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I’m FINALLY getting around to blogging about our trip to Dubai and Thailand. I hope I can do it justice and that I don’t forget anything! So why Dubai and Thailand? My best answer is, why not? However to break it down a little more the answer is that we travel a lot. Adam runs a global business and he travels all over the world. I often get to travel with him and together we have covered a lot of ground. For this vacation, I wanted to pick a destination that neither of us had ever experienced before. We also wanted to go to a place that was warm, where the food was good, and that would be a rich cultural experience. Friends with 4 kids had gone to Thailand the previous winter and after picking their brains, I decided that this was the perfect place for our Christmas holiday. The Dubai piece was an add on. When I booked the flights, the best option from Boston to Bangkok was to fly Emerites through Dubai. My boys have always wanted to go to Dubai and we had a 2.5 week break, so why not stop!? It was the perfect place to get over the jet lag!

We did a 14 hour redeye from Boston to Dubai which, after the time change  got us there after dinner. We ended up at the Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Resort & Marina with our beloved Starwood points. It was great. We had a nice view of the marina, there was a nice beach, a great pool and a good gym. While we didn’t spend much time at the hotel, we did relax at the pool every morning before we headed out to explore. My favorite spot was the hammock out in the ocean! 

 

We also had a great view from our room. The sunsets were amazing!

And of course the typical blogger shot so I can show you guys all of my favorite things that I packed!

Glasses, bathingsuit, pareo, birkenstocks!

So what to do in Dubai?? Of course we had to check out the malls! Day one we woke up, had breakfast and jumped right in a cab to the Dubai Mall. We had a long list of luxury items that we wanted to check out, and based on some internet research, it seemed like the Dubai Mall would be better for that kind of high end browsing. It did not disappoint. From the minute we got out of the cab, we were completely surrounded by luxury cars. We could have stood there for hours. It was so fun to see the car culture! Of course we headed to the usuals, Gucci, LV, Versace (Ollie really wanted to try on this robe). We were mesmerized by the massive aquarium in the middle of the mall. Everything about the experience was so amazing. We loved watching the locals shop and loved to people watch and comment on all of their amazing hand bags and shoes (see previous blog posts…these boys know their designer goods).

We got back to the hotel room in the late afternoon. We could barely keep our eyes open, but I pushed myself to go to the gym. Ugh jetlag is the worst, but you can’t give in! Must push through! For dinner we went to China Grille in the hotel which is one of our favorite spots in New York. So that was fun! We actually ate there twice!

The next day, after breakfast and a swim we were back in the cab and off to the Mall of the Emirates – which was basically similar to the Dubai Mall but instead of massive fish and sharks swimming through the middle of the mall, there was a full blown ski slope! It was actually so cool and fun to see in person! We had lunch in the food court at the most delicious schwarma place. The schwarma in Dubai was entirely worth the trip. Delicious. For dinner we headed to a restaurant that over looked the Burj Khalifa which is the tallest building in the world. We had a nice dinner with a front row view of the dancing fountains. It was a great night and I gotta say…the dancing fountains were awesome. Totally touristy, but worth it!

Day 3 was our desert safari day! Seriously, it was the most fun day we have had in a long time. Everything about it. I mean, it’s a total touristy thing to do, but how could we go to Dubai and not go on a desert safari!? Our guide picked us up at the hotel after lunch and we headed for the desert. The first stop was to ride ATVs and dune buggies. We got 2 dune buggies and an ATV for the 5 of us. Riding and ATV was a life goal of Ollie’s that he was able to fulfill. To this day, he says that it was the best 20 minutes of his life. I have to admit, the dune buggies were fun, but the ATV looked awesome!

After the best 20 minutes of Ollie’s life came to an end, we headed back to the Land Cruiser to move onto the dune bashing segment of the tour. I’ll just start by saying that I get extremely motion sick. Like horrible. I was so nervous. I sat in the front – which was the path of least resistance, but it was still rough. The guide let the air out of the tires and we headed off into the desert in a caravan of Land Cruisers. Up and over dunes, drifting, etc. It was worse than a roller coaster. Poor Ollie was in the 3rd row and almost tossed his cookies, but we all made it through. After the dune bashing was photo time in the desert. It was so beautiful as the sun was setting. Loved it! Our family jump photo…. Let’s just say that I wasn’t getting satisfactory height. This was probably like the 30th take…

After our photo ops, we got back in the Land Cruisers and headed to dinner in the desert. It was awesome. First we got to ride the camels. To be honest, it was a brief experience that Ollie skipped, but we had fun doing a quick loop! Getting on and off a camel is one of the stranger experiences I have ever had.

