Meeting Aidan and Grace last weekend was simply magical. My new niece and nephew, amazing! It was such a joy to help Erin and Tom, in any little way I could. It is overwhelming to know I will get a front row seat in watching these two little ones grow and flourish, and I hope to be not just an auntie but a friend and mentor to both.

Picture Perfect

My days would all be happy if I could spend my office time designing promotional pieces and other creative elements. Sadly, it doesn’t happen as frequently as I like. I wasn’t hired with these types or projects in my job description, however slowly the responsibility to design all our creative pieces (and website) has crept on to my to-do list, and I couldn’t be happier about it. By no means am I a graphic designer, or even all THAT creative, but I am proud of these two projects I just completed.

The first is a banner stand for an upcoming convention we are attending. The banner is a vertical piece on a retractable stand which unfolds to a height of about 9 feet. Here is the image:

Looks much more impressive in person at its full height:

The second is a give away piece for the same show that was deigned to go in sync with the vertical banner. This is a 2 sided glossy 5×7 postcard:


Back:Hopefully more projects like this will come my way! If not, maybe I will have to quit my job and go to graphic design school.

A "Flu Free Guarantee"? Yes.

Got this e-mail promotion in my inbox this morning and it’s too good not to share. Maybe I will go to Mexico and lick some water fountains or something so I can get some free vacations in the future:

Zoëtry, Secrets and Dreams Resorts & Spas Offer “Flu-Free Guarantee;”
Three Free Vacations if Guests Contract Influenza A – H1N1

Mexico’s Decline in Cases Spurs Award-Winning Resorts to Offer Guarantee,
Aggressive Promotions and Irresistible Prices

PHILADELPHIA (May 11, 2009) – As Mexico’s Health Minister reports a continuing decline in the H1N1 cases, Zoëtry Wellness & Spa Resorts, Secrets Resorts & Spas and Dreams Resorts & Spas introduces a Flu-Free Guarantee* to help speed the country’s tourism recovery. Valid between May and December 2009, if a guest contracts Influenza A – H1N1 while staying at these resorts their next three vacations will be free of charge.

All Zoëtry Wellness & Spa Resorts, Secrets and Dreams Resorts & Spas follow the current American Hotel & Lodging Sanitation Measures and recently have taken additional heightened measures to ensure the highest level of sanitation and hygiene.

“The health and well-being of our resort employees and guests is a top priority for us. As a result, zero cases of influenza have been reported at any of our properties,” said Alex Zozaya, president and CEO of AMResorts, provider of sales, marketing and brand management services for Zoëtry Wellness & Spa Resorts, Secrets Resorts & Spas and Dreams Resorts & Spas.” “During the last few weeks, we have continuously encouraged travel to Mexico based on the real facts about the H1N1 virus, and the sanitary protocols in place at all of our resorts.”

The Mexican authorities’ recent lift on restrictions to all public facilities including restaurants and cafes, libraries, museums, churches, archaeological sites and more further supports AMResorts’ confidence in the healthy condition of the country.

“We are convinced the recent decline of cases and continued affirmation from the world’s leading health organization for unrestricted international travel will encourage tourists to quickly return to Mexico for its diverse and enticing tourism offerings, rich culture and competitive pricing,” said Zozaya.

* “Flu-Free Guarantee” H1N1 Insurance details:

  • Must be qualified as Influenza A – H1N1. Positive blood results in addition to certification of the doctor who performed the test are required
  • Applies to guests that booked May 8, 2009 through June 30, 2009 for travel taking place May 8, 2009 through December 20, 2009
  • Valid for same vacation (land only) to return once per year over the next 3 years and only for the original traveler plus one companion. Blackout dates and restrictions apply
  • Applicable to Zoëtry Wellness & Spa Resorts, Secrets and Dreams Resorts & Spas only

Irresistible Savings to Jumpstart Spring Travel Bookings

All Zoëtry Wellness & Spa Resorts, Secrets and Dreams Resorts & Spas are offering a host of irresistible special packages and promotions. Special promotion highlights include:

Spring Escapes:

Zoëtry Wellness & Spa Resorts
• Up to 37 percent discount
Secrets Resorts & Spas
• Up to 55 percent discount
• $200 in resort credit
Dreams Resorts & Spas
• Up to 40 percent discount
• Up to $250 in resort credit
• Two kids stay free with two adults

Discounts are valid for bookings made from May 1 – June 15, 2009 for travel through December 23, 2009 (actual dates and offers vary by resort and can be booked directly on the brands’ websites)

May Madness:
All Master Agents who book in May for travel from June 1 – December 23, 2009 are eligible to win one year’s worth of gas or one of 14 Dell Inspiron™ Mini 9 Laptops.

