8 Rules Of Christmas: Healthy Holiday Eating Tips

First of all, before anything else is said, let’s agree on a couple of things.

Sharing good times with friends and family is part of what the holiday season is all about. When these groups get together, it is often in the presence of delicious, scrumptious food. This food tends to be available for snacking all day. Personally, I would immediately call the Vatican and nominate anyone for sainthood who could truly enjoy all the festivities and be awash in the total ambiance of all the season inspires while ignoring the lavish plates of goodies while walking around munching on a stick of celery.

Oh yeah! You’re going to sample Aunt Millie’s mincemeat pie, Uncle Bob’s specially prepared fried turkey, and probably a glass of Alka-Seltzer or something similar.

Unfortunately, I am here to remind you of a few things; you are on a diet, you want to lose weight, all that stuff that is so tempting is fattening, and this is the hardest time of the year to be good. So, let’s just pick up on a few rules to help you get through the season.

8 Rules For Healthy Holiday Eating:

Before we get started, I want you to get comfortable, so put some turkey on your plate, get some of that great dressing (don’t forget the cranberry sauce), fight Cousin Ed for some of that green bean casserole my niece, Sharon, makes so well, and tell Grandma to save a piece of pie for you. Have a seat, relax, enjoy your meal (while balancing a soggy paper plate on your knee) and I will give you the rules to help you survive the season.

1. Forgive yourself in advance and give yourself permission to have a good time:

Look, this stuff isn’t poison! You didn’t take 10 years off your life just because you ate more than you should have…and then went back for seconds. You are only human, and you are here to have a good time! One of the reasons you want to lose weight, or keep it down, is so that you can enjoy life, and this is one of the most enjoyable times of the year. So, as they say, live a little. Whatever happens over the next few days will not kill you, and whatever damage you do manage to do can be rectified.

2. It’s just a couple of days:

Okay, for some families, it may be a couple of weeks…twice…Thanksgiving and Christmas, or Hanukkah, or Kwanza. Whatever it is for you, it is finite, it WILL end, and it is mainly limited to a certain time of the year. Who you are in terms of health, fitness, and weight loss is determined by the overall accomplishments of the year, not by a few weeks in the fall.

3. Stay with your program:

You will definitely minimize the effects of all the dinners, cookies, and snacks if you can still get in your walks, aerobics, weight training, or whatever else you have been doing. During the holiday season, it can be difficult to get everything done the same as in the rest of the year, but two days of exercise Thanksgiving week, while not as good as three or five, is still better than none. Simply knowing you have not abandoned your plan will help you get over any depression you might have because of your holiday eating, and will help reduce any negative effects from all the delicious, gooey calories you have “accidentally” consumed. If you cannot stay on a formal program, squeeze in a walk, even if it is a high-speed shopping trip through the mall. By the way, this is the reason I love yoga. When everything’s done, I can retire to my bedroom and not only get the physical benefits of the yoga session, but I relieve some of the stress I may have built up during the day. That helps with the eating too.

4. Remain in touch with reality:

You will hear people speak of “mindful eating”. Be aware of what you are doing. Have you ever heard someone say, “That is so good, I just have to have some more.”? Of course, YOU and I never say things like that! Well, the truth is that you DON’T have to have some more, and, if you do, it doesn’t need to be right now. Just because the food is there right now doesn’t mean it has to be eaten right now. You know what’s good for you and what isn’t. One piece of pie today is not going to kill you or destroy your weight loss resolution, but do you have to have that pie? Isn’t there a healthier treat you could have, or could you just wait until the meal has settled, or after you take a walk to rev up your metabolism and burn off some of what you already ate? Why not take a piece home with you and have it as a treat for later…when you aren’t as full as a tick?

5. Food is not love:

Many people tend to equate food and eating with love. You cannot change the others, but you can change your own attitude. Refusing seconds of Grandma’s turkey does not mean you don’t love her. If she is hurt because you normally stuff yourself and this year you’re not doing her food “justice”, just say that you are full right now but will have more later. Take control of YOUR life. Others will have to take control of their own.

