Category Archives: FOOD + TRAVEL

#LolaOnTheGo: St Louis Travel Guide

My article original appeared in Houston Style Magazine at www.stylemagazine.com.

In my series of must visit U.S. cities, St. Louis makes the list with its many family and budget friendly attractions. From breweries and casinos to museums and parks, the city boasts many amusements along with historical sites and a plethora of culinary delights that are sure to satisfy any palette.

Here are a few of some well-known attractions along with a few newly discovered gems that should be visited during your stay in St. Louis

The Gateway Arch

What’s a trip to St. Louis without getting up close and personal with the iconic Gateway Arch.? This magnificent stainless steel monument rises about 630 feet into the city’s beautiful skyline. Although it’s free to view from the ground, we highly suggest traveling up the arch to marvel at the city’s incredible aerial views. We guarantee that both adults and children alike will have loads of fun taking selfies while riding up to the top in the arch’s sci-fi like pods (seats up to 4).

If visiting during warm months, hop aboard a 19th century paddle-wheel boat replica for a one-hour narrated cruise down the mighty Mississippi. This activity is highly recommended for those wanting to photographically capture views of the arch and other inspiring architecture. (Cruises run daily March-November.)

Missouri Botanical Garden

You don’t have to necessarily be a lover of everything flora and fauna to appreciate this particular St. Louis attraction. As a matter of fact, it is a perfect destination for some fun with the kids, lots of magical discoveries, and an even more serene atmosphere for an afternoon of walking and self-meditation or perhaps even a picnic lunch date. From the interactive and educational Children’s Garden to a 14 acre Japanese Garden to a real rainforest experience with waterfalls and tropical birds, this 79 acres of lush gardens, stunning landscape, and whimsical sculptures should definitely be on your list during your visit to St. Louis. If visiting during the winter months, the holiday lights and decorations are sure to be a treat!

Missouri History Museum

For those that enjoy reveling in a little nostalgia, he Missouri History Museum is the place for you. While the museum does offer permanent exhibits, it also offers short-term special exhibits such as the “ Route 66: Main Street Through St Louis” exhibit. Take a step back and get your kicks learning about this famous road and its history. And to make this experience an even better one, entry is FREE! Side note: perfect time to mention that St. Louis is home to over 25 free attractions, which include most of the city’s museums along with its zoo.
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City Museum
While this museum isn’t free like most of the St. Louis museums, the City Museum is at the top of our list for children of all ages. (Yes, we guarantee that moms and dads will have just as much fun.) The museum can best be described as an interactive, eclectic, and creative playground filled with endless fun. From tunnels to ball pits, to a rooftop ferris wheel, this wondrous architectural funhouse will inspire hours of imaginative and explorative fun. Oh, and for our 21 and up readers, you might want to partake in an adult beverage at the museum’s rooftop cantina and enjoy the sunset before taking another adventure down the 10-story spiral slide.

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Anheuser-Busch Brewery

Can’t visit St. Louis without stopping to snap a photo or two of the world famous Clydesdales. And for the beer lovers out there, what better place to be at than the Anheuser-Busch Brewery? The free 45 minute tour guides you through one of the oldest operating breweries in the country and offers two complimentary drinks for visitors 21 years and older. Tours tend to fill up fast so make sure to show up early or maybe even consider taking one of the special tours for a small fee.

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EAT St. Louis Food Tour

Did I mention that I love to eat? Like, a lot. And this is why I recommend this culinary and historical tour, especially if you love Italian food as much as I do. So make sure to sign up while visiting St. Louis and let owner Pete Manzo guide you through a three-hour walking tour of the Hill. With six restaurant tastings ranging from St. Louis style pizza (Provel cheese blend) to Gelato Di Riso, said to be the best gelato outside of Italy, this tour is definitely a must for the foodie lovers.

Save room for the Italian Stallion sandwich at John Viviano and Sons (preferably the vegetarian option – I promise you won’t be disappointed!).

Stay tuned for more on St. Louis in next month’s issue

For more information on what to do in St. Louis, visitwww.explorestlouis.com.

[Photos by: Me :)]

CHECKOUT 51 LAUNCHES AMERICA’S FIRST SPANISH LANGUAGE GROCERY SAVINGS APP

Checkout 51, America’s fastest growing grocery savings app is now the first major grocery savings app in the US to be available in Spanish. The Spanish version of the free mobile app will include offers available in the English version of Checkout 51, including savings on diapers, milk, eggs, alcohol and more.

