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10 Movies That Need A Female Reboot

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Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson’s The Hustle is the latest all-female reboot of a male-oriented movie, gender-swapping the classic Michael Caine/Steve Martin comedy Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. With the success of movies like Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel, it won’t be long before women can simply lead their own movies without being tied to earlier properties starring men. But until then, while actresses gain the kind of influence in Hollywood that they’re long overdue, more female reboots of older movies starring men will be on the way. So, with that in mind, here are 10 Movies That Need A Female Reboot.


THE USUAL SUSPECTS

The-Usual-Suspects-castIt’s rare that women get to play gangsters in movies. The crime genre is one of the most male-dominated categorizations in Hollywood. But there are female criminals out there and they’re underrepresented on the big screen. The premise of The Usual Suspects is that a bunch of criminals meet in a police lineup, pull off a heist, and then have their story twisted by an unreliable narrator reading names and locations from around the room. That could easily be swapped to an all-female cast, with the police lineup simply revolving around a female suspect instead of a male one. It would make a great ensemble piece, too, like Ocean’s 8, a chance to get a bunch of awesome women on-screen together.


BOYHOOD

Boyhood.jpgRichard Linklater shot his coming-of-age opus Boyhood over a decade or so, in order to capture his lead actor growing up. It’s a grand, sweeping movie about growing up – but it’s about growing up male. Only boys can relate to Mason’s story. A female remake titled Girlhood could give young girls a character they can relate to. It would mean another child actor growing up with a film crew stopping by every couple of years to shoot some more scenes of the movie she’s in, but as Boyhood has shown us, the rewards of this unique kind of filmmaking are obvious.


RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK

Indiana-Jones-in-Raiders-of-the-Lost-Ark.jpgAs long as the Tomb Raider movies continue to screw up the female version of Indiana Jones that we already have, a female reboot of the Indiana Jonesfranchise sounds like a good idea. Steven Spielberg seemed open to a Raidersreboot with a female Indiana Jones, even if his wording was a little clunky: “We’d have to change the name from Jones to Joan, and there would be nothing wrong with that.”

Jones is the last name, so it would be weird to leave a female version of the character with a male first name and a female first name instead of a surname. Still, Spielberg’s open to a female Indy, so it could happen.


FIGHT CLUB

Fight-Club.jpgAs possibly the most masculine, male-focused movie ever made, nothing is screaming out for a female reboot louder than Fight Club. Melissa McCarthy suggested “female Fight Club” as a bridal shower as a joke in Bridesmaids, but it’s not a bad idea. With Netflix’s GLOW, Charlize Theron’s visceral action movies, and more and more female superheroes making it to the screen, audiences are getting used to women fighting on-screen. The female Fight Club wouldn’t follow exactly the same plot, since everyone knows the twist by now, but it could have the same anarchist message and black-comic tone. “I am Jane’s dream of a female reboot of Fight Club.”


TRADING PLACES

Trading-Places-Poster.jpgTrading Places is a classic comedy, but it’s also an interesting study of the class divide. Dan Aykroyd plays a wealthy businessman and Eddie Murphy plays a streetwise grifter. They both think they’d be better off in the other one’s shoes, so like it says on the tin, they trade places. In the same way that Dirty Rotten Scoundrels was a two-hander whose male leads were replaced by women in The Hustle, Trading Places is a two-hander that would work just as well – if not better, with an even more socially conscious plot revolving around women in the workplace – with female leads instead of male ones.


 

THE EXPENDABLES

The-Expendables-Cast-1.jpgThe point of The Expendables franchise was to bring all the old-school, muscle-bound action movie stars from the ‘80s together in one movie. So, why not do the same for all the female action movie stars? The Expendablesfranchise has a great cast, but they’re all male. The third one brought in Ronda Rousey, but that was too little too late. An all-female Expendables movie called The ExpendaBelles (seriously) has actually been in the works for a few years, but it’s time it actually got off the ground. Sigourney Weaver, Linda Hamilton, Charlize Theron, Michelle Rodriguez, Uma Thurman, Zoe Saldana, Demi Moore – the casting possibilities are endless.


TAKEN

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We’ve seen what happens when a male ex-CIA agent’s daughter goes missing overseas and he flies over there to track her down. Now, let’s see what happens when the same circumstances befall a female ex-CIA agent instead. To keep the gender-swapping consistent, the daughter could even be swapped for a son to subvert the trope of the damsel in distress.

It wouldn’t need to be a straight remake of Taken. Instead of Paris, it could be a different major European city – or a different continent entirely. Instead of being sex-trafficked, the kid could be sold off as a drug mule.


THIS IS THE END

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Apart from a couple of cameos by Rihanna and Emma Watson (the latter of whom reappeared for one scene later on before fleeing with all the food), the star-studded apocalypse comedy This is the End was very male-oriented. The 2013 original starred Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, Craig Robinson, and everyone else for their comedy clique as the worst versions of themselves. Let’s see the Bridesmaids gang play themselves and tackle the same apocalypse from the other side of Los Angeles from a female perspective: Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Rose Byrne, Maya Rudolph, Ellie Kemper etc., all playing themselves. It would make a pretty awesome movie.


TRAINING DAY

Training-Day2.jpgThe Heat proved that women could lead a buddy cop movie, so there’s no reason why they couldn’t lead a grittier, more dramatic cop movie. Training Daywould be a prime candidate for this, as its premise is simple and character-driven, and therefore easy to rewrite for a female cast. It stars Denzel Washington as a veteran cop who takes rookie Ethan Hawke out on his first day. As the day progresses, Hawke realizes Washington is dirty and tries to expose him. Washington went on to win an Academy Award for his performance in the movie. A female reboot of Training Day could grace the screen with a new iconic duo with fantastic chemistry.


THE AVENGERS

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We got a taste of what an all-female Avengers movie might look like in one scene in Endgame, and it was awesome. Captain Marvel, Valkyrie, Shuri, the Wasp, Gamora, Nebula, Mantis, and every other badass female superhero from the MCU fighting alongside each other was such an incredible sight that it warranted more – like a whole movie of it. Brie Larson has already said she’d be open to an all-female Avengers movie, and she just proved that a female-led MCU film can be a huge box office smash with her $1 billion-grossing solo movie, so there’s no reason not to do this.

Featured

Top 10 Summer Bag Essentials

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The temperatures are soaring, flowers are blooming, the sun is shining. . . it feels like summer to me.  For our family, summer means impromptu play dates, trips to the splash park, lazy beach days, and lots of ice cream.  It’s hard living a block from the best ice cream spot in our city, but somebody’s got to do it. 

The bad part?  The crazy mess that’s left over when the fun is done.

Or even worse, running late because you can’t find the sunscreen or mosquito spray or insert whatever else you can’t leave without.

Enter the summer bag.

One place for all your essentials to be immediately emptied out and repacked when all the fun is done.

The summer bag was our sanity saver last summer, and this year will be no exception.  Here’s my list of 7 items we don’t leave home without, and a few nice-to-haves for certain outings. Also you can customize anything on this list and add things. 


Your Favorite Sunnies

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Nothing says summer like a flirty pair of shades. Whether you’re on the way to the office, laying out on the beach, or cruising in your car–– there’s always an excuse to wear sunglasses. Plus if you’re like me, you’re forever losing and finding them.


A Portable Charger

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Welcome to 2019: The year of SocialMedia, and phone batteries that always seem to be running at less than 10 percent. This portable charger is thin enough for even the smallest bag and, if you ask me, it’s quite chic


Hair Ties

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I’d say the only downfall to summer is how hot (and sweaty) I get when my hair is down. A set of cuter-than-cute hair ties will give your basic ponytail an upgrade, and keep you hair from sticking to the back of your neck.


On-The-Go Perfume

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Rollerballs are small, TSA-approved, and look just as pretty as they smell. Plus, you don’t have to worry about over-spraying since you can directly apply the scent to key points of your body (behind your earlobe, back of the neck, wrists, etc.).


Bobby Pins

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Keep a stash of bright bobby pins in your bag to add a fun accent to your outfit, or to simply tuck back the annoying strands of hair falling out around your face.


Facial Mist

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It’s small, it’s scentless, and it’ll cool your skin when you’re stuck in 100 degree weather. And, did we mention a water-based mist also does a superb job of setting makeup? Goodbye, runny mascara.


SNACKS

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Keep everyone happy with a small selection of healthy snacks.  My favourites to take are apples, blueberries, cherries, crackers, and rice cake chips.


 

Featured

The 15 Best New Books to Add to Your Summer Reading List

Your mission, should you choose to accept it: Tear through all these beach reads by Labor Day.

Book enthusiasts know summer is high season for juicy fiction and gripping tell-alls. This year, several household names are back with new work — Elizabeth Gilbert, Margaret Atwood, and My Favorite Murder podcasters Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark. See these and many more titles readers can’t wait to dive into.

We couldn’t get enough of Helen Hoang’s debut novel, The Kiss Quotient, so it’s no surprise her second book is at the top of our list. This time, we’re following the story of Khai Diep, a man who doesn’t think he’s capable of having feelings. He’s still unconvinced when his family tries to assure him that his autism makes him process emotions differently, and his mom sets out to find him the perfect bride in Vietnam. 

 

Every black sheep needs to bring this read on their next vacation. Even as a renowned neurosurgeon, Dr. Trisha Raje can’t seem to please her strict family. She wants redemption from breaking her parents’ rules, and finds a way when she crosses paths with a chef named DJ. 

 

OUT MAY 28

We’ve heard what Karen and Georgia have to say in their popular podcast My Favorite Murder, but now they’re expressing themselves using a different medium. They share personal stories, recommendations for advocating for yourself, and more in their debut novel. 

OUT JUNE 4

We watched the protagonist jump into new adventures in Eat, Pray, Love, but the latest novel by Elizabeth Gilbert takes a look back at the past. Vivian, a now-95-year-old woman, finally shares her love story from the 1940s. A combination of lust, scandal, and fun, this is another novel you won’t be able to put down. 

 

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48 Hours in New Orleans

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New Orleans (or NOLA) is located in southeastern Louisiana, and occupies both sides of the Mississippi River. The heart of the city and its French Quarter is on the river’s north side. The city is known for its distinct French and Spanish Creole architecture, as well as its cross-cultural and multilingual heritage. New Orleans is famous for its cuisine, music (particularly as the birthplace of jazz) and its annual celebrations and festivals, most notably Mardi Gras. The city is often referred to as the “most unique” in the United States.


Getting There

  • Airport – Louis Armstrong New Orleans International (MSY)
  • Currency – U.S. Dollar ($)
  • Language – English
  • Population – 380,000

From New York, New Orleans is a quick 2 and a half hour flight, and Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport is only 30 minutes from downtown. I took the Airtrain to JFK airport ($8 instead of $50) and used TSA Precheck to skip the security line.

Tip – I often board planes ASAP to avoiding checking my carry-on. Ever since airlines implemented checked bag fees there has been a spike in carry-ons, limiting overhead space.

 


Day One:

First things first, grab some breakfast and head to the WWII Museum. This is a great first activity, as it may take several hours, and is certainly not something you want to do hungover tomorrow morning. Explore for 2-4 hours.

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Upon leaving the WWII Museum, you will see a streetcar near the front entrance. Hop on the streetcar and head to the French Quarter to grab a Po Boy for lunch!

After munching down your Po Boy (and beer) we recommend heading to Saint Louis Cemetery for a creepy tour of the oldest graveyard in NOLA.

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After scaring yourself in the graveyard, head back to your hotel or hostel and get ready for a wild night out!

Looking fresh? Good! Head to Muriel’s Bistro for dinner and enjoy some delicious local Creole food.

Now it’s time to party. Head to Bourbon Street, grab a Big Ass Beer and start your evening!

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Day Two:

Hungover? That will happen. It is NOLA after all.

Breakfast at Cafe du Monde

Wake up and get wired with a classic chicory coffee at Cafe du Monde, one of the country’s most popular coffee spots. Soak up last night’s booze with a helping of sugary beignets. Live music can be heard from musicians surrounding the quarter, a picture-perfect way to start the day. 

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Hop on the streetcar and head to Jacksons Square. Sit in the sun for a while, enjoy the live Jazz, beautiful paintings and street performers. Once you’re bored, head to the river near the French Market – it’s a 5 minute walk!

Grab a beer at the French Market and start exploring. We recommend grabbing a plate of raw oysters from inside!

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Head to Magazine street and get in your last minute shopping.

While walking around Magazine street, stop inside any of the numerous Creole Seafood restaurants for dinner!

Ready, Set, Drink! Enjoy your last night on Bourbon Street! Make sure to stop into some of the famous bars, strip clubs, and jazz bars to ensure you see a little bit of everything!

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End your last night with a midnight Voodoo tour if your so inclined! But I’ll pass on the Voodoo

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So What’s It Going To Cost?

Here is how much we spent, and what we spent it on, in 48 hours. 

Food: Breakfast: We spent an average of $5 USD each morning at local cheap breakfast restaurants. 
Lunch: We spent an average of $10 USD each day at local restaurants.  
Dinner: We spent an average of $15 USD each evening, usually trying all the “best” Creole restaurants. 
Total for Food = $30 USD each/per day.

Beer/Alcohol: It’s NOLA. You’ll drink a lot. Enough said.
Total for Beer/Alcohol = $40 USD each/per day.

Transportation (Including getting to and from the airport): We took a taxi to and from the airport which cost $36.00, each way. In order to get around the city, we mainly used the $1.25 streetcars and would also walk as the city is fun to explore by foot. 
Total for Transportation = $40 USD each (total).

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Featured

Differences Between Jaws the Book and the Film

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Duh-DUM Duh-DUM Duh-DUM….. I love the movie Jaws. I remember when I first saw it at a young age. I was terrified. I still dont like to go into the water. I just finshed the book today and boy-oh-boy what a difference between the book and the movie. 

Jaws is one of the most well known movies of all time, right down to the iconic theme music composed by John Williams. However, there are likely plenty among general audiences out there who don’t know that the 1975 thriller directed by Steven Spielberg was based on a book by Peter Benchley. The book is also called Jaws, but there are quite a few differences between the book and what ended up on the big screen.

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In The Book In The Movie

Chief Brody’s wife has an affair with Hooper.

This doesn’t happen.

Hooper goes into the shark cage to attempt to kill the shark with a boom stick.                             

He wants to use a hypodermic needle to inject the fish with strychnine.                                        

Jaws crushes Hooper’s cage and kills him.

Jaws attempts to crush the cage and gets stuck in it’s remains allowing Hooper to escape and live.

Quint harpoons the shark and then gets his foot tangled in some lines and is pulled under the      water to his death.                                                

Jaws attacks the boat and Quint falls down into his mouth and is eaten.                                             

Each day Body, Quint and Hooper return to shore to try again the next day to kill the shark.

They stay out on the water without returning.

fter being harpooned three times by Quint, Jaws is bearing down on Brody. He waits for certain death, but before the shark can get to him it dies from it’s wound.s

Brody shoves a scuba tank into Jaws’ mouth as it is attempting to kill him. He takes Quint’s rifle and shoots the scuba tank causing an explosion that obliterates the shark.

Mayor Vaughn owes money to the Mafia, who      pressure him to keep the beaches open to keep    real estate prices high.                                          

This isn’t mentioned.                                                  

Deputy Hendricks finds the shark’s tooth in Ben Gardner’s boat and presents it to the mayor.

Matt Hooper finds the tooth while scuba diving in Ben Gardner’s boat, but he looses it when he finds Gardner’s corpse and becomes frightened.

The shark kills an old man shortly after it kills. Alex Kintner                                                           

This doesn’t happen.                                                 

Quint uses other sharks and a dolphin and it’s fetus as bait for the shark.

This doesn’t happen instead he used fish guts.

Martin and Ellen have three sons Billy, Martin Jr. And Shawn.

Martin and Ellen have two sons Michael and Shawn.

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9 Things For A Happier You!

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Over the last two years I have really tried to concentrate on my happiness. Happiness is such a blissful feeling when you’re comfortable with everything around you. Sometimes when we’re in dark places for too long finding happiness can be difficult and sometimes impossible. But happiness can be found in the smallest places, you’ve just got too know where to look.

I’ve written a short list of the things that make me smile on a daily basis, hopefully they can make you smile too! Even after a long period of time feeling lower than low these may help you crawl out of the dark.

1. The Smell of Cats

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Any cat owner will tell you that cats have a smell about them, I don’t know what it is but they smell so sweet, especially shorter haired cats. I sadly no longer own any cats because people in my family are allergic

2. Books

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I’d like to quote Stephen King here, “Books are a uniquely portable magic”. Of course they are. Books come in different colors and sizes and can be elegantly worn or new and glossy. Some have fancy leather/cloth covers. Old books smell best, but new ones are good, too. Old paper starts to break down, containing compounds found in vanilla and almonds, mmm. Newer paper has the tang of wood pulp and printer’s ink. I still have several of my books from when I was a kid. Why? They were like comfort objects for me. Growing up, I never went anywhere -not even a different room -without a book. I still never leave the house without one. Just having a book makes me feel braver and happier for some reason.

3. Hot Showers

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Nothing is better than stepping in the shower after a long hard day. When I get home after work all I want more than anything is to strip off and get straight in. Bonus if you get to use anything tea-tree related, it just helps you relaxxxxxxx

4. Fresh Good-tasting Coffee

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Oh-My-God, A delicious perfect temperature cup of coffee I could just gulp down is a huge pick me up. Although I find it hard to find good tasting coffee as I have to drink decaf (sucks I know). Also nothing beats drinking coffee naked. Don’t judge me. 


5. ThunderStorms
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I love thunderstorms. There is nothing more beautiful than nature, especially the electric sight of lightning, the roaring sound of thunder and the calming feel of rain. Most people view thunderstorms as a scary storm that creates problems (power lines falling, trees getting struck by lightning, basements flooding), but I tend to view them in a more positive light. Don’t get me wrong, the few times that I was forced to drive when it was down-pouring and lightning was striking near me every two seconds I was terrified for my safety, but every other time there is a thunderstorm I am in complete awe. I sometimes just sit and reflect on things and calm my racing mind while it’s chaos outside. 

6. Lauging

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I love to laugh. I have a pretty good scense of humor and I can laugh at just about anything. Also It helps that my fmaily is pretty funny too. 

7. Movie Theaters 

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I know this would is weird but I get a cozy feeling whenever I go to the movies. Regardless of the movie I’m seeing I feel like I’m in my own world. Words can’t describe the feeling but trust me. 

8. My Dog

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This is my dog Cooper and He makes me so happy. 


9. Long Hugs

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What’s better than a long hug from the person you love or havn’t seen in a while. Most day’s I long for a hug. 

So there it is, the 9 things that bring me happiness. Hopefully you’ll be able to find happiness in these places too.

What are some of your happy places?

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Featured

Australian Slang

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When you learn English you’re taught how to speak and write ‘proper’ English. Then you visit an English speaking country and start hearing some very strange slang terms.

Like I’ve said in my last post,  have a friend here from Aussie and I thought it would be fun to list some Australian slang that I have never heard before, some of it I have heard, but most of it is certainly ‘interesting’!

Although Australia is an English speaking country, arriving into the country with little knowledge of the most popular Aussie slang words may just get you into a few awkward situations. It’s worth noting that Aussies have a tendency to shorten most words in the English vocabulary as well. You will soon become accustomed to this! Here are a list of some common slang words (some found in other English speaking countries) that should help you get by…


A Cold One – Beer

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Accadacca – How Aussies refer to Australian band ACDC

Ankle Biter – Child

Arvo – Afternoon (S’Arvo – this afternoon!)

Aussie Salute – Wave to scare the flies

Avo – Avocado

Bail – To cancel plans. ‘Bruce bailed’ = Bruce isn’t going to turn up.

Barbie – Barbecue

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Bathers – Swimsuit

Beauty! – Great! Most often exclaimed as “You Beauty”

Billabong – A pond in a dry riverbed

Billy – Teapot (In the Outback on the fire)

Bloody – Very. Used to extenuate a point

Bloody oath – yes or its true. “You right mate?”… “Bloody Oath”

Bludger – Someone who’s lazy, generally also who relies on others (when it’s someone who relies on the state they’re often called a ‘dole bludger’)

Bogan – This word is used for people who are, well let’s say, rednecks. Or, if you like, just call your friends a bogan when they are acting weird.

Booze Bus – Police vehicle used to catch drunk drivers

Bottle-O – Bottle Shop, basically a place to buy alcohol

Brekky – Breakfast

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Brolly – Umbrella

Bruce – An Aussie Bloke

Budgie Smugglers – Speedos

Bush – “Out in the bush” – “he’s gone bush” In the countryside away from civilisation

Cab Sav – Cabernet Sauvignon

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Cactus – Dead, Broken

Choc A Bloc – Full

Choccy Biccy – Chocolate Biscuit

Chook – Chicken

Chrissie – Christmas

Ciggy – a Cigarette

Clucky – feeling maternal

Cobber – Very good friend. ‘Alright me ‘ol cobber’.

Coldie – Beer. ‘Come over for a few coldie’s mate.’

Coppers – Policemen

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Crack the shits – Getting angry at someone or something

Crikey – an expression of surprise

Crook – Being ill or angry; ‘Don’t go crook on me for getting crook’

C*nt, the “C” word – Used when exchanging pleasantries between close friends or family member. If someone calls you the “C” word in Australia (and you haven’t done anything to make them angry), then breathe a sigh of relief… it means you have entered the mate zone.

Dag – Someone who’s a bit of a nerd or geek.

Daks – Trousers. ‘Tracky daks’ = sweatpants (tracksuit pants)

Dardy – meaning “cool”, is used amongst South West Australian Aboriginal peoples and has also been adopted by non-indigenous teens. – source

Deadset – True

Defo – Definitely

Devo – Devastated

Drongo – a Fool, ‘Don’t be a drongo mate’

Dunny – Toilet

Durry – Cigarette

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Esky – An insulated container that keeps things cold (usually beers)

Facey – Facebook

Fair Dinkum – ‘Fair Dinkum?’ … ‘Fair Dinkum!’ = Honestly? … Yeah honestly!

Flannie / Flanno – flannelette shirt

Flat out – Really busy – “Flat out like a lizard drinking” – As busy as a bee

Footy – Football (AFL / Aussie Rules)

Frothy – Beer

F*ck Me Dead – that’s unfortunate, that surprises me

Furphy – rumours or stories that are improbable or absurd

G’day – Hello

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Galah – an Australian cockatoo with a reputation for not being bright, hence a galah is also a stupid person.

Gnarly – awesome – often used by surfers

Going off – busy, lots of people / angry person “he’s going off”

Good On Ya – Good work

Goon – the best invention ever produced by mankind. Goon is a cheap, boxed wine that will inevitably become an integral part of your Australian backpacking experience.

Hard yakka – Hard work

Heaps – loads, lots, many

Hoon – Hooligan (normally driving badly!)

Iffy – bit risky or unreasonable

Knickers – female underwear

Lappy – Laptop

Larrikin – Someone who’s always up for a laugh, bit of a harmless prankster

Legless – Someone who is really drunk

Lollies – Sweets

Maccas – McDonalds

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Manchester – Sheets / Linen etc. If you’re from England, finding a department within a shop called Manchester could seriously confuse you.

