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Be Responsible Before Getting On The Road

1403442_old_cameron_bridgeYou’ve heard it 1 million times… If you drink, drive responsibly.  Has it occurred to anyone other than me, that the words ‘drinking’ and ‘drive responsibly’ don’t even belong in the same sentence?  Maybe this instead: if you’re drinking, make intelligent decisions regarding driving.  Or better yet, if you are drinking don’t drive dammit!  Certainly at least not until the next day, when you’ve sobered up and aren’t hung over anymore.  A drunk driving charge on people’s DMV driving records can be far more detrimental than one may have originally thought.  That is of course only one small reason not to drive drunk.

Been There, Done That

Many of us have been guilty of getting behind the wheel, after too many drinks.  You’re just a little buzzed, so you’re sure you can drive if you really concentrate, pay attention and stick to the speed limit. But, as so many commercials will have you believe these days… Buzzed driving is drunk driving.  If all the tests and studies that have been done aren’t enough to convince you, that first accident should.  Sadly, that first accident could be your last.  It could also be the last time some 16-year-old kid gets behind the wheel of dad’s car and just happens to be in your way, after you had one too many.  That the kind of thing you want to live with for the rest of your life?  Could you even live with it for the rest of your life? If your conscience didn’t kill you, you can look forward to the financial devastation that something like this could end up wreaking on your bank book and your family.  Everybody makes mistakes, just don’t make this one.

I Have Here, in Front of Me, Your Driving Record

What individual in your life may utter those words?  Unfortunately for you, it could be a potential employer.  Even if you aren’t applying for a job that involves driving, some businesses do the kinds of background checks that involve driving records with the DMV.  You can tell an awful lot about a person by looking at their driving record after all.  Irresponsibility behind the wheel could very well equal irresponsible at work.  Distracted, inattentive drivers are likely to be distracted and inattentive on-the-job.

And, that drunk driving charge we referred to earlier…?  This person may well be an alcoholic.

Admiring Marble Floors in a Five Star Hotel

1251432_marble_smooth_10If you have ever walked through the lobby of a five star hotel, you were likely blown away by pretty much every feature that the hotel had to offer, especially if it was your first time staying in such luxury.  Not only are the floors spotless and free of imperfection, every inch of the hotel seems as if it were almost sprayed with some sort of dust and dirt repellant to keep it clean.  However, the secret of keeping things so clean is simple – hire a great cleaning team.

While You Were Sleeping

When you are staying in a five star hotel, the owners and managers will do their best to make sure that the guests aren’t inconvenienced in any way.  This generally includes the cleaning that must be done every day.  So, in maintaining this frame of mind, the hotel managers and owners tend to arrange to have most of the cleaning done during the night, when the majority of their guests are sleeping.  They make sure to use machines that clean as quietly as possible and use only the highest quality supplies, so that you aren’t waking up to chemical fumes the next morning.  Really, no one wants to breathe in fumes, when they are trying to eat their breakfast.  Of course, for the less intrusive chores such as gardening or housekeeping are allowed during the day time, but for the deep cleaning, there is usually a late night involved.

Take Time to Appreciate

The fact that so much time and thought goes into the cleaning of these gorgeous hotels, it really is important that you take a moment out of your day and just admire the scenery.  Unless you stay in a five star hotel on a regular basis, you may not know when the next time you will be able to enjoy luxury will happen.  Take a moment while you are checked in to simply enjoy the hotel around you.  Really take time to appreciate all that the hotel has to offer, from the spotless marble floors in the lobby to the well-manicured green of the golf course, even just the cleanliness and luxury of your hotel room.  People tend to glance over the little things, but the truth is that it is all of these little things that truly make the experience memorable.

Staying in a five star hotel is something that some of us will only do once or twice in a lifetime, if ever.  If you get the chance to experience this, truly take the time to experience and appreciate the hotel for what it is: a combined effort between the management and staff to provide you with an experience you won’t soon forget.

Traveling For A Wedding Is The Best Time To Shop

You have put so much work into your wedding. The dresses for the bridesmaids and groomsmen, the invitations. The music sound system or maybe you have a live band. Decorations, flowers, table coverings. Food and drink. You worry that your guests will be satisfied and happy. And, to top it off, your wedding isn’t even in your home town. You have to travel for it. Should this be more stress? Absolutely not! Often times when traveling for a wedding, you can find spectacular deals and items you may not be able to find in your home town, including wedding shoes. This will allow you a little more freedom and variety, not only for your wedding in general, but for you for new clothing purchases.

