Pura Vida in Pictures


20160130_172633Our Girls Getaway to Costa Rica was a complete success!  Perfect weather, an incredibly relaxed resort & the discovery of “Pura Vida” – the simple life at it’s best.

We really enjoyed the Flamingo Beach Resort & Spa, as it was a change from our usual “stock” all-inclusives.  The intimate atmosphere made everything so accessible… just a few steps from the pool, to the restaurant to the beach.  The service was excellent & the staff was friendly & knowledgeable, offering helpful advice on what to see & do.  We loved the open-air feel of the resort & enjoyed all of our meals & drinks outside in the beautiful, tropical setting.

For a full review of this resort, check out my latest article on Trip101.com:  “Discover Pura Vida at Costa Rica’s Flamingo Beach Resort”

But for the “Photostory” – just keep scrolling 🙂

I’m starting with my favorite thing to do on vacation…  Morning coffee on the balcony. Here it came with a great view & a strong Costa Rican brew.

Here’s our actual room from the inside & out.  Basic accommodations, but with everything we needed.  And our 2nd floor “Poolview” room was a winner as we could see both the pool AND the ocean – jackpot!

I loved heading over to the beach early in the morning and enjoying this long, beautiful stretch all to myself.  And I mean EARLY as the symphony of tropical birds had me up every day by 6am!20160130_0618302016-01-30 06.44.57

The sun rose from behind the resort, so the ocean lit up before the sand… so pretty to watch!

This the main Arenas Restaurant, with air-conditioned seating inside and this awesome screened-in patio outside, looking over at the beach.  Drinks & dinner were also available upstairs at the open-air, Sunset Lounge.

We did make a few friends during our stay…  this guy crawled right up onto my chair to say hello one afternoon!PhotoGrid_1454433100894

Here are a few more shots from around the resort… As you can see, it’s all about the water.  The covered pool is for the kids – such a great idea!

We did venture out and took a Sunset Catamaran Cruise on the 47′ “Panache” – a beautiful boat, manned by a super fun crew.  We stopped to snorkel, had some snacks, enjoyed the complimentary cocktails and ended with an amazing sunset…

Speaking of sunsets… staying on the Pacific side of Costa Rica guarantees some breathtaking views every night.  These were taken as we walked down the beach to “Coco Loco” – a restaurant/bar that sits right on the sand.

Costa Rica is famous for its surf… Unfortunately the only wave I “caught” was this one, just as the sun was setting.

This really was a perfect destination… totally relaxing, friendly people and a great place to reconnect a little with nature.  The “Pura Vida” lifestyle certainly is amazing!

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Last but not least… for the Foodies:  Two delicious ceviches, fresh fish tacos (at the airport of all places) and my favorite cocktail – The Green Monster!  Cheers!!!


Next Stop… Costa Rica!


One month from today, I will be waking up here… at the Flamingo Beach Resort in the Guanacaste area of Costa Rica. 🙂

This year’s “Girls Getaway” was booked faster than any other.  We found an AWESOME deal on the airfare… an unheard of $275 for round-trip, non-stop flights from Newark on United.  This made the destination a no-brainer.  Then we quickly selected this resort based on it’s beautiful beach, the all-inclusive option, a full range of amenities (including  a spa) and the stellar reviews we read online.

This will be my 2nd trip to Costa Rica, the first being a cruise stop on the Caribbean side where we explored the city of Limon, zip-lined through the rain forest,  and came up close & personal with a 3-toed sloth who had ventured down from the trees to do his weekly “business” (my highlight of the trip).  But now I’m heading to the Pacific Coast, to this fairly new tourist destination where people are scooping up properties, surfing the many beaches and living the “Pura Vida” lifestyle.

Flamingo Beach is considered one of the nicest in the area, featuring white sand, gentle waves and that gorgeous Pacific sunset.  The resort itself, however, is a little different than where we usually stay.  It’s much smaller, the pool is fairly basic (although it does have a swim-up bar), the rooms look very nice but not overly luxurious and there’s only 1 actual restaurant, compared to the 5 or more we’ve been spoiled by at our previous resorts.  But we’re looking forward to trying something new and everything here sounds amazing. The area looks gorgeous, the service sounds top-notch and the food should be a real treat as the resort utilizes its own organic garden & meals here feature fresh, local specialties.

