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Global Tourism GlobalData Spain tourism Trump Travel Slump US Travel Slump World Tourism Data World Travel World Travel Trends

Global Data: International arrivals to Spain increased by 4.8 percent

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  • March 18, 2018
total tourist expenditure in Spain Projected all-time high tourism expenditure
US Travel News Data
GlobalData reports new travel statistics.

For immediate release: 16 March 2018

Information provided courtesy of GlobalData

‘Trump Slump’ leads Spain to overtake US in Global Tourism; says GlobalData

Total Tourist Expenditure in Spain Projected All-Time High

Spain is expected to become the second most popular tourist destination in the world, overtaking the US, as the so-called ‘Trump Slump’ caused a dip in the US tourism industry; says GlobalData a leading data and analytics company.

Rapidly growing tourism flows herald a strong 2018 for the industry however as Konstantina Boutsioukou Consumer Analyst at GlobalData explains “As Spain overtakes the US in the list of the most visited countries in the world, the global tourist community has sent a strong message that divisive and discriminatory policies can greatly hamper sector growth”.

Despite the recent political uncertainty following the Catalan independence referendum and the terror attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils last August, the Spanish tourism industry has proved to be very robust and has experienced strong growth in the last 12 months.

According to figures from GlobalData, international arrivals to Spain increased by * 4.8%; from 75.6 million tourists in 2016 to 79.3 million in 2017. The UK, followed by France and Germany are the three largest source markets for Spain, making up 53% of total arrivals to the country. Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has also confirmed that early projections reveal that the total tourist expenditure in Spain recorded an all-time high, reaching £77 billion in 2017.

Official statistics by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), have not been released, however current projections from the organization reveal that arrivals to the US are down from 75.9 million in 2016, to 72.9 in 2017. The decline of tourism is estimated to cost the US economy £140 million a week, equivalent to £7.3 billion a year. However, New York City and Los Angeles have fared better than most US cities. Arrivals to Los Angeles have increased by 2.2%, mainly due to a growth in domestic arrivals and Chinese visitors. New York arrivals have increased by 2.1% mainly due to a surge in US visitors.  

Boutsioukou adds, “The travel restrictions are seen by many tourists as state-sponsored Islamophobia, and are putting off many travelers from visiting the US. The ban has given rise to a general wave of withdrawals particularly among Middle Eastern, African and European tourists. Flows from Mexico have also registered a decline, as Mexican citizens seek to boycott the construction of the ‘Trump Wall’ at the border between Mexico and the US.’’

‘*’   source: GlobalData Consumer Intelligence Centre – 2017 estimates
‘**’ source: United Nations World Tourism Organisation – 2017 estimates

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Yogmata Keiko Aikawa: Moving Towards Peace

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  • March 16, 2018
Submitted Photos

Peaceful mind, Tranquil World




Yogmata Keiko Aikawa’s initial attraction to yoga was the promise of a healthier life but her desire to master the teaching of truth has fueled her affinity for yoga.

“Deep down, it was my desire to awaken the hidden harmony and everlasting fulfillment inside.I hoped to be able to love myself and others around me,” Ms. Yogmata said in an email interview.

Ms. Yogmata shared her struggles as an advocate for peace through the practice of yoga and meditation at the celebration of International Women’s Day: Women Leadership Advancing the Culture of Peace, a special evening hosted by Yoga and the UN Culture of Peace on Fri., March 9, 6:30 – 9 p.m. The event was held at the Millennium Hilton New York One UN Plaza, 44th Street between 1st & 2nd Avenue, across from the United Nations headquarters. Ms. Yogmata also led the audience through a meditation session she hopes will help attendees develop mindfulness and individual awareness.

As a world-renowned yoga master, the world’s first female and non-Indian (Japanese) Siddha Master, and only one of two Siddha Masters ever to appear in public, Ms. Yogmata is deemed as “The Mother of Yoga” for her tenacious breakthrough of cultural and gender barriers throughout her journey to learn and practice meditation and yoga. Her efforts have spanned more than 60 years and have empowered women in Japan, India, and Nepal.

What is the correlation between yoga and world peace? Ms. Yogmata says yoga is about harmonizing the mind and body, and our body and mind is a micro-universe made of the same material comprising the whole universe.

“So when we are harmonized ourselves, within each of us, that will have the same effect on the universe as a whole,” she explained. 

Her work began as a teenager and since then, she has blazed a path to peace as a mentor to countless women and children, a compassionate spiritual leader, and humanitarian. Among her contributions to society is an organization she founded –  NPO: Yogmata Foundation, a social welfare service foundation in India, donation of mobile hospitals to remote villages in India, and holding lectures and seminars as part of the World Peace Campaign. Ms. Yogmata has performed 18 public Samadhis, (the deepest level of awareness for the meditation practitioner) and most notably at the Maha Kumbh Mela, a festival held once every 144 years that draws more than 70 million people.

