Sunday, October 10, 2010

Tomgirl's online store to open soon!

We hope everyone enjoyed a beautiful, active, outdoorsy summer! As we settle into the gorgeous Autumn here in New England, we're so incredibly excited to get back to Tomgirl business, and announce the pending launch of our Tomgirl Tours online shopping experience… that’s right, we’re opening our online store in October! Soon you’ll be able to shop for a few of our favorite fall and winter items, right on www.tomgirltours.com. We’ll be selling beautiful Tomgirl hoodies, winter beanies and gorgeous tanks and tote bags! All our items are hand embroidered with the utmost quality, featuring our fashionably sporty and statement-making Tomgirl Tours logo!

Until you have a change to join us on a tour (or, as you remember an adventure with us!) don’t miss an opportunity to become part of the Tomgirl outdoor adventure team, with the purchase of these items. Stay tuned… or, for immediate info and to pre-order this versatile, functional (not to mention: adorable!) Tomgirl tote bag, contact us today at 866.992.4990.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Summer Break

As a tomgirl in New England, I am (as I do every year), counting down to summer. The skis, parkas and boots are tucked away and I’m like I was as a grade schooler waiting for school to let out! (speaking of: yes, that's me, right, with my sister Donna and nephew Dale).

We’ve had a few sneak peeks of warm weather so far, but with the arrival of May, abundant sunshine lies just ahead… and with it, endless adventure! There will be travel and zip lining and hiking and swimming and countless other activities. So, please forgive us if we’re a little quieter than usual. Instead of here on our blog, you’ll find us in our spare time in the parks, at the beaches and in the woods.

While you won’t be hearing as much from us here, each month, throughout the spring and summer, I will be discussing adventure and travel and Tomgirl Tours on Big Blend radio; we’ll keep you posted on the schedule and hope you’ll listen in.

Meanwhile, please do to chime in here or on Tomgirl Tours’ Facebook and share stories of your own adventures, wherever they may be. Wishing you all a spectacular spring and summer!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tomgirl’s Picks of the Week: April 20, 2010

Along with a love for adventure, part of being a Tomgirl is having a taste for life's luxuries--especially luxurious pampering. So, for our favorite things this week, we have spas on the brain! Here are a few amazing spots from Tomgirl's tour itineraries...

Places

Spa at the Essex is a gorgeous haven of relaxation at the Essex resort in Vermont, site of our Green Mountains Escape. Enjoy massages, body and facial treatments, salon services, an indoor lap pool, a fitness center, an outdoor hot tub, and too many other fabulous experiences for us to possibly name here!

Serenite, the spa at the Amara Resort is one of our favorite quiet places during our Red Rock Rendezvous tours in Sedona. The spa features the usual mix of services and packages, but with the added bonus of panoramic views of the Sedona horizon. We can't wait to visit again!

Media

In keeping with our theme, have you seen Spa magazine? A fabulous resource not only for spa information, but on how to bring those experiences home with you!

And, if after all this, you're on the hunt for the best local spa, SpaFinder is your go-to source.

From Tomgirl Tours

Join Tomgirl's Lori Carr tonight on Big Blend radio. Lori will be talking about the adventures to be found in New Hampshire. Click here to listen live at 7 pm!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Tomgirls Recommend...

"Solemate: Master the Art of Aloneness & Transform Your Life"
by Lauren Mackler

This month marks the paperback release of Lauren Mackler’s life-changing international bestseller "Solemate: Master the Art of Aloneness & Transform Your Life!" In celebration, Lauren is inviting readers to post their Solemate experiences on her blog and automatically be entered to win a signed copy of Solemate.

To read Solemate reviews or post your Solemate experience to enter to win a copy of the book, go to Lauren’s blog. For more information about Lauren’s coaching services or to sign up for her free Live Boldly newsletter, visit Lauren's site.

Tomgirl extraordinaire Lori Carr was recently a guest on Lauren’s weekly Life Keys radio show on Hay House Radio. Click here to join Hay House radio and download the episode to listen to Lauren and guests David Brown and Lori talk about “Doing the Unthinkable.”

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tomgirl’s Picks of the Week: April 13, 2010

This week our favorites focus on media for health-conscious and fun-loving travelers. These great resources will keep you healthy, informed, and entertained. What more can you ask for in life! Enjoy!

There are, of course, a plethora of print and online sources for information on health and wellness. We fine Health magazine and health.com to be one of the best one-stop resources. The online site has great, and extremely comprehensive, content on everything to keep you in-the-know and healthy.

To the fellow travel lovers or travel industry people out there: be sure to check in weekly for Peter Greenberg’s Weekly Travel Round-up Peter’s knowledge of travel shows through in this weekly must-read.

We love discovering blogs on the subject of travel. So, meet dirtbag writer, a self-proclaimed "budget traveler that is ambitious, eco-conscience, and cooperative – a major dreamer, adventurer, and conventional dissenter". Posts are informative but with a cheeky tone that’s much fun to read!

From Tomgirl Tours

Q: What, exactly, is a luxury eco-tent? A: Entirely “green” structures that still offer creature comforts. B: Where Tomgirls stay during our St. John Sojourn. C: All of the above. Answer: C! To learn more click here.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Tomgirl’s Picks of the Week: April 6, 2010

After a crazy week of weather here in the Northeast, we most definitely have spring fever! Can’t wait to get out in the sunshine and warmer temps. Here are some great resources for your springtime travel and adventure!

In the News:

If you missed this article by Gadling, it really is a must-read for women travelers—be they adventurers like us, leisure travelers, or road warriors for business. The top 10 travel tips, gathered from women around the world.

