Traveling Mamas

Inspiring you to explore our world

  • Before 9/11, it used to be convenient to purchase a few bottles of wine at whatever destination we were visiting to bring home. We could carry it through security, assuring delicate handling of this precious cargo, knowing that the investment (no matter how large or small) would be protected until time to enjoy.

    Travel Gear for Wine and Culinary Travel - Bottlewise

    Today, should we decide to purchase wine or other libations during our travels (or bring them with us to our destination), we now have to pack the bottles in our checked luggage – luggage that gets thrown around, stacked, dropped, and rummaged through by the TSA. Sometimes the bottles packed inside get damaged or broken. Nothing is worse that opening your luggage only to find that nice bottle of pinot noir leaked all over the pastel dress you packed to wear for your cousin’s wedding.

    Personally, I’ve become a master at packing wine bottles in checked luggage and have been known to leave a few not-so-favorite clothing items at my destination so there would be more room for extra bottles. I once even managed to bring home nine bottles of French wine in a 22 inch upright bag. Yes, it was heavy, but that Chateau du Marres was so worth the extra effort.

    Fortunately there is an answer to all of our wine packing problems. No longer will I need steal the plastic laundry bag hanging in a hotel room closet to place my wine in and arrange my laundry artfully around the bottles in my suitcase. I can now travel confidently knowing my wine is safe inside of a Bottlewise Bot’lPak, a wine tote made to protect not only the wine bottle, but also your clothing and other accessories inside your luggage from getting ruined, should the unthinkable happen. It is made with a durable padded outer shell. The interior is a thick sealable plastic case which keeps liquid from seeping onto your clothes, just in case.

    Here are some travel tips for packing your wine or culinary item:

    • Place your Bot’lPak near the center of your luggage
    • Use even weight distribution
    • Don’t place anything sharp, like a corkscrew, within your bag to prevent puncturing

    The Bottlewise Bot’lPak is available online at Bottlewise.com and retail for $29.95. Be sure to check out the other wine travel accessories from this company. Readers of TravelingMamas.com can get 15% discount on Bottlewise by using Promo Code: TRVM15

    This product was provided by the company for review purposes.

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  • Please check out our updates at the end of this post.

    Oil or no oil, I'm about to eat these boiled shrimp #oilspill on Twitpic Seafood makes up a large portion of the cuisine along the Gulf Coast. If you haven’t already heard, we’re supporting Gulf Coast communities by spending recreation time at affected beaches and eating Gulf Coast seafood. Sounds like a tough job, right? Well, there’s been a bit of hype in the news media regarding “unsafe seafood” and “contaminated waters”. Yes, there is oil in the gulf. Yes, it is affecting the marine and wildlife who come in contact with it. However, there is a REALLY BIG GULF out there.

    The media hype is scaring all the tourists away and keeping the diners at home. One of the biggest culinary destinations where people have slacked off eating is in New Orleans. Guess where they get their seafood from? Louisiana fisherman. So, when you don’t eat Louisiana seafood, you’re not only hurting the restaurants and fisherman, but you are directly hurting my family.

    “How are we hurting YOU CajunMama?” You might be asking?

    In full disclosure, I’ll answer honestly – Half of our household income is from the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry. Seafood is one of the top industries in this state. Now, my husband does not deal with or work with the food side of things, but the budget for his office comes from this major umbrella, and when there are cuts from an already hurting economy, and then income and taxes stop coming in because people are scared to visit or eat here – it can cause people (such as my husband) to possibly lose their job.

    We’ve covered many places affected by the oil spill lately, and as with all current events and disasters, I’m sure those of you who don’t see this first-hand are quite frankly tired of hearing all about it. I’m tired of hearing about it also, because it’s pretty darn depressing. I’ve been eating Louisiana Seafood this entire time and it’s still fine and it’s still delicious. Here’s a video about food safety in New Orleans put out by the New Orleans Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. They’ve even launched a new site to inform people on what’s really going on – Check out ThisJustinNewOrleans.com.

    I encourage you to eat Louisiana and Gulf Coast seafood anywhere, you don’t have to limit yourself to New Orleans. They aren’t going to serve you toxic food. I mean, let’s get real here. And if you are looking for a weekend getaway and want to help out another destination affected by the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, be sure to join us for Mamas4Mamas in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Alabama on August 20, 2010.

    Update 1: We managed to raise  few hundred dollars for Share our Beach, a non-profit dedicated to protecting the sea turtles who nest along Alabama’s Gulf Coast Beaches.

    Update 2: (January, 22, 2011) I’ve continued to eat Gulf Coast seafood and so has my family. We have not experienced any abnormalities or health issues due to gulf coast seafood consumption. We will continue to support our neighbors and friends here along the Gulf Coast by purchasing Louisiana seafood, when available.

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  • White Chocolate Dessert on Carnival Fantasy Cruise

    We took our first family cruise at the beginning of the summer and it was also my first experience with Carnival Cruise Lines. I’ve enjoyed a romantic cruise with Princess Cruises Crown Princess and a girlfriend getaway cruise on the Norwegian Spirit (the cruise line currently offering Nickelodeon themed cruises). The thing that surprised me most with Carnival was the food. I honestly didn’t expect the cuisine to be as good as it was.

    Each evening our family sat with the MommyMusings family for the early seating. My 14 year old son looked forward to each evening meal so that he could sample the various offerings that he doesn’t get at home. My husband enjoyed a steak – EVERY NIGHT. Little CajunMama had fun sitting next to MommyMusing’s daughter, being entertained by the wait staff, and dancing around the dining room. Me? Well, besides the very good and surprisingly affordably priced wine, I loved all the desserts!