I Bambini Sono Arrivati!

I am delighted to share happy news: Aidan Walker and Grace Elizabeth have joined us in the world! My sister gave birth last night after a long day of labor. By the sound of things, it didn’t go as easy as she had hoped, nor as badly as maybe one would fear (by one, I mean me, naturally).

I haven’t received any pictures yet, so here is my take on what the babies might look like:

Cute, no? (Thanks, photoshop!) Gracie came first, leading the charge. Girl Power! I can’t wait to meet them! Not this weekend, but hopefully one soon after. Mom and babies are healthy and getting to know one another.

Bay(by) Watch Continues

The Baby Watch continues though I think Erin is getting pretty close. It looks like next year we will be celebrating their first birthday along with our wedding (which is just about 1 year away now).

Speaking of the wedding, one of the more important decisions I have to make is about photographers. Photography is really important to me, especially it’s the one aspect (other than the marriage itself) that you take away with you. The flowers?Ditched the next day. The music? Forgotten. The dress? Likely to be stored away in some closet. But the photos…they last.

When Dad married Jan, nearly 20 years ago now, their photographer delivered terrible shots. I remember that they took pictures of the proofs, just to hang on to some images of the day, but otherwise the images weren’t worth the price to pay for them. I dread that happening to us. They must have been so disappointed.

There is a photographer I really like, who has beautiful images (and does a very cool book documenting the day) and she has shot tons of weddings at our ceremony/reception site. In fact, she was the wedding photographer for the F&B manager (basically the on-site party manager) for the Sundy House. She is good but of course she is expensive, maybe about $1100 more than I had planned to spend, including the pictures (digial), the wedding book, a DVD, an engagement photo shoot and a lifetime portrait deal. If I cut out all the extras, I am sure I can get the price down, but still she will be expensive.

There is another photographer, who seems to do weddings on the side of his documentary and photojournalism career. He is basically no frills– you get a CD of all the images with complete rights for printing and editing. But, he comes in about $900 LESS than what I had planned to spend. I like his work, but feel nervous that this isn’t really his speciality.

I am definitely torn.

Its the Final Countdown!

My gorgeous sister is due to give birth to twins anytime now, and I am anxiously awaiting the babies arrival with cell phone perpetually glued to my hand. This past weekend a photographer stopped Erin on the street and asked if she would be interested in sitting for a photo shoot…after checking out that he wasn’t a loon, she agreed and the photos (the few I have seen) are amazing! Take a look:

I don’t know too many women who could look so incredible with 2 six-pounders (or more?) hanging out in their belly, but I have never seen her look more beautiful.

House of Turquoise

Soon, Damir and I will be making a few changes within our apartment, which (among other things) includes a new paint job. Wahhooooo! The current dark vanilla on the walls is so depressing. I need bright! I need color! I need BLUE! It has been an interesting time trying to decide what color will grace our bedroom walls, and I think I have decided on some shade of turquoise.

While looking for inspiration, I stumbled across this website, House of Turquoise, and I am absolutely hooked. I would die to live in just about any of these spaces pictured. Here are a few of my favorites:I love this mix of turquoise, black and red. So unexpected! It seems to me that it carries the right mix of feminine and masculine, modern and classic.

I could crawl into this bed and sleep a long and peaceful sleep dreaming of sandy beaches and blue oceans.
Previous living spaces I have had (Amsterdam, for example) featured a lovely yellow and turquoise combination. This sample above is a much more adult (read: expensive) version of that attempt.

Hopefully this weekend we will go out and get some samples. Stay tuned for pictures!