It’s a New Year, let your confidence shine!

By Renée Macisco, Southport Neighbors, January 2019

The holidays have passed, it’s 2019, and our New Year’s resolutions are front and center. What are your goals for the new year? I am sure many of you have a list of things you hope to accomplish in 2019.

Perhaps it’s starting a fitness program, enrolling in a class, or starting a new business. Before you start, take a minute and ask yourself these two questions, “Why am I doing this, and what is my ultimate goal?”

Many of us tend to have a “greatest hits” album on repeat: diet and exercise, read more, spend less time on social media. Resolving to make sweeping external changes is a daunting task, and the outward, public accountability can intimidate us into giving up before we even get started. The idea is not to abandon ship, but to change your perspective. Sure, we all like to hear ‘Have you lost weight?’ or ‘You look great!’, but those are fleeting insta-gratifications.

Superficialities are one thing, but they will never offer you the enduring satisfaction and personal growth of introspection. The greatest changes come from within! One of the most important things a person can work on is self-confidence. Is that on your list? The aforementioned are important, don’t get me wrong, but why not add “self-care/improve self-confidence” to the list? Did you know that self-confidence is linked to your happiness and almost every aspect of your life?


It’s true. Think about it.

The more confident you become, the less you tend to worry about whether you can or cannot do something. Think back to when you were in school. Whether it is setting a school record, failing a test, or closing a deal for your company, confidence is born through perseverance, failure and success.

Failure and success allow us to grow, and with each you will find that you have more confidence, drive and passion, to pursue other things in life. Things that you might not have otherwise tried. The more you fail, the more you actually succeed and build your confidence along the way.

It’s not just kids that struggle with self-confidence, adults do too. As adults, we’re expected to have it all figured out and not to care anymore. Truth is, many adults didn’t figure it out as kids, and still struggle. Selfconfidence is not something that happens overnight, but rather over a lifetime spent navigating those same successes and failures.

Keep that in mind as you consider your 2019 goals. Push yourself, try new things. By no means do I have this all figured out. I have learned that self-confidence and believing in one’s self leads us down paths we may have never otherwise ventured.

“It is confidence in our bodies, minds, and spirits that allows us to keep looking for new adventures.” – Oprah Winfrey

The Marks Family (Melanie was 18th Style Inspirational Woman, May 2017
Written by Me 🙂

Refuel Your Soul

Life is crazy, don’t you think? We run around all week trying to get ‘it’ all done.

How often do we pause and do things that make us happy?

We’re focused on creating a comfortable life for our families and our futures, but what about today?

Planning for the future is important, don’t get me wrong, I am the queen of planning!

But what about making our hearts and minds happy?

Parents

When I was a new mom figuring things out, I pushed ‘me’ to the side a little.  My kids were and are still my priority, however, I’ve tweaked things a bit.

Over the years I have learned that I need to also put myself first. If I don’t take care of my mind, body and soul, how can I take care of my family?

Whether it’s hitting the gym, meeting friends for dinner or sitting in front my computer writing this post to help inspire other moms and parents, we need to pause.

“Sunday is the perfect day to refuel your soul and to be grateful for each and every one of your blessings.”

Enter Sunday

A perfect day to relax. Spend the day with your kids and have a great time.  Later in the day or that evening, meet friends for dinner or call a friend you have not talked to in a while.

Read.

Write in a journal.

I know it’s difficult to find 10 minutes alone when you have kids, especially younger kiddos.

Perhaps you need to wake up 10 minutes early OR sneak in to your bedroom after the kids are asleep and savour the silence.

In life we have to make ourselves a priority. I know it’s not easy. I really do.

All I ask of you, is to try.

Have a great week!

XO

Loving London

My first visit to London was a last-minute trip. I was about to turn 30 and my lifelong goal of traveling abroad before this milestone birthday was quickly evaporating. On a Thanksgiving bargain — roundtrip airfare for only $230! — I quickly jumped at the chance to fly to Heathrow and to uncover things to do in London with friends.