6. If you are the cook:

Choose healthy dishes prepared in a healthy manner. If you have found a new diet-friendly food that you enjoy, share that with others. This will give you one more healthy dish on the groaning board to select your own meal from.

7. Alcohol:

If you enjoy wine, beer, egg nog like my Uncle Wilbur liked, or other drinks containing alcohol, just slow down and cut back. Try slipping in a glass of water between drinks. Drinks containing alcohol are sneaky calories. They do nothing for you nutritionally, but they do have a lot of calories. A few drinks with friends can give you more calories than a Big Mac…and you probably have these drinks while snacking or eating a meal! Oh well! At least if you are a beer drinker, you can try some light beers. It will give you an excuse to sample.

8. Be happy to be where you are, doing what you are doing, with the people you love:

If you fall head over heels off the diet wagon, have fun. What you do throughout the year will have more effect on your weight and health than what happens between Thanksgiving and New Year’s.

Las Vegas Vacation – Tips, Tricks and Cautions

These “cautions”, “tips”, and “tricks” are offered to help make your Las Vegas Vacation as enjoyable, fast and easy to plan as possible. Whether this is your first trip to “Fabulous Las Vegas” or you are a veteran, you’ll find some useful tips and tricks here.

Las Vegas Travel Tips: First and foremost, the biggest mistake many travelers to Las Vegas make in planning a trip is to book the cheapest air fare/hotel package “available anywhere”. These are offered everywhere from your hometown newspaper to television ads to especially, e-mail spam. Beware!

Why? A Cheap Las Vegas Vacation is good, we agree! BUT, did you know virtually all Las Vegas Hotels have 2- 3 levels of room quality (or options)? Now, we mean even many of the five star, “big ones” many of these are just plain substandard rooms, maybe with a nice view of the air conditioning system! (This actually happened to me personally, and was it Loud!)

Things like older bed mattresses, no safes, old decorating, long walks to the casino, restraunts, shows, or even a taxi. Did you know there are monorail trains running right behind some of the rooms? How about a roller coaster right outside your window? And lots more. Just remember “cheapest” is just that. Ask at the front desk at check-in exactly where your room is, look at it before signing in if possible.

We aren’t pushing for only high dollar rooms here, just get the best quality room your budget will allow, you will be very glad you did.

Why book your Hotel first? Las Vegas is booked up an average of 94% year round, so plan ahead (at least 30+ days is recommended) to get the exact days you want, where you want, room quality you want. Plus, usually it’s less expensive to book well in advance. Did you know that Sunday through Thursday is less expensive? When you get your selected Las Vegas Hotel booked, then you can book a flight to fit the days in and out to fit YOUR schedule.

Makes sense doesn’t it?

Once you get your Las Vegas Hotel booked first. Then you can book the Las Vegas Shows that you want, when you want. Be sure to check to see if your particular show choice isn’t “dark” on your selected days. Holidays are a good example of dark days.

Then book your Las Vegas Tour. (If you have never experienced the thrill of a Helicopter Ride at night over “Glitter Gulch and Downtown”, or a daytime trip over the Boulder Dam and Grand Canyon this is something you will never forget!) It isn’t as expensive as you might think! Check our tours links for prices and times.

This is the entertainment capital of the World, so allow yourself enough time to take in as many attractions (dozens are free) as possible, it will make your Las Vegas Vacation much more memorable. If possible, book an extra night stay just to allow for a special Las Vegas Tour or a day of Las Vegas Golf.

Las Vegas Gambling Tips:

Gambling is the lifeblood of Las Vegas. You didn’t really think those billion dollar hotels were built by “winners” did you? Set a daily budget for gambling and stick to it! You do have a good chance at winning. Hundreds if not thousands of “Hand Pay Jackpots” are paid every day. Be careful though, those chips, tokens and ticket-in/ticket-out seem too much like “play money” they are not they are your real money! Stick to your budget! Did I say that already?

