Consumer Credit Counseling of New Hampshire and Vermont

Founded in 1972, Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Hampshire and Vermont aims to provide expert and professional to consumers facing problems in managing their finances. Founded as a non-profit agency by a group of NH community bankers, Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Hampshire and Vermont is a community service organization providing unbiased service to its […]

Group aims to pull I-25 travelers into cities


Here Are The Most Affordable Turntables That Everyone Can Have With Them

Turntables are the aspect that is vintage and has powerfully hit the market because of its working ethics. High quality, which is readily available on with the help of this link, one can get the best and most reliable products of almost every company, and this is the primary reason why the majority of people […]

Shaping the Digital Industry with the Latest Trend in Web Hosting


A Comprehensive Chicago Travel Guide

Best recognized as a “Windy City” simply because the bureaucrats go on to blow a lot of hot air, Chicago is amongst many individual’s favourite cities to travel across the US, particularly in the summers, as that is just the perfect weather to travel. Chicago’s most significant draws involve its ever-green space, one of the […]

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Condo Vacation Rentals: The Good and the Bad


This is a sticky subject

Now I didn’t bring this up, ok? Sally posted on suggested rants”¦so don’t blame me! LOL! But I have to admit this topic is one of my all time pet peeves! I know I am not alone in this”¦how many of you have done the stiff leg shoe drag into a store while mumbling under your breath words no one under 17 should hear trying to remove the gum from your espadrille? More…

Have any of you looked at a mall parking lot lately and seen the multi-colored sticky landmines?? It’s like a game of Twister getting from your vehicle into the “safe zone” past the oozing gum piles! I mean COME ON people”¦do you HAVE to toss your Juicy Fruit so casually out of your mouths as you do. Of course, NO one reading this is a culprit of said tacky offense. And I honestly would like to be arriving at the exact moment one of these Double Mint Twins are tossing their ABC gum to be able to confront them and question their total lack of shoe respect. I know it would fall on deaf ears I am sure and it would probably turn nasty ending up in a slap fest with me ending up with gum in my hair not to mention a huge dent in my dignity. But I’m sure you all understand my total peeved-ness with this!

After all, we are NOT asking too much of them to hold their gum for the few added seconds it takes to walk to the nearest trash receptacle. How much effort would that take, seriously? Common courtesy people! What is the rush to remove the gum from your mouth as soon as your feet hit the pavement? Chewed gum is one of those substances that will outlast even the single-celled creatures for resilience to meteor blast/nuclear war/Armageddon”¦I know decades after I’m pushing up daisy my local mall parking lot will still have the same oozing gum mines waiting like a tar pit for an unsuspecting victim.

And have you noticed the cruel twists of fate associated with stepping in gum”¦Like a Sticky Murray’s Law?

You will be running late for whatever you were arriving for.
You will be wearing shoes with added traction soles”¦those little crevices just right for getting packed with gum.
The parking lot will be filled (no matter what time of day) with normal people not needing to drag their leg like Long John Silver, rut thru grassy patches like a dog or understand your truck drivers use of language while dressed like their mom.
Your inherent ability to balance on one leg will leave you and you will be forced to hop around like a Flamingo on crack.
A shoe thrown like a boomerang will not return”¦.

I have also noticed that some people are prone to step in gum on an unnatural basis”¦like their shoes have a built-in gum-dar”¦.my dear husband is one of these blessed folks. He is also prone to find any animal waste in the vicinity too. This Fall we spent a few days in NYC and had a leisurely stroll thru Central Park”¦sun shining, runners running”¦horse drawn carriages clopping peacefully by. Yep”¦you guessed it…my hubby stepped in horse manure. I looked at him, smiled and said, “Aren’t you glad we didn’t go to the circus as they have elephants and you’d be up to your knees.” It could have been worse”¦the horse could have been chewing gum”¦.

I Am Woman…Hear Me Snore….

