Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Monday, August 30, 2010


I was flipping through one of my Martha Stewart Living magazines and found this great article about traveling with pets. As a dog owner, lover, and as a person who doesn't like to leave my beloved Riley at home every time I travel, I found this information very useful and thought I'd share it with you all since I know many of you are pet owners too and hate leaving your "Fido" at home! (Article written by Kristina Grish from Martha Stewart Living)

For some pet owners, a vacation feels incomplete without a four-legged friend. But preparing for a pet's trip means more than packing her toothbrush. Here's how to guarantee great memories.

Ask yourself if your pet is up to the journey. "Most cats are happier at home with a sitter," says Louise Murray, director of medicine at Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital, in New York City. For any pet, the next-best thing to staying home is feeling safe. Greg Kleva, trainer and host of It's a Dog's Life, on Martha Stewart Living Radio, recommends familiarizing your pet with her carrier, since most transportation requires one. Leave it out and open for a few weeks before your depart.
Just before travel, cut your pet's nails, so they won't catch in the carrier. Make sure she wears her regular identification tag, plus a travel one with contacts at your destination. Since dangling tags can catch in the carrier grate, secure them to your pet's collar with tape. Label the carrier, too.
For pet-friendly accommodations and attractions, consult Traveling With Your Pet: the AAA Pet Book. Kleva also likes the websites tripswithpets.com, dogfriendly.com, and pettravel.com.
If you're flying with a small pet, choose an airline that will let her ride in the cabin, under the seat. If your pet is too large, consider driving or leaving her at home. "Cargo is unsafe and uncomfortable, plus frightening for the pet," Murray says. Think of it as a last resort.
Even for in-cabin travel, it's best to exercise your dog for at least 15 minutes before boarding to quell her anxiety (avoid sedatives, which can slow breathing, especially for dogs prone to respiratory issues). Since she'll be confined awhile without breaks, don't feed her for four to six hours before departure. (Do freeze water in the tray inside the crate, so she'll stay hydrated.)
If you need to fly but don't want to risk cargo, Pet Airways (petairways.com) flies animals in their main cabin. Or you can hire a transport service such as TJR Express (tjrexpress.com) to drive your pet to your vacation spot.
"Trains tend to be a safe and comfortable travel option for short to medium distances," Murray says. Call ahead to make sure the train permits pets. Ask about crating rules, as well as any break time en route. Don't let your pet travel in cargo during the summer, since there may be no air-conditioning, and avoid sedation.
Car travel is ideal, since you can make frequent stops to exercise your pet (don't forget her leash) and offer water. If she isn't used to driving, take short rides in advance, gradually increasing their length.
Many states require that owners use pet-restraint systems such as harnesses, car seats, and mesh vehicle barriers. Roaming pets can distract drivers and, in an accident, can become flying projectiles.
Some pets are prone to motion sickness. Calming a pet's nerves with toys or treats, cracking a window for fresh air, and taking rest stops every few hours can help. For serious car sickness, your vet may recommend a medication.
No well-traveled pet should leave home without these:
- Study, well-ventilated carrier or crate (labeled with owner's ID)
- Leash, collar, and permanent and travels ID tags
- Health certificate from a vet (often required when crossing state lines) medications, medical records, and a vet contact
- Paperwork for international travel; the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service's website (www.aphis.usda.gov) offers guidelines
- Pet food and bowls
- Favorite bedding and toys
- Litter and litter pan for cats, training pads for dogs, if used
- Grooming supplies, including dental kit, pet wipes for spot cleaning, and nontoxic pet sunscreen
- Pet flotation device if you'll be near water
- Current photo, in case your pet gets lost

