Holiday in Scottsdale Where the Weather is Delightful

Fairmont-Scottsdale-ChristmasDid you know that Irving Berlin penned his legendary holiday tune, “White Christmas,” poolside in sunny Arizona? As the holiday season draws near, take a cue from Berlin and start planning your escape from the mounds of snow and freezing temperatures. Trade in your shovel for a golf club and your parka for a light sweater. Spend Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year’s in Scottsdale, where temperatures average 68 degrees and sunshine is plentiful during the winter months.

STOCKING STUFFER
The Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau hopes to gift one lucky winner a trip to Scottsdale as a part of its annual holiday campaign. The prize package includes roundtrip airfare for two, a three-night stay at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, dinner at on-site restaurant La Hacienda, and admission to the Christmas at the Princess ice skating rink, as well as a complimentary photo with Santa Claus. The winner will also receive tickets to Las Noches de Las Luminarias at Desert Botanical Garden, ZooLights at the Phoenix Zoo, and “Sister’s Christmas Catechism” at Scottsdale Center for Performing Arts. Visit ScottsdaleHolidayExperience.com before November 21, 2014, to enter. The prize is redeemable December 18-21, 2014.

SONORAN DESERT TRADITIONS
Don’t worry about missing out on those classic holiday traditions. There’s no better way to celebrate with friends and family than partaking in plenty of festive events around Scottsdale.

· Explore the breathtaking Sonoran Desert all by the glowing light of more than 8,000 hand-lit luminaries select dates between November 28 and December 30, 2014 at the Desert Botanical Garden’s Las Noches de las Luminarias. Sip on hot chocolate from the Patio Café as you wander the paths throughout the garden. Feel the holiday spirit as music from carolers, hand bells, guitars and violins fills the air. With advanced reservations, you can even dine at the garden’s on-site restaurant Gertrude’s, which stays open late for the event.zoolights-01· Kids and kids at heart will be delighted as they wander through Zoo Lights at the Phoenix Zoo November 24, 2014 through January 11, 2015. As the sun begins to set and the furry and reptilian residents at the Phoenix Zoo start to snooze, the zoo will transform into a winter wonderland. Roam the complex beneath the shine of more than 3 million colorful twinkle lights and 500 custom-made animal light sculptures. You’ll likely spot a sleepy orangutan, a wide-awake coyote and even Jengo the talking giraffe throughout the festivities.

· Trim your Christmas tree this holiday season with hand-made ornaments from American Indian artists after stocking up at Heard Museum’s Ornament Marketplace November 28-30, 2014. Return to the museum December 26-31, 2014, for Holidays at the Heard, an annual Southwestern tradition. This event takes museum visitors on a journey through American Indian culture with exciting performances and artist demonstrations.

· Between December 12, 2014, and January 3, 2015, stop by McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park for holiday train and carousel rides. During the holidays, the park stays open late and is decked out in twinkly lights and festive displays. Plus Santa will make special appearances through December 23, 2014.MIM· Musical Instrument Museum brings the chilly north to Scottsdale with the Experience Norway celebration December 6-7, 2014 in honor of the country’s bicentennial. You’ll enjoy traditional Norwegian dances, musical performances and hands-on crafts. And on December 20-21, 2014, chimes and jingles will fill the halls of MIM, the world’s only global instrument museum. During the Hear Them Ring event, MIM will celebrate instruments that ring, including hand bells, steel pans and marimbas. The event will also feature a special menu at the on-site café, Café Allegro, gifts for purchase in the Museum Store, face painting and more.

Take Precautions Online So You Can Relax on Vacations

TechTravelSafetyGuidelinesTravelers often worry about flight delays, bad weather and disappointing accommodations when thinking about the factors that could ruin a vacation. However, the lack of secure Internet access revealing social media posts and haphazard habits online can wreak havoc lasting long after beach tans fade away. PrivateGiant CEO and security expert Shaun Murphy has created a series of tips travelers can use to help keep their personal information and private files safe while away from home.

Prep Before You Go

Patch Up. Packing, printing airline tickets and organizing maps are not the only to-do list items that need to be tended to before a vacation begins. Check all devices staying at home or going on the trip for software updates. Not running system updates is like putting out the welcome mat for cybercriminals. Operating system security holes that could have easily been patched with a quick click can leave you vulnerable to hacks.