Media

Adventure Green: Bryan and Anne-Michelle are hooking up with top green activists to learn what it takes to be eco-friendly. In every episode they will show you how to seek adventure and help the environment at the same time. Travel destinations include: Thailand, Costa Rica, New Zealand, South Africa, Australia, Ireland, and Maine/Alaska in the USA.

Travel Gear Blog is a blog about outdoor travel gear. Since 2002, it’s been a "one stop guide to travel gear & gadgets". There is a little bit of everything "gear" on this site: Adventure Gear; a Gear Guide; Gear Reviews; How To/News; Outdoor Gear: Tech Gear and Travel Gear. Whew! She's on Twitter, too!

From Tomgirl Tours

Mark your calendars for April 20th! Tomgirl Tours’ Lori Carr will be back on Big Blend Radio’s Vacation Station (7-10 p.m. EST). This time around, learn all about New Hampshire and Tomgirl’s White Mountain Adventure!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tomgirl’s Picks of the Week: March 30, 2010

People and media too good not to share. Enjoy!

Media

Inn the Kitchen is a fun site for foodies who love to travel. Recipes, and all things food by innkeeper Rachelle.

Stephanie Pearson is a fine Twitter friend of Tomgirl Tours. I love her writing - she's a freelance writer, contributing editor to Outside, and Outside online’s “Gear Girl” columnist. Like myself, she is also a travel and outdoor enthusiast who loves writing about her exploration and outdoor gear. She writes one heck of a good blog with lots of good information for those who love to be comfortable in the outdoors - yeah, that's us - the Tomgirls! Look where Stephanie is headed ... a 2010 expedition to Mount Everest!

Interesting People

Sally Ride was the first American woman to travel in space on the space shuttle Challenger in 1983. She was mission specialist on STS-7, which launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on June 18, 1983. The crew deployed satellites for Canada and Indonesia; operated the Canadian-built robot arm to perform the first deployment and retrieval with the Shuttle Pallet Satellite; and conducted the first formation flying of the shuttle with a free-flying satellite. Mission duration was 147 hours before landing on a lakebed runway at Edwards Air Force Base, California, on June 24, 1983. Amazing - this is a travel adventurer of the ultimate kind! Recently, Ride, 58, spoke to Reuters after appearing at a round-table discussion in Boston on gender equity and educating girls in the areas of math, science and engineering.

From Tomgirl Tours

Looking forward to Tomgirl Tours next radio interview on Big Blend radio… this time, tune in to Vacation Station to hear all about New Hampshire.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tomgirl’s Picks of the Week: March 23, 2010

Clearly, we love to explore so, since we aren’t out exploring the great outdoors at the moment, we’ve been doing some armchair exploring online. Here are some great new (and old) discoveries we’d like to share…

Media

Kelley Vick is a travel writer whose articles cover everything from specific destinations to insight on subjects like travel and your health.

A Road Retraveled is a great video resource for those days when you need a travel fix, but are stuck at the computer!

Places

We adore all our host hotels, but the blend of luxury accommodations, culinary exploration, gorgeous scenery and adventure opportunities make the Essex in Vermont extra special!

From Tomgirl Tours

If you missed Tomgirl’s Lori Carr’s expert insights into Vermont on Big Blend, you can still listen to her radio interview here, and read her article here. Don’t miss it!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Live and Learn: Best Practices to Acclimate to New Ski Gear


I’m going to start right off by saying that getting accustomed to brand new and different ski gear can be challenging! The challenge was not only physical, but mental, as well. The concentration required to master new gear, while improving performance, was more than I expected! During the first half day with my new gear, I felt that I had lost most of the performance I gained over the past year, which can be frustrating if you are competitive (you will see my unhappy face on the gondola as I contemplated how to get used to my new precision skis!)

Let’s start with the Dalbello Aspire 75 boots. These boots are just incredible both on and off the slopes. As I mentioned in an earlier post, they are insanely comfortable and the fit is precise because you can tune them yourself.The heel inserts were not enough to get forward the way I wanted to, so I used the ramp angle inclinator to adjust heel angle with help from the ski shop. I think it made a difference in terms of energy to align myself, but it was difficult to tell because I skied mostly black diamonds on day two at Loon versus easier slopes the day before at Brettonwoods.

The boots were warm and comfy 100% of the time, and they fit my leg and calf perfectly. The skiing comfort with this boot is second to none – perfect fit, totally warm and soft inside – unbelievable! The walking release in the back of the boot was fantastic too and I was able to walk around the lodge with the flexibility of a winter snow boot – so very nice! The release helped with getting my boots on and off too. I just LOVE these boots and would highly recommend them beyond any boot I’ve experienced!

Getting acclimated to my new skis was a bit of a different story… challenging right from the beginning. First, I wasn’t used to the incredible edging that provided for some quick cutting and turning and it caught me off guard. After a few spills, I started to acclimate to it. Although my expert skier friend, Russ, suggested some tuning at the ski shop to smooth them out, I decided to wait it out and see what happened. Because the Atomics Seven Heaven 76 skis are designed for women and the bindings were mounted slightly forward, I didn’t need to lean forward as much any more. I did lean forward out of habit but realized after a few runs that I needed to relax into the ski more naturally and let it do the work versus me pushing performance. That made a big difference – okay, I’m staring to feel good about this gear now on day two - I’m starting to like it. I was with two advanced skiers and one advanced boarder on day two so it was all about the black diamonds. I confess that after two hours straight of that, I headed for the lodge absolutely exhausted. Let me say that I don’t think I would have had the energy with my old gear to push that hard for that long. The new gear made all the difference – very sweet.

A word on the XLT9 bindings. These white bindings look fantastic and are durable and highly functional especially when set correctly by the great guys at ski shop. I loved the secure feeling and easy step in and release out when getting in and out of them.