Get a “players card” everywhere you go and use it, or if you are a “table player” ask the pit boss to “rank” or “rate” you. They will track your play and comp you accordingly with all kinds of free stuff. Such as meals, rooms, clothing, limos, gift shop points and even cash. These really help put the odds in your favor.

Seems like my “budget” is always too small, but try your best to set a reasonable daily goal and stick to it, don’t tap into tomorrows budget! Just maybe you’ll walk away a big winner! It happens every day. Remember the phrase: “Walk away when ahead”!

It’s not my place to preach, but here are some very useful Las Vegas tips on handling your money. All that cash in the casinos you see everywhere attracts some pretty shady characters (read Crooks!) Security is excellent, but there are always a few, and it just takes one to ruin a perfect vacation.

Las Vegas Security:

Ladies, bring or buy a small purse with a neck strap or waste pouch, or fanny pack, something that is comfortable enough to keep on your person all the time. Never ever set your purse on the floor or next to a machine, or on a stool next to you. This is a magnet for thieves! Keep that strap around your neck.

Most thieves work in pairs, one to distract you, the other to snag your purse. Just a couple types of distractions they use are: one will drop a coin or dollar bill or two near you on the floor and ask you “is that your cash on the floor?” while the other grabs your stuff, or overly talkative “players” will sit down next to you and jabber to get your attention, while their partner grabs your stuff, or hits the payout button and walks away with your ticket. Believe me. This does happen. They are very slick and fast, so just be aware.

When you do accumulate a couple winning tickets, hide them in your wallet or purse until you are ready to cash them in, and then stash the cash. Remember the “walk away” tip?

Men: It isn’t degrading to wear a waste pouch. Okay, if you just don’t want to, then fold your bills and keep them in your front pants pocket. If they “pickpocket” your wallet with all your credit cards in it at least you’ll have your cash, or vice versa, just keep them separated. And, watch those tickets.

If you do hit a good size jackpot, take the money to the safe in your room or take it to the Hotel desk for safekeeping. Or, ask for a Security escort to your room or car. They are happy to provide this service. Don’t walk around the casino or streets with a big wad of cash!

The Security at all Hotels and Casinos is excellent. With all those thousands of cameras (Eyes in the sky) every inch of the casino is being taped continuously. (Did you know that Nevada law requires casinos to have this level of security?) It is for your protection as well as the Hotel/Casino.

Now please understand, we are not trying to scare you away here, but rather just make you aware! It is real easy to get caught up in all the flashing lights, noise, overhead shows, people watching and normal distractions of a casino. Just don’t give them an opportunity to ruin your fun.

Follow these Las Vegas Travel Tips and they will make your Las Vegas Vacation a lifetime memory.

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Holiday Stress Relief – 12 Days of Christmas Stress Busters

If you’re looking at the Holidays as just another stress to add to your already overloaded schedule and life, I’ve got some tips you won’t want to miss. Keep reading for Stress Buster Tips that will keep you moving through the Holidays at warp speed with a smile, plenty of laughter, and cheer to spread around.

1. Minimize. Cut out the excesses, whether it’s food, people, gifts, expenses, or extra duties, cut them out of your life.

2. Personal Time. Give yourself a few minutes of down time every day to regroup, refocus, meditate, and alleviate stressors.

3. Focus. Do one thing at a time. Don’t try to get it all done at once, choose one thing and do that, then do the next thing. (It does help to have a list and mark off each item as you complete it.)

4. Allocate Chores. Delegate chores to others and allow everyone to carry the load normally left for you to bear. Move toward cooperative living.

5. Simplify. Who says the party has to have three kinds of desert? How about providing one desert that is extra special and plenty for everyone to have seconds if they choose? Or add a delightful selection of toppings?

6. Housekeeper. Hire a housekeeper for the holidays. Even if it’s just once a week for a couple of hours to dust and vacuum, if you hire someone else to get that part done, the rest is easier to face.

