Tuesday, January 29, 2013

25 Things with Andrea...

Well it is my turn to let y’all know 25 things about me. I came up with 25 things in a flash but actually writing them out for the blog happened much more slowly.  But here goes!

1.  The sound of an airplane makes me drowsy.   Typically I am sleeping prior to the aircraft leaving the runway.

2.  I am a closet Nascar fan! Tony Stewart sends my heart fluttering.   Not only do I watch Nascar on TV, I’ve actually been to Nascar races and they are a BLAST!

3.   I HATE chain letter/emails. Please don’t ever send me one as I will be the person to break the chain.

4.  I am obsessed with flossing my teeth. I have dental floss everywhere – in my kitchen, in my car, in my purse, in my desk – well, you get the point.

5.  I hope my husband isn’t reading this.  If he is, I will deny I wrote this. I am a terrible driver. I pretend I’m a good driver, but I know I am not. I have dented three different sides of my husbands truck. All of these accidents happened in the same parking ramp (although not on the same day - hey - that makes a difference).  And in my defense, the poles in ramp are large and the parking spots very small. ;-)

Here I am with my husband Jon and sons, JT and Parker, soaking up some Mexican sun!

6.  If I may insert a bit of advice... Ladies, be sure to visit only reputable hair salons! A few years ago when I was feeling “broke” and didn’t want to spend a weeks pay on a cut and color, I visited a discount salon. I left the salon with a Leather Tuscadaro haircut and two weeks later my hair starting falling out in clumps! So much fell out I had to use Rogain. Well, if I’m being totally truthful, I actually didn’t want to pay the price for Rogain so I bought Walgain (the Walmart brand). Lesson learned…..pay the money to the professionals. It is so worth it!

7.  My favorite vacation spot is St. John, United States Virgin Islands.  Can't wait to go back in April!

8.  My very first concert was Journey at the St. Paul Civic Center. I was so close to the stage that when Steve Perry was singing in front of us some of his sweat landed on my arm. Don’t stop believin’……

9.  I have sang karaoke once and only once.  Luckily I was with two friends so I didn't have to face the shame alone.  It was such a bad experience that 2 out of the 3 of us have never tried it again!  And that was 20 years ago!  Of course our song choice may have been our demise.  'Crocodile Rock' isn't an easy song to sing!

10.  My most recent celebrity meeting was Flo Rida at the grand opening of the Hard Rock Cancun (fab, fab hotel!). We tossed one back at the bar. We parted with Flo saying “God Bless You”.  Not quite what I expected from the Wild One.

My and my close buddy Flo rockin it at Hard Rock Cancun!

11.  I always try to be on time. I don’t like being late!

12.  I have owned nothing but Nike sneakers since 1979. I am a brand loyalist. Nike is my longest running relationship. Nothing other than Nikes for 34 years. Check out my new Christmas present to myself.

Merry Christmas Self!

13.  I am a full fledged sleep walker. At this point I could entertain you with over 100 pages of stories, but you're just going to have to take my word for it. Or you could ask Theresa about the time we were on a cruise.  She awoke at 3am to me frantically trying to escape a swarm of bees by trying to get out on the balcony (I could've sworn our room was full of them).  I'm still unsure what I was going to do once I got out on the balcony.  Thank God I was too short to reach the lock on the door and she was able to convince me to get back in my bed.

14.  Growing up, my mom was so worried about getting into a car accident, she made me and my sisters ride in the backseat until we got our driving permits. In addition, we were not allowed to talk when she was driving on the highway. She always reminded us of this rule in a very loud, very stern voice. “I’M ON THE HIGHWAY. NO TALKING! NONE!”

15.  I come from an Italian family. I have 2 cousins named Tony.  While this alone is not uncommon for an Italian family, what makes it a little unusual is that we have Tony, and then we have “Baby Tony”. Baby Tony is now a police officer in New York City with a wife and two beautiful daughters.  Yet he is still called Baby Tony by my entire family!  Better yet?  He answers to it!!! Gotta love the Italians!

16.  What makes me mad? Everything. I can go from 0 to 10 in three seconds!

17.  I have watched each and every season of the Real World on MTV since its debut in 1992. If I had to pick a favorite season it would probably be the first Las Vegas season.

18.  I do not have wisdom teeth. I realize lots of folks don't have wisdom teeth.  But, I never had them!  I was born without them. I am hoping the same for my two boys.

19.  At times throughout the work day, someone will throw out a movie quote and the rest of us have to guess the movie.  I'm terrible.  Much to the constant ribbing of my co-workers, I will admit that I have never seen the Sound of Music, Miracle on 34th Street, the Karate Kid and many other “classics”.  (I did finally see Saturday Night Fever about 10 years ago as my parents had forbidden me to see it when it originally came out).