We did all things touristy during the trip. We stayed in the posh neighborhood of Kensington at an intimate hotel on Crowell Road called the Adelphi. Our prerequisites: rooms with private baths, a location close to the Tube (in this case Gloucester Road) and an in-house pub for late hours. The Adelphi Hotel was just fine for the deal we were getting, but the room was so small that in order to get to my side of the bed, I had to rub along the wall — obviously not the only one to do so as the wallpaper had been pretty much rubbed off at butt level.

ARCHIVE: Routemaster bus on Westminster Bridge with Big Ben, 1990s, London, England, UK. *Archive image available on request*

We spent our first jet-lagged day getting acquainted with the city by riding a double-decker bus. I highly recommend this activity for a first-time visitors, as you can see all the sites, learn your way around and not move a muscle.

We visited Westminster Abbey, the Cabinet War Rooms, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Kensington and Buckingham Palace, and the Tower of London. We watched the changing of the guard and the horse parade. We enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner at a lovely Indian restaurant in Kensington, partook of many types of ale in local pubs and walked in the rain for a Jack the Ripper nighttime tour (very frightening neighborhoods still!).

Hampton Court Palace, Richmond

On a break from my friends who decided to go shopping, I headed outside of the city to visit Hampton Court, a palace of King Henry VIII designed by Christopher Wren (who also designed St. Paul’s, among other London landmarks). I enjoyed a typical Sunday brunch in a local pub, and then rode the Tube to the town of Wimbledon. As a tennis junkie, I walked through the quaint streets to find the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club and then spent an hour in the gift shop and adjoining museum. Although all the places we visited could be named as a top destination on my list, the day outside the city was what clinched my deep like for London.

Minding the Gap, Again

In a completely unparalleled universe, my second flight to London began what my friend and I nicknamed “the Good Karma Tour.” As I was boarding the plane, the ticket agent called our names. The flight was overbooked and passengers were being told they would have to wait until the next day. We thought we were doomed. Instead, we were told they had to rearrange our seats and that we had been moved closer to the front.

When we board, I literally stopped in my tracks (causing my friend to slam into me) as I realized “closer to the front” meant business class. The unfortunate passengers around us had to deal with two adult 30-something women acting like schoolgirls who had just been asked to the prom as we played with our flying reclining seats and gorged on delightful meals, complete with an ice cream sundae cart with fresh fruit toppings.

Bond Street, London, England, UK

During this second stay, we decided to forgo the cheap-yet-comfy hotel experience and choose the name-brand comfort of the Marriott in the Marble Arch district. The location was key for our purpose of traveling up and down Bond and Oxford Streets to shop. Our hotel was near Hyde Park, and a quick stroll through the park found us in the West End and the upscale shopping in Kensington and King’s Cross.

Once we arrived and settled into our hotel, we meandered through the city and stopped for a quick visit to the National Gallery. More benefits of a repeat visit: Knowing my way around made it feasible to simply pop in (it’s free) and just visit some of some of my favorite Impressionist pieces in the East Wing.

At the end of the day, we called a friend we had met during our first visit and met his family in Notting Hill for dinner. To further ease into our first night, we enjoyed the hotel’s indoor pool and hot tub, and easily soaked away our jet lag.

The Long Walk, Windsor Great Park, with Windsor Castle in the distance

Day two, our Good Karma tour continued with sunny, 60-degree weather and a taste of royalty. We decided to be a bit touristy and headed to Windsor Castle. As we walked up the winding road past Eton, the band paraded by. When we entered the main gate of the castle, the changing of the guards had just begun. We left the castle for lunch and sat at an outdoor cafe on a cobblestone street.

The cafe had two plaques: one stating the first floor housed an apartment belonging to William Shakespeare, while the other was signed by a handful of courtiers declaring the king was under arrest for not paying taxes. Meanwhile, our view was of the castle, where the Queen herself was in residence. Here we were, sitting on a street of kings, queens and Shakespeare, and I couldn’t think of a better day.

We returned to the hotel that night and quickly changed to head out for our first night of theatre at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane.