How does yoga facilitate a better balance?

“It encourages everyone to choose goodness over negativity, love instead of hatred, trust rather than doubts. All these choices are leading to the experience of oneness,” according to Ms. Yogmata.

Yoga: A Messenger of Peace

Can yoga and meditation foster peace throughout the world?


Consider Ms. Yogmata’s native Japan, for example…a country Ms. Yogmata says has a history of different cultures existing side-by-side with one another peacefully and an inclination towards eating and living together in openness with less privacy.

“Someone once said to me that, since we are an island nation, there is no escaping from one another. That forced them to accept one another and co-exist,” she says. “And when each one of us is in harmony/balanced, it will naturally create peace and love, and that will lead to a peaceful world. That is the correlation between practicing yoga and world peace. If you look at the Americans and Europeans, they have much greater emphasis on individuality. It is visible in the structure of the language where sentences start with “I.” Japanese does not use the subject word when spoken. This is similar to the concept of yoga – losing the sense of ego, becoming empty. Yoga creates a peaceful mind and will lead to a peaceful world.”

Click here to learn more about Ms. Yogmata.

Denise Scotto, Esq., chair of the International Day of Yoga Committee, was the master of ceremony. Ms. Yogmata; Indian spiritual guru and writer Pilot Baba; Denis Licul, president, Yoga in Daily Life NY, SSMWPC and YIDL-USUN representative; Deepali Sharma, head of HSS, White Plains and HSS Core Committee member; and Dr. Valdemar Prado, Senior Fellow, World Association of Former United Nations Interns and Fellows (WAFUNIF) and Executive Director, Gliese Group were panel members.



UN International Day of Yoga

Interesting Facts:


BACKGROUND: This special event is a continuation of the “UN International Day of Yoga,” proclaimed by the UN on December 11, 2014 (Resolution 69/131), to be celebrated on June 21 every year. Since December 2016, yoga has been declared an “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity” by UNESCO. This event is organized by Coplanet International, with the sponsorship of the Permanent Mission of Nepal to the United Nations.









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Air Travel Air Travel Delays and delays

Flight Delays Today? Read this post.

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  • March 2, 2018
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Special Report: Air Travelers' Rights

Wondering what to do if your flight is canceled or delayed?

 Carinna Gano, 5W Public Relations, NYC, sent this Special Report to me today, with comments by Paloma Salmeron Planells, a representative from AirHelp, an international air passenger rights company. 

 A Special Report: Flight Delays and Cancellations

What are your rights?

Information provided courtesy of Carinna Gano, 5W Public Relations, NYC, and Paloma Salmeron Planells, a representative from AirHelp, an international air passenger rights company.

Severe snow, wind, and rain are expected across the US, and the nation’s four biggest airlines (American, Delta, United, and Southwest) have already enacted flexible rebooking policies at a number of airports to accommodate canceled and delayed flights. However, with so many passengers being rebooked, flights after the storm may get more overbooked than usual, which can lead to denied boarding for air travelers.
The good news is, US air travelers on flights to the EU could be eligible for compensation if they are denied boarding due to overbookings. Paloma Salmeron Planells, representative from AirHelp, an international air passenger rights company, comments:
“While the airline is not liable under EU regulation EC 261 and other similar air passenger laws to pay compensation as the flight disruption is considered to be an ‘extraordinary circumstance’, the airline does however have an obligation to offer you with assistance, including free food and drink, overnight accommodation if required, two phone calls and access to emails.

Passengers are eligible for these rights if:
• They’re delayed by two hours and are traveling 1,500 km or less
• They’re delayed by three hours and traveling on an internal EU flight over 1,500 km
• They’re delayed by three hours and traveling on a non-internal EU flight between 1,500 km – 3,500 km
• They’re delayed by four hours and traveling on a non-internal EU flight over 3,500 km
“Air passengers experiencing delayed or canceled flights can check their eligibility for compensation at the airport or on-the-go, and make a claim in a matter of minutes through the free AirHelp mobile app, available for iOS and Android.”

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Arts and Entertainment Lifestyle

San Diego Yoga Festival: March 9-12

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  • February 28, 2018
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San Diego Yoga Festival
San Diego Yoga Festival
Images and information courtesy of The San Diego Yoga Festival

The San Diego Yoga Festival


Join Thousands of People on the Imperial Beach by the USA-Mexico Border for a four-day yoga festival.

Dates: March 9-12, 2018

*Special Offer*


Instead of paying the full $188, the San Diego Yoga Festival and have teamed up and are giving you a gift: A donation-based-pay-what-you-want-ticket for 2-days: March 10 and 11th, getting you into all the classes.

