Author Archives: JVO

Trip Sisters – Show Notes – 6/15/19 – Portland


Special Guest
Sarah Porter from WorldMark by Wyndham

Website: www.worldmarkbywyndham.com
Social: #WorldMark
Facebook: @WorldMark| Twitter: @WorldMark | Instagram: @WorldMarkbyWyndham

SPECIAL OFFER:
We’ve created a discount code (VACAY19) for your readers to save 15% off available resorts on ExtraHolidays.com!
OFFER DETAILS: Book & Travel by December 31, 2019. Mention code VACAY19. Two-night minimum length of stay required. Valid for new reservations only. Reservations are subject to availability. Reservations are not valid over holidays and special events. Cannot be combined with any other offer. All monetary amounts are noted in U.S. Dollars unless otherwise noted.

Colleen & Catie’s Picks for Portland

Colleen
Accommodations:
WorldMark Portland – Waterfront Park
Fitness center and laundry service on site, shuffleboard in the lobby
All the amenities of a hotel, but it’s a timeshare.
There are one bedroom units, two bedroom units, and suites. Each unit has a kitchenette and each suite has a kitchen, so you can cook in your unit or suite.
Restaurant:
Mother’s – Homestyle cooking, great for breakfast, lunch or dinner. $15,000 crab cakes are delicious! They also offer a great bakery selection.
Pine Street Market – Bustling food hall with gourmet vendors, plus a mix of counter & communal seating.
Activities:
Lan Su Chinese Garden – Tranquil botanical garden featuring rare plants native to China, decorative stonework & a tea shop.
Multnomah Falls – A waterfall as magnificent and memorable as any in the country is located just a 30 minute drive outside of Portland.
How to get around:
Lyft (not as many Ubers), Biketown Bike Rentals (around every corner), or walk! They also have an easy public transportation system.
Any other tips?
Stop by one of their many farmers’ markets. We went to Lloyd Farmers’ Market where we got snacks and brought them back to our suite to cook and enjoy in our kitchen.
You never know what the weather might be, so be sure to bring jackets and umbrellas, even if you’re traveling there in the summer. Also, wear comfortable walking shoes!

Catie
Accommodations:
WorldMark Portland – Waterfront Park
Restaurant:
Park Avenue Fine Wines – We met with the chef for a food and wine pairing. Great food and wine!
VooDoo Doughnut – Edgy, unique donut shop. New donuts circulating every week. Walkable from WorldMark Portland
Activities:
Shopping in the Pearl District
MadeHere PDX – Everything is locally made.
Powell’s Books – World’s Largest Used Bookstore
Enjoying wine on the terrace at WorldMark Portland
Grill for cooking, firepit, chairs for relaxing
Airport to fly into: Portland International (PDX)
Take a Lyft or cab from the airport to WorldMark Portland (about 20 minutes)
Or you can take the MAX light rail Red Line train to downtown Portland for just $2.50
Cost of flights: Starting around $350 nonstop from Chicago
Any other tips?
WorldMark Portland – Waterfront Park is a timeshare resort, so there are two ways to stay. You can become a Wyndham timeshare owner, or you try out the resort before you become an owner at ExtraHolidays.com.

“What’s” with the “Trip Sisters”

What’s in Your Suitcase?
Time Traveler iPhone charger – $79.95 www.thegrommet.com
This Apple Watch portable charger provides on-the-go power and is the only travel solution that lets users use their watch in Nightstand mode. The pocket-sized design combines an induction charging pad with a built-in Lightning cable and a USB port to charge three devices all at the same time. Features two USB ports, micro-USB charging port & built-in Lightning cable for Apple
Compact, pocket-friendly design and only 0.44 lb.

What’s on your phone?
GoPro App – Free on Android and iOS
Lyft – Uber isn’t as popular in Portland, so be sure to download Lyft before your Portland vacation.
Biketown PDX App – Download this app if you plan to rent bikes while in Portland. You’ll be able to put your credit card on your account and rent bikes all around the city.

What’s the tip?
Best Free/Inexpensive Things to do in Portland
Saturday Market – Underneath the Burnside Bridge on the west side of downtown Portland, Saturdays and Sundays from March – December 24. The market is also open for an entire week leading up to Christmas Eve for what’s called “The Festival of the Last Minute.”
Food Trucks – An inexpensive way to sample Portland’s eclectic food scene.
Farmers Markets – Over 15 throughout Portland, on almost every day of the week. Go to www.portlandoregon.gov for full list.
Pioneer Courthouse Square – A public square in the center of downtown, known as “Portland’s living room.” The square hosts hundreds of events each year, including concerts and cultural fairs.
Tom McCall Waterfront Park – Located just across the street from WorldMark Portland – Waterfront Park. Great trails for walking, biking, and even water activities on the Willamette River. Keep an eye out for events and festivals also.
Brewery Tour – Portland has an amazing beer scene. Some brewery tours are free, to as low as $5 per person (plus you’ll likely get some free samples!).

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Trip Sisters – Show Notes – 6/8/19 – Turks & Caicos

Episode 52 – Website Info

Special Guest
Kim Sardo – Senior Director of Business Development for UVI (Beaches/Sandals)
Website: https://www.beaches.com/resorts/turks-caicos/
Social: #BeachesBFF #LIVplusevents
Facebook: @BeachesResorts | Twitter: @BeachesResorts | Instagram: @BeachesResorts

Colleen & Catie’s Picks for Turks & Caicos

Colleen
Accommodations: Beaches Turks & Caicos – Family and Couple-friendly resort, great for girlfriend getaways. All-inclusive, with a 45,000 square-foot waterpark; five magnificent villages. The architecture and ambiance of Italy, France, the Caribbean and Key West with a 12-mile beach with clear turquoise waters.
Restaurant:
Schooners – Serving a variety of fish, from lemongrass scented Snapper, to a 10 oz. Rib eye, the famous Turks & Caicos mollusk, Conch. Colonial villa setting just steps from the ocean!
Activities:
Scuba diving (included with gear and instructions) – Turks and Caicos has the 3rd largest barrier reef and several top diving spots in the world. Consider getting scuba certified!
Getting around:
Cabs are per person, not per ride.
Many resorts offer free bike rentals.
If you rent a car, keep in mind that you drive on the left side of the road, although most cars are imported from the US and will have the wheel on the right side.
When to Visit:
Weather – The average temperature is between 85-90°F from Jun to Oct and 80-84°F from Nov to May. Hurricane season in the Caribbean is officially from Jun 1 to Nov 30th.
Their busiest season is from mid-Dec to mid-April. Travelers on a budget should consider going June through mid-Dec, when the rates are 40% less than the winter rates and 2/3 less than the holiday rates.
Any Other Tips?
Bring Coral Safe Sunscreen
Some excursions will not allow you to join if you are not using coral safe sunscreen.
An estimated 4,000 to 6,000 metric tons of sunscreen from swimmers’ bodies are deposited into the ocean annually.
Make sure yours doesn’t contain oxybenzone (benzophenone-3), butylparaben, octinoxate (ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate), or 4-methylbenzylidene camphor (4MBC).
Bring one 3 oz bottle per person to be safe since sunscreen is not cheap on the island.
Bring Sea Lice Lotion if you don’t want to be stung by jellyfish or sea lice (jellyfish larvae). Also bring bug spray.