20.  If I wouldn’t gain weight, I would eat pizza and popcorn everyday all day.

21.  I am a true Rock ‘n Roll girl at heart. On my iTunes you will find Van Halen, AC/DC, Aerosmith, Guns ‘n Roses, Kid Rock, ZZ Top.

22.  In 8th grade I wrote my life ambition was to be a Cruise Director. I was a big fan of the 'Love Boat'. Well, I didn’t quite get a job on a cruise ship, but I certainly love being a passenger.

23.  My least favorite holiday is Halloween. I've never liked dressing up. I am not creative, so trying to come up with a costume was always very stressful to me.

24.  I hate winter and cold weather but I love to ski – as long as it is a warm day.

That's me on the slopes with my younger son, Parker

25.  My second job in high school was at Orange Julius. I think I lasted a week. We had to wear the same polyester smock and visor as the person that worked the shift before us, all the while juicing 5 cases of oranges. Yuck!

Well, there it is.  Now you know me a little better than some of my closest friends!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Destination Wedding ~ Mexican Fiesta

Destination weddings are one of our favorite things here at Midwest Travel Service!  The location options...endless.  The resort options...endless.  Ceremony locale....endless.  Theme options...endless.  You get the idea!  I love looking at photos from destination weddings and the different themes people choose.  Some couples go with one theme and carry it throughout their whole celebration from arrival of the guests at the resort, all the way through the reception (those are my favorite).  Others use their theme during the ceremony/reception, and some choose to keep it simple.  The beauty of a destination wedding is the choice is yours!  Most resorts that host destination weddings will work with you doing whatever it takes to make your day exactly what you want it to be.  So, if you're one of those theme crazy brides out there ~ dream away!

One of the most popular destination requests is Mexico.  It's easy to get to,  there are several different Mexico options to choose from (which allows you to pick the city that best suits your style),  it's usually less expensive than most of the Caribbean destinations, and it's fun!  Since we're talking about themes and destination weddings in Mexico I thought I'd share with you some of my favorite items for a Destination Wedding ~ Mexican Fiesta!  How fun would this be?!?

Love these invites that include the guests first favor!

DIY Welcome Bag - You can choose the fabric to match your theme!

When your guests want to see a smooch, they shake their maracas!

Rather than have them use their programs to fan themselves on a hot day ~ how about these adorable fans? Again, customize the color to match your theme!

This is one of my fav Colin Cowie Wedding Themes at Hard Rock Resorts

Adorable and Yummy!


Did I mention I LOVE looking at 'Real Wedding' photos?  I thought so, but here is a gorgeous example of my idea of the perfect Mexican Fiesta themed Wedding!

Adorable ~ right down to the last detail!

Interested in a Destination Wedding?  We'd love to chat with you about the endless possibilities for making your special day your dream come true!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


I totally believe in 'The Secret'.  Have you heard of it?  The basic concept is the things you think become a reality.  It's not quite that simple but you get the just.  It's FREEZING out this week so I thought I would share with you some of our personal photos from our travels to 'places warm'.  If you can't get away this week, or maybe even this winter, choose one of the following visions and BELIEVE!  Before you know it you will be working with one of our 'Escape Artists' making that vision a reality!!

To find out where each particular photo was taken, visit our facebook albums or contact one of our 'Escape Artists'.   Now, what have you got to lose?  Trust me ~ it works!  Believe!

Until next time...

Monday, January 21, 2013

Travel Forecast 2013

As you know if you've studied my 25 things post, I am a magazine junkie!  This time of year especially, it's a bit frustrating because it's our crazy busy season and I just don't have the time to read them.  Yet, they continue to arrive in the mail and my pile grows larger.  It makes me a bit crazy because I know the pile is full of great info and I'm missing out.  So I scan the covers to see if there is anything pressing that needs my immediate attention.

One thing that caught my eye in the January issue of Travel and Leisure magazine was their annual Travel Forecast.  Each year T and L magazine comes out with the travel trends they feel will have the most impact on our travels in the upcoming year.  Here are a few things from their list.

Air Travel
~ We will cheat on our airline ~
Airfares are predicted to rise as much as four percent this year.  Reduced schedules result in less seats.  Fuller planes make it more difficult to redeem award travel.  As miles become more difficult to redeem, we'll find ourselves shopping around.
~Airports will be more fun ~
I think most would agree that the airport experience sure isn't what it used to be!  It has now become the least favorite aspect of travel and because of this, airports are expanding and looking to become more entertaining.  San Diego will complete $1billion in improvements, adding a public New Media Lounge.  LAX (Los Angeles) is adding a 150,000 square foot shopping and dining hall.  Las Vegas opened a 2 million square foot terminal in June with free Wi-Fi and 300 slot machines.  Hopefully other airports are not far behind and this trend will make the start of our vacation experience enjoyable again.

