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Friday, 18 April 2014 15:06

Wander Through Wildflowers

By Lynn O'Rourke Hayes

Furnace Creek Resort Wildflowers

From Death Valley’s desert floor in California to Colorado’s alpine peaks, these colorful blooms provide an example of nature’s astonishing power to please. Explore America’s low point on foot, bike or horseback to glimpse evening primrose or Mojave aster.

Visit Crested Butte, the Wildflower Capital of Colorado, during its three-month celebration of wildflowers. It includes identification walks, garden tours, butterfly and birding classes as well as nature-centered writing, art and photography workshops.

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Thursday, 17 April 2014 12:06

Three Cheers For Mom

By Lynn O'Rourke Hayes

Mothers day

Mother’s Day is just around the corner.

How will you show that special woman in your life just how much you care and appreciate all that she is and does throughout the year?

Chances are your special Mom has all the bling and beautiful clothes a girl could ever want. So why not consider a gift that returns healthy dividends well into the future?

Here are a few ideas:

Send her to the spa.
Help reduce life’s inherent stress by manifesting a weekend of health and wellness. (You might even have to keep her company!)

Sign her up for a class.
Does she long to learn about meditation? Hot yoga? The benefits of strength training or spinning? Make it happen for her.

Buy her a bike. And a helmut.
Scottsdale is crisscrossed by miles of bike trails that make us the envy of many. Whether it’s a cruiser she can pedal to the grocery story or a fat-tired ride she can blast down the trail, set her up for some two-wheeling fun.

Make sure she’s tech savvy.
There are tools aplenty to tell us how many miles we’ve walked, calories we’ve expended and feet we’ve climbed. And we all know that such information is can be a powerful motivator. Get her a gadget and include a Mother’s Day lesson on how to make it work in real time.

Suit her up.
Does she already have a favorite sport or outdoor endeavor? Make sure she feels in the pink for her pursuit by insuring she has the right shoes, equipment, gear or get up to take it to the next level. After all, we want her looking good and getting it right.

Because through out the rest of the year, isn’t that what moms do for us?

                                        Shop Amazon - Mother's Day Gifts

Wednesday, 16 April 2014 15:58

Colorful Spring

By Lynn O'Rourke Hayes

Celebrate spring


Looking for Spring travel ideas? 

Here are just a few.



Houston zoo lions

Family lion fun at the Houston Zoo

Are you looking for somewhere to enjoy a fun-filled weekend in Texas?

Hotel Sorella looks out over Houston’s CityCentre, which has something everyone in the family will enjoy. As a middle schooler, visiting with my family, I think this place is jam-packed with restaurants, stores and a whole lot of fun! After you read this, I hope you'll want to go to Houston’s Hotel Sorella and CityCentre and have as much fun as we did.


My two favorite restaurants in CityCentre are Ruggles Green, which is an organic, healthy restaurant with a big green area to entertain kids next to it. The green area also has live music on the weekends. If you are feeling a sweet tooth coming on and you’re sitting in Ruggles Green staring at the different choices of desserts but you don’t know which one to choose, I can solve your problem. My top three favorites were the Charlottes Web, the Domino cake and the Chocolate Crème Brule cheesecake. I am a huge cheesecake fan!

The second restaurant I love there is Grub Burger Bar. They have the biggest and best burgers I have ever tasted. If you’re looking for dessert , the answer is in big letters when you walk through the door.

You have to get a milkshake! 

My favorite was the Nutella milkshake but the strawberry milkshake came up for a close second. But, if those two don’t sound appealing, there are many more to choose from, like the key lime pie milkshake, salted caramel, root beer float and more.

Besides eating, there are a lot of other things to do in CityCentre. There is shopping; in fact, there’s so many stores, you could devote your whole day to just shopping if you wanted too. There’s also a Studio Movie Grill, where you can watch a movie and eat, too, and a LifeTime Fitness, so huge it would be very easy to get lost in there.

If you are looking for something to do outside of CityCentre, Eleven XI is a really good restaurant that offers a delicious Sunday brunch. I do have to warn you, there are so many good things on their menu, it will be very hard for you to decide what to order. The chef is amazing; he made us homemade dipping dots right in front of our eyes! Dipping dots are just plain good but homemade dipping dots are even better.


After brunch, the Houston Zoo is a really good place to go if you have little people to entertain. The Houston Zoo is one of my favorite zoos, and I have been to many. This zoo is so entertaining, with so many new things to see and explore.

Last but not least, you’ll want to stay at Hotel Sorella. Hotel Sorella is a very modern hotel, mostly meant for busy business people but a really family-friendly place.

They have a pool, but it’s not heated. Our family had a great time staying at Hotel Sorella! -  Analise Flatt, middle schooler.

                                                                 Books for Middle Schoolers

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