My observations:

1. With new gear, you will most likely lose some of your performance initially but it will come back quickly once you acclimate. You will improve even more as you practice on the slope.

2. Expect to adjust your gear or the way you are skiing. If it’s the first time you are using your new equipment and it may need to be modified to work with your personal physique, ski style and your preferences. Don’t be afraid to head to the ski shop with an understanding of what is happening to you on the slope. It’s important to pay attention to what is happening to you out there so you can describe it and they can assist you. Examples include:

Ø Falling due to sharp edge. Slow down, be patient and acclimate to your new gear until you get the feel for it or get the edges smoothed down.

Ø Overtired from just a few runs. Leaning forward when you don’t need to or overworking the run unnecessarily will exhaust you quickly, especially if you are on steep slopes and black diamonds – it’s more work and effort! Let the ski do the work, relax into the run and don’t over think it. Get back onto the blue and greens for a little while if you need to.

Ø Skis popping off to soon or not soon enough when you fall. Get your bindings adjusted. If they are popping to soon, the binding is adjusted to a beginner level versus an intermediate. If they don’t pop soon enough, they are set to intermediate and need to be set back to beginner if that is your preference. Head to the shop and get the binding adjusted.

3. Be patient. It takes a little time to acclimate to new gear in general and especially when the slope conditions are changing from hard packed and groomed in the morning to softer powered and then to mashed potatoes in the afternoon. Sometimes it’s the slope condition, fatigue or your attitude versus the new equipment. Take it from an impatient skier: time and practice works wonders in getting to know our gear on the slope.

I did complain a few times when my performance slipped, and even threatened to return my skis! As we rode the lift up the mountain, my friend Margo looked at me and then at my skis and said, “you can’t return those skis, they are just too gorgeous. Look at how they glitter and shine in the sun. They are beautiful.” I had to laugh at how function, comfort and style comes into play for women on the slopes – although not always in the same order!

I very happy with my ski gear selection last week and plan to keep all of my equipment. I look forward to wrapping up the season with a few more trips up north to break them in properly this year!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Tomgirl’s Picks of the Week: March 9, 2010

Maybe it's the onset of spring (at last!) here in New England, but we're in a Vermont state of mind this week...

People and Places

Shelburne Farms is a scenic celebration of both agriculture and New England’s history. A working farm and National Historic Landmark, this gorgeous spot with a mission: to cultivate a conservation ethic. The center includes walking trails, a children’s farmyard, an inn, a restaurant, and, of course, working farmhouse.

Northern Lights Rock and Ice at the Essex (home base for our Green Mountains Escape), is a great spot to challenge yourself and have a blast. Features include and outdoor rock and ice climbing walls and rock climbing pinnacle and dual 450 ft zip wires. Best of all, they have adventure activities for any fitness (or courage!) level.

Media

The Adventure Life gorgeous, fabulous site featuring gear, photos, destination information, and even the weather! An informative must-read for the adventure junkie.

Vagabondish "The Travelzine for Today’s Vagabond". From what to pack and what to read, to gorgeous photos and travel news. Love!

From Tomgirl Tours

If our people and places have you, like us, aching for the next trip to Vermont, join us for an upcoming Green Mountains Escape getaway. We have four dates for this tour in 2010, the next being May 2-5. Hope to see you then!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Tips to help women make the most of their ski experiences

Experts may already know this, but for the women who are recreational/vacation skiers, here is something you may not know: there is a big (and important!) difference between men’s and women’s skis, bindings and boots. So much so that it is worth not only taking the time to understand the difference, but also the investment in purchasing your own gear that is designed for women. The time and money you put in will make your ski adventures much more pleasant, I promise!

It’s important to take the time to research before making an investment like this because you will be using this gear for years. The type of skis, bindings and boots you purchase will depend on your ski level, skiing goals, terrain and, importantly, gender. I’ve been hitting the slopes (and researching) myself lately, so here’s some helpful insight…

First, it’s a good idea to demo equipment if possible (but, I realize, that can be difficult… Renting a specific pair of skis and boots at a ski shop or lodge can be next to impossible). Personally, I couldn’t find the brands I wanted to demo. So, instead, my approach was to thoroughly investigate and then buy them directly. (In another post, I’ll let you know how my ski purchase worked out on the mountain!)

After spending several weeks online and at various ski shops, I choose the Atomic Seventh Heaven 76 ski (157 cm length) with XTL9 bindings and Dalbello Aspire 75 boots. My skiing level is intermediate (moving toward advanced) and my goals are: increased speed and better cutting and turning. Here is what I learned and experienced…

Ski Boots

I start with boots because they are the most important part of the package. I researched and tried on 5 different brands of boots, including Atomic, Nordica, Salomon, Lang and Dalbello. Each manufacturer has their own concept of how a boot is made and what they focus on in terms of fit, function (ski level and skier goals), comfort and style.

While all boots had great features, I choose the Dalbello Aspire 75s. This women’s ski boot is for the intermediate to low-advanced skier. The boot was incredible from the moment I put it on my feet. Hard shell material on the outside with the most soft, plush boot lining I’ve ever felt on the inside. It is insanely comfortable! Low cuff hinges allow the boot to fit comfortably around varying leg/calf shapes and sizes (no more pain or bruising!); tapered heels with an added heel lift (or use the ramp angle inclinator to adjust heel angle) allows me to lean forward naturally versus constantly aligning myself forward for more controlled, faster skiing while using less energy; four adjustable aluminum buckles enable fine tuning and a seriously accurate fit. There is also a flip hinge on the back of the boot for easier walking in the lodge (yeah!) Ladies, these are seriously stylish boots – shiny black with gold and white scrolling around the outside – very sweet! Check out this Aspire 75 boot video.

