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Spreading the Love from Abroad

08 February 2012

Thailand is amazing!  Wow, wow, wow.
I cannot wait to share the details and pictures with you guys.
In the meantime, I'm so happy to share a guest post from Tonya, who blogs HERE and HERE.
Tonya is from a very small town in Iowa...but has spent time living abroad in Ireland.
She so kindly offered to share some tips on 'spreading the love' for those of us who are traveling or live abroad.


Valentine’s Day Gifts For the Traveler
Valentine’s Day is often bitter sweet for travelers. Regardless of whether or not you are alone, the traveler inevitably leaves people they love in far off places. Show your loved ones you care with these travelers’ Valentine’s Day gift ideas.

1.  Don’t dismiss the beauty of cards. Always seen as a simple gagster, sending a card from abroad means a lot to those in your home country. Cards are especially good for those you may know who have not traveled much or never been to the country you currently live in. Find a card with cultural significance to the area you’re visiting. By a card in the native language and then translate it into your language on the left side. Another option is to play with words. Even if the country you live in speaks your language, chances are there are some differences. You’re not going to find a card that says ‘happy Valentine’s Day, Mum’ in the United States.

2.   Find small baubles in local antique shops. Every country has a history. Try to find a small antique shop or something equivalent to a salvation army. These places hold artifacts from the daily life of local people. You are likely to find old jewelry or quirky toys for all your loved ones. Without ever traveling, you can give your loved ones the chance to own a piece of the county you are living in.

3.  Plan a Skype date. This is especially good if you have been gone for a long period of time or have a time difference that makes it difficult to get in touch. What better gift to give than of yourself. Sure, you may have to get up a little early, or stay up a little late, but your family and friends will be grateful.

4. Send local treats home. Depending on the laws of the land, sending food can sometimes be difficult. If possible find some locally made desserts or chocolates. You can’t go wrong with sugar.
Don’t let loneliness take you, traveler, this Valentine’s Day. You don’t have to spend a lot of money or go very far to find good Valentine’s Day gifts. Whatever you send will be from your heart and have the added significance of being from a different country. Share your love around the world on February 14th and remember, for every gift you send there is a person who loves you. 


Thanks Tonya for the great tips!  Please check out Tonya's blog.
I'm sweating buckets with this hot laptop on my lap, in the lobby of our hotel, which is open air {read: no A/C.}  Between that and the ocean calling my name...I think it's time to get back to my holiday :)

If you're friends with me on Facebook, I've posted a couple teaser pictures of Thailand.
My Facebook page is HERE.

Tuesday Travel Diaries: Sonoma, CA

07 February 2012

Welcome back, for another week of TTD!  This week, I'm thrilled to have Kate sharing her vacation with us.  Kate's blog is one of the first I started following and it's been so fun getting to know her.  {Be forewarned, she posts lots of pictures of her little boys who have the most outrageously blue eyes you've ever seen!}

Make sure you check out Kate's blog, HERE.
The basics: where, when; how long?
Sonoma, Ca- January 2012- 2 days

My family and me, getting ready to taste at Larson Family Winery.

What route did you take?
The highway- north from Monterey, through Oakland, into wine country- a 2 and a half hour drive

 And how much was the flight?
We drove :)

Who did you travel with?  
My favorite travel buddies: My hubby, Kev, and two sweet boys, Cullen (age 2 and a half) and Bennett (8 months)

Tell us where you stayed.
We found an awesome two bedroom, pet friendly cottage on Vaction Rentals By Owner for $200 a night. It was a few miles from downtown by in walking distance to a restuarant and central to many wineries. Normally, they require a two-night minium, but for a last minute reservation, they accommodated our desire to only stay one night.

Because our kids are young, hotel rooms are just not ideal. We had also been out of town for a few weeks beforehand, so it was nice not to have to leave our dog Frankie behind again. Iva's Cottage was so great because we were able to put the babies to bed, then stay up and drink wine hang out while the kids slept. There was a cute little side yard for the dog to play and the owners left us some coupons for complimentary wine tastings at some nearby tasting rooms.
Our little cottage (with Frankie keeping watch)

 Did you encounter anything unexpected?
We weren't really sure what to expect. We had been to Sonoma once, in June of 2011, but it was on the way to a wedding and only stopped at one winery on our way through. This trip was planned spontaneously. We booked it Friday, to stay on Saturday night, so we did very little research before we arrived.

How accurate are the stereotypes?
We were a little concerned that Sonoma wouldn't be kid friendly since it is known for romantic wine weekends. However, we found just the opposite. We stuck to small tasting rooms and wineries that were coined 'kid friendly' and quickly found that we were not the only parents looking to enjoy the scenery and some good wines. Larson Family Winery was our favorite, they had wine for the parents and juice boxes for the kids. There is also a very small amusement park, Traintown, that we went to Saturday afternoon. My sons loved it!
My boys at Traintown- the big one is blowing a whistle :)
Tell us about the food.
We went to dinner called Schellville Grill which was near our cottage because we heard it was featured on Food Network's Diners, Drive-ins and Dives but were pretty disappointed in the food. We love that show, and now I am going to have a hard time believing Guy when he tells me the food is awesome. But it was a friendly little place and convenient to where we were staying.

 Would you go back? 
We would definitely go back, and plan on doing so before we leave California. The little town square is really cute and has a ton of restaurants and shops that we didn't have time to explore at all. We just spent some time at the park in the square enjoying some winter sunshine. I would imagine it is pretty in the summer when the vineyards are more lush, so I would like to see that too. Overall, it was the perfect weekend getaway!
My boys playing at the park
Thanks for letting me share our adventure!

Thanks again, Kate!  I admire the spontaneity of this trip and am totally inspired to do more last-minute getaways with my husband :)

As always, if you {yes, YOU} are interested in guest posting for Tuesday Travel Diaries, please E-mail me at emmyjuneborninmay{at}

Eek...A Vlog!

06 February 2012

I bit the bullet and tried a vlog.
Thanks to 5ohwifey, for the inspiration.


Here I go.....hope y'all enjoy :)
Next time I'll use the cheesy radio voice that J suggested.

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