There were tents and schwarma and henna tattoos! There were also shisha pipes (think hookah) that were included in the dinner. Max and Sam chose some nasty strawberry flavored coals and sucked on that thing until their lungs were most likely black. They loved every minute of it! When in Dubai….. After dinner there was entertainment. Not sure what they were called, but there were a couple of men who did this spinning act. Think whirling dervish. While slightly dizzying, it was cool.

After the light up spinning show, we were jet lagged and ready for bed. We attempted to find our guide to hitch a ride back to Dubai and he insisted that the show was not over and that there was no way we would want to miss the belly dancing. I don’t have any photos because I was shaking I was laughing so hard watching my boys watch the belly dancer. Lets just say that she did NOT wear a burka. It was such a stark contrast to all of the women in burkas that I couldn’t quite wrap my head around it. The desert safari day was an amazing end to our time in Dubai. After the belly dancing was over, we headed back to Dubai and fell into bed. Next up? The 6 hour flight to Bangkok.

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Here are some of the things that I have curated from all over the web. Dang those men are hard to buy for and I have four of them! Here are some of the things that that my guys love…

  1. Viscero Collective men’s watch. Ollie LOVES this watch and has been dying for it. Adam got one last summer in Italy that has a similar look.
  2. Comme des Garcons graphic tee.  Super fun for Valentines Day! Would look great under the hoodie.
  3. Jo Malone Mens’ cologne collection. I LOVE Jo Malone scents. You will too. Perfect gift. Get yourself a nice smelling man!
  4. Tommy John boxer brief gift set! I haven’t tried these yet, but all the Crooked Media guys love them. I trust them. Can’t wait for my boys to revamp their underwear bins!
  5. Patagonia better sweater zip through hoodie. Suddenly my husband has stepped into the world of hoodies. Better late than never! This is a great spring staple.
  6. Herschel Supply backpack. If you watch my instagram stories, you know that I absolutely HATE carrying everyone else’s stuff. Every man needs a man purse. This one is perfect for a day trip or a carry on. Haul your own crap, people. Here’s the perfect bag. Now use it!
  7. Maui Jim Aviators. Shades are always a good gift. Love these.
  8. Canada Goose reversable beanie. This may be a bit of a racket….but if you are looking to really wow them with a great designer beanie, this is the perfect one! Let’s face it. Gifts are just that. A gift. We don’t need them, but they are nice to have!
  9. Leather Watch Case. Men like watches. Whether your guy has one or 10, this gift is a nice gesture and maybe a hint of gifts to come in the future!
  10. Swell water bottle. I have said it before and I will say it again…. Everyone needs their own water bottle – and not one of those ones that they got at a work conference. A nice metal water bottle that fits in their car cup holder. Done.
  11. Hot Sauce and spice rub set. This may not be for everyone, but we LOVE hot sauce. The hotter the better. How fun is a sample gift set?
  12. Wahl cordless beard trimmer. Beards are all the rage and beard trimmers are not all equal. This one is great. It’s wireless & sleek. Good for a man on the go!
  13. Adidas Original hoodie. Max got this hoodie and Dubai. He hardly ever takes it off. The red is great and it’s super cozy. Great gift!
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Hi all! Better late than never with the Valentine’s Day Gift guides! Here are a few of my favorite things that I thought I’d share with you. Click on the affiliate links below in the description to shop!