Catie
Accommodations: Beaches Turks & Caicos. We loved the butler that came with our suite!
Restaurant:
Kimonos – A vibrant restaurant that serves up the exotic cuisines of the Far East in an interactive way. Enjoyed our meal being prepped with our fun interactive chef!
Activities:
Massage on the beach
Catamaran Cruise
Tips for getting there: We flew Chicago to Charleston and then flew to Turks and Caicos. Nonstop flights available from ORD to PLS (Providenciales).
Any other tips?
If you want to eat lobster, make sure you go between Aug 15 to April 1st. If it is not lobster season, it is illegal to catch them, so you won’t find them in any restaurants.
Don’t overpack like we did. I wore half of my clothes. It’s all about solid clothes and fun earrings!

“What’s” with the “Trip Sisters”

What’s in Your Suitcase?
CAROLINE ZIP TRAVEL JEWELRY CASE by WOLF
$85 on www.wolf1834.com
When traveling, a great way to save room in your suitcase is to pack fewer clothes (preferably solids) and spice up your outfits with jewelry and accessories. This case comes in 4 different colors (black, red, champagne, rose quartz). The storage includes 7 ring rolls, 4 compartments and 3 necklace hooks with pocket. LusterLoc™ allows the fabric lining the inside of your jewelry cases to absorb the hostile gases known to cause tarnishing. Under typical storage conditions, it can prevent tarnishing for up to 35 years. Made of genuine leather.

What’s on your phone?
The Sandals & Beaches App – Free for Android & iOS
Access your Sandals Select membership, stay up to date with current point balance, view membership status and benefits. View upcoming trips and trip details, view your booking information, book vacation extras, and check-in before your arrival. While at the resort(s), use the app to make dining reservations, view resort map, check local weather, manage butler preferences.

What’s the tip?
Things You Must Know Before Visiting Turks & Caicos

21 Things You Must Know Before Visiting Turks and Caicos


They are a British territory, and everyone speaks English. The people who are from Turks and Caicos were originally from Africa and call themselves “belongers” rather than natives. Don’t be that ignorant American that asks if they are from Jamaica. They will be very offended.
The currency is the U.S. Dollar
Pricing is still very expensive. Food at restaurants and groceries are at least 2 times the cost in the States.
Tipping is the same is the US (about 15-20%) Some places already add service fees (ie. hotel service fees are split among all the workers).
You can drink the tap water, but it smells and tastes like sulfur. Bottled water is expensive. Consider bringing your own filter!
Don’t take shells or other natural items you find on the beach home for souvenirs. This is harmful to the environment and local wildlife.

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Trip Sisters – Show Notes -5/30/19 – Best of

Special Guests
Colleen and Catie relive some of their favorite interviews from the past year, including those with travel experts here to share their best tips with you!

Roy Sekoff – Founding Editor of Huffington Post/Writer
Samantha Brown – Travel Expert, TV Host
Andrea Ross – Responsible Traveling Expert
Johnny Jet – Travel Expert
Sheri Griffiths – Cruise Tips Expert
Keith King – Money Saving Travel Hacks

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Trip Sisters – Show Notes – 5/25/19 – Summer vacations


Colleen & Catie’s Picks for Summer Vacations

Colleen
Destination: Disney World – Orlando, FL
Accommodations:
Grand Floridian – Expensive, but worth it . Colleen found a price on orbitz for $235/night, instead of booking she called the hotel and asked if they’d honor the price and they did, plus a better room.
Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Nice, mid-range hotel
Wyndham Orlando Resort International Drive – Not attached to Disney World, but offers shuttles and tickets to the park for convenience
Restaurant:
Disney dining plans are options available exclusively to guests of select Disney World hotels who purchase Magic Your Way Vacation Packages.
The plans enable you to prepay for all of your meals, which makes things a lot more convenient while you’re in the parks or at your hotel.
You can choose a plan that fits your family’s needs, and you’ll have restaurant options ranging from fun character meals to quick and easy meals to romantic dinners for two.
Disney allows visitors to bring in food so those with food allergies or picky eaters are able to have food from home.
Activities:
Epcot – Meet Disney Pals at the Epcot Character Spot, the free indoor character line where you can meet your favorites.
Wildlife Express Train – A peaceful seven-minute train ride from Africa to Rafiki’s Planet Watch. Meet many characters, travel past animal housing and veterinary facilities, and enjoy kids activities.
Jedi Training Academy – Teaches children how to be a Jedi and puts on a show for parents to root on their Junior Jedi Knights.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – You can purchase a wand and venture into Hogsmeade Village, where you’ll even be able to perform your own spells and practice magic. Remember, you will need to purchase a park-to-park ticket to ride the Hogwarts Express and visit both lands.
Airport to fly into: Orlando International Airport
Cost of flights: Starting at around $170 round-trip this summer
How to get around: Don’t need to rent a car. Shuttle or Uber from airport.
Tips for Disney World:
Fast passes are worth it – Schedule your first 3 fast passes for the morning in one park, then after you finish you can use the app or visit a kiosk to schedule your next three in the evening at the same park or a different one.
Download the My Disney Experience App – Links your reservations, lets you search ride wait times, book dining reservations, purchase souvenirs and send them to your room or mail them home. It’s also linked to your photo pass.
Stay away from the EXTRA Magic Hours Parks – The parks with Extra Magic Hours for Disney Hotel Guests tend to be the busiest the entire day.
Save for a “Disneyworld fund” – Put all your spare change or “cash back” into a fund dedicated to a Disney trip

Catie
Destination: Grand Canyon – Arizona (South Rim)
Accommodations:
Grand Canyon Railway Hotel in Williams – Historic, luxury 298-room hotel, right next door to the train depot and just a block away from downtown Williams and historic Route 66. Includes complimentary wi-fi, an indoor pool and hot tub, delicious dining options at Grand Depot Cafe
Goulding’s Lodge in Monument Valley – Built in 1920s, features 62 rooms with views of Monument Valley, private balconies, John Wayne and other Western movie rentals, indoor heated pool (April – Nov). Steps away from the Stagecoach Dining Room.
Restaurant: El Tovar Restaurant at El Tovar Hotel – Gourmet dining in an atmosphere of historic and casual elegance describes this world-class dining experience. Signature items include the Prime Rib Hash at Breakfast or the Salmon Tostada.
Activities:
Pink Jeep Tours at the Mather Point parking lot, load up and travel to Lipton Point via Pink Jeeps.
Bearizona Wildlife Park in Williams – Visitors will drive through more than three miles of Ponderosa Pine Forest viewing North American animals in natural habitats when they visit. See animals up close, and also try the Wild Bus Tour
Antelope Canyon Boat Tours on Lake Powell – This tour explores Antelope Canyon. We did the 1 hour tour.
Airport to fly into: Flagstaff
Cost of flights: Starting around $220 round trip in summer
How to get around: Rent a car!
Any other tips?
Stay safe (no selfies in risky spots)
Consider a guided group tour around the Grand Canyon instead of hiking on your own
Book accommodations as far in advance as possible, as they tend to book up quickly in the summer
“What’s” with the “Trip Sisters”

What’s in Your Suitcase?

