Last week we earned a HUGE honor….the kind folks at The San Diego Ad Club named us the Industry Affiliate of the Year at their Brand Diego Excellence Awards. Lucky us!!!
We have been recognized for our ongoing commitment to the San Diego business community and in support of the advertising and marketing industry in our region. For more information about the awards, visit the Brand Diego website: https://www.sandiegoadclub.com/brand-diegos. Congrats to all of the other nominees – what an awesome group of San Diego professionals!
Thank you SAN DIEGO AD CLUB! You have made more than just our day, week or month! You have reminded us how much we LOVE what we do every day! Our beautiful award has found a happy home at the Henley Headquarters!
This Summer it seems like everyone is heading to Alaska for their family vacation. I personally know 6 families that have headed North. With the dollar so weak internationally and the negative press (unfortunately) Mexico receives, it seems like Alaska has become the vacation darling in the past 12-months. At the end of June, my parents and I took a 7-day cruise through Alaska, starting in Anchorage / Seward and ending in Vancouver, Canada. I was prepared for the luxuries of the cruise ship – first-class entertainment, unlimited dining options, friendly service and the opportunity to meet new friends. What I was not prepared for, which Alaska more than delivered, was the majestic beauty and jaw-dropping gifts Mother Earth has given us in that part of the world. Alaska’s landscape, in a word, is stunning! I admit I’m a bit more a city dweller than a real rough and tough nature girl. I can appreciate nature and what beauty it offers but I don’t really find myself needing to become “one with nature”. I prefer to become “one” with urban landscapes and the hustle and bustle of city life. It’s almost as if Alaska scoffed at my pre-conceived notion that nature is only pretty to look at but it doesn’t feed my soul the way European cafes, shopping bazaars and the metro station does. Upon arrival, I think Alaska made note that another one of the “lower 48’s” had arrived and it was challenged again to change yet another mind about the significance of lush landscape, vast terrain and wondrous wildlife.
The natives are quick to tell you that in spite of what Sara Palin says (via Tina Fey’s impersonation on SNL) they cannot see Russia from their porches. However, they are very committed to making sure you know that Alaska is a place they are very proud to call home. I think the reason they can’t see Russia is because Alaska is one frigg’n big state! Alaska really has 2 seasons – Summer (when everyone works 7-days a week and 14 hour days) and the rest of the year. Those that stay beyond the summer season have to navigate the brutality of below freezing temperatures, frozen pipes, and sustaining themselves financially on whatever they made during the “high season.” Imagine only working 4-months out of the year and then basically being forced to hibernate the other 8 months. Although at first glance this seems like a vacation, the truth is living in Alaska is not for the faint of heart. Although they work their hands to the bone in the summer and hope for a survivable winter, true Alaskans would not want it any other way. It’s obvious that Alaska is a way of life.
From the comfort of our luxurious cruise ship, we saw Alaska the easy way. Our ports of call included Seward, Haines / Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan. Seaward offered us the chance to enjoy a great tour which included dog sled racing at the world-famous Seavey Family Homestead (The Seavey’s are the most prolific Ididarod racing family) and getting face to face with Exit Glacier in Kenai National Park. From cuddling husky puppies to seeing the vast glacial ice wall, Seward was a highlight of our trip. From Seward, we spent two days at sea, which took us to Glacier Bay. To be a stone’s throw from a glacier and to listen to the explosion as the ice falls into the sea is unforgettable. What I will remember about Glacier Bay are the sounds – crashing ice, the squawk of sea birds and the howling of the wind – Glacier Bay is nature’s soundtrack. You are truly at the alter of Mother Nature and you pay reverence by being quiet and still and just taking in the majesty that surrounds you.
Our first port was Haines / Skagway. Haines is a very tiny town made famous in the gold rush era. After exploring Haines (which takes about as long as drinking a cup of coffee), we took the ferry across the bay to Skagway. With a more active Main Street, Skagway offers more in terms of restaurants, shops and jewelry stores (you’ve rarely seen the number of jewelry stores that Alaska offers). Our second port was Juneau – the capital of Alaska. Did you know there are no roads to drive to Juneau? It’s the only capital that you have to either get to by boat or float plane. Juneau offered us the chance to go whale watching. Within 10 minutes of leaving the dock, our Captain informed us that we had a pod of orca just off the bow. For nearly 45 minutes, we watched as 6 orca frolicked and hunted for lunch. We even had an up close encounter when a baby orca even skimmed the side of our boat. The trip also included humpback whale sightings, sea lions and bald eagles flying over head. Juneau also has Mt. Roberts Tram, which offers one of the most amazing views of Alaska. Within 7 minutes, you are transported 3800 feet from the seafront to the mountain tops. We were given the gift of perfect weather that day which made the view even more spectacular. Our last port was Ketichikan, which is known for the world’s largest rain gauge. That should tell you how much rain they receive each year! Our day in Ketichikan included a local tour and a visit to the Saxman Native Village, which offers insight into the history and cultural significance of totem poles. Our voyage to Vancouver took us through the Inside Passage, a beautiful route that skims tiny islands and provides the opportunity to see marine wildlife.
