Traveling Mamas

Inspiring you to explore our world

  • Recently, as a collective visited Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Alabama to assess the current oil spill situation at this tourist destination. We not only found beautiful beaches begging for visitors, but we also discovered a new favorite luxury resort along the Gulf Coast – Turquoise Place.

    Traveling Mamas at Turquiose Place Orange Beach Alabama Gulf Coast

    Turquiose Place Orange Beach Alabama Gulf Coast

    Turquoise Place offered to host our entire group in one condominium unit. We were housed in an ultra luxury four bedroom condo. The property is owned and managed by Spectrum Resorts and runs the condo facility like a hotel. I arrived first, along with my mother. When I drove up to the towering structure, I felt like Dorothy entering the Emerald City (well, the Turquoise City). The property has covered parking and loads of amenities. Here’s my take on the property and the unit we stayed in – 2101.

    Unit 2101 Living Areas: This four bedroom, 4 1/2 bath condo is an end unit located on the 21st floor. It has two balconies, with one very large wraparound balcony with hot tub, grill, lounge and dining area. It overlooks both the Gulf and the Bay. The kitchen offers plenty of space and gadgets for the gourmet cook, including a restaurant grade refridgerator, two dishwashers, and a curved granit topped bar counter with seating for six. The coffee maker uses cone filters and there is an electric coffee grinder for fresh coffee. The dining area seats six and the living area is a contemporary casual decor with the latest electronics and a sleeper sofa. A wet bar offers wine cooler and ice maker. A wash room in the unit is large and offers the newest appliances in front loading washer/dryers.

    Living Area Turquiose Place Unit 2101

    Unit 2101 Sleeping Areas: The bedrooms are in a split layout with three bedrooms sharing a bay view balcony. Each one has its own full bath and large closet space. The master bedroom includes bed, sitting area, and desk. The master bathroom is larger than the bedroom, with oversized Jacuzzi tub for two (or maybe four) and large walk-in shower. There is a dressing area, double sinks, and the toilet area is Euro-friendly with bidet. The master closet is big enough to pitch a few tents in.

    Master Bathroom Turquiose Place Unit 2101 Orange Beach Alabama Gulf Coast

    Pool and Beach at Turquiose Place Resort Orange Beach Alabama Gulf CoastCommon Areas: This property has workout facilities, three pools (one salt water, one regular, one indoor), a lazy river, steam room, sauna, onsite spa, tiki bar, and of course the beach. There is an outdoor play area for the little ones near the lazy river and a slide at the indoor pool. There are also meeting spaces and there was even a wedding going on during our stay.

    Other Amenities: There was wifi in our condo. Parking is covered and there is 24 hour security at the entrance. The concierge service will have groceries waiting for you in your condo if you give them one week’s notice prior to your visit. There is a beach chair rental service.

    Location: Turquoise Place is located on the eastern side of Orange Beach and Perdido Pass can be seen from the resort. It is close enough to Gulf Shores and area attractions and restaurants, yet far enough away for peace and quiet while listening to the waves crash on the shore.

    Pros: This condo style facility has the conveniences and space of home while being set in a beautiful location. Do a bit of grocery shopping beforehand and you never have to leave unless you really want to.

    Cons: There is no property shuttle and taxi service can be very slow and expensive. While we did have wifi in our unit, only my netbook would connect (the other mamas had connection issues). No onsite restaurant, but I hear that’s in the works, as well as shuttle service.

    Great For: Family vacations, girlfriend getaways, couples trips, multi-family travel, grandcations.

    My Mama Moment: I had two moments. One was sitting on the balcony sipping my favorite coffee and listening to the waves crash. The other was floating in the indoor pool, listening to the music that can only be heard underwater.

    A Mama Moment at Turquiose Place Orange Beach Alabama Gulf Coast

    Special thanks to Spectrum Resorts for hosting our lodging and the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau for inviting us to experience their destination. I’ve personally stayed in many lodging properties along the Gulf Coast and can confidently state that this is one of the most luxurious condo facilities in the Orange Beach area.

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  • This week marks the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. While it’s a time of remembrance, it is also a time that is hard here in Louisiana and the Gulf Coast. I’ve been seeing updates from Facebook friends, commenting about how depressed it makes them feel. Yes, it is depressing to remember the disaster. It’s also a point where we can look back at a time  where helping hands were extended in an extreme time of need.