GoPro Hero 7 Black – Starting at $349 on www.Shop.GoPro.com
With gimbal-like stabilization–without the gimbal, this brand new GoPro is tough as nails and waterproof down to 33ft (10m). It shoots in 4K (1080px240) and has 12mp resolution. It responds to voice recognition for easy shooting, and makes shots look amazing automatically with HDR, local tone mapping and noise reduction—in any light. You can even stream to Facebook Live, YouTube™ and more. Capture super smooth, stabilized time lapse video—even as you move through a scene, or capture in 8x slow motion.
Hero 7 Silver – $299
Hero 7 White – $199
GoPro Fusion 360 – Starting at $399 on www.Shop.GoPro.com
Fusion captures 360 video and photos, recording everything so you can find the best shots later. Turn 360 footage into videos and photos you can share on your phone. Preview and playback shots, create videos and share them on the go with the GoPro app. Create immersive VR experiences in stunning 5.2K video that’s incredibly smooth and stable video. Also waterproof down to 16ft (5m) with voice recognition. Includes Fusion Grip with a built-in extension pole and tripod.

What’s on your phone?
GoPro App – Free on Android and iOS
Create a QuikStory – Automatically transform your latest footage into an awesome video with music and effects. Share your favorite – Post your best moments to Facebook, Instagram and more, or share them in a text or email. Control your GoPro – Use your phone to frame your shots, start and stop recording, and easily adjust settings. GoPro App Plus (additional charge) – Unlimited cloud backup automatically – Upload as many photos and videos as you want, then create and share from anywhere using the GoPro app.

What’s the tip?
How to Plan a Family Summer Vacation without Breaking the Bank (www.theautismdiva.com)
Hit the Road – Forget about expensive airfare for the family, take a road trip instead! Try popular trips like Route 66 or the Pacific Coast Highway.
Go RVing – Like the idea of a road trip, but need a bit more elbow room? Check out RV rental companies like Mighway and Cruise America to rent an RV anywhere in the country. You’ll save money by having your transportation and hotel all in one.
Pitch a Tent – Renting a tent campsite offers significant savings over the price of the average hotel room. Plus, if you stay in a campground, you can still enjoy great amenities like bathhouses, a swimming pool, playground, lake access and more. This kind of vacation is a great way to experience a national park. (Can rent a tent site for $47/night at Yosemite Lakes Campground).
Cabin Fever – Looking for more comforts of home than you’ll find in a tent? Consider campground rental accommodations, like yurts and even tiny houses.
Reverse Migrate – Go where the people aren’t! When most people are enjoying northern destinations for the summer, consider heading south to Florida, Arizona, Mexico and the Caribbean. You’ll catch some great deals, and it will be much less crowded.
Ride the Rails – Take the scenic route and travel by train. Check out Vacations by Rail for a variety of options for train trips and tours throughout the country or consider Amtrak.
Take a Deal – Follow your favorite travel resources such as Google Flights, Airfarewatchdog, and Travelocity for the latest promotions and discounts.
Points Play – Make sure to use credit cards that have great travel rewards or cash back programs so every dollar you spend gets you one step closer to a family getaway.
Off the Path – Try less popular vacation spots like Tybee Island, Georgia instead of Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. Instead of a big theme park vacation, consider a visit to Virginia Beach, Virginia for their Ocean Breeze Waterpark.

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Trip Sisters – Show Notes – Oh, Canada! (5/18/19)

Episode 49 – Website Info

Special Guest
Pauline Frommer – Co-President of FrommerMedia, Editorial Director of Frommer’s Guidebooks, author of the best-selling “Frommer’s EasyGuide to New York City” and “Frommer’s New York City Day by Day”, co-host of “The Travel Show” on WABC
www.frommers.com @Frommers

Colleen & Catie’s Picks for Canada

Colleen
Destination: Saguenay Lac St.-Jean – Located in Eastern Canada – Quebec Province
Accommodations: Val-Jalbert – Built in the 1920s, historic. You can stay in period houses, mini cottages, or campground. Great for families!
Restaurant: Restaurant du Moulin (at Val-Jalbert) – Features phenomenally fresh local ingredients and is family-friendly.
Activities:
Zoo Sauvage de Saint-Felicien – Drive-through zoo
Boat tour where the St Lawrence River and the Saguenay Fjord meet (you may even see whales)
Historic Village de Val-Jalbert – Where presenters in period costumes explain what life was like in the area during the 1920’s
When to visit: June – September
Airport to fly into: Saguenay-Bagotville Airport
How to get around: Rent a car or even a bike
Any other tips? Consider a passport card if you plan on traveling to Canada often. Cheaper than a passport, easier to carry around – plus you may need one to travel domestically soon.

Catie
Destination: Calgary – City in the Western Canadian province of Alberta
Accommodations: Le Germain Hotel Calgary – Across the street from Calgary Tower, a 4-minute walk from Arts Commons and near Calgary Zoo.
Restaurant: Charcut in Le Germain Hotel Calgary – Great food and great vibes with cuisine from Top Chef Canada contestant Connie Dsouza.
Summer Activities:
Tour the Heritage Park Historical Village – Canada’s largest living history museum, it is one of the city’s most visited tourist attractions
Staff dress in historic costume, and antique automobiles and horse-drawn vehicles service the site.
Calgary Transit provides regular shuttle service from Heritage C-Train station.
Go tubing or rafting on Bow River – Lazy Day Raft Rentals
Winter Activities
Tour the Studio Bell National Music Centre – Exhibits on Canadian music history, hands-on instrument areas & concerts in a contemporary setting.
Visit the Gasoline Alley Museum – Site in Heritage Park Historical Village with pre-1950s cars, old-timey gas pumps & vintage signage.
Visit WinSport Winter Sport Institute at Canada Olympic Park – Discover, Develop, Excel in skiing, snowboarding, hockey, skating, bobsleigh, mountain biking, etc.
When to visit:
The best times to visit Calgary are June through August, when most of the city’s special events take place
November through March are perfect for skiing
Any other tips? If you’re looking to save money without arctic temperatures, plan a visit for April or October when the city is free of tourists and cold weather. Springtime temperatures average in the 50s and 60s.

“What’s” with the “Trip Sisters”

What’s in Your Suitcase?
Grand Trunk Blackout Hooded Neck Pillows
$39.95 on www.grandtrunk.com
Hooded Travel Pillow made of micro-fleece and memory foam that provides comfort for your neck while the storable hood covers your eyes when you want to rest.

What’s on your phone?
PackPoint travel packing list – Free on Android or iOS
PackPoint is a free travel packing list organizer and packing planner for serious travel pros.
Punch in the city you’re going to travel to, the departure date, and the number of nights you’ll be staying there. PackPoint will organize a packing list and luggage checklist for your luggage that takes into account the type of trip, the location, the weather, and much more!

