Posts Tagged ‘pete and brenda’

Winter Travel 2011 – Tropical Getaways For Less

There’s no better way to escape the winter blues than a tropical vacation! Whether you want to stay in the US or travel to exotic lands, with a little research, there are always great travel deals to be found. Here are a few incredible tropical getaways from California to Costa Rica, sure to get you in the mood for some fun in the sun!

Catalina Island (Avalon, California)

To escape the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles, get away to the beautiful island of Catalina, just off the coast of Southern California. Available Sunday through Thursday (through April 14th), the “Free Boat, Free Zip, and Free Tours” package combines all the highlights of this quaint island for an amazing price. For just $102 per person/per night, guests will enjoy accommodations at the newly remodeled Pavilion Hotel, which includes a deluxe continental breakfast and afternoon wine and cheese reception. Enjoy the breathtaking ocean views from the hotel’s gardens and relax beside the large open air fire pit. Once rejuvenated, head out to experience all that Catalina has to offer. This limited time promotion includes a free zip line tour so you can view the wonder of the island from a whole new perspective! If you’re still craving more outdoor fun, the offer also includes unlimited access to the island’s Discovery Tours and Activities, including the Undersea Tour, the Behind the Scenes Casino Tour, Miniature Golf and Tennis Court rentals, to name a few. Finally, round trip transportation to/from Long Beach Harbor is also included, topping off this incredible money saving deal! For reservations, visit www.VisitCatalinaIsland.com or call 800-626-1496.

catalina at night

Los Cabos (Mexico)

Overlooking the crystal blue waters of the Sea of Cortez, the Sheraton Hacienda del Mar Golf & Spa Resort in Los Cabos, Mexico, is an idyllic tropical getaway for those that really want to soak up the sun! Their “Sunsational Savings” promotion offers rooms starting at just $169/night (based on double occupancy), with each deluxe room featuring the Sheraton Sweet Sleeper Bed and Jacuzzi tub. As an added bonus, guests are eligible for a complimentary upgrade at check in, based upon availability. When guests stay for two nights under the limited time promotion, they will receive the third night free, as well as a $200 food and beverage credit redeemable at any of the resorts five restaurants and bars. From traditional Mexican and Mediterranean to Steak and Seafood, guests will surely enjoy a delicious tour of world cuisines. With four infinity and cascading swimming pools, an acclaimed Spa and Fitness Center, and access to a wide selection of outdoor activities, the Sheraton Hacienda del Mar is the perfect place to escape the winter blues for a “sunsational” price! To make a reservation, visit www.sheratonloscabos.com (promotion code ZS3).

Sheraton Hacienda Del Mar Los Cabos

Arenal (Costa Rica)

Couples that are looking for a tropical respite this winter will love the peace and quiet of Lost Iguana Resort & Spa in Arenal, Costa Rica. Located amongst 120 acres of pure rainforest, the romantic resort’s new “Love Birds Getaway” package features daily breakfast, an in-room welcome flower arrangement and wine basket, and a cozy candlelit dinner. “Love birds” will also receive a sensual couples massage in an open-air bungalow at Lost Iguana’s full-service Balinese-themed Golden Gecko Spa. The minimum two night package in a standard deluxe room is just $420 per couple, with additional nights at $120 each. Every guest room at Lost Iguana features spectacular views of Arenal Volcano, one of the 10 most active in the world. Balconies overlook the natural beauty of the jungle, with luxury suites also featuring private outdoor Jacuzzi tubs. For those who wish to further explore the lush jungle, the resort has exclusive walking paths lined with waterfalls and exotic birds, in addition to an onsite wildlife guide that is available to answer questions and lead individualized tours. The “Love Birds Getaway” package is available through 2011 and can be booked online by visiting www.lostiguanaresort.com.

arenal volcano

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Fall Shoe Trends 2010

The biggest shoe trends for Fall are funky and functional, from booties with statement hardware to platforms that can be worn from day to night.  Shoe designers are mixing it up this season, by adding cool accents and details to our favorite looks.  And with the following styles all under $100, it won’t cost you an arm and a leg when stocking up on all the hottest Fall shoe trends!  