The ticket is valued at $188. Simply give a donation using the promo code below, give any dollar donation (no strings attached) and get access to all of the classes on Saturday and Sunday, March 10 and 11. Beach camping sold separately. This gift is open to the first 50 who claim it so please register online. 

Claim your 2-day ticket here.

Use promo code: GIVEHEALTH

For more information about how to use a promo code, visit

Read all about this fun event and see the full schedule here. Scroll down to learn more about the Yoga festival.

Yoga health well-being San Diego Yoga Festival
The sites and sounds on Imperial Beach are the perfect backdrops for the San Diego Yoga Festival and the huge meditation circle planned for this event.

Dozens of Life-Changing Classes

There’s something for everyone at The San Diego Yoga Festival. Organizers aim to bring health, peace, and wellness to its attendees and supporting community. The festival will be held in the most southwesterly part of the USA right next to the USA-Mexico Border.

The festival will open with a pre-conference on Friday and culminate with a post-conference on Monday. “Yoga for Kids” to “Yoga for First Responders,” “Yoga for Cancer,” healing, meditation, essential oils, face yoga, “Reiki for Animals,” live music, conscious vendors, a healing center and a HUGE meditation circle by the USA-Mexico border are among the classes and events on the schedule.

“This festival features non-stop yoga and holistic healing classes held right on the beach until sunset for four days straight. Festivalgoers can look forward to unforgettable classes and healing experiences led by the top healers and teachers in Southern California!” 



Non-stop yoga and holistic healing classes are held right on the beach until sunset for four days straight as festivalgoers experience unforgettable classes and healing experiences led by the top healers and teachers in Southern California and throughout the world. Among them will be one of the world’s oldest yoga teachers at 93-years-old. You won’t be at a loss for a style of yoga you yearn to try. Schenk says you’ll find virtually every style of yoga known to modern yogis for all levels from beginner to instructor.

Schenk noted she decided to put this festival on as a fight against pain, fear, anxiety, depression, addiction, cancer, and disease. How is the location significant? According to Schenk, staging her event in the last town before the Mexican border is an act to celebrate unity.

“Yoga and health know no borders. Stress and cancer know no borders. When it comes down to it, we all feel, we all get sick, we all hurt at some point in our lives,” she explained via email.

San Diego Yoga Festival

Activities Planned


  • Calming and relaxing yoga and meditation classes
  • Fun and energetic yoga classes with live DJs or live music
  • Beginner-friendly and advanced yoga classes in many different styles of yoga including Hatha, Vinyasa, Kundalini, Bowspring, Shakti Naam, Acro-Yoga, Yoga Nidra and Partner Yoga
  • Workshops on various holistic topics including plant medicine and fermentation/gut health
  • Surf lessons
  • Meditation beach walks to the USA-Mexico border
  • A Spanish-English yoga class
  • Yoga for cancer survivors and fighters
  • Yoga on skateboards
  • Reiki clinic and chakra balancing
  • Yoga for the military and first responders
  • Yoga for recovery and addictions
  • An interactive vending center with live music and epic products from local vendors
  • Yoga with the mayor
  • Yummy, healthy food vendors
  • Yoga-inspired sandcastles
  • A yoga class on balance for those 50 and older
  • A kid and family yoga center
  • Vinyasa en Espanol
  • The festival even welcomes pets! There will be a yoga class and Reiki healing sessions for your dogs and cats!


Find your way to health and peace at the San Diego Yoga Festival.

Schenk explained, “What is more beautiful than people coming together, working on themselves, finding peace and doing something healthy, in an area of the USA that is often talked about in a stressful way or with the focus of segregating people even more? When we segregate ourselves, stress and pain happen.”



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Lifestyle online learning The Best Places in North Wales to Travel with Toddlers Travel to North Wales Wales tourism

Best Places in Wales to Travel with Toddlers

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  • February 26, 2018
Best beaches in Wales Llandudno


Places in Wales to travel with toddlers
Wales offers a variety of opportunities for travel with toddlers.

What can my toddler handle?


The Best Places in North Wales to Travel with Toddlers

Information provided by

A donation has been provided by the creator of this article to help with the running costs of the site.

Article prepared by Dale Clark, outreach assistant and Rowena Davis, researcher

For many parents, traveling with children can feel like a juggling act.


On the one hand, you want to create a memorable holiday that is filled with laughter and activity. Yet on the other, not all of the places you want to visit are suitable for toddlers.

So what can you do? How can you get the best out of your holiday?

The first thing you need to ask yourself is – what can my toddler handle? Is the destination age appropriate, or are the children likely to get bored? Worse, will the experience go completely over their heads?

Next – is it safe? Does the place have safety procedures and precautions in place to guarantee that their services and activities won’t injure your child?

All of these are real and genuine questions that you need to ask yourself when planning a holiday, yet they are all relevant.

