5 More Reasons to Stay at Extended Stay America

This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Extended Stay America, and I also received a three night stay in the Extended Stay America of my choice. This post also contains affiliate links. All thoughts and opinions are proudly 100% my own!

There 1 billion reasons to stay at Extended Stay America, and here I give you five more after an amazing family trip we took! #ad #getaway #vacation #rental #myESA

As you may know, I took the kids on an awesome getaway vacation to Maine last week.

We had such a blast. It fostered our sense of adventure, while also providing a unique scenario we had never encountered! I have stayed in hotels with Cassidy. I have stayed in hotels with just Scarlet. The four of us have taken trips together, but, I had never been on a solo parent vacation with just the kids. It’s such fun to explore together, and to get to know each other’s unique personalities away from the home. I knew that Des was more set in his ways than Scarlet, but it provided a chance for all three of us to discover what it was like to travel together as an explorative trio. Cassidy, you were missed!

Extended Stay America

We chose an Extended Stay America in Scarborough, Maine. This location is south Portland and I had only been there once during New Year’s Eve well over 10 years ago! I wanted to explore the city and explore the amazing foliage. We were NOT disappointed. It was absolutely gorgeous. We left on a Friday after Scarlet had her track practice. We felt so welcomed there from the start. It was late at night and we were greeted warmly by the front desk. The check-in process was easy.

(Thank you so much for all your help on Friday night!)

I consider myself a savvy traveler and I love added value when going for a weekend getaway with the kids. In fact, that’s $1 billion worth. All of Extended Stay America’s 625 hotels nationwide are now renovated and improved. They have over 20 years of experience so they know what travelers want – things like free Wi-Fi, free grab-and-go breakfast, fully equipped kitchens with full-size fridges, premium cable TV channels, and spacious, yet affordable suites. All that and MORE too!

With $1 billion invested towards your stay, why stay anywhere else for your trip? Here are 5 MORE reasons to choose Extended Stay America for your holiday, vacation, getaway, work, rental, or whenever you need a home away from home:

1 – It fosters our spirit of adventure. Having the kids stay with me at Extended Stay America was so exciting. We felt free to do anything we wanted – and explore a place that was new to all of us. The hotel gave great advice about local events and activities for the kids. We felt more willing to try new things; having such a great home base back at the hotel.

2 – Staying at Extended Stay America allowed us to bond as a family. (3/4 of a family)

3 – Extended Stay America was a home away from home. I loved the comfort of having our own kitchen that we could customize to have everything we needed for meals and cleaning up. Then when Des was tired early and couldn’t stay awake at a restaurant, I could grab dinner nearby and we could go back to eat in our room. We loved that! (See them in the photo?)

4 – Extended Stay America has pet-friendly rooms! Even though Cassidy stayed home with Athena, it’s awesome to know we can take her with us in the future. She loves going adventuring with us and is the ultimate road trip dog to have around!

5 – Extended Stay America partners with the American Cancer Society. I already feel GREAT about them for all of the reasons I mentioned, but this makes me feel even better. I love that they have invested $1 billion into renovating and improving their hotels, and I love the great feeling you get during your stay. Thank you so much for your generosity and helpful tips – because of your folder of local things to do, my little one got to see two MOOSE! He had seen them before (6 of them, actually) but he was only two and doesn’t remember. We won’t forget our time with you, and we can’t wait to go back!

Click HERE to book your stay!

Look on Extended Stay America’s website. Where would you go for your stay?

#MyTownProud: The Small Town Artist That Inspired Me the Most

This content is sponsored by the Monsanto Fund’s America’s Farmers Community Outreach programs, but views and thoughts are my own.

What makes you #MyTownProud? Before I moved to New England and found my small town, I got inspiration from where I'm from, and how it has helped my art. #ad

I admit that there was a period of time in my early 20’s in which I thought I wanted to live in NYC.

