Where are you from and how long have you lived in town? What brought you to the area?
I’m originally from California and moved into the Vernon Hills area about 27 years ago because of my job.
Do you have child(ren)? Age(s)
Yes, a daughter who is 13.
What are your favorite things to do in the area with and without your kids? Family friendly restaurant? Date night?
Chicago Botanic Gardens, Festivals, Farmer’s Markets, Bristol Renaissance Faire and zip-lining.
We really enjoy Tsukasa right now because my daughter is on a sushi kick.
For date night in the summer, Ravinia…in the winter, dinner and a movie.
Are you involved in a business venture, a local organization, a creative endeavor or in the corporate world?
Please share! I own a Travel business (Lara Jens Travel) and have been advising families with their vacations since 2010. I started with just Disney experiences (theme parks, cruises, Florida, Hawaii and Hilton Head) but have expanded to offer multiple cruise lines, Europe, river cruises, Universal Parks and of course California. I grew up driving or flying across the US from Illinois to California, stopping at places like the Grand Canyon and the Hoover Dam. My first trip out of the US was on my honeymoon when we cruised to Grand Cayman, Belize and Cozumel.
We took my daughter on her first road trip when she was 2, followed by her first flight and she LOVES to travel! We try to take at least 1 or 2 family vacations a year, sometimes visiting favorite destinations or trying something new. Our next “big” adventure is a river cruise in Europe next June.
When I help a family plan their vacation, I make sure that it has everything that they want from places to stay to those special experiences that make a vacation so memorable. We talk a LOT and no detail is too small, I enjoy getting to know them…like their favorite foods, movies, things to do and even places they have been before. Families are like fingerprints, no two are alike and neither are their travel experiences.
How has this community been instrumental in getting you to where you are now?
I met my husband at St. Joseph’s and some of my best friends live nearby. This community is very supportive and has grown so much in the past 27 years, it’s been wonderful watching my daughter grow up here.
What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
When I was in high school I wanted to become an animator and work for Disney. I used to draw all of the time, something that I don’t do anymore.
What is next for you?
Growing my Travel business and spending time with my family and friends. As a recent breast cancer survivor, you learn what’s really important and to live life in the moment because those moments are precious and fleeting.
*This post was sponsored by Lara Jens Travel