7. Services. When companies offer services to go with products you purchase, accept them, allow them to take care of details and you enjoy an extra five minutes at the spa getting your nails done.

8. Laughter. Take time each day to laugh. If you feel the stress building up, take a moment right then and read a funny story. Enjoy life! Laughter was created to bring joy – LET IT!

9. Rejuvenate. The most relaxing thing you can do some days is simply to take a nap. It doesn’t have to be long, but five minutes can revive you.

10. Resourcefulness. Be resourceful. If you think you can’t do it, you probably can’t, but…if you think you can, you’ll find a way. Look for options that you might not normally think of. Brainstorm solutions.

11. Ask a friend to lunch. Take a moment during this season to remember your friends and family. A real moment, actually sit down across the table from one person and focus on all the things you’ve missed in that persons life. Truly catch up.

12. Enjoy. Take time to enjoy Christmas. Christmas is the celebration of Christ’s birth, take some time this season to reconnect with Jesus Christ and remember who He is and what He stands for.

Are you ready to enjoy a true 12 Days of Christmas experience?

Holiday Driving Tips – Avoiding Holiday Accidents

Holiday celebrations can be happy and exciting times for friends and family. Many people travel during the holiday season, looking forward to visiting with family and friends who live long distances away. Unfortunately, the holiday season has a high incidence of traffic accidents, turning a celebration into a tragedy if people are injured or killed. During the holiday season, all motorists should be aware of the increased traffic, and holiday travelers should follow proper safety precautions to ensure the safety of everyone on the road. Drivers should be mindful of these holiday travel tips to protect themselves, their passengers, and the occupants of other drivers.

  • Leave early. By allowing yourself plenty of time to reach your destination, you can drive at safer speeds, take adequate rest breaks, and keep your stress levels down. Without enough stops, drivers can become overly tired or distracted and cause an accident and a result.
  • Avoid peak travel dates if possible. The day before a holiday is usually the day most people travel. Sometimes you can avoid traffic conditions by traveling on the holiday itself or by planning your family celebrations on other days.
  • Before you leave, check the condition of your car, including your tire pressure, oil, and lights. Carry spare and emergency equipment with you. Always have a spare tire, jumper cables, a jack, and emergency equipment such as road flares and extra blankets in case of an accident.
  • Keep your passengers safe. Make sure everyone is buckled up properly with seat belts and child restraint or booster seats.
  • Plan out a route with alternatives. Get directions in advance, with alternative routes in mind in case of bad weather or traffic congestion. Expect traffic near large cities.
  • Inquire about weather conditions and construction on highways from friends and relatives. Listen to local radio stations for indications of adverse weather.
  • Hide any sort of gift or present during stops. Brightly colored packaging during the holidays invites thieves to break into your vehicle.
  • Keep distractions to a minimum. Provide children with plenty of their own distractions, and always pull off the road to use your cell phone.
  • Don’t drink and drive. Always have a designated driver if there will be drinking at your holiday celebration.

By following these safety precautions, you can make the holidays a little safer for everyone and avoid a tragic traffic accident. For more safe driving tips and information on car accident prevention, visit the website of Waukesha car accident lawyers Habush Habush & Rottier, S.C.

Packing Tip: Road Trip With Friends

We got this question from a Travelista who is going on a super fun road trip this summer with two of her friends. She wanted to know how she and her fashionable (read: overpacking!) friends could pack better and with only one weekend bag each. They also would have access to a laundry facility. Luckily, I had just experienced this with some friends and have some great tips to share.

1) Sharing means caring. Bring pieces that you can all share and that go together (if you have similar style and are similar in size) – it’ll triple your own trip wardrobe! Make sure your colors are coordinated, too. The beauty of that is that you will each look different and have your own flair with every piece! Plus, it gets your creative juices flowing. Shoes take up the most room, so if you have the same size, expand your shoe choices by sharing them, too.