Mongrel – Someone who’s a bit of a dick

Mozzie – Mosquito

No Drama – No problem / it’s ok

No Worries – No problem / it’s ok

No Wucka’s – A truly Aussie way to say ‘no worries’

Nuddy – Naked

Outback – The interior of Australia, “The Outback” is more remote than those areas named “the bush”

Pash – to kiss

Piece of Piss – easy

Piss Off – go away, get lost

Piss Up – a party, a get together and in Australia – most social occasions

Piss – (To Piss) to urinate

Pissed – Intoxicated, Drunk

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Pissed Off – Annoyed

Rack Off – The less offensive way to tell someone to ‘F Off’!

Rapt – Very happy

Reckon – for sure. ‘You Reckon?’… ‘I reckon!’

Rellie / Rello – Relatives

 

There are so many more, but I didn’t want this post to be too long. Reviewing all the good Aussie words and phrases, I noticed how easily each of them sticks in my mind right from the first time. Perhaps, it can be explained by the uniqueness of the Australian expressionsbecause each saying contains the people’s fondness and respect for own language.

 

Featured

48 Hours in Sydney

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In honor of my friend coming to visit from Australia, I’ve decided to do a post about Sydney. Sydney may not be the capital of Australia, but it’s the largest city and one of the most popular to visit. It’s surrounded by water and home to the breathtaking and iconic Sydney Harbour. With so much to see and do in this glorious city, it can be difficult to know where to begin or how you can fit everything into two days. Fortunately for you, this guide will show you how to spend 48 hours in Sydney without getting overwhelmed.

This guide is perfect for those who only have 48 Hours in Sydney – A 2 Day Itinerary. We will show you what to do in Sydney, where to stay, what to eat and how to get around, whether its a weekend in Sydney or just a quick trip.


THE BEST TIME TO VISIT SYDNEY

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Remember that Australia is in the southern hemisphere, so seasons are flipped around and may be different to what you’re used to. If it’s freezing and snowing in your hometown, there’s a good chance it’s actually hot and sunny in Sydney.

Since Sydney enjoys such a moderate climate year-round, there really isn’t a bad time of year to visit. The only time you may want to avoid is the peak of summer if you’re not used to the heat. While the January and February average is 26 degrees Celsius, it’s not uncommon for temperatures to reach up to 40 degrees Celsius. If you thrive in warm weather, an Aussie summer experience in Sydney may be perfect for you. Summer is also when many of the best outdoor festivals are happening, so remember your SPF 50+!

If you’re used to the cold European and North American winters, coming here during wintertime in Sydney (June to August) won’t bother you in the slightest. In fact, you’ll be surprised to find there’s still plenty of sunshine. The temperature on an average July day is 17 degrees Celsius.October and November are beautiful and tranquil times to visit. The weather is mild and pleasant.


WHERE TO STAY IN SYDNEY

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Here are a couple of suggestions for where to stay in Sydney that will meet everyone’s requirements. We have also written an extensive guide on Where to stay in Sydney.

There’s no denying that Sydney is a very expensive city, and if you flew in from the other side of the world, you likely already paid a lot to get here. If you want to cut back on accommodation costs, you can stay at a quality hostel run by YHA. You’ll find backpackers hostels all over, but Sydney Harbour YHA is the only one with a rooftop overlooking the Opera House and Harbour Bridge.

A bed in a dorm begins at AU$33 per night, while private rooms and even four-bed family rooms can be booked at fluctuating prices.For more luxurious accommodation, look into the Meriton Suites. There are 13 locations spread across Sydney, with Meriton Suites Pitt Street being a top pick. There are studios, three-bedroom apartment suites and even stunning penthouses. All options have a private balcony, built-in wardrobe, kitchen facilities, laundry, espresso machine and living area.


Day 1

Take your jet-lagged morning easy with some brunch at Basket Brothers, followed by a whole lot of culture. 

10 am – Start off at Circular Quay, near The Rocks, the oldest part of Sydney. For about $7 you can take a Sydney Harbour ferry to the seaside town of Manly, with the 30-minute journey providing breathtaking views of the iconic Harbour Bridge, the Opera House, Kirribilli House — the prime minister’s residence — as well as the spectacular north and south heads, the maritime entrance to the harbor.

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10.30 am – Manly is one of Sydney’s most popular seaside destinations, considered the jewel of north shore beaches. It offers gentle activities from strolling along the pine-tree lined Manly Beach, to fishing and scuba diving as well as more extreme sports such as diving with sharks at the Oceanworld aquarium, kayaking and parasailing.

12.30 pm – Enjoy an early lunch at The Bower Restaurant on Marine Parade. This restaurant is situated on the south side of the beach overlooking the ocean and is a perfect spot to enjoy fresh seafood while watching surfers ride the waves at the Fairy Bower surf break, just over the balcony from your table.

2 pm – Take the rest of the day to stroll along the northern beaches, stopping for an occasional drink and to soak up the views from Freshwater, Curl Curl, Dee Why, Long Reef, Collaroy, Narrabeen, Warriewood, Mona Vale, Newport, Bungan, Avalon, Whale Beach and finishing up at Palm Beach. To do this trip justice you need five or six hours, but if you get tired, you can always hop on the L90 bus which runs on the main road close to all of these beaches and will drop you off at Palm Beach, the northern most suburb of Sydney.

Fans of the Australian soap opera “Home and Away” will recognize Palm Beach, as it is where the show is shot — the area is called “Summer Bay” in the series, however. Visitors can often see the cast and crew filming there.

7 pm – Enjoy dinner at Barrenjoey House Restaurant at Palm Beach. This area is nestled on a peninsula with lush evergreen bushland and sandy beaches, surrounded by the blue ocean. The menu offers various choices including Tasmanian Pacific oysters with pickled ginger and wasabi mayonnaise and lightly spiced ocean trout fillet with mussels in garam masala broth.

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10 pm – Head out of Palm Beach and back to the city. You can either hire a seaplane to fly you back to Rosebay, Sydney’s first international airport, or take a taxi (expect to pay about $100) or simply catch the local bus. All three options will provide you with the opportunity to travel back down the coast – the highlight of this trip is the descent toward Sydney Harbour Bridge at night, giving you plenty of time to enjoy the lights of North Sydney, Sydney Harbour and the city skyline.

11 pm – Have a night cap at the Opera Bar on the footsteps of the Opera House and soak up the views.


Day 2

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9 am– Start off again at Circular Quay, where scores of cafes offer great breakfast options.

10 am – Hop on a number 380 bus (about A$4 single journey) form Circular Quay to Bondi Beach, perhaps Sydney’s most famous and the key to the city’s eastern beaches.

11 am – Have a mid-morning coffee or juice at the Crabbe Hole cafe by the poolside at Bondi Icebergs Club, which is located at the southern end of Bondi Beach. Here you can enjoy the beach’s expanse of white sand and panoramic ocean views, while watching the local swimmers do laps in the rock pool beside the cafe.

The Icebergs Club was founded in 1929 and has become famous for its winter swimming season. On the first Sunday in June — the official start of winter swimming — large ice blocks are dumped into the pool, followed by hardened swimmers.

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12 pmWalk south along the coastal path, stopping at Mackenzies Point to take in views of both north and south Bondi. On the headland you will see a chimney in the middle of a golf course. On the other side of the chimney there is a rocky platform with a whale carved into it — one of the many Aboriginal rock carving sites identified around Sydney.

In recent years this pathway has become famous for the Sculpture by the Sea exhibition around October/November. It is Australia’s largest annual outdoor public display of sculpture, attracting interest from all over the world.

Keep walking to Bronte beach, hemmed in by a bowl-shaped park and sandstone headlands, through Tamarama beach (known to the locals as Glamarama) and over the hill to Waverley Cemetery, where local legends and Australian poet and writer Dorothea Mackellar, author of “My Country,” and poet Henry Lawson, whose portrait is on the Australian 10 dollar note, are buried.

Rounding the bend you pass through Clovelly Beach, Gordons Bay and then reach Coogee Beach.

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3 pm Take a late lunch at any of the beachside cafes along Arden Street and Coogee Bay road with choices of Indian, Thai, Italian or just pick up a packet of simple fish and chips and enjoy it while sitting on the sand.

It’s easy to while away the afternoon at Coogee, just watching the people go by or with a dip in the water.

6 pm – Take a number 377 bus back to Circular Quay and then head to the Blu Horizon bar on level 36 of the Shangri-la hotel for cocktails and to catch a last glimpse of the waterways around Sydney Harbour.

8.30 pm – Stroll down to The Rocks and enjoy dinner at the world renowned Rockpool restaurant. For nearly 20 years, chef and co-owner Neil Perry has been one of the brightest stars on the Sydney dining scape. Food on the menu includes twice cooked Murray cod with olive tapenade and black olive oil as well as suckling pig with sweet potato and ginger puree.

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10 pm – Head back to Circular Quay for a last nightcap before preparing for your departure.

There you have it!  

If you’ve only got 48 Hours in Sydney, you can sure pack a lot of adventure in!

 

Featured

Benefits of Quitting Sugar

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What happens when you quit sugar? A lot of good shizzzz. Kicking a sugar habit is challenging—even for the most strong-willed among us. Avoiding processed sugar is a challenge to daily life, but for some adults, stopping sugar is something that has to occur for health reasons. Sugar consumption can have long-term effects on your health, and sugar is associated with some conditions in multiple ways. For starters, consuming sugar in large amounts can lead to a strong addiction to sugar.

My sweet tooth developed as a child. I loved sugary cereals, chocolate chip cookies, homemade brownies and ice cream. Ice cream was on the menu before bed every night. This kind of snacking got increasingly healthier as I got older, but the habits still stuck. I found myself always reaching for “sweet” snacks over savory ones, and while those snacks didn’t include processed sugar, they still contained high amounts of natural sugars

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Benefits of not eating sugar

I know that cutting out sugar from my diet would produce some favorable results. Here are some common benefits of not eating sugar include:

  • Weight loss: Sugar has calories, but no nutritional value; eating sugar causes us to crave even more sugar

  • Reduced bloat: Artificial sweeteners are notorious for causing bloating

  • Mindful eating: Consciously avoiding certain ingredients (in this case: sugar) leads to more mindful eating habits

  • Better dental health: Sugary sodas, juices and candies create an acidic, cavity-promoting environment in the mouth

  • Sustained energy: Sugar crashes become a thing of the past; experience stable energy levels all day long

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How to Avoid Sugar

Now that you have information on what to expect when you stop eating sugar, it’s time to make quitting sugar happen. For this to be a successful journey, consider the tips below to boost your overall success.

1. Avoid Artificial Sweeteners

If at all possible, consider avoiding artificial sweeteners whenever you can. When you stop eating sugar, your brain will more than likely crave something sweet initially, and consuming artificial sweeteners can increase the cravings.

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2. Read all Food Labels

Every food product you purchase in packaging by law should contain a list of ingredients. The best way to avoid sugar is to carefully read your food labels and ingredient lists to ensure that added sugars are not included.

3. Prepare your Own Food at Home

The best way to ensure that you are not consuming any sugar in your meals is to prepare your meals at home. You should expect that any time you eat out somewhere that there is some hidden sugar included, so the best way to avoid sugar is to prepare your meals yourself.

4. Swap Soda for Carbonated Water

If you like drinking soda, then consider making the switch to seltzer or club soda. Many carbonated water options now include natural flavors as a way to enhance the water you drink. The best part about these is that they include no sugar or sweeteners  (but make sure to still double-check the labels for yourself).

5. Clean out Your Kitchen

If you want to avoid sugar, then you need to get rid of the sources of sugar in your home. This should be considered rule number one when it comes to avoiding sugar from here on out. 

There is a lot that can happen when you stop eating sugar, and generally speaking, the hardest part of stopping is in the initial stages. Typically, lethargy sets in and a slew of sugar withdrawal symptoms can set in, which include headaches, nausea, and mental fogginess. However, once you get past these issues, you should expect to notice health improvements including blood pressure and mood. To achieve this success, it is important to find ways to avoid sugar at all costs. After all, if you reintroduce sugar too soon in your diet, you could have a setback, and the process might start all over again.

It will be hard, but you can do it

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Featured

20 Netflix Originals You Need To Binge

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There are a lot of good TV shows on Netflix ,But what’s the best Netflix original series? The streaming service has put more and more emphasis into their own programming over the last few years, and with over 100 Netflix originals — between shows and movies — browsing aimlessly can be daunting. If you’re trying to figure out exactly which original show to watch next, here’s a great place to start with a look at a ranked list of the 20 best Netflix series right now.


Stranger Things

A throwback and love letter to the early 1980s movies of Steven Spielberg and John Carpenter, the Duffer Brothers Stranger Things feels both familiar and new. The first season is about a boy named Will (think E.T.‘s Elliot) who is captured by a The Thing-like creature and trapped in a Poltergeist-like world. His mother (Winona Ryder) recruits the local sheriff to investigate Will’s disappearance. Meanwhile, Will’s dorky, Goonies-like best friends take to their bikes to do some sleuthing of their own and eventually befriend an alien-like girl with telepathic powers (the E.T. of the series). The investigation into Will’s disappearance and the arrival of the telepathic girl all seem to lead back to a power plant operated by a character played by Matthew Modine. It’s great PG horror/sci-fi, like the blockbusters of the early ’80s, but for those who didn’t grow up in the era or aren’t intimately familiar with Amblin Entertainment’s catalog, the series may not hold as much appeal.


Orange is the New Black

Jenji Kohan’s knack for social commentary mixed with humor is perfect for a prison story. Orange Is the New Black is as funny as Weeds in its early years, but Kohan has found a way to infuse poignancy to the overall vibe of her stories. The diverse, engaging ensemble cast is chock-full of fan favorites, and while Orange is the New Black traffics in stereotypes, it also challenges and complicates them. The acting is superb, the writing is brilliant, and the storylines are addictive. More importantly, it forces us to root for people who make poor decisions and appreciate the fact that we all make poor decisions because we’re human. The series will make viewers laugh and think, and every once in a while, it will break viewers’ hearts. It is a smart show, but most of all, it is good, in every sense of the word.

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13 Reasons Why

Whether you’ve read the source material or not, Brian Yorkey’s adaptation of the YA sensation will ensnare you. The saga follows Clay (Dylan Minnette), a loner of a high schooler, as he tries to defog his crush’s mysterious rationale for suicide. (Viewer discretion advised: suicide, drinking, and sexual assault.) The heartbreak is real


Friends From College

This show, from husband and wife duo Nicholas Stoller and Francesca Delbanco, looks like an ensemble comedy, but it’s much more of a fucked-up love story. When you hit play, you’ll meet two cheaters and their friends from Harvard, all of whom make some reaaaaaally bad decisions. If you think the characters are unlikable, that’s the point. This is kind of like the 30-minute dramedy version of the anti-hero story Hollywood has been obsessed with, just with an entire group of morally gray characters. The tone can be confusing at times — you’ll see a few genuinely goofy scenes and then buckets of cringeworthy moments — but the stacked cast and the thought-provoking storylines ultimately deliver.


Tidelands

Sex! Drugs! Mer-people! Australia! There’s a world in which Tidelands, a Netflix original from down under, lives up to its pulpy premise and delivers a fun, fast-paced show. Unfortunately, that’s not this world. For all the mystery, the drug-running, the relationships between the “Tidelanders” (mer-people, more or less) and the average humans, the show plods along more than it should. It plays like a show the CW passed on (albeit with some mild nudity), and while the secrets of the Tidelanders are sufficiently intriguing to move the plot along, but there aren’t enough moments of excitement to make it the an irresistible siren song of a show.

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Sense8

Sense8 was a sens8tion. Perhaps not for everyone, but for enough people that creative duo Lana and Lilly Wachowski’s two-season neon blitz of queerness and sci-fi created a fanbase more loyal than almost any Netflix original series. These fans loved their sensates, who were connected to the audience almost as strongly as they were to each other. That loved the characters so much, in fact, that they were able to push for an epic series finale when it was clear that Netflix wasn’t planning to sustain expensive niche sci-fi shows. With collaborator J. Michael Straczynski, The Matrix creators made a multinational, multiethnic, queer-as-all-hell show jam-packed with diversity on all levels and enough multi-layered plotting to keep the massive cast happy, sexy, and interesting.


Narcos

One popular line of criticism has it that Narcos romanticizes the violence and degradation associated with the Colombian drug wars—and drug culture in general—and I would agree that the excellent Wagner Moura plays kingpin Pablo Escobar so engagingly that he becomes a sort of Walt White-esque antihero. And the rhythms of the documentary-style narration are fast-paced in a way that’s reminiscent of Guy Ritchie, whipping us along at an almost breakneck speed. Nevertheless, this valid criticism misses the important point that we are watching a work of fiction based on historical figures—not a real documentary. And when viewed that way, Narcos is one of the most successful shows on TV, in how it managed to flesh out some very dark characters and tell a complicated story with such urgency and clarity.


Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

After living underground in a cult for 15 years of her life, Kimmy Schmidt is finally exposed to the real world. She decides to make up for her lost years through the cultural, eye-opening streets of New York. Kimmy’s character develops through the help of her new friends– a gay Broadway wannabe, a street-smart landlady and an out-of-touch socialite. Navigate through the streets with Kimmy in this heartwarming and hilarious series. Two big thumbs up to Netflix.

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Dear White People

Deriving from the film, also titled Dear White People, we follow a group of underrepresented students in their fight for racial, social and political equality at the predominantly white Ivy League college of Winchester University. This series is very much relevant in today’s society by harshly, but appropriately addressing the issues revolving around race in the aspects of society and politics. Along with these issues, Dear White People sheds light on gender roles, sexuality and basically the whole rollercoaster of college. Through its blunt reality and crude humor, Dear White People is definitely a must see. #STAYWOKE


Master of None

Aziz Ansari’s Master of None is a post-racial dating and relationship sitcom about millennials. Like the better dating sitcoms of the past, the series still manages to capture the anxieties of dating, of new relationships, and of settling down, only it successfully brings in texting and social media into the mix naturally and without calling attention to itself. It also explores intimacy without resorting to gender stereotypes or relationship clichés. It’s new, and unique, and most of all, it is kind. It’s a good series about genuinely good people, and the chemistry between Ansari’s character and his love interest (Noel Wells) in the first season is electric. It’s not laugh-out-loud funny, but Master of None is funny in its observations, clever in its writing and honest in the depiction of its characters. It’s a truly great sitcom and something of a roadmap to dating for a new generation.

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Peaky Blinders

A British import licensed in America exclusively by Netflix, Peaky Blinders is roughly the UK equivalent of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, taking place in the same time period and covering similar terrain. It’s got British gangsters, and while bootlegging and gambling are involved, so is the IRA, Peaky has one thing that Boardwalk does not, however, and that’s the piercing, intense Cillian Murphy, who plays something akin to Prohibition-era Boyd Crowder. The show also features Tom Hardy as a phenomenal recurring character in seasons two and three (along with Noah Taylor). It’s a short series, and it is addictive, violent, and intense as hell.


The Crown

At once intimate and sweeping, The Crown presents an inside view of the ascension of Queen Elizabeth II, played by Claire Foy, and the first few years of her reign. John Lithgow is featured as the indomitable Winston Churchill, struggling with the ignominy of age at the end of his career. Churchill’s support and mentorship of Elizabeth, despite his limitations, creates an important emotional center around which various historical events turn. Elizabeth’s relationship with her husband, Prince Phillip (Matt Smith) is also wonderfully explored; his role as consort is one that he by turns delights in and rebels against. The production spared no expense in painstakingly recreating the physical environments and rigid protocols that constrained and defined the royal family. The challenges posed by modernity and the post-colonial period are filtered through the Palace’s political structure, in which despite her role, Elizabeth’s personal needs and wishes are continually subsumed to protocol and appearance. This series will appeal to anyone who enjoys costume drama, but it is also a fascinating exploration of the post-WWII period and the development of a monarch who managed to maintain and even expand the popularity and stability of the British Monarchy against significant odds.


Bloodline

While the second season doesn’t quite live up to the near-perfect first, that freshman outing offers slow-burning greatness, doling out revelations about the Rayburn family incrementally. The series follows the Rayburn siblings, John (Kyle Chandler), Meg (Linda Cardellini), Kevin (Norbert Leo Butz) and Danny, portrayed by the Emmy-nominated Ben Mendelsohn, who gives one of this decade’s best television performances It’s Danny who’s the powder keg, the black-sheep brother who returns home to hotel business and upends the entire family, outing their secrets and putting them all in danger. Bloodline is a stressful series. It seems designed not to entertain, but to give viewers a panic attack. It’s a series that demands to be binged, not because the viewer wants to find out what’s next so much as not pushing through means living with these characters’ anxiety that much longer.

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You

Gossip Girl’s Penn Badgley returns as a scumbag we can’t help but swoon over in this Lifetime drama that’s now been handed off to the streaming platform. Badgley plays Joe Goldberg, a seemingly-sweet guy who works at a bookshop in the city and courts a beautiful blonde named Beck (Elizabeth Lail). Unfortunately, that’s where the rom-com portion of this thriller ends. You see, Joe’s “courting” includes stalking the object of his affections, breaking into her apartment, holding her boyfriend hostage, and peeping in on her most intimate of moments. And that’s only in the first episode. If anything, this show is proof that the modern dating world can be a terrifying hellscape.


One Day at a Time

A remake of a 1970s sitcom produced by 94-year-old iconic television producer Norman Lear, One Day at a Time manages to not only match its predecessor but miraculously improve upon it. This updated version centers on a Cuban America family headed by a single mom (Justina Machado) raising three kids with the help of her mom (Rita Moreno). It’s broad jokes and laugh track feels somewhat out of place on the streaming service, but the jokes still land and more importantly, the characters connect in an honest way as they attempt to live on a modest nurse’s salary and maintain their Cuban heritage while adapting to modern progressivism (much like Fresh Off the Boat). It’s more poignant sitcom than it is funny, but it’s a warm, loving look at difficulties of single parenting that resonates as much in 2017 as it did in the ’70s.


House of Cards

The highly bingeable political series is the grandfather of Netflix original programming, and now with five seasons under its belt, it’s had a lot of highs and plenty of lows. The first season is impeccable, as we see the beginning of Frank Underwood’s ascent to power from Speaker of the House to eventual President of the United States. The series, however, hits some rough spots, especially in season three when Underwood and his wife Clare (Robin Wright) turn against each other. The series is best when the two are working together.It’s beginning to run out of political room to maneuver. Still, the series is never short on twists, turns, and the occasional huge surprise. The supporting cast — which includes Molly Parker, Michael Kelly, Reg E. Cathey, Constance Zimmer, and Corey Stoll, among others — is always excellent, even if their storylines often run into dead ends.After former star Kevin Spacey’s alleged sexual misconduct against 15 accusers, and replacing him with his wife, Claire (Robin Wright), which leads to one of the most misconceived denouements one could imagine for a series of its profile.

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Grace And Frankie

Grace And Frankie‘s first season started streaming on Netflix back in 2015 and the third season was recently added to the streaming service. This series is super hilarious and is not to be missed. When their husbands share that they are in love with each other, the two women become unlikely and surprising friends. They accept each other’s differences and their own and it is a really charming story. This unlikely duo deal with circumstances that you would probably expect in an old-school sitcom but with a new, modern approach. Plus there is the fact that the actors are top-notch, from Jane Fonda to Lily Tomlin to Sam Waterston to Martin Sheen. So guess what you are going to be doing this week? Watching Grace And Frankie! What would you do if you were in their situation? That is something that you are going to be asking yourself!