Every Thursday, Checkout 51 provides a new list of offers on everyday items. Shoppers can visit the retailer of their choice, purchase products from the list, and use the app to take a photo of their receipt. When a member’s Checkout 51 savings hit $20, they can cash out and Checkout 51 will send them the money. Providing these savings in Spanish makes Checkout 51 the first of its kind.  Existing Checkout 51 members can simply toggle to their preferred language in their app settings, meaning there is no need for an additional app download, and the app will default to a new user’s preferred language when downloaded for the first time.

 

Hispanics are, by far, the fastest growing population in the US, with 37 million Spanish speakers nationwide, an astounding 233% increase since 1980. Latinos are leading the way in digital device usage, with seventy-nine percent of Hispanic Americans owning smartphones and spending thirteen percent more time using apps or browsing online than the national average. In addition, the median age of the Hispanic American is 30 years old, twelve years younger than the national average, meaning they also have more buying years ahead of them. According to the Selig Center for Economic Growth, US Hispanic buying power is projected to reach an estimated $1.7 trillion in the next three years.

 

“Hispanics represent nearly one-fifth of the US population, and yet, they are a greatly underserved community,” said Noah Godfrey, Founder of Checkout 51. “Our mission is to make it effortless for families to save money, and we felt it was important to make it easy for native Spanish speakers to save with ease with Checkout 51.”

 

“As an avid saver, I am thrilled to hear that there is now a grocery savings app specifically for the millions of Spanish-speaking shoppers in the US,” said Mary Sanfeliz, blogger on popular Latino savings site, Cuponeandote. “Checkout 51 makes saving money on everyday products seamless and literally puts money back in your pocket. This is an app that will really benefit the Latino population.”

 

Checkout 51 launched in Canada in 2012 and in the US in 2014, and was incorporated into News America Marketing’s savings portfolio in 2015. It is now one of the most popular savings apps in North America with over 10 million members. There are presently 57 million Hispanic Americans in the US, representing eighteen-percent of the total population. Checkout 51 is the first and only grocery savings app offered in Spanish.

 

El servicio de United Airlines a La Habana comienza el 29 de noviembre

United Airlines ha comenzado la cuenta regresiva a Cuba después de que el  Departamento de Transporte de los Estados Unidos (DOT, por sus siglas en inglés) le diera su aprobación final a la compañía para lanzar este otoño el servicio a La Habana desde dos de sus hubs. United comenzará a ofrecer vuelos diarios sin escala a la capital de Cuba desde Nueva York/Newark y vuelos los sábados sin escala desde Houston, ambos servicios sujetos a la aprobación del gobierno. Los clientes pueden comenzar a reservar vuelos a La Habana a través de united.com a partir de hoy.

 

Desde que DOT anunció sus rutas preliminares a La Habana en julio, United ha estado trabajando con el gobierno cubano para prepararse para el inicio de su operación en el Aeropuerto Internacional José Martí.

 

“Estoy muy orgulloso de todos los profesionales dedicados a la aviación en United que están trabajando arduamente para despegar nuestro servicio histórico a Cuba en noviembre”, dijo Oscar Munoz, CEO de United. “La aprobación final por el DOT reafirma que nuestros vuelos garantizarán mejores opciones, comodidad y competencia para todos los viajeros en esta importante ruta, y le quiero dar las gracias a DOT por su decisión”.

 

Los servicios de United a La Habana marcarán la 13ra ruta internacional que ha lanzado la aerolínea en 2016. Desde marzo, United estrenó servicios sin escala desde los Estados Unidos hasta Auckland, Nueva Zelanda; Tel Aviv, Israel; Xi’an, China; Singapur; Hangzhou, China; Atenas, Grecia; Barcelona, España; Providenciales, Turks y Caicos; Nassau, Bahamas y Lisboa, Portugal.

 

Servicio diario sin escala desde Nueva York/Newark (EWR)

Los vuelos diarios sin escala desde el Aeropuerto Internacional de Newark Liberty proporcionarán una importante puerta de entrada a Cuba desde la región de Newark/Nueva York, el área metropolitana más grande del país y el hogar de la segunda mayor población de cubano-americanos. Durante más de 20 años, United ha ofrecido a la región de Newark/Nueva York el mayor número de vuelos para la mayoría de los destinos de todo el mundo.

 

Servicio sin escala desde Houston (IAH) los sábados

Reconocido por la “Red de viajero de confianza” como uno de los puntos de entrada más amigables para los viajeros extranjeros, el aeropuerto Houston Bush Intercontinental es la puerta de entrada de United hacia América Latina. United ofrece 91 vuelos diarios sin escala a 52 destinos en toda América Latina y el Caribe desde su centro de Houston. Bush Intercontinental será una importante puerta de entrada para la ruta a La Habana, conectando directamente a 20 mercados en todo el centro y oeste de Estados Unidos a Cuba con una sola parada. La población cubano-estadounidense en el área metropolitana de Houston se encuentra entre las diez principales ciudades del país.