Skis and Bindings

It’s hard to judge ski and binding performance in the shop so I recommend a lot of investigation and talking to the experts in ski shops. I got varying opinions but ultimately pieced it together on the following information... First, you must purchase women’s skis because they are designed specifically to balance the fact that women have less muscle and strength than men. Women’s ski bindings are mounted slightly further forward on the skis, which enables us to have the forward lean necessary for controlled skiing (which men have naturally on their skis). This is so important, not only for control, but so we don’t expend unnecessary energy and tire too fast (when you are tired, you fall more often). Having the correct skis for women also provides us better speed and turning. If you want to know more about women’s skis, check out this video for details.

While I looked at different brands of women’s skis and did my own research, I found the staff at ski shops most helpful. They were informed and focused on three factors; my current skiing level (intermediate); my skiing goals (faster speed and better turning and cutting); and the type of terrain I skied on (hard, packed powder on mostly groomed Northeast terrain). It was pretty simple after that. We talked about quality of the brand, ski shapes, ski length, pricing and that I wanted something to coordinate with my new Dalbello boots (they didn’t care so much about that, but I did!) I choose the Atomic Seventh Heaven 76 skis with XTL9 bindings (their recommendation) 157 cm. Check them out here.

These skis are for intermediate to low expert; have a strong edge hold for great cutting and turning; a little longer length for speed; and torsion flex control sectors, which adapt to specific terrain. The perfect ski for my level, goals and terrain. That worked out nicely based on my goals and I cannot wait to try them out!

A word about ski poles – you need them! Buy a basic pole that is the correct size. To determine your size; flip the pole upside down, grab it just below the basket and be sure that it’s at the same height as your bent elbow. Pretty straight forward.

Getting the right ski gear makes all the different in your overall ski experience—from performance to safety to comfort… not to mention how you will feel afterward!

Ski package pricing can range anywhere from $700 (on the low side) to several thousand. But, again, it is worth the investment. My best advice: compare, shop sales and shop at the end of the season for best prices!

Finally, as I mentioned in an earlier post… do not, by any means, forget your helmet!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Tomgirl’s Picks of the Week: March 2, 2010

And the theme of the week is… shopping! Tomgirls love adventure but (we’re girls, afterall!), we also love a good shopping expedition. While each Tomgirl Tour features breath-taking adventure, there is a reason why shopping is a top vacation activity, so our tours also feature opportunities to explore the best local shopping destinations. Here are a few of our favorites from (of course!) our Tomgirl tours….

St. John Sojourn: What's the best accent to days in the sun, exploring the exhilarating adventure to be found in St. John? Shopping in Cruz Bay!

White Mountains Adventure: When we are done with our zipline and indoor sky-diving, we unwind at Settlers Green outlets... all the bargain-hunting fun you expect from a fabulous outlet shopping experience!

Green Mountains Escape: While this tour features Segways, hot air balloons and culinary delights (among other adventures), we love the time we spend browsing and shopping at the Church St. Marketplace.

Red Rock Rendezvous: Sedona has so much to offer, it isn't easy to fit all the adventure into one week. But, we do! And we manage to take a break to shop, too!

Media

Not shopping related, but we adore Wanderlust magazine, and think you will, too. The appeal of this U.K. based publication is best summarized by its tagline: The magazine for people with a passion for travel. Love!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Tomgirl Reviews: Giro G9 ski helmet

Any gear I purchase for outdoor adventures needs to follow a specific set of criteria - function, comfort and style. So, I’m thrilled that the helmet I chose to buy this year – Giro G9 - met all three criteria.

Giro bike helmets have been around since I can remember, and both my son and I wore them religiously as he was growing up and our biking went off road. I loved them – functional and safe (they meet both U.S. and European safety standards), easy to use, light-weight (13.5 oz) and so comfortable.

It only made sense when we started skiing to look for a Giro helmet. I just picked up a new 2010 Giro G9 before I started the season this year. The Giro has a low profile and provides good peripheral vision, which you really need on the slopes. This weekend, Brettonwoods in New Hampshire was a bit busy and the weather was alternately cloudy and snowing hard, making seeing any depth whatsoever tough, so the ability to easily see on either side was key to safely navigating the mountain.

The Goggle Notch feature (holds your goggles to your helmet) is pretty standard and I find it handy both on and off the slopes (having one less thing to carry around the lodge makes me really happy!) The helmet is also sporty and it looks good on everyone.

Another key feature of the G9 ski helmet is that it is warm in the cold weather – in fact, it’s warmer than any winter hat I’ve worn (and so much safer). There is also an adjustable vent system with fifteen vents around the helmet that are easily removed. Weatherstrip plugs pop out easily and go into your pocket if you are heating up during a run so the ventilation keeps you cool. Manually removing the plugs on the mountain is tricky, but the ability to customize the airflow makes it worth it (and you can do it at the top or bottom of the mountain).

A couple of other “off the beaten path” features that I really appreciate are being able to hear everything with the helmet on; and the soft, vented ear covering that makes for easy listening (great when skiing with friends or sporting an ipod). The fit was perfect – and how do I know that for sure? Well, it was comfortable for starters and I could easily slide my iphone up under the ear vent to take a call without removing my helmet – happy day! If you know me at all, you know, that I’ve gotta have access to that iphone at all times (well almost all times)!

In sum: I give the Giro G9 helmet a big “thumbs up”.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Tomgirl’s Picks of the Week: February 23, 2010

So, this week we have empowerment on the brain. One of the great things about Tomgirl Toursis that they allow women to build confidence tackle new and exhilarating challenges. So, while all our picks this week aren't necessarily travel related, they are all fabulous for empowering women. Hope you'll enjoy these great resources!

People
The Voices of Baby Boomer Women is the blog by the National Association of Baby Boomer Women, and it covers a range of topics of interest to the association's focus... 38 million of the healthiest, wealthiest, and best educated generation of women to ever hit midlife: baby boomer women.

