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Friday, October 25, 2013

Residence Inn® by Marriott: A Bit of Certainty in an Uncertain Time

18 hours. 8 miles. 36 more hours.

Eighteen hours passed between the time my daughter's birth mom called to tell me contractions had started and the moment I held our daughter for the first time.

We were only 8 miles away from the hospital. Plenty of time to get there and be with Crystal, the woman who was about to make me a mom.

Another 36 hours passed from the moment Tessa was born until the time we all left the hospital to take her first to Crystal's home and then to our own.

Because we lived in the same metro-area that Crystal did, our open adoption began locally and we did not to not have to travel during this time of heightened uncertainty and stress.

Not so for all families formed by adoption. Some must travel far from home for the birth and early days of parenting.

Such times can be full of uncertainties.

Emotionally-charged relationships are being formed. Hormone levels are high. People are navigating uncharted territory as they define their roles in relation to each other. There are the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, all within the same general place and time. What could happen? What will happen? How long will it all take to happen?

People who travel to adopt may not have certainty at the hospital, but they can have certainty at Residence Inn during their stay. Residence Inn is known for being a reliably comfortable place to make yourself at home.

"Residence Inn is committed to finding new ways to support families and enhance their overall travel experience," says Diane Mayer, vice president and global brand manager as she speaks of Residence Inn's its commitment to the LGBT community and family travel.

Join me on November 6 at 9 pm ET (6 pm PT) for a Twitterchat. Residence Inn by Marriott is partnering with and the Family Equality Council to host a travel-focused Twitter party for all parents who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender (LGBT). Families and experts representing the LGBT community will participate in a conversation that aims to provide travel resources, tips, as well as stories of inspiration. Topics of the conversation will include:
  • Legal and practical aspects of traveling interstate and internationally
  • General tips for hitting the road with kids in tow
  • Extended stays out-of-state or internationally during an adoption process
"This opportunity will provide access to expert resources, and prompt dialogue in the LGBT community, which is important as we continue to engage with and welcome our guests," says Mayer.

With more than 600 properties in the United States, Canada, Europe, the Middle East and Central America, Residence Inn by Marriott is the leader in the extended-stay lodging segment. Designed for long stays, the brand offers spacious suites with separate living and sleeping areas. Fully functional kitchens, grocery delivery, 24-hour markets and complimentary breakfast help guests maintain a healthy balance while on the road. Complimentary Wi-Fi allows guests to stay connected to the home and office, while health and fitness options and inviting lobby spaces provide comfortable places to work and relax. 

Sounds like a home away from home. Exactly what's called for during the early days of parenting.

Follow and join in the conversation with the hashtags #RIFamily and #TMOM on November 6 at 7 pm MT or 8 pm CT. Put it in your calendar so you don't miss it! When you RSVP for the party and participate with at least one tweet, you are entered into a drawing for a $250 Residence Inn® gift card or one of two signed copies of Cat Cora’s Classics with a Twist: Fresh Takes on Favorite Dishes cookbook

In the meantime, visit for more tips about traveling with a baby and as a family.

Disclosure: Thanks to Residence Inn for sponsoring this post -- in which you all get to reminisce with me about the day I became a mom --and for sponsoring the weekly #TMOM Twitter Party on November 6.

Image: Residence Inn  by Marriott

adoption book by Lori Holden
Lori blogs at Her book, The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption, was written with her daughter's birth mom, Crystal, and is an acclaimed and helpful guide for all families embarking on the adoption journey. Check out the reviews!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Denver friends: Giveaway for Denver walking tour (hurry, only 36 hours to enter)

GIVEAWAY alert  for Denver-area peeps: Here's an invitation (and chance at 2 free tix) for you from the folks at Tentiko, which offers an array of Denver-area experiences like neighborhood tours, funghi fever, glass-blowing and other cool stuff.

Enter soon, as the drawing ends in 36 hours (your chances of winning are probably pretty good).

Tentiko says: Curious about the Highlands neighborhood of NW Denver? Join Tentiko's walk on Wednesday, July 17th as we explore the Historic Highlands with Master Walker Jonathon Stalls. We will walk and eat our way throughout the tour as we make a few stops to sample some goodies in the neighborhood. For more details, check out the experience page....and what better way to enjoy this experience than through a giveaway! We are giving away two tickets to a couple of lucky folks. Hurry, this giveaway ends on Tuesday, July 16, at 9am, MDT.

Enter with a comment below and will identify the win. Tentiko will alert the winner after Tuesday morning.

Tentiko also has a sweepstakes going on for a $250 shopping giveaway that's localized in Denver. Enter by August 5.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

How Chipotle catering remedied my genetic defect

My mom and sisters are hostesses extraordinaire*. They actually enjoy throwing together a party, planning myriad ways to delight their guests.

I, on the other hand, do not enjoy party planning any more than I enjoy tooth extractions. I am much better suited to being the guest who is delighted.

So I was thrilled to learn that Chipotle Mexican Grill offers catering. for groups from 20 to 200. My family is a fan of our neighborhood Chipotle restaurant, choosing it over other fast food places because it (a) has food that tastes good; (b) offers healthy and mostly clean (non GMO) options; (c) is straightforward about ingredients, telling us when it does use genetically-modified components; and (d) is affordable.

Chipotle's catering service was unveiled several months back, around Superbowl time. Along with other bloggers, I was invited to preview the catering service and given a coupon to use for my own Big Spread (3 meats) event (click for other options), which I finally did with a summer kick-off party for my Vino Support Group.

Here are the steps I took to throw a party that delighted my guests.

1. Call 1.800.CHIPOTLE to place my order (at least 24 hours in advance of pickup).

2. Pick up my order at my local store one hour before the party. Four employees at my local Chipotle restaurant greeted me with smiles and helped me carry 3 bags and a box to my car, also going over brief instructions for the sterno setup with me. Apparently they got the gene that I'm missing.

3. Offload the bags to the party table.
4. Set up hot and cold items per instructions, and have guests dig in.
I consider the summer officially kicked off. My guests were delighted and my genetic deficiency has been rectified for the time being.

* come to think of it, everyone in my Vino Support Group is also a hostess extraordinaire.

What are your tips for hosting a party the delights your guests?

Friday, November 9, 2012

ROCK ON! A game for kids about geology

When Colorado mom Melissa Weisner was faced with planning a birthday party for her geology-crazed 6 year-old son, she took nothing for granite (ba DUM bum).

It all crystallized for her when she began thinking about a game. She developed one and rolled it out at her son's party to great reviews from him and his friends, and now ROCK ON! is being shipped to kids everywhere via Amazon.

My kids got a chance to play (we received a sample in exchange for writing an honest review). They had never expressed interest in rocks before (unless we're talking about a Jonas Brothers movie) but they sat and played together nicely, trying to figure out how to pronounce words like "anhydrite" and "septarium."

Melissa says,"Since the birth of ROCK ON! my children’s fascination with the earth's elements has resulted in some amazing collections and their geology knowledge is equally amazing. But maybe most important of all, some of our best times together are now spent in nature looking for treasures the earth has to offer."

I intend to take the rock love outside the next time we're out trekking. In the meantime, ROCK ON! is a recommended introduction to geology for kids, sure to cement their interest in geology.

ROCK ON! on Facebook
ROCK ON! on Amazon (great Christmas gift or stocking stuffer)
ROCK ON! Etsy store
Video clip from Channel 's Colorado's Best.

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