We, women, hold the power of the world in our dishwashing pan hands. I came to this conclusion from years of marriage and motherhood. My family would spend their days searching for all their belongings, walking around lost in their dirty underwear if not for me. Not one dentist appointment would be kept….no dry cleaning would ever get picked up….a new life form would breed in our refrigerator and all our house pets would have to turn on each other to eat.

It never ceases to amaze me how I can live in a house with another adult but be the only one who knows that silly string will stain the walls. Or that turtles left on their own loose in a bedroom will disappear into space never to be seen again. And why do I find myself saying, “Okay…take that outside!” when one of the participants in said non-indoor water/ball/pet involved activity is also over the age of 40? I don’t get it. Don’t get me wrong…I love my family…adore my husband of 21 years but I thought he had already gone through puberty when I said, “I do.” I know the trend now is to be involved with a younger man but I don’t think they were talking maturity wise. I find it hard to believe at times this “big kid” I married goes to an office every day where he is “The boss”. I must admit I have moments where visions of board meetings with him blowing bubbles and greeting his staff with a hand buzzer come into my mind.

My daughter, I expect to be scattered brained…she is a child. I am not surprised when she puts marshmallows into the microwave to “see what they would do”…this comes with the territory of being a parent. But I need back-up and my partner at times is involved in the wrong side of the learning experience.

We women as the weaker sex may hold the lower percentage of CEO positions, World Leader titles, and covers of Fortune Magazine but without us, the world would stop spinning. No socks would ever get paired up, no Bake Sale cookies baked at the last minute, no 3-D models of the Trojan Horse made in Popsicle sticks glued together at midnight, no knees bandaged, no missing hamsters found (who would have guessed the dryer), no tears wiped away, no stuck zippers fixed or no one to blame for everything and to hug as tight all in the same breath…if not for us? Woman-Wife-Mom…Thank God I was born female.

I do not understand how I am responsible for the location of everything in the house???!!!!! I may not have been involved in the last use of it but I am the one that is always asked, “Have you seen (fill in the blank)?” Amazingly I seem to always know where to look for it…whatever IT was…as I tend to use common sense and think where it might have been used last…thus dropped and left near, behind or in the area as NOTHING is ever put back where it rightfully belongs in this house!!!!!!

One day…in the not so distant future…my family will call out my name and I will not answer as I will be lying on the beach someplace….umbrella drink in one hand and a cabana boy in the other…someday soon….

Considering Recycling

Rach, the “teen”

A few years ago I tried to get my parents into being conscious of our footprint. It didn’t work, we all used the recycling as another smaller trash can, I felt bad, told everyone that recycling was for hippies, and gave up. Of course, my dad just recently got into recycling. Actually, we got into it because the people who lived in our house before we moved in left their recycling bin here. So, we started washing out containers, packaging up old newspapers and even crushing soda cans to make more space.

Now that we have the special blue bin everything seems different. The whole family is more environmentally aware. It’s great! One day we all just started really caring about our environment. No one ever taught us to be aware, I guess the fact that our planet is filling with garbage really scared us. So, does your family recycle? And how have you taught your kids about being environmentally responsible in a world that is so used to wasting?

Considering Recycling

Mary, the “mom”

Recycling has been required by law around here for a long time – probably twenty years. So, my kids haven’t known a time when there wasn’t a separate can for tossing recyclables. It’s not something we talk about all that much, it’s just how it is.

Now and again, the school will do a lesson focused on recycling and one of the kids will come home all “gung-ho” to do more. They’ll double check the codes on the bottom of plastic containers I throw away. However, this enthusiasm doesn’t extend to taking shorter showers or bringing empty shampoo bottles downstairs to put in the recycling bin. Actually, come to think of it, they don’t even bother to take the empty shampoo bottle out of the shower, but that’s a separate issue.

I’ll admit to having been lazy about recycling certain things. Is it really worth all the water you use to clean out the peanut butter jar? But just this year, on Earth Day, I saw a segment on a morning show with a recycling specialist who said you don’t have to wash out the jars. How liberating!

