Okay, so every year it’s fun, right, to make the Thanksgiving table look unusual and special, right? But here’s the question, how do you continue to do that year after year? It’s a challenge for sure! Where do you find the inspiration, the quality stuff, the neat looks, without it all getting out of hand and sort of extravagant? Sure some of us can pull out our wallets, but do we want to? What if it’s not in our budget or you simply don’t feel good about spending extra money each year on fancy new decorative things to make the house and table look festive? Maybe it feels all sort of wasteful. How do you get the same look, have the same level of fun with the process but without the money spent and the guilt? Plus, there’s the issue of storage! Many of us are in this mindset of scaling back nowadays, minimizing. Look at what’s out there right under our noses and it’s all so fun!read more
At this time of the year, we tend to be in our homes feeling close to family and our loved ones. The weather’s changing around us and the new year has well begun. Sure, many of us don’t dare contemplate thoughts of travel right now with the things looming, work demands and life with its myriad of twists and turns. But still, wouldn’t it be ideal if we could travel more often no matter what our age or economic standing, and also afford to stay away longer? Aren’t their countries you’d love to visit and plant yourself to live like a local?
But still, wouldn’t it be ideal if we could travel more often no matter what our age or economic standing, and also afford to stay away longer? Aren’t their countries you’d love to visit and only plant yourself to live like a local?
Aren’t their countries you’d love to visit and only plant yourself to live like a local?
What if we could do it because we’ve cut down on 3 of the biggest expenditures of travel cost? If we had to pay for the cost of our airfare, wouldn’t it be terrific? If we could have the same expenses of entertainment, groceries, dining out, etc. while home swapping, and then all of us could travel more frequently. Sure, we’ll still eat out occasionally, but we all do that anyway at home! But if we are in someone else’s home, we can continue to cook and enjoy the same privileges.
Think about this whole concept of home exchange, why not save mega-bucks every time you travel?
If we only had to pay for the cost of our airfare, wouldn’t it be terrific?
One of the most fascinating things I find about travel is people watching. Heck, I like it in airports especially. When’s the last time you were in Heathrow airport in London? What a sight! But then let’s take it up a notch and check out the streets of Rome, Monte Carlo or Nice for that matter. The women in Europe still have it all going on as far as I’m concerned. Elegance still matters. You will not witness too many tennis shoes, sweat shirts or jeans adorning their lean bodies. You can’t bottle the European flair and take it home but you can give it your best shot. How? The only way women have been immitating fashion for centuries, by shopping! Shopping is as personal as the clothes we wear each day. Color, style, textures, anything that appeals to us which may or may not appeal equally to the very person we sleep with each night. So let’s get down to it. What do you “take out” on a trip to the Med? I think of it as “take out” because that’s what you do as a tourist. You claim it and take it out of one country and into yours and you’d better not be over your limit. When we filled out our customs form on the way back into the states we could only claim up to $800/person.read more
Between disembarking from our cruise ship at 9 AM and leaving on a flight bound for the U.S. exactly 24 hours later, we had little time but enough to know Nice was certainly way beyond nice! Second only to Paris, Nice has a myriad of museums, tiny cafes, wonderful streets and art galleries to explore, not to mention the mesmorizing rich blue green sea! What a sight to behold. We could only wish for more time here. But you know how things go. We were now at the end of a 16-day journey and tired, ready to head back to San Francsico. Homesick for our favorite “hole-in-the-wall” Joe’s Taco Lounge Mexican restaurant or our easy “only a phone call away,” Chinese take-out and literally our own bed. Trust me though, this is a place you must see! From the year-round incredible warm balmy temperatures and the glitzy night scene, to the endless choices of exquisite dining and fabuous shopping, it’s all stunning to say the least.read more
There are a ton of articles out there, simply, on how to travel with your spouse or significant other, much less with other couples. Seems this traveling business and the stress of making choices within confined windows of time and new environments, creates dynamic relationship struggles. Let’s be honest though, travel with others cuts down on much of the stress of decision making. Directions, language barriers, money exchanges, all can be more easily navigated, if someone in the group is say multilingual or less directionally challenged than we may be. What’s the age old expression “two minds are better than one.” When we are in a group, peer pressure pushes us to do more, try more, risk more and think outside our normal routines. That’s huge, that’s a big advantage! We did well together on this trip but not without normal trials, impatient moments and discomfort at times between all 6 of us. Sometimes the pace was off for some of us, the direction for others, or the togetherness was a bit too much. But isn’t it asking too much, that as three couples, our tolerance, or flexibility to negotiate, work for extended days on end? Negotiation is tough. Much less constant negotiation, as we do when traveling.read more