Remove Data. Backing up is always important, but before you travel it is essential. Removing unnecessary sensitive data from your devices going on the trip including photos, videos, financial documents and stored passwords can save you from heartache and headaches down the road if your devices are breached, stolen or misplaced.

Wipe Your History. Clear your browser cache files and remove saved passwords. If you accidentally connect to an unsecure Wi-Fi network while travelling do not make it effortless for criminals to steal your private information such as bank access, work emails or photos.

Fake It. Create temporary passwords for sites you plan on accessing while travelling. It is estimated that 60% of people use the same password, or a variation of one, for every account. If you get hacked while traveling, having a temporary “throwaway” password for email or social media will prevent a headache of worry over if your home accounts were compromised.

While Traveling

Browse Safely. Make sure you are using a secured connection to websites when available. A simple “s” (https:// instead of http:// in your web browser’s URL bar) will protect you from most threats local and remote. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has created a utility that will automatically use a secure connection for you.

Double Down. Enable two-factor authentication on your important web services (email, social media, etc.), so in the event that someone does gain access to your passwords, they need a second code to get in. Guidelines for setting up two-factor authentication can be found at here.

Privatize Wi-Fi. For additional security when using a Wi-Fi network at a hotel or airport, consider using a VPN on your laptop. A VPN creates an encrypted connection to a third-party server, and all your Internet traffic is routed through that server. Snoopers on the network will only see encrypted data.

Share Wisely. While it is tempting to post about a vacation on social media or keep a blog about your adventures to stay in touch with family and friends, resist the urge. Every tidbit of information you publicly share online is a breadcrumb criminals can use to piece together a snapshot of your life that can lead to them to cracking your passwords and hacking your digital accounts.

Shut Down. Switch off the wireless connection on your phone, tablet and laptop when they are not in use. By keeping the connection off, you are taking another step in protecting your digital identity, by preventing an opportunity for criminals to automatically connect to your device on an open network without you ever knowing what happened.

After Returning Home

Sweep Clean. Running a security sweep when you get home is a wise precaution. Check your computer and other devices for spyware, malware, and viruses. One indication that malware could be looking is an increase in memory use or data use that is otherwise inexplicable.

Tourism of Thailand Unveils Wildlife Volunteer DreamJob

DreamJobbingThailandFor anyone who has ever dreamed of traveling the globe and experiencing life-changing events, they can now take advantage of the dream experience that the Tourism Authority of Thailand is offering in partnership with DreamJobbing.

DreamJobbing.com, a new online destination for the coolest jobs and experiences on the planet, announced the latest addition to the platform: a one-of-a-kind opportunity to serve as a wildlife volunteer, aiding with Asian elephant conservation efforts in Thailand. The DreamJob listing is the direct result of a partnership between DreamJobbing and the Tourism Authority of Thailand – Los Angeles office. DreamJobbing will fly the winning candidate out to Thailand where the winner will assist with hands-on care for the elephants for two weeks, all expenses paid.

Beginning this week, aspiring wildlife conservationists can apply for the opportunity to spend time in Thailand, traveling throughout the country for two weeks to assist with hands-on care for elephants and the development of sustainable businesses to support responsible elephant tourism.

Animal lovers, globe-trotters and adventurers can visit www.dreamjobbing.com/thailand to apply for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. There, they can upload a short video application and activate their social networks to drive votes and move up in the application process in order to increase their chance of landing this DreamJob. The Tourism Authority of Thailand – Los Angeles will select their winning candidate from the top 20 highest voted applicants, who will then share his/her experience in real time while interacting with the DreamJobbing community.NoRegretsWithDreamJobbing

Most Romantic Restaurant in Montenegro

Not even one month after moving the family to Bar, Montenegro, quickly comes our 14th anniversary. Challenge accepted! Now, where is a romantic place to celebrate our anniversary? How were we going to spend a little more than normal, BUT it would be family-friendly? Fortunately, the Montenegrins are one of the most family-friendly cultures in Europe.  In the heart of the Bar, on the sea , I discovered Restoran Knjaževa Bašta (Prince’s Garden Restaurant). Yes, this would be the place for my love…and my children to celebrate this special day. 14 years of marriage produce these two amazingly fun kids and a global adventure! It seems fitting that we would celebrate it at Restoran Knjaževa Bašta built in 1880.AnniversaryFamily

Restoran Knjaževa Bašta for years carefully preserved princely spirit. With its authentic Montenegrin ambience and carefully selected specialties, it was an experience that we will remember and a feeling that we want to experience again. Restoran Knjaževa Bašta is a short journey through the history. It is part of the complex, which was built by King Nikola in the second half of the 19th century. It probably was a gift of the Italian royal family, built by Joseph Slade.