Lately, I’ve been noticing more and more canvas bags at the grocery store. At first, my reaction was “what a hassle!” However, I am now starting to realize just how many little plastic bags I bring home from the various stores and I think canvas bags may be the next frontier for us in recycling. Maybe I’ll have more success with that than the shorter shower thing!

Considering Recycling

Brad, the “dad”

Hey, I’m in California. We invented recycling. I’m sitting here right now looking at the bags and bags of hard plastic vs. soft plastic vs. colored glass vs. shiny paper vs. blahdeblahdeblah that is part and parcel of L.A. Life in this century. And this is a good thing.

But me personally? I’m over it. Or rather, past it. We’ve recently focused the family on a different, oft-neglected part of the “recycle, reuse, reduce” mantra. I’m convinced we are simply buying too much stuff wrapped in too much other stuff, and it has to stop. If the container can’t be crumpled up into a fraction of its original size – assuming it won’t simply rot away – I say it ain’t comin’ in here. Because I’m sick to death of hauling all this crap to the recycle bins.

I’ve recently changed produce markets because my favorite place puts a lot of its soft fruits in plastic boxes. And I don’t want plastic boxes. We’ve pretty much stopped buying any prepared or frozen foods, with a few notable exceptions. (Frozen bananas and peas. Frozen peas, my friends, are a gift from God.) No more bottled water – which was already a rip-off – and juices in cartons not cans (eww! Cans!) or glass. I’m even buying rice and flour in bulk and putting it in good ol’ fashioned Mason Jars, just like Grammy use’ta. Boxes, boil-in-a-bag, and plastic wrap is so 1900’s, don’t you think?

Point is: we’re concentrating on using less, buying more wisely, and eating fresh and local whenever possible, so that recycling – as important as it is, and it is – isn’t the only thing we do to feel good about beginning green; it’s merely the first thing.

Here endeth the sermon for the day.

A “Family” Considers Teen’s Request for a Tattoo

The “Dad”

The Elf – 13.666 years old (with the accent on the “666”) has just made a major-league pitch to us for a…for a…tattoo. And not just some tiny little rose on her ankle you could cover with a stocking or a sports bandage or a skin graft. This time the Elf is living up to her nickname. “It’s a hand?” she told me. “But smaller, like a gnome or a fairy’s hand? And it’s curling around from behind like it’s grabbing my arm. Won’t that be cool?”

I have to hand it to myself: my head did not explode. But I hauled out every counter-argument I could think of. I tried the ‘health’ angle, and I she showed me articles on how safe “skin art” was these days. I said, “Nobody your age is getting –“ and she listed half a dozen kids in her 8th-grade class who already had tattoos. I even tried Being Reasonable – I was that desperate. “Honey,” I said, “I know how much you want this, but really, I think –“

tattoo 1

She put an affectionate hand on my arm and smiled – no, really, she actually smiled “Daddy,” she said. “I love you-you know that. But I don’t care what you think.”

I was stumped. The best I could do was cross my arms and looked oh-so-very stern and say, “We’ll see.”

“Right,” she said. “I’m going to go talk to Mom.”

I’m going to have to get there first. Seriously: The Mom and I are going to have to talk this through. ’m dead-set against it, and I think she is, too. And of course, The Elf can’t get it done without a note from her parents. But we’re going to have to formulate a really good counter-offensive to avoid getting…well, you know, offensive.

There’s not going to be any tattoo. Not on my watch. But I’d really like her to agree that it’s not a great idea, at least for a few years. Or decades. Or lifetimes.

The “Teen”

To be completely honest, I don’t have any really strong feelings about tattoos. I’ve seen some cool ones, and I’ve seen some really horrible ones. The cool ones, well, they tend to be on people who are really extreme. Old punk rockers covered in tattoos, that’s pretty cool, very hardcore. Teenagers with lame body art, not so cool.