What’s the tip?
How to Prep Your Fridge Before a Trip (Tips from Ronna Welsh, author of new cookbook “The Nimble Cook.”)
Identify the foods that often go to waste –
Yogurt or cottage cheese, partially used vegetables, salad greens, and leftovers.
Recognizing these items can help us be more mindful of how we shop and cook, and proactive in how we use ingredients
Try to use up what you can before a trip and don’t buy more than you need to for the days leading up to it
Devise a system to keep tabs on what’s in your fridge –
Try two things to keep your kitchen tidy and reduce food waste: The Label and the Line Up.
Keep a sleeve of peel-off file folder labels in the kitchen –
When you buy new groceries, label them with the date you bought them, and make sure you rotate the old items to the front and put the new ones in back.
Find ways to repurpose excess ingredients or those past their prime –
Look for recipes where you can use soft veggies and herbs, dried up fruits, and soon-to-expire perishables.
Get creative with your cuisine before leaving for your trip
Take advantage of your freezer –
Learn what foods you can cook and freeze, which will keep them fresh while you’re away. Plus, you’ll have easy meals to come home and heat up when you return.
Be thoughtful about how you store things for later or take them with you –
The easiest way to make sure something doesn’t go bad during a vacation? Pack it and eat it during your trip.
Freeze your eggs (after they’re cooked) –
Since eggs don’t freeze well in their original form, cook them up in an omelette, quiche, or frittata, and freeze them that way.
Make sure your kitchen is in ship shape before you head off –
Empty the trash, wipe down appliances and counters, wipe down your fridge inside and out, and make sure none of the vents in your freezer are blocked.
For more tips, check out “The Nimble Cook” at barnesandnoble.com, $21

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Trip Sisters – Show Notes – 5/11/19 (Memorial Day Weekend)

Special Guest
Scott Keyes from Scott’s Cheap Flights
Check out Scott’s website for amazing flight deals! www.scottscheapflights.com
@ScottsCheapFlights

Colleen & Catie’s Picks for Memorial Day Weekend

Colleen
Destination: Nashville, Tennessee
Accommodations: Loews Vanderbilt Hotel – Adjacent to the Vanderbilt University campus in Midtown, only 0.9 miles from The Parthenon replica, and 1.7 miles from the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Suites include separate living rooms; some feature fireplaces and/or kitchenettes, plus the club-level quarters have access to a lounge serving free breakfast! There’s even a complimentary local car service.
Restaurant: Martin’s BBQ Joint – Authentic BBQ – Big roadhouse-style eatery known for its whole-hog pit-fired BBQ, with chicken, tacos & burgers.
Activities:
Country Music Hall of Fame/RCA Studio B Tour – Book the studio B tour when you get your Country Music Hall of Fame ticket. You’ll be shuttled by bus to the Studio from the Hall of Fame.
Tennessee Performing Arts Center – Great Broadway shows, but less expensive.
How to get around: Either drive, or if you fly, rent a car (free car service if you stay at Loews Vanderbilt Hotel) or take Ubers/shuttles. If you stay right downtown you can get around by walking or public transit.
Any other tips? Drive from Chicago – Only 8 hours and much cheaper than flying. Plus, when you get there you have a car.

Catie
Destination: Petoskey, Michigan – 7 hour drive from Chicago in Northern Michigan
Accommodations: Inn at Bay Harbor, Autograph Collection – 3.8 miles from downtown Petoskey and 8.6 miles from Petoskey State Park, complete with a golf course, spa, and seasonal outdoor pool.
Restaurant: Beards Brewery – Located in downtown Petoskey with a full-service restaurant, views of the bay, and lots of craft beers on tap. They have great beer – You can even watch them brew! Some of the best poutine and wings we ever had. They also offer veggie bowls, tacos, pizza, and beer cheese poutine. From cream ale to double IPA to wheat wine. All were spot on.
Activities:
Pedego Electric Bikes – We rented electric bikes and toured around the area and the bike paths!
Hiking or Exploring Petoskey State Park.
How to get around: Car or electric bikes!
Any other tips: Look for rock treasures – The Petoskey stone (the state stone) is only found in Michigan and is most prevalent in Petoskey. The stones are also polished, cut, made into jewelry and sold in local boutiques throughout town.

“What’s” with the “Trip Sisters”

What’s in Your Suitcase?
Cinco Linko – $9.99 at Walmart or on Amazon
Cinco Linko is a family-friendly, five-in-a-row tile game that you can clip to your bag and play on the go. It’s small, compact, travels easily, can be played on any flat surface.

What’s on your phone?
Roadie Delivery – Free on Android or iOS with in-app purchases
From cupcakes to couches, Roadie is a fast, inexpensive way to send urgent or oversized items. You’ll save time on errands and get your items there faster. Similarly to Uber, you can also get paid to drive and delivery for Roadie if you’re looking to earn a little extra cash.

What’s the tip?
How to Check Your Vacation Rental or Hotel Room for Hidden Cameras
Use a flashlight
According to CNN, using your phone’s flashlight may be one of the easiest ways to detect a hidden camera.
All you need to do is flash the light against anything that looks abnormal including clocks and smoke detectors.
You should be able to see any reflections of a camera lens
Download an app to scan for recording equipment
Apps such as Hidden Spy Camera Detector, Radarbot, and Tiny Spy Camera Finder will scan for frequencies used by recording equipment.
You can even buy a standard bug detector that you sweep the room with to search for hidden sources of radio transmission
Do a physical inspection
This trick is perhaps the easiest, and the cheapest: Physically inspect the room for any irregularities.
Guests should be looking for any small holes around the room, including in the wall or in objects placed in the room.
Also be on the lookout for random wires that don’t belong, or any flashing or blinking lights.
Light fixtures, smoke detectors, clock radios, coffee pots, air vents, and electric sockets have all been used to hide cameras
Remember: Hosts are technically allowed to film you in certain locations.
Airbnb’s current regulations do allow hosts to place cameras in common areas, such as the living room, outside, or in the kitchen.
However, hosts must disclose the use of cameras and guests must agree to these terms before booking.
Cameras are never allowed in areas of “reasonable privacy” like the bedrooms or bathrooms.
If you do find a camera in your rental, contact customer service at your rental agency immediately.
If you find one in your hotel room, ask to change rooms and contact the hotel management as soon as possible.

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Trip Sisters – Show Notes – Mother’s Day – 5/4/19

Special Guest
Kathy Keogh – Colleen & Catie’s Mom

Colleen & Catie’s Picks for Mother’s Day

Colleen
Destination:
The Ridge at Lake Geneva, WI – An hour and a half drive from Chicago, this hotel has a heated indoor and outdoor pool, hot tub, sauna and steam room, with beautiful view of Lake Como. Be sure to book a massage or treatment at Mia Faccia Spa in downtown Lake Geneva and enjoy a Mother’s Day brunch at Crafted Americana Restaurant. The Chocolate Creme Brulee is amazing!
Destination:
Eaglewood Resort, Itasca, IL – 4 Star hotel about 25 miles from downtown Chicago. This resort offers Kegler’s 6 lane Bowling Alley and a unique golf simulator in addition to their 18 hole championship golf course. They also have a complete Health Spa, indoor pool, fitness center and restaurants like Burnham’s on site. Be sure to check out their Mother’s Day Champagne Brunch!
Any other tips?
Keep in mind your mom’s travel style and wants. Don’t force her to do a spa day if she’d rather spend her special day hiking.