Girlboss

Following the inspiring book by Sophia Amoruso, #Girlboss is a comedic series that is one of Netflix’s latest originals. Her story inspires young girls and women who want to do more with their life and is an empowering look at not giving up on your dreams. Sophia Amoruso has seriously gone through hell and back to start her business and she has so many amazing stories that have changed her life for the better and she has been a huge inspiration for many who want to do the same. She managed to take her career from nothing to something and it is really awesome. We are very excited to see this series which premiered on April 21st, 2017 (if you haven’t already watched, what are you waiting for?). Based on the trailer alone, it looks like you’ll be inspired and also laughing since this show is definitely super funny. It’s the perfect balance in our minds.


The Get Down

There’s a ton of hype around this Netflix original and for good reason. The Get Downis a short series that focuses on the life of youth detaching from the typical disco scene and trying to make it in the MC rapping world in an era where this type of musical expression wasn’t even valid unless you were performing in an underground community. While you might think this show isn’t for you just because it’s a musical drama, you would be totally wrong! This series takes its musical concept and completely shapes it in a brand new way. So you can definitely curl up on the couch and get started on your binge. Get ready to get down to the amazing music throughout this series! You will be so glad that you gave this one a try and will soon be telling all your friends about it.


Mindhunter

The name and the description may have you assuming that this is a typical network procedural: FBI agents interview psychopaths in order to catch murderers. But Mindhunter is as much Mad Men as it is Law & Order. Produced by David Fincher and Charlize Theron, the story follows two real-life agents, Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff, the original King George III in Hamilton on Broadway) and Bill Tench (Holt McCallany), along with consulting psychologist Dr. Wendy Carr (Anna Torv) in the FBI’s nascent Behavioral Science Unit. Joe Penhall’s series is based on a similarly titled true crime book. Interviewing and cataloguing convicted serial killers (a phrase the trio invents) leads to them helping on active cases, but it also affects each of their personal lives in different ways. Cameron Britton is particularly unforgettable as notorious murderer and necrophiliac Edmund Kemper

 

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Featured

48 Hours in San Diego

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When you think about Southern California, it’s fair to say that the glitz and glamor of Hollywood, the iconic Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco or perhaps even the natural beauty throughout Yosemite National Park will be at the forefront of your mind. I absolutely love San Diego – it’s such a fun, young city, with a real sense of buzz. I get excited every time I visit the city; the beaches are beautiful, the food is fantastic and the people are super friendly. 


Where to Stay in San Diego?

The beauty of visiting San Diego is that if you are flying into the international airport, you are just a short drive from the downtown area where all the main attractions are located. Hop in an Uber and for only $10 you will be transported to your chosen hotel in the downtown vicinity.

Hotel Del Coronado 

For those that want the ultimate luxury experience, why not stay at the exquisite Hotel Del Coronado, now part of the Hilton Curio collection. This hotel is possibly the most iconic in San Diego, and maybe even California, given the role it played in Marilyn Monroe’s “Some Like It Hot” movie. It’s fair to say this is a pretty spectacular hotel and you will be living the dream if you choose to stay here.

Hilton San Diego Bayfront 

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If you are looking for a slightly more affordable option, the Hilton San Diego Bayfront is a feasible alternative that offers great access to many of the city’s iconic attractions. Take a stroll along the promenade or hop on one of the many rental bicycles to head out and explore the city center and beyond.


Day 1

8AM – Take a trolley to Seaport Village, where you’ll find unique breakfast opportunities while enjoying the fresh, ocean air. You’ll also find small shops and boutiques, beautiful parks, carousels, and exciting family activities. Even a short stroll around Seaport Village will give you a good taste of San Diego’s personality.

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11AM – Next stop by Balboa Park and spend several hours enjoying the botanical gardens and one or two of San Diego’s famous museums, such as the Science Center, Museum of Art, Natural History Museum, or the Air and Space Museum. Obviously, you won’t be able to see all of these attractions, but you can pick one that appeals to your personal interests.

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4PM – Head over to the Hotel Del Coronado on Coronado Island for dinner. This luxury hotel is world famous (several U.S. Presidents have stayed there) and is located right on the beach. Your dinner will be unparalleled and after dinner you can enjoy a little ballroom dancing!

7PM – San Diego’s famous Gas Lamp Quarter provides exciting nightlife opportunities with its nightclubs, coffee shops, and live music venues. Finish out your first night in this fun, historic area.


DAY 2

8AM – Drive up to La Jolla Village, just North of San Diego for another delicious breakfast and a full morning of unique shops, family activities, spas, golf courses, or fun on the beach.

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11AM – San Diego houses one of the most famous zoos in the world. Spend your late morning and early afternoon either at the San Diego Zoo or the Wild Animal Park (an offshoot of the zoo where you can see animals living in a natural habitat).

4PM – After the zoo, stop by Old Town, where you’ll find an endless stream of live entertainment ranging from mariachi bands to professional dancers to theaters and themed events. You’ll also find art galleries, unique shops, wine tasting, and more in Old Town!

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7PM – Finish up your night with an extravagant, 3-hour dinner cruise on San Diego Bay. You’ll feel like a king as you enjoy an excellent, 5-star meal while touring the bay’s picturesque sights, such as the Bay Bridge and the Naval Base (which harbors enormous, breathtaking aircraft carriers).

 

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Featured

48 HOURS IN LOS ANGELES

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Los Angeles is one of those destinations that fills your eyes with stars and your heart with dreams. And with a sprawling landscape of endless traffic, pressed juiceries and want-to-be actors, you’ll find plenty to do (and stare at). If you want to see the best of LA in a short period of time, check out my 48 Hours in Los Angeles guide.


Day 1

You’ll likely be flying into LAX. Assuming you’ve packed light (it’s just 48 hours, after all), take the Flyaway Bus to Union Station. This iconic train station, built in the 1930s, is notable for its gorgeous Art Deco style, public art, and its role in films, including Blade Runner and To Live and Die in L.A.

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LA is a city that is overwhelmingly large in size. Notorious for both its hard-to-navigate public transport system and terrible traffic jams, crossing the city is no mean feat. Hiring a car is almost essential; though if this isn’t an option we recommend making use of phone apps Lyft or Uber – both of which are readily available and rides can be shared with others in order to lessen the fare.

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A trip to Los Angeles wouldn’t be complete without a trip to a trendy, vegetarian brunch spot. Known for their juices and egg-based dishes, The Butcher’s Daughter is a hot spot right in the heart of Abbot Kinney. Enjoy the surfer’s breakfast burrito, the local artisan gift shop and people watch eco-friendly hipsters who prefer an aesthetically pleasing breakfast nook with their green juice rather than their own kitchen.

After breakfast, make your way down Abbot Kinney Street to the famous Venice Canals. You might recognize a couple of scenes from Californication or Starsky and Hutch in this man-made, Euro-Cali wonderland. After the canals, check out the buskers, muscle men and art scene on the Ocean Front Walk on Venice Beach. I highly recommend visiting the Santa Monica Pier via rented bicycle or a thirty minute walk.

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You may not be able to afford some of these lavish designers, but you have to see what the Beverly Hills buzz was about in the 80’s, 90’s and even today! Check out Rodeo Drive, the famous Beverly Hills sign, the Sprinkles Cupcake ATM and even take a tour to see some of the most extravagant and ostentatious houses in LA.

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The Skybar is something of a trendy anomaly of WeHo. While most clubs come and go throughout LA, this club scene has withstood the test of time. Maybe it’s the Mondrian’s incredible reputation. Perhaps is the rooftop location that’s always an Angeleno favorite. Or maybe it’s the trendy events and guest list that’s always a “must-be-seen” attraction. Whatever the reason, this place is a must visit!

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Day 2

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If there’s any slut you can get behind, it’s an eggy one. Eggslut is downtown’s latest breakfast craze and it’s really no surprise why. Eggslut is located in the famous Grand Central Market and provides greasy, delicious breakfast concoctions that will cure any hangover and fill every belly. After all, if you’re not doing vegan, do it big, right?

When was the last time you were able to jump off a skyscraper onto a glass slide over the streets of the city? Never, you say! Now’s the time to change that. Along with sliding down the US Bank Tower, Skyspace also has an incredible observation deck of the city and an interactive art exhibit before taking the elevator up. It’s a tad pricey, but if you make the most of your time here, it’s worth it!

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Drive up to the nearest In-N-Out burger joint for lunch. This fast food joint is an iconic LA establishment and most Angelenos will give it two thumbs up. Make sure you order your burger “Animal Style” (more pickles, extra spread, grilled onions and mustard fried onto each meat patty) for the ultimate experience.

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This might possibly be the most touristy thing you do in LA, but it’s worth seeing. Yes, Hollywood Blvd. is super fucking dirty. And yes, the busker’s in off brand costumes are kinda sad. But it really is amazing to see where the Emmy’s are held every year, see famous clubs like the Avalon, and even visit the famous Roosevelt Hotel located right across the street of the TCL Chinese Theatre.

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See one of LA’s greatest monuments. The Griffith Observatory highlights the beauty of space with the Samuel Oschin Planetarium and Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon Theater just inside. But it’s the view outside that brings thousands of tourists here daily. Come to the Griffith Observatory about an hour before sunset and enjoy the spectacular view of the skyline. Hike the area, explore the inside of the observatory or enjoy a casual picnic. Colors radiate the sky as DTLA and the Mid City skyscrapers flicker with lights as the sun goes down.

You’ve probably heard of LA’s gnarly traffic problem. Don’t let the hype fool you. It’s worse than those rumors.

And unlike other major cities around the world, Los Angeles doesn’t have a great public transportation system. Undergrounds and buses exist, but they are not the best way to get around town. If you can, I highly recommend taking shared rides (like Lyft or Uber) or renting a car while you are in town.

 

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Featured

48 Hours In NYC

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Welcome to the city that never sleeps! Spoiler alert: neither will you.

…only joking, you’ll get some rest. For those looking to experience NYC to the fullest, you’ve come to the right place. I love New York City. I have been going to NYC twice a year since I was 2 and plau I have family that lives there. In the city of blinding lights, you’ll find everything you’re looking for. It’s the city dreams are made of, where there’s nothing you can’t do. That’s probably why they named it twice. And yes, I totally just ripped off two famous songs to draw you in here. Whether you’re looking for falafel trucks at 4AM or the pretzel stand at 4PM, we’ve got you covered with this easy guide to maximizing your time in the city, getting around and enjoying some of the very best spots…

Note: Buy your tickets to a Broadway show and Top of the Rock before your visit along with making any lunch and dinner reservations. If you wait until you arrive you may end up spending more time in lines than actually seeing the city.


Where to Stay

Well I have always stayed with family and never in a hotel. 

There’s no hotel in New York quite like the Viceroy Central Park. If you’re looking for a stylish boutique stay, only moments from Central Park, then this is the place for you. The hotel is located on West 57th Street, between 6th and 7th Avenues – it’s a great spot for exploring nearby Central Park and vibrant Midtown. Expect style and sexy decor at this hotel. Set on 29 floors, with an Art Deco feel, the hotel boasts a fitness centre, luxury restaurant and one of the city’s best rooftop bars: The Roof.

Another great find, if you’re looking for a vibrant, youngish kind of stay in New York, The Frederick is a fantastic boutique hotel in Tribeca. The hotel is home to a 24-hour fitness centre, restaurant and cocktail bar. We loved the style of the hotel; it mixes vintage and Art Nouveau styles, with flashes of colour and touches of minimalist design, for something rather unique to the area.


Getting There

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NYC is one of the easiest cities to reach, whatever the means of transportation. With direct trains from most East Coast cities to Pennsylvania Station and no fewer than three easy major airports including LaGuardia for domestic flights as well as Kennedy and Newark for international arrivals, you’ve got options. Newark offers perhaps the quickest route into lower Manhattan, while John F. Kennedy Airport offers excellent connectivity to midtown and Brooklyn.


Day 1

Breakfast The Bagel Store

New York is KNOWN for its bagel scene. Lox bagels, everything bagels, and even cragels! What’s a cragel you may ask? A cragel is a croissant and bagel combo and is found in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn at The Bagel Store. This place is famous for its rainbow bagels and eccentric flavors like cotton candy, bacon schmear and, of course, the cragel.

This family-run business has the friendliest staff you’ll find in New York and the bagels, whether you like ‘em plain or you like ‘em weird, are AMAZING! The store delivers across the country so once you’ve tried them you can have them long after you travel back home.

Shop at the Chelsea Market

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Looking for some of the best grub in a casual setting? The Chelsea Markets are a collection of local shops, eateries and bars enclosed in a building located in the Chelsea neighborhood. Food ranges from sit-down meals to take-away.

CENTRAL PARK

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Perhaps one of the best ways to begin your day is a trip to Central Park for a walk, run or sightseeing. The southeast entrance of the park is located a short 8-minute walk down 5th Avenue from the Omni Berkshire Place. If you’re a runner, stop by the concierge desk for a running map before heading out. Other options inside the park include the Central Park Zoo, beautiful gardens and sculptures, cycling and carriage rides, and ice skating rinks in the winter. I love this place. I remember as a kid getting a big pretzel from the “Pretzel man” as I used to call him and going to the zoo. I watching my aunt and uncle get married in the park.

VEZZO PIZZA

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Hungry from a day of activities, Vezzo Pizza is the perfect pitstop for a late lunch. Ridiculously thin crust pizza that almost struggles under the weight of the toppings. Mushroom lovers, you absolutely need to order Shroomtown

Grand Central Terminal

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After you’ve fueled up, let’s hit the ground running and head over to Grand Central Terminal. This building is famous for its pale blue ceiling that is studded with a series of eye catching constellations that mimic the night sky

Chrysler Building/Empire State Building

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Next, you’ll walk along 42nd street, towards 5th avenue. On the way, you’ll be able to see the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building. While the view from the top of the Empire State building is amazing, the line is incredibly long and the tickets are incredibly expensive so I wouldn’t recommend it.

New York Public Library

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One of New York’s famous, but less-visited attractions is the New York Public Library. Keep in mind there are over 20 branches of New York public libraries, but the famous one to visit is the Main Branch on 476 5th Avenue. I’m a bookworm myself so it’s incredibly inspiring to walk amongst the old books that contain so much history (both within the pages and the walls of the building).

And if you’re also into movies, you might notice that this was the set for several movies including The Day After Tomorow, Spider-Man, Ghostbusters, and of course, Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

Times Square

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Next we’ll keep walking down 42nd street and head into Times Square. Honestly, I am not a huge fan because it is VERY touristy, so I wouldn’t buy or eat anything here since it’s overpriced and just not worth it. Therefore, I would snap a few pictures and get out of there.

***The only reason to stay in Times Square is if you want to see a Broadway Show. Just hop on the TKTS line in Times Square and get half price tickets for Broadway shows that evening.

I’ve only been to Times Square twice in my life, and I would say skip it

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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You can’t spend 48-hours in New York and not visit one of their great museums. The Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of the world’s largest and finest art museums, and something you must see in New York. Its collection includes more than two million works of art spanning five thousand years of world culture, from prehistory to the present and from every part of the globe. Other great art galleries in the city include the MoMa, which is the home of contemporary art in New York, and the Guggenheim. It’s worth purchasing a CityPass to see these and much more. I love the MET. I think I have been here more times then I remember. 


Day 2

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Breakfast at Boris & Horton

If you spent the previous evening dancing the night away in the city that never sleeps, it’s time for the ultimate hangover cure: puppies! One of New York’s newest cafes, Boris & Horton, is the first dog cafe where you can eat, drink and chill, but with a dog on your lap!

Flatiron Building

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If it’s construction and architecture you’re after, look no further than the Flatiron Building, a “ground-breaking,” triangular skyscraper located at 175 Fifth Avenue in the borough of Manhattan, New York City. It’s famed shape makes it an awesome place to take pictures, but it’s really its foundation you’ll be marveling at.

The High Line

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I had never heard of High Line until my most recent trip to New York. The High Line is a 1.45-mile-long elevated linear park, greenway and rail trail located high above the street. It was originally created on a former New York Central Railroad spur, but had been abandoned (though still decorated with plenty of unused tracks). Now, tourists come to marvel at the view as it’s sandwiched between the edge of the island of Manhattan and the city skyline.

One World Trade Center

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Do you remember where you were on September 11th, 2001? I remember it so clearly, it was a day of such horror and tragedy that even as a middle-schooler, I knew that what was happening was pure evil. I could get into my personal story but I’ll save that for another post.

Start your morning paying tribute to the Americans who lost their lives at the 9/11 Memorial & Museum. Afterwards, check out the newly rebuilt One World Trade Center where you can view the city from its observatory at 102 floors up. For those architect lovers, head over to the Oculus and marvel at its design.

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Eataly

From here, depending on how hungry you are, you can stop at Eataly for some of my favorite pizza and pasta in the city. This restaurant and grocery store combo was created by none other than Mario Batali so you know the ingredients are fresh and that the food is delicious.

Wall Street

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After you’ve had your fill, walk on over to Wall Street, see the Stock Exchange, and the Charging Bull statue.

STATEN ISLAND FERRY

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Take the free Staten Island Ferry from Whitehall Terminal and enjoy the boat ride views of Manhattan. Once back on dry land head up to the Brooklyn bridge and either stroll or bike ride over. If you get far enough go to DUMBO and get that classic shot of the Brooklyn Bridge between the buildings.

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Featured

Annoying Questions People Ask Starbucks Baristas

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The first few times I walked into a Starbucks, this was my experience: Why are the words on the menu so small? *Walks closer to menu* I thought Starbucks had tons of drinks. Why are there like. . . only ten on the menu?! How do I know what I want? I was such a baby then, but now I’m a pro (**Update…I can’t have coffee anymore…the caffine makes me sick)

The average Starbucks barista encounters hundreds of people in a day. And some of them are a lot more polite than others. You probably already know your barista will be annoyed if you order one of the most obnoxious drinks on the Starbucks menu (or at least on the Starbucks secret menu).

Most of us don’t feel fully human until we have our morning caffeine fix. But if you want better service — and don’t want Starbucks baristas to roll their eyes each time you walk in the door — you should avoid asking them these annoying questions.


Could I have a medium?

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Starbucks has been around long enough — and let’s be real, you probably stop by frequently — that you know the chain’s name for whatever size drink you usually order. (Short, tall, grande, venti, and trenta, remember?) Most baristas won’t get annoyed if you occasionally order a “medium” instead of a “grande.” But don’t lecture the barista about how you think those names are dumb. They’ve heard it before.


What drinks are good?

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You can choose from among a huge number of different Starbucks drinks and customize them in practically endless ways. You should go in knowing what you want, not hoping to get a recommendation from the barista. Just like the servers at your favorite restaurants, Starbucks baristas don’t know what you like. And they can’t read your mind to figure out what you’re craving. Most baristas are happy to answer questions about what goes into a drink or how two options compare. But you should always have a pretty good idea of what you want before you reach the counter.


Ask for extra in a separate cup

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Some drinks, like Frappuccinos, tend to leave leftovers in the bottom of the blender. But your barista is probably annoyed if you ask for extra in a separate cup.


Order espresso over ice and then fill your cup with milk from the bar.

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Starbucks baristas have a name for this: the “Hobo Latte.” Baristas see right through you when you order iced espresso in a Venti cup and then fill the rest of your cup with free milk. Just order a latte, they ask, since that’s what you’re making anyway.


I’m here all the time. Don’t you remember my order?

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You might think you’re a regular at a particular Starbucks location. But stopping in a couple times a week doesn’t guarantee any of the baristas will remember what you order. Obviously, it’s nice to be remembered. But you have a better chance of making a good impression — and of a barista remembering your drink — if you’re courteous, tip well, and don’t ask obnoxious questions.


Can you make me ____? It’s off the secret menu.

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This question by itself is not that bad — if you want a secret menu item (which I hope by now everyone understands is not a real thing), I will gladly make it for you. What’s annoying is when you ask for a Captain Crunch Frappucino or a Butterbeer Frapp, and you have no clue what goes into it, because we don’t know, either. Our training’s intense, but we’re not taught what’s not on the menu, so we need you to help us break it down (instead of a Churro Frapp, try “a tall vanilla bean with two pumps of cinnamon dolce and white mocha syrup”).

Oh, and while we’re at it, adding matcha powder and java chips to a Frappucino doesn’t make it “mint chocolate chip.”


Can you make it the same way they do at [coffee shop that isn’t Starbucks]?

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Even if you’re secretly (or not so secretly) grumpy you have to stop in at a Starbucks instead of your usual coffee shop, you shouldn’t ask your barista to make your drink the way another shop prepares it. A Starbucks barista is pretty unlikely to know how that other shop prepares your drink. So it would be a lot more helpful if you could specify exactly how you want your drink made.


Whoa, why is it so expensive?

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Similarly, Starbucks baristas have no control over the prices that corporate sets. You’ll just annoy your barista if you make a big deal of complaining about what your drink costs. You might be crying on the inside about what your cappuccino habit is costing you each week. But that’s a downward spiral you can always return to later — after you enjoy that delicious cappuccino.


*Let me just finish my cellphone conversation while you wait for me to order.*

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Nobody actually says this. But continuing to talk on your phone while the barista waits for you to order is just plain rude. The barista is awkwardly waiting for you to pay attention and tell them what drink you want. And everybody behind you in line is getting irritated that you’re making them wait, too. Hang up the phone for 30 seconds, so you can actually have a conversation with the barista. Was that really so difficult?


Could you clean up this mess my kid made?

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We all get it. Kids are messy. And unless your Starbucks barista has zero sympathy — pretty unlikely given their ability to tolerate a food-service job — they probably understand even the most attentive parent can’t stop their kid from spilling things from time to time. But if your child spills a drink or drops a pastry, do your best to clean up the mess before alerting a barista. Sure, a stack of napkins can only do so much when an entire venti iced tea is on the floor. But don’t act entitled. And don’t forget to apologize if you have to ask a barista for help in cleaning up the mess.

 

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Featured

48 Hours in Athens Greece

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Athens, Greece’s ancient and storied capital city, stands as each a ruin, relic, and reminder of what great travel is to astute explorers. The cradle of Western Civilization, Athens is one of those rare behemoths of bucket list destinations that contains it all – art, history, beautiful weather, food, and generous people. It rivals Rome in stunning architecture and historical relevance. If you’ve ever read the Iliad, Odyssey in high school/college or drooled over Gerard Butler ‘s amazing painted on six pack in 300 then you know the ancient Greeks were no joke.


How to Get There

Aegean and Easyjet run regular flights from the UK to Athens daily starting from £100.

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Where to Stay

Athens is full of accommodation options to suit a variety of budgets, so depending on how much you have to work with – you can plan accordingly. 

Book at Divani Caravel, which is located just outside of the main Syntagma square and so you get a little more for your money. It’s a five-star palatial offering and yet around £127 per night, so it’s really affordable if you’re trying to keep costs down.

Getting into the main square is just a 1 stop, 1 euro metro ride away, so you won’t miss out any of the action – and the extra walk means you can explore even more of the city in your 48 hour window!

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For sheer Belle-Epoque splendour, see the refurbished and impossibly sumptuous Hotel Grande Bretagne on Syntagma Square . There’s butler service in most rooms and a marble lobby. Doubles from €245, room only.

Fresh Hotel (9) in the meat-packing district at Sofokleous 26 is simple and stylish, with Acropolis views from its rooftop pool. Doubles from €93.50, including breakfast.

For something in the heart of the action and with that same touch of luxury, I’d recommend the Electra Metropolis, where you can spend one afternoon on their incredible rooftop terrace, which offers panoramic views over the city. You can enjoy a cocktail or two in the hotel and won’t want to leave, so I’m sure the bedrooms are just as awe-inducing!