It’s cool that The Elf is so open about what she wants. But it’s too bad that she wants a tattoo. It’s going to be hard to convince her that getting a tattoo at 13 is a bad idea because it can be hard to persuade someone to not do something.

I feel like getting a tattoo is like picking out a shirt. A shirt that you would never take off. A shirt that you would wear every single solitary day. You’d want that shirt to be perfect, right? It would need to look good with all your other clothes. It would have to be appropriate at weddings and funerals, during school and during play. It would be a permanent fixture of your life forever and ever.

tattoo 1

The “Mom”

I’m with “Dad” – not on my watch!

I agree that it would be great if The Elf could come around to agreeing that a tattoo doesn’t make sense, but if she doesn’t, this is a battle to pick. (You know, “they” always say, ‘pick your battles’.)

So, you’ve tried a few arguments and none have made an impression. I’d focus on how her tastes have changed – and will continue to change. The hairstyle that looked so “cool” two years, but she wouldn’t be caught dead with now. Or, the outfit that was a ‘must-have’, that’s now been discarded as “so yesterday”. What happens when she changes her mind about the tattoo? I know, The Elf will say “but, I won’t change my mind”. But, we know she will.

Stick to your guns! — with loving explanations of why and the promise that if she still wants a tattoo when she turns 18, she can do it. She’ll thank you for this down the road. Of course, in the meantime, you’ll probably pay for it in many creative ways!

India gold imports to rise into 2015 – Scotia-Mocatta

Gold imports into India have returned to more normal levels and could climb higher in 2015 amid tepid bullion prices and improved domestic economic conditions, Sunil Kashyap, Bank of Scotia-Mocatta managing director, said at the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) conference held in Lima.

Last year began normally, demand was stable and imports were coming in at around 50-60 tonnes per month. Then the Indian government introduced a slew of measures, starting with custom duty increases from 2 to 10 percent of the value of gold.

In July 2013, the Reserve Bank of India implemented the controversial so-called 20:80 scheme in an attempt to control the escalating current account deficit and stabilise the rupee. Under the rule, every importer had to ensure that 20 percent of all the gold brought into the country would be made exclusively available for export.


“These measures led to a sharp decline in official imports – they fell to 5 tonnes in September. Once the market got its head around the new policy, imports resumed but only to about 15 tonnes in December,” Kashyap said.

But in 2014 the pace of official imports started to pick up steam. The real turning point came in May when the government increased the number of star trading houses/premier trading houses (PTH) that would be allowed to import gold.GOLD 2

Over the last three months, imports increased to an average of 60-70 tonnes per month. And even when accounting for the 20:80 rule, net imports into India are running at about 40-50 tonnes per month.

“We’re now seeing regular imports of gold,” Kashyap said. “This has led to much more availability in the market – premiums have fallen from $50-$100 to $5-$10.”


Meanwhile, domestic Indian gold demand next year will hinge on two factors. The first will be price, which has been falling over the past several months.

Gold futures on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange closed Tuesday at $1,163.00 an ounce, which is about $225 below the February high.

“Most people see the price going lower, so the expectation is that demand will improve,” Kashyap said.


The second driver for demand growth will be the macroeconomic conditions inside India, which have improved significantly since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took office in May.

“The currency has been more stable, trading in a range of about 2 percent this year compared to a range of 10-15 percent last year. Inflation in September was at a five year low of 3 percent, while the stock market reached record highs this week,” Kashyap said.

Tiger buys balance of Kipoi copper project in DRC

Australian headquartered junior copper miner, Tiger Resources, is to acquire the 40% shareholding in the Kipoi copper project in the DRC which it doesn’t already own. The acquisition covers the 40% of operating company, Société d’Exploitation de Kipoi (SEK), currently owned by DRC parastatal mining company, Gecamines. Tiger already owns 60% of the company and is the mine and project operator.