Now, I can’t believe I ever sought that life because I’m a country girl through and through, and I’ve been that way probably my whole life. It’s true that I lived in San Francisco for a short spell in the mid-2000’s, but that was a chance of a lifetime and an experiment. It didn’t last long, and soon I gave up living in a MIDDLE apartment in Golden Gate Park – sandwiched between, below, and above some loud neighbors – and traded it in for a New England town without its own stoplight.

This is where I find peace, and this is where my words and my art are the most inspired. It’s no surprise to me that I wound up living in a clearing in the woods on four acres, because I get it all from my mom! As a kid, we lived on top of a mountain and surrounded by cornfields. I always thought we had the best of everything. We had the dimension and the beauty of the elevation, but we were also on a place filled with crops and wildlife. My mom’s dream was always to own horses, and once she reached that dream, her dream was to own her own horse FARM, and she fulfilled that dream when I was an adult.

I’ve loved seeing it unfold.

My mom is an artist/art teacher, and her father was an artist too. As a writer and a photographer, I certainly relate to so many parts of her – her humor and quirks, the way she translates her hopes and dreams into visual creations, and the way she is at one with nature. We are both small town women, probably more so than anyone else in our family. I’m proud to be from a small town, and to have been inspired to be an artist – like my mom and my grandfather. Their art is in galleries.

Before I was born, my mom was an art teacher in the public schools. After she gave birth to my sister and then me, she had the foresight and inspiration to start an art school right out of her home. When we moved in with my dad and new siblings after she got re-married, my dad helped her create an even bigger art school in our new house. The business was and still is called Art Magic, and its existence is the only life I’ve ever known. When we moved to Blairstown, NJ about 15 years ago, my parents set down their small town roots and let them spread. They own a horse farm, and my mom is a curator/exhibitor at the town’s local art gallery on Main Street. You can’t go for a walk down Main Street without seeing a familiar face.

I used to joke that it was straight out of a movie, or a western. I’m #MyTownProud to be a part of this life.

My mom makes dioramas/dreamscapes. They involve a lengthy process that begins with her original pen and ink drawings. Then, her drawings are photographically reproduced and reduced in size. She takes the new drawings and dry mounts them to boards. Then she cuts them out and layers on colors with translucent films. The final product is a three-dimensional box – a juxtaposition of cultures, worlds, and images – intended to portray time as the past, present, and future as one event.

What I love is how receptive the town is to her art. She’s found a niche in a wonderful community.

Not long after we moved to Blairstown, the small town had an Arts & Local Business Night. All of the local businesses opened their doors and served food and drinks. It was warm and welcoming, and VERY country. I loved seeing residents ride horses down the street and then “park them” to go out to dinner. That’s when I knew we had found “home.” A forever home.

And THESE are the people you’ll find in small towns – full of love, warmth, inspiration, and complexity. Their stories have layers, and it’s so rewarding to find out how they came to do what they do, and how they came to live where they live.

What makes you #MyTownProud? Before I moved to New England and found my small town, I got inspiration from where I'm from, and how it has helped my art. #ad

I’m so proud to be from a small town, and to live in this rural setting I enjoy every day now. What I love is that The Monsanto Fund celebrates these amazing communities, and helps to make them even more vibrant for future generations through America’s Farmers Community Outreach. These America’s Farmers programs, sponsored by The Monsanto Fund, help put the farmer in the center of the story. In America’s rural communities, farmers not only provide food and fuel, but they are pivotal characters in their communities. They often serve as the backbone of the areas in which they live – like here. Through the Grow Communities, Grow Rural Education and Grow Ag Leaders programs, The Monsanto Fund celebrates the accomplishments throughout communities with grants to help them continue to grow and thrive. A new campaign sponsored by the programs called My Town will continue this celebration of the people, places and stories that make small towns great.

They do this with the help of local farmers.

Why are you #MyTownProud? Share your own why on social media with the #MyTownProud hashtag! Connect with America’s Farmers on their website, and on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and share your stories in those places!

Are you an artist? Can you think of a particular artist you love in your town?