Thursday, August 26, 2010


Because I love to jet set around the world, I wind up spending many hours of my life in airplanes. As you jet setters know, you don't always feel so great after a long flight, and I've had many bad experiences. Over the years, I have slowly learned the tricks of how to bounce back and to feel great after jet setting. Here are the 5 things I do to make sure that I arrive at my destination feeling my best...I thought I'd share them with all of you!
1- EAT LIGHT: (that’s not too hard on a plane these days) and don’t drink anything carbonated or else you may wind up with gas (a.k.a "jet belly").
2- STAY HYDRATED: Drink at least one 8-ounce glass of water for every hour of flying time. If your body is properly hydrated, you will be more flexible and your muscles won't cramp up as much.
3- DON'T DRINK TOO MUCH ALCOHOL: In general its best not to drink any alcohol when flying, but if you do drink, try to keep the alcohol to a minimum—it’s also very dehydrating and I've read that your body metabolizes it differently in the air than on the ground (1 drink in-flight= 2 drinks on the ground).
4- SET YOUR WATCH TO LOCAL TIME: I change my watch after take off to the time zone of my destination and I set my mind to the local time. I try to get in sync with where I am right away. Unless you have to make a call home or there are business hours/meetings that you need to be mindful of, forget about what time it is back home.
5- SLEEP: Get some sleep on the airplane if you can. I find that Tylenol PM always helps me catch some zzz's. With some sleep you will feel more rested and if you are jet setting overnight, it will help you to reset your internal clock to the time of the place you’ll be visiting.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Why not sneak away for a steal? September kicks off "shoulder season," when prices (and temps) dip, and the time of year when I always recommend that you should jet set. Here are four destinations I am suggesting for this coming month...and no passport is required for these spots!

Destination #1- Fort Lauderdale, Florida: Spas here have slashed fees for September. The Atlantic Hotel's Spa Package includes an oceanfront room, 20% off at its spa and $100 a day in spa credits. Rates start from $219 per night.Destination #2- Vail, Colorado: The Arrabelle at Vail Square, at the foot of Vail Mountain, is reminiscent of old-world European hotels. Rates start from $150 per night.Destination #3- San Juan, Puerto Rico: The sleek, beachfront San Juan Water & Beach Club Hotel is convenient to nightlife, restaurants, shopping, museums, and galleries. Rates start from $128 per night.Destination #4- Palm Desert/Desert Springs, California: At the Desert Springs J.W. Marriott Resort & Spa, you can play tennis, get a steamy Turkish bath or cruise the Venice-like canals. Rates start from $139 per night.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Puerto Rican cuisine in Puerto Rico is some of the best food you'll find out there. There is so much variety that you can visit the island for a week and never eat the same meal twice. I jet setted there recently and kept notes of where I ate (in Old San Juan and Condado) so that when you jet setters visit Puerto Rico, you'll know exactly where to go and what to order. Buen Provecho!

OLD SAN JUAN- If you are staying in the Old San Juan area, or just visiting during the day, the following places are delicious and won't break the bank.

La Bombonera- (One of the oldest bakeries in P.R.) Try one of their mallorcas (Spanish pastry) and Cocoas (similar to a pizza). They also have great typical Puerto Rican lunch food like arroz con gandules (rice and beans), pernil (roast pork), arroz con pollo (chicken and rice), bistec empanada (breaded steak), etc. Also good to eat here is a Tripleta- a sandwich made with ham, chicken, beef, mayo, ketchup, fries, lettuce and tomato.
La Mallorquina- The 160-year-old restaurant is known for its family-style cocina criolla, or traditional Puerto Rican feasts: seasonal favorites include lechón (suckling pig), and their house specialty- Asopao (A heavy rice soup stewed with annato and sofrito with aji dulce (sweet chili peppers) and herbs such as cilantro. It is cooked with either chicken or sea food and topped with tiny green peas and red spanish peppers.Barrachina- birthplace of the original pina colada (1963) Located on Calle Fortaleza. It's delicious! Drink them here & all over P.R...it's the thing to do! CONDADO- If you are staying in the Condado Resort area in San Juan, the following places are great to check out, and they are all fairly inexpensive (with the exception of Ropa Vieja).
Hacienda Don Jose- This is a good breakfast spot. The place may not look like much on the outside, but the views from inside of the ocean are beautiful. You can get a complete breakfast (meaning coffee, juice, and your meal are included) for less than $8.
Orozco's Restaurant- This is a really good spot for either breakfast, lunch or dinner. If you go for breakfast, order the traditional fried eggs, pan tostada (toast) y jamon (ham) or the avena (oatmeal). If you go for lunch or dinner, try their bistec encebollado (steak with onions), or Pasteles (yucca-vegetable- wrapped in a banana leaf and tied with a string. It is filled with diced pork, olives, capers, raisins and chickpeas and it is boiled). Latin Star- Another good breakfast, lunch or dinner spot because it is open 24 hours/ 7 days a week. If you go for breakfast- you MUST have their Avena (oatmeal)- the BEST on the island!Ropa Vieja- The food is excellent here! Go here for dinner and make sure to order the Mofongo con Ropa Vieja (smashed plantain with pulled beef), and the Arroz con Pollo (Rice with chicken is also fantastic).