Ankle Booties 

This 80s inspired trend hit the scene a few years ago, but this season, they’re a lot more grown up.  For Fall, the look will be more fashion forward with daring and dramatic details, such as sexy peep toes, geometric cut outs, and bold cage straps.  These sexy ankle booties would compliment everything from denim to a great dress!    

Jones New York Perdy Bootie $69.95 (DSW)

SM Luxe Raptor Sandals $69.95 (DSW)

DKNY Antonia Bootie $99.95 (DSW)


Inspired by the rugged yet sexy, military looks that graced the Fall runways, shoes with statement hardware are going to be everywhere this Fall.  From buckles and grommets, to buttons and studs, plan to see boots, heels, and flats rockin’ these bold accessories.  

Coconuts Raskin Clog $59.95 (DSW)

Blowfish Himble Bootie $54.95 (DSW)

White Mountain Grandstand Boot $59.95 (DSW)


Thanks to the popularity of the boyfriend jean and blazer, shoes with a masculine appeal are going to be a casual and sophisticated trend for Fall.  Everything from oxfords, trouser flats, and booties with chunkier heels are going to be all the rage amongst the bohemian set.  

Envy Tango Oxford $59.95 (DSW)

MIA Girl Trainee Bootie $49.95 (DSW)

Jones New York Venessa Bootie $79.95 (DSW)

Platform Pumps  

With all this menswear inspiration, it’s time to bring the sexy back with ultra feminine platform pumps!  As THE go to shoe for Hollywood celebrities, platform pumps are simple and elegant with a twist.  The added boost from the platform gives the shoe an edge that you wouldn’t get from a traditional stiletto.  Like classic black heels and nude pumps, this must have style is a staple for every woman’s wardrobe!   

Michael Antonio Kiley Pump $39.95 (DSW)

BCBG Paris Marlay Pump $59.95 (DSW)

Zigi Soho Peep Slingback Pump $69.95 (DSW)

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The Emmys red carpet was full of glitz, glamour, and of course, fabulous fashion!  It was a great night for televisions leading ladies, with most hitting the mark (oh la la, Heidi Klum), and only a few falling flat (oh no, January Jones).  The following ladies are Your Gal Kara’s top three best dressed covering all the trends, from glimmering metallics to romantic ruffles!

Claire Danes in a stunning Armani Prive gown encrusted with Swarovski crystals.
Emily Deschanel going bold in a bright plum, tiered Max Azria Atelier gown.
Lea Michele rockin’ the color of the evening, navy blue, in a sweet and sexy, ruffled gown by Oscar De La Renta.

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Emmys 2010 Fashion Preview

With the 62nd Primetime Emmy Awards this Sunday, we kick off another fabulous and fashionable award season in Hollywood!  The hottest television stars of the moment will definitely be walking the red carpet in style.  Will the ladies of Mad Men be the belles of the ball?  Will funny gal Tina Fey take home another golden statue?  While we can probably assume both, here’s a fashion preview of what we can absolutely expect to see on the Emmy red carpet!

Red Carpet Trend #1- Metallics

Metallics are always a go to trend for the red carpet, and at the Emmys, expect the look from head to toe.  Dazzling metallic gowns came down the Fall runways from designers like Armani Prive & Marchesa.  This sexy and sophisticated gown would be beautiful on Modern Family star, Sofia Vergera.  Metallic heels will also be popular this Sunday, from classic strappy heels to bold cage strap sandals. 

Red Carpet Trend #2– Feminine Details

Soft, sweet and feminine looks dominated the Spring and Summer runways, from Valentino to Dior.  Consider the Emmy red carpet to be an extension of these runways, because romantic inspired gowns and accessories are going to be everywhere!  This plum colored gown with cascading ruffles would look beautiful on Mad Men star January Jones.  These peep toe pumps with a dainty rosette would complete the look in one simple step.

Red Carpet Trend #3– Color

While black is always a red carpet staple, expect to see Emmy’s leading ladies going bold with color!  Jewel tones will take center stage, from elegant purples to bright blues.  And of course, you can’t go wrong with classic red!  This vivid cobalt dress with embellished shoulder details would look amazing on Glee star, Lea Michelle.  For those who prefer to go bold in statement shoes, these platform pumps would add drama to any outfit!

