Girls that brunch

Just about every month a few of my girlfriends and I try to get together for brunch.
Our January brunch spot was the at Granite City in Troy MichiganIMG_4033IMG_3835

It was the best brunch that we have had in our nearly one year of checking out different spots around Metro Detroit.

It was a buffet style set-up which I am not typically a fan, however it worked.

We started with drinks (obvi) and I opted for the Infinite Mimosa at $9.99 how could I go wrong. IMG_5637The server brought a full bottle of Wycliff Brut and three small carafes of different juices.

The brunch is started with a plate of cinnamon rolls delivered by the waitress then you are free to help yourself to the buffet options. IMG_3481They had a great selection of additional pastries, fruit, chilled shrimp,


You pick your doughnut, icing and toppings.IMG_6452

It was magnificent! All in all a great value and totally delicious. I cannot wait until we can make it back here!

a spooky cruise…..Halloween on the High Seas – Part 2

well what else can I write? If you have been on a Disney Cruise then you already know about all the awesomeness. If you have not been on a Disney Cruise save all your money and go. You’ll be hooked. From the ship to the entertainment, special services and activities to the food. It is all well done. With just the right amount of Disney for everyone. It is not over the top Disney unless you want it to be. If you are not a huge Disney nerd like some of us you can retreat to the adults areas and go to the pub or bingo. Haha. Here are some of the rest of the highlights of our 3 night cruise. Just a quick one but great!  

Cute pumpkin tree and window decals

Tequila and Margarita tastingIMG_4240

It’s not breakfast without Mickey Waffles 


Here is a little video spin around the Concierge deck. Seriously there were no people here.


Cute little elephant towel animal 🙂IMG_4262

Cant’t beat free room service

Cheers for Mickey Bars!


a spooky cruise……Halloween on the High Seas – Part 1

Well it was that time of year again, girls cruise! This year our cruise was booked during the Halloween on the High Seas time frame.
Since we love to get every last minute of vacation time in, we were off to Florida Friday right after work. Plus we are paranoid and like to be in town prior to our embarkation day.
Since I was coming from work the ladies met me at the airport. We promptly ordered a bottle of prosecco. We always start our vacation off on the right foot. Cheers.
We have stayed at several different area hotels in Cocoa Beach prior to cruising. This trip we mixed it up and decided to give the Radisson Resort at the Port a try. They offered large over-sized rooms and suites at very reasonable rates, the option to book a shuttle from MCO for a fee, the pool area was appealing, and they had a shuttle to the cruise terminal.
We were initially skeptical of the pool area because our hotel the previous year had lovely photos online and it was practically in a parking garage and zero sun. So we had a low bar of what to expect.
Hotel check in was smooth, it was a bit of a maze to find our room, but we were very happy with our double queen bed suite. It was well appointed with two queen beds, over-sized vanity outside of the separate shower/bathroom. There are also french doors with curtains that separate the sleeping area from the living room, which is equipped with a sleeper sofa, accent chair, dinette set, and wet bar that had a small fridge and coffee pot. I think this set up would be great for families. It certainly worked well for us. The pictures on the the hotel website are very accurate.
The next morning we awoke to a beautiful view of palm trees and were ready to grab breakfast and hit the pool.
Since we did not have a car we ate breakfast at the hotel restaurant. Everyone was happy with their breakfast. We just ordered ala carte from the menu. Very standard breakfast options. The pool area was much better than we expected. It was very pretty and the layout was nice. Plenty of chairs available and we were able to move to a nice shaded spot once we needed a break from the sun. The one pain was that the bar did not seem to be manned, we had to track someone down every time we needed a drink. It could have been a fluke, who knows. We took an Uber to Grills Seafood Deck & Tiki Bar for a dinner. It was 1.5 miles from our hotel. We sat outside by the marina. If you get lucky you can see some of the cruise ships come and go. That is pretty cool. The food was pretty good. We had fish tacos and salads.
The next morning we headed out to the cruise terminal. The hotel shuttle to the port was very easy, the night before you schedule your time, check in at the front desk in the morning and we waited all of 5 minutes to be called for our ride. It cost us $6 per person for our one-way ride.
Once at the cruise terminal we had our luggage picked up and went to the security line. I think the security line opens at 10:30 or 11:00 am. I will need to check this next time. This was our longest wait of the trip. Once the line opened it moved pretty swiftly. We were cruising Concierge this trip (when it’s just the ladies we splurge) and there was no wait to get our boarding docs turned in and our key to the world cards and lanyards. After check-in we were moved to the Concierge Lounge to wait for the ship to start boarding. Around 11:30 am the Concierge team made their way from the gangway to inform us of some special events and ask us if we had any questions. A few minutes later we were escorted to board. Since we have cruised several times we always bypass the welcome aboard photos and continue to the ship. We were then escorted to a private Concierge Luncheon in the Royal Table. This is a new offering to the Concierge guests. It was a very nice addition to the services for Concierge. The lunch was amazing, we had the Lobster Salad, Sparkling Wine, and Welcome Aboard Sundaes. During lunch another member of the Concierge team stopped by and asked if we had any questions and then escorted us on direct service elevators to the Concierge Lounge and our room to drop our luggage. The direct elevators are also a nice touch.
After we unpacked and were settled we headed to the Concierge lounge to grab a drink and a treat and to finalize our activities. We had Dinner at Palo one night and a Tequila & Margarita tasting scheduled as well. Here are some pictures and video highlights of the first couple days of our trip. The video is from Concierge Sun Deck showing how empty it is.  We can never believe that people do not take advantage of this.
We always have a great time, and yes we think Concierge is a splurge but we love it, so to us it is worth it. The ship was decorated beautifully. We have traveled during Easter and Christmas as well and it is always a highlight to see it all decked out.
Stay tuned for part 2
– Hailey