For example, I shared a light boho blouse with my friend Jenn – and no one was the wiser! We wore it differently and for different occasions, so with one piece, we expanded our outfit choices in a snap. It almost made a complete round when our friend Eva considered wearing it over a very light black romper and letting it hang off the shoulder.

2) Keep it simple. Wear pieces that are interesting enough in detail but have simple silhouettes. That way you can layer them together or just add accessories (hat, scarf, funky sandals, etc.). A cool off-the-shoulder top in a square shape could go with jeans, shorts or a skirt or over a tank dress. Shorts with a subtle but fun pattern make your outfit more interesting but look different with different tops (plus you can dress them up or down).

3) Double (or triple) up. I have a fabulous scarf from Urban Outfitters that I use as a shawl at night, a scarf on the plane, a sash around a maxi dress, and a sarong on the beach (you might be able to get away wearing it as a skirt, too!). It’s a wide scarf (probably about two feet in width but looong enough to wrap around my waist, neck, etc.). I also have a tube skirt from American Apparel that can act as a skirt, tube top, or tube dress for night or day. You can layer a cool button down or oversized tee over it for day or dress it up with your scarf at night.

4) Accessorize! A hat changes an outfit in a second as does a scarf and the rightjewelry. Don’t forget your bathing suit and that you can actually wear it underneath your clothes like tanks (if you are going somewhere with a beach and it’s okay to expose the top a little).

A fedora is the perfect piece to add polish to any casual beach outfit.

5) Plan your pieces. Bring at least one skirt, one sundress or tankdress, one pair of shorts, and one pair of pants (including leggings, jeans, super-light summer pants or cropped pants). You will be wearing one of those at any given moment, so it’s not much. Top-wise, I would recommend a cool button down, a cardigan or light jacket of some sort that goes with everything, two comfy/funky tees, a tank, and a blousy top that can dress up shorts or loosely go over a tank dress. For feet – low-wedge sandals (dress up or down), casual flat sandals, and Toms slip-ons.

6) Bring only one of everything. Share hairdryers, flat irons, shampoo, etc. I always find that at the end of the day, these are things I pack last and don’t have room for!

Tips for Selecting a Travel Agent

Even with the proliferation of options to directly purchase a holiday, a flight, or almost any accommodation, it is still mostly beneficial to share your plans with a reputable travel agent or consultant. Many of use have dreams to see new places, experience new opportunities and generally have a penchant to leave home but return safely. Here we look at what to look for in a such a person.

1. Personal Touch

The personal touch is important as you will get better results if you have a good working relationship with your travel agent. Find one who you can relate to and who listens to your needs and meets them. Most holiday packages are prepared and managed by an organisation that is not directly owned by the agent, so the best consultant will have no favourites or preferred suppliers. He or she simply listens to your requests and find the best options for you to choose. Generally it will take several iterations to plan the dream holiday.

2. Expert Knowledge

As a consumer of travel, you want to deal with someone who has expert knowledge. Fortunately, there are tens of thousands of options for you to choose but unfortunately no one travel consultant knows everything. Hence choosing someone who has travelled and has access to robust knowledge in other areas is wise. A travel consultant who knows what he or shes does not know but has research capability can help in most situations.

3. Availability

The travel agents availability is important both during the pre-travel time as well as during the travel time. The availability can be in person, online, email or whatever means you need during the pre-travel phase. Many arrangements are made now-a-days without face-to-face meetings, although much can be gained by meeting. A discussion on response times from your travel agent is important to understand should you be visiting countries of higher risk. Often, there will be people in-country with whom any challenges can be discussed.

4.Willingness to Answer Questions

A good travel agent will answer all the questions that you ask and clarify any confusions that you may have. They want to build their and retain business, hence reputable travel agents will do whatever is in their power to answer your questions.

In summary, choose a travel agent who you can build a relationship. People like doing business with people they trust. With so many options available it is impossible to know the details of each tour. Let the travel agent research with the suppliers and you will develop the best expectations for your travel. Happy travelling.