The natives say that Alaska gets into your soul. After 10-days in the great state, I would have to agree. It literally feels like you are in another world – and not just because you are a long way from home. Alaska is pristine; it’s crisp, it’s pure and it’s life-changing. I found myself in moments of devout gratitude that I was experiencing nature in such a profound way.
Do yourself a favor and put Alaska on your bucket list. If for no other reason than to allow Mother Nature to cleanse your mind and soul!
Here are a few special moments from our trip….[slideshow]
There is so much to see, explore and do at the San Diego Botanic Garden!
We will enjoy Garden Bingo, a scavenger hunt that will take little explorers all around the Garden. Our families will be able to express themselves with paint, clay and help to create a mural for the Garden art program. Children can pot plants, climb in a tree house and play with boats floating in the stream. Check out and enjoy the beauty of the Butterfly Bed & Breakfast – a new enclosure for caterpillars to eat, rest, and transform into butterflies-all the stages of butterfly metamorphosis. For those really looking to explore, you could help Lucille the Lizard find her friend Leonard, who is hiding somewhere in the Garden!
Explore four miles of garden trails, enjoy restful vistas, flowering trees, majestic palms, and the nation’s largest bamboo collection. Thanks to our mild climate, plants from all over the world thrive here. Our diverse topography provides a variety of microclimates giving the visitor a sensation of going from a desert environment to a tropical rainforest, all within 37 acres. The Hamilton Children’s Garden, is the largest interactive children’s garden on the West Coast.
You are cordially invited to join The Henley Company
for a once-in-a-lifetime trip
to Celebrate the Royal Wedding of
HRH Prince William of Wales & Ms. Catherine Middleton.
“A Celebration of the Royal Wedding”
April 24 – May 4, 2011
“A Celebration of the Royal Wedding” is a once-in-a-lifetime experience to celebrate the Royal Wedding of HRH Prince William of Wales and Ms. Catherine Middleton. For most American’s to enjoy a Royal Wedding they must get up in the middle of the night and watch the coverage on TV. It is how an entire generation of young women recount the wedding of HRH Prince Charles and Ms. Diana Spencer. Forget setting your alarm this time around! Grab your girlfriends, your sisters and your Mom and hop a plane to London so you can enjoy all of the pomp and circumstance first hand for the Royal Wedding of Wills & Kate! You can be witness to the dawn of the modern monarchy and celebrate the love story of a dynamic young couple.
Enjoy 10 days/9 nights in London, England for a unique Royal themed tour and celebration of the Royal Wedding!
Photo by Mario Testino
Tour Package includes:
4-star luxury hotel accommodation in central London with daily breakfast
Private coach service & transfers
Private visit of the Crown Jewels
Panoramic tour of the old City of London and City of Westminster
Private tour with expert guide of luxury boutiques and retailers with the Royal Warrant
Private tour and lunch at Chavenage House, the earliest Royal residence
Private tour of Eton College (school of HRH Prince William of Wales)
Visit to Runnymede & Windsor Castle
Private visit to the Judith Blacklock Flower School for a demonstration of Royal Wedding flowers
Join the public celebration of the Royal Wedding
Special dinner in honor of the Royal couple
Guided Tour of Westminster Abbey
Private tour of the Royal Garden with Royal Historian
Private lesson in the history and etiquette of High Tea
And more activities to come…
This exclusive trip will be limited to 25 guests.
Airfare will be priced individually.
Total Investment per person for a once-in-a-lifetime experience:
To secure your place, a deposit of $1000 is due by April 1, 2011.
to obtain a more detailed itinerary and additional tour information
Note: The tour does not include access to the Royal Wedding at Westminster Abbey nor does it guarantee that you will meet any members of the Royal Family. The tour includes the ability to participate in the public festivities being arranged around the Royal Wedding, in addition to the private tours as described above.
[slideshow]If you have been following our blog lately, you know that we recently took a trip down south to visit our office in Cabo San Lucas…and by “office” I mean the palapa next to the pool overlooking the ocean! There is certainly nothing like the creativity bolt that you get when your view is the Sea of Cortez, your co-workers for the day are the marine life swimming past and your employee lunch room is a 5-star catered meal poolside. To say that I love my job is an understatement!