Mobile Apps ~ Paper tickets will become passé ~
Actually they have been pretty much non-existent for several years, but with phone apps like the Apple's iOS6 Passbook app, we will no longer need to print our electronic documents to bring them with us.  Passbook gives us easy access to our electronic documents (such as tickets and boarding passes), but it also manages all aspects of your trip in one place.  It's already been embraced by several of the big carriers and I bet the others are not far behind!

Security ~ Airports will get (even) more clubby ~
Want to avoid long lines?  Better get into one of these clubs:
  • Global Entry - Allows travelers who have submitted to background checks to simply swipe their passports at a kiosk and speed through customs.
  • PreCheck - Eliminates the need to remove shoes, laptops and liquids at nearly three dozen airports.  
  • Clear - For an annual fee of $179, members get to jump to the front of the security lines in select cities.
Tech ~ You will stay connected at 35,000 feet ~
In-flight Wi-Fi by Gogo is available on 1,500 planes flown by 9 North American carriers.  Jet Blue is launching free service early this year - a welcome change from up to $40 per flight some of the other carriers charge.

Cruising ~ We will sail through uncharted waters ~
Traditionally, cruise lines have focused on the Western Hemisphere.  That's changing.  We will have more opportunities to sail itineraries in the Far East.  Wonderful places such as Burma, Vietnam, Cambodia and Malaysian Island to name a few.

Tours ~ Luxury tours will become more affordable ~
Luxury tour operators are coming out with more casual trips that appeal to a broader range of travelers.

That's one of my favorite things about this industry.  It's always changing.  In my opinion, looks like the changes coming in 2013, are definitely changes for the better!

Until next time...

Friday, January 18, 2013

Funky Friday ~ How some of the MTS Family spent the Holidays!

T.G.I.F.!!!  I don't mind that so much as I do 'Happy Friday'!  For some reason, my 'Happy Friday' isn't so happy when someone says that to me.  It then turns into 'Crabby Friday'.  Now that I've given you one of my deep, dark secrets, let's move on before I really digress...

It's been so crazy busy here and last week as you know I was enjoying Ixtapa so I didn't have the opportunity to share some of our family photos with all of you!  I sent an email out to our 'Escape Artists' asking them to share some of their Holiday photos with us.  I think it's so fun to see their personalities and the faces of their families who wait patiently, especially this time of the year, until Mommy finishes her tasks for the day!  A few of them are a bit blurry - the downside of cell photos - but I think their smiles still show through!  Enjoy!!


Hope you enjoyed that little 'peek' into our lives!  Have a great weekend!

Until next time...

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

W.A.T.W. - Celebrity Winter Escapes!

I'm not sure about you guys but I am SO ready for a break from the cold (especially after seeing Theresa's recent pics from Ixtapa)! Did anyone see the forecast for next week? If not, here's the bad news for those of us in the Twin Cities:

Look at the temps for Monday! The high is 3-below, not even taking into account the wind chill. For those of you that can manage to get away, submit a quick travel request form and we can help you find some great last-minute deals so you can scoot out of here! I unfortunately cannot escape, so admiring celebrity getaways will have to do. Here are some snapshots of recent celebrity vacations I came across for the month of December.

Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan
Babymooned at the Hotel Guanahani in St. Bart's 

Lea Michele and Cory Monteith
Vacationed at the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel on the Big Island

Alexander Ludwig (The Hunger Games) and Nicole Pedra
On the beach in Maui - Resort is unknown

Jessica Simpson and Eric Johnson
Also vacationed in Hawaii (on Oahu) but I don't have the specific location. Sorry!

Jennifer Aniston + Justin Theroux, John Krasinski + Emily Blunt & Jimmy Kimmel + Molly McNeary
Cabo San Lucas - Private rental called Villa Esperanza

*This took me FOREVER to find! Maybe if I ever take a break from the travel industry I could become a private investigator... What do you think?*

Demi Moore on a girl's trip
Stayed at the eco-chic Amansala Resort in Tulum, Mexico

Ellen DeGeneres and Portia De Rossi
Strolling on St. Jean's Beach in St. Bart's
I don't for sure where they stayed but I know they had lunch at the Eden Rock Hotel

Until next time, stay warm!