THE ITINERARY

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Once you have arrived in Athens, take the metro to Monastiraki. You’ll fall in love with Athens from your first glimpse at the Acropolis when you come out of the station!

Once your settled into your hotel rooms and showered since you had been traveling overnight. Once your were ready to go, the first thing you should do is have lunch by the Acropolis before embarking on a privately guided tour. Next, head to the Parthenon, which stands sentry over the city of Athens as it has done for 2500 years, but its founders might be shocked by the concrete jungle that has developed a few hundred metres below it over millennia.

After the Acropolis, you will visit the most exciting museum to open in Europe in the past decade. The New Acropolis Museum is filled with exquisite sculptures from the Acropolis.  Return to the hotel, rest up and then get ready for dinner.  Your evening meal will be at a classic restaurant in Plaka where you will enjoy Greek gourmet cuisine.

Next, Grab a table outside for lunch on the terrace at the Acropolis Museum restaurant overlooking the Acropolis.

As you promenade down the Dionysiou Areopagitou Boulevard towards the east, pass stylish town houses, restaurants and shops, and buy a crown of olive leaves for the fancy-dress box from a stall along the way.

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At the Temple of Olympian Zeus, on the east side of Hadrian’s Arch, the complex’s imposing Corinthian columns, measuring 17.25 metres tall and 1.7 metres in diameter, give true meaning to the word awesome.

Wander through the cobbled streets lined with shops selling specialty souvenirs: olive oil, vacuum-packed olives and donkey-milk soap, pom pom slippers, linen clothing and leather sandals. Or buy a treasure to satisfy a contemporary goddess, a piece of Dimitrios jewellery from Byzantino.

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DAY TWO

Wake to the sound of church bells pealing from the tiny churches dotted throughout Monastiraki before heading to the fish market in Athinas Street to take in the action.

After breakfast you will be met at your hotel by your private guide.  Visit the ancient Agora and then take a walking tour in the heart of the classical city, viewing Greek and Roman architecture and learning about the politics of ancient Athens.  Highlights include the best preserved temple in Greece, the Temple of Hephaistion.

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Go to the National Archaeological Museum near Omonia Square, one of the greatest archeological museums in the world and a perfect spot to chart the history of Greek sculpture. The vast collection ranges from the minutiae of life – tiny gold hairpins, decorated with ram’s and goat’s heads, brooches and decorated vessels – to the timeless tragedy of death; an infant’s shroud made from beaten gold and a room full of Egyptian mummies.

A must do is have lunch in Plaka and then return to your hotel to relax before your next adventure. Later on in the day you will want to depart from the center of Athens and will be driven along the coastline to the Temple of Poseidon, around a 1 ½ hour trip with breathtaking scenery.  As watching the sunset from the Temple of Poseidon is something that should not be missed, we suggest that you depart from Athens during the afternoon.

Another great way to finish the night is by listening to some music at the Jazz CafE Bar on the corner of bustling Iroon Square. Drink a night cap or two before ambling back to your Hotel In the morning at your convenience, you will have a private transfer from the hotel to the airport in time to meet your flight home or to jet off to your next Willing foot destination.

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Featured

Reasons To Listen To Podcasts

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  1. Deeper Personal Connections Podcasts offer much more than written media because they put a voice with words. You may have a favorite author or blogger that you love to read, but hearing their voice and hearing them express their thoughts literally adds a new dimension to their content. The audio component promotes a deeper connection between the speaker and listener and builds a greater affinity to the author’s work.
  2. More Personal & Informative Advertising — Not only are podcasts valuable for consumers, but for advertisers as well. Instead of running canned ads many advertisers are opting to have hosts read a short statement about their product or service but then talk more casually about the advertiser. This typically benefits the listener by allowing them to receive more details about a specific product or service without a major interruption to the experience of listening to an episode.
  3. Introduction to New Ideas — As a subscriber to a podcast, you are along for the ride. Much like watching a news program, you trust the provider to take you on a journey through different topics. These often prove to be new and unfamiliar topics and ideas that the host thinks are important. 
  4. Redeemed Time and Continued Personal Growth — Related to the topic above, podcasts allow listeners to grow more in their knowledge or expertise about a topic or situation while at the same time redeeming time that would be wasted on an inane task. Commutes are turned into classrooms through podcasts. Dog walking becomes discipleship time. Exercising not only builds the body but the mind as well.
  5. Cultural Awareness — As podcasts sit on the leading edge of technology and information, those who are consumers of podcasts will often be more aware of the changes in culture. Season one of Serial spawned many debates online and at the office.

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Here are my favourite reasons that I love Podcast.

Podcasts are portable

Whilst it’s possible to listen to podcasts on your computer, I personally prefer to take them on the move. I make a lot of 20 minute trips. Many podcasts fit into this timeframe and when you find one that’s regular you can subscribe so that the next episode is already available when you’re next free. I split my time on the go between listening to podcasts and listening to music.

They energise me

The right podcasts aren’t dumbed down. Listening to Ideas energises me and can set me up for the day.

They educate me

I’m an audio girl for sure, so I don’t know about you but I tend to retain information that someone says to me. Do you ever find that someone has a great idea for a book, but for various reasons they feel compelled to make it overlong? Repeating and embellishing the same point?  Sometimes a 10 minute audio overview can explain the ideas in as useful a way as reading the whole book.

Podcasts give me ideas

Sometimes I drift off whilst listening to podcasts and whilst mulling over something in my head, I get an idea from a completely unrelated podcast topic. Eureka! Shebang – Pow – Blop – Whiz!

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I’m in control

My car, only has a CD player and a radio. I frustrate myself flitting between 1 or 2 radio stations and the single cd. IT’s infuriating! I hate this onsg, shut up stupid, damn adverts…Can rewind, relisten, subscribe, just pick one.

Podcasts are free

Not everyone shares my love of podcasts, maybe because they perceive them as difficult and compared to turning on the TV or the Radio they are I guess. But, once you’ve got used to them, I think that they’re well worth the investment.

I can listen to podcasts while I clean my house.

I really don’t like housecleaning. The dust accumulates just as fast whether I dust once a week or once a month. In just a few days, you can hardly tell I even had a dust rag near the place. Thus, I have to keep my mind off these depressing facts while I clean my house, or I just won’t stick with it. But give me a good podcast to focus on, and I’ll get a room clean in no time. The only problem is that I can’t vacuum because then I can’t hear the podcast. 

 

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Here are some of my favorie podcasts…All of these are movie podcast

  • 2 Guys and a Chainsaw
  • 3 black geeks
  • Let’s Have a Kiki- with MovieBitches (check out their youtube channel -Movie Bitches)
  • A podcast and a movie
  • Best bad movie Ever
  • Bloody Date Night
  • Dead Meat
  • Decades of Horror
  • Friday the 13th podcast
  • How did this get made
  • Podslash
  • HillTop Horror

If you love moives, you should def check these out. Most of them are horror movies, but there are soooo many more movie podcast out there. 

Featured

48 Hours in Orlando

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I love Orlando. I went last year with family and I had a blast. Although, we did go to Universal and I must say that will be the first and last time I ever go there.

Orlando may be famous for its theme parks, but there’s a lot more to do in this vibrant city. If you like nature and wildlife, there are plenty of places that will pique your interest. If you like to soak in the arts and culture, then Orlando has the museums and historical sites you’ll love. If you’d prefer to soak up the sun, then its amazing beaches are waiting just for you. 

 I really think in the future, I would move to Orlando. What is Florida? Beaches, tacky tourist traps, humidity beyond belief? Actually, it’s more than that. Orlando is full of character, fantastic food, wonderful people, and small town wonders.


Day 1

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Orlando has 125,000+ hotel rooms, just behind Las Vegas if you can believe it, so the toughest part about choosing where to stay is just that… choosing.

We stayed at staySky Suites I-Drive Orlando, which wasn’t that bad. It was in the perfect location with a lot of restaurants and shops around and Universal was only a few minutes away.  However, we did get there 5 hours early because most check-In is 4pm and they rushed to clean our room and I had a chemical smell for the first few hours. Also we were harassed a little bit over attending a presentation for park tickets. That was annoying.

Ride the Orlando Eye, a 400-foot tall observation wheel on downtown Orlando’s International Drive, that gives you a bird’s-eye view of the city, including its theme parks and also numerous lakes and green areas. We didn’t get to go on this. The line was extremely long and we didn’t have the time.

Visit Harry P Leu Gardens, which contains 50 acres of mainly tropical plants as well as accessible meandering walkways. The garden also has a reputation for encouraging gardening among those with disabilities; this can be seen in the Abilities Garden here, which features raised areas of grass and planting beds that wheelchair users can easily transfer to.

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Head for CityWalk at Universal Studios to enjoy dinner as well as soak up some of the atmosphere of the theme park based around a working movie and television studio. There is no admission fee for City Walk, a pedestrian area featuring restaurants, bars, nightclubs and other entertainment options, such as a bowling alley and a 19-screen IMAX theater.

Parking is in the main Universal Studios enclosed garage, where accessible parking is available and wheelchairs can be rented. It is about a 15-minute walk to CityWalk from the main parking area. Or, valet parking will leave you just a few-minutes walk from the CityWalk entrance.But the best bet is to try to take a shuttle or bus from your hotel, many of which meet accessibility standards; this way you will not have to worry about parking. You can find many fun and themed eateries that are also wheelchair accessible at CityWalk, such as Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville, NBC Sports Grill (which is really good) and the Hard Rock Cafe.

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After dinner, take in a show  at The CityWalk theater. There is wheelchair-accessible seating scattered throughout the venue, as well as assistive listening and descriptive narration devices for those who are blind, have low vision, or are deaf or hard of hearing.Top Tip: It is best to make a reservation or get tickets in advance. Also we went on Memorial Day weekend and it was packed, go in the off season 


 Day 2

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Ok, Ok now you have two options. You can either go to Universal or off the beaten path. For the sake of this post. I will talk about not going to the theme parks. 

 

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Although, going to Jurassic Park at Universal was pretty cool. It’s one of my favorite movies. 

 

IMG_8335.jpg $8 for Butterbeer…not worth it. Plus Harry Potter Land or whatever it was called, was ok. I’ve never read any of the books or seen the movies, so I didn’t know what anything was. 

Kick-off your Sunday at East End Market– a neighborhood market filled with local food options. People rave about the pastries and croissants from Olde Hearth Bread Co, or if you’re in the mood for something lighter, order a fresh juice or smoothie from SkyeBird. Next start your day with a hot air balloon ride over Orlando at sunrise. You can check out the services offered by Orlando Balloon Rides. The view is spectacular, so there’ll be tons of Instagram snaps for the taking. 

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After the hot air ballon (no thanks..I rather stay on the ground) head to Lake Eola Park gives a great view of the downtown Orlando Skyline, and it’s such a pretty park for a walk. I’m always weary of downtown areas because you never know about the crime and also because parking is typically a nightmare, we lucked out getting a spot close, but you can google “Lake Eola Parking” like we did and it will show you different garages and streets you can park on!

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We didn’t get the chance to see this mural, but I thought it was a really cool way to show tribute to the people harmed in the Pulse night club shooting. I think what I like the most about this art piece is that despite such a hate-charged tragedy, they put up love. It’s also very surreal to be in a place that experienced something like that.

Also check out Sugarboo&Co …One of my favorite stores EVER! Such a cute store, but expensive.

Time for tacos! Orlando has some great Mexican restaurants that have popped up in recent years. Hunger Street Tacos is a favorite for authentic, creative tacos and Reyes Mezcaleria is super cute and has a great tequila/mexcal list!

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End your night with drinks at The Matador– a popular spot that has a dive bar feel with plenty of seating and a fun cocktail list.

Side Note*** We also drove to Daytona Beach, which is 45 minutes from Orlando and we spent the day on the beach and getting sun burn, but that trip was fun. 

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I hope this guide helps anyone traveling to Orlando and not wanting to visit the theme parks- or I think doing a day at the parks and a day in Winter Park/Orlando would be perfect! Shiloh and I would love to know if you have any other must-dos in Orlando or the nearby areas- let me know in the comments!

Featured

Top Overrated Cities-(Europe Edition)

 

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Over-hyped or under-valued? These cities fly under the radar. Some are already known but deserve to be more so. Our top travellers reveal the world’s most underrated cities, along with six of the most overrated.


Amsterdam, Netherlands

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Amsterdam’s amazing — because what’s not to love about buttery pancakes, canal walks, and perfectly rolled joints — but sometimes even a good buzz is no match for Amsterdam’s torrential rainstorms, lineups everywhere, and the worst kinds of drunk tourists in the red light district . My advice, Get out of Amsterdam to explore the real Netherlands. This is just chock full of American and British tourists and rude merchants looking to rip you off. The area around the central train station was so filthy.


Paris, France

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I love Paris (even though I have never been). It’s the world’s third-biggest tourist destination, and home to the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and Notre Dame, but it is overrated in that it is often the only city being visited in France, and many stereotypes about the French are really in fact stereotypes about Parisians which do not apply to the French in general.

The trouble with Western Europe is that it’s full of expectations. You grow up with these romantic notions of these places, based on movies and your parent’s stories from when they travelled 30 years ago.


Pisa, Italy

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All  of us think it’s clever to pose in front of the leaning tower of Pisa. I, myself, have always imagined what I would do.Yes the leaning tower is interesting but outside of that this city has nothing worth seeing. Pisa is in the middle of nowhere. So, before you make it your mission to take a picture kissing, hugging, holding, or dabbing on the tower, do some research and see if you can somehow include it with another activity in the area. Or, just skip it all together.

Good luck getting your shot perfect. A picture is worth a thousand arguments with this one folks


Zurich, Switzerland

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Zurich attracts plenty of visitors with dazzling statistics like high quality of life and having some of the happiest citizens in the world — and it is a perfectly pleasant city that would be a wonderful place to settle down and live in.  But a good place to live is not always a good place to visit. What I’m trying to say is Zurich is boring. Zurich is boring.


Budapest, Hungary

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I have a feeling I am going to get some slack for this particular choice. I get the part about Buda and Pest, but the city hasn’t really totally recovered from 40 years of communist rule. Budapest has been on everyone’s ‘Underrated Cities’ lists in 2016. So how did it fall under my ‘Overrated Cities’ category? However, it felt very similar to other European cities around the world. Budapest would be great for a first time traveler as an introduction to what Europe has to offer.


Geneva, Switzerland

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Much like the entire country’s stances on politics, Geneva is neutral at best and rather boring at worst. Sure, there’s a lovely lake where you can watch boats and lots of luxury shopping to while the afternoon away, but if you’re expecting charming Switzerland, Geneva is a bit of a letdown. Plus I talked to a friend that were shocked by its ridiculous prices. He said they spent nearly 20 euros at a McDonalds for a quick on-the-go lunch. He also said that their 3-star hotel was close to 200 euros a night. They had to make a quick stop at a store to replace something, and it came out to 13 euros and they went back to get a small bottle of something and that came to 9 euros, which Considering the euro-to-dollar exchange rate of that time, that’s nearly $35 dollars!


Brussels, Belgium 

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Brussels  has two main tourist attractions: the town square and a small statue of a boy pissing.  They can be seen in ten minutes.

If you like surrealism or good food, then Brussels is great.  There are also some less renowned museums worth a visit.  But overall, if it’s your first or second trip to Europe, I’d go other places.

Featured

Top most overrated cities in the America- (U.S Edition)

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THE PROBLEM WITH ANYTHING GREAT is everyone else knows about it. When it comes to visiting the United States, there are plenty of great options to select from. Tourists can literally take their pick from so many destinations and different activities, exception, more often than not, they are selected destinations that are to cities that many consider being overrated. There are many reasons a city can be considered overrated, including too many people in their tourist traps, no culture of their own, or the city offers limited choices for activities to do and all the hype around the city is gone as soon as you take away that one popular attraction.

***And let me say this…I do not hate these cities. These cities are beautiful and you should defiantly check them out, but according to some people, they are overrated…Also If you are from any of these cities, PLEASE take no offense***

I will list the top 10 most overrated U.S cities.


LOS ANGELES

 

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Why is LA number 1? It’s very economically unequal, it’s full of narcissistic freaks who care only about themselves, traffic is deplorable, cost of living is outrageous, and finding parking is more valuable than gold. While Los Angeles may be full of culture and has a very comfortable climate, the cons outweigh the pros, and unless you have a ton of money, you’d hate it here. You don’t walk, you only drive. The people are as plastic as a Hollywood starlets chest, culture DOES not exist, and people care more about what you look like than what you know

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New York City

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New York is the largest city in the United States and has something for anyone and everyone. The problem is, those things all tend to become the same when tourist get to New York. It’s like a checklist of cliché things to see and do in the Big Apple.There is so many fabulous things to see and do in New York, but unfortunately, most people stick to the tourist traps (Like Times Square) and don’t venture out of their comfort zone.

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San Francisco

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I’m not going to lie, San Francisco is a very good looking city, and there’s plenty to do. However, it makes this list because it’s definitely fit for certain types of people – those who really love to protest and those who have  been referred to as hipsters. That’s not a bad thing, but it does make for a city that has an air of pretentiousness. Couple that with some of the highest rents in the country, you have a city that will definitely make many overrated lists.

It’s crowded, food and accommodation is insanely expensive and most of the summer you can’t see the harbour or the beaches for all the coastal fog that comes in around June and won’t shift till October.

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Miami

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Miami has the best nightlife on the planet. Unfortunately, many people probably can’t afford it. By many lists, Miami is the most vain city in the U.S. The interesting thing is that it’s not a city where people are rude, but they are most definitely judging the quality of your clothing and vehicle. This makes it much like LA. However, Miami is also a city where there isn’t much in the way of gainful employment.

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Honolulu

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Honolulu seems like  paradise to many people, especially in colder climates where they experience snow. But many locals will say, Honolulu isn’t all that it is cracked up to be, as the weather can get unbearably hot, to the point that tourists can’t even enjoy themselves or set foot outside.

The other thing that is pushed is the ‘Aloha spirit’, which companies use as a catchphrase to bring people in. But local’s will say, that spirit is going away, especially with the mass influx of tourists.

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Seattle

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Seattle was a booming city on the west coast with one of the best music scenes in the country. But today, it has been taken over by coffee shops and the hipster culture and the headquarters for some of the world’s biggest companies, including Amazon.

These large companies have taken over the city, with The New York Times even saying that Amazon took the soul out of Seattle, as it’s impossible to find someone who doesn’t work for the largest company in the world

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New Orleans

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New Orleans is known for a few things, such as the French Quarter, Mardi Gras and incredible food, but under that, there isn’t much else to New Orleans that is bringing tourists in any other time during the year.

The famous Bourbon Street doesn’t have many favorable reviews, and many people say that during the week, there isn’t much going on as all the action, parades and festivities happen on the weekend when the tourists come to town, pushing it more to the overrated list.

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Las Vegas

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When the most famous phrase coming out of your city is, ‘what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas’, you already know you’re on the overrated list. Las Vegas is known for the party and casino lifestyle, more built for high rollers than tourists looking for art and cultural scene.

When someone says they are going to Vegas for a vacation, chances are you know exactly what they are going to be doing, and the photos and experiences will generally be all the same as everyone else who has gone.

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Chicago

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Chicago is the third largest city in the United States but always seems to play second string to New York City. They want to be on the same level as New York, but always come up just a little short.

At the turn of the century, Chicago became obsessed with being a world-class city and started inviting celebrities in to build, and prices went high for everything from food to parking to rent.

Chicago has some amazing buildings and restaurants, but at the cost, you can probably find much cheaper alternatives and have the same great experience.

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Boston

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If you’re planning to visit Boston for that aspect, you’ll assuredly appreciate the city. It’s beautiful in that regard. For many, that’s kind of where it ends. Not only has it been viewed as one of the least friendly cities in the US, but it’s also one that has a massive superiority complex. A lot of this has to come from their cultural significance, as well as their perceived excellence of their sports teams.

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Featured

48 Hours in Boston

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Boston is known for a lot of things: its rich history, its educational institutions, its passionate sports fans, its colorful autumns (and brutal winters), its culture, and its pride. While Boston may only be a short train journey away from the bright lights of New York City, it is a world away in terms of its pace of life. This charming New England city is one of the USA’s top city break destinations. 


WHERE TO STAY

If you want to feel like an absolute rock star while you’re in Boston then book yourself in at the Four Seasons. If you’ve just come from New York, you’ll notice the rooms are about 487 times the size of your last hotel (you’ll actually be able to open your suitcase the whole way!), plus it’s in a prime location so you’ll be able to walk your way around the city. Also, book a stay at The Envoy Hotel right in the heart of Boston. Drop your suitcase in your room, then proceed directly to the rooftop bar for a sunset cocktail and a taste of the good life. You’ll be close to several popular local attractions. 


Day 1

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9.00 am

One of my go-to places in Boston, flour bakery boasts a great selection of scrumptious pastries which makes it a perfect choice for breakfast. Who wouldn’t like a warm banana bread, a ham and cheese croissant, or brown butter cinnamon rolls to start the day? Besides pastries, they offer a variety of sandwiches and grain bowls. Flour offers consistently delicious, fresh, and affordable meals. 

10.00 am

From flour bakery start walking towards the North End (Little Italy). Cross the Seaport Boulevard Bridge and stroll along Harborwalk which is public walkway that stretches 43 miles along Boston’s shoreline. Walking from flour bakery to the North End will take no more than half an hour. Make sure to stop at one of the wharves to get beautiful views of the harbor.

11:30am

 Visit the South End for even more Insta-worthy townhouses lining cobblestone streets. But our all-time favorite activity in Boston is walking the Freedom Trail, where you’ll learn fun facts about the Founding Fathers of our country that’ll come in handy at dinner parties. 

1pm

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Boston Public Market is located a few minutes-walk away from the North End and is open seven days a week. This indoor year-round marketplace offers fresh local foods produced in Massachusetts and New England. On Fridays and Saturdays from dusk to dawn, you can also visit historic Haymarket located nearby, on Blackstone, Hanover, and North Streets. Merchants gathered at the location of current Haymarket from around 1830-s. The produce is usually several times cheaper than in supermarkets, especially if you come by the end of the day.

2pm

One simply cannot spend 48 hours in Boston and not visit Brattle Book Shop, one of my favorite places in the city. Housed in a three-story building, Brattle is one of the largest used book shops in the country with 250 000 books in stock. Two floors feature general used books, while the third floor is dedicated to antiquarian books and first editions. My favorite space in Brattle, though, is the open lot outside with books for sale. Located in between two red brick walls, the lot houses carts with books that cost as low as one dollar.

3pm

If you’re staying at the Four Seasons you’ll probably just want to soak up all the goodness for a little while. Have a little rest in the most comfortable bed you’ll ever lay on, and check out the ah-mazing pool (don’t miss the sauna) and take in the views of the Boston Public Garden.

4:30

Once you’re feeling well and truly refreshed, venture out to the beautiful Boston Public Gardens and have a little walk around. Once you’ve got your greenery fix, check out Newbury Street for some seriously good shopping, or go the other way into the Boston Common—another park that makes up part of Boston’s famous Emerald necklace—a ‘chain’ of parks that resembles a necklace hanging from the Boston Peninsula.

****If you are a fan of the TV-show Cheers, the famous Cheers bar is located just outside of Boston Public Garden. Stop there for a beer on the way to Beacon Hill. 

5:30

North of Boston Public Garden is located one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in Boston – Beacon Hill. With its narrow streets, brick sidewalks, historic homes with intricate iron work, and brass door knobs, Beacon Hill is one of those places where you wander around imagining what your life would be like if you had a couple million dollars laying around.