Monday, August 23, 2010


Bermuda is one of my favorite island destinations. It has spectacular pink beaches and some of the most beautiful golf courses you will ever see. One of the best things about Bermuda is that it's located just 600 miles off the coast of North Carolina in the Atlantic Ocean, so to jet set there by plane from New York takes only about two hours!!! There is so much to see, do and eat, but here's at least a mini guide that I hope is helpful for those of you planning to jet set to Bermuda! When to Go: June, July and August. The summer months, which are high season, are the best time to enjoy those spectacular pink beaches and turquoise waters, with temperatures in the mid-80s. March and April can be rainy.

Where to Stay: 9 Beaches- Opened in May of 2005, this resort aims to be the anti-Bermuda—a young, hip alternative to the stuffy, traditional cottage colony. Cambridge Beaches- This cottage colony in the northwest part of the island is secluded, with a picturesque setting on a 30-acre peninsula overlooking Long Bay Beach, with the Atlantic on one side and Mangrove Bay on the other. Elbow Beach- This is a Mandarin Oriental hotel with a beautiful beach and great restaurant (read more about it below). Fairmont Hamilton Princess- The classic 1885 "Pink Palace" is a favorite with business travelers and visiting celebs—mostly for its marble lobby, but also for its location near downtown Hamilton's restaurants, bars, and shopping. The hotel is not on the beach, but you can hop a ferry for the 20-minute ride to its sister property in Southampton. Fairmont Southampton- Where I stayed when I was in Bermuda, and where I think I would want to stay again! It has a beautiful golf course, beach and pool, plus many good restaurants to chose from. The only downfall is that it's located pretty much on the other side of the island from the airport, so you must cab it everywhere and cabs are expensive. Horizons and Cottages- Essentially, Horizons has all the physical facilities of a large, traditional resort, such as the terrace pool and golf course (use is free of charge), but it no longer provides the white-glove services it once did—room service, bellhops, concierge. There is no beach, so guests have to walk downhill to a neighboring property. Appeared in the Condé Nast Traveler Gold List, a directory of the world's best hotels and resorts, in 2005. Newstead Belmont Hills Resort and Spa- an all-suite boutique hotel. The 45 rooms, including two of the original cottages, look right over Hamilton Harbor, and all have either a full or half kitchen and separate sitting areas (some rooms are laid out loft-style, others have proper rooms). The location at Newstead is unbelievably convenient—you're a short hotel shuttle ride to South Shore and all its beaches and golf courses, and a five-minute public ferry ride to Hamilton itself, making shopping and dining a snap (taxis on the island are expensive and slow). The Reefs- the grounds hang on a cliff overlooking a cove and beach with limited access and a very private feel (most beaches in Bermuda are public).Where to Eat: Seahorse Grill at Mandarin Oriental Hotel- (Elbow Beach, 60 South Shore Road, 441-239-9303) Considered one of the finer dining restaurants on the island. I had a fantastic dinner where I enjoyed some really delicious lobster, but you can't go wrong with anything you order off the menu here! Ascots Restaurant- (Royal Palms Hotel, 441-292-1854) Very Bermudian experience. Tucked away down a long narrow road in a very lush neighborhood. Unfortunately, I didn't make it here, but I have heard that their Bermuda Fish Chowder is to die for (if you like spicy food)! If you go, I would go for lunch. The Newport Room (The Fairmont Southampton)- (101 South Shore Road, 441-238-8000) This is a beautiful and romantic place to go for dinner. The restaurant looks like a racing boat, and the decor accentuates that ambiance. The restaurant was closed when I was there, but I will make it there one day for sure! If you go, order the Rockfish or Dover Sole for dinner and the Crepes Suzette for two for dessert. Pickled Onion- (53 Front Street, 441-295-2263) Noisy, but fun. The restaurant overlooks the main boulevard, so there's lots of action to see. This place is good for brunch or lunch. What to Do: Crystal Caves- (8 Crystal Caves Road, 441-293-0640) Go on this cave expedition and see crystal clear water like you've never seen before. Dolphin Quest (Bermuda Maritime Museum)- (15 Maritime Lane, 441-234-4464) One of the most memorable experiences ever- swimming with dolphins. Port Royal Golf Course- (5 Port Royal Drive, 441-234-0974) Golf course with beautiful views.

