As Summer Draws to an End…How to Cope

beach sunset

Summer is ending.  I can’t believe it.  Just today I realized that the summer flowers were all either dead or dying; they will need to be dug up and replaced with hardy mums and flowering cabbages over the weekend.  I love the fall…it is pretty, the air is crisp and it is the perfect time for baking lovely, spicy things.  Unfortunately, the downside of the fall is that it precedes the winter.  If you live in the northeast (or the north anywhere, for that matter) the thought of facing yet another winter may very well make you want to hibernate.  Having survived last year’s wintry hell, this year I have decided to be 100% proactive.  As far as I am concerned although everything may seem dark, cold and dead in the winter, our hope should not be destroyed as well.  In order to give myself something to look forward to I have already booked a trip to a southern destination!  Last year I fled to New Orleans in the early spring and I cannot tell you what it did to buoy my spirits.  I highly recommend planning a little getaway for yourself.  Here are a few planning tips:
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Sweet Treats in NYC!


If you happen to find yourself in New York City do not miss out on the gelato which is served up at Eataly.  Located at Fifth Avenue and 23rd Street, Eataly is in the heart of the Flatiron District.  Over the past few years, I have eaten in several of Eataly’s restaurants.  Personally I remain the most impressed by their Gelateria; they serve up some of the best gelato that you will find stateside!  Their gelato is freshly prepared everyday and is made with local milk.
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How To Do a Destination Spa on a Day Spa Budget!



Mohonk Mountain House

One lesson which I have learned in my years is that you should not wait around for someone else to take care of you…you need to take care of yourself!  Following this mantra, I recently decided to treat myself in honor of my birthday (I am officially 36 now).  I wanted to treat myself to a day at a fabulous spa…a destination spa seemed to fit the bill; however, I wasn’t prepared to lay down the thousands of dollars normally associated with a trip to a destination spa.  Therefore I decided to explore ways in which I could do a destination spa on a day spa budget.  In the end, I chose to visit the spa at Mohonk Mountain House.  Located just 90 miles north of NYC, this spa is a lovely retreat from the hustle and bustle.  Sorry no photos may be taken inside of the spa itself, but I got some lovely pictures of the grounds!  Here are some tips for visiting a destination spa near you while keeping to a day spa budget:
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Weekend Getaways: Summer Fun!


Perhaps it is leftover from childhood, but in my mind summer is all about lazy days stretching out in front of me.  I have visions of going to the pool, taking long walks, and sitting outside enjoying the warm weather and the extended daylight hours. Unfortunately the reality of my summers look absolutely nothing like the fantasy.  My summers are filled with long work days (12+ hours) which allow for very little relaxation, time in the sun, or often even time to stop to eat lunch!  Although I am very happy to have a successful business, at the end of each summer I find myself feeling dissapointed because I feel as if I have not had an opportunity to enjoy it.  And trust me, if you live in the northeast then you are fully aware of just how fleeting the summer months are.  I am certain that I am not alone in how I feel; such is the reality for many adults.  Unless you are a schoolteacher (or have a similar schedule wherin your year is deliniated by summer vacations) the months and ultimately the years just roll together and seem to slip by.  Frankly, it can be depressing.

This summer I have decided that I need to make a change.  Although I may not have anything in the way of large blocks of time to take off, I will carve out what little free time I have and use it to re-balance myself.  I believe that making a committment to take better care of ourselves is one that we should all make.
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One GREAT Way to Travel the World on a Budget!


Travel offers amazing opportunities to see the world, to experience other cultures and to broaden your horizons!  While travelling is AMAZING for you personally, it is not always so amazing for you financially.  Don’t worry…I have a scoop to share with you.  A handful of years back one of my sister’s dearest friends from college was getting married.  While planning her honeymoon a friend of hers recommended an amazing on-line travel agency.  She followed her friend’s advice and booked a honeymoon in the Greek Islands.  She was so delighted with her experience that she and my sister later booked a trip to Italy through the same company and LOVED it!  A few years after that my sister and a friend of mine used the same company to go to Greece.  Then my friend and I booked a trip to Italy last year through this agency.  So who is this mystery travel agency and why are they so great?  The company is Gate 1 Travel and they are fabulous for a multitude of reasons.  Gate 1 allows you to travel the world for far less money than you would expect.  The company offers trips all over the world which can be taken as either guided tours or else as independent vacations.  Once you have selected your destination, you choose your departure and return from a multitude of pre-set dates; I believe that Gate 1 keeps costs low by buying massive group rates which are then extended to their customers.  If you choose to take an independent vacation, then you may choose to upgrade your hotels as well as to add optional tours to your package.
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Arguably one of the most unusual and enchanting cities in the world, Venice is a jewel.  The city is a veritable maze of canals, foot bridges and ancient passageways.  Pictured above is a snapshot I took of a passing gondola (crazy, right?).  Venice is filled with beautiful things to see and piazzas to explore.  While there, I would absolutely recommend taking a water taxi out to the island of Murano where you can see the famous Murano Venetian glass being blown; my friend and I both felt that seeing this greatly enhanced our appreciation for the glass pieces which are sold all over the city.
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Under the Tuscan Sun


Should you find yourself in Florence, Italy, I highly recommend taking a day (or two, or three) to tour the surrounding hill towns of the Tuscan countryside.  You will see some of the most picturesque scenery and you will have an opportunity to glimpse into the past.  It is easy to take a bus from Florence out to the countryside.
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Down on the Bayou

If you should ever travel to New Orleans, which I highly recommend, be sure to take a swamp tour; it is truly an experience!  Having been to New Orleans several times now, I have taken more than one trip down to Louisiana’s swamps.  My first swamp tour was taken in an outboard motor boat which travelled through the swamp at a leisurely pace.  It was fun and I learned a lot about the wildlife indigenous to the area.  This past visit, I opted to take a tour with Airboat Adventures…a company that owns over 20,000 acres of swamp land and gives you up-close and personal experiences with some of the swamp’s most famous residents…the alligators!  I took this picture above of an alligator which was probably about 5 feet away from me (I just love the seaweed on his snout)!  This tour was a ton of fun and I really enjoyed it!  The highlight for me came later when I actually held an alligator…
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