Leave Your Baggage at Home
In This Issue
Upcoming Events
Visit The Getaway Girl Online
Purchase the Books
Happy Holidays or Horrible Hell-idays?
Register for Fabulous Getaway Prizes Today
Girls Getaway to Laguna Beach
Exciting Girls Getaway News!
Blog Poll Results Are In
Submit Your Girls Getaway

Upcoming Events

January 15-18
Girls Getaway to Austin
Since I have never been to the Live Music Capital of the World, I figured it is about time I go and check out all the great things I have heard about this city.  Since it was discovered in 1991 that Austin has more live music venues per capita than any other city, this town now boasts more than 200 live music venues and more than 2,000 musicians.  In addition to the live music and nightlife, we plan to check out the shopping along the 2nd Street District, as well as SoCo.
February 24-26
Girls Getaway to Napa Valley
Another area on my list of places to visit in 2009 is Napa Valley.  I have never been to this area, so I am very excited about our trip in February.  I have seen wine vineyards in France and cannot wait to compare them to some of the finest in the U.S.
February 27 - March 1
MEGA Book Marketing Conference, Los Angeles

Chicken Soup for the Soul co-creator Mark Victor Hansen is hosting another wonderful event in Los Angeles.  For more information, visit https://mvhansen.infusionsoft.com/go/MBook/a746/.
March 20-22
Girls Getaway to Jackson, MS

Since 1982, the Sweet Potato Queen herself, author Jill Conner Browne, has led a group of Sweet Potato Queen-ites in the Jackson, MS St. Paddy's Day Parade.  Their one of a kind outfits come with enhanced chests and butts and wouldn't be complete without their big red-haired wigs.  The Queens ride in style and make men grovel at their feet, as they stand atop their infamous float.  Sounds like too much fun to miss.  Let me know if you want to go too!
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March 27-April 5
Florida Film Festival, Orlando

Cannot make it to Sundance or Cannes?  Join us in Orlando as independent and international films are paired with fine cuisine and wine at the 19th annual Florida Film Festival.  Accredited by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the festival welcomes more than 25,000 guests each year, playing host to more than 100 visiting directors, producers, and award-winning talent.
 FL Film Festival
Join Our Mailing List
Visit The Getaway GirlOnline:
Where To Purchase Books
Barnes & Noble (select stores)
Cat's On Main, Wauchula 
Gift Basket Boutique, Lakeland
Highlands Art League, Sebring
Key West Art Bar, Key West
Peppers of Key West, Key West
Redhead Lounge Boutique, Orlando
Shou'Ture, Winter Park
Urban Think! Bookstore, Orlando


Happy Holidays or Horrible Hell-idays?

The holidays are a particularly stressful time for people, especially women.  Women are charged with shopping, parties, keeping up with the kids, juggling holiday schedules, dealing with traffic and crowds, cooking, entertaining, hosting relatives/visitors, and a myriad of other details to assure the "forced family fun" that the holidays bring comes off without a hitch.
With all of these responsibilities, it is important for women to remember to take care of themselves in order to avoid fatigue and burn out and, most importantly, so they too enjoy the holidays.  With that in mind, the Girls Getaway Guide has compiled the following list of ways in which women can take care of themselves during this stressful time of year.
Pamper Yourself - While your focus is often on others, be sure to take time out for yourself.  Get a massage, a manicure, get your hair done, etc.  Spa time, even if brief, is a great was to re-charge your holiday batteries and ensure some "me time."
Escape Reality - Find a nice, quiet place to escape reality.  Curl up with a book or magazine, take a bubble bath or just drink some herbal tea.  This will help you divert your mind from the holiday madness and focus on something else for a while.

Schedule a Girlfriends Date - One of the best ways to release stress is to talk about it, and no one can relate better to holiday stress than your girlfriends.  Schedule a "date" with them.  Perhaps you meet for lunch or dinner, but make sure you set time aside to commiserate with those who understand you the best.  Laughter will do wonders!

Exercise - It is important to remain physically active.  Exercise will release endorphins into your body and help prevent emotional overload.  Working out can include aerobic activity and your usual exercise routine, but it can also include relaxing workouts such as yoga and Pilates.  Whatever you do, stay active and avoid falling into the sedentary lifestyle that the holidays often seem to catapult us into.