However, the proposed deal will leave Gecamines a 2.5% gross turnover royalty, and Tiger also says it will cede 5% of SEK to the DRC Government to bring the mining title into alignment with the current mining law and regulations in the DRC.Tiger Resources

The agreed purchase price is US$111 million, of which a deposit of $6.5 million has been paid and a completion payment of $104.5 million is due by 10 November 2014.

Commenting on the deal, tiger’s CEO, Brad Marwood, noted: “Kipoi has been the cornerstone of our business over the past seven years and together with our DRC business partner we are proud of our achievements. We see the potential to grow our business by focusing on near-mine exploration and sourcing plant feed from elsewhere in the Kipoi region, thus ensuring the mine should operate well into the next decade.

“We believe the acquisition of the additional 40% interest in SEK to be earnings-accretive and offers the opportunity to grow our business and cement our future in the DRC as a 50,000t per year copper cathode producer once the proposed expansion of the SXEW facility has been completed.

“The purchase price is considered a good outcome for all parties having regard to the current 25,000 tonne/year copper cathode production and the fact that the HMS operations are nearing the end of their life.”

Tiger plans to fund the acquisition through a $73.4 million equity component through the placement of 65 million fully paid ordinary shares at $0.30 per share to raise $19.5 million; and a fully underwritten pro rata accelerated non-renounceable entitlement offer to raise a further $53.9 million, with the balance coming in part from a $100 million finance facility from Taurus Mining Finance Fund.

Tiger Resources

The Kipoi Copper Project is a medium to high grade copper mine and development project located approximately 75 km NNW of Lubumbashi in the DRC’s copper-rich Katanga Province. Tiger has been undertaking a phased development schedule there with the most recent development being the commencement of copper cathode production from its Stage 2 solvent extraction electro-winning (SX/EW) plant in May this year. This first phase of the SX/EW plant is expected to produce copper cathode at the nameplate level of 25,000 tonne/year.

See: Tiger burning bright with new SX/EW copper plant on stream

Up until then, production has been from a heavy media separation (HMS) plant which has been in production at Kipoi since 2011. The HMS plant has produced concentrate stockpiles containing an estimated 159,600 tonnes of copper which are providing feed for the SX/EW plant for the first three years of its operation.

Kipoi is thus a relatively low cost copper miner with life of mine site operating costs put at US$1.04/lb and All in Sustaining Costs around $1.75/lb, compared with a current copper price of around $3.15/lb suggesting strong margins.

There are a number of other already-defined copper bearing deposits in the 55 square mile project area. Tiger reports that the project contains a 12km sequence of mineralised Roan sediments that host at least five known deposits: Kipoi Central, Kipoi North, Kileba, Judeira and Kaminafitwe.

Tiger Resources

JORC-compliant resources have already been reported at four of the deposits: Kipoi Central, Kipoi North, Kileba and Judeira. The principal deposit is Kipoi Central, which contains a zone of high grade copper mineralisation within a much larger, lower grade global resource. Production targets are underpinned by estimated JORC compliant Ore Reserves. The combined Measured and Indicated resource is put at 61 million tonnes grading 1.4% copper and 0.07% cobalt containing 848,000 tonnes of copper and 41,500 tonnes of cobalt. There is a further Inferred resource of 12.3 million tonnes grading 1.1% Cu and 0.04% Co for 133,000 tonnes of copper and 5,400 tonnes of cobalt.

It is envisaged that ore from Judeira and other deposits within the Kipoi Project area, and within the nearby 100%-owned Lupoto Project, will also be processed during the SX/EW operations, providing additional returns and increasing the ore reserves available as feedstock to the SX/EW plant. This plant is expected to produce 25,000 tonnes of copper cathode in its first operational year and to be expanded to produce 50,000 tonne/year subsequently. Altogether it has been projected to produce 532,000 tonnes of copper cathode over an 11 year life, but positive exploration results could prolong its life further.

The company thus states that increased resources from these deposits will potentially increase the mine life and/or the annual plant throughput, but that further exploration, evaluation and other testing will be required to determine the proportion, if any, of ore from these deposits that may ultimately be available as feed for the plant.