Catie
Destination: Oxnard, California – Small town, coastal feel. Good for different ages, including seniors and families.
Accommodations: Embassy Suites by Hilton – Mandalay Beach Resort – Located by the beautiful Channel Islands Harbor with beach access, pool, tennis courts, golf, spa.
Restaurant: Waterside Restaurant and Wine Bar – Offers local New American fare & cocktails, live music & a patio on the harbor.
Activities:
Heritage Square – 1920s Era dress-up and experience a historic Heritage Square Tour & Tea Party Event
RiverRidge Family Foot Golf – Fun for athletic moms and kids, also offers a Wine and Cheese Pairing at RiverRidge tasting room
Whale Watching – Island Packers “Island Wildlife Whale Watching Excursion” Channel Island Harbor
What airport to fly into?
Santa Barbara Airport – A little under an hour from Oxnard, flights starting around $430
Bob Hope Airport (Burbank) – About an hour drive from Oxnard, flights starting around $350
LAX – About an hour and a half from Oxnard, busier, but more (and sometimes cheaper) flight options.
Any other tips?
Stay at a place that’s right on the beach. Oxnard has beautiful beaches and it’s great when you can enjoy them from the comfort of your hotel or resort.
Oxnard hosts the California’s Strawberry Festival – Usually held in May, the festival offers visitors over 200 arts and crafts vendors, rides, entertainment, and delicious fresh strawberries. Check castrawberryfestival.org for more details. This year it’s May 18-19.

“What’s” with the “Trip Sisters”

What’s in Your Suitcase?
Kobo Forma eReader
Available for $279.99 USA at Walmart and at www.kobo.com
Kobo Forma is the thinnest, most durable, most comfortable eReader with a storage capacity of 8GB, so readers can store up to 6,000 eBooks. Easy to hold and travel with, fully waterproof and lightweight. You can purchase books to download or download them right from your library using “OneDrive”. Consider the Kobo Forma SleepCover – $49.99, which can be adjusted to stand so you don’t have to hold it.

What’s on your phone?
Postagram – Free on Android or iOS (with in-app purchases)
Choose photos from your iPhone, Facebook, Instagram or Dropbox. Or just take a photo inside the app, then include a personal message with emojis, and place your order and have thick glossy 4×6-inch postcards printed at 300dpi resolution and delivered anywhere in the U.S. for $2 – or $3 for foreign addresses. (Price includes postage.) Great way to send your love to mom!

What’s the tip?
What to do if you need to cancel or change your flight
Best option – Cancel your flight within 24 hours of booking for a full refund
Opt for travel insurance (like Allianz, for example). Costs more upfront but could save you $$
You can preserve some of the value of your ticket by paying a hefty change fee to move your flight to a different day.
Note: American Airlines charges up to $200 to change a domestic ticket and up to $750 to change an international ticket, and you must pay the difference in fare if your new ticket is more expensive than the older one.
This means that it may be cheaper to simply “eat” the cost of the ticket and buy a new ticket.
If you are flying Southwest Airlines, it’s the only major U.S. carrier that doesn’t charge a change fee.
Keep in mind that most airlines sell highly restrictive “basic economy” fares. If you purchased one of these, you will not be able to change or cancel your plane ticket even if you pay the change fee.
Plead Your Case – Call your airline’s service desk. If you have a compelling case – a sudden illness, for example – you might find a sympathetic ear.
Hope for Disaster – Check in for your flight even if you have no intention of using it. If your flight is significantly delayed or cancelled due to weather or aircraft maintenance issues, airlines will offer the option for a refund instead of rebooking you.
Your flight also might be overbooked, in which case the airline might offer a voucher when you check in if you are willing to switch to a later flight.
These vouchers can be worth a few hundred or even a few thousand dollars, so it will more than make up the cost of your flight.
These options, however, are available only if you check in.
Monitor your flight’s status for delays, and call the airline service desk to find out all your options.

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Trip Sisters – Show Notes – Episode 46 – 4/27/19

Special Guest
Aaron Schlein – Travel Expert, Blogger
www.aaronschlein.com and www.dramatictravels.com – Check out Aaron’s blog for his incredible travel stories and tips!
Social: @AaronSchlein

Colleen & Catie’s Picks for Multigenerational Travel

Colleen
Destination: Tucson, Arizona
Accommodations: White Stallion Ranch – This all-inclusive ranch is great for families. There’s plenty to do, and the ranch has a rustic feel with modern amenities and accommodations.
Restaurant: El Charro Cafe – Family-owned Mexican restaurant and home of the chimichanga
Activities:
White Stallion Ranch – Horseback riding, hiking, pool, gameroom, cookouts
Pima Air & Space Museum
Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
Cost of flights: Starting around $330
When to visit: Spring or Fall
Airport to fly into: Phoenix Sky Harbor (1 hour 30 minutes away) or Tucson International (40 minutes away)
Tucson – White Stallion Ranch provides transfers to and from the airport at no charge for guests staying 4 nights or longer.
Phoenix Sky Harbor – Arizona Shuttle transfers guests rom Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport to the Twin Peaks location where the ranch will pick you up.
How to get around: Rent a car if you want to explore Tucson, although you don’t really need one if you’re staying at the ranch.
Any other tips?
When traveling with seniors, try not to overplan, or be sure to take rest breaks often and make sure everyone stays hydrated.
If you have a variety of ages with you, don’t expect everyone to agree on doing the same thing. While it’s nice to have some activities to do together (such as eating or museums), it’s also okay for people to do activities apart.

Catie

Destination: Amelia Island, Florida – With plenty of history, shops, golfing and luxury resorts, it’s great for the whole family.
Accommodations: Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort – Luxury, oceanfront accommodations, pools, golf, full-service spa, dining options and family-friendly activities.
Restaurants:
Bob’s Steak and Chop House on Amelia Island in Fernandina Beach – Texas-born local chain serving beef, seafood and wine list in a woodsy atmosphere.
Salty Pelican Bar and Grill – Open-air seafood restaurant with river views, local cuisine, bar, and vegetarian friendly options.
Activities for kids:
Splash Park water playground for the kids, two hot tubs and oversized fire pits.
Playscapes, Pirate Playground – Incorporates exercise, art, nature, music, imagination, and local history for children of all physical and mental abilities. There are also restrooms close by.
Activities for seniors:
A round of golf at Long Point Golf Course, one of the best in Florida
Spa
Activities for Both:
Catch a Civil War reenactment at Fort Clinch
Beach
When to visit: May-June and September-October. You can get some good deals in summer but it’s very hot.
Any other tips for multi-gen travel? Make sure seniors are closer to elevators and lobby area. It’s easier for them.

“What’s” with the “Trip Sisters”

What’s in Your Suitcase?
Sporty Seats, Seat Savers for the Car
$29 at www.sportyseats.com
With Sporty Seats & Kids Seats that are secured in cotton-laminate nd Work Seats in Vinyl-backed canvas, these car seat savers are great for families and commuters, keeping the car clean daily and for road travel.

What’s on your phone?
Kango App – Rides and care for kids
Go to the website or download the app (www.kangoapp.co)
Schedule a ride, childcare, or both! One-time or ongoing requests offered. See who can help – Background-checked, fingerprinted caregivers who are trained to transport kids.