I ordered the house speciality, “Princezin” Odrezak (Princess’s Steak), which is stuffed veal fillet with proscuitto and cheese in the “princess” sauce. I love the #hashtag garnish. 😉PRINCEZINODREZAKWe also found love in Lignje na Zaru (Grilled Squid). Every bite was fresh and tender. Truly, the best squid that I have ever tasted before. The serving size was perfect, and it made me wanting more.
LIGNJENAZARURestoran Knjaževa Bašta went the extra mile to make your meal flavorful, memorable and very romantic. It all added up to an enchanted evening.

4 Smart Spots for The OC Coffee Break

Whether it is a “triple venti soy no foam latte” (yes, there is such a thing) or a simple cup of strong, black coffee, everyone needs a caffeine fix in the morning. Today marks National Coffee Day (again there is such a thing), and so we thought we would celebrate The OC coffeehouses that have become smart spots for our morning needs. 😉

hiddenhouseHidden House Coffee Roasters, San Juan Capistrano
True to its name, this micro-roaster finds itself nestled between a few oak trees just past the San Juan Capistrano Amtrak station. With hardly much room between the register and the door, Hidden House manages to squeeze its roaster, large sacks of beans, and even a few tables into its establishment. You will appreciate their cold brew coffee, cappuccinos and how they serve their espresso with a glass of mineral water, as is proper in order to cleanse the palate after its consumption.

keancoffeeKéan Coffee, Newport Beach
For Martin Diedrich, founder of Kéan Coffee, great coffee has been part of the family for several generations. As coffee farm owners for much of the last century, the Diedrich family developed a deep, intuitive understanding of coffee. Martin and his wife Karen became business partners, and named Kéan Coffee after their only son. Kéan Coffee sits in a small shopping center with a few outside tables along its long windows. Kéan roasts their own coffee on a drum roaster in the back corner of their store. From its beginnings in 2005, Kéan Coffee has operated as a sustainable, environmentally responsible business, setting an example for many others to follow. Kéan Coffee takes the coffee experience to the next level.

lagunacoffeecoLaguna Coffee Company, Laguna Beach
This coffeehouse is an oasis on the California Coast. The certified Mocha Java beans and Beachcomber blend is the main attraction here, but if you’re hungry they also serve delicious breakfast, lunch and dinner. I first discovered this coffeehouse because of their live jazz music and their posh vibe, and immediately my senses were heightened because of the great smell of freshly roasting coffee right here in-house. Relax with a cup of espresso, listen to some good music and enjoy a delicious panini.

portolacoffeelabPortola Coffee Lab, Costa Mesa
Portola is located in the OC Mart Mix. When you finally happen upon Portola, standing freely in the middle of the mall with baristas in lab coats…it’s a bit unexpected, but in retrospect, completely logical. Beans are carefully sourced and roasted on-site. The coffeehouse’s brewing methods span time and technologies, all with a heavy emphasis on a barista’s skills: the siphon filter method is a throwback to an industrial age that used vapor pressure and a vacuum to produce a clean cup of coffee. Move to the modern-era with the BUNN Trifecta machine, which offers several settings to fine tune each brewed cup, or opt for the manual pour-over. Portola also offers a Japanese cold brew for those warm, California days. Portola has studied the science of the perfect cup of coffee.

Hope you enjoyed these few spots, and let us know if there are any more! 🙂

The Buddy Holly Story

The Buddy Holly StoryI have never been a big fan of jukebox musicals. They can be fun but in general it’s lazy musical theater, meant for audiences afraid to try anything new. The shows take a collection of already published music from one particular person or band or genre, and either loosely connect them in an effort to form a story (Mamma Mia!, Movin’ Out, Rock of Ages) or use them in telling the story of the singer/band (Jersey Boys, The Boy from Oz). Critically, occasionally they work well and often they fall flat, but audiences (particularly those not familiar with or appreciative of the more original work on Broadway) tend to love them. Producers do to, because they come with an established fan base ready to splurge on tickets to see music they already know performed by people who remind them of the musicians they already love, and they get to say they saw a piece of theater. For those of us who prefer edgy, sexy, and original music (Cabaret and Pippin are two of my favorites), it’s frustrating to see more and more popping up on Broadway when there is plenty of original work to use, but at the same time I love any reason to get people in theaters. And one of the best parts of these types of shows, particularly the smaller casts of touring productions, is that you get an impressive group of extremely talented people playing multiple roles and multiple instruments. Big Bopper