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  • My family just returned from a refreshing vacation in South Florida at the Tropic Seas Resort. One thing I have to say upfront is if you are wanting to plan a family vacation to South Florida, right now is the perfect time to plan it. The beach is not over crowded one bit and there is no oil in sight.

    beach

    As soon as we arrived at the Tropic Seas Resort, we were greeted with the most amazing sunset.

    sunset

    I knew as soon as we seen this sunset that we were going to have a wonderful time. Isn’t it just so inviting? You are treated to this sunset each night. Beautiful!

    The Rooms: We stayed in the luxury one bedroom apartment. It was amazing as once you walked out your door, you were on the sand and the beach. Also, you could just look right out the living room window and right there was the lovely view of the ocean.

    pier

    My husband and I really loved the idea of the bedroom being separate from the living room. We put all the suitcases in the bedroom and just enjoyed the living room as a family with not having to worry about all our “stuff” being around us. It really helped us to relax on the trip and be stress free.

    The one bedroom apartment comes with a dining area along with a big flat screen TV.

    dining

    The kitchen is full equipped with a microwave, coffee pot, stove, refrigerator, dishwasher and full sink to where you do not have to eat out every meal.

    microwave

    kitchen

    The bedroom has two full beds and is equipped with a TV/DVD combo which we loved as the girls would want to watch their TV show at night and hubby and I could watch our own TV show in the living room.

    bedroom

    The bathroom was a full bathroom with extra room. Mostly hotels are really cramped places but that was not the case with the Tropic Seas Resort. Plenty of room to turnaround and also complete with full bath sets daily.

    bathroom

    Another luxury was a full closet available to hang clothes and not just leave them in your suitcase to get wrinkled. We loved this!

    Amenities: The resort has a full size pool with extras for the kids that include floats, sand buckets, shovels and surf boards. My girls were loving this everyday and would wake up first thing and want to go see what they could use in the pool for the day. The pool has several beach chairs situated all around the pool for your comfort and relaxation in the sun.

    beachchairs

    Once you had your fun in the sun at the pool, there was a easy walkway from the pool to the beach. The walkway also had a shower so you could shower off all the sand once you returned from the beach.

    entrytobeach

    Other amenities that you will find useful are:

    • Free wireless internet
    • On-site complimentary parking
    • Guest Barbeque
    • Daily housekeeping
      (except Sundays and major holidays)
    • Guest laundry
    • Fax service
    • Heated pool
    • Beach towels
    • Cable television
    • Complimentary coffee
    • Ice machine
    • Telephones with individual voicemail

    Pros: The resort is a very clean resort and all the staff were very friendly. You are able to just park your car and stay at the resort all day or you can take short stroll down the street and choose from several nice quality restaurants, live entertainment on the square or take the family on the pier.

    Cons: The resort does offer complimentary breakfast, but it only includes danishes and coffee. This is not that big of a con as you are able to cook breakfast in your room but just wanted to mention it in case you like resorts with complimentary breakfast.

    Great for: Families, Honeymooners, Girls Getaway, Couples, Solo Travel

    Website: Tropic Seas Resort

    Full Disclosure: A big thank you to the Tropic Seas Resort for inviting my family to your resort.

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  • I admit that I am a hoarder of travel-size products. My carry-on is in a perpetual state of being unpacked and re-packed. And, since I still haven’t completely learned the art of “packing light,” I’m often trying to stuff way too much into my rolling suitcase. So I have to have travel-size everything, both because of the TSA’s 3-1-1 rule, and because nothing else will fit.

    But really great travel-size products can be hard to find. Take, for example, facial moisturizer. I have dry skin, and I struggle with finding travel-size moisturizer that will keep my skin in good shape on the road. I have been guilty of stalking samples from Sephora and of continually (messily) refilling a small sample container from a cosmetics counter.

    So I was happy to find 3floz.com, a Web site that sells only beauty products that fall under the Transportation Security Administration’s 3-fluid-ounce limit for liquids and gels.

    And these aren’t your run-of-the-mill drugstore brands. Names like Ahava, Go Smile, Johnathon and Tocca are available.

    I found 3floz.com easy to browse for the products I need. You can sort by brand or by the type of product you are looking for.

    I especially love the kits that 3floz.com sells. They are all packed up to grab and go, and they make great gifts. Any frequent traveler would love to add some of these luxury products to their carry-on. (Ahem. Hear that, friends and family?)

    The kits vary from $17 for a Deep Steep Rosemary-Mint sampler that includes bubble bath, body wash, body polish, lotion, butter and a moisture stick to $200 for nine items hand-picked by one of the site’s owners, Alexi, that includes Phillip B. White Truffle shampoo and conditioner, Jonathan Spray Dirt Hairspray and Ahava face products.

    Now 3floz.com has added Little Twig baby products to their travel-size lineup. And we’ve teamed up with the Web site to give away a Little Twig kit to one lucky traveling mama!

    Up for grabs is a Little Twig Travel Basics Bee Calming kit. It includes travel sizes of baby wash, bodymilk and bubble bath, all in a lavender scent. It comes packed with a cute bumble bee bath mitt in a PVC-free travel pouch. (Retail value: $17.50)

    To enter, leave a comment on this post telling us your must-have travel-size product – something you just can’t leave home without.

    Enter by 9 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday, Aug. 3.

    The winning comment will be drawn by the random number generator at Random.org and announced with an update to this post.

    Thanks to 3floz.com for providing the prize for this giveaway.

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