Five Important Senior Travel Tips

Often when we near retirement, seniors have big dreams of all the places they want to visit. However, as we get older, traveling often isn’t quite the delight we hoped it would be. Although it can be great fun traveling to new places and meeting new people, the logistics of traveling can be challenging for many seniors.

This is especially true if you are traveling alone. However, with some advance planning, you can make your next trip much more pleasant and enjoyable. Here are some travel tips that I follow myself, to make sure my trips are as enjoyable as possible.

First, consider your particular health conditions. If you need to take medication daily and you are traveling internationally, it is important to make sure that you always carry medications and copies of your medication list with you at all times. Never check your medications in airline baggage, as you may be facing a life threatening situation if your baggage gets lost.

Second, plan well in advance. Although spontaneity is great for many things in life, as we age, making well thought out travel plans is very important. This is especially true for those who face mobility challenges. For example, if you have trouble standing in lines for a long time or climbing stairs, then you will want to avoid situations that requires this. Ask the questions you need to ask before you leave on your trip.

Third, make back up plans as well. Even the best plans can backfire, and having a contingency plan for when things do not go as planned is important as well. Although the idea of making not one, but two (and maybe even three) travel itineraries may seem overwhelming, if things go wrong you will be very happy you made the effort.

Four, travel as lightly as possible. You do not need the added difficulty of lugging heavy bags around. There are some wonderful new luggage models that have very useful features such as wheels and multiple handles. Don’t go with the cheapest you can find either, as you want your luggage to be durable and last.

Finally, always think about safety. Seniors are often the target of pickpockets and thieves. Consider investing in a money belt, and maybe even carry a decoy purse or wallet with only a little money in it in case you get robbed.

With proper thought and preparation, you will find that your journeys are much more comfortable, safe and enjoyable!

Holiday Tips to Keep Your Home Safe

The holiday season is one of the busiest traveling seasons of the year. Most of us visit our friends and family for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s. Unfortunately, this also opens the opportunity for your house to get broken into. If you have a dog and put it in a kennel, you have just eliminated the best security system you can have to protect your belongings. So before you leave, it’s important to take precautions to keep your house safe. The last thing you want to do is come home from visiting family and friends to find out that your home has been broken into and your possessions have been stolen. The following is a list of basic security tips to help you protect your home for the holidays.

• Completely lock up your house – This may seem like a simple rule, but eliminating easy entry points for a burglar is more entailed than you think. You must consider all ways your house could be broken into, which includes the front door, backdoor, man door to garage, and all first floor windows.

• Close your curtains and blinds- Don’t make it easy for thieves to scope out your house. Leaving the blinds and curtains open will only allow thieves to see what of value is in your house. If they don’t know what’s in your house, it may not be worth their while to break in.

• Avoid announcing you will be on vacation on social media – Thieves are savvy, they use social media to their advantage. If a thief knows your home will be vacant, you just opened the door to be robbed.

• Have your neighbors or friends watch your house- Ask your friends and neighbors to drive by your house while you are out of town. Ask them to drive by your house before and after work to watch for anything suspicious. If your friends or neighbors see anything unusual they could call the police and action can be taken immediately. Also, ask them to pick up your mail and remove your newspaper. If a thief sees your newspapers pile up on your front steps or sees mail sticking out of your mailbox for days on end, you’ve just invited them to break into your house.

• Security system- There is great value in having signs or stickers on your doors and windows that indicate you have a security system. Security systems deter thieves. Most security systems have 24 hour monitoring, if a thief sees this they will most likely move to the next house.

• Lights on a timer- Whether you have put up holiday lights or not, it would be a good idea to put them on a timer where each night lights come on throughout various parts of your house. This will make it appear as if you are home.

The last thing you want to do on your holiday vacation is worry about your home. It’s precious time to spend with your friends, family, and loved ones. Hopefully, these simple steps will help protect your home and allow you to have a more enjoyable vacation.