Media
Outpost Magazine is a must read for the adventure lover. Filled with pieces that take an honest look at all aspects of travel--from health to gear to gadgets to places.

Diversity Woman is a magazine unrelated to travel, but one we adore for its focus on empowering professional women. Their tagline: "Leadership empowerment for women who mean business" says it all.

Places
Having just returned from a ski trip to gorgeous New Hampshire, we're reminded of our upcoming White Mountains Adventure tour and one of our favorite elements, the indoor sky diving at SkyVenture. Talk about exhilarating! A vertical tunnel where you experience the sensation of sky diving (without the plane) We can't wait to get back into their vertical wind tunnel!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Tomgirl Reviews: the EMS thumb-loop power stretch top

At Tomgirl Tours, function, comfort and style are critical components for us when selecting our own outdoor clothing and gear. Whether we are running errands after work, attacking a ski slope or hiking through the woods, these are necessary elements when making a purchase. Here, Amanda DiLeone, an ultimate Tomgirl (and our Business Development specialist), shares one of her favorite outdoor clothing finds, the Eastern Mountain Sports thumb loop, power stretch half zip top.

Amanda is so active and involved in so many outdoor activities, we never know what adventure she's on is on (it’s hard to catch her indoors!) But we did catch her between her snow mobiling trip last week in New Hampshire and her zip lining and ski/spa adventure next week, to explain why this top (which, by the way, is on sale at the moment!) is a great find for outdoor enthusiasts.

First, I love the beautiful Morocan/Blue Curacao color. The texture had that polar tech feel (soft and stretchy) and the thumb loops were intriguing. I’ve never had a top like that and wanted to experience it.

I wear it all over the place (and I wear it a lot!)... at the office sometimes, running errands, hiking and, just last weekend, I wore it while on my snow mobiling adventure through the remote forests of New Hampshire. It’s so comfortable that I want to wear it everywhere.

The fabric is great because it’s does NOT pull and pill up like some other products do. Also, the sleeves are very long and placing my thumbs through the loops keeps my hands warm. The thumb loop also keeps the sleeves tight and neat around my arm so I can pull my gloves and coat right over it and everything stays in place. That’s a big factor because, on an adventure, I am moving around so much and I need to stay warm. It’s also great as a pull over with a tee shirt underneath and has a cool zip pocket on the upper left side.

You may consider going one size UP. I’m not sure if they run small or why that worked out for me, but that next size fits me just perfect.

Watch next week for a gear review by Tomgirl founder Lori Carr on new Giro G9 ski helmet, which she'll be sporting on the slopes of New Hampshire this weekend. Have fun Lori (and we’re so glad to hear you sport a helmet while skiing!)


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Tomgirl’s Picks of the Week: February 16, 2010

We love discovering fabulous new travel writers. We equally adore our partners and friends who share our passion for adventure. Happily this week, we have some fantastic examples of both! So, without further ado, here are our picks this week: people and places you simply can't miss...

Media Resources
In a sea of travel resources, Brave New Traveler stands out for a unique take on travel. Instead of just focusing on certain places, these writers take a broader look; exploring how to travel the world, respect other cultures, and discover the many paths to being a global citizen.

How does one summarize a website like Gadling.com? Amazing. This well-written resource is (in their words): "the world's biggest travel blog, written and edited by passionate travelers and writers. Covering all aspects of travel from around the world, Gadling is the premiere source for everything from travel news to travel tips, from budget travel to adventure travel -- and for everything in between."

Solofriendly.com is a great blog that focuses on exploring the world on your own. We love the advice: "If there is a place you want to see, then go see it. Don’t let anything—fear, other people, lack of resources, etc.—keep you from exploring this huge, diverse world we live in."

Interesting People
One of our favorite elements in our Green Mountains Escape tours in Vermont is the hot air balloon ride. So, meet the man who makes that happen: Jeff Snyder of Above Reality. Jeff runs a spectacular operation, which includes the largest hot air balloon in New England. His record and experience ensure that all Tomgirls on the tour are in good hands!

Susan Rezendez, owner of The Travel Connection, is a wonderful fellow travel enthusiast who owns her own travel agency and was very helpful to Tomgirl Tours when we first launched last year. She's incredibly experienced and knowledgeable and can find anyone the perfect trip.

From Tomgirl Tours
Heading North this weekend for a much-anticipated weekend of skiing! Destination: New Hampshire, site of our White Mountains Escape. While we're looking forward to the snow this weekend, we're also anxious for spring, and the two White Mountains Escape tours we have scheduled!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Tomgirl’s Picks of the Week: February 9, 2010

As we in the Northeast muddle through these winter storms (snow shoeing, anyone?), we find ourselves with a lot of time to discover fantastic people and media resources. Here are our favorites this week… as always, we welcome your suggestions for great people to know!

Media Resources

Natural Awakenings is a national group of publications focused on healthy, green and natural lifestyles. Originally from Florida, this is now a nationwide franchise. Here in RI, we are big fans of the local version, which offers insight and resources for those, like Tomgirls, who are committed to leading a healthy , socially conscious lifestyle.

The Window Seat blog, written by the expert and passionate travel editors behind the behemoth Travelocity, is a fantastic resource for fellow travel lovers. As they say: “We love waking up in new destinations, counting down the days until that next big trip, and settling into the window seat to see the world beyond our front door.” We do, too!

Interesting People

Aspen Blogger is an entertaining and insightful resource on pretty much everything relating to women and adventure. We adore her posts on all types of adventures; from motherhood to travel, all peppered with her great sense of humor and wit about life’s challenges and joys.