The Buddy Holly Story is one of the original jukebox musicals, originally opening in 1989 and running on London’s West End for 12 years before a successful Broadway run and international tours. It was critically acclaimed and popular before the more formulaic eye-roll-inducing Mamma-Mia-inspired flops took over the Great White Way (Lennon, Good Vibrations, Ring of Fire, Hot Feet). The production I saw last night, currently playing at The Laguna Playhouse, is a cast of 14 dancers-singers-actors-musicians, many of whom have been playing these roles in multiple productions. For Todd Meredith, this marks his 15th time in the title role, in addition to performing all over the country in a Buddy Holly tribute band along with bassist (and trombonist) Bill Morey, who is in his 5th production of TBHS. Pinch-his-cheeks-adorable Emilio Ramos reprises his role of Ritchie Valens (almost stealing the show with his La Bamba, my favorite performance of the night), and a boisterous Mike Brennan plays the Big Bopper for the fifth time. This isn’t just a job for these guys, these are parts they were born to play and they are killing it up there. I am not ashamed to say that when it came to the end of the story, the night the proverbial music died, I got a little teary-eyed. And I KNEW how it would end! This little jukebox musical and its stars grabbed at my heartstrings.

The Buddy Holly Story

Why not go? If you hate Buddy Holly music (and who hates Buddy Holly music?!) you won’t like this, because that’s pretty much all it is. If you prefer shows with elaborate sets, precision choreography, deep plots or spectacle, this show is not for you.

Why go? Do you find yourself tapping your feet or singing along every time Peggy Sue, That’ll Be the Day, Chantilly Lace, or Johnny B. Goode comes on the radio? Are you AT ALL interested in the history of American music? Do you need a wholesome show to take your kids or in-laws to? Most importantly do you (like me) enjoy  watching really talented people doing what they do best and having a hell of a good time doing it? Then go. Go, sing along, get up and dance, and leave the theater with your cheesy cardboard black geek glasses remembering the short life of the single most influential creative force in early rock and roll.

SIDE NOTEif you see it at The Laguna Playhouse, or ANYTHING at The Laguna Playhouse and you measure 5’4″ or below, don’t get balcony seats. I had to sit on the edge of my seat to see anything below the performers’ shoulders. Petite problems. 

The Buddy Holly Story is playing at the Laguna Playhouse in Laguna Beach, California through August 10th. Tickets can be purchased at http://www.lagunaplayhouse.com. For other productions around the country and the world, visit www.buddythemusical.com.

 

 

 

Sundays in the Park

Jayne and Inara in Bluebird Park, Laguna BeachFresh air, laughing children, food and wine, dancing neighbors and live music; there are few things that elicit a more favorable response than a classic summertime music concert in a park, especially when it’s free. A quick Google search shows how many options there are nation-wide for experiencing free musical concerts in public spaces, and we are all better for it. My family has enjoyed performances in Central Park in New York and Klyde Warren Park in Dallas, and now thanks to the Laguna Beach Arts Commission we have this opportunity again in our new home of Laguna Beach.

Fifty-two year old Bluebird Park is enclosed by fencing and surrounded by quiet neighborhood streets. The park includes a soft grass lawn, picnic tables and barbecues, drinking fountains, shade trees, sidewalks, curvy slides built into a hillside, scooter/tricycle paths with tunnels and bridges, big kid areas for climbing, spinning and playing basketball, little kid playing area with sand and baby swings, and clean and safe restrooms. As a parent, if you are anywhere in the middle area of the park you can see almost everywhere else. Dogs are not allowed so although they are missed, it makes it even more comfortable for parents to let all the munchkins run loose. Situated in Bluebird Canyon, only 4 blocks inland from Coast Highway (that’s PCH for most of California), it gets enough of an ocean breeze that it doesn’t get too hot, and it’s inland enough that the wind doesn’t get too cold. In short, add the music and all the fun residents of Laguna Beach with their food and wine, and you get a family paradise in 1.7 acres. Bluebird Park Laguna Beach