Las Vegas Activities in December

Las Vegas is full of holiday spirit during the month of December. You’ll see ornamented trees lit up with tiny white lights or large multicolored ones. Casino employees are dressed in red outfits, many adorned with white fur. Sin City seems to turn into Santa land for the major holiday season. Everyone even seems to be a bit more jolly in their demeanor. Christmas themed shows, sporting events and enjoying the natural desert are all part of the activities that you’ll enjoy during December in Las Vegas.l v

Winchester Cultural Center

The Winchester Cultural Center offers an abundance of Christmas cheer in December. Stop in for a show, such as the “So, You Think You Can Dance” winter recital, “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer” or the City of Lights Barbershop Chorus doing skits, singing and dancing.

Winchester Cultural Center
3130 S. McLeod Drive
Las Vegas, NV
(702) 445-7340

Las Vegas Springs Preserve

Walk through the Winter Lights Festival at the Las Vegas Springs Preserve. It’s a 180-acre cultural and historical attraction of indoor and outdoor desert living. Enjoy the preserve, while 500,000 LED lights illuminate your way. There is also plenty of holiday entertainment, carriage rides and seasonal foods and gifts.

Las Vegas Springs Preserve
333 S. Valley Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV 89193
(702) 822-7700

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The fights are big in Las Vegas. If you’re a fan, you’ll be glad to know there are usually big fights scheduled for December, featuring world-class athletes. The MGM Grand usually offers one and the others are generally scheduled by UFC. You can purchase any of the tickets, in advance, for these events at Stub Hub (see the Resources section for a link).

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All of the hotels in Las Vegas are decked out in their finest Christmas cheer. If you want to be enveloped in the best of the holiday spirit, The Bellagio is red and silver all over with huge Christmas trees and beautiful ornaments. Paris Las Vegas lights up the sky with its multitude of holiday lights.

The Bellagio
3600 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, NV 89109
(888) 987-6667

Paris Las Vegas
3655 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, NV 89109
(702) 966-2949

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Half Marathon

The annual Las Vegas Half Marathon is usually scheduled in early December. You can join upwards of 16,000 people, all attempting to finish the half marathon. It all starts with fireworks at the 6 a.m. starting line. It’s true, you never know what you’ll see in Vegas. Expect a few Elvis impersonators and newly weds running along side of you.

How To Plan a Romantic Picnic for Two in Southern California

Picnics and love — the pair go together as perfectly as Romeo and Juliet, but what’s a couple to do when her idea of romance is wine and brie with linen napkins under a shade tree in LaJolla, while his is a sweaty bike ride around Newport beach? Compromise. Negotiate. Take turns pleasing your significant other by scheduling a series of picnics that celebrate your passion so wonderfully that even if a couple of ants show up, you’ll be more inclined to relocate than squash ’em. There’s plenty to choose from in this article so don’t stop with one idea. Mix and match until your partner falls as hopelessly in love with your ingenuity as he or she does with your culinary prowess.

Things You’ll Need:

  • Picnic foods Wine or beverage
  • Picnic foods
  • Wine or beverage

Step 1

Schedule a Catalina Island getaway and begin the day on the water. The hour’s boat ride offers the opportunity to surprise your sweetie with a small gift; if money’s tight, make it a little toy boat lettered with the date to commemorate your picnic. Bring along a lightweight, nylon bag, then stroll this adorable town and sight-see, stopping to select picnic foods for your feast at local shops. Pop the items into your insulated bag to protect perishables and find a secluded area to enjoy your picnic. Did you remember to get dessert?

How To Plan a Romantic Picnic for Two in Southern California

Step 2

Head for Coronado if your idea of a romantic picnic doesn’t include an hour on a boat. It’s anybody’s guess why this sandy peninsula came to be called Coronado Island, but perhaps the views of the sand and sea create the illusion. Having found out exactly what your love considers the perfect picnic repast, bring those items along — even if that means packing a small barbeque grill on which you can toast everything from veggies to burgers (hold the onions) to s’mores. Watch the sun go down over Coronado while sipping champagne to end a sumptuous picnic day.