a beautifully strange escape

Hail and Shel Take New Hampshire

A few times a year my partner in crime and I get into some shenanigans, the silly high-spirited kind nothing that requires bail money…..yet…..This getaway was no different.

Here is a little back story about how we ended up in New Hampshire… November……in a snow storm.

Me being the resident ghost/spirit believer among the majority of my friends watched a few TV shows like Ghost Hunters and Kindred Spirits.

Amy Bruni one of the co-stars of Kindred Spirits founded Strange Escapes which I describe to my friends as a travel company that hosts events at places that have a history of unexplained and possible paranormal activity.

In 2017 one of the Strange Escapes lined up with my Calendar and another event I was interested in located on Mackinac Island. So I call up Shel, well lets be serious, I probably sent her some stupid meme that insinuated that she needed to pack her bags for a trip, and like that we were booked on our first Strange Escape trip. Fast Forward a year later when the 2018 Strange Escapes Calendar was released we knew we had to book another event. Seriously you’ll get hooked! After reviewing the cool events and the locations we settled on the New Hampshire Event at the Mount Washington Resort in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire. The resort hotel has this mysteriously glamorous look. I had to go there.

Except getting there was not as easy as just an airplane and taxi ride. The resort is about two hours from the nearest airport. This required logistics and a road trip. Yes, ROAD TRIP! Shel and I are especially good at those. So I get on the GOOGLE and search the most ridiculous road side attractions from Manchester Regional Airport to Bretton Woods. I found some winners…..and well…some losers. Well they were only losers because they were closed. It seemed most everyone, but us got the memo that a storm was coming. More on that later. I mean how bad could it be, I’m from Michigan and Shel lived in the ‘Burg. So we’ve seen snow, real snow.

So we meet up at the airport and start our journey to Manchester. Very exciting for me because I have never been to New Hampshire. So we land, collect our baggage and head to get the rental car. The car rental attendant asked if I wanted the “extra” insurance because a storm is coming. I look inquisitively at Shel and politely tell the attendant that I am from Michigan and I think we’ll be fine. She says “Okay” looking like I am some sort of crazy.

We head out on our road trip North through the mountains. First stop – The most amazing turnpike rest area home to the famous New Hampshire Liquor & Wine Outlet. Once we load up on liquor and grilled cheeses we get back on the road. (Relax, I am driving, the liquor was still in the bottles to be consumed later).