When my husband and I were dating, he brought me to this beautiful town by the sea every opportunity we got to get away. Usually we had to fly out Sunday afternoons and would miss the opportunity to experience the Sunday evening concerts in Bluebird Park, with the exception of one time. I remember how happy he was then and how romantic the evening was, with our packed picnic dinner we had prepared earlier that day and a few bottles of wine, laid out on our picnic blanket on the lawn. I’m sure I fell more in love with him then. The acoustics in the canyon were perfect for the music, played on a tiny hill on one end of the park with little amplification needed. We loved being there together but we both hoped to be back one day with my daughter so that we could attend the affair as a family. This past Sunday night, five years after we met, we finally had that opportunity as they kicked off their 31st season of music. Grateful Dead fan at Music in the Park, Laguna Beach

The genre is different every week, and this season started off with a Grateful Dead tribute band, Cubensis. We hadn’t paid attention to the schedule in advance, but we figured it out fairly quickly by the crowd. The people-watching was a blast and seeing my little Manhattan baby twirling around with adults in tie-dye handing out stickers and “Free Hugs” was priceless. With our picnic blanket nestled amongst early-afternoon campers on the front row with only the dance area between us and the band, my husband and I held each other and chatted with new neighbors, once again enjoying a picnic dinner we’d cooked together. But this time we also watched my daughter as she danced and played around the park, slid down the hillside and played tag with neighborhood kids. We followed her to the monkey bars holding hands, glasses of wine in the others, and in a perfect moment he admitted how happy he was to be back in Bluebird Park, this time as a family, for the occasion. It really is that special.

If you live in Orange County or will be visiting this summer, make time in your schedule for music in Bluebird Park Sunday evenings. The bands play from 5-7pm and you can claim your picnic spot no earlier than 3pm. The park is located at 798 Blue Bird Canyon Drive, Laguna Beach and parking is limited so walk and/or take public transportation if you can. Next week (July 20th) we look forward to Zydeco with Lisa Haley and the Zydecats (of course- we got married in New Orleans!), then Soul with Stone Soul (7/27), Beatles music with Beatroots (8/3), Irish with The Fenians (8/10), Reggae with Lesterfari & Kings Music (8/17), and finally Blues with Tom Nolan Band to close out the season on August 24th. Suffice it to say that if we are in town, we’ll be there. And in the Laguna spirit, we can always make room for one more.

Music in Bluebird Park Laguna Beach 2014 Schedule

Arizona’s Rising Temps Lead to Dropping Rates

Scottsdale SummersPull out your bathing suit, put on your sunglasses and grab the nearest fruity beverage. Things are heating up in Scottsdale – and I am not just talking about the temperatures. What better reason is there to stay in one of Scottsdale’s luxury hotels and resorts than rates as low as 60% off?

At Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch, choose the “Splash into Summer” package, which offers free self-parking, 50% off a second deluxe guest room, free dinner in SWB for one child with each paying adult (12 or under) and free golf for kids with a paying adult (15 or under). Plus you’ll receive a 50% discount at Camp Hyatt each day for up to two children per room (ages 3-12). Rates start at $169, valid May 21, 2014 through September 3, 2014.

This summer take to the open road and explore all of Scottsdale with W Scottsdale’s “Road Trip” package. You’ll receive a $25 gas card, complimentary overnight WHEELS valet parking and an USB car charger in addition to your luxurious accommodations. For those who don’t want to travel further than poolside, the hotel is also offering the “Vitamin W” package which includes W Scottsdale sunglasses, sunblock, a beach bag and a poolside pitcher of Vitamin W. Rates for both packages start at $160 May 11, 2014 through September 6, 2014.

Embrace the elements at Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia’s pool with refreshing cocktails and delectable treats. When you use the resort’s “Turn Up the Heat” package this summer, you’ll stay two nights and get the third night free and receive a $50 poolside dining credit. Rates start at $199, valid May 1, 2014 through August 15, 2014.