Take a museum for instance. It’s educational. It’s safe. It is a space designed to capture history and pass it onto the next generation. It is everything that you could want as a parent. Yet… will a two to three-year-old really be interested in looking at objects that they can’t touch; that is hidden behind glass, and that can only be learned about from signs that they can’t yet read.

Unless you’ve got a child prodigy on your hands, then sadly a toddler probably wouldn’t enjoy it.

And this is not the only thing you’ll have to deal with…

Common Challenges When Travelling with a Toddler

Dealing with their fears


Most fears at this age are based on trying something new e.g. getting on a boat, staying in a strange, new place etc. The key is to be positive; to help them push through it (sometimes by preparing them beforehand), and to make it into a game or a new adventure.

Boredom, Whining, and Tantrums


The reality is, you won’t be able to please everyone with every activity. However, with careful planning, it is possible to choose places that cater to the interests of all, including a stubborn toddler. Taking advantage of tools such as TripAdvisor can help you to plan your holiday, so each day everyone gets to enjoy something they love. It will take the edge off potential tantrums/whining as you’ll have done your research and will know exactly what to expect.



Every child is different and some you can trust to do more safely than others. However, visiting somewhere new is always a daunting experience for a parent, especially when you have got a toddler in tow. Again, with careful planning and by first checking out the places and activities reviews, website and safety policies; you can escape this fear and quickly discover whether or not your child will be safe to attend.

Tiredness and Naps


Most toddlers tend to still have a nap at this age, so when planning your day you need to consider their sleep patterns. Are you visiting a place where you can take your car/pram so they can nap? Are there things for you to do/or a place you can sit – whilst they are sleeping – so you don’t have to return to the hotel?

Freedom Is Limited


As I mentioned before, not every activity or place is suitable for their age group. From being unsafe to the activity and theme of the museum being targeted at an older audience; you need to consider what is appropriate and what is not. Similarly, given their age, it is likely you won’t be able to explore at night but will be restricted to your hotel during the evenings.

Now don’t get me wrong…


Having a toddler doesn’t have to spell the end of your holiday adventures. You’ve just got to be clever with your planning and location choices.

Do that and then the real fun can begin!

You see, whilst traveling with a toddler will naturally raise planning, safety and age concerns; it can also offer you a variety of hidden perks:

  1. People are more generous and compassionate when you’ve got a child – from offering you a seat and letting you cut to the front of the cue; children make those around you more compassionate and considerate.
  2. Children encourage you to make every moment count and see the world through a new lens – children can offer you a newfound appreciation for even the simplest of things, especially if you try to view the activity/place through their eyes.
  3. Make you slow down – instead of rushing from one activity to the next, children help us to become better observers capable of enjoying our surroundings more.
  4. Your children will develop better habits – can’t get them to eat at home? The excitement of being away will often encourage them to sit better at the table, finish their meals and use their cutlery properly.
  5. Toddlers can harness your inner child – have you ever wanted to watch an animated film, but felt too old for it? Children can give you the freedom/flexibility to get involved in childish activities and enjoy things not normally available to adults.


Where to go with toddlers in Llandudno
Llandudno, a coastal town in north Wales is known for its North Shore Beach and 19th-century Llandudno Pier. Shops and a games’ arcade. will keep kids busy for hours.

Where to go with Toddlers in North Wales


Travelling with a toddler doesn’t have to be as stressful as you imagine.

And as you can see from the examples below when traveling to North Wales, there are plenty of funs places for you to explore:

  1. Greenwood Forest Park, Y Felinheli – with an assortment of water and rollercoaster rides; a dedicated toddler play area, and a sandpit with a toy JCB; this location boasts indoor and outdoor activities that are suitable for all the family, all year long.Children can also: take advantage of the longest sledge run in Wales; jump on the Giant Jumper; explore the turrets of Treetop Towers; ride donkeys and go-karts; venture into Crocodile Maze, and the older kids can even have a go at archery.Alternatively, they can try den building and create their own shelters.
  2. Animal attractions – North Wales boasts a whole host of animal attractions. From the red panda cubs and chimpanzees at Welsh Mountain Zoo (Conwy Bay), to Dwyfor’s Ranch Rabbit Farm; you can even take a trip under the sea at Anglesey Sea Zoo and introduce your toddlers to the creatures of the deep.Other places to consider are:- Greenacres Animal Park, Mancot
    – Bodafon Farm Park, Conwy
    – Foel Farm Park, Brynsiencyn
    – Pili Palas Nature World, Anglesey
    – Puffin Island Pleasure Cruise
    – Greenfield Valley Heritage Park, Holywell
  3. Rhyl Miniature Railway – ideal for budding train enthusiasts, you can take your toddler for a train ride and visit the Teddy Bears Picnic.
  4. Gypsy Wood in Caernarfon – this another fantastic location, where toddlers can happily ride the train and explore nature at its finest.
  5. Penrhyn Castle, Bangor – rich in history, what is amazing about this particular castle is their choice of activities. They regularly host trails around the grounds, where children can spot items that will earn them prizes. They also love to offer themed outdoor activities, ranging from World War One obstacle courses; dress up, and converted rooms immersed in history.Other fantastic castles to consider:- Harlech Castle, Harlech
    – Caernarfon Castle, Caernarfon
    – Beaumaris Castle, Beaumaris
    – Conwy Castle, Conwy