The creative masters behind my flawless trip was the amazing team at Lifestyle Villas. When they invited us down to do a site visit and to “experience” their villa offerings I knew I was going to be impressed. I was not prepared to be blown away! Talk about a first class operation! My interaction began several weeks before my trip as my Destination Specialist, Susana, worked with me to ensure a smooth trip. Lifestyle Villas makes it their priority to make sure that your trip exceeds every expectation. Susana made sure that our villa was stocked with the appropriate amenities: tequila, margarita mix, guacamole…you get the hint! It was nice to have the comforts of home, including my beloved Diet Coke, in the refrigerator.
The airport pick-up could not have been smoother. Immediately upon exiting the baggage claim, a Lifestyle Villas representative was on hand. He immediately whisked me to a beautiful SUV and handed me a cold bottle of water. Within 20 minutes, we were safely delivered to our gated estate, Villa Anna-Lei, which is over 6000 sq. feet of beach front loveliness. Villa Anna-Lei is located in the corridor, about half way between San Jose del Cabo and Los Cabos. It is one of the most breathtaking pieces of property in the world. My consumption of the view was only interrupted by the heaping plate of guacamole and salsa that welcomed us into the property. I can easily lose my focus with chips & dips! Our personal concierge, Daniel, was at the house upon our arrival and made our transition easy. Within minutes we had a tour of the house and our luggage was tucked away into the appropriate bedroom. Daniel was on hand throughout the weekend to make sure we had everything we needed. The level of personal assistance that we had far exceeds any 5-star hotel.
Lifestyle Villas went all out to ensure that we had a very VIP treatment. The spa experience we had with Suzanne Morel Mobile Day Spa, followed by dinner by A Matter of Taste, requires their own blogs. I was stunned by the “experience” that both created for us. As an event planner, I feel very jaded about design, decor and good food because I come in contact with so much of it. Most is good; rarely is it remarkable. Both A Matter of Taste and Suzanne Morel are remarkable.
For anyone looking to get away, Cabo is an easy jaunt from Southern California. The flight time is less than 2-hours from San Diego/LA. With a direct flight, you are easily sipping margaritas under perfect sunshine by 2:00 p.m. Cabo is wonderfully safe, exceptionally clean and the level of service in the restaurants, bars and attractions is first-rate. It feels like worlds away from San Diego, while just being a stones throw away.
Muchas gracias Lifestyle Villas for a wonderful weekend! I look forward to the partnership we have established. I have every confidence that you will take care of my clients at the same level you took care of me!
I hope you will enjoy the slide show – the photos don’t really do the property and the experience justice. It was all breathtaking – from beginning to end!
For those looking to do events in Cabo, the go-to team is:
We are just days away from announcing the final itinerary for our Royal Wedding Experience. All of the key pieces are falling into place and we are super excited with all of the planning! Our interest list is filling up fast so make sure you get yourself on the list ASAP! The tour will only accommodate 25 attendees in an attempt to keep it super unique and intimate.
A few of the highlights of the trip being finalized include:
A private tour of the Crown Jewels with The Yeoman Warder (Beefeater)
A vist to the Royal Warrant luxury boutiques & retailers with a fashion expert
A day trip to Windsor & Eton College (where Prince William attended school)
Demonstration on Royal Wedding flowers, bouquets and decorations at a Flower School
High Tea including a history & etiquette lesson
Meet & greet with members of the Royal staff
Public celebration of the Royal Wedding in Hyde Park
Champagne Toast at the top of the London Eye
We look forward to joining you in London!!
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We are pleased to announce our first Family Experience for 2011! Each month we will be producing an affordable family experience in San Diego and the surrounding areas, which will allow families to create memories, laugh together and to enjoy the many activities and wonderful places we have in our own backyard. Our focus is to help clients to enjoy a little more RECESS in their lives through unique events, travel and lifestyle experiences.
Spending time together as a family just got easier! We take care of all the details – you have all the fun!
JANUARY FAMILY EXPERIENCE:
Julian Train & Gold Mine Tour “All aboard the Smith Ranch & Julian Railroad”
Saturday, January 29, 2011 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Experience the historic side of Julian you’ve never seen before as you ride on our 18″ gauge mining train. Beautiful scenery abounds on the 1-mile round trip as you cross over two trestle bridges and negotiate a 225 degree curve to disembark at the real Smith Ranch 1870 Julian gold rush mine. While exploring the mine, you’ll see pick marks made in the rock 140 years ago. Keep an eye out for the quartz veins that led to the gold. Those who wish may ride into the Smith Ranch mine in our 1898 mine car and later try their hand at panning gold nuggets. It’s all part of the tour.