Holiday Tips – How to Build the Ultimate Capsule Wardrobe

For many people, the capsule wardrobe is the holy grail of dressing. The concept in itself is simple: it is simply a collection of clothes that work well together, and can be worn in different ways to suit different occasions. Achieving a capsule wardrobe for everyday wear can be tricky and certainly expensive at first, but almost everybody will already possess the essentials for a holiday capsule wardrobe.

Before you even start mixing and matching, take a deep breath. What kind of holiday are you planning? How long will you be going for? Will you be going to any events requiring a particular dress code? What is the weather forecast like?

Once you’ve answered all these questions, you can start drawing up a preliminary list. This should include your absolute essentials, such as underwear, socks and tights, as well as essential holiday items. If you’re going skiing, it’s likely you need a ski jacket! If you’re going to the beach, you probably want a sarong, bikini and a pair of flip flops.

So. Now you have your essentials sorted. These are things you will take no matter what. Now you need to do a bit of calculating! You need to know how many outfits you’ll require for your trip. Remember, this includes the flight or journey there and back. One thing that’s really worth taking into consideration is if you will have access to laundry facilities. If so, you can afford to take less with you and maybe even save on baggage charges if you’re flying.

Look at your itinerary. Are you planning on spending all day on the beach, but going out to clubs and restaurants at night? Would you rather spend your time wandering around museums and galleries? Are you planning to go to bars or go clubbing? Will you be doing any sports, and if so, what kind? Your holiday capsule wardrobe will fit around these considerations.

By now you should have a basic idea of how many separate outfits you will need and what you will need them for. Now you can start putting the actual wardrobe together.

With a capsule wardrobe, you are aiming for flexibility. While you do want one or two stunning, unusual pieces, the majority of the items should be classic and in neutral colours, such as black, grey, navy, khaki or white. The best pieces are ones that can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. For example, a smart pair of jeans can be worn with a shirt for a casual daytime look but snazzed up with an evening top and heels for going out. Or, a wrap dress with leggings is great for the day, but at night bring out those heels again, ditch the leggings and put on some pretty jewellery and you’re ready for anything. See what I mean?

Here is an example of what I’d take to a hot, beachy destination:

shirt or safari dress

wrap dress or sundress

floppy hat

flat sandals

tote bag

clutch bag


one pair neutral-coloured high heels

neutral-coloured sweater, wrap or cardigan

one or two sets of swimwear (depends on use)

one or two sarongs

one pair linen trousers

one mid-length skirt

two sets of jewellery

two or three simple day tops

one going out top

one pretty camisole top

Most items of this list will work for any destination, so basically just adjust it to wherever you’re going. Bear in mind when choosing the items that as far as possible, you should be able to mix and match them. Skirts and trousers in particular should be in neutral colours.

Good luck!

Top 10 Arizona Travel Tips For a Fun Filled Day Trip With the Kids

There is nothing more rewarding for parents than spending quality time with the kids on a family vacation. Snapping pictures, exploring and discovering new territories while blazing new trails can make for great family fun. After all, isn’t that what a family vacation is all about anyway? Just being together, sharing, laughing, talking – creating some of life’s most memorable moments. All too often though, the hopes of a rewarding vacation or day trip with the kids can slowly dwindle into a day of frustration and disappointment. The kids get hungry, then they’re thirsty, they get tired and cranky, now they want to argue and of course the ever proverbial “are we there yet”…coming from the back seat of the car feels as though it will forever be ringing in your ears. Is this bonding? Well…in a sense – yes.

Certainly, years from now when the kids are grown you can reminisce and laugh about the trials and tribulations of the family vacation and day trips you used to take. But wouldn’t it be more rewarding knowing that you can actually have fun with your kids in the present moment! Why wait until they’re all grownup to reminisce about the good ol’ day trips gone by.

When my family and I take an Arizona vacation or go on a day trip we like to think about bonding with the kids in the present moment. Have fun now, talk with the kids now and share in that hilarious belly laugh now – so that when we all get home we can immediately begin to reminisce about the fun times we had on this family vacation.