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GAL Travel – Hacienda Tres Rios (Riviera Maya, Mexico)

When you dream of a Mexican vacation, you might imagine beautiful beaches, Mariachi bands and tropical cocktails.  At Hacienda Tres Rios in the heart of the Riviera Maya, you will experience all that and more.  Opened in November 2008, Hacienda Tres Rios is an exclusive eco-friendly resort located forty five minutes south of Cancun, amongst a 326 acre nature park.  Enjoy the natural beauty of the lush jungle, mangrove forest, and coastal dunes.  The three freshwater rivers, or tres rios, that run throughout the property and the ten cenotes (cave like sinkholes with natural wells), end where the immaculate white sand beach meets the Caribbean Sea.  Hacienda Tres Rios offers travelers the best of worlds old and new – a luxuriously modern vacation destination set within the pristine beauty and historic landscape of the Mayan Riviera.


The 273 suites at Hacienda Tres Rios are immaculate.  From the local Mexican mahogany furniture, marble floors and bathrooms, luxurious bedding, and flat screen televisions, to the in room jacuzzi (available in most) and spectacular ocean views, you may never want to leave the room.  And with the unlimited, 24 hour room service available, you might never have to.  From junior suites to spacious one and two bedroom suites, Hacienda Tres Rios can accommodate everyone from couples on a romantic getaway to families on summer vacation.                    

GAL Travel Tip ~ Request an upper level suite away from the main lobby for the best overall experience.   


All-Inclusive at Hacienda Tres Rios means Endless Luxury, the ultimate indulgence for all your food, beverage, and entertainment needs.  On the Endless Luxury plan, guests are allowed unlimited meals, snacks, and alcoholic beverages during their stay.  With six restaurants on site, multiple bars, a fully stocked in room minibar, plus 24 hour room service, one can wine and dine to their heart’s content.  The Mexican cuisine at El Alebrije is deliciously inventive, with cricket empanadas and ostrich tamales as popular dishes.  The pizza at il Forno, the poolside pizzeria, is tasty and a perfect complement to a frosty piña colada.  The Hacienda Grill has savory grilled fare, from jumbo shrimp to juicy carne asada. And the International buffet at Casa La Islas, features alternating menu items each day that will leave you craving more.  All tips are included in the All-Inclusive plan, but once you experience the warmth and generosity of the property’s servers, you’ll want to take care of them too. 

GAL Travel Tip ~ Befriend the general manager of each restaurant to enjoy unique dishes off the main menu.


Also included in the Endless Luxury plan is exclusive access to the activities in the Tres Rios Nature Park.  Tours are available daily for all levels, from beginners to advanced.   Guests of all ages can enjoy biking through the jungle, kayaking on the pristine rivers, and snorkeling (gear included) in the amazing cenotes.  Guests can also discover the reforestation process in the botanical garden and nursery.  With additional daily activities for kids, teens and adults ranging from mask making, yoga, and tequila tasting, there is definitely something for everyone. An incredible experience for the entire family is the SenseAdventure Tour, which leads guests on a journey of the five senses.  Led by a Mayan native in the jungle of the nature park, this tour exposes you to the elements of the universe and awakens your senses inside and out.  The resort also offers fine evening entertainment, from a spectacular fire presentation to a traditional Mayan show.  However, if all you desire is a little quiet time, unwind on the comfortable beach beds overlooking the Caribbean Sea.   

GAL Travel Tip ~ Experience both the beginner and advanced cenote tours – snorkeling down the river is easier and more relaxing than kayaking.  When kayaking, prep your skin with insect repellent as you will encounter pesky critters amongst the mangroves.


Become one with the Mayan gods at the Ya’ax Che Spa, the temporary spa retreat at Hacienda Tres Rios.  Although the permanent site for the spa will not open until later this year, Ya’ax Che will not disappoint.  Signature treatments such as the Mayan Gods Ritual will leave your skin soft and supple from the cocoa bead scrub and body wrap.  The Yaa’ Kun Ritual is a romantic option for couples, combining a relaxing massage with an aromatherapy bath, topped off with two glasses of champagne and fresh fruit.  Other treatments are also available, from a la carte massages, nourishing facials, nail services and waxing.  The spa also has a full service fitness center, as well as a co-ed hydrotherapy room with a whirlpool, steam room and sauna, which guests can use at their leisure.  (Spa treatments are not included in the Endless Luxury plan.)

