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The Online Mom provides internet technology advice and information to help parents protect their kids, encourage responsible behavior and safely harness the power of technology in the new digital world. Social networking, photo sharing, video games, IM & texting, internet security, cyberbullying, educational resources, the latest on tech hardware, gadgets and software for kids 3-8, tweens and teens, and more.

Often, it’s just the little things



The always awesome Ann Tran was kind enough to invite me along with an awesome group of bloggers to a sizzling Tweet-up in Miami last month.

While I was completely swamped at work and home with the school year-end, I decided to do this for myself – connect with dear friends and take two nights to enjoy the beautiful Mandarin Oriental in Miami.

As expectations go, I had thought I would eat well, relax by the pool, enjoy amazing company and admire the views based on the hotel’s location. I’d had the pleasure of enjoying the Mandarin service in Singapore a few years ago and I knew it would be exquisite.

Well – it was much more than that.

The hotel has a quiet elegance and peaceful atmosphere that you just don’t expect from its top rated reputation. I wasn’t even sure I was at the right place when I first arrived – the lobby is not too big, it’s low key and exclusive and it smells delicious. “What is that?” I asked the reception clerk. “It’s incense,” she replied, smiling at my surprised face.

Upon checking in to my room I found a super-interesting and colorful tray of fruits, sugar, limes and ice – along with a small bottle of Bacardi – all with a note and instructions on how to prepare my own Mojito.

I was smitten.

I then met my mates Ann Tran, Steve Akins, Isa Zapata and Sean Gardner, and we had a fantastic evening of live social media. If you haven’t tried this experiment, I strongly recommend it. Connect with people on Twitter and then take it to the next level – it’s an amazing experience!

The next day I was in for a big surprise! I should preface this by saying that I consider myself somewhat of a spa expert. I have experienced spectacular spa venues and treatments in every corner of the planet, so when I saw “Spa Morning” in our agenda I was excited about trying the Mandarin’s services but did not think I was going to be blown away.

Well I was. Our spa manager gave us a sampler of various services but my last one was by far the best. I met Francesca, who promptly proceeded to “put my body back together” with a series of gentle muscle and bone manipulations to align my spine. Needless to say I haven’t stopped raving about it and am hoping to persuade my husband that I need to see Francesca regularly. That’s not going to be as easy as I thought….

So then you realize that when it comes to selecting a place where you can be truly pampered and taken care of, there is no better venue in Miami than the Mandarin. Every chance I get, I will return to this hotel. I’d rather have less days on vacation at the Mandarin in Miami than more days somewhere else.

And it bears repeating that connecting with your friends on social media is an effort from which both you and they will benefit.

Many thanks to the awesome Allie Spang who made this experience possible and thought of all the details, including the design and selection of the treats you see in this picture.

And please share here your amazing vacation experiences of the Summer – I’d love to hear what they are….



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