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Stone Mountain: Magic and Memories

I have highlighted some of the things that I love to do around the Atlanta area before. One in particular has become really special to is Stone Mountain. Its always an adventure and a family affair when you go there.  The trails, the events, the scenery all add up to the memories I have had at this place starting almost 20 years ago when I was in college.  My husband and I went on our first date there – we climbed it and chatted the whole way up- best first date ever!  It was the perfect start to a relationship filled with fun and adventure (going on 14 years this year).   

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Stone Mountain is a true all year round experience and as someone who has been a member there for several years, I can say that it is one of the best investments I make year after year.  You can look up the benefits of membership yourself, but I want to share why getting into nature with my family and friends brings me the greatest joy of all. 

My father is very ‘outdoorsy’ and that gene has definitely passed down to Sonia and I.  We watched very little television as kids because my Dad always thought it was better for us to spend our time outside walking, gardening, enjoying the breeze, or doing ANYTHING other than watch TV.  The memories we made seeing new parts of our town, or carving out new paths were priceless.  I am quite sure that at one point or another we have been to most of the state parks and nature preserves in Illinois.  Now that I don’t live near my parents, I am so grateful for that time we spent together talking about their childhood or our lives. 

Similarly, getting into nature and checking in with my kids and friends over a walk has become part of our routine in our day to day life.   On most days we bike on our street, play tennis, or just sit on our porch, but when we have time, we go to Stone Mountain. 

From riding the gondola that takes you to the top, riding the train around the mountain, watching the laser show, or tubing down Snow Mountain, this place is amazing!

What place have you and your family made ‘yours’ ?  I’d love to hear about the special things you do build memories in the comments.




6 Things To Do In Aspen (If You Are Not a Skier!)

Two weeks leading up to my trip to Aspen I had injured my knee, so you can imagine how disappointed I was in the days leading up to my first time ever in Aspen.  I have looked forward to visiting this magical place for years…so when the opportunity arose I was ecstatic.  Once the doctor told me to rest my knee, my dreams of skiing in Aspen came to a screeching halt. In an attempt to see things on the brighter side, I looked up as much as I could about Aspen, and yes of course you can ski, but what else?

Since my return from Aspen and as I write this I realize that – I went, stayed, enjoyed, laughed, ate, met amazing new people, fell in love with the beautiful backdrop of Aspen, and above all, I did it all without hitting the slopes.  I thought I would share with our readers my experience in Aspen which has now become a place I want to revisit every year for it’s beauty and hospitality.

What To Wear

First question, of course, was how does one dress for Aspen?  A place where professional skiers, celebrities, and billionaires (think Walton family) come to mingle and ski.  Mariah Carey had just been there a week prior.  I packed a combo of fancy to casual outfits all accented with winter accessories (hats, gloves, scarves, etc.)  Once there, I realized very quickly people were dressed for comfort and that no one cared how one was dressed, what they wore or what fancy ski gear they had.  I will post some outfits that I felt were best suited for me.  

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Shop My Whole Look Here
Shop My Look Here

Now that I have crossed over the “fashion” bridge of my piece I’ll move on to My Top 6 Things To Do and Visit when in Aspen.

Smore’s At The St. Regis

The fun begins after your friends, family or significant other are done hitting the slopes, now you can join in on the Après Ski which means social activities after skiing. Activities such as riding up the ski lift or gondola, taking in the gorgeous views of nature, venturing into lodges or restaurants with firepits and a view.  For our Après ski, we headed to St. Regis for drinks and smore’s with friends. 

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Shopping (Obvi!)

During the time my friend and hubby were hitting the slopes, I hit up the shopping scene. Mind you everything is walking distance from the main ski base.  I went on to check out designer shops such as Gucci, Prada, and Christian Dior. I also popped into some consignment shops and small boutiques.  Kemo Sabe is a must visit local store, they carry a fun Wester Country style shop and if you are looking for top-notch ski outfits Grouch is the way to go. There are also many fur and shearling shops throughout the streets of Aspen.

Visit The Ice Bar in Hotel Jerome

Daytime barhopping can be a challenge for most, but for me when you are out in the open and kid free I was in heaven and went to beautiful historic hotels and checked out their venues.  Hotel Jerome is a must, they have an ice bar and fun ice sculptures great for Insta-perfect pictures.  Little Nell is a fun place to go and check out as well.