Shopping On The Honeymoon

The wedding is over. You and your new husband have finally made it through the wedding, made the rounds to all of your guests, and have driven away to begin your new life together. But first, the wedding night and honeymoon are about to begin. Suddenly you realize you forgot something back home in the closet! The lingerie. Now, of course your husband probably won’t care. After all, men don’t really care what you wear, as long as they get to see you naked. This, however, is your special night. Fortunately, if your honeymoon is in a major city most malls have lingerie stores. If your honeymoon takes you to a beach location, you may find more stunning beach wear at your destination rather than from your city of origin. Beach resorts specialize in swimsuits, bikini’s, and if your buttocks is shaped for it, the daringly skimpy thong! You may even find other outfits you never expected to find back home.

Shopping For The Honeymoon

Don’t forget your footwear. Men will take a couple pairs of shoes and be happy. Women know better. Shoes can make or break an outfit. But again, depending on where you go for the honeymoon, you may find something you can’t live without along the way. Perhaps a new pair for that slinky evening dress you brought, or a new pair of sandals for the beach. Or even a sexy pair of stiletto heels to go with the lingerie you just bought, because you forgot to pack what you originally bought and left it hanging in the closet back home.

No matter what, be prepared for a few side trips for shopping. You will be surprised at what you can find along the way!

Hotel Lobby Makes the First Impression

139818_us_grant_hotel_1Don’t judge a book by its cover, wise words in most cases, but sometimes it is a good rule of thumb to maybe not judge, but look closely at the cover.  In the case of picking a hotel the cover is the hotel lobby and if it is underwhelming, you can pretty much guess that the guest rooms are not going to measure up to par either.  The best four and five star hotels invest in their appearance.  Things like the furniture, artwork and over all décor are all well thought out, in the best hotels.  No one is saying that just by enjoying hotel art on the walls, you will also enjoy your stay but, you can pretty much assume that if the hotel puts effort in to the outward appearance, they also take that same approach with other aspects of their operation.

More than a Waiting Area

Beyond the appearance of the lobby, some hotels offer perks in their lobby area.  Free Wi-Fi is becoming an expectation of many travelers and many hotels offer free internet access, in their lobby area, even before you check in for your stay.  If you are working on your laptop in the lobby and you want a snack, you might just be in luck, because many hotels now have a full service food and beverage area.  Taking it to another level, Las Vegas has long been the leader in the hotel lobby becoming more of an experience and less of a waiting area.  In some Vegas hotels, the lobby in the main attraction or at least an interesting side attraction complete with casino games, but of course, it is Vegas.

Gathering Place

Most hotels are a little more on the tame side, when it comes to the activities they offer in the lobby.  Things like free espressos or other designer coffees are becoming common at hotel chains across the country.  More and more hotels are re-imagining their lobby area as a gathering place, rather than a place to pass through on check in and check out.  This idea is to entice people to leave their rooms and use the lobby as a congregating area.  This means many hotel lobbies are starting to look more like living rooms and less like hotel lobbies.

Packing Properly For A Trip To Costa Rica

1397457_untitledWhen deciding to pick up and haul the entire family and all your relations to Costa Rica, for that rural family reunion adventure, remember to let everyone know that this is the tropics folks.  What you pack can have a direct effect on just how much fun you can have together.

God Bless the Airlines in Their Infinite Wisdom

It would take too long to name all of the airlines that are now charging, not just extra for your second, but even charging for your first bag!  To my knowledge, Southwest Airlines is the only airline that is still allowing you at least one free bag, in the baggage compartment.  Considering that, the lighter you pack the less chance you will have of needing a large enough bag, for the baggage compartment, or going over the weight limit for that bag.  Remember, when packing, that you’re going to return home with, more likely than not, a lot more than you left with from home.  Souvenirs and other must-have items will be taking up room, that may not have been there before you traveled to Costa Rica.  Some people pack an extra bag, which can flatten out for the trip there and be utilized to carry extras on the way back.  Don’t forget that if you’re carrying it, it has to pass inspection.