Step 3

Share art from the heart in LaJolla by taking in the town’s galleries before you turn your attention to the main menu. Walk along the cliffs to feast on spectacular views and then bring out a modest array of temptations from your linen-lined picnic basket. If you filled it with fresh fruits, sandwich fixings, chocolates and favorite beverages you’ll have provided plenty of treats without much effort. Play Truth or Dare as you nibble. Bring out crayons and paper so each of you can sketch a favorite fantasy as you sip wine and gather memories of a picture-perfect picnic.

How To Plan a Romantic Picnic for Two in Southern California

Step 4

Sip your way around Laguna Beach after stopping at Laguna Canyon winery to select a picnic beverage. Head for Crystal Cove and settle into the sand to enjoy the picnic you packed and prepared before leaving home. If Laguna Beach doesn’t offer enough wine for your taste, opt for Temecula’s Sunny Valley, Southern California’s answer to the Napa Valley — but closer. Pair your wine selection with mini-lasagnas made earlier by removing the centers of beefy rolls (save the top) and layering pasta sauce, ricotta and mozzarella cheeses and caramelized veggies inside. Replace the top before baking in foil. Share smooth ice cream treats after your picnic and don’t forget to bring home some of that yummy wine for your next get-together.

Step 5

Pack bathing suits and picnic gear and head to Malibu to get in touch with your inner Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon. Pricey real estate abounds, so use this opportunity to fantasize about the kind of luxury homes each of you dream about building some day as you sit on the beach picnicking. Having prepared for the day by marinating chicken breasts overnight, grill them to perfection before packing them with raw veggies, ranch dip and hard or soft lemonade. Wind up your adventurous picnic day by trying your hand at kayaking, a popular Malibu sport. Rumor has it that it’s easier to steer a two-seater rather than individual kayaks, so test that theory before you wrap up your day of fun.

How To Plan a Romantic Picnic for Two in Southern California

Step 6

Find picnic nirvana at a higher altitude. Drive into the mountains to channel your inner Heidi and Hans at Idyllwild, a little piece of Alpine heaven located a mile above L.A. If Idyllwild isn’t high enough, head for the snow-peaked San Gabriel Mountains or Joshua Tree National Park, a couple of hours from San Diego. Whichever location you choose, make your picnic as memorable as the scenery by filling a cooler with pasta salad made with avocado, chicken and vinaigrette dressing. Open a fruity Riesling (white wine) to go with a dessert of strawberries and whipped cream. If you run out of fruit, be as inventive as possible with the leftover cream.

Step 7

Become environmentally involved by heading to Dana Point to watch the whales and canoodle with your sweetie over a yummy picnic. The harbor is gorgeous and the atmosphere pure old world seafaring, so soak in the views. Bring along ingredients to make veggie wraps from tortillas, cilantro-infused cream cheese, sliced olives, avocado, thinly sliced ham, marinated mushrooms and veggies. Pack a tawdry romance novel and read to each other from the pages. Of course, bringing that bodice ripper as an audio book with a CD player makes just as much sense. That way, your hands are free to eat and do anything else that strikes your fancy.

Colorado Mountain Peaks and Ski Slopes

High mountain peaks, ski slopes and amazing landscapes have made Colorado famous. People come to the Rocky Mountains either for sports or just for admiring the beautiful nature surrounding them. Ever heard of Indian summers? In Colorado, the reverse is actually true: you can expect snow most of the time, even on a hot day. It’s one of the best touristic destinations for those who love snow, if they visit in the spring, the fall or winter. Actually, even on some summer days.COLORADO

What people don’t know is that Colorado is one of the fittest states, mostly due to the outdoors activities that can be so much fun here. The locals are welcoming and very open-minded. A nasty rumor has it the state is the heaven of hippies, but it seems an on-going dispute for this title with San Francisco. Anyway, don’t get judgmental. Coloradans can be lighthearted and the etiquette doesn’t require much formalities. They love hanging out in big groups. Climbing, suddenly deciding to go on a trip, skiing, shopping or just driving around are some of the few things you might enjoy in Colorado. Another thing you may enjoy is marijuana, as Colorado has the highest consumption per capita.