Second stop – Fadden’s General Store, in the quaint town of Woodstock. Where it was apparent by a 10 year old boy that we were not from around there. As he left the general store with a gallon of milk in tow, he stated “Be Careful, don’t stay out too late, a storms a coming”. We immediately turn to each other and say some sort of swearing gibberish, then decide we should make each of the remaining stops on our list as swift as possible. Which proved to be quite easy if you remember my note above? Since everyone but us received the memo about the storm – most places closed up early. Haha. Fortunately for us Chutters was still open. We visited the location in Littleton, it has the Guinness Book of World Record’s Longest Candy Counter! Now with the trunk full of candy and booze we can now retreat to our hotel. If by chance we get snowed in we will not go thirsty or starve.


The Resort… It’s hard to put into words how grand it is on approach. The lighting was beautiful and it was stunning. The pictures do not do it justice at all.

After we get checked in we go exploring, however this time inside in the comfort of the warm hotel with wine. We flew in a day prior to the start of the event for a few reasons, flights were less expensive, I had a couple extra vacation days to burn and there was a small mention of the possibility of snow on the Strange Escapes event information. So I guess we did get the memo…..

We had dinner at Stickney’s Steak & Chop Pub, the food was really good. We had the shrimp cocktail, lobster mac & cheese and something else. No photos, no notes and lots of wine. I guess I need a journal. We then made our way to the Cave Bar which used to be a speakeasy during prohibition and we were told served whiskey in a tea cup. After our nightcap we called it a night.

The next morning looking out upon the snow that had fallen and continued to fall, we headed down to the quick service cafe in the basement and grabbed a coffee and breakfast. Luckily we did travel in the day before because we continued to hear accounts of people that were not going to make it in for the weekend at all or not until the following night. Since our event check-in did not start until the afternoon so we spent the morning at a lovely table in the lobby by the fireplace scrapbooking. We were also able to fit in the guided hotel historical tour before we had to get ready for the evening event, The Masquerade Ball. This was by far one of the coolest parties I have ever been to. From the entertainment to everyone’s costumes/outfits; top notch. Luckily they schedule the morning lectures on the later side of the morning!

IMG_4942 IMG_5050 IMG_5065

Saturday started with lectures and presentations from different paranormal experts and other closely connected individuals. I always find them extremely fascinating. I do not want to detail too much on the lectures, if you are at all interested in spirits or paranormal I highly recommend attending any of their events. We purchased additional tickets for lunch and dinner. We found the food, service and convenience of this to be great. Saturday evening the event attendees are divided into groups to investigate the resort, the famous Princess room, the stables, and other out buildings. We were in the VIP group so we also were able to have an extra investigation with Amy & Adam. We had some really cool experiences. Some very unexplainable or I guess paranormal….

On Sunday morning we headed to the morning lectures, recounted with the other groups some of the fascinating things that occurred during the investigations and had a wonderful buffet lunch. After lunch we ducked out early for our drive back to the airport.

The weekend was a blast. The Strange Escapes Team was great and makes everyone feel welcome. They are all approachable and we have had great conversations with all of the celebrities and guest. Looking forward to what they have in store for 2019!

Tips and Recco’s

  1. Fadden’s General Store – if at all in the area for whatever reason make a stop there. Cool history and the best pure Maple Syrup.
  2. Chutters – Worlds Longest Candy counter….enough said
  3. The Mount Washington Resort – Simply Stunning, historical beauty and charm. The entire staff that we encountered was great!
  4. Fly to Manchester – The drive was not bad at all! Especially if you make some key stops along the way
  5. Sad we missed Polly’s Pancakes. They were closed by the time we made it up that way and we got snowed in and could not make it the following morning, adding this to the next time list.
  6. Strange Escapes – If you are at all interested in this stuff, and the opportunity arises, go to one of their events!

Make sure to also check out Shel’s IG @mdonofrio1, she is much better at documenting our travels. I am pretty sure most of these pictures are her’s.

Kids are away so we are off to play!

Since this was our off year with the gang for Thanksgiving we decided last minute to jet away for the weekend. Trying to decide where we could use some hotel points, snag cheap tickets, and go someplace we had not been together. LOVE the GOOGLE Flights search (I inserted the link below) It makes it super easy to look and see what options are out there for any dates and destinations. So we settled in on Nashville. I was super excited because I love Nashville and Pat had never been. I had been trying to drag him there for years and it finally worked.
We ended up booking the Hyatt Place Downtown Nashville on points and it was just blocks from the famed Broadway drag.
So a week later we were off…..

Continue reading Kids are away so we are off to play!