On my bucket list, I name two celebrities I'd like to meet. Brad Pitt didn't make the list, although he is my all-time celebrity crush. Bono, lead singer of my favorite band, U2 didn't make the list either. If you've met me in person or have been reading this blog for a while, you probably already know that Oprah Winfrey is one of my bucket list celebs. The other? Samantha Brown.
Embassy Suites is one of my top, go-to hotel brands when traveling with my family. So when Embassy Suites asked if I'd like to partner with them and Samantha on the launch of their new 300% MORE summer travel campaign, I said, “Yes! Yes! Yes!” (I figured if they're going to give us 300% more summer, the least I could do is give them three times the answers!)
Interview with Samantha Brown
While I didn't get to meet the Travel Channel‘s bubbly travel show host in-person, I did get to chat with her on the phone. That's almost the same thing, right? I'm counting it!
I restrained myself from telling Ms. Brown that meeting her was on my bucket list, lest I scare her with my crazy fandom. I did, however, tell Samantha that I have watched her television shows for years and that she reminds me of my sister. In true Samantha-Brown-style, she quipped, “Well, I hope you like your sister then!”
Ha! That's something my (very beloved) sister would say! Samantha was just as down-to-earth, warm and witty on the phone as she is on TV.
Samantha recently became a Travel Mama herself. In January she became a mom to twins, a son named Ellis and and a daughter, Elizabeth. She has embarked on one trip with her children thus far. To prepare for their flight from New York to Florida, Sam told me that she and her husband rehearsed going through the “scary security line” four times the night prior to their departure.
Samantha said she was happily surprised to find their first journey as parents less intimidating than she had anticipated. Her advice to traveling parents: “There are angels out there, people who've had kids that understand what you're going through and who are willing to lend a helping hand. Don't be afraid to ask for help!” Check out more travel tips from Samantha Brown.
I know why I love Embassy Suites: a separate bedroom for parents for better sleep and privacy after the kids go to bed…in-suite kitchens…affordable room rates…I could go on and on. But I wanted to know why Sam (that's what I call her sometimes, ya know, since we're best buds now and all) decided to partner with this family-friendly brand.
Samantha explained, “I've been associated with a lot of great hotels. I've probably stayed at over 500 hotels over the years. But this is the first time I've ever partnered with a hotel and it's because of the value added into the brand.” Like me, Samantha loves the free hot daily breakfast and the complimentary evening receptions with cocktails for the grown-ups, kid-friendly drinks for young ones, and appetizers for all. She said, “Not only does Embassy Suites help you start your day off right, but they help you end it right too.”
Ms. Brown helped create Embassy Suites' 300% MORE Summer Destination Guides, highlighting her favorite activities in 10 popular U.S. cities. About the guides, she said, “Let's face it, when it comes to vacations the bulk of the travel planning rests on the mom's shoulders.” With that in mind, she wanted to create easy go-to guides to make vacations more fun and less stressful for moms and their families.
Embassy Suites is helping families get 300% more enjoyment out of every trip with it's 300% MORE Pledge and by adding three more summer “holidays”. June 21 is summer solstice, with the most daylight hours of the year for a jam-packed day of activities. July 8 is an extra day around the Independence Day holiday with fewer crowds and less traffic. August 1 (or as Embassy Suites has dubbed it “July 32“) is one more day of July to keep the August back-to-school blues at bay.
In Sam's Destination Guides, she highlights fun ways to celebrate these new summer “holidays”—like the premiere of Dr. Seuss's Cat in the Hat at the Adventure Theatre Musical Theatre Center to celebrate the summer solstice in Washington, DC; a sleepover with Shamu at SeaWorld on July 6 and 9 in San Antonio, and an American Idol concert on August 1 at the Amway Center in Orlando.
Chasing Your Dreams
Originally Brown wanted to be an actress and spent years waiting tables before she landed her gig as a Travel Channel host. On her blog, she details how she chased down an airplane on the runway to avoid missing her plane and her big Travel Channel audition. I asked her what advice she has for other moms in terms of following their dreams. She said, “First of all, don't put yourself in front of an airplane! This was pre-911—it probably wouldn't go over so well today!”
Samantha's dream-chasing advice? “I didn't dream big enough for myself. So, dream big.” She continued, “Also, keep your eyes open for new opportunities and take full advantage when they come your way.”
My eyes are open and my dreams are big! Are yours?
Do you love Samantha Brown and Embassy Suites as much as I do? Let us know in the comments below!
A Note from The Travel Mama: This post is brought to you in partnership with Embassy Suites. All opinions are mine, as always.