A view of the interior of The London Coliseum in St. Martin’s Lane., Trafalgar Square, London, London, England. Additional Credit: Society of London Theatre

Our tour continued with shopping in Kensington at Burberry and Harrods, and following a fellow London-obsessed woman’s advice to head to King’s Crossing, where we came across couture shops filled with beautiful clothes — perfect for window shopping. I also discovered a Burberry factory outlet that could be found in Hackney, which required a bit of exploration and many wrong turns to find what was then a hole in the wall with fantastic steals.

Dining in many of the city’s best restaurants before each night’s theatre, we also had good karma on our side when we attempted to visit a Gordon Ramsey restaurant before a show. Unfortunately, the restaurant was closed and we wouldn’t have time to eat once they officially opened, and we were disheartened. Until Gordon Ramsey himself overheard our dismay and invited us in for a pre-theatre appetizer that he would whip up for us! What luck!

Feels Like Home

I’ve returned to London so many times since my first two trips, it feels like home. I have friends in the city I can call to meet me when I pop into town, which I love, as they can show me places near and dear to them versus what is written in guidebooks.

I’ve visited to attend a 40th birthday party at the top of Tower Bridge and to enjoy a champagne flight around the London Eye while dressed in black tie. For such a special event, I chose to stay at the Lanesborough, a St. Regis property. My, what a difference in accommodations a decade can make!

Black-tie champagne flight on the London Eye. Courtesy of Lissa Poirot.

My last trip, just last summer, I splurged and stayed at the Rosewood Hotel near Covent Garden. This is the creme of the crop in terms of luxury, and while I was beyond satisfied with my room, a chance meeting at an event with the hotel manager resulted in a knock at my door the next day to upgrade me into a suite so large that I could not use every part of its amenities and space in the one day I had left in the city.

Even with numerous trips beneath my belt, when I met a friend for dinner in St. Christopher’s Place, I discovered a charming pedestrian shopping and dining area I had never-before visited.

It’s why I truly love London. It surprises me, it immerses me in history, it can be done on a budget or high-end splurges, there is culture at every turn, the dining can be superb (yes, really!), and the people are so friendly you will find them awaiting you on your next return.

–Lissa Poirot

 

About

I am an experienced and award-winning editor and writer with 20 years working in travel media. Not only have I served as editor-in-chief of a TripAdvisor website for nearly a decade, my writing has been published in travel magazines and online, and I have been quoted as a travel expert online, in print, on radio and on television.

I have spent my life moving around the U.S. — the Midwest, Florida, Atlanta, Boston and now Northeast — and growing up, my history-loving father tried to show me every detail of American history through day trips and weekenders. Without realizing it, he set up the kindling for my eventual wanderlust. After finding a $240 round-trip flight to London, I got my first passport, hopped a flight, and was forever in love with traveling outside of the country. London ignited my wanderlust and ever since, I travel as often as I can. If I’m not traveling by plane, I’m in a car, exploring my town, county, state… I never stop moving.

My favorite thing about the work I do is helping others plan their perfect vacations, which is why I founded Anywhere World Travel, a travel concierge company. I’m not a travel agent; I am an experienced traveler who can save you time by using my knowledge and background to help you plan your trip. Visit Anywhere World Travel for more information.


You can follow Lissa, Anywhere World Travel on Instagram, Facbeook and Twitter

Nantucket Island

Stepping off the Hy-Line Ferry from Hyannis, Massachusetts, my visit glimpse at Nantucket was the crowded summer pier. Our ferry, the “fast ferry” is just an hour from Cape Cod, and, important to many starting a getaway to the island, features a full bar in which to get the party started early. Traveling with a number of girlfriends who have all visited “ACK” before, I was the newbie to the former whaling island, now summer playground of New Englanders.

Arriving in Nantucket Town, I was greeted with cobbled streets and gray clapboard buildings, white picket fences and blue hydrangeas spilling out of every patch of green grass. This was a scene out of movies, and I was delighted to see Nantucket was as charming as I hoped it would be.