Friday, August 20, 2010


Translated from Spanish to English, Abuela's Avena means grandma's oatmeal. On my recent trip to Puerto Rico, I enjoyed many bowls of oatmeal (sadly not my grandma's, but very close it), and since I've come back, it's the only thing I'm craving for breakfast these days. I've spent the last week tweaking the recipe to make it just right and have it taste most similar to my Abuela's Avena, and I think I finally got it! If you enjoy rich and creamy, stick-to-your-ribs oatmeal, not the watery or instant kind, try this homemade recipe...you too will quickly get hooked! (I must warn you, it is made with whole milk, evaporated milk and sugar- so if you are counting calories, you may want to substitute for skim milk and sugar substitute, but I guarantee it won't taste the same). I think my Abuela would be very proud!

ABUELA'S AVENA RECIPE: Courtesy of Grandma Lydia
(Makes 4-6 servings)
- 1 cup oats
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2 cups evaporated milk
- 1/2 cup of sugar
- 1 cinnamon stick

How to Make:
Soak the oats in the water for minimum of 30 minutes, and if you have time, as much as overnight. Next, take the soaked oats and water mixture and blend in a blender for 1 minute. Add that mixture to a pot on medium-high heat, then add the rest of the ingredients. Bring everything to a boil while stirring constantly, then reduce heat to medium and let simmer for another 3 minutes. Remove the cinnamon stick and discard. Serve immediately and enjoy or in Spanish...Buen Provecho!

Thursday, August 19, 2010


For two entire weeks in May, I had the incredible opportunity to check out the amazing countries of South Korea and Japan. I have written about my awesome journey many times on Jet Set Smart, but in case you have missed any of it, here is a link to each day I spent over there. I hope you enjoy reading about the trip and are inspired to jet set there too one day! I promise, you won't be disappointed!

Seoul, Korea- Day 1

Seoul, Korea- Day 2

Seoul, Korea- Day 3

Tokyo, Japan- Day 4

Tokyo, Japan- Day 5

Kyoto, Japan- Day 6

Kyoto, Japan- Day 7

Kyoto, Japan- Day 8

Kobuchizawa, Japan- Day 9

Kobuchizawa, Japan- Day 10

Mount Fuji, Japan- Day 11
Tokyo, Japan- Day 12

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Sayonara (goodbye in Japanese) to Mount Fuji (here's a picture from the train station in Fujiyoshida)! It was now time to head back to Tokyo for our last night in Japan. We checked into the amazing Park Hyatt Tokyo Hotel... (The one where Scarlett Johansson and Bill Murray stay in the 2003 movie Lost in Translation). Next, we headed out to explore some of Tokyo's most famous sites, including Harajuku. Harajuku is a bohemian and younger fashion district that inspired Gwen Stefani to write the song "Harajuku Girls." This area will remind you of the West Village in New York City. It's trendy, hip, and filled with tons of great shopping. On weekends the heart of Harajuku (especially Takeshita-dori Street)... is FILLED (just look at the crowds) with teenagers who come here to shop. Something else to check out while you are in this district is Harajuku's Meiji Jingu (in front of Harajuku JR Station),Which is a famous hangout for dressed-up teenagers and of course the crowds of onlookers.That night we had our best meal in Japan (other than the Sukiyaki prepared by Hide-San)! We went out for the freshest sushi ever with our friend Midori-San and her family. We tried all sorts of things, including raw shark heart which was really tasty!In conclusion, Japan was one of the best countries I have ever visited in my life! It is truly a fascinating place. Japan is probably the most advanced country in the world (at least when it comes to technology), it is one of the safest countries in the world, the food is just great, and the Japanese are such friendly and helpful people! I hope to return to this wonderful place at least once again in my life. This was the trip of a lifetime!