Snow Sports and Outdoor Adventures

If you want to experience the mountain and snow, then perhaps dog sledding, snow tubing and if you are wanting an adrenaline rush then try snowmobiling.  Mind you, Aspen also has access to quite a few ski mountains including Snowmass and gives you access to free transportation via bus (but…it can take over 1 hour).

R&R at World Class Spas

Perhaps you just care to have some R&R and hit up some of the many spa’s Aspen has to offer.  Hotel Jerome and St. Regis have amazing spas.  Grab a drink in your robe, perhaps snacks and just lounge in high altitude in solitude.

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Girls Night Out

NIGHT LIFE!!  The nightlife was amazing.  We were guests of the Caribou Club, which is a members only club. Our friends (and hosts!) were members so we were able to take advantage and enjoy the drinks, company and scene.  Mariah Carey, Rebel Wilson, & Pink were recently spotted there.  Definitely a hot spot.  Hotel Jerome was the perfect mod bar scene with creative drinks along with great ambiance.  The Little Nell is also a great hot spot, always busy and the energy is high, it makes for the perfect to end a wonderful night in Aspen. 

Over all I was able to finish a book by the fire while drinking my spiked coffee. My knee was able to recover though not my liver, and we met some of the most amazing people during this trip.  

Thank for checking out my post!

Your Chick,


Avani’s Picks:

4 Trendy Spots to Enjoy The Atlanta Weather NOW!

As many of you know, Sonia and I (Rina) grew up in the Chicago area. After getting married, I moved to a small town outside of Atlanta with my husband and now we’ve been married for 13 years (time flies…!).  After the initial shock of being away from friends and family wore off, I have grown to love so many things about the South — particularly the city of Atlanta.

At the top of that list is the weather. Being able to spend time with my family outdoors most of the year is unbeatable. To make use of the endless southern warmth, Atlanta has several new developments that merge a love of eating, of drinking, and of shopping entirely outside!  I want to share my top four ways to chill in Atlanta. These spots are versatile: good for family activities, date nights, and a night out with the girls.

Krog Street

Another new concept in metropolitan areas are these European style “supermercados.”  It is an emptied out warehouse with filled restaurants and vendors. These vendors line the interior of the warehouse in an interactive way that includes fun samples of different types of foods. On a recent trip with my sister and a friend, we all craved for different things: Shelly wanted ramen, I wanted Pho, and Hannah wanted chips and salsa. Lucky enough, Krog Street delivered on all of it!  I want to make a special mention of Superica, an elevated tex mex experience that uses locally sourced ingredients. They are also very mindful of their food presentation, making the experience delicious and beautiful.

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The Atlanta Beltline

Around the corner of Krog Street is the Atlanta Beltline.  Similar to the 606 in Chicago, the Atlanta Beltline is much larger and more robust having been built on 22 miles of unused railroad tracks.  All kinds of people enjoy the beltline for long walks and bike rides. A cool accent of the beltline is the support of local artists as the walkway is lined with casual and creative artwork.

Ponce City Market

This “market” opened in 2014 in the old Sears, Roebuck & Company building. It is linked directly to the Atlanta BeltLine.  This is a large flexible space to eat, drink, and shop. See the list of places to eat, shop, and hang out here.  My personal favorite is the adult-only roof top ($10 cover) and carnival complete with putt-putt golf, carnival games, and a beer garden with fire pits — and some of the best mixologists in town.  This place is a little piece of heaven and perfect for literally whatever mood you are in.  Find a corner, make it yours, and enjoy yourself.

Video is from Vimeo: ASD|SKY – Ponce City Market Roof | Skyline Park + Nine MIle Station

Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) Fashion Museum

The location of this school is what really makes this a sight to see. With an unparalleled view of Atlanta from its main patio, SCAD is a unique blend of culture, art, and education. It is the home of one of the premier design schools and several influential designers have emerged from the institutions. Although the Atlanta location is the main campus building, they are very friendly about visitors and with its unique view of the city, it is definitely worth a visit.  The fashion museum inside the main campus features designers and art that change almost quarterly.  The view alone is worth the visit and completely free, but the museum has an admission of $10 — an educational experience into the world of art and design.