No matter where your travels may take you and your family the following travel tips will help get you there with your peace of mind in tack so that you can enjoy all of your wonderful “present moments” with your family.

Advice and Tips for Arizona Travelers and Vacationers:

– Check Your Vehicle: A breakdown could spell disaster for a fun filled day. Whether you are in your own car or a rental, always take a look before you start. Make sure the tires look properly inflated and check the windshield washer fluid. Fill your tank. You can always go to Arizona Day Trails to find out where to buy fuel in Arizona for the least amount of money.

– Pack a Cooler: Purchase a small Styrofoam cooler available in any grocery or convenience store for just a few bucks. Pack it with bottled water and a few light snacks. Avoid sweet drinks because they tend to dehydrate you in the Arizona heat. Water will keep you hydrated and feeling good. Keep a box of crackers and Nilla wafers handy because they are easy on the stomach. And drink plenty of water during your day. Don’t wait until you feel thirsty.

– Dress Properly and Comfortably: Flip flops and sandals are great around the hotel or pool, but on your Arizona day trip wear durable, comfortable footwear. Pack some sunscreen and wear hats. It doesn’t have to be a Stetson; a baseball cap will do fine. The Arizona desert can get cool in the evening and downright cold at times so keep jackets handy.

– Keep the Kids In the Loop: Rotate seats in the car so everybody gets a window. Let the kids help decide things like where to have lunch and spend time at the things that interest them. When our son was 8 or 9 years old he could spend what seemed like all day observing reptiles and other animals at the various places on our day trips. It wasn’t necessarily our idea of heaven but today he is a Biologist preparing for his P.H.D. in Zoology. Who would have guessed? So let the kids pick a place or two to go visit. With a little guidance from you, you may be surprised to find a P.H.D. in your kids too.

– Create Family Memories: Pick up small mementos along the way to remind the kids of the places they’ve been and the great things they have experienced. You don’t have to break the bank. It’s the small things that make a difference and are great conversation starters with your kids!

– Take Lots and Lots of Photos: When you get back home and are sitting around with the kids, looking at your photo collection, it will hit you. Arizona is so amazingly beautiful- sometimes it just doesn’t sink in until you see it in print.

– Don’t Try to Beat the Clock: You can only move as fast as the slowest one in your party. Different size families with kids of various ages travel at different paces. Your family may want to spend more time at one place or another or at one particular activity. Go with the flow and enjoy. Arizona’s wonderful places have been around a long time and they will be there tomorrow. Believe me, you and your kids will be happier enjoying the things you get to do than having the day become a nightmare by trying to rush.

– Travel Safe: If you are doing all the driving remember to give your eyes a rest. There are plenty of scenic areas to park and stretch your legs. Take advantage of them. You are going to see some of the most amazing natural beauty on Earth. Take the time to drink it all in. July and August is monsoon season in Arizona and afternoon thunderstorms occur regularly. Be prepared, they usually only last a short time.

– Talk and Laugh a Lot: Talk to one another about the things you are doing and the marvelous sights you are seeing. It’s a great time for the kids to use their imagination and express themselves. Listen to them. You will learn things about each other that may surprise you and you will be better off for the experience. Laugh, laugh and laugh some more! Leave your stress and cares behind and have fun. You owe it to yourself and your kids. Life will be waiting when you get home.

– Bend the Rules: Extend bedtimes. Take an evening dip in the hotel pool. Have that extra ice cream cone. Whatever it is that is different from the everyday. Step outside late one night with your kids and look up at the sky. The night sky in Arizona is filled with stars to wish on so get out there and look up! City dwellers will be amazed.

We hope you keep these hints in mind during your visit to Arizona or wherever you and your family may travel. My wife, Ronnie and I have spent over 30 years traveling throughout Arizona and have found these tips to be true for our family. We know they will be true for yours too.

We’ll see ya on the trail! And remember to always be good to each other and your mother Earth. Take nothing but photos and leave nothing but footprints.