Now, if you would rather keep your holiday centralised to one town – instead of traveling around – it is still possible to find lots to do in one location. Take the following examples:

  • Anglesey – Menai Suspension Bridge, Anglesey Sea Zoo, Greenwood Forest Park, and Glynllifon Park and Garden.
  • Conwy – Conwy castle, Llechwedd Slate Caverns, Great Orme Tramway, Great Orme, Bodnant Garden and Welsh Mountain Zoo.
  • Port Morien – a small fishing community, from here you can visit Cape Breton Island.
  • Llandudno – 19th-century pier and arcades, ancient tunnels, Little Orme Nature reserve, and Conwy RSPB reserve.


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Lifestyle tacos in West Hartford West Hartford Dining

West Hartford Flavor Fusion

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  • February 26, 2018
bartaco a friendly, hip dining experience
bartaco in West Hartford offers friendly service and its menu incorporates elements of diverse cuisines.


Fabulous Fusion


West Hartford, CT, a thriving suburban hub in one of my favorite New England cities, offers a variety of restaurant choices that range from Asian to a fusion of flavors and aromas from around the world. As is the case with many cities, finding the restaurants, cafes, and bars that are popular with the locals requires some research or a leap of faith.

I happened to be on my way home from an interview in Hartford at the Hartford Denim Company (Hardenco) (story to follow) and fantastic overnight accommodations provided by the Avon Old Farms Hotel when I decided to stop for lunch in West Hartford. I decided to park in a lot in the center of town but as I searched my pockets for loose change, I realized the meters are set up to accept debit and credit cards, so I asked a young woman who was on her way to work for a meter lesson.

“Excuse me,” I said. “Can you help me? I don’t know how to pay for parking. I’m also looking for a restaurant that has a light fare. Can you suggest something close by?”

“Follow me,” she replied after I programmed the meter with two hours of parking.

We walked around the building as she led me to a hip, bustling neighborhood eatery known as “bartaco.”

Thrilled to find a casual dining atmosphere, I knew I was in for a treat and I’d fall in love with bartaco. My server stopped at my table within a few minutes after I was seated to place my drink order.

“Have you eaten at Bartaco before?” iI nodded ‘No’ and then she asked. “But first, before I tell you about our menu, can I get you something to drink?”

“No alcohol for me. I’m driving back to Pennsylvania but I’d love a glass of water,” I told my server, a cheerful young woman.

As she walked away, I had a chance to glance around the room and take in bartaco’s white-washed interior- a perfect fit for downtown West Hartford and its upscale shops. Add to the mix the framed photography that denotes a nomadic, carefree lifestyle and a center bar with plenty of additional seating. bartaco reminded me of Friday afternoon. The decor is trendy and speaks of South America and is inspired by the beach cultures of Brazil, Uruguay, and Southern California.

How so, you might ask?

After a long week of work, Bartaco beckons you to relax, sip a cocktail, share the small plates of food, and catch up on conversations with your friends and family.

bartaco street food
Ordering made convenient at bartaco in West Hartford, CT

The menu selections are indeed light, lively, and laced with a variety of flavors that whisper “street food” and sophisticated food truck. Some of the tastes you’ll encounter in the “chopped salad” and the “spicy cucumber salad,” are citrus and mild spices. Order those on days when you want a different spin on vegetables. During my next trip, I’ll order the tuna tatako (lettuce taco).

bartaco flavor fusion
The bartaco cucumber salad unites tastes from various cuisines. Photo by Manny Vargas. 

bartaco’s kids’ menu is reasonably priced. Some of the choices available are guacamole + chips (not spicy) $6; quesadilla, $2; corn wheels $2; and beef, chicken, and fish tacos $2. A large tray of quesadilla, guac + chips, three tacos, corn wheels, cucumbers, and fruit skewers will feed three kids for $14.

Specialty cocktails, freshly-squeezed juices, (Aguas Frescas, pineapple chicha, ginger grapefruit and pomegranate limonada)  and beer out of a bottle are among the selections on the drink menu.

Click on this link to find addresses for bartaco locations in AL, CO, FL, GA, NY, NC, TN, CT, and VA.

Find my Avon Old Farms Hotel coverage here.

