This past weekend we traveled to Chicago to do some post-holiday shopping in one of the best locations in the country…Michigan Avenue. This area has over 400 retailers and more than 275 restaurants. This is a lot to take in so it was wonderful to have an amazing place to rest our heads after a long day of walking, shopping, and eating.  THE WHITEHALL HOTEL is located one half-block west of Michigan avenue and just east of Rush Street.

THE WHITEHALL HOTEL is “Chicago’s True Independent Boutique Hotel.”  The location was perfect, and the service was wonderful.  We were greeted right away by the friendly and professional staff. Check in was a quick process, and we were soon on our way to our room on the 15th floor. Be aware that the elevators are pretty small so if you have a large family/group or multiple suitcases, you may need to take more than one trip. Our room was quite spacious and had plenty of room for our luggage and purchases.The room included a mini-bar. A small warning with this system. There are sensors that automatically charge the room if you move the items…even if you don’t actually consume it. The bathroom was large and we both had plenty of space on the counter top.

THE WHITEHALL HOTEL has 24 hour security (always important in a big city), a business center, a fitness center, a lounge, and two restaurants. If you like Italian or Chinese food, be sure to take advantage of the in-house dining. The history of THE WHITEHALL HOTEL dates back to the early 1900s and the Prohibition Era. Multiple renovations through the years have modernized the hotel and made it an iconic historical hotel in Chicago. This is not a “cookie cutter” chain hotel at all. The furnishings are sophisticated and elegant yet still cozy and comfortable.

THE WHITEHALL HOTEL is perfect for anyone traveling to downtown Chicago for vacation, business, a weekend of shopping, or if you are in town for a sporting event.  I cannot wait to go back in the summer to explore the city and enjoy the accommodations of this historic hotel in the heart of Chicago.


This past week we traveled north from Florida to see a Broadway show and take in the sights of New York City. After driving for about 16 hours, we were pleased with the convenience and location of the RED ROOF PLUS+ SECAUCUS-MEADOWLANDS hotel. Located on the Hackensack River and within minutes of the bright lights and excitement of Times Square, Broadway, and all of New York City’s finest attractions, this hotel was just what we needed. It was easy to find, even at night, and had plenty of free parking. The staff was friendly and extremely helpful when we checked in. The process was quick, and we were on our way to the room in no time. The room had clean, modern decor and was quite spacious. I will say it was literally freezing outside (windchills were in the single digits) so were disappointed to walk into a cold room. It took a while for the heat to really make a difference so we stayed bundled up for the night. The front desk, however, was very accommodating and offered us some extra blankets. The beds and pillows were comfortable, and we all slept well. There were plenty of convenient outlets for all of our chargers and technology. I hate when hotels have outlets behind the bed. Not the case at RED ROOF PLUS+ SECAUCUS-MEADOWLANDS. The microwave even had outlets on the front. That is a major positive in my opinion. In the morning we got a cup of free coffee in the lobby (there is a Dunkin directly across the street if you desire a “fancier” coffee drink) and were on our way into New York City. RED ROOF PLUS+ SECAUCUS-MEADOWLANDS is only 1 mile from the Meadowlands Sports Complex: MetLife Stadium, which is home to the New York Giants and New York Jets, and the Meadowlands Racetrack. Other nearby attractions include New York Red Bulls soccer, Meadowlands Exposition Center, Medieval Times, Great Falls of Paterson, and Liberty State Park. It was a quick drive into the Times Square area from this location as well. This hotel is just right if you are looking for economical accommodations but still want a big city experience without the prices of New York City. RED ROOF PLUS+ SECAUCUS-MEADOWLANDS will be on our recommendation list for anyone going to the Big Apple.

REVIEW – Hotel Edison New York City

We just got back from the most wonderful vacation.  As part of this trip, we had the opportunity to stay at the amazing HOTEL EDISON New York City.  You simply cannot beat the location of the hotel. If you want the action of Times Square, if you are coming to town for a Broadway show, or even if you just want to explore the city, then HOTEL EDISON New York City is the perfect choice.

We were greeted by the very friendly and professional staff the minute we walked in the door. Everyone was so eager to help us check in and get settled. The lobby was beautifully decorated for the holidays. I was impressed by the security that checked room keys before anyone was allowed onto the elevators. That really gave me a sense of comfort, and I knew this hotel really goes above and beyond for their guests.

Our room was on the 21st floor so we were able to get a very cool view of the hustle and bustle of the city. Our room was very spacious with a sitting area that had a sleeper sofa and its own TV. We also had a king bed that was so comfortable after a long day of walking and shopping. The bathroom was large and had great lighting.  My one complaint is that I would have liked another layer or two of paint on the frosted door. It was little too bright at night and not quite as private as I would have preferred. Other than that, I loved the accommodations.