GAL Travel Tip ~ Inquire about the Ancient Mayan Ritual, the Temazcal Bath.  This unique, native experience is very rare and includes a steam bath performed in an authentic Mesoamerican hut.  This relaxing, purification ritual is meant to have many therapeutic benefits.

Fall 2010 Promotion

This Fall, Hacienda Tres Rios is enticing visitors to enjoy the splendor of the Riviera Maya with a special limited time promotion.  A party of 2 can enjoy a mangrove or ocean view junior suite and experience all the benefits of Endless Luxury.  When guests purchase three nights at the discounted rate of $429 per couple/per day, they will receive the fourth night free!  This promotional price is valid until October 31, 2010 and includes the suite, the All-Inclusive Endless Luxury plan, exclusive access to the nature park, and all the above mentioned tours and activities.  For more information, click here.

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Fierce Flats for Fall! 

With Fall just around the corner (sigh), we have one of the hottest fashion trends of the season to look forward to (yay!):  Leopard.  Gracing the Fall runways were fabulous leopard print blouses, sexy scarves, and sweet ballet flats.  These fierce flats will compliment every outfit, from a simple black dress to jeans and a tee.  Did I mention that they’re under $40!?  Go get ’em, ladies!  

BCBG Paris Magie Leopard Flat $39.95 (DSW Shoes)

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GAL Spas – Best Spa Deals

With the constant stresses of everyday life, it’s refreshing to know that some of the best spas in the country are offering incredible deals so you can rest and relax without the added anxiety of breaking the bank.  From an elegant, Zen infused spa at a renowned family resort to the old world appeal of a Korean bath house, the following GAL Spas are enticing visitors with their unique concepts, warm hospitality, and can’t pass up spa packages for summer and beyond!

nèu lotus spa (Orlando, FL)

After an action packed day at SeaWorld, unwind at the nèu lotus spa at the Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld.  For a limited time, the property is offering a Zen infused package starting at $132 per night, which includes one night’s accommodations plus a choice of a 50 minute spa treatment at the nèu lotus spa.  Indulge with a soothing Full Lotus Massage designed to work out all the kinks, followed by a nourishing Mini-Facial that will leave you feeling fresh and revitalized.  Or if you prefer, opt for a full 50 minute massage or facial.  After your treatment, chill out poolside with a fresh fruit smoothie at the Palms Pool Bar & Grill.  To book the Escape! Spa package, call 1-800-228-9290 or use rate code SPA when making reservations online.

Stillwater Spa (Newport, RI)

The Stillwater Spa at the Hyatt Regency Newport is the ultimate treat for the senses.  This spa by the sea uses only marine based products, combined with a complete palette of services that will not disappoint.  For spa lovers and busy guests on the go, the Spa Tapas menu is the ideal way to sample the spas signature treatments.  Guests can enjoy affordable bite size treatments (20 minutes per Spa Tapa), from a relaxing Calf & Foot Massage and Mini Facial to the Hand Tension Reliever.  Order one Spa Tapa for $65, two for $75, three for $95, or four for $115.  Between 2pm-5pm, guests will also receive a complimentary spa cocktail, such as the minty Stillwater Mo-Tea-To (cocktails can be made with or without alcohol).  For more information on the Stillwater Spa Tapas, click here.