I can’t wait to hear the monkeys in the trees, be surrounded by tropical vegetation, paddle board in the Pacific & catch those spectacular sunsets every night.  I think this is going to be a good one!!!

If you’ve been here… please share your must-see or must-do list in the comments below!!!  Thank you!

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Visit the resort’s web site here: www.resortflamingobeach.com

And check out their great video:  https://youtu.be/e9E0Tz3zyCE

Guilty of a Little Self-Promotion…


I love to travel… and I enjoy writing.  But can I make a career out of it?  Or at the very least, earn a few free trips?  Who knows, but I’m proud to say that I’ve taken the first step by landing a freelance writing position with a new travel web site called http://www.trip101.com.  They specialize in “recommendations” vs “reviews” & this, my very first article, was published this week.


Will do my best to keep them coming… Wish me luck!

– Kristin

I Love to Cruise, But I Hate the Packing!

ourshipDon’t get me wrong… I love a good cruise.  The blue water, the exotic ports, the amazing food – it’s all fantastic.  There is one thing, however, that I wish I could somehow avoid… THE PACKING!

Packing for a cruise is difficult for several reasons.  First of all, there is some formality to these trips. Eating in the “Main Dining Room,” which I thoroughly enjoy, requires a dress code, and depending on your cruise line, that can vary from nice shorts to a suit & tie.  And if you’re sitting at an assigned table, where you’re going to dine with the same people every night?  That certainly means no repetition of any part of your wardrobe.  Luckily, we choose the flexible dining option where we enjoy a table for 3 and can wear the same black pants a few times without worry.

During the day, there are other obstacles.  Walking around the ship is a bit different than just hanging out at a beach resort.  You really need an “outfit” versus a “cover-up” over your bathing suit.  This is especially true if you’re planning to eat lunch inside or want to hit the casino for a few rounds as you’re passing through (and it always seems like we’re passing through, no matter where we’re going!)

Then there are your Port Days… something to wear while sightseeing, or shopping, and then something for the beach.  You need to pack a beach bag, possibly a few sand toys for the kids and a whole numerical range of sunscreen.  And don’t forget you’ll still need another outfit for dinner that night!

Planning to hit the gym during your cruise?  Add that stack of work-out clothes and those special sneakers to your pile.  And I haven’t even touched on shoes yet!  Dress shoes, sandals, flip flops, water shoes for the beach…  And the toiletries, and the first aid supplies, jewelry, toys, books, cameras, all the chargers, a power strip (cause there are never enough outlets), and don’t forget the “Rum Runner Flasks” to smuggle on a few cocktails!

So as our upcoming cruise rapidly approaches, I’m in that state of packing-hell, with piles of clothes and accessories taking over my home office, and the stress of fitting it all in the suitcase yet to come… oh and did I mention that we’re sailing on Halloween?  And that my son is a Giant Hot Dog?  That’s right… find a place for that costume in your suitcase!

All complaints aside, soon I’ll be on my balcony with my coffee or cocktail in hand, watching the sun rise & set over the ocean… and it’ll all be worth it!!!

September Summer :)

For those of us who are lucky enough to live at the Jersey Shore year round, we know that September is one of the best months of the year here.  The weather is still warm enough to enjoy the beach during the day and cool enough to sleep with the windows open at night.  We fall back into our routines without having to deal with crowds, traffic or tourists.

IMG_20150905_160925This time of year you can visit the beach for free,
and without the fear of being impaled by hundreds
of poorly planted umbrellas. There aren’t any crazy tents or people painted white with sunscreen.  No one will be walking across your towel, feeding the seagulls right next to you or setting up shop so close that you can actually hold hands.  When you live here, beach etiquette is an unwritten rule that everyone knows how to follow.

Walking on the boardwalk or strolling around town is also more pleasurable now… you’re not sweating, or dodging in and out of crowds. No one is stopping suddenly, trying to figure out where they’re going or blocking the middle of the sidewalk while they wait for their party to catch up.  There aren’t any crazy lines for ice cream or for dinner.  You can eat anywhere, with little or no waiting, and park wherever you’d like.