    Remembering Katrina | Aquarium of the Americas

    I worked during Hurricane Katrina and I have many coworkers and friends who lost their homes and jobs. Many of the communities that were devastated still haven’t been recognized, as most of the media focus always seemed to be on the 9th Ward. Heck, it makes me tear up just writing this post.

    Remembering Katrina | Abandoned Cars at Superdome

    Some really bad things happened during Katrina. People lost more than homes. Many people lost their lives. It was a weird, apocolyptic time around here where people were afraid and angry. They were tired. They were hungry. And they felt helpless.

    I was one of the lucky ones. My home was new and in neighborhood that didn’t flood. Katrina is the time when we found out we were on the same grid as the local electric company’s main office. We were the first people in the state to get electricity after Katrina. And because I work in emergency services, my home became the haven for many of my coworkers during Katrina and Gustav who were in need of a hot meal, a shower, and clean clothes.

    It’s amazing how much better a person can feel both physically and mentally after getting cleaned up. Tide understands this and during disasters they deploy Tide Loads of Hope, a mobile system where citizens, emergency workers, and volunteers can drop off their laundry and pick up clean, fresh clothes during times of need. They’ve been to Galveston, New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Fargo, and Waterloo to assist during hurricanes and floods. Their service in New Orleans lasted almost 60 days and they helped more than 10,000 by washing over 13,000 loads of clothes.

    Tide Loads of Hope mission didn’t end when they left the area. This week, they are sponsoring a free concert in New Orleans featuring Faith Hill, with the Dirty Dozen Brass Band as opening act. A very special blogger, Megan from and StoryBleed, invited to attend this remembrance concert and she may not even be aware of how much it means to me personally, to be included.

    We all know there’s still a ways to go in rebuilding. At, we feel it’s important to show support for companies that give back and to shine a positive spotlight on areas affected by disasters, be they natural or man made. You can show your support of Tide Loads of Hope by visiting the ad below.

    Tide Loads of Hope

    Be sure to follow @tideloadsofhope @velveteenmind @faithhill and @storybleed on Twitter. Follow me, @Cajun_Mama for live updates from the concert (AT &T coverage permitting). This post is part of the StoryBleed blog carnival Hope Remains.

    Disclosure: There are so many things I want to say about what went on and what I experienced, but due to my employment contract, I am unable to write about most things that occur during any disaster.

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  • People travel for different reasons. Many people travel to get away from their problems at home (well, that’s what one of my grandmothers says, the one who never goes anywhere. Ever). Others travel to explore their minds as they explore new cultures and see places many people only dream about. For me, it’s all about the balcony moments.

    Balcony Moment on the Crown Princess for a Romantic Cruise image by Shannon Hurst Lane

    Don’t get me wrong, I do love to get outside of my hotel and see the destinatiosn and experience the attractions, food, and personalities that make them all unique. However, my favorite part of travel, and probably the main reason I travel, is to sit outside in the early morning before most of the world awakens, sip some coffee, and think about life.

    Balcony Moment at Turquiose Place in Orange Beach, Alabama image copyright Shannon Hurst LaneI’ve been on some amazing balconies, in places I could only read about in books when I was growing up. This year, I’m spending my birthday morning on a balcony at Turquoise Place on Alabama’s Gulf Coast to show support for a tourist destination affected by the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. My mom traveled with me, and I’m waiting on some other traveling mamas to join me later in the day. It’s been a crazy year of being 36 and I’m excited that 37 has arrived. I can’t wait to raise funds this evening for sea turtle conservation.

    Balcony Moment sunset at Westin Maui Resort and Spa image by Shannon Hurst Lane

    Balcony Moment Breakfast on the Norwegian Spirit Together for Good Voluntourism Cruise image by Shannon Hurst LaneI’ve been sitting on the balcony reading all the birthday wishes on my Facebook page and feeling very, very loved right now. Here are some photos from my favorite balcony moments from my travels. I have a feeling that as the weekend progresses, I’ll be having a few more balcony moments, this time with friends. What are some of your favorite balcony moments? I’d love to know.