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6:30pm

It’s going to be an awesome dinner tonight, but that’s because you’re about to go and get your sport on, but more about that soon. For now, get yourself a table at Antico Forno and take in all of the authentic Italian vibes.

Everything at Antico Forno is seriously delicious so go hungry and then share as much as you can fit in. If you’re a wine drinker, you’ll want to take a good hard look at the wine list because it is top notch and there are a few knock out reds on the list you’ll definitely want to try.

7pm

If you’re lucky enough to be in Boston while the basketball is on, you have to get tickets to a Celtics game. Even if you’re not into sports, I promise you’ll have fun, just take a seat and start cheering! The ice hockey is also pretty great to watch

10pm

If you have any energy left in you, it’s time to say goodbye to beer in plastic cups and hello to some of the best cocktails in Boston. Jump in a cab and head to Drink in Fort Point. Drink is a little different than your average cocktail bar in that they have no menus, just bartenders who know their shizz. All you need to do is tell them what you feel like drinking and they’ll making something 18 times better than what you felt like. 


Day 2

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Hopefully your head isn’t too sore after last night because there’s lots to see today!

9am

Start your second day in Boston at South End Buttery, a café located in the South End neighborhood of Boston. Their menu features a wide selection of breakfast items from muffins and croissants, to sandwiches and burritos, to oatmeal and yogurt parfaits.

South End Buttery is also one of the filming locations for Academy Award winning movie Spotlight. In the movie, the Boston Globe journalist Sasha Pfeiffer (played by Rachel McAdams) interviews one of the victims in the case she is investigating at South End Buttery.

10.00 am

The neighborhood of South End was designed from scratch by Charles Bulfinch, the architect who also designed Massachusetts State House and the Boston Common. Despite the name, the neighborhood is not located directly to the south of downtown Boston and should not be confused with South Boston (also known as “Southie”).

11am

Head to Harpoon Brewing for lunch. If you’re mad on beer, you should do the public tour which starts at 1pm. This includes about 15 minutes where you can taste as many beers as you can manage, and even if you’re not mad about beer, there are plenty of options you’ll want to try, just ask them about the combo that tastes like apple pie!

12pm-2pm

Start making your way to Cambridge to soak up all of the college vibes at Harvard University. Cambridge is an easy train ride away and when you step into the streets you’ll feel like you’re in a completely different city. Meet your Harvard Tour guide on the edge of the campus and then let them take control. With a seriously beautiful campus, some pretty fascinating history and a couple of bizarre Harvard traditions to learn about, you’ll most likely finish the tour wishing you were a student again.

3pm-4:30

Now you hit up all the sites, It’s time for some shopping.When it comes to shopping in Boston, Back Bay’s Newbury Street is the trendiest destination. Rain or shine, its sidewalks are filled with throngs of shoppers from all over the world. Though this stretch may be the most popular, Boston has plenty of other great places to shop.

A few streets away from Newbury, and only 2 miles from the Boxer, Copley Place is a high-end mall with a wide range of designer brands. Whether you’re shopping for clothes, accessories, or jewelry, it has everything from Burberry to Salvatore Ferragamo to Tiffany & Co. For a delicious dinner after a day of shopping, head over to Fogo de Chao, a brazilian BBQ restaurant where a variety of meats are served endlessly until you eat you full and give up.

Or try Downtown Crossing, located at the intersection of Washington, Winter, and Summer streets, is one of Boston’s most bustling shopping districts. Part of its allure is the fact that a stretch of Washington and Winter streets are only accessible to pedestrians, allowing a relaxing shopping experience. The area specializes in department stores like Macy’s, Primark, Marshall’s, and H&M.

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5pm

Depends on where you go shopping, and if you stay in Cambridge, go to the Little Donkey. This will undoubtedly be one of the best meals you eat on your US trip. The cocktails here are ridic—don’t miss ‘the one in a grapefruit’ which literally comes in a grapefruit—and the wine list is solid.

Little Donkey has an amazing raw bar with some of the best ceviche we’ve ever eaten, so you absolutely need to try some of those. We let our waiter bring out whatever they thought was best and were not disappointed.

8PM

If you’re into jazz, you’re going to be in your element tonight. Scullers Jazz Club is probably the most well-known jazz club in Boston—it’s been around for close to 30 years after all—and they host some of the best talent going around. Take a look at the calendar and find a show you like the look of. If they don’t happen to have any shows on while you’re in town, check out Beat Brasseries which is in Harvard Square (these guys also do jazz brunches on the weekends) or the Beehive which has live music every night of the week.


Day 3

9AM

Start your day right at The Friendly Toast in Back Bay for breakfast. The menu is as long as your arm which isn’t surprising considering there is a whole section dedicated to benedicts, another section dedicated to pancakes and plenty of other goodies. The Friendly Toast does a dang good boozy brunch—mimosa flight anyone?—so why not have a drink… you’re on holiday after all.

If you’re not too hungry and just want coffee, stop by The Thinking Cup for a seriously good cup of joe.

11AM

Finish up that last mimosa and head to the Skywalk Observatory for the very best view of Boston. Grab a set of headphones and learn about Boston and its history as you check out the views.

12PM

If you’ve got some spare time, check out the Museum of Fine Arts—you could honestly spend an entire day walking around this gorgeous museum.

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Featured

My Favorite Movies from Every Year I’ve Been Alive

Here is my top movie from every year I’ve been alive (1988-Current). I’ve been alive for some pretty awesome movies! How many have you seen? (holy shit this was hard)

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1988

Die Hard

1989

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

1990

GoodFellas

1991

New Jack City

1992

Aladdin

1993

Jurassic Park

1994

Speed

1995

Bad Boys

1996

Twister

1997

Scream 2

1998

Can't Hardly Wait

1999

The Mummy

2000

Bring It On

2001

Training Day

2002

My Big Fat Greek Wedding

2003

Elf

2004

The Day After Tomorrow

2005

Mr. & Mrs. Smith

2006

The Devil Wears Prada

2007

American Gangster

2008

The Dark Knight

2009

Avatar

2010

The Town

2011

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

2012

The Avengers

2013

The Heat

2014

Whiplash

2015

Southpaw

2016

Sausage Party

2017

It

2018

Black Panther

2019

Well It’s only March and I’ve ony seen 1 movie so far this year. I will come back in December to tell you my favorite movie of the year. 

This list was really really hard. 

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Featured

10 Easy Things You Can Do for a Mental Recharge

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We all have one those days — the ones that feel never-ending, like everything that could possibly go wrong has, and that leave us wondering how on earth we’re supposed to get up and do it all again tomorrow.

When that happens, sometimes a good night’s sleep is enough to recharge us enough to conquer the next day — but sometimes not and a little more TLC is required.

Doing certain things can help you unwind and give yourself the recharge you need to get back on track. No matter what your situation, these are things — both big and small — that you can do when you’re in the market for a much-deserved mental recharge.


Read a book you enjoy

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I always have a book with me at all times. Make a habit of keeping a book on hand that you can step back and read a chapter of whenever you’re feeling overwhelmed. It will allow you to escape from reality for a few minutes, and can give those of us who work on our computers all day a break from the constant screen time. By book I mean a paperback or hard cover book, not kindle. 


Allow yourself to do something fun

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If you’re a workaholic who has a hard time letting yourself take a break and say yes to plans, set aside a time that you do something non-work-related, exclusively to have fun. Whether it be getting drinks with friends or having a staycation for the weekend in your town, take the time to log out of your work accounts and step away from stress. this really helps. I live blocks from the beach and In the summer, its awesome to go and get away


Get a journal

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We often preach the wonders of journaling, and for good reason. Taking even five minutes to be alone and write down some of your thoughts — no matter what they are — before bed (instead of scrolling through your phone) can help you feel at ease and sleep more soundly. I started doing this a few years ago. There where a few tragic moments in the last 5 years that writing it down helped me. 


Set a time that you take a break during your work day

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No human being on this earth can work for eight hours straight without taking a step back to get their head on straight. In our office, we’re all about 2pm walks to get coffee — some fresh air in the middle of the day always gets us ready to conquer the rest of our afternoon. Whether you work in an office or from your home, set a time that you’ll hold yourself to for taking a break every day.


Give yourself a week of easy nights

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It’s always borderline impossible to resist after-work drinks with your coworkers, but giving yourself a week of obligation-free nights can leave you feeling your fullest. After work every night, make yourself dinner, watch an episode of your favorite show, and get to bed early. Getting the additional rest is enough to make you feel like a new person on its own. This is hard in my household, I don’t have kids yet but we have so many visiters and people coming and going its hard to have time to yourself. 


Drink a cup of coffee or tea

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Don’t gulp it down on your morning commute like you usually do — make your favorite coffee or tea, and sit and give yourself some time to scroll through Instagram or Pinterest guilt-free.


Give yourself a spa night

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We know a face mask won’t cure all our problems like we hope they will, but that doesn’t mean they won’t help us feel a little better. Turn off your phone, fill up a bubble bath, light some candles, and sit in peace for a while. Taking a full break from your phone while doing something just for you can give your batteries some much-needed juice. I’ll leave this one because I cant sit still enough to go to the spa, but I might give it a try one of these days.


Follow the two-minute rule

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The two-minute rule states that if a task is going to take less than two minutes, to do it straight away — whether it be responding to an email or calling to refill a prescription. This way, the small tasks you’re procrastinating won’t weigh on you throughout the day, and you can focus all of your time and energy on the big things you need to tackle.


Take a yoga class

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I’ve only recently hopped on the yoga bandwagon (Why do I need to go sit, breathe, and stretch for an hour? Who has the time?), but going to an actual class where you’re held captive and required to do those things is vital to those of us who are used to going 100 mph every second of our lives. Being in a dark room and having no distractions does wonders for your mind. Shutting off and allowing your mind to escape to a stress-free place leaves you feeling more serene and at ease than you can imagine — it’s like hitting a restart button on your brain. Although you don’t have to go to a class, you can do it in your house or apartment. I did this before I went to a class, so I didn’t look like a newbie. I still did though


Go for a walk or run outside

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This is a tough option when it’s minus 30 degrees outside, but even a quick walk around the block with your dog to get some fresh air can help clear your head. If you live near a walking or hiking trail, more power to you — spending some time on a walk or run outside is a totally different feeling than going on one on a stuffy gym treadmill. In whatever capacity you can, get outside.

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Top Super Hero Movies

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I love Superhero movies. I just seen Captian Marvel in the theaters 2 hours ago and It is fresh in my mind. There are 21 films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The MCU is the shared universe put out by Marvel Studios based on the #Marvel comic books. It started with Iron Man (2008) and the next film will be Avengers Endgame!

In honor of Captain Marvel and Stan Lee, I decided to list my top 10 MCU movies. 

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Black Panther

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Black Panther is definitely a great movie and a must watch for superhero fans as well as marvel fans. I don’t understand all the negative reviews, its obvious some are just DC fans hating on the movie and some people are just nitpicking very small things, but of course the movie does have flaws. I am a big Marvel fan and a very big fan of the MCU, when I go to see movies in theaters I normally have high expectations as many people do, with Black Panther I did as well. What makes a movie good is different between every single person though i have very high expectations as long as the movie has a good plot, great fight scenes and characters I will be impressed whether i have high expectations or not.

Black Panther had a good plot, it does not bore you and keeps you interested but it isn’t unique it can be predictable and a bit cliche but throughout the movie i was very interested and wanted to carry on watching . The whole idea of “Wakanda” is great and is different from normal superhero movies.


Captain America The Winter Soldier

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Went into the movie not expecting much as I felt that the first Captain America was one of the weaker movies in Phase one of the Avengers. However, this movie was one of the best of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

First off, the action and fight scenes in the movie are just awesome and there is plenty of action to keep you entertained throughout the entire movie. There is also enough humour to balance all this. The characters all had their own amazing moments and the acting is decent as well. You get to see more of Nick Fury, and he was awesome in this. Black Widow is used much more in this movie and as well as being badass, she brings out more of the Captain’s story. Sam Wilson (the Falcon) is great and is involved in some great action scenes. The villains in this movie were awesome as well.

Quite enjoyed the story as well. There were a few twists; some unexpected, some expected. And the reveal of the unexpected twists in the final third were epic. The story is not just about Captain America and the Winter Soldier, there are darker forces at play and causes the Captain to ask dangerous questions.

This movie is very entertaining, the story is decent, the ending is awesome and satisfying and I would recommend watching this. Makes for a decent political thriller as well. This will easily be one of my favourite movies.


Captain America Civil War

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Captain America: Civil War is without a doubt the best of the Captain America trilogy. Steve Rogers’s arc in the MCU comes to a major head in this film, making him doubt his role in society more than ever. Add that to a fierce showdown between former allies, a great villain, some entertaining new characters, and you’ve got yourself a winner. The Russo brothers should be proud, since they take the reins for Infinity War.

After mass casualties in The Avengers, The Winter Soldier, Age of Ultron and during the opening fight scene, there are calls to hold the Avengers accountable for collateral damage; this leads to the passing of the Sokovia Accords, which keeps the Avengers from acting unless otherwise ordered by the government. Each of the members of the team are divided on this issue, none more so than Tony Stark and Steve Rogers. This issue becomes even more troublesome when Bucky Barnes is framed for murder, and Rogers needs to prove Bucky’s innocence while risking all-out war within the Avengers.

One of the things that make this movie so great is how it makes the main conflict so believable. It falls back on several MCU movies building up the body counts and developing these characters so that when we see them make their decisions on the side they take, we believe those choices and understand why they make them.

Civil War you get a 9/10.


Dr. Strange

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Acting (10/10): This cast is amazing! They embody their characters instead of trying to act like the character. Benedict as Dr. Strange was a portrayal right out of the comics! Tilda as the ancient one killed it!

Action (10/10): Wow! I could argue the action in this movie being on par with the scenes in civil war. It was so incredible watching this scenes with million pieces moving yet focus sing on the main characters. Wide angles, long shots and great choreography. what else do you want?

Story(8/10) : This movie had a solid story and you believed what, how and why things were going on! Villain was good and actually a memorable one for once(stab, you’re welcome dc fans). It was not flawless though. The pace kind of slows down before the final act which was unnecessary!

Cinematography/VFX 10/10: The images in this film blew my mind! There is a scene in the beginning where the ancient one shows Dr strange “the magic” and it is great! Some serious mind-bending stuff combined with great visuals to let it manifest itself to the audience. Most artistic movie yet of marvel.

Overall, i’d give this movie an 8.5. Though this isn’t THE best marvel movie, it is truly one of best out there. After the disappointing Jason borne, jack reach er etc. we finally have a movie that lives up to the hype! GO Watch this movie in Max 3d if possible, because it is worth it for once!


Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

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My main criticism was that I don’t feel like you needed to have seen the previous movie to really get/enjoy this one. You would have missed out on the bonding of the team and the backstory of Nebula and Gamora, but overall you’d be fine.

Overall, though it was a great movie, it felt more like a side story in the many adventures of the Guardians of the Galaxy and less like an actual continuation of their main story. Why? Well, we did have that wonderful cameo of great actors who portrayed the original Guardians. We had our Stan Lee cameo. And, we had Peter Quill’s backstory explained. Other then that, I don’t yet see how any of this advanced the main plot of Thanos or of any big threat to the Galaxy.


Thor: Ragnarok

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This movie is one hell of a journey! The story is truly serious and great, the fun moments are tons! The cinematography of action scenes is just unrealistic good. Hela is one of the best MCU villain so far! Cate Blanchett just killing in it in this role. She looks sexy, furious and also got her arc in the movie, which is big step, thinking about previous Thor movies. Hulk got so many epic moments, that I just can’t count. Valkyrie fits perfectly in the ne “Revengers” team such a good actress. Loki is fan favourite again! Every moment with Tom Hiddleston on screen is awesome.

The movie it’s so colourful and extraordinary, so you can watch it again and again and again! The score of the movie, the intense scenes, I mean I really love this movie. Is the best one among all of the three Thor movies. Firstly because it feels like whole new story telling, and secondly it’s also one of the best MCU movies.

Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe gives us truly great movies, and like a die hard MARVEL fan I appreciate that.

I will not reveal the plot or some big details of the movie, I want you to enjoy yourself first, but you’ll not be disappointed at all! Hela is epic, Odin got his role in Ragnarok and there are some HUGE details that’ll lead to Infinity War and you’ll lose your mind when you see them.


Marvel’s The Avengers

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The Avengers changed the game forever. Four years of Marvel Cinematic Universe movies centered around the individual Avengers members made us care about the characters before bringing them all together for the first time. Add that to a great villain, a smart script, and plenty of action scenes, and you’ve got yourself a movie for the ages.

In this movie, Loki plots to invade the Earth using the power of the Tesseract and an army called the Chitauri, and Nick Fury must bring together a group of remarkable people to see if they can become something more, so when we need them, they can fight the battles that we never could.

As an MCU film, this movie is filled to the brim with seeds planted throughout each of the prior five solo films. Captain America’s Tesseract, Thor’s villain, Iron Man’s tech, and Hulk’s “issues,” and they all come together in one pretty package.

This movie has a fairly straightforward “save the planet” plot, but Whedon manages to make it work using the characters and their relationships with one another. There are several interesting pairings in this movie: Black Widow and Hawkeye, Iron Man and Bruce Banner, and the brotherly relationship between Thor and Loki is explored a little more as well. Of course, a team like this has several strong personalities, and they often come to blows at several points; namely, Tony and Steve have some pretty fundamental disagreements on dealing with the enemy. This won’t be the last time they quarrel like this, but I’ll leave that for you viewers to watch for yourself. 😉

The action scenes are a lot of fun. It’s a blast watching the various team members work together and kill aliens and save civilians. There’s even ample room for comedy at several points, two of which involve the Hulk that’s sure to make you laugh and want to see again. And all the CGI is flawless, colors pop, and the shots of space are great to see.

Of course, like all MCU films, this movie plants the seeds for future adventures with our heroes. For one thing, it sets up the next Thor movie, featuring both Asgardians. It also sets up a major arc for Tony Stark that ends up carrying over into the next several years. And it plants seeds of distrust of the government in Steve, crucial to understanding his actions in later Captain America films. And there’s also the hint of a bigger, even worse threat than Loki out there among the stars….

The Avengers: my favorite MCU Phase 1 movie, and a movie that I’ll be coming back to for a long time. Very highly recommended.


Avengers: Infinity War

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This movie has made me feel things that I haven’t about a movie in a very long time. If you are anything like me you will definitely feel a sense of “everything is gonna be alright” because of the generous sprinkling of light humour that makes the situation feel less serious than it actually is. The emotional roller coaster that begins right at the beginning of the movie to the very end has you feeling more and more frustrated and on edge as it goes on. Don’t get me wrong this movie is absolutely stunning and amazing and a cliffhanger at the end has you wanting more and more. I’m definitely very excited to see how this storyline will carry out in the next Avengers movie.


Captain Marvel

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The movie was fun. Though it’s far from being the best MCU movie. Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel had been promoted as the most powerfull super hero, and indeed the movie reveals her to be very powerfull. The supporting cast especially Sam Jackson’s Nick Fury has done a great job. The visuals were great, humor was well placed, and twists were good too. Overall its was an entertaining and fun movie. One issue which I found with the movie was that the character of Captain Marvel didn’t get a challenging opponent through which she could grow.

I really hope that Marvel doesn’t endup making the same mistake DC did in Justice League, where our superheroes struggled hard to beat the villain without much success until Superman showed up and with ease, defeated the bad guys.

Though Captain Marvel is extremely powerful, she should act as a surplus for the surviving heroes in their battle against Thanos, and not the star of the show who just comes and takes down the mighty Thanos just to earn the title of being most powerfull. It should not become her movie, she can be the a very powerful supporting character, but not the key to defeat Thanos. My rating for Captain Marvel is 3.5 it of 5 stars. And for me, the show stealer is Goose The Cat!


Ant-Man

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For a few brief moments, the unstoppable juggernaut that is the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) looked like it was about to grind to a halt with Ant-Man.

As with all the other films and television shows in Marvel’s burgeoning media empire, the cast of Ant-Man is pitch-perfect. Rudd puts his goofy and amiably sexy charisma to excellent use as Scott, allowing us to believe that this one man can be as silly as he is strong, and as serious as he is funny. Lilly gets the big-screen role she richly deserves in Hope, who’s acknowledged at every point in the film as being better, stronger, and more capable than the men around her think she is. Douglas plays a far more palatable version of Dr. Pym and does so with his trademark charm and magnetism.

Ant-Man may not edge out the other films that make up Phase Two of the MCU in a straw poll – it does, after all, face some pretty serious competition in what has been an unbroken run of truly excellent superhero films. But it’s an incredibly solid effort: smart, rich, deep and funny, teeming with ideas, genres and the potential for so much more. Now if that doesn’t make for a great superhero movie, what does?


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Salted brown butter krispies

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Here’s the truth: the classic recipe that’s been printed on the Rice Krispies box since 1940 is already a genius dessert. It’s ready in 10 minutes without heating the oven, using three ingredients you can find anywhere: cereal, marshmallows, butter. In fact, it’s so ubiquitous that we tend to thumb past it in our mental recipe files in favor of newer, flashier prospects. But here’s another truth: most people will walk past all sorts of fancy cookies and tarts to get to the stack of crispy treats before the rest of us make off with them.

I discovered this recipe thanks to my aunt. I went on vacation with aunt this past holiday season and she brought these for dessert.  As soon as I took a bite I knew she had done something different with the recipe. Sure enough these were a hit. 


Recipe: Salted Brown Butter Crispy Treats
Makes 16 treats

You’ll need:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, plus more for the pan
1 10 oz. bag marshmallows
6 cups Rice Krispies cereal
1⁄4 teaspoon coarse sea salt

Instructions

butter an 8-by-8-by-2-inch cake pan. If you want to make it extra easy to pop out the treats, line the pan with parchment paper, leaving a 1-inch overhang on two opposite sides for easier lifting when the bars are done.

Melt the butter in a large pot over medium-low heat, stirring frequently with a silicone spatula, until it browns. The butter will melt, then foam, then turn clear golden with brown bits and start to smell nutty. Be patient and don’t wander away—the bits will go from brown to black quickly, and you don’t want black.

Turn off the heat as soon as the bits in the butter are a deep nut brown color. Immediately add the marshmallows and stir until smooth. The residual heat from the pot should be enough to fully melt the marshmallows, but if not, return the heat to low and cook until the marshmallows are completely smooth.

Remove the pot from the heat and pour in the cereal and salt. Stir well to make a big sticky mass, then quickly scrape the mixture into the prepared pan. Flatten the gooey mix evenly with a spatula or buttered waxed or parchment paper, pressing into the edges and corners.

Let cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes, and cut into squares to serve. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Tips

1- Use a fresh bag of marshmallows, stale old ones will make the bars tough and chewy.

2-It’s important that you don’t overcook the marshmallow butter mixture. If the heat is too high it will start to caramelize the sugar in the marshmallows with which also make the bars tough.

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Featured

Stereotypes About Americans

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Ohhhhh Beautiful…..I don’t know the rest of the words. I love America, besides this is the only country I know. First let me admit America is not the most perfect country in the world (then again we are not the worst either). As a country we are very judgemental, don’t get me wrong. I love watching videos where people from other countries were interviewed about what they think about Americans, America, and what they think American stereotypes are. I’m going to keep it real, I sometimes get mad when I watch those videos. I know they are supposed to be lighthearted but it gets under my skin for some reason. 