From Tomgirl Tours

If you missed Tomgirl’s CEO Lori Carr’s interview about Sedona on Big Blend radio’s Champagne Sundays, here’s the clip! Stay tuned, as Lori will soon be contributing as Big Blend’s expert source on adventure travel!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Tomgirl’s Picks of the Week: February 2, 2010

Hello, February! The year is already flying by, but we want to stop to give props to these great places, bloggers and media. If you love to travel (especially if you are a woman), you’ll want to connect with these fantastic resources. Happy Travel Tuesday!

Media Resources

We “met” Melanie Nayer on Twitter and quickly found a kindred spirit: a woman who loves to travel and sample adventure—be it outdoor activity, sampling new cuisine, or simply: exploring the world. Her blog is a wealth of insight… from discovering new places to simply commentating on the joys of travel. Here’s a perfect example: her 5 guilty travel pleasures of travel.

Carol Margolis, women’s travel guru, is another amazing resource we connected with on Twitter! Carol’s site, Smartwomenstravelers.com is phenomenal; a one-stop shop for any woman who travels. The site covers all the joys and challenges of travel—be it for business or pleasure. A must read!

People & Places

As most of you know, we have a serious soft spot for Arizona… for both personal reasons and because, well, our Red Rock Rendezvous is one of our favorite Tomgirl tours. So, imagine our delight to discover Arizona Spa Girls! Focusing on fabulous spas in Arizona (hey, Tomgirls love to unwind in style! 0h, this site is the brainchild of Lisa Kasanicky, author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Girlfriend Getaways. Check out the site, or follow them on Twitter.

Our next suggestion isn’t necessarily travel related, but for women out there (especially those in our area: Rhode Island), we love to recommend Maureen Umehara, founder of Women's Club SWANS. Maureen is an avid networker and very committed to connecting women in the local area. Her speakers and events are always of the highest quality. With a mission statement of: “To offer opportunities for women 21 years and older, living in and around RI, to have fun connecting and supporting one another in achieving their individual goals”… well, how could we possibly not love her!

From Tomgirl Tours

We couldn’t be more excited about this bit of (big!) news: we have joined the Big Blend Magazine family! Big Blend is an online “variety” magazine featuring lots of information and resources in a range of categories. Tomgirl Tours’ CEO Lori Carr is the newest expert on the site, specializing (of course!) in women’s adventure getaways. Lori will be a regular speaker on Big Blend radio, and author of monthly articles on the subject. Here’s a peek, but stay tuned, as we’ll be posting more on our Big Blend partnership soon!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Tomgirl’s Picks of the Week: January 26, 2010

Where did January go?! Well, to close the month, here are our favorites of the week, resources for travel lovers everywhere (and a special one for those in our home state of Rhode Island):

Media Resources
Wherever in the world you travel, radio host Stephanie Abrams is the go-to source you must know. Stephanie's syndicated radio show is a wealth of information, and can be heard across the country. Or check out her shows, archived, on her website. Thanks, Stephanie, for all your insight!

We're pretty sure most women out there already follow Daily Candy in their local cities. This daily newsletter for in-the-know women is not only a fun read, but also a gold mine of local resources and events. But do you also subscribe to their travel edition? Everything you love about the local editions, but all with a travel twist. Love it!

People and Places to Know
Because outdoor lovers are often also animal lovers, we understand that leaving a beloved four-legged friend behind during a vacation can be stressful. So, we are delighted to offer our travelers a fantastic resource here in Rhode Island: Furry Friends Pet Care Services. Furry Friends' Alysha Fraser provides pet care and is a great resource. Having our clients' pets cared for in the expert hands of Alysha, allows our Tomgirl guests to truly "let go" and relax.

As an avid traveler, I've had the opportunity to see amazing sights and wonderful hotels and resorts. But the Essex in Burlington, Vermont is truly one of a kind. Set on 18 acres and offering vistas of the Green Mountains and Lake Champlain, this hotel is a Tomgirl dream. From fresh air and outdoor activities, to a world-class spa, to out-of-this-world culinary experiences thanks to the New England Culinary Institute's on-site presence, we adore the Essex (no wonder we chose it for our Green Mountains Escape!) and our wonderful friend, the resort's Director of Business Development, Dave Hakins... a classy and knowledgeable guy who takes amazing care of every guest at the Essex!

From Tomgirl Tours
As we continue to bundle up on these New England winter days, can't help but daydream about our St. John Sojourn tour in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Seven days in the warm sunshine; enjoying snorkeling, swimming, kayaking and mountain hikes. Ahhh... heavenly! (Where are my goggles and fins, anyway?!)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Profile of a Tomgirl: Lisa Nelson

Instead of us always doing the talking, we thought it would be fun to share the stories of other Tomgirls too! First up in this "Profile of a Tomgirl" series: Lisa Nelson (below, just about to try zip lining!), who first traveled with us last summer on our White Mountains Adventure.

1) What does being a Tomgirl mean to you?

Being a Tomgirl means that you can have the best of all worlds. If you want to experience a pampered day at a spa, it's available; if you want to shop, it's available. You can have that type of vacation. But, if you want to do something challenging -- something out of the ordinary, something exciting, something you'll remember for the rest of your life - it's available to you!

2) What type of Tomgirl activities do you like to do to stay active?

When I have time, I like to horseback ride, but it's hard to fit into a busy urban life. The thing I loved about Tomgirl Tours was that it offered me a challenge to do things I'd had always wanted to try. It offered camaraderie, fun and excitement. The first Tomgirl Tour I took lured me with the challenge of zip-lining and controlled wind tunnel sky-diving. Because I am afraid of heights, and knew I would never get in a plane to sky-dive, it sounded like a perfect way to have the thrill without the danger. It far surpassed my expectations, and allowed me a great vacation with my daredevil daughter! We would not have vacationed together if it were not for the activities offered by Tomgirl Tours.