Where to Stay

Nantucket’s premier resort, and where many festivals, events and fine-dining takes place with waterfront views, is the White Elephant Hotel. Besides its original and commanding presence overlooking Baby Beach and Brant Point Lighthouse, the hotel features 66 guest rooms, lofts and garden cottages. My friends and I were staying in a three-bedroom cottage. Not only did we have a front porch facing the aforementioned hydrangeas and picket fence, but inside we were even more delighted to find what awe felt was like renting a house: bedrooms with enormous, down-filled beds, a large open concept kitchen/dining/living space with high-end fixtures, furnishings and details, and light and airy bathrooms.

Staying in the hotel or the cottages means walking about three blocks from the ferry, and thusly means you’re three blocks from all of the shops and restaurants. Of course, you can also eat with a waterfront view at the hotel’s outstanding Brant Point Grill, which rests along the Harborside Lawn, a perfect place to enjoy sunset cocktails with a picture-perfect backdrop.

Just around the corner from White Elephant is the Nantucket Inn. The new hotel restored a former aging property to bring about a year-round property with one- to four-bedroom suites, as well as its own cottages with kitchenettes. While it doesn’t have the esteemed name of the White Elephant, this newcomer’s decor and setting is right on par, but also goes above and beyond with its amenities.

Consider the free kids’ programs, free shuttles to ferries and restaurants, and free bicycles to take for a spin around the island, the Nantucket Inn is more family-friendly and gives you a bigger bang for your buck. Its restaurant, Breeze, emulates as Caribbean vibe, including a friendly staff from the Caribbean that lends the restaurant an island feel versus the White Elephant’s slightly more stuffy environment. Still, you won’t go wrong with either property.

Where to Play

If you’re visiting an island, of course the beach is going to be on your mind. Nantucket is not like a Florida island, where the beach runs parallel with all activities, attractions and hotels. Instead, while Nantucket is only 14 miles long and 5 miles wide at its widest expanse, Nantucket gives off a feel of a much more space. There are no high rises. There is not a mile-long stretch of miniature golf and tacky T-shirt shops. Boutiques here are high-end preppy: Lilly Pulitzer, Vineyard Vines, Ralph Lauren.

Its numerous beaches are hidden behind dunes and tucked away in the island’s nooks and crannies. The most popular beaches are Jetties Beach on the North Shore, Surfside Beach on the South Shore, and Sconsett Beach for those staying on the more remote East Shore. During our visit, we visited Steps Beach at night, when in late July and early August, is blue with the light of bioluminescence of harmless jellyfish. You can wade in the waters and be surrounded by blue light under the twinkle of stars in Nantucket’s near pitch-black sky.

Nantucket’s allure is that you can do exactly what generations before you did during a summer vacation: Stroll Nantucket Town to shop, dine on fresh seafood at both seafood shacks and high-end restaurants led by popular Boston and New York chefs, bike along sand-strewn bike paths, relax on the beach, and, maybe, just maybe, if you feel like Getty rowdy at the end of day, heading to “the Box” for lively entertainment.

When asking my Uber driver to take me to the Chicken Box (it’s full name), he asked if I really wanted to go, being it was a bit “sketchy.” Upon arrival, I could see the Box wasn’t like the rest of the island. This was the dive bar-slash-live entertainment venue where your shoes will stick to the floor and many 20-somethings will rush the stage for a local band as if they were truly rock stars known around the globe. It’s also one of the only places open late on the island, so it is the place to party, and not within walking distance — you will need a cab/Uber.

A visit to the Whaling Museum should be a mandate for an first-time visitor to the island. The small museum is big in history, taking you through the island’s beginnings as a whaling island. On this island were the whalers who encountered a whale so great and evil, Herman Melville was inspired to write “Moby Dick” after learning of the tale, which is available to read in “Heart of the Sea.” (Don’t bother with the recent film; it is not as detailed and filled with OMG moments as the book.) You’ll easily enjoy the museum in an hour, but leave with a better understanding about the island and its year-round residents.