It was so interesting to see what people would actually say. We noticed after watching the videos featuring people from several different countries that a lot of people said the same things, but that they also see Americans in relation to their own culture and character traits.

I thought it would be fun tell you some of the stereotypes that came up multiple times by people from several different countries, and respond to the stereotypes, and also see what any of my international readers have to say! American or not, I’d love to hear your thoughts about this topic and some of these specific stereotypes.

I will post the 20 (yes 20) common ones that I seen online and heard. 


All of us are fat or obese

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This is so not true, we are very mixed overall. Some of us are natural super small, a little chubby, or built with a lot of muscle that is not entirly toned. If there’s anywhere to start, it’s right here. Our expanding waistlines have been the subject of global ridicule for decades


Americans are rude.

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This stereotype has likely stemmed from open-mouth laughing or public nose blowing, the product of culturally unaware American travelers. But while these actions seem ‘rude’ to foreigners, Americans are in fact quite polite.We are more likely to smile at, help, or acknowledge a stranger; they don’t wait for introductions and will happily chat with someone in the elevator.


Americans are loud and obnoxious.

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I’m not going to lie, I find this one funny. I agree with this…we are loud. When I go out with my family and fiends, we are loud. Americans are accustomed to this stereotype, a longstanding one of which many are reluctant to let go. This is partly due to the majority of young American students backpacking or studying abroad who have helped to perpetuate the reputation , But when it comes to day-to-day conversations, Americans aren’t a particularly loud group of people.


Americans don’t like to travel.

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Americans have a reputation for being lousy travelers, and the stereotype of the “ugly American” who loudly roam the streets of Europe looking for McDonalds are widely believed. Most Americans I know do love to travel, just domestically, since for most of us going on trips abroad cost a lot of money and take a lot of time. It’s far easier for, say, a Belgian to travel abroad than it would be for an American, simply because of geography. We are loud, though- I’ll admit that.


American food is lousy.

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I encountered many people abroad who erroneously assumed that ubiquitous fast food restaurants like KFC and Burger King accurately represented American food. I’d shake my head, tragically, thinking of how foreigners are missing out on things like BBQ in Texas, North Carolina, and Kansas City; “Mexican” food from California to Texas, lobster and clam chowder in New England, salmon in Alaska, deep dish pizza in Chicago, and on and on and on. San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago are world-class restaurant cities with an almost unimaginable range of ethnic cuisine, some of which is the best in the world outside their home countries. I’m not saying American food is better than the food anywhere else, but if you’re not eating well in the United States it’s your own damn fault 🙂 It’s not all corn dogs and funnel cakes…but I do love a corn dog


Americans are dumb.

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This one hit me a little hard. Many people said they don’t think Americans are smart or intelligent. That we are dumb and stupid. It just makes me sad that this is what foreigners think the majority of Americans are like. Yes, we have people that aren’t smart, people that are naive, people that don’t think much beyond their town, state, country (as I’m sure every country has people like this) — but instead of foreigners associating Americans with all of the super smart people we have, their immediate reaction was that we are stupid.


Americans are all patriotic

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I would say this is true. I mean I have an american flag haning in my room. Americans have a reputation for being overly patriotic. Many first-time visitors to the US are surprised by the preponderance of American flags waving from our schools, offices, and homes, and it’s pretty common to hear Americans proclaim their country the greatest on Earth.


Freedom

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It was funny but people just said the word freedom. I thought it was great that they associate us with freedom. Goes back to the patriotic thing.


Americans are ignorant about the world

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I guess I can see how other people might think this. I think a lot of Americans just don’t really care to think outside of their own lives. We only border two countries unlike Europe. If your job or business has nothing to do with the global economy or learning about it isn’t a hobby I can see how some people wouldn’t know or care too much about it.

It’s an unfortunate reality that many Americans who travel lack knowledge of the culture and customs of the country they are visiting, and worse yet, sometimes they don’t seem to care enough to learn.

Americans can combat this stereotype by engaging with people from other cultures abroad and making an effort to see things from their perspective.


Americans love sports

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Well this is definitely true! Us Americans LOVE sports


Americans all carry guns

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This is probably the single most popular myth. Well, we don’t. Some of us have no interest in owning a gun, much less carrying one around. Some states forbid people from carrying a gun except for very under specific circumstances and for specific jobs.


Americans can only speak English

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The United States is notoriously monolingual, perhaps more than any other country in the world.

This reality might not hold up to scrutiny: An increasing number of Americans, especially young ones, are able to communicate in a language other than English.

Travelers can’t be expected to become fluent in the local language of every country they travel to, but learning a few key phrases can go a long way toward building relationships with people you meet and earning their trust.


Americans drive everywhere, creating massive pollution

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Ok, creating lots of pollution part is true entirely, I’ll give you that. Bur driving everywhere? Wrong, for the most part. People who live in crowded cities or live in a town center may not have to drive to get groceries or their workplace. But a lot of us Americans due have to drive, as living in big cities like Long Beach or NYC is incredibly expensive, as much as everyone fantasizes (myself included) about living there. Where I live, driving everywhere is a must, as everything is a five minute or longer drive, while walking this could take or hour or two


Everything in America is big. Tall buildings, tall people.

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This was just funny. I think for countries in Europe it has to do with space and our cities being newer. We don’t have a lot of super old small buildings and cobblestone streets everywhere. We have giant strip malls and Costco and parking lots and highways and SUVs.

And Americans do tend to be on the tall side. I wonder if this has to do with milk and other hormones in our food?


All Americans are rich

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One of the most common misconceptions I encountered abroad is that all Americans are wealthy — and everyone has multiple cars and a big house.

That misconception comes in part from America’s powerful global economic standing, I learned. But as plenty of Americans know, not all of that wealth makes its way into the hands of every citizen, and there are millions of Americans living in poverty.


Americans are lazy

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This kind of generalization could be applied to any nation. There are lazy Americans and then there are some serious hardworking Americans.


Americans are ENTITLED

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The perception that people from America feel a sense of entitlement likely comes from the interactions that the rest of the world has with them while they are visiting as tourists.

Many people feel that USA folk feel the rest of the world should conform to them when they are visiting their countries, but this is likely anecdotal.

For the most part, they tend to be very open to other cultures when traveling and do their best to follow the customs and languages of others, even if they initially go in unaware of much of it.


EVERYONE FROM AMERICA IS MATERIALISTIC

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I do love to shop. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that a lot of the world looks at the US and sees a country that is obsessed with material possessions. That perception likely stems from the wealth that is seen in America and the relatively nice lifestyle that the average person in the country is afforded.

But a decent lifestyle by the average citizen in the US does not necessarily equate to a materialistic approach in life. Although it is true that there are those who are in fact materialistic, it is also true that this mindset exists everywhere in the world as well.


Americans are CAREER OBSESSED

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This one goes back to the mostly true stereotype previously listed regarding USA folk being a hardworking people. With that mindset, it likely means that work is seen as a very important facet of life in the US which is mostly true.

But there is a fine line between being focused on getting ahead in work and being obsessed with one’s career. The former is more true in the US while the latter only pertains to a select group, much like with any other country in the world.


Americans don’t understand soccer

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For some, this is the worst American stereotype of them all. Somehow, despite soccer being the most popular sport in almost every country and having an estimated 4 billion fans worldwide, Americans have largely resisted its charm.

Despite soccer’s slowly growing popularity in the US, the general lack of interest in the sport in America came as a shock to many non-Americans I encountered while traveling.

 

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48 hours in Amsterdam

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So, you’re going to Europe and you’ve got 2 days in Amsterdam and not a clue how to spend them. Well my good friend, you have come to the right place! I’m here to help and guide you through 48 hours in Am-Dam .While Amsterdam is the capital and largest city – over one million inhabitants – of the Netherlands, it is not that big of a city compared to other capitals in the world. The city is located in the northwest of the country, in the province of Noord-Holland

The best time to visit Amsterdam is between April and May or September and November – right before or directly after the summertime high tourist season


Day 1

OK so you have just arrived in Amsterdam. First thing first, you need to check in at one of the many hotels and cute BnBs. One place to stay is Hampton By Hilton Amsterdam Arena Boulevard. 

One of the best things about Amsterdam is that its city center is small and very walkable. After you have had time to rest, Start your day off with a Dutch staple: pancakes. I’d never heard of Dutch pancakes,these are wide but thin, and come topped with both savory and sweet ingredients of your choice. American pancakes, on the other hand, are thicker and fluffier with ingredients mixed in. You’ll find pancakes, or “pannekoeken” on practically every corner in Amsterdam’s city center, but the most popular spot to indulge is The Pancake Bakery.

After breakfast , it’s best to work off breakfast on a bike – the best way to see Amsterdam like a local. Hire a bicycle in the square or pre-book a guided ride such as Cycle Amsterdam 

The next thing to do is visit the Anne Frank House. I know rather grim, but this is best done in the morning to avoid the crazy lines particularly in peak season. I would even recommend purchasing tickets online.

You can’t go to Amsterdam and not take that iconic photo with the “I Amsterdam” letters. My best tip? Head there early. Once the crowds start it is nearly impossible to score a good spot with everyone flooding the photo. 

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Make sure you visit The Jordaan, Amsterdam’s most famous neighborhood known for its beautiful canal houses, art galleries, and shops. 

Side Note…Coffeeshops – note that it’s one word, how they differentiate themselves from actual coffee shops – sell marijuana.

You have had a very busy morning…It’s time to recharge over a koffie verkeerd (milky coffee) with a slice of appelgebak (apple pie). Next it’s time for a canal tour where you’ll explore Amsterdam from the water. There are many tour operators to choose from.  A number of canal tour companies depart from the area across from Amsterdam Centraal Station.

Now its time to go back to your hotel to rest and freshen up to get ready to head to the Red Light District. No not the Ludacris album but the famous Amsterdam Red Light District.  You saw it coming, right? I’m still astounded how this street is still in business but nevertheless, it is still so fascinating to see. You have everything from sex museums to live sex shows, so take your pick while you are there. Once you’ve had your fill, there are plenty of bars to enjoy the rest of your night at. And of course, once you’re done, you simply must try Patatje Oorlog from any “snackbar”. The most delicious fries you’ll ever taste.

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Day 2

I hope you have recovered from your night in the Red Light District or didn’t end up in jail.  After more dutch pancakes, Visit one of the city’s most popular museums, like the Amsterdam Tulip Museum, Amsterdam Cheese Museum,The Van Gogh Museum, The Rijksmuseum and how can I forget The Sex Museum. 

For lunch, grab some food, a bottle of wine, and head down to one of the many spacious parks like Vondelpark, Oosterpark, Westerpark, Sarphatipark or Amsterdamse Bos. Its the best thing to do especially after a long morning at the museums. 

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After a morning devoted to high culture, relax with a beer at The Heineken Experience. This brewery-turned-interactive museum still has original 19th-century machinery and old photographs, so even if its interactive elements get mixed reviews for being too touristy. Since you’re in the Netherlands, you might want to try a traditional Dutch restaurant for dinner. 

If you still have energy, there are countless numbers of bars and clubs in Amsterdam that maybe you didn’t get to visit on the first night. Rembrandtplein is one of the busiest squares in the city, at least when it comes to nightlife and clubbing.

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CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER NO-BAKE ENERGY BITES

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These are sooooo good!!!! These easy no-bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Energy Bites are healthy snacks disguised as dessert. Make a batch today to enjoy all week! In under 10 minutes, you can have these chocolate no bake peanut butter balls ready to go. There are no dates or food processors involved so you can make these no bake energy balls in no time.

I’ve been called a ball queen (Don’t ask). It’s weird I know. 

  • 1 cup (dry) oatmeal 
  • 2/3 cup toasted unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1-2 tablespoon chia seeds 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

The recipe is quick and easy, requiring just 10 minutes and 5 ingredients. Stir all the ingredients together until combined, pop the mixture in the fridge for 15-20 minutes and then use a tablespoon cookie scoop to scoop out dough and roll between your palms to form balls.

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To form the balls I used half tablespoon measuring spoon, that gives me 1 inch energy bites. But you can make them smaller or larger.

 

Featured

Hotel vs Hostel vs Airbnb

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One of the most important choices a traveler can make when planning their trip is deciding where to stay. This decision is one that can make or break your trip, so consider it carefully.

I’ve always used hotels in the past. I’ve never used an Airbnb before but I would if I looked and if I found it cheaper and I will absolutley never use a hostel. When I think about hostels, I can’t help but think of the torture porn movie called “Hostel” (Look it up…the movie is gross). Now I know thats not fair to judge hostels based on that movie,I just can’t help it. I feel more comfortable in a hotel

I will list the pros and cons of all 3

And now, the great debate: hotel , Hostel or Airbnb?


AIRBNB

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The question of what to expect when staying at an AirBnB is a little more complex. An AirBnB is when someone rents out their apartment or home and lists it on the AirBnB website. Travelers can then search by specifications of price, size, location, and more. When you get to your room, the owner/renter will stay somewhere else so you have the place to yourself. I like watching AirBnB horror stories on Youtube. The stories are wild plus you hear about people staying at an AirBnB and robbing the place on the news. 

Pros:

  1. Cheaper than a hotel in most cases.
    If you’re looking into a medium-level accommodation (not a hostel and not a fabulous de-luxe suite) staying at Airbnb is cheaper in most cases. The price of a hotel room often includes breakfast but you can save even more money on lunches and dinners if you’re cooking at home. You can’t cook at a hotel.
  2. You get to experience the city as a local.
    You’re living in a normal apartment or a house, you get to greet neighbors, find out where the closest grocery store is, where to drop off the garbage and stuff like this. No matter how good the hotel is you can’t get that level of authenticity in a hotel.
  3. More options for unusual, weird, experimental, non-traditional places
    Yeah, there are plenty of non-traditional hotels as well, but their variety is not as huge as on Airbnb. On Airbnb you can try to live in a cabin, in a treehouse, in a plane, in a taxi cab in a middle of Manhattan, in a fairytale-style gingerbread house, you name it. Plus prices for unusual and design hotels are extremely high which you couldn’t say about Airbnb.
  4. It is more convenient for a medium-term stay.
    Some people could argue on that but let’s be honest – staying in a hotel for, let’s say, a month (or even two weeks) is awful.
  5. Airbnb could be an introvert’s dream
    With the rise of self-checkin and self-checkout options coming to more and more places on Airbnb it could become an introvert’s dream. For me it is. I don’t have to talk to anyone at a reception on arrival, same for leaving. And room service won’t bother me in the middle of the day.

Cons:

  1. Sometimes checking in and out can be a huge pain in the ass.
    If a host doesn’t support a self-check-in option it might be a pretty hectic experience. Especially if you’re arriving late at night. And you feel awful just asking your host to check you in late at night.
  2. Not convenient for a short-term stay.
    Especially if you’re visiting a city just for one day (sometimes two). This applies mostly to business travel. It’s just too much hassle checking in and out within one day.
  3. It’s illegal in some cities.
    With the unknown legal status of Airbnb in some cities and in some cases you’re being put into a tricky situation. What happens if neighbors, the police or anyone asks me who I am and what I am doing here? Should I say I’m visiting a friend or can I simply confirm I’m renting this place on Airbnb? This leads to a general feeling of trying to avoid tricky conversations with neighbors.

HOTELS

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Hostels are the go-to option for travelers and backpackers who plan to spend very little of their time in their room and most of their time exploring. They’re also a great way to meet other travelers. Unlike a hotel, hostels are more communal in nature and that includes sharing a room with strangers (though sometimes you can get a private room if you want to pay more).

Pros

  • Private rooms are just like hotels. No sharing bathrooms. No sharing (gasp!) bedrooms.
  • There are amenities like a hotel! Complimentary/cheap breakfast, shampoo, etc.
  • Everything is cheaper. Breakfast in the morning is either free or a couple euros.
  • Communal kitchens. Meaning you can cook and store food in the fridge. Really budget friendly!
  • Tons of young travelers and there are free or cheap outings. 
  • There are some CUTE AF hostels out there. 
  • HostelWorld.com exists, and people say it’s a lifesaver. SO MANY HOSTELS. SO MANY REVIEWS.
  • Great advice and transportation info from the young, hip people who work there. PLUS MAPS! Both hostels had custom-made maps with tons of info for young people.

Cons

  • Privacy. If you like your privacy, hostels may not be for you. Some do have private rooms, but most are dormitory style 
  • Noise. The hostel crowd generally skews younger, so be prepared for some noise. They’ll be loud in the common areas while they’re getting ready, and while you may get some sleep after they go out, you’ll probably wake up again when they stumble in during the early hours of the morning. Be prepared for this to happen several times throughout the night. And even if you don’t have partiers in your room – at least one person will snore.
  • Some hostels are mixed, meaning a 20-year old girl could be sleeping in the same room as a 45-year old man which can make for an uncomfortable stay.
  • Friends aren’t free. You gotta MAKE friends. And MAKE time to hangout with the other travelers. ALSO, the travelers that are there when you are there might suck. Put yourself out there!
  • Most hostels are converted from something else (an apartment complex or a big house), so some things don’t make sense.
  • You gotta book ahead of time, especially if you want a private room. You only put down a small deposit, and it’s refundable, so get it in!
  • Linen fees. Eye roll. Not everywhere has them, so just be carefull.

Hotel

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For the sake of simplicity, I’m grouping hotels with inns and bed and breakfasts. While they differ from each other, they share a common denominator of being more traditional places that allow you to be catered to by staff.

Pros:

  1. Perfect for a short-term stay (one or two days)
    Again, this applies mostly to business travelers visiting a city just for a day or two. Check-in is extremely fast and easy, get the keys, go to your room, sleep, go to a meeting, leave. All you need is a nice bed and bathroom, that’s it. You couldn’t really care more about its furniture, decorations or any other fancy stuff.
  2. 24/7 reception
    You can easily check-in at any time of day and don’t feel bad about yourself.
  3. Breakfast!
    Most hotels include breakfast in the room price and their food is pretty good most of the time. This is probably my favourite part of the hotel experience.
  4. Room service
    Everything is clean and shiny every time you come back to your room so you don’t have to think about it at all.

Cons:

  1. It is more expensive.
    If you’re comparing two similar options in terms of location, amenities, etc. hotels will be way more expensive than Airbnb.
  2. Lack of authentic feeling of a city
    Especially if you’re staying in a chain hotel. It’s like going to a new city and eating at McDonald’s. You know what to expect and it’s more or less the same anywhere you go. But you don’t get to experience the feel of real living apartments or houses in this new city.

So, having said that I prefer to stay in a hotel if I’m visiting a city just for a day or two (and mostly for business) and Airbnb if I’m staying for a longer period or if I’m just traveling and don’t have to focus on work most of the time.


Which one do you prefer. Let me know in the comments

Featured

Most Expensive Places to Travel

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From the Las Vegas strip to the beaches on Honolulu, here are the 11 most expensive holiday destinations on the planet. They are ranked by the average all-in price per person per night, alongside a breakdown of how you’ll spend your money in each place. I always set aside a budget of $2000-$3000 for every trip I make and plan. This includes everything: plane tickets, lodging, day-to-day activities, dining, transportation, and keepsakes, Even though I’ve never been overseas.


Zurich

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This city lies at the heart of Switzerland. No doubt it’s one of the most beautiful and serene places to visit, but it also happens to be pretty expensive. Simple things such as cup of coffee at a cafe can put a dent in your pocket.


NYC

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If you don’t know where to go on vacation, maybe skip New York City. The Big Apple is the #1 most expensive tourist destination in the U.S. The joke is that in  New York  an apartment in Manhattan will cost you your soul, which roughly translates into $2000 per month per shoebox – Murphy bed not included.  With its constant stream of tourists filling the lobby of the Empire State Building and flooding into Momofuku, a four-star hotel averages out to $325 a night. Visitors to New York should bank on spending an outside amount of about $550 per couple a night – that’s with dinner, cocktails and cab ride.


Tokyo, Japan

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Tokyo is certainly one of the world’s most expensive city for tourists, but it might not be as bad as its reputation would have you believe. Hotel bargains can be found through most of the year, especially if you book well in advance, and many or most of the things you’ll probably be coming to see are free in Tokyo.

The food and drink have a reputation for being outrageously expensive in Tokyo, but that’s a bit misleading. If you want to eat in upscale restaurants or hotels then you’ll pay dearly, but if you are interested in eating bowls of noodles or rice, like most of the locals do each day, then it can be done on a more modest budget.


Seychelles

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When thinking of beautiful places, The Seychelles is one of the first places that comes to mind. With rare wildlife, crystal clear waters, lush rainforests, and breath-taking beaches all outlined before a striking backdrop of rocks, this truly is like paradise. One of the best ways to fully experience this archipelago is to take a cruise around the islands. ‘Espirit’ from Crystal Cruises is a fantastic way to take in the views while enjoying luxurious surroundings. ‘Espirit’ has just 30 cabins, so it feels like a private yacht but still has all the facilities and services of a luxury liner.


SAN FRANCISCO

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San Francisco is one of the US’s most expensive cities for visitors, probably behind only New York City. Hotels actually come in almost all price ranges, but cheaper ones will inevitably be in an inconvenient or sometimes even run-down location. The public transportation system is good, but still getting around for tourists can be challenging. 

Food and drinks can be expensive as well, though if you get off the tourist trail and go to locals’ neighborhoods prices can be very reasonable indeed.


REYKJAVIK

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Reykjavik is famously expensive, although it’s gotten a bit better since the 2008 currency crisis. Still, nearly everything you will want to do will cost more than almost anywhere else in Europe, or on the planet for that matter.

Take note of the fact that most of the cheaper hotels and hostels are actually some distance from the city proper, so they may not be ideal even if they are cheap.

Food is quite expensive, as is any kind of alcohol. Think about the duty free shop on your way in and start off in your hotel room.


Oslo, Norway

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The capital of Norway, it also happens to be its most populous city. Often described as an architectural innovation, beauty is synonymous with Oslo. World class museums, art galleries, culture is given a lot of prominence in Oslo. Charming as it may be, Oslo is very expensive by nearly anyone’s standards, on a level near Stockholm, but without some of the obvious tourist attractions. 

Food is quite expensive as well, and even fast-food options can cost more than a proper meal in southern European cities. Drinks are typically outrageous for Scandinavia, so consider the duty-free shops on the way in.


Paris, France

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The city of dreams, the city of hope, but above all the city of love. It’s one of those cities that you fall in love with, from the moment you set foot in it. Not just beauty, but a lot of culture, history art and talent can be found in almost every corner of Paris. An average night in a decent hotel costs approximately $360, which means a couple could spend up to $550 per day from evening into the morning.


Copenhagen, Denmark

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Copenhagen is a beautiful city and a notoriously good-looking population, but unless you are coming from Sweden, it’s also very expensive. Hotels are of pricey even during the off season, and are worse during the peak summer months. Most of the attractions are also shockingly expensive, so it’s good that strolling around the beautiful neighborhoods and the long Stroget shopping street are free. There are other free things to do, thankfully.


Helsinki

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It’s quite possible you haven’t heard much about Helsinki, Finland’s southern capital. That could be because not a lot of people go to Finland on vacation and one of the reasons for it could be the high prices. But if you do have the resources, we suggest you do give Finland a chance. It’s a nice quaint little country. It’s tough to find a real budget hotel, though if you are coming on a weekend you might find prices at the nicer places are within your range since so many business travelers aren’t in town. Hostels are all fairly expensive by international standards as well.

Food and drinks will, unfortunately, eat into your budget, so those on a backpacker fund will want to seek out casual places rather than the sit-down restaurants in the tourist area. You’ll find many affordable kebab shops in the city center, and if you head out to the somewhat bohemian suburb of Kallio you’ll find better deals on food and even beer.