With packages like “Sip, Savor & Splash” and rates starting at $169 per night May 23, 2014 through August 31, 2014, Fairmont Scottsdale Princess is truly a sunshine-filled paradise. Summer at Fairmont Scottsdale Princess means cool rides down waterslides, zooming across the lagoons via zip line and fireworks lighting up the night. Poolside is the place to be at the new SplashRider X-treme, a thrilling, spinning water adventure. Nearby, twisting waterslides turn disco at the Techno Glo Party while Dive-In movies are tradition. With the “Sip, Savor & Splash” package, guests can use the daily $50 resort credit at La Hacienda or escape to Well & Being Spa for a bit of pampering. And the kids won’t want to miss the firework display that lights up the sky Saturday evenings Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Scottsdale’s Best Brunch: T. Cook’s

T Cooks BrunchYou’ve always dreamed of being a master chef, whipping up spontaneous recipes with just the enticing ingredients laid out before you. Unfortunately, not all of us have such skills. Leave the hard work to these masterful chefs at T. Cook’s for their delicious Sunday Harvest Brunch.

At the heart of the Resort, T. Cook’s culinary philosophy of magnifying the purity of fresh, seasonal ingredients is a celebration of its treasured legacy. Chef Paul McCabe’s culinary style can be summed up in three words – crafted, thoughtful and bold – which are all precisely in line with the Mediterranean principles of fresh, seasonal, local and ingredient-driven cooking.

If you prefer dinner over brunch, then T. Cook’s offers #PM31 on Wednesday evenings. Table 31, one of the most cherished tables at T.Cook’s at Royal Palms Resort and Spa, leads adventurous, food-savvy diners through tailored, improvisational cuisine drawing upon premium, handmade ingredients in a concept deemed PM31. Every diner enjoys original and customized 10 to 12 course menus that reflect McCabe’s Mediterranean principles of seasonal, local ingredients and artful presentations.

Help Me, Skype, You’re My Only Hope on Mother’s Day

MothersDay2014This year will be the first time that I am away from my kids on Mother’s Day. I have to be honest that I have lately been struggling with some “mom guilt.” My friend Elysa of GenPink read a recent status on Facebook and connected me with Skype. This year, I told my kids not to worry about getting me any Mother’s Day gift, BUT to make sure that their Abuelita let’s them send me their love over a video call. 😉 I have some demonstrating to do with my mom as she watching the kids while my husband and I are away, BUT Skype is my only hope to help me get through the day…and the week away. Plus, Skype just announcing that group video call is now FREE, so I can even get my brother online and have everyone in the family wish my mom a “Happy Mother’s Day” in one shot!

Here is Skype’s “Ultimate Mother’s Days Playbook” Infographic: Based on a new report by Idea Lab for Microsoft on peoples’ plans for Mother’s Day. How will you be spending yours?SKYPE MOTHERS DAY PLAYBOOKThis Mother’s Day, I am sooo THANKFUL for Skype since I know I will be using their services to send my love to my kids and vice versa. 🙂

I know I am not alone in celebrating Mother’s Day without my mom or my kids. Here’s some tips on great Mother’s Day gifts from Jeannette Kaplun that I will be sending and hoping to receive, depending on the age of your kids.

  • Send a video greeting instead of a traditional card. Did you know that Skype is more than a real-time video conferencing service? You can create video messages for your family & friends easily. Open Skype app, choose who to whom you want to send the message. Press “Video Message” and then “Record.” What is amazing about thsi service is that the person receiving does not have to be online when you send, and it is a gift that you can enjoy again and again.
  • Prepare the kids ahead of time. In my experience, my kids do not know what to do after a Skype call begins…other than stare at the computer screen with an occassional, Um, yes…nope.” Consider having your kids ready by the computer, tablet or SmartTV with a story to tell, a song to sing or a dance move to show. This will helps both people on the Skype call to enjoy the time together. 🙂
  • Grab some pictures – “back in the day.” Search and scan pictures with your mom, grandma, aunt or godmother when you were younger. When you make the Skype call on Mother’s Day, share the photos via an instant message (IM). Through the power of “the cloud,” you can create and share virtual photo albums through services like OneDrive. BY the way, make sure to grab some tissue for both the caller and receiver. 😉
  • Plan a surprise video group call. If your family is scattered around the world, surprise your mom or grandmother with a group video call at a predetermined time. This will definitely be better than any gift you give!

No matter how you plan to spend Mother’s Day, I am relying on Skype to keep me connecting with my kids as I am away.