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‘Why I Like to Bake for My Family” Kids Cookie Contest Florida baking contests kids contests Lifestyle

Cookie Bake off, Anyone?

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  • February 23, 2018
Here’s a fantastic opportunity for your children to explore their love for BAKING…and win a prize, thanks to the Women’s Food Alliance. 


Why I Like to Bake for My Family”

Kids’ Cookie Contest

Hosted by the Women’s Food Alliance


Create a Great Cookie and Win the Grand Prize



Ponte Vedra FL. (February 2018) Kids love to be in the kitchen and cookies are a great way to launch their creativity by baking something yummy for the family. The Women’s Food Alliance is hosting a ‘Why I Like to Bake for My Family” Kids Cookie Contest for children 8 years – 12 years of age with culinary prizes that they can share with their family IF they come up with a tasty and unique cookie. Whether it’s gingerbread, butter, chocolate chip or a family favorite, baking cookies is about having FUN in the kitchen!

Many cherished family recipes and baking memories are disappearing from tables of family and friends in America today. The Women’s Food Alliance believes in nurturing young children with an appreciation for healthy delicious ingredients that combine to express their individuality and curiosity about food.

The Grand Prize Winner will receive ……

  • Sunday Brunch for (4) at the Casa Marina Hotel, Jacksonville Beach
  • Admission to the Colonial Experience & Pirate Museum in St. Augustine for (4) guests
  • Party for (10) at Your Pie ~ Southside in Tapestry Park ~ Value $100
  • The Everything Pizza Cookbook by Belinda Hulin
  • A Kids Meal at Players Grille, Jacksonville
  • $25 gift certificate to Williams-Sonoma Cookware from the Women’s Food Alliance

The 1st Runner Up will receive…..

  • Sunday Brunch for (4) at the Casa Marina Hotel in Jacksonville Beach, Florida
  • Admission to the Colonial Experience & Pirate Museum in St Augustine for (4) guests
  • A Kids Meal at Players Grille, Jacksonville
  • $25 Gift Certificate to Williams-Sonoma Cookware from the Women’s Food Alliance

The 2nd Runner Up will receive…..

  • Sunday Brunch for (4) at the Casa Marina Hotel, Jacksonville Beach
  • Admission to the Colonial Experience & Pirate Museum in St. Augustine for (4) Guests
  • A Kids Meal at Players Grille, Jacksonville

 EVERY ‘Finalist’ will receive…..

  • A Culinary-themed Swag Bag from Sugar Snob Chocolates
  • A Kids’ Meal at Your Pie ~ Southside at Tapestry Park

“Why I Like to Bake For My Family” OFFICIAL RULES:

 Email Cookie RECIPE and STORY about “Why I Like to Bake Cookies For My Family” to: ~ Leigh Cort ~ Women’s Food Alliance

 Recipe must include:

  1. Child’s name
  2. Address
  3. Telephone
  4. Email (parent or guardian contact please).
  5. Include Cookie Recipe Name and brief story about Why I Like to Bake for my Family


Who can enter:  

Entrants must be 8-12 years old. There are no substitutions or transfer of prizes. Prizes are not redeemable for cash.  By acceptance of prizes, winners consent to use of their names and/or photographs for publicity purposes without further compensation. Winners will be notified by June 1, 2018.

DEADLINE: Email must be received by May 15, 2018

The Women’s Food Alliance will select the Top 12 Finalists by judging on:

  • Originality
  • Deliciousness
  • Cookie Presentation
  • Cookie Name and Story about ‘Why I Like to Bake for my Family’

FINALISTS Attend ~ In Person Cookie Contest:

  1. The Top 12 Finalists will be invited to attend the OFFICIAL COOKIE JUDGING on Monday, June 25, 2018, at 5:00 pm. Location is Jax Kitchen ~ Address:  #1850 Emerson Street, Jacksonville, Florida 32207
  2. All children must be accompanied by an adult.
  3. A minimum of 12 cookies must be on a presentation serving plate.
  4. Each child must bring the Cookie’s Name, Recipe, and the Child’s Name on a piece of paper to accompany the cookies.
  5. Categories that the judges will consider include:
  • Taste
  • Creative use of ingredients
  • Appearance

Following the competition, names of winners will be posted on the website


Your Pie

Casa Marina Hotel

Colonial Quarter & Pirate Museum

Sugar Snob Chocolates

Find Contest Information at:

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Book Review books about positive thinking in pursuit of slow

in pursuit of slow

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  • February 6, 2018
in pursuit of slow

in pursuit of slow

Stress less. Be happier. Accomplish more.

These are the benefits of slowing down, according to “in pursuit of slow” author Jackie Jarvis.

Jarvis is a business owner and coach who has experienced the stressed, overwhelmed life that comes from owning a business. Whatever your role is in life, the demands placed on us or those we take on can be exhausting.