Mirihi Island, The Maldives

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When people think of luxury, The Maldives are often the first location they would choose. Mirahi Island has 30 villas with private decks overlooking the Indian Ocean and seven additional rooms. The boutique-style accommodation is beautifully designed to reflect the surroundings. The island has two restaurants, each of which serves stunning, freshly prepared dishes for guests. Guests are encouraged to leave their shoes by the door and walk barefoot across the island’s sand covered floors.

Featured

Top 10 Cheapest Travel Destinations

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I love to travel, but as someone that is paying off their loans, jet-setting doesn’t always fit my bank account. Weekend getaways, staycations, and last-minute discounts help me make the most of my travel budget, but what about budget travel to more exotic destinations? I havnt been overseas yet in my travel journey, but I hope to end that this year or early next year. 

Here is my list of the top ten budget travel destinations, with the underlying theme being very favorable exchange rates and extremely low costs of living. 


Denver,Colorado

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Denver takes the top spot as the most budget-friendly destination of the year. Besides being great for your wallet, Kayak says it’s also good for sightseeing, its history, and adventure. Throughout the year, the median cost of airfare to Denver tends to stay below $250.


Bangladesh

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You can buy meals for under a dollar and enjoy river cruises for rates lower than what you’d spend in nearby India. Bangladesh may be a non-traditional travel destination, but don’t overlook it.

With the exchange rate, you will be able to stretch your travel budget enough to sail by the Irrawaddy River Dolphins and see tigers in the Sunderbans National Park outside of Khulna. Bangladesh also has a wide range of handmade crafts such as coconut masks, bamboo sculptures, and folk dolls. Leatherwork and pearls are also popular exports.


Cambodia

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If you want to travel to Southeast Asia this year, Cambodia is an amazing option. Not only is it one of the cheapest places to visit down there, but it also has some of the richest history! You can explore the Angkor Wat ruins, Tonle Sap the largest body of fresh water in Southeast Asia, and the Banteay Srei temples! 


Cuba

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Cuba is a well-known destination because of their rich culture, sandy beaches, and colourful 60’s cars.  You can explore their beautiful colonialist buildings, rent one of their unique cars and cruise along the waterfront, and eat and drink delicious foods and cocktails every night! 


Turkey

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Turkey is an amazing destination to choose for 2019! Hop on a flight to Istanbul and experience rich culture, delicious Turkish coffee and treats, unique marketplaces, natural sites like the salt hot springs and so much more! 


Fort Myers, Florida

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Fort Myers has a lot to offer, from its downtown area to the former mansions of the Edison and Ford families. If you have a sweet tooth, head to Daddy Dee’s Ice Cream. It’s a retro ice cream parlor that’s a local favorite. The best time to visit is now, when airfare costs around $180. Throughout the year, it stays between $250 and $300.


Hungary

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Hungary is  an affordable travel destination. You can get huge meals in markets for $5, public transportation via train for $1, and hotels for $20 a night.

The city seems like a curious mixture of 14th century architecture and modernization. Highlights include the gorgeous architecture of the Fisherman’s Bastion, the Buda Royal Palace, and the tranquil Margaret Island.


Dominican Republic

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The Dominican Republic is an attractive budget travel destination for baseball fans and suntanners alike. The island comes alive during Carnaval Dominicano in February and Semana Santa in April.

The Dominican Republic is home to a wide range of lodging options to fit any budget, from luxury resorts to affordable hostels. Although it’s not the cheapest country in the region, there is a good mix of sun, safety, and affordability.


Argentina

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Argentina is a super popular destination in South America because of their breathtaking natural landscapes and European-style cities. You can see glaciers, miraculous mountains, unbelievable landscapes in Patagonia, and try tango in the streets of Buenos Aires! Honestly, there are so many amazing things to do in this country. 


Thailand

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Thailand is probably at the top of everyone’s list at this point and for good reason! They’re home to unbelievably beautiful beaches, lush forests, rugged islands, and bustling city streets to explore. It’s an incredibly cheap country considering you can get Pad Thai on the street for less than $1 if you want to and there’s no shortage of temples to explore as well! 


These are just the top 10 places on my list. How about you? Have you been to any of these countries? Are there any affordable places on your travel bucket list?

Featured

10 Ways to Relieve Stress & Anxiety

 

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People of all ages, genders, and nationalities experience stress, and it seems like every year the world moves at a faster pace. Today, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness across the country, with 40 million adults affected every year, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.

If you are feeling stressed, there are steps you can take to feel better. As you read the following suggestions, remember that conquering stress will not come from a half-hearted effort, nor will it come overnight. It will take determination, persistence and time. Some suggestions may help immediately, but if your stress level doesn’t seem to improve, it may require more attention and/or lifestyle changes.

Try these 10 tips when you’re feeling anxious or stressed:


Yoga

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With its series of postures and controlled-breathing exercises, yoga is a popular stress reliever. Yoga brings together physical and mental disciplines which may help you achieve peacefulness of body and mind. Yoga can help you relax and manage stress and anxiety. Buy some Yoga Accessories Online and you can do yoga at your home. This is a good stress reliever because of its slower pace and easier movements.


Meditation

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Meditation, it teaches you to be aware and live in the moment and to accept the way things currently are (feel), and to let it go. Meditation is scientifically backed by reducing overall stress and anxiety as well as depression. There are LOTS of ways to do that besides focusing on your breath.


Breathe

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Breathing techniques, there are all sorts of breathing techniques to help relieve anxiety. And stress. Breathing changes your chemical make up. When you’re stressed and anxious you have shallower quick breaths, but when you change it to full belly breaths you start to feel more relaxed. Often times people have panic attacks because of the way they are breathing.


Exercise

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Exercise can be a very effective tool to help you be able to find your center once again. Not only will the exercise help you be able to reduce overall mental fatigue, but you’ll receive a natural energy boost and get more sleep at night.


Recognize you are stressed

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That sounds so 12-step program but as soon as you start to feel really stressed try to avoid letting it get to a panicked state by addressing it head on. Because here’s the deal, any more than just a little bit of stress/anxiety about something is just completely unnecessary. It’s only making you feel terrible and spiral into a state where you can’t help yourself. Worrying about things doesn’t make them or you any better, and it will only affect your health negatively.


Be in Nature

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Hiking in the woods or heading out for a walk in the park can help you feel peaceful and grounded. Try to choose the areas where you feel safe so you can relax and enjoy your surroundings. Trail biking, walking, hiking, snowshoeing offer the extra benefit of exercise. Take a family member or invite a friend and enjoy feeling connected to people as well.


Sleep

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Lack of sleep causes physical and mental stress due to release of stress hormone and decrease the stress coping ability of the body. Thus proper 8 hour sleep is advisable in patients with anxiety. This would help the body to be capable of taking stress.


Eat Well

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Magnesium helps in muscle relaxation and deficiency of it can contribute to anxiety. Lack of calcium and vitamin B can also contribute to anxiety. Daily diet should contain whole grain cereals, green leafy vegetables, low-fat dairy products. Do not skip any meal and do healthy snacking.


Garden

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There are a number of ecological benefits to growing your own food or planting a butterfly garden, but these activities can benefit your mental wellbeing too. It is said that only 30 minutes of gardening could relieve the impacts of a stressful activity. 


Take your mind elsewhere

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Whatever it is that is stressing you out — stop — and go do something else for a while. Read a book, watch TV (even reality TV or trash TV), take your dog on a walk, hang out with a friend who is always fun, anything to take your thoughts out of your head and focus on something else. Change what you are doing and get out of your head as soon as possible

Featured

Mistakes You Make At Starbucks

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I love coffee, or I should say I loved coffee. I unfortunately can’t have caffeine anymore, but that doesn’t stop me from getting other drinks at Starbuck or The Bucks (thats what I call it). 

I have seen some crazy things while waiting in line at Starbucks. The people I’ve seen seem to forget that the baristas behind the counter aren’t machines whose sole job is to provide you with your daily dose of caffeine. Here are some mistakes almost every customer makes that makes their barista cringe.


Complaining about being up so early.

  • Yes, getting out of your bed in time for your 8 a.m. sucks. But it’s hard for me to sympathize with you when I’ve been out of mine since 5 a.m.

Instagramming when the barista finally spells your name correctly.

  • Yes, sometimes names are spelled horribly, horribly wrong but hey, your drink still tastes good! There’s about 10 different ways to spell my name Megan, so chances are I’m going to spell it a different way than you. I normally get my name spelled with an “H” -Meghan BUT that is wrong. I’m not going to IG it. 

Talking on your phone while making your order.

  • I really can’t stand this. You walk into Starbucks, and the line is somewhat long, you’re trying to decide what you want. Its almost your turn but the lady thats in front of you, phone rings. She hasn’t even decided what she wants but now she is on the phone. The line is backed up and It’s just rude! 

Talking in Starbuck code.

  • This isn’t rocket science. We don’t take in code. I’ll have a WCM. A what?  Please say the name of the drink, not the drink code. It’s a White Chocolate Mocha, not a WCM. The codes are for writing, not for actual use. It’s not a thing (Stop trying to make fetch happen.Mean Girls reference). 

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You make your order crazy complicated.

  • One pump classic, nonfat, 6 enormous scoops of matcha, 195 degrees, and ABSOLUTELY NO FOAM or Grande in a venti cup , 20-pump vanilla, 20-pump hazelnut whole milk, 190 degree, add whip and extra caramel drizzle latte or how about this, Trenti iced coffee, 12 pumps vanilla, 12 pumps hazelnut, 12 pumps caramel, 5 pumps skinny mocha, a splash of soy, coffee to the star on the siren’s head, ice, double-blended…I come on, Really who does this? What happened to just ordering a Vanilla latte? 

You don’t use the app or a rewards card.

  • This is a must-download for any Starbs lover. You get a free drink or food item on your birthday and another freebie of anything you want every time you buy 12 items. We all know things taste infinitely better when they’re free.

You went into syrup overload.

  • Starbucks typically puts three pumps of syrup in a tall latte, four in a grande and five in a venti . It’s a good rule of thumb to use if you’re going rogue and making your own order so you don’t overdo it. Thats a lot of sugar too.

You ask for a “hot Frappuccino” in the winter.

  • Its not a thing. Just get a hot White Chocolate Mocha-You’re welcome

You’re not skipping the line.

  • If you don’t want your ass beat, then I suggest you want your turn in line. Plus this goes for those mobile ordering. You can use the online ordering system while you’re standing in the store. 

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Life hack: ask for your grande Starbucks in a venti cup so you have room for milk – actually get a venti coffee cause you’re a genius

Featured

Avoid Getting Sick While Traveling

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As I type this post, I’m actually at home sick today, which is what inspired this post. I’ve been sick since mid January (I had the flu shot, but thats another story). I assume it’s because I was around people who were traveling. Either that or food poisoning, but let me tell ya — I don’t wish this on anyone.

I think this is the perfect opportunity to read up on and do a post about how to avoid getting sick while traveling. Spring and summer are coming up, and I want us all to be healthy. Typically I’m not a germaphobe — but sometimes when traveling if you don’t want to ruin your entire trip looking like a weirdo wiping down your plane seat and trey table or even the elevator buttons you just have to let go of the germaphobe ways. I try to do this a little bit a the while still being smart. 


1. Get a lot of sleep. Getting enough sleep is good for just about everything. Your immune system, your energy, your skin — hello beauty rest! I never skimp on sleep.

2. Bring anti-bacterial wipes. Wipe down hotel phones, remotes, door knobs, light switches, hair dryers, in hotels and armrests, tray tables, and bathroom door handles on planes.

3. Bring your trusted meds with you. Depending on where you are going, medicine might either be more expensive than usual or you might not be able to find the certain medicine you like. I don’t know who likes liquid Pepto Bismol, but if that’s all they have you’re going to wish you brought some tablets with you.

4. For motion sickness bring Dramamine. This help me. If you are going on a boat and get motion-sickness, or aren’t sure if you do or not, bring some Dramamine or a similar drug with you. Ginger tablets can also help.

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5. Drink a lot of water and stay hydrated. That stale airplane air can quickly leave a person feeling dehydrated and generally worse for wear. Luckily, eating the right foods can help combat this in no time. I suggest eating light and water filled foods, such as a small salad and a piece of fruit, and drinking plenty of water on the plane as the air humidity is much lower than our normal environment and it’s so easy to become dehydrated

6. Put Neosporin or Vaseline in your nose. Yuck…I know, weird/gross, but keeping your nose moist really helps to help fight infection. This whole thing is just gross

7. Don’t touch anything in that seat pocket on the plane, and don’t store your stuff there. Keep it in your carry-on bag.

8. Wash, Wash, Wash your hands. A lot. You can use a hand sanitizer like Purell but it’s not as effective as actually washing your hands.

9. Don’t overbook yourself! Give yourself a day before a trip and after a trip to rest, eat well, exercise, and get your things together so are aren’t rushing around. You don’t want to come back from vacation just to get immediately stressed out because you booked yourself solid! Take it easy, and relax

10. Wear socks through TSA. I’ve seen this, some guy took his socks off and was walking on the nasty floor. I mean, that floor is dir-tay and nobody wants a foot infection. Designate a pair of socks your “airport socks.” Wash them immediately when you get home and only wear them though TSA — not during your trip.

11. Make sure to get your fruits & veggies before, during, and after your trip. Whether that’s in a green juice or smoothie or a big salad, the vitamins and nutrients from fruits and vegetables will help your body fight infection. This really helps. 

12. Ask to switch seats. If you are sitting next to someone who is sneezing or hacking up a lung, ask the flight attendant if you can move. Don’t feel bad about trying to protect yourself from getting whatever they have.

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Featured

Visit London on a Budget

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Visiting anywhere on a budget can be challenging, especially London, because this is among the world’s most expensive city. Each year, many prospective tourists — people who would enjoy themselves very much in this city — bypass London because of high costs.

But it is possible to visit this vibrant, historic city on a budget. Here are some strategies for dealing with the price of a trip to London. It’s important however to think about how much it will cost you to get here in airfare against any frustration you will feel about missing important things due to a shortage of cash.


Accomodation

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The one thing you can’t escape is the cost of hotels in central London. Look a bit further out from the centre in zone 2 (where they will be cheaper and quieter at night when you want to sleep) and consider something like Air B&B.


Eating

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Eating out can be expensive if you fall for the tourist restaurants in the West End. At lunchtimes grab something to eat at a supermarket and picnic (even right in the centre of town there are nice places to sit like Soho Square). In the evenings think about going out of zone 1. Prices drop massively and you can get a well priced meal in a Turkish, Chinese or Vietnamese restaurant. Look for places that offer a prix fixe evening menu and don’t be seduced by extras on the menu, they really mount up (go for a drink in a pub afterwards)


Entertainment/Shopping

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If you stay in Bloomsbury you will be within a few minutes walk of the British Library, the British Museum and the Wellcome Collection. A good half an hour walk will take you to the Museum of London and the Gresham Lectures. All of these are free.

go to Fortum and Mason for a look at food souvenirs but shop at one of the big supermarket chains and buy British marmalade there for a fraction of the price. If you want U.K. designed clothes go to TK Maxx where they sell last year’s ranges at a discount- everyone who lives here does!


Sightseeing

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Lots of the big attractions are free (you can either see them from outside like Buckingham Palace or go in for free like the Tate Modern). The best places cost nothing. A walk along the river Thames or the streets of Soho or Mayfair tell you more about London that any paid for attraction ever will.

A hop-on, hop-off London sightseeing bus tour is great if you’re short on time or want to get an overview of the city before you dig into its specifics. This company has five different routes and live commentary which is always better than recorded versions.

Some of the best known tourist attractions are also the most expensive and at the same time least interesting. Ones to avoid are Madame Tussaud’s (tedious wax works, long queues), Ripley’s Believe it or Not (more waxworks and dullness) and the London Dungeon (eye wateringly expensive and amusing if you’re about 7 years old) and The London Eye (queues, queues, and more queues)

Things for free

British Museum – This is my favorite museum in London and it’s completely free to enter. The famous Rosetta Stone is here along with thousands of other artifacts from around the world. 

National Gallery – Located in Trafalgar Square, you won’t pay anything to see famous paintings from the likes of da Vinci and Van Gogh.

Tate Modern – This modern art gallery is in Bankside and is one of the largest museums of both contemporary and modern art in the world.

Museum of London – I love learning about the history of a new city I’m visiting, so stop by the Museum of London if you feel the same. You’ll see the city in a different light when you leave.

But how do I get around?? The tourist oystercard often has discounts and promotions available throughout the year. You can order one to be sent to your home address in your home country before you travel.  It means as soon as you arrive at Heathrow Airport you can go straight on the tube towards your hotel. Or even just take a bus. The 140 bus goes from Heathrow to Northolt and Harrow. Northolt for central line into London, Harrow for Metropolitan Line into Central London.


Travel

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It’s very doable to visit London on a budget. You can make it as cheap as you want or as lavish as you want. A great way to start planning a cheap trip to London is by figuring what parts are most important to you


Saving money

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On a general note, if you are in an area with lots of tourists go two streets away from the main crowds. You’ll generally find more interesting things to see, places will cost less and the crowds will magically disappear.

Don’t pay for internet access or use up your data allowance. Go to one of the coffee chains like Costa or Starbucks and use theirs for free – everyone else does. If you’re feeling really cheap don’t even buy coffee, just lurk in the doorway to get a signal.


 

Featured

Top 10 Spring Break Spots

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For many students, spring break is the perfect opportunity to let off some steam before the stress of finals and graduation. But for a destination to be spring break-worthy, it’s got to be affordable, accessible and popular among the college cohort. Considering these factors, plus editor insight and traveler sentiment, Spring Break really is the great American contribution to leisure travel. A week every year where the youngest, sexiest people in America go somewhere hot, with virtually no rules, and nobody there to recognize them. It’s a week where you can be whomever you want, do things you wouldn’t dare do back home, and generally enjoy life without much consequence.


Punta Cana

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This amazing destination has everything you will need to have an unforgettable trip. There’s plenty to do and everything you could want is at your fingertips.

Punta Cana has a varied, active nightlife and every day there is another addition to the growing list of establishments that offer night time entertainment. Tons of Spring Breakers, amazing clubs, open bar, what else could you want?

But this destination is great for families, too, who can easily get away from all the crowds to enjoy some exciting family activities or simply a bit of R&R


Cancun

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Cancun has all the makings of a quintessential spring break getaway. Along with its clean, white-sand beaches, it boasts budget-friendly, all-inclusive packages and a rollicking nightlife scene (don’t miss Coco Bongo). Despite its “Man-cun” reputation, the dude-heavy originator of all-you-can-drink SB debauchery is still going strong. No, it’s not the world capital of Spring Break that it once was, but what the city has lost in US college kids, it’s picked up in students from South America, Europe, and Canada.


Miami

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At first glance, Miami might seem like the ultimate stateside Spring Break destination. Crazy nightclubs, raging pool parties, and strip clubs that stay open 24 hours. That all said, the city can get expensive, and if your Spring Break coincides with Ultra, the price of hotels might necessitate stuffing six people in a room. Drinks can get costly too, so don’t forget to pack your wallet. The upside (if you’re a guy): The ratio of guys to girls is always favorable, since the clubs here keep a hyper-strict door. The trick, of course, is getting past the bouncer.


The Bahamas

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If you’re looking for a bit of Las Vegas in the Caribbean, the Bahamas might just be the spring break destination for you. When you’re not testing Lady Luck in Nassau’s twinkling casinos, barhop in Freeport. Having trouble finding affordable lodging and airfare? Consider a cruise. You’ll have plenty of choice when it comes to finding the right resort for a memorable spring break. Go with your friends, family, or both — and enjoy nothing but fun in the sun.


Orlando

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Your first reaction might be, “Yeah, great, Spring Break… from FIFTH GRADE!”

Orlando is home to the most popular theme parks in the country, it’s no wonder why this is one of the best places to go on spring break. Strategically plan your trip so you can visit both Disney World and Universal Orlando during your stay.


CABO SAN LUCAS

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Cabo is a well known tourist destination favored by the rich & famous, as well as an up & coming Spring Break hot spot. If you want to have an exclusive & unique experience, this is your spot. Cabo San Lucas has a well-earned reputation for rowdy, uninhibited nightlife. The after-dark action in Los Cabos is by no means restricted to the bars, clubs, and cantinas that crowd downtown San Lucas.


Montego Bay

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If it’s mojo you’re after this Spring Break, look no further than Jamaica’s MoBay,  a.k.a. Montego Bay, for some of the most rhythmic partying and good vibes you’ll experience anywhere. Considered Jamaica’s Spring Break capital, a week-long jaunt to the beautiful island will fill you not only with Red Stripe and jerk chicken, but a love and appreciation for the country that gave birth to the great Bob Marley. Along the famous Gloucester Avenue in the center of Montego Bay, known as the Hip Strip, you’ll find the hottest beaches and the best nightclubs for your Spring Break reggaeway to Jamaica.


South Padre Island

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If you’re looking for nonstop beach and pool parties, budget-friendly lodging and celebrity-hosted events, South Padre Island is for you. While it’s family-friendly for the rest of the year, college coeds flock here during the month of March. So if crowded sands sound like a spring break nightmare, this Texas retreat may not be right for you.


Las Vegas, Nevada

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What better place than Sin City to let loose while classes are on hold? While Las Vegas brings the party every day of the year, the festivities head into overdrive in the spring break season. During the day, gather your friends and head to one of the famous all-day pool parties—if you’re feeling daring, places like the Bare Pool Lounge have opted to keep their pool parties clothing optional. At night, plan your own “casino-crawl”, hopping from party to party and trying your luck.


Jamaica

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What’s not to love about reggae music, cream-colored beaches and all-inclusive resorts? That’s what you’ll get with a spring break in Jamaica. Those looking to relax and lounge on the beach will find upscale accommodations near Negril, while more adventurous types should choose a resort closer to Ocho Rios. No matter where you stay, expect plenty of food with jerk seasoning and a favorable exchange rate

Featured

How to Travel with only a Carry-on

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I didn’t always recognize the beauty of traveling light. Packing with just a carry-on is so hard for me. I tend to over pack and half the time I only wear a few things that I pack so I have a lot of things I don’t need. I usually pack like I’m going somewhere for 2 weeks but I’ll be gone for only 3/4 days. Yikes I know, so many things I dont need. 

After some trial and error, I think I have figured out how to pack with just a carry-on. The following will help you choose what to pack for a trip, and fit it all into a bag you can actually lift, so you know how to travel with only a carry-on on bag.


First thing first, whatever airline you have booked with, make sure you look to see what the size of the carry-on should be. Each airline is different, but it’s usually 19-20 inches. Also make sure you have up-to-date information on limits and restrictions- on what you can and can not take. 

The next thing is pick your bag wisely. You’re taking one bag, but what that almost always really means is one suitcase (or large backpack or duffel bag) and one purse or tote. You can also include a smaller bag that packs flat. This is useful if your plans include activities where you won’t want to carry your handbag or messenger bag.

Any bags you take should be light and comfortable to lift. I was in a store the other day and I was looking at luggage and I picked up the lightest and most comfortable suitcase, However I did’t get it, but it was really nice. Ok so now you have your bag, whats next? You have to figure out what you need.