3) What do you love most about the outdoors?

I love the beauty of all outdoor landscapes. Whether we are in the mountains, by the water, or in the desert, the experience is indescribable. Each offers something to the individual. So, whether you want excitement or peace or beauty, all are available to you outdoors.

4) How did you find out about Tomgirl Tours and what do you think about a company that caters to women like you?

I received an email at my computer station, which I think was meant for the woman who was in the position before me! I was absolutely intrigued. It was the first vacation package in my life where I had no hesitation to go by myself. The activities sounded incredible. [Tomgirl Tours Founder] Lori Carr has a knack of knowing what women like me want. I loved the fact that everything was so well planned out, but without the forced structure you may get in other vacation packages. The ladies on the trip were fabulous (pictured, right), and my daughter went with me and shared an experience we will never forget. I'm so happy to have found Tomgirl Tours and look forward to many more vacations with them!

For more, here's a little taste of Lisa's Tomgirl adventure...

video

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tomgirl’s Picks of the Week: January 19, 2010

What a fabulous week! Our favorite people this week include some great Tomgirl Tours’ friends and not-to-be-missed resources for tomgirls everywhere!

Media Resources

We start our favorites with girlsgetaway.com. Yes, we are especially fond of Girls Getaway this week because (well, we hate to gush, but…) they featured Tomgirl Tours this week as one of the top 6 women’s travel tour companies! But, that is far from the only reason we list this as our top pick. The Tomgirl crew has long been a fan of this site, a one-stop resource and (in their words…) “gathering place for women to plan a wild and wicked world adventure, or a place to find out all about great local weekend trips with the girls”. Amen to that, girlfriends!

Most readers are probably already familiar with Women’s Health magazine, but we wanted to give this fantastic publication a shout out for those who might not be regularly reading. The mission of this well-known title by Rodale is right on par with Tomgirls’ values: “Women's Health is for the woman who wants to reach a healthy, attractive weight but doesn't equate that with having thighs the size of toothpicks. We know that exercising and eating well will make you happier and stronger (even if after-work runs can be drudgery). That looking and feeling good have very little to do with cosmetics and high heels (though they can help you feel glamorous on a Saturday night and we love that too!). And that life can be stressful since there's never enough time, but balance is achievable (with a little help)

Let's Travel Radio is a Tomgirl favorite when it comes broadcast media. Let's Travel is a live, global radio talk show in which Host Susan Raphael and Producer Michael Zufolo invite listeners to explore the world of travel and culture.

Interesting People and Places

Bretton Woods is one of our favorite places (and site of our White Mountains Adventure). If you don’t already follow our Bretton Woods friends on Twitter, check them out here for updates on what’s happening in their gorgeous corner of the world.

In the News

We did a little cheer this week to hear that a consumer survey reported that there will be a 70% increase in participation in adventure travel over the next three years!

From Tomgirl Tours

Given the poetic description of Tomgirl founder Lori Carr’s lifelong love affair with Sedona, Tomgirl Tours has our Red Rock Rendezvous tour on the brain! We have three of these tours scheduled for 2010, and can’t wait until April 24th, when the first kicks off! (we have some spots still left on that tour. Call us to join!)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

My Lasting Love Affair with Sedona

Sedona is unlike any place you’ve ever been. The soaring red sandstone, perfect blue skies, and outdoor, healthy vibe draw you in inspires the moment you arrive. Panoramic vistas are everywhere – stunning, magnificent, even breathtaking at every turn – each more beautiful than the next. That was my second reaction when I visited Sedona for the first time in the mid 80s. My first reaction? Reminding myself to breathe and to blink…. I was captivated the moment I set eyes on Arizona. It was love at first sight and has lasted a life time.

My Mom introduced me to Arizona when she and my sister up and moved west after living their entire lives in New England. As my Mom said, it was an innate, insistent calling that caused her to go west to Arizona, and, it must be hereditary because one of my sisters and one of my brothers went along with her. I was mad as hell when they up and left the Ocean State – the idea of swamp Yankees surviving in cowboy territory unnerved me to no end. …. until, well until, I went to visit….and oh my!

My mom, the original Tomgirl! (below, with my niece, Brandi)

From exploring the mining caves and the Mining Camp restaurant with my sister and family, to horseback riding at the Grand Canyon, to late nights at the cowboy clubs, it was a virtual haven for a tomgirl. Not to mention the spiritual bent… all those hours of meditation within and around the vortex area under a star filled night sky will make you… well… ponder.

My sister, Donna, and I

Twenty years later, I created yet another reason to head back to Sedona every year: The Red Rock Rendezvous in Sedona, one of Tomgirl Tours’ feature adventure tours. This trip (clearly!) holds special meaning for me, and I love watching our guests as they experience the spectacular and pristine red rock country in the high desert of Sedona, Ariz… exploring the spectacular Grand Canyon on a day trip hike below the rim, experiencing a rugged Pink Jeep tour through Broken Arrow and Ancient Ruins, and marveling at the view during a sunrise hot air balloon ride high above the pines and soaring red sandstone. It’s the desert adventure trip of a lifetime, and sharing it with Tomgirl travelers is one of the greatest pleasures of my lifetime!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Tomgirl’s Picks of the Week: January 12, 2010

Don't miss these fabulous need-to-know people and media that celebrate women and travel; our weekly favorites:

Media Resources

When it comes to travel, GoNOMAD gets it right. GoNOMAD explores all areas of travel—every destination imaginable, along with specific insight for women travelers, family travelers and tours. They also offer a handy reference to travel tools and support, like books, travel insurance and various other resources.