Tourism certainly helps fuel our economy so we really can’t knock this crazy influx of people during the summer months. However, once Labor Day has passed, it’s hard not to celebrate the return of our peaceful little paradise!

Sadly, the forecast looks rainy for the next few days but there will still be plenty of time to get out there and enjoy this magical month at the Jersey Shore!

A Little Bling Anyone?

In addition to my love of travel and fine cuisine, I also have a little “thing” for jewelry.  It started long ago, influenced by my maternal grandmother who never left the house without her favorite pieces.  The bulk of my pre-motherhood career years were spent working for a jewelry manufacturer, where I was able to get my fill of silver, gold, diamonds and more… plus travel on a regular basis. Destinations like Las Vegas, Palm Springs, Toronto, Atlanta, Orlando & more were the norm… I even spent a week in Switzerland at the largest jewelry & watch show in the world.  And in all those places?  Amazing food to boot!

So once my son was settled into a full-day school routine, I felt the call to get back into the business.  I needed flexible hours and didn’t have too much time to spare, so I started looking at some direct sales companies.  Quality and customer service were of the utmost importance to me, and certainly Sterling Silver would be a bonus.  My perfect match? Silpada Designs.

Original Silpada Founders, Teresa & Bonnie (center) with their 2 girls, Kelsey & Ryane :)

Original Silpada Founders, Teresa Walsh & Bonnie Kelly (center) with their 2 girls, Kelsey (L) & Ryane (R) 🙂

Started by two moms, who met when their daughters were in the same kindergarten class, this Kansas City based company was the perfect fit.  I’d been to, and hosted a few parties, so I knew how it all worked & was pleased with the company policies and support. Bonnie & Teresa’s 2 daughters (the ones from kindergarten!) have recently taken on the roles of Co-Presidents & introduced a new Fashion Jewelry line, as well as a brand new scarf & bag line, to the original Sterling Silver Collection.

Every July, Silpada holds their National Conference for 4 days in Kansas City (here’s where the travel & food work their way in…).  I can’t say I was ever thrilled with the idea of going to the middle of the United States, in the middle of July, but I’ve found it to be a wonderful city with lots of great restaurants!  I just got back and want to give a shout out to our 2 favorite eateries…

IMG_20150715_192323On our 1st night in town, after a long day of traveling, I couldn’t wait to chill out at the Tannin Wine Bar & Kitchen on Walnut St.  Who doesn’t love being able to order wine by the “taste”…  and have some great food to pair it with!  They have a nice outdoor seating area, but with temps in the 90s on this trip, we opted to sit inside & cool down.  We started with 3 tastes each, of our favorite reds, followed by an array of fresh, flavorful plates.  Everything was amazing & we rolled out completely stuffed & satisfied yet again. 🙂

Our trip to Kansas City wouldn’t be complete with a visit to La Bodega, on Southwest Blvd and our 3rd time here did not disappoint.  We LOVE the atmosphere at this chic little Spanish tapas restaurant and even though we had to eat at the bar (forgot to make a reservation!), the meal was still delightful.  They offer an amazing wine & drink menu to complement a delicious assortment of hot & cold small plates.  We enjoyed several fancy cocktails in addition to mussels with chorizo, grilled shrimp, scallops wrapped in Spanish ham, baked goat cheese & more… total yum!!!


Sheraton Crown Center Lobby

We stay at the Sheraton Crown Center when in town, with easy access to the Westin & its Crown Center Shops.  The hotel bar offers great service (shout out to Tamara) and its own delicious menu.

This trip is always a great refresher, both on the business and personal level.  I’m excited to share Silpada’s exciting new Fall Collection and offer the business opportunity to anyone who’s ever thought about starting a little something on the side.  Check out my web site, www.mysilpada.com/kristin.matteo for all the info or to order up a little “bling” of your own!

And stay on top of all the latest specials, promotions, sneak peaks and more on my Facebook page: Kristin Matteo’s Silver Scene.  Thanks & have a “Sterling” Day!