HOTEL EDISON New York City has over 800 signature and classic rooms to choose from so be sure to check out the photos on their website to see what room will work best for your travel party. If you have a lot of technology with you, then you will be glad to see all of the outlets and docking stations throughout the room. I love when hotels have easily accessible outlets, especially by the bed.

Other amenities include a fitness center, business center, valet parking, expert concierge service, dining, and a complimentary managers’ reception every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday.  We were there on a Thursday so sadly we did not get to enjoy this event.

With our love of Broadway shows, I am sure we will be back to NYC in the near future. When we return, we will definitely be staying at the HOTEL EDISON New York CityThe location, accommodations, and professional staff are unbeatable.


Free tourist attractions in each state

USA Today takes a look at the top free tourist attractions in each state.

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Product Review – Smart Tiles

If you have ever moved into a new house, there are always little (and sometimes big) projects that you have to attend to and some that you want to update just to make the house a more personal representation of your family.

Well the funny thing is we have been in our house for 12 years and made all kinds of upgrades throughout except for one area….our kitchen.  I know, I know,,,that is the one area you should update right away.  Honestly the kitchen itself was fine and didn’t really need updating per se.  It was more the back splash area of the kitchen that needed to be addressed.  It seemed like every year upgrading that area was on my summer projects list, but I never got around to doing anything with the area, as I was not comfortable with mixing adhesive, spreading it out evenly, using a trowel and then grouting the tile.  I am a fairly handyman, but for some reason applying tile anywhere just seemed like a chore when it involved all of those steps.

I knew there were easier solutions available, but I was concerned about the quality of peel and stick tiles.  Would they look cheap?  Would they hold up?  How does the cost compare to traditional ceramic tiles?  Are they really that easy to install?  Well, enter Smart Tiles!

My wife and I decided it was time to finally address our kitchen back splash and we decided to use Smart Tiles, as they met all of our needs that we were looking for in a product.  They look amazing and our friends thought they were ceramic tiles.  They are durable.and they even come with a warranty.  Pricing is a huge concern for any homeowner and that was one thing that kept us away from traditional ceramic tiles.  Smart Tiles were created for those with a budget in mind, but unlike other peel and stick tiles, Smart Tiles quality is just as good as traditional ceramic.  Are they easy to install….well that is the biggest issue we were concerned about. Simply put, it cannot be easier.  Open the box, peel the backing off and stick on the wall (make sure to clean the wall first).

Honestly, it is that easy.  As you can see in our photo gallery, there are areas that you have to cut to fit, but that process is easy too.  We started out using a utility knife, but found that using sharp scissors worked just as well.  The entire process took a few hours but that is probably because I am such a perfectionist that I made sure to measure things 5x before I made cuts and applied the Smart Tiles to the walls!

I have to say that if you are interested in upgrading your kitchen, bathroom, or heck anywhere really, we highly recommend using Smart Tiles.  They have colors and styles for every need, it is just a matter of choosing which product best reflects your style.

We did receive the Smart Tiles in exchange for this review, but if you check out the before and after pictures, you will see that Smart Tiles are an amazing product and something you need to consider as you upgrade your personal areas of your house.  We will be using more Smart Tiles for a bathroom upgrade in the future so stay tuned!!



HOTEL REVIEW – The Maven Hotel – Denver, CO

Recently we took an epic trip out west from Illinois.  We drove through a total of 10 states! It was an amazing adventure, but was also exhausting being in the car so much. Lucky for us we had a cure for our driving fatigue–The Maven Hotel in Denver, Colorado. 

Located in the heart of the Dairy Block in LoDoliterally across the street from Coors Field, The Maven is in an outstanding location in Downtown Denver. The area around the hotel is a world-class destination for shopping, dining, hospitality and local business.

There was a Colorado Rockies baseball game the night of our stay so the area was full of energy and excitement. We couldn’t wait to see what was in store for us.

Entering the lobby was like walking into an art gallery. There were so many pieces of art to view I couldn’t decide where to look. Even with the sleek gallery-type atmosphere, I felt comfortable and welcome.


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HOTEL REVIEW – The Hotel Fullerton Anaheim

In the past week, we have traveled through Illinois, Iowa, South Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and finally California. Yes, all of that in just a few days! Feel exhausted just reading that? Well, the perfect cure for this exhaustion is The Hotel Fullerton Anaheim. 

Located on the edge of Anaheim, California, The Hotel Fullerton Anaheim is just minutes from the Disneyland Resort, Anaheim Convention Center, and Cal State Fullerton.

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HOTEL REVIEW – The Orleans Hotel and Casino Las Vegas Review

Recently on a trip out west, we had the chance to stay at The Orleans Hotel and Casino Las Vegas. 

Located just off the south end of the strip, The Orleans Hotel and Casino Las Vegas was a welcome site after a long day of driving.  It was very easy to drive to from the interstate and is just minutes from the airport.

The hotel has everything you would expect when vacationing in Las Vegas including a pool, a fitness center, shopping, 15 dining locations, several bars and of course, plenty of gaming.

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