case to get your attention, you can’t help but try a sampling. On our date we tried both the Pecan Pie and Chocolate Cream pie. Very tastey indeed. Our entrees that night included The Roadhouse Tostada, Blue Corn Turkey Enchiladas and the kid’s Grilled Cheese. All delicious and different from the average fare you find anywhere else, Harry’s puts their twist on each dish. For breakfast we tried the Miga’s, Chillaquiles and Chocolate Chip pancakes for the kiddo. All delicious and a super friendly waitstaff. A must try when you are in Santa Fe. Photos below tell the story of our two visits to Harry’s. Enjoy!
Skiing Santa Fe in the Spring is a smart move and has the makings for a Fabulous Vacation. One would think that during Spring Break, it would be mobbed, but they would be wrong. The sun was shining and the snow was hanging on for a few more weeks of fun on the hill. No waiting in the lift lines and plenty of room to tear it up on the slopes. Adult Lift tickets are $29 for half day and $58 for full day. $22 rents your gear for the day. The days of cutie pie snow bunny are over as many of us have become sensible and wear helmets. They aren't great for the hairdo, but are so worth the safety they provide. Snowboarding has made helmets even more cool, so get one on your little noggin. It's the smart thing to do. You can rent them for $8, but I highly recommend purchasing your own. I'm a germ freak and I like knowing only my head has been in that helmet.
After searching around for something to do for Spring Break, we finally settled on Santa Fe New Mexico. We didn't want the crowds nor the cold. But also thought it would be fun to ski a little. Santa Fe's weather this week is amazing. Beautiful blue skies and mid 60's. Can't beat it. Head up the mountain to Ski Santa Fe and the temp drops to mid 40's. Perfect shortsleeved Spring skiing. Crowds aren't heavy and the snow is hanging on for those final runs. I've skied in blizzards and though that makes from some fun and challenging skiing, there is nothing like Spring skiing. One could almost wear shorts. Who says you can't get a great tan in the mountains. Just don't forget to remove the goggles every so often so you don't look like a raccoon. I'll blog again on the specifics regarding Ski Santa Fe in a few days, so check back.