What’s the tip?
Travel Insurance for Seniors
Allianz – www.allianzlife.com
Travel insurance, through a company like Allianz, gives you the security in traveling
Whether you’re taking a plane or a cruise, travel insurance gives you the comfort in knowing you can cancel a trip due to illness, a death in the family, and, in some cases, severe weather conditions, and still get a full refund.
This will also protect you if you miss a cruise sailing due to a delayed or canceled flight.
Be sure your police covers any flights and hotel stays.
They also offer retirement planning/savings tools – Allowing people to budget travel into their retirement fund
Retirement income calculator on their website
Also offer community support to avoid scams and elder financial abuse

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Beach Park Hazmat Situation

Beach Park Hazmat Situation
By Nick Gale, WLS-AM 890 News

(WAUKEGAN, Ill.) — The Lake County Sheriffs Office has released information regarding a hazardous materials incident in Beach Park. At one point, 31 people were transported to area hospitals with breathing problems after tanks carrying anhydrous ammonia began to leak including two deputies who were responded to the scene and a Zion Police Officer. Beach Park residents were told to stay home and several schools canceled classes.

Lake County Sheriffs Department Release:

On April 25, 2019, at approximately 4:25AM, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a possible
vehicle fire in the area of North Green Bay Road & 29th Street, Beach Park. A Lake County Sheriff’s Sergeant and
Lake County Sheriff’s Deputy arrived on scene and observed what appeared to be a cloud of smoke. As the Sergeant
and Deputy exited their squad cars, they were overcome with an airborne chemical.

The Sergeant and Deputy retreated, as the chemical was overpowering. There were several victims at the scene who
were rescued by initial responding fire personnel.

Preliminary information shows a tractor was towing containers holding anhydrous ammonia. The containers leaked
as the tractor was traveling on Green Bay Road in the area of 29th Street. This caused toxic plumes of the chemical to
be released into the air.

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office and Beach Park Fire established a Unified Command Post. The Beach Park Fire
Department requested mutual-aid through the Mutual Aid Box Alarm System (MABAS) to the 5th level, adding an
alarm from a different MABAS division (25 ambulances, and HAZMAT Teams). The Lake County Sheriff’s Office
requested mutual-aid through the Illinois Law-Enforcement Alarm System (ILEAS) to the 4th level, which allocated
20 additional police officers, to assist in closing a 1-mile perimeter from vehicular/pedestrian traffic.

Notifications were made via television/radio media, social media, automated call/text/email systems, and Nextdoor
emergency alert, to notify Beach Park residents within a one-mile radius to shelter in place, keep all windows closed,
and turn off HVAC systems.

As of 10 a.m. Thursday, residents were still being asked to stay inside with HVAC systems off as the cloud of anhydrous dissipates.

Copyright 2019 WLS-AM News​

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Bond Set For AJ’s Parents

Bond Set For AJ’s Parents
By Nick Gale, WLS-AM 890 News

(WOODSTOCK, Ill.) — Bond has been set at $5 million each for the Crystal Lake parents accused of killing their 5-year-old son A.J.

Joann Cunningham cried as the charges against her and Andrew Freund Sr. were read at the McHenry County Jail Thursday morning. In laying out the allegations in bond court, prosecutors say AJ Freund died after he was forced into a cold shower for an extended period of time and then beat.

His body was then wrapped in plastic and laid in a shallow grave in a remote area of Woodstock.

Freund and Cunningham are both charged with first-degree murder, aggravated battery, aggravated domestic battery, and failure to report a missing child or child death. Freund was also charged with concealment of a homicidal death.

Sheriff Jim Black said Wednesday that cell phone data helped in the case.

Both are being appointed public defenders. AJ’s younger brother has been placed in protective custody.

Freund and Cunningham are due back in court on Monday. An autopsy for AJ was scheduled for Thursday.

Copyright 2019 WLS-AM News

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Body Found, Parents Arrested in Crystal Lake Case

Body Found, Parents Arrested in Crystal Lake Case

By Nick Gale, WLS-AM 890 News

(CRYSTAL LAKE, Ill.) — The parents of missing 5-year-old Andrew “AJ” Freund Jr. have been arrested after officials discovered the child’s body Wednesday morning. Sheriff Jim Black delivered the news Wednesday afternoon at the Crystal Lake City Hall.

“To AJ, we know that you are at peace playing in heaven’s playground and are happy you no longer have to suffer.”

Officials say the family was known to police. AJ was last seen Wednesday night with his parents claiming he had gone missing overnight, but police say there was no evidence of an abduction.

Black says the parents, Joann Cunningham and Andrew Freund senior, were interviewed overnight after an analysis of cell phone data.

The body was found in a shallow grave in a remote area of Woodstock.

Both parents have been arrested and face multiple charges including first degree murder.

The cause of death is pending an autopsy by the McHenry County coroner.

Copyright 2019 WLS-AM News

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Officers Deliver Easter Baby

Officers Deliver Easter Baby
By Nick Gale, WLS-AM 890 News

(CHICAGO) — Two Chicago Police Officers are being praised for their quick thinking when they helped deliver a baby outside of the 3rd District Police Station Easter Morning.

Johnny Stokes was rushing his daughter to Comer Children’s hospital when baby Ava just couldn’t wait.

“He informed me that his daughter was having labor in the front seat of his SUV,” Officer Sean Hamil tells the Mancow Show on WLS. “So I radioed for an ambulance and then my partner came out and assisted me in the delivery of this sweet baby Ava and I pulled out some gloves and the baby just slipped right out into my hands.”

Mother and baby were taken to the hospital in good condition. Now a proud grandpa, Stokes has bestowed the honorary title of uncle on Hamil and his partner Officer Lawrence Nickerson.

Copyright 2019 WLS-AM News​

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Former Lt. Gov. Running For Congress

(WHEATON, Ill.) — Former-Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti announced Monday morning that she is running for Congress in Illinois’ 6th District. In a news release, she says she will fight government overreach and the tax and spend policies that threaten our economy and continued prosperity.

“I am running for Congress to keep the American dream alive,” Sanguinetti said. “Only in America can the child of teenage immigrants who grew up on food stamps ascend to college, law school, and become our country’s first Latina Lieutenant Governor. I want my children to have the chance to live their own American dream, which is only possible through liberty, access, and opportunity.”

“I really wanted to see Sean Casten be the voice this district needed when he won election last November, [but] unfortunately, all we have is another politician cozying up to progressives and socialists in support of increased taxes and expanded government – when he should be fighting for the district he was sent to represent.”

Following Sanguinetti’s announcement she planned to head to a manufacturing facility in Cary to discuss policies to promote jobs and continued economic prosperity with local business owners. Later she is headed to a rally in Barrington with supporters to discuss why she is running for Congress and why she can unseat Sean Casten.