The key word here is “need”. Taking that amazing pair of heels or sneakers just in case or that extra coat are not going to be on the list. Before your final pack, lay out all of your clothes and then take half of what you think you’ll need. Sounds tough, right? It really is, But, you have probably taken a number of trips before where some supposed necessities never saw the light of day (Me). Also take a look at the weather, that will help you determine what to take. 

If you’re travelling somewhere with cold weather, you’ll likely want to take a big, warm coat. But if you pack that in your carry-on, there won’t be much room for anything else! Instead of lugging a huge coat around with you, pack lots of layers that you can easily mix and match – you’ll still stay warm on your travels, have more flexibility in what you can wear, they’ll be lighter and also take up less space in your bag. Limit the what if scenarios. I have fallen vitim to this. Packing light requires a little bit of compromise and sacrifice, so be strict with your packing and be honest with how necessary certain items are.

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Ok now you have your bag, laid out your clothes that you are going to pack, now its time to pack. Wrap shoes in plastic bags and place them at the sides or corners of the bottom of your bag to help it hold its shape. Stash extra plastic bags too. They take up no space and are perfect for laundry or anything that gets wet. Another tip is to roll your clothes, don’t fold. Packing cubes come in handy. They let you fit so much more in your carry-on.

So you’ve packed your carry-on bag, but you don’t want to be that person who has to get something out of the overhead luggage bin every half an hour. Most airlines allow you to pack a personal item bag (but do check this with the airline you’re flying with!), so put all of the things you’ll need during your flight in there to place under the seat in front of you. Like your laptop, phone, books, pastport, chargers, etc. 

But the question is ..why travel with a carry-on? 

Boarding passes can be pre-printed on-line for most airlines, and one can sail through security without stopping at the airline counter to check-in luggage, thus avoiding long line-ups and not having to be at the airport as early.

Cost savings – many airlines now charge for checked baggage. 

All your belongings are with you, so no lost luggage and no burst liquids. 

By the time people wait at the airport carousal for their luggage, we get first dibs on taxis and are nestled in our hotel room sooner.

It’s quite simple: if you have limited or no space in your bag to put anything else in it, you don’t have the option to buy things and bring them home, well unless you buy another bag!

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What are your tips for packing for a carry-on only trip? Tell me in the comments below.

Featured

48 Hours in Las Vegas

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Considering the sheer number of things there are to do in Las Vegas, spending just two days there can get pretty hectic. The key is to come up with a plan of attack—a way to make sure you hit some of the best hot spots—but also leave enough breathing room for relaxation.

Whether a poker player, adventure lover, or dayclub pool party hopper, I can guarantee  you that you can find a lot to do in Vegas that’s your speed. So today I’m coming at you with my Las Vegas travel guide on how to do Sin City for a weekend.


Day 1

Ok, so you have made it to Vegas,  you have your bags but where are you staying? For the sake of this post, lets say you are staying at Caesars Palace, which conveniently located in the heart of the famed Las Vegas Strip. If you love Fine dining, exciting nightlife and entertainment, relaxing spas and salons, boutique shopping, and a buzzing casino then you’ve come to the right place.

Ok you got your hotel all set up, now what? Go to the Bacchanal. Located inside Caesar’s Palace, this buffet has anything and everything you want..but at a price. I would head hear first before you partake in all of the drinking and debauchery

You’ve had breakfast now its time to spend a little bit money…Las Vegas is the gambling mecca for professionals and novices alike. Whether you enjoy the penny slots or are a seasoned poker player, no trip is a complete without trying to go home with a little extra money.

Now you have won some money or lost some money…where to next? it’s time to hit up Vegas’ legendary pool party scene. This all Depends on what time of year you visit Las Vegas, one of the pleasures of staying along the Strip is spending time soaking in the summer sun poolside. Most of the well known hotels offer cabanas, entertainment, lots of bars, and a host of other activities to keep your mind off the heat.

Okay so we are going to be a  tourist for a mintue, but after a day of drinking, you need some food head over to Guy Fieri’s Vegas Kitchen & Bar, it’s so over-the-top

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Once you’ve had a bite to eat, you can get ready for a shopping experience that’ll blow your mind! Vegas is home to all kinds of shopping, so whether you’re into high-end fashion or hipster thrift, you will always find something in Vegas. Also Caesar’s Forum Shops is connected to the hotel and offers ancient Roman streets, talking statues, exotic fish aquariums, top dining experiences and a nice variety of popular boutiques and stores 

Once you’ve built up a bit of an appetite, head to the Galleria Mall in Henderson and grab a table at Gen Korean BBQ House…Now your ready to hit the town, 

If you’re into party scene, then try one of Vegas’ newer clubs, then hit up Omnia! This place has one of the best views of the strip! Regular headliners include Calvin Harris, etc. 

If your not done, then head to the Peppermill, you willeave Vegas with a good story. 

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Day 2

 

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Today is all about grabbing quick bites so that you can keep your Vegas experience moving. After a good night’s rest, some water and a few Advil later, start the day off at the Donut Bar, you need this to absorb all of that alcohol from the night before. I love donuts, so this place is a must. 

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Now its time to just wander the strip for a bit. This is home to numerous casinos, alluring you with their offer of free refreshments and the chance to press your luck. Don’t miss out on the Fountains of Bellagio, which go off on a synchronized “dance” to music every half hour and are absolutely free to anyone passing by. Even though it is a bit touristy if you ask me. 

After you get the strip out of your system, its time for some shopping. For me,  Las Vegas has some of the best shopping in the US! I hope you didn’t lose all of your money at the casino or shopping the day before. 

I have to say the coolest thing is the Pinball Hall of Fame, which is a museum for pinball machines, it’s pretty cool. It brings on the nostalgic feel.  After all of that, you need food, Try Pop Up Pizza, Pizza Rock or if you want burgers, try Burger Bar, FukuBurger or Heart Attack Grill. 

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On your last day I suggest going to the spa. I’m not one for spa’s but if thats your jam, go for it. Indulge in a relaxing spa treatment at the Sahra Spa & Hammam.This place will leave feeling with senses awakened and at peace. Your muscles will be sore from walking and dancing and will put your soul at rest for the long slog home.

The stories and memories…well, they have to stay in Vegas.  

 

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Featured

How to Spot an American Tourist

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Although I will admit that there are times where it is so easy to spot a tourist thats not American in the crowd while traveling, But I wonder how easy it is to spot us Americans in the crowd when we travel overseas.


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You hear us before you see us. I don’t think we have to be overseas to be loud. I have a feeling that Americans like to show that they are Americans so they speak English loudlier than normal so people can spot them. Native English-speakers have that fuffly kinda bitchy accent


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Un-naturally white, perfectly straight-toothed smiles have “U.S.A.” written all over them. The American dental experience is far superior to most first-world countries. What’s more, we love our white, straight-toothed smiles, and we flash ’em all around like the AmEx cards few non-American vendors accept. Beware that in most cultures, smiles are a rare invitation to chat, especially from women.


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Ask a bunch of foreigners how to spot an American abroad, and this is the one that comes up the most often. In fact, our outgoing personalities are often startling to more reserved types like Germans and Brits. An American tourist is very outgoing and friendly; he/she would talk to people who are complete strangers, just for the sake of having smalltalk for a while.


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Fanny means something sooo entirely different in British English, so beware with using that word. Secondly, fanny packs? Really? They don’t even look good in the United States, let alone abroad. They are a clear invitation for thieves, and they’ve got ‘tourist’ written all over them. Leave this fashion faux pas at the bottom of the closet where it belongs. Just FYI I own a fanny pack and LOVE it.


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Others around the world mostly wear darker-colored socks. In fact, in Paris, people actually find white socks offensive. Wearing socks with sandals is generally acknowledged as a no-go anywhere, so don’t do that. Wearing white socks, especially if pulled up, is primarily associated with Americans. Europeans tend to wear darker colored socks that match their trousers.


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As a proud tipper in America, I still have an internal struggle with this one every time I’m in a restaurant. (You mean I shouldn’t tip at least 15%?) Although tipping is less prevalent in Europe, it varies from country to country. One rule of thumb is to always make sure you look up the tipping etiquette for the country you’re visiting. If service isn’t included in the bill, a 5-10% tip is the standard amount for restaurant service. Anything more than that is unnecessary.


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It is an unfortunate truth that American students have earned a reputation abroad for excessive drinking. Not only is this dangerous because your decision making skills are impaired, but it makes it more known that you are foreign. Keep in mind that if you wouldn’t do something at home, why on earth would you do it abroad. Just because drinking is legal, and alcohol is easily accessible doesn’t mean you need to drink as much of it as possible every night. Know your limits is you choose to partake.


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English is indeed widely spoken all over the world, but not making any effort will just make everyone hate you. “If at all possible, at least say a greeting in the other person’s language, and then say, ‘Do you speak English?’ right after that, Yes, it’s likely that a lot of people, especially in touristy spots, will speak English, but the presumption that they do is really obnoxious. No need to bust out an entire language dictionary either. “If nothing else, learn how to say hello, thank you, and please


 

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Another easy way to spot an American abroad? Proudly displaying your favorite university/sports tee. Nothing screams “USA” more than a Miami Dolphins t-shirt. Skip the logo and opt for a sleek, monochrome tee instead.

The baseball cap is the classic American fashion piece. It is not so commonly worn in other countries as an everyday item. If it is to shade your eyes sunglasses are a more popular solution abroad.


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In the US people are always on the run, and grabbing a quick lunch is normal. It is not out of the ordinary to eat whilst walking down the street. However, in other countries, this is not common at all and goes against etiquette in some places.


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We’re looking at you, backpackers traipsing past the  the Duomo, or through Times Square. Seriously, unless you’re on a hiking trail or deep in the woods, you probably don’t need all of whatever it is that you’re carrying. For day excursions, I suggest a canvas tote or a messenger bag which can be worn across your body.  These are pretty much universal and also inexpensive, and you won’t leave your zippered pockets vulnerable, as you would with a backpack.  If you don’t have a place to drop your bulky luggage, do some research at airports, bus depots, train stations, major tourist attractions, and even a few local hotels. Many of these spots will be able to hold your big bag for a small fee. And trust me, you’ll enjoy your destination much more if you go there unencumbered.


These are just a few examples of how, us American look when we go overseas. It’s funny even when you see people from out of town in america. Let me know in the comments if you are one of these tourist. 

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Different types of travelers

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I recently took a quiz to see what type of traveler I’m and I got “YOU ARE A RELAXATION TRAVELER!”

And I must agree there’s nothing better than sitting by the beautiful pool with a pina colada and a good book. I never sleep in on vacation, weird I know but I’m the type of person that by 9:00 am the day is half over and I’m up by 7 am on every vacation I go on. Vacations takes you away from the busy lifestyle of the everyday and gives you that special time just to unwind. Unhurried dinners, and strolling on the beach are your idea of a perfect week away.

I’ve traveled with so many different travelers, and they are basically a diverse breed and different travellers approach the same destination in varied ways. 

Let’s explore some of the (many) different types of travelers and leave a comment on which one you fall under. 


The Sexplorer

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Ohhh I know this type..Not me, In college my friend went on vacation and pretty much slept her way across Europe.

The Sex Addicts or as I call them The Sexplorer are just looking to score. They eye down everything that walks and speaks to no one of the same-sex because they see them as competition.

These types of travelers can usually be found combing the beach by day, going to the hottest clubs at night, and rooting through their suitcase of designer clothing by morning for the right look to take another shot at nailing that Itailan chick they met on Long Beach. 

These are not bad people, and it’s certainly not just men either. Like I said before my friend is a girl and she did this in college. She was not a bad person At the time, she was just really, really horny and traveling to a new country allowed her to have sex without anyone back home knowing about it. (It’s ok I use er as an example…we are not longer friends) 

If  this type of travel is your style, then go for it, but please be safe. 


The Budget Traveler

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a budget traveler is a traveler who is budget-conscious. I fall into this catagory, and I think most people do. I’m not as extreme through.Most people who travel have some sort of monetary restrictions but the budgeters? These are the people who won’t spare a cent. I love a free walking tours but I’m not into haggling for a deal. Most budget savy people will stay in economy accommodations  eat cheap meals, and fly during off-peak seasons

I think being this type of traveler takes really strong willpower, the budgeter is happy to turn down dessert (NEVER!) and I always find coupons if I’m going to the mall on vacation. 


The Techie

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I think we all fall into this catagory. Travelers exploring new destinations just because to satisfy their craving for taking photos with new HD 2000 Camera or using new travel tech gears. There is no particular destination as they like all places that look good in the new tech gear. Socia media falls into this catagory as well. You take a photo and edit the shit out of it for follows, they bad thing is that you are not living in the moment and get the full experience. 

You might take a lot of selfie’s from different angles with different attires. This type of traveler has to make sure they look perfect for pictures. They are more about making travelling portfolio. Their main motto is to bombard their Facebook , Twitter and Instagram. Wonder if they enjoy travelling or not. I would say not. 

 


The Foodie

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What is a Foodie???“Foodie Traveler: a person with an extreme interest in food that travels just to experience new food.”

I’m not really a foodie traveler. I like food, but I’m not as adventourous as I would like. 

You know you’re a foodie-traveller when –You Pick Your Travel Destinations Based on the Local Cuisine

So you are a  globetrotter and like to dip into local food? Does that make you a Foodie-Traveler? Nowadays, it seems that we can find any type of food anywhere in our home countries. When it comes to travelling, I mostly  globetrot for for the best pizza. So how do you know when you’re a foodie-traveller? You know you’re a foodie-traveller when…Every photo on your phone is…well, food! I guess I’m not one then. Who cares about landmarks and street performers. To a foodie-traveller, a beautifully presented plate of  locally prepared food or dessert is far more captivating than paintings in museums or scenic landscapes. There’s a thrill in spending the first two minutes snapping away with your phone or camera rather than taking pictures of renowned statues. By the end of your trip, sifting through albums of food photos is more prideful than any souvenirs you felt obligated to purchase. I sometimes feel like this, even though my camera roll isn’t filled with food. 

I’m not an experimentalist. Really, most food scares you. Chicken feet, blood sausages, seafood that don’t appear to exist in encyclopedias are a no no.You want to try everything and experiment with cuisines that are foreign to you. You’re a foodie-traveller.


The Partier

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These are the travelers who prefer travelling just for fun and parties. Their favourite destinations are the bars and clubs. This, I think is the same as the sexplorer. They are looking to party and get laid. Their favorite places to go are Goa, Ibiza, Amsterdam and Las Vegas. It can be like a “The Hangover” situation you can lose days, even weeks, of your travel to the thrill of boozing and checking out the different dive bars and clubs with individuals who are like-minded. 

11:00PM — 4:30AM is prime time for party animals, and when you see them, they’re either wasted, hungover, asking for charity because “they lost their wallet skinny-dipping”, or barging into your hostel room at the most ungodly of hours, turning on the lights and then trying to strike up a conversation about the hot girls/guys at the bar that they didn’t bring home, but unlike the sexplorer they will bring someone home. 

They might sound like they’re a disaster to be around, but Party Animals are super fun too. I like a good party but I don’t go crazy like some people I know. Plus I’m not in my 20s anymore. The Partier does bring energy to the vacation and they bring people together, sometimes sucking other poor sons of bitches into their whirlpool of drunkenness, all the while medicating their hangover with yet more alcohol, and yes I have been sucked in before…Never again


The Planner

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I’m this type of traveler. I need things to be planned out and on time. i don’t go to the extreme in creating Google Doc spreadsheets (which sound like a good idea) but I have seen people so it. I’m on that line of almost having things planned out to the hour.

Some people are just built this way. I salute the planner. The last vacation I went on, my aunt said that we will feel things out and go with the flow….meaning that nothing was planned and I almost had a panic attack. 

Us as planners, always get the very most out of our trip, we take some of the best photos and do the most research, and we are almost always more knowledgeable than most people going into any excursion. Now let me be clear, I only do this if I’m going to a city setting, on the beach is a different situation. I’m more relaxed. In the city, I normally have a checklist and planned itinerary down to every tiny detail 


The Group

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I love a good group. They are typically in their early 20’s to early 30’s, who like to travel in groups of their friends or with family,

The groups single mode of enjoyment depends upon their group and if found alone, they are best board persons of the world. However for me, the idea of solo travelling is not utterly bullshit, but ideal.This group of travellers make the most of every holiday as they’re usually someone in the group to goad the others into enjoying a diverse range of experiences on their travels.


The Fittness Freak

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Well There is not much to say about this type, other than the hotel they are staying at MUST have a gym or there needs to be a gym close by.  They watch what they eat and often prevent you from eating all the fun food while on vacation. Sometimes this can be annoying. I knew several people who are like this. If that’s your thing, go for it.


The Solo Traverler

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These crazy nuts always thrive to find themselves. Their main goal is peace, harmony, nature and they ponder the deepest philosophies of life. They usually travel alone and they ignore any company. They usually travel long and prefer walking to known places.


The No-expense Traveler

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You might have paid your dues in holidays gone by, suffering through limited legroom and dodgy hostels. Or perhaps you’re just adjusted to the finer things in life. The high-flyer is all about indulgent travel. You’re not afraid to shell out extra dollars on five star hotels rooms, extravagant dinners and first class flights. You’re legitimately about YOLO-ing and air-conditioning is non-negotiable.

A term used to describe this traveler with more disposable income is a flashpackers, which they tend to carry more electronics, stay in decent accommodations, and take taxis, though they share some characteristics of regular backpackers such as the intrigue for the local culture and lifestyle, longer travel length, and perhaps an open-ended itinerary.


The Thrill Seekers

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They always give an extra inch to their travelling. They travel to the tallest mountain; they jump from highest bungee jumping, sky dive from the highest altitude and so on. You will find these crazy people at every good enough crazy places. These chunks are as interesting as wild adventure.

Adrenaline junkies and dare devils. Travel far and wide to find the world’s highest bungee jump, the world’s tallest mountain (which they then proceed to climb) and pretty much anything extreme and perhaps previously unheard off. You will not find these people on a beach in St Barths or checking out the infinity pool at the hotel.

This type of traveler is what you see all over Instagram, but they’re not as common as you think. Believe it or not, most people who travel are simply tourists, and partake in organized events, hit the popular spots and love doing so. Nothing wrong with that.

I prefer to not end up in the hospital , so no I’m not a thrill seeker. The only downside to this traveler is that they need to find like-minded individuals to join them in their pursuits, and often they have to work hard to pull people out of their comfort-zone and take them off the beaten track. If a Thrill Seeker approaches you with a proposition while traveling . . .

TAKE IT! or Not…Its up to you


So these are just a few of the types of travelers you might come across or maybe you are one….Let me know in the comments which one you are or a traveler that I didn’t mention. 

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Ways To Plan A Trip

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Planning a trip can be a daunting task. Thinking about anything more than which destination you want to travel to takes a bit more time. I have some tips and tricks for even the most unversed of traveler. The easy part is saving up and planning, the tough part is deciding where to go and what to spend your money on once you get there. None of this needs to be stressful and you’ll learn quickly that with a few tricks of the trade, you’ll be able to save some money in the process, too.

As long as you have an open mind and a passion for travel despite where it is, you’ll gain something from this post. Some of these tips might sound familiar while others could open up a whole new world of adventure for you.


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As a general rule when you are planning for a trip, there are a few main areas you need to consider:

  • Pick Destination
  • Length
  • Cost/Money
  • Save
  • Accommodation/Attractions/Activities
  • Get Travel Insurance/Visa
  • Packing
  • Safety
  • Have Fun

Pick out a destination

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What is your mood for the vacation? A serene calm place or a bustling place, an adventurous camp or a romantic holiday. First start by deciding where you want to go.  Investigate some interesting places, the internet is great for this.  You can look at national park sites, city tourist sites, and even Wikipedia are good sources.


Length

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Once you have a destination in mind, it’s time to decide how long you can go there for. This means if you’re in full time employment, checking with your boss about time off. If you work for yourself, figure out how long you can stay away without it affecting your work.


Cost/Money

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Before fully committing to the Vacation, you need to make sure you can afford to stay in the country of your choice for the period of time you’ve chosen. If you aren’t ok with staying in a shared hostel then research hotel prices, cost of a self-catering apartment, restaurant prices, tourist attractions and more. All of this will help you plan the best holiday possible.


Save

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Once you know how much your trip is going to cost you, it’s time to start saving. The sooner you start this process the more money you’ll have. Try to cut back on frivolous daily spending, such as bottled water, the Starbucks large coffee you order on your way to work every day and learn how to cook so you can cut down on expensive dinners out every other day. A small daily saving can, over the course of 6 months or so, pay for a lot (and sometimes, all, of your trip).


Accommodation, Attractions & Activities

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The 3 A’s 

Accommodation varies on who i am travelling and what my budget is. For example if i am going in a hotel then Booking.com: The largest selection of hotels, homes, and vacation rentals is the place to go to find the best price on a website. But if you’re on a budget, look at hostels and airbnbs or even couchsurfing.Do a thorough research for your desired hotel, check their ratings, reviews, photographs, and book either through telephone or online.

Start making a rough list of places you want to go to and things you want to see. Check things like timings and cost of entry to sites for foreigners, which in some countries are higher than cost for locals. This is even true for the U.S. I went to Orlando last year and getting into Universal is higher for peolpe coming from out of town (Which that was my first and last time going to Universal). 


Get insurance

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Travel insurance should be a non-negotiable addition to your holiday itinerary and will protect you when a flight is canceled, you’re robbed or you break your leg while hiking.


Visa and Vaccination

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A lot of people don’t realise this but a lot of places in the world require visa and vaccination before the trip so research is important.

Possibly one of the most important parts to consider before going on a trip is to find out if you need a visa to enter your country of choice. Visas are an entire other task which can require different documents that you need to submit. Some visas even require a face-to-face interview while others are as easy as getting the visa at the airport.


Packing

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The most important thing to remember when packing is you need to pack appropriately for the weather and culture of your destination. For example do not pack ski jackets when travelling to Singapore.

A short checklist of all the items you need is also highly recommended. I usually like to start about 2 weeks ahead of time so I can wash the things I need, get any medication I might need, make sure everything fits in my bags, etc.  I usually try to do carry on only, so I bring clothes that mix and match and can be washed along the way.  You can check your airline for the size bag that is allowed for carry on.  They usually allow two items for carry on, a small suitcase and a purse, backpack, laptop case, small bag, etc.  Make sure you check the airline regulations for toiletries.  In the US you are allowed a quart sized bag filled with liquid, gel or paste toiletries that are in containers no larger than 3 ounces each.  Also, make sure you don’t take anything sharp or pointy on board the plane, it will be confiscated at security. 


Have Fun!!!!!

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Don’t overthink it once you land, make friends but stay alert, explore, stay away from social media and concentrate on having fun.

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48 Hours in Dublin

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If you’re planning a weekend in Dublin? Good choice! Having grown up in Dublin I congratulate you for having impeccable travel tastes! As with any major city, Dublin has no shortage of cool things to do and see.

If you’re not a morning person there are plenty of things to do in Dublin at night. And the craic. Definitely do not forget about the craic! If you don’t know what that means then you might want to check out my guide to Irish phrases.

When you only have 48 hours in Dublin you might feel a bit overwhelmed about where to begin and how to really make the most of your time to experience the best that the city has to offer. Never fear.  I’m here to help you out. 

It’s a real gem when it comes to maximizing your time and planning your trip. Each part of the city is handily dealt with in separate sections. It’s easy to see at a glance which attractions are close to each other, how to get to them, and where to find great food without going out of your way. So you can get the most out of your 3 days in Dublin. Navigating and finding your way around has never been easier. Let’s get planning your Dublin weekend.

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Getting to Dublin