Bring it on Barcelona and boy did she! Starting with a magnificent day exploring everything we could within a short 6 hour window from bustling streets, the incredible Gaudi architecture, open air markets and delicious sidewalk cafes. With a population of over 1.6 million in the city limits and 4.5 million within the complete urban area combined, Barcelona is quite a site to behold. So lively and free, fun and full of surprises from the look of the buildings and the irresistible fashion sense of style to window shopping, Barcelona is all encompassing to say the least. It simply grabs you and the energy is contagious! Boundless culture and architecture and what a drinking and dining scene. It is the second largest city in Spain and is sixth in line as far as size after Paris, London, the Ruhr, Madrid and Milan.read more
Sometimes in life you simply snap away and memories are but all you have left of days one will never forget. If you are bound for a Mediterranean cruise you are more than likely going to visit some of these cities and trust me they are all unique and lovely for different reasons. They are impeccably clean and as you stroll through any one of them the sense of history overwhelms you. Elba’s capital city of Portoferraio is one of the loveliest places we visited. Although I don’t have too much to share, due to our limited time there, this is a terrific site for more info on hotels and things to do in the area: Elba.org
In 1814, the city gave refuge to the exiled Napoleon Bonaparte and there are tours through his home, which we were excited to see. This town is a treasure trove for history lovers at every turn.
Chances are you will visit Elba by cruise ship unless you are Italian or of European descent and come here on holiday, then I don’t have to elaborate on what to do and why, do I? But if you are like John and me, and merely making it a quick stop, wow, what a gorgeous place!
Ok, so here we are in Rome and unfortunately only for a brief couple of days but that’s probably the case for many of us when we travel, isn’t it? Usually we are only in one area for a short amount of time as we want to squeeze so much in and see as much as we can. After all we’ve come so far and who knows when we’ll be back! We are cruising on a Seabourn ship with 200 other passengers in the Mediterranean. Of course sort of wishing we had much more time to explore Rome and wondering, if we did, what exactly would our choices be? Would I want to go first to some of the excellent resale home furnishings stores to see the unique European style and decor only found in Italy? I’m quite sure that would certainly be worth doing! Better yet we could simply wander the streets looking for that special retailer with unbelievable quality and fantastic prices. Since I haven’t the time on this trip, I thought it would be nice to at least give you a head start on the information out there as to where to go to explore design at its best in Rome.read more
Besides the fact that it offers such diversity for family fun virtually any time of the year, Flagstaff is also home to Northern Arizona University. NAU opened its doors in 1899 with merely 23 students and only one professor. This was long before Arizona actually gained statehood in 1914. If you are headed to the Grand Canyon it is a super place to stop and likewise if you just happen to be in the vicinity of Phoenix and need a break from the heat, it is a short 2 hour drive away and so worth it. Why? Because it has so much to offer all packed within a small community with character, culture and class. One of the joys of living in Arizona, is the diverse topography within 3 hours of any one location. Between the desert, mountain ranges and unique towns like; Jerome, Tombstone, Tubac, Sedona, Prescott, Lakeside-Pinetop and of course Flagstaff, Arizona is chalk full of great destinations all within a very doable driving radius of 3 hours from Phoenix. Here are 5 fool proof reasons to visit Flagstaff soon!read more
For me, one of the most opportune reasons to stay in Mill Valley has to do with charm as well as the convenience and superior location. Sure there are plenty of reasons all by itself, Mill Valley is downright spectacular. And yes, MV has plenty of history for a small town as well! They can proudly claim the first Whole Foods market as their own amongst other things. One of the most important events of the year also is in full swing in Mill Valley, which is the 36th Annual Mill Valley Film Festival , so don’t miss it if at all possible, for more info: MVFilmFestival. Within 20 minutes of MV there are at least a half dozen lovely small towns worth exploring, not to mention the wine country, the Pacific ocean and the destination of all destinations, San Francisco.read more