If you only have a little bit of time in Atlanta and have already done some of the more obvious tourist activities (like visit the Coca Cola museum, CNN, Georgia Aquarium, Stone Mountain, and Centennial Park), consider a local experience that is hip and relaxing.

Of course, no trip is complete without trendy luggage to go along with it! If you have not yet checked out Andiamo luggage, click here.  We have gotten so many compliments on their carry ons its not even funny, see our post here. 

Hope that this was helpful. Which of these placed have you visited?

Your Chick,


Chick Picks:

Pros and Cons of an Alaska Cruise

Ah Alaska, the last frontier as they say and our nation’s largest state (almost three times bigger than Texas)!  At some point or another curiosity to travel to this truly unique state occurs to almost everyone.  Maybe it’s the diversity in terrain, the majestic mountains, the glaciers, or the unique wildlife that draws people in.  Similarly for my family in June of 2008 we visited Alaska by road and drove through the state covering nearly 4000 miles in ten days.  The experience was incredible, walking through Denali National Park and catching up on cultural sites along the way was truly a once in a lifetime experience.

So, this year when Sonia offered for me to join her and a few friends on an Alaska cruise, I wanted to share the sights and sounds of Alaska with my husband and kids and quickly signed up to join them.  We boarded the Disney Wonder and left from Vancouver last month on a mission to see whales, eagles, glaciers, and mountains.  Alaska is so big, and after looking at several cruise routes, it is NOT uncommon for cruise liners to not wander too far north due to weather and other considerations.  Nonetheless, I was optimistic about what we would experience.

Our View Everyday

The Sun, The Ocean, The Magical Mountains

Our Cruise Crew

Alaska By Sea

The cruise line route, shown below, just barely touches Alaska – somehow I felt as though I had short changed the largest state of our union by touring its Southern most islands.  The passages were beautiful and we did see a few orcas along the oceans surface along with a glacier.  We went into Edicott Arm (which was not our intended stop which was Tracy Arm) but the hours of passage between the majestic mountains really made this cruise the experience what it was.  Unlike Caribbean cruises, there is so much to take in and see in Alaska on the days at sea.

Alaska By Sea

Alaska By Road

Below is the route we drove starting in Edmonton, Canada and making our way all the way to Anchorage (see our stops on the map below indicated in yellow).  The sights and sounds along the way were incredible.  Caribou and black bears roamed the streets freely along the Alaskan Highway.  We even stopped at Liard Hot Springs and took a dip in the natural hot spring!  We then spent an entire day roaming through Denali National Park, which is home to Mt. Mickley – North Americas highest peak at 20,320 feet (15th highest in the world).

Alaska By Road- Edmonton to Anchorage

Images from our road trip in 2008:

There was so much to be seen and experienced by land that after that trip I truly felt as though I had experience Alaska for what it was: the final frontier.

The Takeaway

That being said the convenience of being on a cruise liner and of course having all the amenities of a Disney cruise at our finger tips did not hurt.  However, I did feel as though the cruise route somehow did not do Alaska justice.  On our five day cruise we had only one port stop in Ketchikan which is a quaint Alaskan town built entirely around cruise tourism.  It was nice to get off the boat and we were fortunate to have participated in an awesome port excursion that shared native culture with us.  The tour guide was an incredible spirit who was able to spot bald eagles from miles away; we saw several up-close too which was really cool!

Check out our Alaska Recap Video Here:

Also our Bald Eagle Encounter Was Incredible too!

Depending on what you are looking for and who you are travelling with, Alaska by water and Alaska by land offer two very different types of vacations.  On one hand you have the convenience of prepared meals, an entertainment itinerary and let’s face it an on board “Kids Club.”  By car you have the spontaneity of adventure  on every turn without the guarantee of a three to five start hotel at each stop.  As my kids get older, I crave a more ‘boots on the ground’ type of experience but with friends, there is nothing quite like the relaxing experience of a cruise.

Tip #1:  Having gone to Alaska in both June AND July before, I can confidently say that the weather is amazing during this time of the year.  On both trips I had packed winter coats and on both I did not need them.  Just plan on layering up and you will be just fine! Here are our favorite pieces to layer up with:

Tip #2: For traveling with fragile items and/or medical supplies (my daughter has Type 1 Diabetes) we count on our Andiamo Luggage to get everything there safely, check them out here.

I hope you found this helpful, thanks for checking out my post.

Your Chick,