If slowing down long enough to experience the pleasures that come from your work, passions, and relationships is a challenge for you, or if you feel life is slipping away, you’ll want to read Jarvis’ book and get back on track or develop a new mindset that will transport you to a more peaceful life. “The Voice of Slow” is my favorite chapter because it sets the stage for the remainder of her book. Here’s why…

“Our Voice of Slow wants us to listen, to take heed. It wants us to stop running too fast and doing too much. It wants the best for us.”

Visit or buy on


Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase but at no additional cost to you. I have experience with all of these companies and products and by linking to their product or a party that sells their products, I recommend the product based on their helpful and useful nature, and definitely not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something.

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Books for the entire family Fox Chapel Publishing CompanionHouse Books Ginger Kathrens Lifestyle Wild Horses Wild Stallions of the Rockies

Kathrens’ Fascination with Cloud: Wild Stallion of The Rockies

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  • February 5, 2018
Ginger Kathrens Cloud Wild Stallion of the Rockies book review
Ginger Kathrens Cloud Wild Stallion of the Rockies book review
Cloud was originally published as a companion volume for public television’s Nature series, Cloud: The Wild Stallion of the Rockies, a documentary.

“Cloud: Wild Stallion Of The Rockies” is a stunning collection of photographs and memories by Ginger Kathrens, an Emmy-winning TV producer, documentarian, and founder of The Cloud Foundation. Cloud is Kathren’s newly-revised companion book that was inspired by the PBS documentary “Nature” series of the same name. 

What makes Cloud’s story so compelling and magical?

Readers take the journey with Kathrens as she so eloquently describes in detail her first encounter with Cloud when she discovered him while the colt was being born. Her emotional attachment continued for five years as Cloud experienced life among dangerous conditions, ranging from predators to trappers and older stallions.

Her film career and admiration for wild horses has taken her throughout the world for The Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, NATURE, the BBC, PBS, and National Geographic.

Kathrens’ keen ability to tell her stories makes this an ideal book for the entire family.

Cloud: Wild Stallion Of The Rockies was published by Fox Chapel Publishing/CompanionHouse Books. Visit Buy on 


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Allen Michael Save Money Tips art of travel Family Travel Food and Travel how to spend less and travel more Lifestyle Money-saving tips so you can travel more

11 Tips to Save Money Each Month So You Can Travel More

  • By
  • February 2, 2018
11 Tips Save Money Travel More
11 Tips Save Money Travel More
You might be surprised to learn your dream vacation is feasible. Read Allen Michael’s tips to save money and travel more.


By Allen Michael

Traveling is one of the luxuries everyone wants to enjoy, but not everyone can afford the expense needed for it. You don’t need to be rich to afford your dream travel destination. All you need to do to achieve this is to know how to save money and commit to your goals.

If you wish to travel to a destination you may think is too expensive, here are some tips on how to save for that trip.


Nothing seems more exciting than impulse traveling, where you take the next available flight to

your dream destination. While this may be thrilling, it’s not a smart move to make. Traveling requires careful planning and goal setting, especially if money is a little bit tight.

It may be an exciting thought to travel everywhere, but it’s more practical to set one travel goal at a time. Be specific about where you want to go. If you plan to go on multiple destination trips, make sure to carefully plan out how you can afford it without going into debt.

Plan out your travel and itinerary, calculate your budget and finances, then stick to your goals.


The most important thing to do when planning a huge trip is your budget. Track your cash flow as it is essential to know where and how much of your money gets spent. This way, you know which expenses are unnecessary, you can determine where to cut back on your purchases, and you find out how much you can save.

Budget your everyday expenses with your travel goal in mind. That makes this first step easier.


Now that you have set your goal and determined your daily budget, it’s time to commit to your travel goal. Saving money can be hard and challenging. With the right mindset and constant revalidation of why you’re doing it helps.

As you establish your budget, you can now assess your expenses. Start small and avoid spending on your whims. Do this and you can save more than what you initially planned.

This process may be hard to do, so this is where goal-setting helps. Hang a map on your wall or put up pictures of your travel destinations to remind you of your goal. It may be a long way to go, but remember it’s worth it in the end.

11 Tips Save Money Travel More
Don’t give into the temptation to buy a Latte or expensive coffee drink every day on your way to work. Allow yourself one coffee per week and brew your own on the other days.



The most challenging part of saving is differentiating needs from wants. A lot of items for sale are masked as needs when in fact, they are unnecessary expenditures. Examples of these are shopping for clothes, eating out, buying a cup of cappuccino in your favorite coffee shop, or purchasing unnecessary subscriptions.

If you examine these things, it may look as if you need to spend money on this stuff. Not so. In fact, you can actually find a cheaper or free alternative.



