Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Unclaimed Luggage: Treasure Shopping in Alabama

Have you ever wondered what happens to luggage that doesn't quite make it back to its owners?  Unclaimed Baggage Center in Scottsboro, Alabama is a treasure trove of the sublime as well as the ridiculous.  If you go on their site, under press, you'll find the stuff that dreams (and nightmares) are made of.... that others have left behind, or lost.  I'm thinking of heading to Alabama after my upcoming trip to Atlanta.  I could use a couple of ballgowns.  I'll just leave the food finds alone.  Ugghh.

From Russia with Love: A Wedding Moscow-style

I didn't make it to Moscow on my trip to Russia last month, but I hope to soon.  They say that Saint Petersburg (where I went) is the cultural capital of Russia, but this wedding video from Moscow may trigger other thoughts.  Enjoy, and do watch all the way through.

Monday, June 25, 2012

New TSA Regulations? Add Lots of Time at Airport

Yep, those are my feet at the very front on the couch

My check-in today at JFK had a few surprises in store for me. First, the boarding pass that I had printed out in advance (to save time) for my ridiculously early flight was a total fail: it didn't print out my full name. Only after standing in the TSA queue for 40 minutes was that glitch discovered, and I was banished to a kiosk to reprint my boarding pass. Line up for queue number two. So much for saving time.

Then, after gliding through the security area (I'm a pro at minimizing carry-ons and not having liquids or questionable items that might slow down the process), a bell went off. Something I'd not heard before: I'd been randomly selected to have my hands swiped with white discs of some sort to check for explosives. By a male. Does this signal the end of male and female patdowns, too?

Fortunately, after this, I still had time to kill. And JetBlue's wonderful terminal 5 has a "sleeping cove" complete with white modular sofas and red pillows. I set my alarm for 15 minutes, stretched out on my back, and grabbed a well-needed snooze.

I definitely could have used more time. My flight is at least 90 minutes delayed due to "weather." Can someone please tell me when the word 'weather' came to refer to only 'bad weather?'

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Family Time in London: The Lanesborough Celebrates the Jubilee and the Olympics in 2012

With the spirit of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee this week and the upcoming 2012 Summer Olympics, I find the energy surrounding London to be quite contagious. I could spend hours getting myself lost in the British Museum (I may have to make a trip just to see the upcoming Shakespeare exhibit in July), hopping across Abbey Road like any inspired Beatles fan would do, or simply strolling the lovely streets while I remind myself to "look left." With this being said, all this fun with a dash of jet lag can make any mom like myself yearn for a royal treatment. Buckingham Palace may be a bit out of reach, but I have finally found the perfect runner-up at The Lanesborough. The five-star St. Regis property overlooks one of my favorite London spots for serenity, Hyde Park, and is located adjacent to the grounds of the palace.

The excitement of this summer in London makes it the time to bring your own princes and princesses to The Lanesborough. From July 13-25 and August 13-September 29, "The Lanesborough Family Package"  invites the whole bunch to indulge in a world of elegance with daily English breakfast with a choice of over 50 teas and pastries (locals and travelers alike rave about the hotel's afternoon tea) before meeting with your London Butler who will be sure to make your trip an unforgettable one. The kids will also get the royal treatment with a children's welcome gift, afternoon treats, and their own junior slippers and robes. The room does have complimentary Internet and a Sony VAIO laptop, but even the most tech-savvy kids will want to slip away for the family pajama night with popcorn, ice cream sundaes, and complimentary movies and games.  Prices start at £630 per night for two rooms for a family of four.  Kids must be under 17.  

Want to notch it up a bit further? The "Royal Family Program" includes all the amenities from the family package but makes the trip even more special with four nights’ accommodation in a two-bedroom Apsley Suite, afternoon tea, tickets to the theatre, and a three-day program showcasing sites such as St. Paul's Cathedral, The London Eye, and Buckingham Palace.  Prices are considerably higher, but, then again, you get what you pay for.  

To book, write to