Hiatus Spa & Retreat (Dallas, TX)

Hiatus Spa & Retreat was created specifically for spa goers who love a great deal!  As the first Aveda Lifestyle Spa Club in the U.S. founded on the principal that frequent massage, facials and body treatments are a prescription for good health and a positive state of mind, Hiatus offers guests an opportunity to indulge without overindulging.  The Platinum H-Circle membership entitles guests to enjoy one of five core spa services per month.  For $59 per month (and a onetime initiation fee of $39), members can choose from a Hiatus Massage, Hiatus Facial, a Hiatus Body Polish in the rainfall Vichy shower room, an invigorating Hiatus Rosemary Mint Wrap, or the all-new Hiatus Mani-Pedi Retreat.  Additional monthly treatments are available for just $59.  As if all this wasn’t already enough, each Hiatus treatments begins with a luxurious foot soak – warm water, a sea salt scrub, and a personalized aromatherapy oil blend are the highlights of this soul grounding experience.  As the perfect cure for spa addicts in Dallas, Hiatus plans to expand to 65 locations over the next five years.  For more information, click here

Olympic Spa (Los Angeles, CA)

The Olympic Spa in Los Angeles’ Koreatown is a must visit GAL find for those who crave a seriously relaxing and detoxifying day at the spa.  Not for the modest or faint of heart, the Olympic Spa is a traditional Korean bath house, stripped down to the purest and most natural of services and amenities.  Don’t expect flickering candles or soft music playing here – the Olympic Spa is simply a retreat to cleanse the body and soul.  Prepare yourself for an invigorating and empowering experience, as this spa is clothing free – that’s right ladies, bathing suits are not permitted.  The only ‘clothes’ allowed in the communal pool/sauna room are towels, and the simple black undergarments worn by the female Korean therapists.  All services are performed in a communal treatment room where guests must be au natural, sans clothing, or in other words, in your birthday suit.

Once settled, experience the most affordable spa deal in Los Angeles, the Simple Soak.  For just $15, one has unlimited use of all the saunas, steam rooms, and pools at the Olympic Spa.  Relax in the extremely Warm Mineral Pool, followed by a refreshing dip in the Cool Waters Pool.  Then, stimulate your senses in the Hot Mugwort Tea Pool which promotes circulation and boosts immunity.  Replenish in one of the uniquely Korean saunas, from the Oxygen Therapy Room to the Oriental Dry Clay Sauna.  Finally, take a nap on the warm Jade floor and feel the herbal steam flood your mind, body and soul.  The Simple Soak is also included with the treatments at the Olympic Spa, including the signature ritual, the Goddess.  This almost two hour treatment begins with the famously aggressive Akasuri Body Scrub, followed by a body shampoo and Aromatherapy Massage. Next, your spirits are literally lifted as you receive an essential oil scalp massage.  While the tingling oils set in, your face is massaged with toxin releasing strokes and a purifying mask is applied to tighten your pores.  After all this, your hair is washed and rinsed, and a luxurious body emulsion oil is generously applied to your entire body to complete the incredible ritual.  For just $130, the Goddess is a must experience, affordable spa treatment that will leave you feeling renewed inside and out.

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Summer is in full swing and many of us have big plans to hit the beach!  Whether you’re in Malibu or Miami, there’s nothing worse than taking a trip to the beach and not being fully prepared.  Well, not to worry because with this list, every sun diva will be fully equipped with the hottest Beach Bag Essentials!

1.      SkinMedica’s Environmental Defense Sunscreen SPF 50+

It’s more important than ever to protect your skin from the sun!  If you’re going to hit the beach and work on your killer tan, take a tip from Jennifer Aniston and Brooke Shields with SkinMedica’s Environmental Defense Sunscreen SPF 50+ ($45).  Aside from being blessed with great genes, these Hollywood gals take sun protection seriously.  Provide your skin with the ultimate barrier from the sun with this ultra light weight, fragrance/oil free, and water resistant formula that boasts UV ProPlex technology, which improves performance by effecting a more uniform distribution of UV filters on the skin.  The remarkable potion also provides skin with antioxidant protection against free radical damage.  For more information on where to purchase SkinMedica products, click here

2.      Coolibar Packable Wide Brim Sun Hat

Now that you have the sunscreen covered, you’ll need something to help beat the intense rays of the summer sun!  Take a cue from Old Hollywood Glam cutie Katie Perry and rock a wide brimmed hat!  Coolibar’s Sun Hat is not only fashionable and chic, but the 4 inch wide brim will provide much needed shade as well as protect your skin from harsh UV rays.  Created for travel, this cool hat can be rolled, crushed, or folded in your suitcase or beach bag—and it still holds its shape.  The Coolibar Packable Wide Brim Sun Hat ($29.95) is the perfect combination of style and function!