 

United operará los servicios a La Habana con aviones Boeing 737.

United Airlines Service to Havana Starts Nov. 29

The countdown to Cuba is officially underway at United Airlines after the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) awarded the company final approval to launch service to Havana from two of its hubs this fall. Beginning Nov. 29, United will start daily nonstop flights to the Cuban capital from New York/Newark and Saturday nonstop service from Houston with both services subject to government approval. Customers can begin booking flights to Havana via united.com today.

 

Since the DOT announced its preliminary Havana route awards in July, United has been working closely with the Cuban government to prepare for the start of its operation into José Martí International Airport.

 

“I’m incredibly proud of all the dedicated aviation professionals here at United who are working hard to get our historic Cuba service ready for takeoff in November,” said Oscar Munoz, United’s CEO. “The final approval by the DOT reaffirms that our flights will ensure better choice, convenience and competition for all travelers on this important route, and I want to thank the DOT for their decision.”

 

United’s services to Havana will mark the company’s 13th new international route launched in 2016. Since March, United has started nonstop service between the U.S. and Auckland, New Zealand; Tel Aviv, Israel; Xi’an, China; Singapore; Hangzhou, China; Athens, Greece; Barcelona, Spain; Providenciales, Turks and Caicos; Nassau, Bahamas, and Lisbon, Portugal.

 

Daily nonstop service from New York/Newark (EWR)

United’s daily nonstop flight from Newark Liberty International Airport will provide an important gateway to Cuba from the Newark/New York City region, the largest metropolitan area in the country and home to the second-largest population of Cuban Americans. For more than 20 years, United has offered the Newark/New York City region the most flights to the most destinations around the world.

 

Saturday nonstop service from Houston (IAH)

Recognized by “Trusted Traveler Network” as one of the most international-friendly points of entry for foreign travelers, Houston Bush Intercontinental Airport is United’s gateway to Latin America. United offers 91 daily nonstop flights to 52 destinations across Latin America and the Caribbean from its Houston hub. Bush Intercontinental will be an important gateway for service to Havana and will directly connect 20 markets across the central and western United States to Cuba with just one stop. The Cuban-American population in the Houston metropolitan area ranks among the top ten cities in the country.

 

United will operate both services with Boeing 737 aircraft.

Why The Houstonian’s Trellis Spa Is Worth Your Dollar

Let’s face it, some of us – ok, most of us – neglect to pamper ourselves the way we deserve to be.  We work hard, take care of our families, spend our spare time running errands and doing those dreaded chores (ugh). But hey, it’s the circle of daily life.  

So, with everything that we do, why not schedule some time to relax? And no, I’m not referring to the hot bath with a glass of wine type of relaxation ….although there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. And yes, I am sipping a glass of Merlot while writing!  

What we need, ladies, is a day of pure serene relaxation.  A day of dealing with absolutely nothing but our own peace of mind.  And the place to do that at?  My hands down most favorite spa in the city of Houston – The Trellis Spa  at the Houstonian. I do save my coins and try to treat myself at least once a month and yes,  every single time my boys ask what I want for Mother’s Day, my birthday, Christmas, or just for being the awesome mom I am – well, you guessed it – a gift certificate to Trellis.

Now, I do understand that Trellis may be above what some of us may want to pay but let me tell you why it is so worth it.

Sure , there are those spas that cost less or even those that offer memberships but here are my reasons as to why Trellis is the best spa for your buck.

So, you go to your regular spa, get your 30 to 50 minute massage….then what?  Get dressed, get back into your car  onto the road in that horrible Houston traffic and that’s it……spa time ruined.

Here’s my spa day schedule at Trellis and I wish my words could tell you why it’s so worth it.  I am going to try but trust me, book that appointment and check it out for yourself!

spa

Lola’s Tip On How To Spa At Trellis:

Book an afternoon appointment (around 2ish) and get there around 1pm. Get settled in – oh, and take a swimsuit! Take about 10 to 15 minutes in the whirlpool, then a few moments in the steamroom.  Rinse off in the rain shower and enjoy a few moments in the relaxation pool.  Enjoy the many fresh fruit juices (the melon is my fav!).  Rinse and get ready for your massage!

After your massage, grab a cocktail and take a nap in the relaxation room.  The dimly lit room is accented with plush chez lounge chairs and the fireplace along with the sound of the water feature.  After your nap (and maybe a little snoring, ha) grab a book, or some lunch and head out to the balcony amongst the trees. I usually like to grab a cup of complimentary coffee and cookies – WARNING – those cookies are addictive!

By the time I am ready to wrap it all up, I head back to the whirlpool with a magazine and order a libation.

