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July 2017


Summer is coming to a close and as school ramps up those sweet, fun memories of your hard earned family vacation start to fade. They get lost in the shuffle of Meet the Teacher nights, buying books and new clothes for those always growing kids and just all around RL.

Trying to juggle the real world becomes paramount and your kids are on to the next new thing and you start to wonder if they even remember all the fun times or appreciate every sacrifice you made to make their summer vacation rock!!

Hell, you wonder if you can recall those great memories yourself.

But, preserving those memories and reliving them aren’t as difficult as you think.

Studies show that visual, verbal, smell and taste help recall memories. Ever hear a song, or have the smell of honeysuckle that transports you back to a magical moment in your childhood? You can use these same cues to create everlasting, great memories of your family vacations for your kids (and yourself, bonus!!) for years to come. 


Sure, photos, we all know that photos are memory builders. But with smart phones and social media we have thousands of images socked away on our phones and Facebook, Instagram etc., but are we using these pictures to the best of their use?


Who really looks at them again? And no, very few of us are going to print them out and put them in photo albums circa 1980? Not me, and I was a verified photo album geek!! However, what you can do is load up some of your faves as screen savers for your wide screen TV, laptops, tablets and smart phones. 

I suggest the TV because then everyone gets to see the revolving photo album which can spark conversation, thus leading to solidifying the memories even more. 

Story is a powerful component of making memories stick, says Carol Peterson, Ph.D, in her article for NPR on kids and memory. When a child creates a good chronological story, these memories will last, she said in the article. Seeing your vacation photos help create the story. 

So when we return from a vacation (okay, when I say we, I mean my techie husband), loads up some of the best shots from the trip to our screen saver for the TV. Now when we turn off our TV, photos scroll through and even on busy days we can see our happy vacationing faces in high-def. 

Of course, I also recommend printing out just a few pics and putting into frames, or blowing up into a canvas for your kids’ room. Maybe even buy a souvenir picture frame to create a more tactile memory. It’s a twofer!!


Make a vacation playlist! We are a very music friendly family. My husband codes to music, I write to music, our son plays his from his iPhone in his cruiser cupholder like a mod version of the 80s ghetto blaster.  Spotify is on much of the day in our house. Plus, I like to make playlists (a throw back to my mixtape days of yore), so this last vacation I got the idea of making one for our trip to Italy. It’s been on loop for both me and my son since we got home. While we were out I used Shazam to capture songs in restaurants, gelato shops, cafes and even some museums, then created a playlist on Spotify from there. You can link Shazam and Spotify making it easy to create a playlist from the songs you hear. Watching my son’s face with his lips curled in a little smile, bobbing his head to the beat of his Italy playlist, I can only hope that when he hears these songs years later they will transport him back in time.

Extra points for making a slideshow of pictures to the playlist or better yet a mini movie with the soundtrack. If you make it a family project, even better!

Plus, scientists have found that the brain “…links music, memories, and emotions” through a “hub” known as the medial prefrontal cortex, according to Dr. Petr Janata and his team. In fact, a multitude of research shows the positive effects of music on the brain, from helping with everything from ADD to Alzheimer’s patients, so let it play I say, get connected and dance around the living room or cruise the neighborhood blasting your iPhone. 🙂


Basil, honeysuckle, lavender, dried up pine needles, were on our trip. Tastes and connect with the brain too and maybe recreating these aren’t as easy as the two above, but if you like to cook or garden then add these elements to your repertoire. Try making a dish or dessert you had on vacation together and see what conversations these stir up.

I’ll try something simple like this gem my good friend and photographer, Emily Carroll, taught me; basil leaves wrapped around mozzarella balls, drizzled with olive oil and stabbed with a toothpick, à la Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods. I’ll buy the live basil plant and until I kill it with my brown thumb, its fragrant leaves will permeate our kitchen, creating one more link to our vacation in Italy.


These tips aren’t just for exotic vacations, they are for all vacations! From summer fun with the family at the lake, to camping trips or road trips to Disneyland, okay, I’m dating myself here, but you get the idea. 

You took the time, energy and money to plan a summer vacation, now it’s time to get your ROI. So take just a little more time when you get home to put together a little family vacation montage for lasting memories and some family bonding.

I’d love to hear and see what you come up with, so share the love!

Love, Peace and Adventure,


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Leg one of Phoenix to Rome (PHX-DFW).

Let’s see, seltzer water, for hydration; orange juice, vitamin C for my immune system; vodka for, you know, “yoga” in a bottle; and a biscoff cookie, just because it’s freakin yummy!

Non~Rev travel is always an adventure, its like a crap shoot. You go to bed late (after ninety repacks and two last minute runs to Target and a packed mall), and the flights look good. But the next morning, the one rainstorm of the season has wrecked havoc on your yard, your trees AND your flights.

Canceled flights from the night before and cautious, savvy travelers have decided to get out of Dodge earlier, just in case shit hits the fan again.
Okay, we’re airline people, we get it, we start researching other options, maybe take the 8:30 to Dallas, maybe divide and conquer ~ two of us on one flight, me riding the jumpseat, Chris taking the less full flight with Henry… options, options, options. Quick thinking and even faster decision making.

No worries, (after a Zanax full of worries!) there enough seats, well all get on, then WHOA!!! Her comes two more people also traveling on our, limited but awesome, Vacation Passes, which include an automatic upgrade. We’re traveling on same said passes, but, crap where’d the come from and how’d they get ahead of us?

Ooooh… they’re day is harder than ours. They’re going to Narita, Japan by way of Dallas. UGHH!!! Their LAX flight was full because of said canceled flights due to the one rainstorm of the year. One more adventurous, wanderlust airline peep’s gotta think fast and move faster.
After some swearing, blood, sweat and tears (okay can’t back that all up!) plus a little praying to the NonRevenue gods, things smooth over and our Rock Star gate agents all get us all on without any drama (other than our own internal drama!). We’re separated from our traveling companions, but we’re on!!! Woo hoo!!
So, yeah, this is the breakfast of fly-by-the-seat of your pants, champions travelers. The people who can run the gauntlet of world travel on a “maybe” seat.

I admire my colleagues like no others!! The tenacity, the bravery, the determination to “Go. See. & Do.” as Gwyneth Paltrow’s moniker goes on her fabulous goop website, is pure inspiration!!

Dale Churchill, my longtime college and AWA pilot, has been saying for as long as I can remember,”Sleep when you’re dead.” I’ve been following this sage advice since my early 20s snd it’s paid off. I’ve seen and done more than most people my age. It’s been worth every exhausted day. Thank you Dale!
So, yeah, I’ll sleep when I’m dead so I can Go. See. & Do. 😀 but for now, I’ll sleep cause this a.m. was freakin’ exhausting and we’ve got a long day ahead of us, and for now, there’s nothing else to do.

Ciao ~


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