3.      Sunglasses from Angel Eyewear

Next up, a killer pair of sunglasses!  Angel Eyewear features some of the hottest styles of the season at amazingly affordable prices!  From the glamorous Mod, to the retro Katt, these sunglasses are the epitome of summer style.  Supermodel Tyra Banks is a fan of the line, and with these sassy shades, you’ll feel like you’re struttin’ on your personal runway.  Available in a ton of frames, colors and lens options, and with prices starting as low as $45, you can stock up for summer without breaking the bank. 

4.      Youngblood’s Minerals in the Mist

After a few hours in the sweltering summer sun, you’re going to need a refreshing pick me up.  Youngblood’s Minerals in the Mist ($22 each) are a collection of revitalizing and nourishing face mists that will keep you cool as the day burns on.  Refresh is a delicious blend of tangerine and grapefruit infused with minerals and vitamins which help to protect skin cells and rejuvenate skin tissue, while also acting as cell energizers.  This beach bag essential is popular with stars like The Bachelor’s Chris Harrison and actress Mena Suvari, who like to quench their skin with every spritz!

5.      Versatile Summer Scarf

Aside from a fab bikini, your cover up is the next most important fashion item for the beach.  Luckily, there’s a versatile and affordable summer scarf that will not only act as a quick cover up, but also a dress, wrap, and even a last minute beach mat!  Affordablescarves.com is a fantastic resource for all the latest scarves in every color, print, and fabric imaginable.  The Aloha Cotton Scarf ($14.49) in a tropical purple motif is a lightweight, compact, and colorful accessory that will take you from the beach to dinner in one easy step! 

6.      Beach Read

No day at the beach would be complete without some great reading material!  Ever since the friendly folks at Amazon.com sent me a review copy of Candace Bushnell’s The Carrie Diaries, I have been hooked!  Not just for fans of the Sex and the City franchise, this book takes you right back to the dramatic days of high school, full of first loves, great friends, and crazy fashion!  Fans of the show will find themselves routing for Carrie all over again as she experiences her senior year, falls head over heels for a very “Mr. Big” like character, and follows her heart to the city of her dreams, New York!  This book is perfect for anyone who wants a lighthearted beach read!

 7.      The IcyBag

There’s nothing worse than reaching for your lip balm at the beach, to realize that it’s been melted by the scorching sun!  With the IcyBag, beachgoers like Christina Aguilera and Ashlee Simpson can tote all their beauty products and must have items in a stylish, insulated accessory bag.  No need to worry that your products will get hot, sticky or melted – the IcyBag is fully insulated and includes a custom gel pack that stays cool at least three times longer than frozen water.  You can even slip in snacks, electronics, and other items you may not want to get weathered by the sun!  The IcyBag is clever, convenient, and affordable at just $15!

8.       Best Beach Bag

With all these summer essentials, you’re going to need something glam, affordable, and luxurious to carry it all in!  Whether you’re looking for a nautical inspired tote, woven satchel, or multi functional carry-all, Amazon.com has an amazing selection for all your beach bag needs.  I love this Roxy tote ($32) with its classic and modern styling, and fun pop of color!  It’s large lined compartment and zipper pockets make it ideal for the beach, perfect to carry all the above beach bag must haves!

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CLEAN Scents for Summer

CLEAN, the line of uniquely fresh smelling scents inspired by soap, has two new and refreshing scents for Summer.  Shower Fresh is just that – clean, crisp, and simple with hints of citrus, floral and musk.  One spritz of this lovely fragrance will leave you feeling “shower-fresh” from sun up to sun down!  The limited edition Summer Linen is inspired by the sunny days of summer when warm breezes mingle with sun-ripened citrus. A light, sexy, and cool scent infused with Bergamot, Italian Limoncello and succulent Mirabelle Plum, this fragrance will definitely leave you wanting more!  Prices range from $22-$69 at http://www.cleanperfume.com/.

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Check out my GAL Travel review of Newport, Rhode Island at http://wp.me/PR9nE-6t.  Click on Kara’s Korner for more food and travel related posts! 

Newport, Rhode Island

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