  1. Charlotte Tillsbury Instant Look Palette. This is a great palette for the face. Great for a teen or tween as well as any woman!! Gives a perfect bronzed natural look with a little contour. Perfect for travel. All in one makeup for those on the go.
  2. Barefoot Dreams In the Wild Throw. I guess this is a lesson in trusting the bloggers. This blanket has been all over the blogosphere and for very good reason. I treated myself to one when we rearranged the Dedham house and now everyone is fighting over it. I feel like Linus. I drag it from room to room. It’s like wrapping yourself in a cozy cloud. Love the animal print, obvs.
  3. Adorable Madewell Heart Studs. How cute are these?? I love a little gold stud for an every day look. Perfect for teens and tweens as well as your honey! Show them you love them with these little cuties.
  4. Small Heart and Diamond Necklace. This is a step up from the studs above. With a little bezel set diamond in the chain, this totally says “I love you.” to any woman in your life.
  5. Tacos re my Valentine Tee. How adorable is this? Such a fun little tee for your favorite gal!
  6. MZ Wallace tote. The perfect tote for the mom on the go, a cute overnight bag, or the perfect carry on! These totes are built to last. A great gift for sure.
  7. Eberjey PJ Jumpsuit. This jumpsuit can go from bed to carpool with the simple addition of a bomber or denim jacket. Anyone who knows me knows that I have been known to chase a missed bus in my PJs. While I’m no longer chasing busses, I did walk into Dedham Country Day School yesterday in my PJ bottoms to deliver gym shoes left behind. These would have really come in clutch. Trust.
  8. Velvet Scrunchie Set. Enough said.
  9. Patagonia Re-Tool Snap Pullover. Love these. Perfect for everyone in your life. Runs a little small. Size up!
  10. Red & White Striped LOVE Tee. Adorable. Perfect every day casual spring style.
  11. Hydro Flask Water Bottle. Love this thing. Save the planet. Stop buying bottled water. Water stays cold clllllll day long! A great water bottle is a must for everyone.
  12. Quay Super Girl Cat Eye Glasses. Super cute. Super fun. Well priced. Love.
  13. Converse Red One Star. Have them. Love them. Such a great gift. They run big so read reviews on sizing. I usually wear a 9 in sneakers and my 8.5’s need a thick sock!
  14. J Crew Marino Cheetah Sweatshirt. Cheetah. Sweatshirt. Enough said.
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The toughest of all the gift guides. MEN. They are so hard to buy for. Here are a few of my ideas…

ONE: Bose wireless bluetooth headphones. For working out, listening to podcasts or even watching his and hers netflix on iPads in bed, wireless bluetooth headphones are a win.

TWO: Shades. Love these Raybans. A slightly more modern take on the aviator.

THREE: Designer denim. Theres nothing worse than the dad look, can we agree on that? In my opinion, the hardest thing for the 40 something set of dads is denim. They grew up in the Levis generation (and those are back – so we can give them that) – but I feel like they went from Levis in high school to Gap in college and then never really moved on from there. Throw your guy a bone, and outfit him in some nice designer denim. These basics from Joe’s Jeans are a great entry into the world of designer jeans. Not overwhelmingly trendy, but just a little more refined.

FOUR: NFL beanie. Help your guy support his team and look cute all at the same time.

FIVE: Better Sweater zip through. Pair this with his new designer denim and he is good to go for the weekend!

SIX: Yeti 20 oz cup. I know Yeti is all the rage and super pricey, but this $30 cup will keep his coffee warm all day. Send him off in the am with it filled to the brim and save $10/day on Starbucks!

SEVEN: Yeti cooler. Kind of a gift for him, but also a gift for you. Great for parties, transporting food for travel, beach days or on the boat. This cooler is pretty much a portable fridge.

EIGHT: Suede Chukka Boots. Again, upping this weekend style game. Love these for a casual work day or out and about on the weekend.

NINE: Lutron Caseta wireless smart lighting. Control your your lights from your phone! Smart homes are where it’s at. If he can control it from his phone, then he can’t nag you or the kids for leaving the lights on!

TEN: Sonos. Again with the smart home – but these little speakers pump out some amazing sound. You can put them in multiple rooms and group them together to get surround sound and consistent music throughout your house. Remember when we used to spend thousands on a receiver and then needed a CD player and speakers??? This is all that in one little speaker for a fraction of the price. It’s time to upgrade.

ELEVEN: Patagonia trucker hat. So he can be twinning with your teens.