Sanguinetti has already been endorsed by U.S. Rep. John Shimkus (R-Collinsville) U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Taylorville).

www.Evelyn2020.com

Copyright 2019 WLS-AM News

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Trip Sisters – Show Notes – Episode 45 -Secret Chicago – 4/20/19

Colleen & Catie’s Picks for Secret Chicago

Colleen
Restaurant: Fogo de Chão Brazilian Steakhouse – Located on North LaSalle, this upscale Brazilian chain is great for all-you-can-eat meat carved offered at your tableside. They also have a delicious salad bar!
Family Restaurant: Pasta Al Gusto – Located in Southport in the Lakeview Neighborhood, this compact Italian eatery is simple but delicious, offering contemporary pastas, salads and paninis.
Hotel: Hotel Lincoln – Located on North Clark in Lincoln Park, right across the street from Lincoln Park and & Lincoln Park Zoo, this Chicago hotel offers contemporary style with amazing views from their rooftop bar! Starting around $160/night.
Activity: Wrigley Field Tours – They offer daily tours, both on and off game-day, with prices ranging from $25 – $35. All guided tours are 75-90 minutes, outdoors (approximately 1 mile) and conducted in rain or shine. Wear comfortable walking shoes! Great for Cubs fans or anyone interested in Chicago history.
Free Activity: Lincoln Park Zoo – Walking distance from Hotel Lincoln. You will have to pay for parking if you drive, but otherwise it’s completely free to get in and open 365 days a year.
Tip: Stay in one of Chicago’s eclectic neighborhoods instead of downtown. You’ll get to experience a whole new aspect of the city and you may find places a little less expensive than right downtown.

Catie
Restaurant: La Scarola – Located in the Fulton River District, this restaurant offers homemade and genuine Italian food at very reasonable prices. The sautéed scarole, calamari, penne alla vodka, pasta vesuvio, and eggplant parmigiana are all excellent choices!
Bar:
Violet Hour – Wicker Park – Creative cocktails and small bites in a sophisticated setting, Even offer special events like “Cocktails 101” Class!
The Ladies Room – Logan Square in new Red Light District – Cantonese delights mixes with vintage Asian pin-up art on the walls and a variety of unique drinks. Enter through the bakery and be sure to make a reservation!
Hotel: Viceroy Hotel in Gold Coast – Located in Gold Coast Historic District, this is a sophisticated hotel in an art deco tower. The hotel overlooks Lake Michigan and is a 6-minute walk from a metro station. Starts around $265 a night.
Activity: Check out chicago food scene in different neighborhoods each week.
Free Activity: Millennium Park’s Lurie Garden – Gorgeous in the spring and separated from the busy streets of Chicago by a 15-foot-high hedge, the Lurie Garden is a hidden gem in the city.
Tip:
If flying in, take the El to and from the airport. Cheaper and easier.
If you drive, download the ParkChicago App for best parking.

“What’s” with the “Trip Sisters”

What’s in Your Suitcase?
ChargeHubV2
$29.99 at www.limitlessinnovations.com
3-In-1 Vehicle Multi-Tool features 2 USB ports to charge, a glass breaker and seatbelt cutter. Available in 5 colors!

What’s on your phone?
Swiftdine – Free on Android and iOS
$10 OFF PROMO CODE: DJWGTSTD (all caps)
Chicago-based app that cuts your restaurant visit down by 45 minutes. Select the restaurant you want to patron and order from the in-app menu. Pay upfront and schedule the time you’re coming so you’ll be served immediately.

What’s the tip?
Airport/Flying Tips
When going through security, use the left line (often shorter)
Know how much liquids you can/can’t bring on your flight (3 oz in a carry-on, for example)
Wheelchairs can be rented for seniors or those with special needs. They’re available for walk-up rental, but we recommend calling and placing a reservation ahead of time, as certain times get busy and there might be a wait.
Call your airline directly to reserve one (not the airport).
If traveling with a baby, bring more diapers than you think you need – They are hard to comeby at an airport!
If you bring a tablet or iPad for yourself or your kids, be sure to download any videos you want to watch ahead of time, so you don’t need to buy WiFi on the plane.
Use a brightly colored luggage tag to more easily find your luggage at baggage claim- but nothing too fancy! You don’t want to risk someone stealing that nifty luggage tag off your bag.

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Chet Coppock Dead at 70

Chet Coppock Dead at 70
By Nick Gale
(CHICAGO) — Sports talk fans, Notre Dame sports fans and many in Chicago are taking to social media to remember Chet Coppock and offer condolences to his family. Coppock was a passenger in a vehicle crash April 11 near Hilton Head, S.C. He passed away from his injuries Wednesday.
His daughter Lyndsey Coppock took to Facebook.
“We lost our father, Chet Coppock, on April 17th due to complications from injuries he sustained in a car accident outside Hilton Head, SC. His passing is untimely, unexpected and painfully sad, but all we can do at this time is remember how lucky we were to have such a unique and creative trailblazer help shape into the adults we know he was so incredibly proud of.
Our father’s wishes were to have a memorial service for friends and family to reflect on good times and to laugh, sharing memories of the past. When we have those details we will share them as soon as possible.
Life is too short and you are never promised another day. Tell your friends and family you love them, you never know when your last moments with them will be. We love you, Dad, and we are so proud of you.”
Coppock worked in print, radio and TV, having been a sports anchor in the 1980’s on WMAQ-TV and later covering Notre Dame football, in part, on WLS-AM 890.
His work, spanning decades, included stops in New York, Chicago and Indianapolis.
“I consider him one of the best sports personalities that I’ve ever been associated with,” ESPN analyst Lee Corso tells WLS. “Chet and I did a TV show in Indianapolis when I was the head coach at Indiana and I loved every minute of it but most of all, I loved being around him. He was just an absolutely wonderful human being.”
A colorful career, Coppock was also involved in covering the Roller Derby and WWF wrestling.
Coppock was 70 years old. A memorial service is being planned.
Copyright 2019 WLS-AM News​
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Trip Sisters – Show Notes – Episode 44 – 4/13/19 – Spring Destinations

Special Guest
Jeanenne Tornatore
Title: Travel Expert, Blogger, TV Personality
Website: http://jeanennetornatore.com/
Social: @JMTornatore

Colleen & Catie’s Picks for Spring Destinations

Colleen
Destination: Paris
Accommodations: Hotel Paradis Paris – A Chic hotel just a 10-minute walk from Gare du Nord train station. It’s also close to the Palais Garnier opera house and plenty of restaurants. Good for couples, girlfriends or families, starting at about $114 a night.
Casual Restaurant: Holybelly 5 – Located near Hotel Paradis Paris, this breakfast/brunch cafe is bright and popular with great coffee, cuisine and service. Sarah Mouchot’s breakfast pancakes (with eggs, bacon, bourbon butter and maple syrup) and black rice porridge are among one of their most popular meals. No reservations needed!
Dinner Restaurant: Brasserie Floderer – Also located near Hotel Paradis Paris, offering Alsatian Dishes prepared with authenticity in a classic French atmosphere.Great steak tartare, traditional browned-onion soup, bread, butternut squash soup, chocolate creme brulee. Surprisingly good prices! Reservation recommended.
Activities:
The Palais Garnier Opera House – A 1,979-seat opera house, built from 1861 to 1875 for the Paris Opera. Have an amazing schedule of shows and offer guided tours of this spectacular opera house and the historic architecture.
Beautiful Catholic churches nearby, like Saint-Vincent de Paul that are gorgeous in the spring.
Cost of flights in Spring: $450 – $1000
When to book: About 99 days in advance (3 ½ months)
Airport to fly into: Charles de Gaulle Airport – Also known as Roissy Airport, it is the largest international airport in France and only a 45 minute train ride from Hotel Paradis Paris.
How to get around: Train/public transportation
Any other tips?
Instead of trying to see all the major attractions Paris has to offer, pick and choose a few places you’d really like to visit, and enjoy your time with those.
Buy your tickets for any museums or activities you do ahead of time!