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  • The fashion of Ralph Lauren has always been an inherent part of my life. During high school, I opted to switch from private to public school, just so I could wear something besides a white starched shirt and plaid skirt each day. I didn’t grow up wealthy, but I was raised by my grandmother to always dress nice, no matter where you’re going. I loved reading the fashion magazines in her beauty shop, dreaming of an African safari wearing Ralph Lauren or attend a polo match in the UK while donning Polo by Ralph Lauren.

    Saint Tropez Polo Club practice by Shannon Hurst LaneI spent my summers with the same grandmother and she would take me school shopping for my birthday each August. We’d spend an entire day inside of T.J. Maxx looking through clothing racks to find the outfits I had glimpsed in the magazines. I would find the items, or something similar, and they were always the brands I searched for. I would attend school each day wearing Ralph Lauren or other popular fashion houses and feel confident in my outer appearance.

    Shannon Hurst Lane wine tasting in Moab, Utah wearing Ralph Lauren black label cashmere shawl collar sweaterAs an adult, I continued to invest in a few classic Ralph Lauren items each season (although I no longer have time to search through discount racks). I even named my daughter Lauren. And I must confide, I was so excited to be on Oprah’s Favorite Things in 2005 where each audience member was gifted with a cashmere Ralph Lauren shawl collar sweater in camel. Divine! So when I went to Blogher in New York City this year, I was honored to be invited to a Ralph Lauren private party inside of Polo Ralph Lauren headquarters on Madison Avenue, hosted by

    ThemeParkMom, MommyMusings, and I made our way past the security guard, up the elevator, and into the wood paneled world of Ralph Lauren.  We listened to his son, David, tell the story of how his father’s original designs were inspired by travels he had dreamed of, including those African safaris. I stood there in the back of the well-dressed crowd, shocked, because I had never known the actual story behind the designer. He built a fashion empire from a desire to travel, in my opinion. I stood there daydreaming a bit about how this man’s fashion inspired me and how I did get to experience a European Polo Club and how I’m working towards that African safari.

    Glimpse Inside Ralph Lauren Headquarters image by Matt Schuierer

    ThemeParkMom (in pink) Tweeting Inside Ralph Lauren Headquarters image by Matt Schuierer

    David Lauren sharing stories about his dad, Ralph Lauren and revealing interactive children's book The RL Gang image by Matt Schuierer

    Just when I thought the experience couldn’t get any better, David Lauren revealed a new technology for shopping through a children’s back to school storybook adventure – The RL Gang. It’s an online interactive story where viewers can click on the character’s outfits and purchase the items they like on the RL website. The story is sweet, but for me, hearing Harry Connick Jr’s voice gave me chills, especially when I learned that 15% of the hardcover book’s proceeds for the first month of sales (up to $25,000) will be donated to the New Orleans Habitat Musician’s Village. Knowing that this company is doing something to help a charity in my state of Louisiana endears me to them even more.

    The RL Gang by Ralph Lauren

    Fashion is important in travel, be it bringing our own look to a new place or immersing ourselved in the local culture’s dress. Style and celebrity magazines also inspire a desire to experience a destination through the fashion and photographs. While not all of readers can afford expensive fashion purchases, we do suggest investing in at least one or two classic items each year to add to your wardrobe. Try and find items to mix and match, which helps when traveling with just a carry on. Be sure to check out The RL Gang’s adventure and take note of little Willow’s hats. I think I want one of those in a mama size.

    Special thanks to Ralph Lauren and for the evening’s hospitality and the gift of scented candles and personal copy of The RL Gang.

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  • Checked baggage fees are an expense for travelers that can really add up. When traveling with carry on luggage, space is a premium and so are the amount of liquids one can bring with them on their trip. We’re big fans of, but we also try to find ways to save money while saving the environment, as well.

    Some items that can always be found in my carry on bag are brightly colored reusable TSA friendly liquid containers. I have four in different shades and have labeled them with paint pens. They contain shampoo, conditioner, face cleanser, and body wash. Many of the beauty products I use are not available in travel sizes and while I have no problem using hotel amenities, it usually isn’t a good idea for me to use the hotel shampoo/conditioner combo.

    These little containers are less than one dollar each, come in a variety of colors and shapes, and are eco-friendly because they are reusable. Walmart’s across the US usually have a dedicated travel size are in the Health and Beauty Aids department, near the pharmacy.

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