There’s Plenty of Shopping in Costa Rica

If you forget to pack some of your favorite items there is no shortage of places to shop in this lovely island paradise.  You can always take time out from your water adventures and volcanic tours, to take the entire family shopping.  Here are just a few suggestions: handicrafts at Sarchi’s Taller Eloy Alfaro;  Coffee Britt Chocolates are a huge deal already at the airport, but can be purchased throughout the city; fresh, tasty vegetables and fruit can be found in abundance, all over the place; San Jose’s Artesan Market; don’t worry if you lose your glasses, because you can pick some up at Cartago’s Supermas; if culture is your style there is art available from local artists, at Galeria Estudio, and finally Mercardo Artesania and Central in San Jose.

And don’t worry, there is always someone willing to sell you one-size-fits-all T-shirts and shorts.  Sandals can be found nearby and sunscreen is always available, somewhere.  Just because you forgot yours doesn’t mean that everyone else did, too.  Whoops, did I mention packing a swimsuit?  I’ll just bet you can buy one there!

Make the Most Out of Your Vacation to Greece by Speaking Greek

1406636_resort_sunsetAre you planning a trip to Greece?  Greece is a beautiful country with a rich history and beautiful culture, making it a perfect vacation spot.  While there will be plenty of tour guides and translators fighting for your business once you get there, having a grasp of the language, before even boarding that plane will give your vacation a special touch and will let you experience more of what the country has to offer.

Why it’s Important

Anytime you visit a country whose language you are not fluent in, you are at a disadvantage.  Not only can this be dangerous if you wind up getting lost or hurt, not knowing the language also lets people know just how much of a tourist you are, which you never want to advertise.  It is important even for the foods that you eat!  If you are not familiar with a language well enough to read a menu or order from a restaurant properly, you could wind up ordering something that causes a food allergic reaction or even something that your religious beliefs forbids.  In other words, having at least a basic understanding of the language in a foreign country will save some potential headaches.

Saving Some Money

When you are on vacation, every little penny helps you get the most out of the vacation.  So, why would you want to spend money on a translator when you could use that money to see another attraction or enjoy a fancy dinner?  Translators and tour guides that speak Greek can help in a pinch, but can be expensive.  You may be able to find a less expensive translator by finding a student at a local university who is looking to make a little extra money, but even this will take away from the time you could be using to enjoy your vacation.

Speaking Greek will allow you to enjoy your vacation on a completely different level.  Some of the best conversations you can have are those that you strike up with a total stranger.  If you visit Greece without knowing the language, you are depriving yourself of this wonderful situation and could miss out on a life-long friendship.  Not to mention, why pay someone for something you can do yourself?  Learn the Greek language, before making your trip and you will have a vacation worth bragging about, without the headaches that can come along with not knowing it.

How about an NCAA Getaway?

0007380557Q-849x565If you are a big college basketball fan or just a proud graduate of a school that gets to compete in the NCAA Basketball Tournament this year, the perfect vacation could be an NCAA getaway. This year the final four and championship games take place in Atlanta’s Georgia Dome. The indoor stadium is perfect for such an event. The home to the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons the dome is also a concert venue and hosts other major events year round.  There are meeting rooms for corporate events, club lounges and luxury suites. The luxury suites are the ultimate in comfort and a great way to enjoy the came in a relaxed environment.

Head South

Atlanta is a fascinating southern city. The city is large enough to accommodate big events like the March Madness tournament yet small enough to feel familiar. There are ample hotels in the downtown area and although commuting by car can be a bit trying for newcomers there is a great public transportation system as well as independent transportation companies for hire of you have a large group.

Regional Play is Just as Exciting

If you can’t make it down to Atlanta for the final four and championship game, perhaps you can take in the regional action in one of the earlier rounds. The regional games take place in four places throughout the country; with first round action beginning in Dayton, Ohio at the UD Arena.  If you have a 2013 march madness printable bracket list you can see who is playing and make sure to attend the best matchups. Having a bracket list is also important if you are interested in making a little wager on the action. March madness betting is easier if you have a good grasp of who is playing in each round. That way you can go with the odds when it comes to measuring a team’s strengths and weaknesses. If all this is a little too much for you and you just want to enjoy some great basketball, you can do just that at this year’s NCAA Basketball Tournament

Planning a Super Getaway

94404_7820You’ve followed your team all year and at this point in the season, with only a few weeks to go, they look like a real contender for a trip to the Super Bowl! Of course there are those pesky playoff games to get through first but you are feeling confident and you are ready to visit and place a bet on your team to win it all this year.

What’s more you are ready to book your ticket to New Orleans for the big game. This year’s Super bowl is taking place in a super city. Known as a great tourist’s destination, New Orleans is the perfect city to host the Super Bowl. In fact this year will mark the 10th time in the 47 year history of the Super bowl that New Orleans has been the host city.