After spending about 5 to 6 hours at the spa, I shower in the individual shower rooms that are not just spacious but have all of the amenities a girl can need.

So, 6 to 7 hours in pure luxury or 50 minutes for a massage and go?

For more information on the Trellis Spa click here 

 

 

 

Free Empanadas At Your Local Pollo Campero [@camperousa]

Hey friends of #TheLolaBrand, your local Pollo Campero, the Authentic Latin Chicken restaurant, will celebrate National Empanada Day by giving away one of Latin America’s most popular dishes.

Guests who visit the participating Pollo Campero restaurants on Wednesday, April 8 will receive a FREE hand-made empanada. Campero’s empanadas are made freshly every day with the restaurant’s famous chicken and Latin ingredients.

So, who’s going on a FREE lunch date with me?

 

Your Chance To Win A Two Night Stay At The All New Woodlands Resort [@WoodlandsResort]

Pack your bags and tell the honey to take a day or two off because just a quick 30 minutes north of Houston, nestled amongst over 100 miles of biking and jogging trails is your next “staycation getaway” – The Woodlands Resort & Conference Center – a paradise oasis.
I promise – if you’re anything like me living way (and I mean waaayyyy) on the other side of Houston – driving into the Woodlands Resort is like visiting some faraway land outside the state of Texas.

With 2 championship golf courses, 21 tennis courts (indoor/outdoor) 5 swimming pools and the recent addition of a 1,000 foot lazy river – I was plenty busy when I visited last September. There were rennovations during my stay as well as the construction of new additons so I am quite sure I didn’t get the “full’ experience but my spa treatment, the oh-so comfy beds, and excellent staff service made it all worth while! Wait, let’s not forget the 1,000 foot lazy river – can’t wait for summer!

I was already prepping to return so I could experience the fully rennovated resort when I came across the following announcement:

“We’re celebrating new beginnings around the Resort by giving away five two-night Bed and Breakfast stays! Starting February 23rd and continuing every day through February 27, we’ll hide this golden pine cone on a different page of our new woodlandsresort.com website”.

HOW TO ENTER

Visit our contest page on the new www.woodlandsresort.com each day 2/23 – 2/27.

Read the clue of the day to help you determine the location of the golden pine cone’s location on the website.

Search throughout the www.woodlandsresort.com website to find the golden pine cone.

When you find the golden pine cone, copy the page’s URL and paste the URL in the entry form on the Resort’s contest page.

Each day’s clue will be posted by 10:00 AM Central and you will have until midnight Central to enter your guess.

THE PRIZE

Five Daily Winners will receive a gift certificate for a two-night Bed and Breakfast Package for four at The Woodlands Resort. The package includes:

Deluxe accommodations for four for two-nights.

Full breakfast daily for four in The Woodlands Dining Room.

Unlimited access to sauna, steam room, whirlpool, fitness center and the Forest Oasis Waterscape™.

Winners will be selected in a random drawing held daily from among all eligible entries received. Limit one prize per individual/household during the Contest Period. Read the official rules here.

*It’s not quite warm enough to enjoy that lazy river just yet so my recommendation is to visit the spa. Relax. Rejuvenate. Repeat.

[Originally appeared on StyleMagzine.com]

Last Thursday of the Month Means Brunch at Night at Cuchara Restaurant!

cuchara

Brunch at night again!

Who has craved huevos divorciados for dinner?

This time, for our brunch at night, “Huevos divorciados” and all beers will be half price.
Our whole menu will be offered and our favorite trio will play.
You will be transported to any given Sunday brunch at Cuchara…

#MexicoCityInHouston #BrunchForDinner

Thursday October 30 from 5 to 10 PM

Cuchara is located at:
214 Fairview. Suite A
Houston, TX 77006

Montejo Brings its Authentic Mexican Flavor to the United States

Montejo_large

Beer drinkers in the southwestern United States can quench their thirst for a unique, refreshing and authentic Mexican lager when Montejo arrives at bars, restaurants and at grocery and convenience stores in September. Anheuser-Busch will import Montejo – a golden lager beer with more than 100 years of Mexican brewing tradition. The launch of Montejo marks the first import from Mexico to the United States by Anheuser-Busch.

According to Ryan Garcia, Anheuser-Busch vice president of regional marketing, “Mexican beers account for nearly 60 percent of imports, and we are responding to consumer demand for an authentic and distinctly Mexican lager.”Anheuser-Busch will put muscle behind Montejo’s launch in California, New Mexico, Arizona and Texas with an integrated advertising and marketing campaign that includes Hispanic targeted radio, digital, print, experiential and outdoor advertising.

More at anheuser-busch.com