Catie
Destination: Ireland
Accommodations: Kilkea Castle in Kildare, Ireland
Restaurant: On property
Restaurant 1180 – A fine dining experience in their private dining room, located in this 12th Century Castle.
The Keep – Kilkea Castle’s gastro pub (drinks and burgers)
The Bistro – The Bistro offers an informal dining experience with plenty of food choices.
Hermione’s Restaurant – A simple and sophisticated setting
Activities: Falconry, sing-alongs in the pubs and walking the gardens. You get to sleep in a real castle too!
Cost of flights in Spring: $399- to $1000 for business class
When to book: Best Time to Book Flights is 5-6 months in advance; The cheapest month to book flights is January.
Airport to fly into: Dublin Airport
How to get around: Train or Uber, rent a car too
Any other tips? Stay one night in Dublin if possible before and after your trip. That’s enough time. We stayed at the Brooks Hotel. Clean and right off Grafton street so great for walking around and seeing the Dublin sights. Check on price for business class. Some rates may surprise you and be somewhat affordable. It’s worth checking.

“What’s” with the “Trip Sisters”

What’s in Your Suitcase?
TikiTunes Wireless Speaker by Limitless Innovations
$39.99 at www.limitlessinnovations.com
This 6.5” x 4”, rechargable, battery-operated wireless speaker is perfect for your upcoming spring and summer outdoor parties! Not only does its dual sync capabilities allow you to pair multiple speakers, but it can also connect with bluetooth from a maximum distance of 30 feet. It even lights up, giving your party or camping trip a natural glow, just like a flame!

What’s on your phone?
Highest Customer-Rated Travel Apps (J.D. Power Inaugural U.S. Travel App Satisfaction Study)
JetBlue ranks highest in overall customer satisfaction among airline apps, followed by Southwest and Alaska Airlines.
World of Hyatt ranks highest in overall customer satisfaction among hotel apps, followed by IHG and Hilton Honors.
Orbitz ranks highest in overall customer satisfaction among Online Travel Agency apps, followed by Priceline and Expedia.
National ranks highest in overall customer satisfaction among rental car apps, followed by Enterprise Car Rental and Hertz.

What’s the tip?
Softshell vs. Hardshell luggage
Softshell (Pros):
More durable for longer periods of time
More flexibility – can fit more into compact spaces
More accessible with more pockets
Softshell (Cons):
Not water resistant – absorbs water and could cause bad odor
Harder to maneuver than hard shell, usually only having two wheels
Limited amount of options for suitcase colors
Hardshell (Pros):
Water resistant, no bad smells
More likely to protect items in the suitcase from liquids
More easy to maneuver, since most come with four wheels
Easier to find at baggage claim since you can pick a bright color or pattern
Hardshell (Cons):
Hard edges can make it difficult to fit in the overhead storage or at your feet on the flight
Not as flexible, making it difficult to pack as much or bring back souvenirs.
Items inside not as easily accessible

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State Lawmakers Weighing In On Trump Tax Returns

State Lawmakers Weighing In On Trump Tax Returns
By Nick Gale, WLS-AM 890 News
(SPRINGFIELD, Ill.) — Democratic members of the Illinois State Senate are weighing in on whether or not a presidential candidate should be required to disclose their tax returns.
A bill passed in the State Senate and sponsored by Chicago Democrat Tony Munoz would require presidential candidates to release their income tax returns if they want to appear on the ballot in Illinois.
“If you want to run for vice president, president of the United States, hey, what’s wrong with providing your tax returns for the past five years? If you’ve got nothing to hide, you shouldn’t worry about anything. That’s how I see it,” Munoz said.
Critics question if the move is even constitutional and say it’s a blatant attack on President Trump. The bill now heads to the State House for consideration.
Copyright 2019 WLS-AM News​
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GOP: Teacher Pay Hike = Property Tax Hike

By Nick Gale, WLS-AM 890 News
(SPRINGFIELD, Ill.) — Lawmakers down in Springfield are again trying to raise the minimum pay for teachers.
The House has passed a bill that would gradually increase the base teacher salary over the next five years to $40,000. The Downstate democratic lawmaker pushing the bill says the average starting salary is $39,000 with some making more and some less. According to the Illinois State Board of Education, average teacher pay in the state is around $64,500.
But State Rep. Katie Stuart, also a Downstate Democrat, says the increase will help address the state’s teacher shortage.
“Voting in favor of this is a message  to our teachers and to our future teachers that we are trying to grow in our state, that we respect the hard work that they do and that we understand the difficulties that they face and we want them to stay and teach in Illinois,” Stuart said.
The bill, which passed along party lines and still must travel through the Senate, does not provide additional funding for districts to make the increases to payroll. Republicans say it ultimately will lead to a hike in local property taxes, hurting middle class families.
A similar bill was passed last year but was vetoed by then-Gov. Bruce Rauner.
Copyright 2019 WLS-AM News
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Beware Tax Day Scams

By Nick Gale, WLS-AM 890 News
(CHICAGO) — With tax filing day right around the corner – the Better Business Bureau is warning of a new round of e-mail phishing scams.
A new sophisticated tax phishing scam has been spotted by IBM’s X-Force. In emails, the scam deploys a banking Trojan to steal banking credentials and misdirect victims into visiting malicious websites. These malware campaigns send out phishing emails that appear to be coming from accounting, tax and payroll services. Spoofed companies include popular payroll providers Paychex and ADP.
Steve Bernas, president of the BBB serving Chicago – says it’s also prime time for robo calls especially imposters claiming to be from the IRS, Social Security or the Treasury Department. He says the IRS will never call you without first sending a correspondence by traditional mail..
In 2018 BBB Scam Tracker received 3,400 tax-related scam reports with the median loss reported of $950. Consumers reported the number one means of contact for these scams was via phone.
Part of the problem is technology, computerized auto-dialing allows for the billions of robocalls to be made each month and spoofing allows them to more easily look like the actual government agency is phoning you on your Caller ID.
For calls– Hang up. The IRS does not contact taxpayers by phone to demand payment. And would never ask that it be sent via wire transfer or pre-paid debit card.
For emails– Delete it. Like calls, the IRS will not send an email. All contact is via the U.S. Postal Service.
If you know or suspect you may be the victim of tax ID theft but haven’t received a letter, call the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit on 800-908-4490.
For more information on BBB Scam Tips visit: BBB.org/TaxScams.
Copyright 2019 WLS-AM News
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Disappointing voter turnout projected for city elections.

City elections are tomorrow and Bill Cameron says the projected turnout is about what it was in round one February 26th.
Once again only about one-third of registered voters are expected to turnout, according to election board chairwoman Marisel Hernandez.
“Based on the voting by mail and early voting turnout, we think we will be close to or at 35%.”
There’s a 65-65 factor operating here. In round one, 65% of registered voters failed to turnout and 65% who did voted for someone else who didn’t make the runoff. So the heavy lifting for Lightfoot and Preckwinkle is to try to persuade the 65% who didn’t vote them in round one, to turnout and vote for them in the runoff.

 

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