Breathe Magazine, focusing on adventure, endurance and lifestyle, is a Cyberspace adrenaline rush… its stories and photos make us want to get outside even more than we already do, breathe the fresh air and challenge ourselves! (Need we say more about why we love it!)

Tomgirl Tours empowers women via energetic outdoor adventures, but we advocate empowering women in all areas of their lives, so Power Women Magazine, and it’s mission to do just that, really speaks to us. The website is a wealth of information for women, on “issues ranging from equal rights for all women to homelessness among women, and everything in between.” Brava!

Interesting People

Ann Petronio, (aka the Escape Artist), is the dynamic owner of Annie’s Escapes travel agency. She’s been a friend and wonderful supporter of Tomgirl since our launch event last year, and a colleague who co-hosted our Adventure Travel 101 Webinar. A fellow adventure lover, Ann is a fabulous resource for anyone’s travel agent needs.

We met Caulleen Worrell of Usmile at an event last summer, and love her website’s goal: “to be an online cross-culture community for women”; and mission: “to see women of all cultures and backgrounds connecting, informing, and sharing ideas with each other… to inspire, motivate, stimulate, and make women shine so that their days are brighter and easier to enjoy.” The site is also, we should add, a pleasure to read and navigate!

From Tomgirl Tours

Looking forward to getting back to New Hampshire for our White Mountains Adventure in March. Did you know that Bretton Woods, site of our zip-line adventure, is one of finest zip lines in this (or any!) corner of the world?


Monday, January 4, 2010

Tomgirl’s Picks of the Week: January 5, 2010

With so many fabulous resources, it is tough sometimes to figure out Tomgirl’s Picks of the Week. (luckily, however, there are 52 weeks in the year!). Here are our favorite people, companies and media this week… what are yours?

In the News

We are all about the outdoors, adventure, health and travel… so we’re pretty smitten with Outside magazine. A magazine packed with ideas and reviews of outdoor activities, insight on the best gear, and general health tips. A must-read for fresh-air-loving Tomgirls!

For travel industry insiders, Packaged Travel Insider is a B2B bible. No surprise, with editor Matt Poe keeping the pulse of the industry. An early believer in Tomgirl Tours, Poe and Packaged Travel Insider will long be among our favorites.

People and Places

While in Arizona, Pink Jeep tours are one of our favorite excursions… so much so that they are an integral part of Tomgirl’s Red Rock Rendezvous tours. While we already adore the concept that blends rugged dessert exploration with our own signature color (pink!), we’re now loving their new addition: the Pink Java Café, serving pink donuts!

We met Santa Fe Traveler’s Billie Frank via social networking last year. Like Tomgirl, Santa Fe Traveler has a unique and upscale niche in the travel world: a boutique personal concierge service to create the perfect Santa Fe experience for travelers. While we reside on opposite ends of the country and have never met, we have become Twitter friends (twends?) and highly recommend this expert for those traveling to Santa Fe.

From Tomgirl Tours

Our next tour up is a perennial favorite for travelers: Tomgirl’s White Mountains Adventure… this all-inclusive trip to New Hampshire is a 2-day extravaganza of adventure (zip lining and indoor sky-diving!), balanced by relaxation and fun at a gorgeous local hotel. You can see more here on this blog, from our last White Mountains Adventure, if you missed it. There are still a few openings on this tour (March 14 and 15), so call today to join us!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Reflections on the Importance of Business Partners


At the start of a New Year, I’m doing a little reflecting on 2009’s achievements, challenges, and the partnerships that supported Tomgirl through it all. I started Tomgirl Tours last year and, as a micro-business owner, needed a little help in executing the launch. It was vital to find the right talent: experienced, results-oriented, and flexible partners to help me start and grow Tomgirl Tours. I was very fortunate to find three of the most professional, committed and effective business partners, and I’d like to tell you all about these amazing people and each of their small, but powerful, micro businesses. I would recommend all of them –hands down – because they always met or exceeded my high expectations:

  • I’ll start with Jeremy Nivison from Nivison Multimedia. Jeremy was a key and critical partner in establishing Tomgirl Tours’ website—from conception to inception. We worked together across the country, from Providence R.I. to Providence Utah, to design, test, perfect and then launch tomgirltours.com. Jeremy’s attention to customer service is first rate. His turnaround times then and now are immediate; his communication always friendly, insightful and reassuring—even during those critical deadline periods. All this, and the quality of his work is outstanding. I highly recommend Jeremy for any website related services!
  • With the website designed, we needed a fast, reliable hosting company we could trust. We found the perfect company with Jesse Kielhorn, Founder and President of EchoServers.com. This 23-year-old Wentworth graduate has the business and customer-service acumen of a professional twice his age. My website uptime is 100% - how is that possible?! Not sure, but I’ll bet is has something to do with this young entrepreneur’s leadership, technical know-how, and impeccable commitment to outstanding customer service. The detailed reports I get from EchoServers.com offer very precise data that allows for savvy marketing, promotion, and advertising analysis; letting me know where my dollars have been effective. And talk about high-end customer service – read these comments from other EchoServer clients and check out the low prices. Go Jesse!
  • Last, but certainly not least, is my communications and public relations specialist (not to mention, social networking aficionado and sleuth) Carrie Soucy, Founder and President of Miamore Communications. Carrie just knows how to get a strong promotion and branding message out, and she wastes no time getting results. My blog and website visits double and triple each time she puts her savvy and figurative “pen to paper” (or should I say “keyboard strokes to Blog, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube”). Carrie doesn’t just provide ideas and solutions, but she puts together a promotional and communication strategy based on her clients’ upscale product branding, marketing and promotional needs and goals (and if you don’t have them defined yet—don’t worry—Carrie will walk you through that process too!) As her tagline says, Miamore Communications spreads the word about life’s finer things, and we, as a very happy client, could not agree more!