Be Organized and Delegate - Women often feel as though they have to do everything for everyone, especially around the holidays.  You don't.  In fact, it is helpful to delegate tasks to others.  It makes them feel helpful and a part of the holiday festivities.  In order to delegate, one must be organized to evaluate what must be done.  Coordinate a schedule, have a calendar and delegate tasks.  This will reduce your stress and get others involved.
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News From The Getaway Girl™
As many of you, I keep wondering where this year went.  It is so true - time flies when you are having fun!  2008 held so many great memories and experiences.  I thank everyone who has helped make this year fantastic for the Girls Getaway Guide.  
Our final event of the year is the 12 Days 'til Christmas promotion.  Register to win nearly $7,000 in getaway prizes at www.GirlsGetawayGuide.net. Winners will be announced beginning Dec. 8.
As always, if you have ideas, questions or suggestions, email them to info@GirlsGetawayGuide.net.  We have some exciting getaways and events coming up in 2009, so stay tuned!
Register For Fabulous Getaway Prizes Today!
The Girls Getaway Guide is pleased to announce The Getaway Girl's™ second annual "12 Days 'til Christmas" holiday promotion.  In an effort to help all girls beat the holiday madness and Leave Your Baggage at Home™, the Girls Getaway Guide will host a countdown to the big day. 
Women (and men too) everywhere can visit the Girls Getaway Guide online at www.GirlsGetawayGuide.net to sign up for nearly $7,000 in fabulous giveaways, which are sure to provide welcome holiday cheer during this stressful time of year.  Prize details can be found by clicking on the "12 Days 'til Christmas" logo at the Girls Getaway Guide website.
The winners will be selected on each of the 12 business days starting Dec. 8-23, with the Grand Prize selected on Dec. 24.  Each day leading up to Christmas, a terrific Girls Getaway Guide prize will be given away to a randomly-selected entrant.
Thank you to the following businesses for donating prizes:
  • Baccarat/Lalique at Prime Outlets Int'l Orlando (Frivole Necklace; $625 Value)
  • Blue Tree Resort (Resort Stay; $350 Value)
  • Crowne Plaza Key West - La Concha (Resort Stay; $795 Value)
  • Emeril's Tchoup Chop  (Dinner for Two; $200 Value)
  • Gaylord Palms Resort (Four Tickets to ICE!; $100 Value)
  • Hampton Inn & Suites Lake Buena Vista (Resort Stay; $250 Value)
  • Ocean Key Resort & Spa (Resort Stay; $1,500 Value)
  • Omni Orlando Resort at Championsgate (Resort Stay; $658 Value)
  • Orlando Premium Outlets & Marriott Village (Resort Stay & Shopping; $500 Value)
  • Regal Sun Resort (Resort Stay; $350 Value)
  • The Ritz-Carlton, Grande Lakes (Guided Eco-Tour; $200 Value)
  • Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort (Resort Stay; $900 Value)
  • Zou Zou Boutique (Shopping Gift Card; $100 Value)

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 Girls Getaway to Laguna Beach
We arrived at LAX Wednesday afternoon and were looking forward to arriving at the Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel.  After a little bit of traffic, we made our way onto the Pacific Coast Highway.  Unfortunately, it was already dark so we did not have the otherwise scenic drive alongside the ocean.
Upon arriving Wednesday night at the Ritz, we were greeted by Deanne French, Director of Public Relations.  After checking in and getting settled in our rooms, we met Deanne in ENO, the Ritz's wine, cheese and chocolate tasting room.  We had a fabulous time indulging in all the above!  I tried the Lasting Laguna Reds wine flight, which included a sampling of three red wines presented in order of lightest to heaviest.  My favorite was the Ahnfeldt Merlot, which was perfect. 
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Next, we sampled the cheese flight, which included cheeses from across Europe.  I loved the Spanish brie made from goat's milk...delightful.  Shannon was so helpful and informative and an absolute pleasure to have assisting us with our decisions.  She recommended we try a sampling of meats as well, which include roasted chicken, ham and shaved pepperoni, along with olives and flatbread.  I was thinking that I should not have already eaten dinner!  Once again, everything was wonderful and the wine and gal pal chit chat kept flowing.  Soon we were ready for dessert, and Shannon presented an absolutely wonderful chocolate flight to our table.  The "must try" was the caramel sea salt covered in chocolate cocoa...yum!
Not only is the food and wine at ENO amazing, but the atmosphere is as well.  A full floor-to-ceiling glass wine tower is centered in the middle of the room, and the surrounding high-top tables are perfect for socializing in any size group.  In one area, they feature great wine gifts, such as books, glasses and wine-related items. 
Of course everything is wonderful at the Ritz, and we had the most perfect time chatting with Deanne and gaining interesting information from Shannon.  Many thanks to both of them for making our Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel evening spectacular!
The next morning, we woke up to a fabulous view of the Pacific Ocean.  Located about an hour south of Los Angeles, the Ritz Carlton, Laguna Niguel (www.ritzcarlton.com) is an amazing property with every bit of the perfection you expect from the Ritz Carlton brand.  Situated on top of a 150-foot bluff overlooking the Pacific, the grounds and view could not be any more serene and wonderful. 
view from Ritz
On a clear day (which we enjoyed), you can even see Catalina Island.  Guests can enjoy the on-property spa, which features 12 treatment rooms (each one featuring a crystal chandelier and tranquil water amenities).  There is also a salon and (for the die-hard exercise queens) a fitness center complete with gorgeous views of the ocean.  Highlights for us (in addition to ENO) were the Adirondack chairs on the back lawn of the hotel that overlook the ocean, as well as the dining room with a complete view of the ocean via floor to ceiling windows.  Both were perfect for total relaxation and for checking out hundreds of surfers in their wet suits.  The resort also offers wellness classes, such as yoga, pilates and T'ai Chi.  For the adventurous, the resort can also arrange for surf lessons and whale watching excursions during the peak whale migration season. 
As we trekked down to the ocean, we made new friends and enjoyed the scenic flora and fauna of the area.  Despite the cold temperatures, we wanted to make sure our toes hit the water. 
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After running in and out of the tide, we made friends with some surfers to get the full scoop on surfing in Laguna.  "Sean the Surfer" was gracious enough to answer our questions (and even be interviewed on video...stay tuned for the video clip).  As we had our fill of surf and sand, we made our way back to the hotel and convinced ourselves that the hike up the cliff was strenuous enough to be our daily workout.  We sadly packed up, said our goodbyes and headed to the town of Laguna Beach.
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For anyone who has watched MTV's Laguna Beach, you've seen snippets of this quaint seaside community.  Although I've seen the show, I never realized that Laguna is such an artist haven.  Locals say that artists began arriving more than a century ago, as they were inspired by the wonderful weather and picturesque beauty of the area.  Visitors (and celebs) from around the world come to Laguna Beach to enjoy the numerous art galleries, cozy restaurants, and idyllic resort atmosphere. During our time in town, we stopped by the flagship Wyland Gallery (www.wyland.com). 
Wyland is the world's leading marine artist and has been internationally recognized for his marine conservation efforts.  I was aware of Wyland due to his gallery in Key West, and we did not miss the opportunity to check out his flagship gallery.
My girls getaway to Laguna certainly exceeded my expectations.  Many thanks to everyone at the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel for an amazing experience!