Have the urge to buy that tall size Frappuccino? You may reason out that it doesn’t cost more than five dollars. But if you really think about it, it’s about $1,000 you can save a year if you just make your own espresso or coffee at home for $0.17!

If you’re in need of that coffeehouse drink so badly, start small. Cut back by buying that tall drip coffee for two dollars once a week. Then drink homemade coffee the majority of the time.



Instead of opting to eat out every day, it’s a smarter choice to cook your own food. Cooking for yourself doesn’t have to be too time-consuming, especially with all the apps and recipes out there. Plus, think about the money you can save by planning out your meals weekly.

Cooking your meals every day can provide you with extra money in your savings. For example, if you eat out for a week, it would cost about $80.

Instead, find unprocessed, healthy foods to make yourself. This might only cost you $40 to $50 a week.

This process will not only help you with your travel savings but could also result in a healthier and more active lifestyle.



While a healthy and active lifestyle should be a top priority, it doesn’t hurt to ask yourself if that a gym membership is a necessary expense.

When reviewing which subscriptions and memberships to cut back on, ask yourself these questions.  “Do I maximize the use of this membership?” “Do I go to my gym often?” “Do I really need to use the gym?”

If you do realize you need the benefits a gym membership offers, you can cut back on this monthly expense by looking for a gym that offers almost the same benefits but with cheaper price.

However, if you find yourself wasting away funds that can potentially be used for your travels, it’s time to find an alternative.

Outdoor exercising, running in the park, or working out around your home are great and free alternatives you can do for cardio. You can also set up a gym in your own home and exercise with the help of workout videos for free online. By doing this, you’ll see your physique healthier and your savings account fatter.

This not only works for gym memberships but for your other subscriptions, as well. Look at your magazines, newspaper, book club, etc. subscriptions. With everything at our fingertips, it’s high time to stop spending on things you can initially find online for free.

11 Tips Save More Travel More
Consider other cutting other miscellaneous expenses like your gym membership and cable TV. Use the money you’ve saved to your trip account. You will be surprised how quickly the amount grows and grows, bringing you closer to your dream vacation.



As mentioned above, a lot of things are available online for less or for free. That being said, you can save more when you cut your cable subscription. Entertainment doesn’t have to cost around $1,800 a year. That could be what you spend on cable TV!

Instead of spending money on just watching TV, find a healthier and more productive entertainment alternative.

Spend your time on reading secondhand books for as low as five dollars, visit events with free admission, go to a park and witness live music, or take on a free hobby. You can also invite friends over or hang out at their place to watch some old movies. Entertainment doesn’t have to be limited inside your home.

And, if you crave a movie night or would love to binge watch a movie, Netflix subscription is always cheaper than cable.

This process can also cover a wider scope, such as your utility bills. When you ask yourself how you could cut back on your bills, there are some habits you can do to lessen your electricity and water bill.



The secret to saving more is knowing how to spend your money. You want to spend less and have the same quality. Research and compare products, then apply your street-smart skills.



One of the things you can do to spend less and save more is to consider buying generic brands. This doesn’t apply to everything, as it should be based on your judgment. But, if there’s no need for you to buy the brand name, you’ll save a lot more when you opt for the alternative.

Another thing to consider when spending is to use coupons and Ebates. These can help you in saving even just a small amount. Discount coupons and cash backs are very helpful, especially for cutting down your grocery expenses.



It’s always smart to review your home and car insurance and find the best and cheapest options for you.

The car insurance industry is quite competitive, and your rates may be slowly increasing without you noticing it. Experts advice is you should shop for car insurance every year. Search and compare prices to find what’s best for your situation.

Know the rates of your current house and car insurance. Take the option to switch to a lower rate, without compromising the benefits. This will help increase your travel savings.

Another thing to consider when you want to maximize how you save is to cut back on your accommodations. This is a common story successful travelers shared regarding how they saved for their traveling goals.

If you either rent or own a place, it can cost a lot of money living on your own. Take on a roommate or two, and help alleviate that problem. You can save more.

If you’re younger and your lease is about to expire, it’s also ideal to consider moving back to your parents’ home. This is especially important if there are only a few months left before you plan to leave for your trip. This way, you can lessen your bills and expenses, and save more for your travels.

These are just some of the many tips you can do each month to save money if you’re planning to travel more. Of course, there are many other easy ways to save every day.

One last thing to remember when saving for your trip: make sure to have a separate account for your travel savings to avoid getting tempted to spend it. Remember, out of sight, out of mind. With these easy tips, you’ll be able to save up for our dream destination in no time!


Allen Michael is the founder and editor of The Stick Vacuums (, a website focused on helping others keep a clean home as efficiently as possible. Allen stumbled onto stick vacuums while trying to help his family keep their home clean with less work, and has since become an expert on saving money and time in your home.

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