What made New Orleans Famous?

New Orleans is a city with a bit of a colorful history behind it for sure. Most people are familiar with the night life to be found in the French Quarter of New Orleans. But day time in the Quarter is also a lot of fun. The city which was originally founded by the French and subsequently under control by the Spanish before being sold the United States has a decidedly European feel. The architecture of many of the buildings in the oldest parts of New Orleans, including the French Quarter exhibits that European influence. But New Orleans is and was a port city, historically travelers from all over the world first set foot in the US when they landed in New Orleans. Musically speaking New Orleans is also an important city. Many credit the beginnings of jazz to New Orleans. Famous New Orleanians such as Jelly Roll Morton and Louis Armstrong helped bring jazz music to wider audiences through their recordings and traveling bands. Today New Orleans still keeps the tradition of jazz alive and there are many great venues for both tourists and locals to experience jazz music. Probably the most famous of which is Preservation Hall, located in the French Quarter.

If you are planning a trip to New Orleans to root for your team during the Super Bowl don’t spend all of your time studying the 2013 Super Bowl odds. Get out and enjoy all the history and wonder of the city of New Orleans.

You Don’t Have to Fly to Italy to Get an Authentic Lasagna Recipe

1383473_lasagna_2Anyone would certainly love to spend some time in Italy, dining in the many restaurants and cafes, enjoying the diversified Italian cuisine.  The many regions of Italy each have their own special and unique style of cooking, resulting in dishes that are as different as the colorful peoples of this old world country.  Recipes of these Italian dishes are steeped in family tradition and often not shared with outsiders.  But a trip to Italy may not be something that many of us will every get to experience. Never fret, you can still dine authentically Italian wherever you live.  Many of us have eaten lasagna from moms who think their dish is the best you will ever taste.  Who would argue with that statement, our moms are usually the best cooks in our young world.  As we grow up and begin to taste the culinary efforts of other cooks we realize that even moms’ recipe can be tweaked to new gastronomical levels.  The simple and basic noodles, meat sauce, cheeses and spices of moms’ lasagna can be expanded to include mushrooms, seafood, tofu, roasted peppers and many other tasty ingredients.

Buying a Good Cookbook

Investing in a good cookbook with reliable and tested recipes can save you the airfare to Italy, or any other country for that matter, to learn how to cook authentically.  Often chefs from countries like Italy, France, India and other foreign countries will publish cookbooks with their recipes for preparation at home.  In America we also have many talented chefs who have restaurants in major cities that specialize in a specific cuisine, they also publish cookbooks so that anyone can purchase ingredients and prepare their creations.  If you have the opportunity to visit one of these Italian, French or other specialized restaurants, the food they serve can inspire you to try that particular style of cooking.  Keeping the recipe authentic is your choice, modify or enhance it to suit your family’s taste.

Exploring Different Lasagna Recipes

Lasagna is a wonderful dish to experiment with in your kitchen.  There are so many variations and you cannot go wrong when you blend wonderful ingredients and meld flavors for a special outcome, a memorable dish.  Introduce your family to a variety of new ingredients in a dish that is an all time family favorite. You will enjoy the results as they devour your lasagna dinner.

Choosing A Halloween Vacation Destination

1141547_brazil_beachHalloween is always a really fun time of the year especially if you are into having fun and excitement when you go on vacation. There are many different locations across the United States that have cool Halloween themed activities and events planned. That can be wonderful if you have decided on a vacation time that you have taken off of work and are hoping that everyone in the family can have some fun.

Looking Into All Of The Different Destinations

The very first thing you need to do is determine how much time you have off, so that you are able to have a good amount of time enjoying all of your Halloween vacation fun. Then you need to determine how you plan on getting to all of the different destinations that you have chosen. Once you have determined all about then you are ready to plan everything out and get the entire family involved.

A Group Costume Setting

The really cool thing about attending any type of event that is Halloween related is you also can dress up in a huge group all related to the same type of theme. In order for you to get ideas about this type of costume you should look at group Halloween costume ideas. The Internet will give you plenty of information and advice on what you could do for a group costume that will look really cool and you will be able to have a lot of fun. You should always make sure that all of the costumes are safe and there is never any type of way anyone especially the younger children can get hurt.

Your Halloween adventure is going to be fun for everyone in the family and you will be able to build memories that will last a long time.

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