Where to Eat

Half the people on the ferry arriving in Nantucket Town head straight to the Gazebo at Harbor Square, luggage in hand. Knowing rooms may not be ready before 4 p.m., new arrivals reconnect with old friends, new friends and island residents at this buzzing hotspot, which is literally a gazebo bar and restaurant. Bring your luggage, grab a seat (if you can find one) and dive right in for your first Nantucket experience.

Away from Nantucket Town, in its own little corner of the island, is the relatively new Cisco Brewery. Besides offering great local ales, such as the Whale’s Tale Pale Ale, it features a very large outdoor patio with games, live music, food trucks and the best sunset views.

If you’re looking to sample the cuisine by top chefs, you’ll want to visit Greydon House. An intimate hotel of just 20 rooms in Nantucket Town, its restaurants is led by Michelin-star chef Marcus Ware. Take a break from lobster rolls and simple scampi here, where you’ll find more exotic choices, a Mexican night and a beautiful brunch.

About

I am an experienced and award-winning editor and writer with 20 years working in travel media. Not only have I served as editor-in-chief of a TripAdvisor website for nearly a decade, my writing has been published in travel magazines and online, and I have been quoted as a travel expert online, in print, on radio and on television.

I have spent my life moving around the U.S. — the Midwest, Florida, Atlanta, Boston and now Northeast — and growing up, my history-loving father tried to show me every detail of American history through day trips and weekenders. Without realizing it, he set up the kindling for my eventual wanderlust. After finding a $240 round-trip flight to London, I got my first passport, hopped a flight, and was forever in love with traveling outside of the country. London ignited my wanderlust and ever since, I travel as often as I can. If I’m not traveling by plane, I’m in a car, exploring my town, county, state… I never stop moving.

My favorite thing about the work I do is helping others plan their perfect vacations, which is why I founded Anywhere World Travel, a travel concierge company. I’m not a travel agent; I am an experienced traveler who can save you time by using my knowledge and background to help you plan your trip. Visit Anywhere World Travel for more information.


You can follow Lissa, Anywhere World Travel on Instagram, Facbeook and Twitter

A Few of My Favorite Things

I love a comfy home and with three children under the age of 15, it’s necessary. Here are a few of my favorite home stores that I look to for inspiration.

What’s your favorite store?


Pottery Barn

I have been a ‘Pottery Barn-er’ for over 20 years.  Did you know that in 1949, they opened their first brick-and-mortar store Chelsea, New York selling slightly imperfect pottery and table top closeout. They are also a company that celebrate women. More than half of their executive team are women!

I bought the leather ottoman, pictured below, about 6 years ago and it’s still just as nice as it was when I first bought it.

They are a brand true to themselves and don’t try to be something they are not. Classic, timeless with a flair for fun!

Their values: “We’re a brand for real people, real lives and real homes.”

Source: Pottery Barn

HomeGoods

I literally get lost every time I walk through the doors of this store. My HomeGoods is one of the best around and I could spend hours walking around (and I have).

“HomeGoods stores offer an ever-changing selection of unique home fashions in kitchen essentials, rugs, lighting, bedding, bath, furniture and more all at up to 60% off department and specialty store prices every day.”

HomeGoods

Source: HomeGoods

Pier 1 

Another one of favorite for years! Pier 1 just gets it and with their addition of Magnolia Home by Joanna Gaines I could not be happier!

Pier 1 is fun and colorful with a mix of classic furniture, tableware, lighting and decor from some of the world’s most gifted artisans.

“We’re all about presenting new ways of seeing and experiencing your home. Our furnishings, rugs, art and scented candles are created to spark your imagination, present inventive solutions and reveal more possibilities than you ever thought possible.”

Photo by Pier 1

 Source: Pier 1 

Magnolia Home 

How could I not include Magnolia Homes! Joanna Gaines is an inspiration to me. I love her overall laid back, classic style!

“Joanna has thoughtfully designed each piece of the Magnolia Home line with family, aesthetic and practicality in mind.  Her approach to design marries function and utility with the perfect level of relaxed sophistication.”

 “home. it’s your story. tell it.”

Photo by: Magnolia Home

Source: Magnolia Home

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