TWELVE: Patagonia down sweater zip through. Again a great piece for the weekend. Perfect for him to wear while running around knocking things off his honey do list.

THIRTEEN: Nest smart thermostat. Easy to install & cost effective. Control the temp of your house from your phone. Again – saving on utilities in the long run!

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Here we go… the teen boy gift guide! I have 3 boys 2 teens and a tween. They are IMPOSSIBLE to buy for – which is why we do a trip at the holidays rather than gifts, but that’s an entirely different blog post…

These are sure wins in our house. If you are viewing this on your phone, be sure to click on the numbered text below the image for the corresponding link.

ONE: DJI mini drone. If you have a techy boy who is interested in photography, cinematography, or just flying $hit through the air, this is a great gift. Probably not for the irresponsible type, but this is at the top of Ollie’s list.

TWO: Patagonia sweatshirt. All my kids love Patagonia right now. I kind of feel like its a throw back to Christmas 1988 with their longing for fleece – but these sweatshirts are great. Perfect weight. They are well loved over here.

THREE: Patagonia trucker hat. Very much in style with the suburban set. I’m just happy they will wear a hat while out on the boat all day. They love this trucker hat. For the fishing enthusiast, there is THIS ONE, too.

FOUR: The Tile App. Perfect for the teen who is constantly losing their wallet or keys. With the Tile App, they can instantly locate their belongings. Makes that Gucci wallet they want (see below) almost worth it. If you have multiple bone heads, there THIS MULTIPACK. I could get the 4 pack and put one in each stocking including the husband.

FIVE: Portable charger. Never again will you have to even entertain the response “sorry I didn’t respond, mom, my phone was dead.” So maybe most of my ideas are more for my own sanity – but I think I can spin them, right?

SIX: R&F Unblemish Regimen. I posted about this in my skin care gift guide – but we have had great luck with these products. Giving the gift of clean and clear skin is kind of a dream.

SEVEN: Chin up bar. This may sound like a weird one, but teen age boys love to work on their bods. It’s true. Try not to think about it. Just give them what they want. It won’t wreck your moldings. I swear.

EIGHT: Gucci wallet – ok this might sound extreme and extravegant – but all 3 of my kids have one. They LOVE THEM. Teen age boys love designer brands. Gucci is all the rage. A wallet is not a temporary gift. As long as they don’t lose it (see The Tile App above) they will have it forever. It’s a cool gift. They will love you for it.

NINE: Gucci Slides – again with the Gucci thing. They love them, what can I say? Mine don’t have them – but the idea has been heavily thrown around. They have searched online and have deliberated buying them over and over again.

TEN: Game tickets! I truly believe in giving the gift of an experience. In my opinion, there’s no better gift than the gift of time together as a family. We love to go to Boston sports games together as a family. Sure they would in theory rather just go with a friend, but guess what? They love being with you, too.

ELEVEN: Patagonia better sweater zip through. Good for teens and dads alike – it’s basically a fancy fleece. I’d put it in the dress up category – but they still think its a fleece.

TWELVE: Hurley Phantom sandals. These have the Nike air technology. They are super comfy and durable. Perfect for summer or an upcoming vacation!

THIRTEEN: GoPro Hero Session. Another good one for kids who like to produce their own content. Great for aspiring YouTubers, athletes, and creative kids. Giving a kid a camera is one of the best things you can do to spark their creativity!

FOURTEEN: Yeezy socks. I don’t think they need any more of a sell.

FIFTEEN: Patagonia better sweater 3/4 zip. Just an even fancier version of the one above.

SIXTEEN: Bluetooth wireless waterproof and shock proof speaker. Great for their room, the basketball court or on the boat. They need their gangsta wrap. Give them what they want.

SEVENTEEN: Turtle Beach gaming headset. I could go on and on about the social benefits of a gaming headset for boys – but I’ll spare you. However what I have witnessed from having 2 teen boys so close in age who love their gaming, playing online with friends (and each other) is  one of their only social outlets. The gear is essential. I feel like we are constantly needing new gaming headsets. They wear them out!

EIGHTEEN: Adidas Ultra Boost. These are the it sneaker for my kids right now. They all have a pair. They love them.

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