Exciting Girls Getaway News! 

Daytime TV Show - I was thrilled to find out that the nationally-syndicated morning show, Daytime, has asked me to appear on their Dec. 4 show.  Daytime is taped in Tampa and currently syndicates to the following markets: Tampa FL, Jacksonville FL, Raleigh NC, Savannah GA, Charleston SC, Columbus GA, Wichita KS, Las Vegas NV, Washington DC, Lexington KY, Panama City Fl, Alexandria LA, Tri-Cities, TN-VA, Columbus OH, Cincinnati OH, Birmingham AL, Providence-New Bedford, Mobile-Pensacola FL, Jackson MS, Augusta GA.  Visit www.DaytimeOnline.tv to find out what time the show airs in your market.
- The Girls Getaway Guide website as one of the Top 12 travel websites for women, according to Girlfriendology.com. What an honor! Girlfriendology is an online community for women based on female friendships.  You can check out the full list at: http://girlfriendology.com/1575/top-ten-womens-travel-sites-2/
GirlfriendCelebrations.com - I am happy to announce that I am a new contributor to the fabulous website www.GirlfriendCelebrations.com. This site is packed full of helpful tips and great stories for celebrating life's special occasions and the everyday joys we get from our girlfriends.  Be sure to visit the site and read my recent post about a girls getaway to Music City USA!
First Wives World - We had a great time in NYC and had a blast chatting with Debbie Nigro from First Wives World. During an interview at the Empire State Building, we talked about the importance of girlfriends to get you through tough times, like divorce. Click on the link below to see the interview.  http://www.firstwivesworld.com/resource/debbie-does-divorce/debbie-nigro/girlfriend-therapy 

first wives world

Media Talk - I had so much fun with Janet Sherer and the entire crew at Media Talk! They are absolutely terrific and wonderful to work with. Be sure to see the Halloween interview we did in front of the Tampa Bay Brewing Company at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvmOJ0DML9s
Tears of Joy - My story has been posted on the Tears of Joy video website.  To view it, visit http://www.tearsofjoystories.com/tears-of-joy-contributed-business.html.  Everyone has a story, so visit the website and share your story!
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Associated Content Review - I was thrilled to find a wonderful review of the Girls Getaway Guide to Key West by Carine Nadel at Associated Content.  Many thanks for the glowing review!  To read the review, visit http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1167704/girls_getaway_guide_to_key_west_by.html?cat=38.
Blog Poll Shows Spa/Relaxing as
Top Girls Getaway Activity
Once again, thank you to everyone who voted during the latest Girls Getaway Blog Poll.  The results are in!  Spa/relax was voted your favorite thing to do on a girls getaway with 47% of the votes, followed by visiting with girlfriends in second with 26% of the votes.  Shopping and visiting cultural/historical attractions were tied for third with 10% of the votes.  Now that we know where you like to go and what do you like to do, where do you like to stay?  Visit my blog http://GirlsGetawayGuide.BlogSpot.com to vote for your favorite girls' getaway accommodations.  The poll will only be open for a few days, so vote now! 
Submit Your Girl Getaway Photos
Many thanks to Brandi Barone of Orlando who submitted this month's Girls Getaway photo of her and Kerri Petit enjoying a helicopter ride over New York City.
helicopter ride
Please send us some of your favorite Girls Getaway photos by emailing them to Info@GirlsGetawayGuide.net with names, location and a description of your getaway. 
Thanks for reading. I hope you have a wonderful holiday season!

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Casey Wohl, Author/The Getaway Girl
Girls Getaway Guide series