Some trip ideas: visit the Garden of the Gods on a horseback ride; go see the mountains at the Independence Pass and admire its lakes or waterfalls; explore the mountain peaks, especially Mount Elbert; go skiing in Aspen. If you’re ever tired of its breathtaking nature, try some museums. It has a wide range of open-air, historical, art, natural or technology museums. A currency museum is located in Colorado Springs. The state has one of the 2 mountain zoos residing in the US. There are plenty other tourist attractions, so don’t hesitate and add Colorado on your travel itinerary!

The Best Places to Vacation for Singles

Millions of people today travel with neither families nor mates, but alone — as unattached singles. This segment makes up about one-fourth of the travel market. When traveling as a single, the destination and atmosphere of the destination makes all the difference to your vacation. Here are a few top picks for places that are especially friendly for single travelers.

Go on a Cruise

For a multitude of reasons, cruises are perhaps the number one choice for single travelers — at least those going solo for the first time. On a cruise, there is so much going on and so many organized activities that one can be as social — or as alone — as desired.

The mainstream cruise on a large ship generally offers the most options. Major cruise lines such as Carnival, Holland America, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity have jam-packed itineraries for guests that include shows, games, contests, and activities such as rock wall climbing and driving ranges. Many cruises also operate “themed” sailings such as music, cooking, history or sports.

Royal Caribbean

The ships themselves also typically have top-notch pools and lounge areas, casinos and social areas such as libraries or game rooms. For those times when you do want some along time, or perhaps some pampering, world-class spas are found on all large cruise lines. Dining at large tables as part of a group is something that many solo travelers enjoy, as it gives them a chance to meet other travelers and get to know them.

If the idea of a huge floating resort isn’t for you, there are plenty of other smaller cruise options. Canadian Sailing Expeditions in particular is excellent for single travelers. These smaller masted sailing vessels take small groups of thirty or fewer on casual, laid-back trips all over the world. The tall-ship cruise company sets aside three or so Caribbean cruises each year specifically for single travelers, who are matched with a roommate and who pay the regular cruise rate (instead of a single supplement fee). Other small ship cruise lines include SeaDream Yacht Club, Silversea Cruises and Abercrombie & Kent.

Spa Getaway

Let’s face it — one of the main reasons anyone travels is to relax and get away from work and the normal pressures and to-do lists of everyday life. What better way to unplug than by taking a solo spa vacation — one where you are focusing on nothing but yourself. Spas can be among the greatest places for single travelers — and men, don’t think that spa vacations are only for women. Approximately 25 percent of spa clients are men, and there are numerous spas that cater to men.

The Claremont

The Claremont Resort & Spa in Berkeley, Calif., is perched on a hilltop with astonishing views of San Francisco. The spa offers weekday wellness packages from $99, with treatments such as the Ginseng Herbal Facial and Moor Than Mud Body Wrap. Other packages are available, which the Claremont calls “Journeys,” that include therapeutic massage, scrubs, baths and manicures. For example, the Brazilian Rainforest Journey begins with a soak in a lush botanical bath, followed by the healing properties of noni gel, a natural antioxidant, in a lavish body wrap with healing aloe vera. Complete your journey as warm coconut milk is massaged into your body, feet and scalp. A full menu of men’s services are available. The Claremont also has swimming pools, tennis courts and a fully equipped fitness club. Room rates start at $129, and many packages are available.

The Lakeway

In Austin, Texas check out the Lakeway Resort & Spa on Lake Travis in beautiful Hill Country. Lakeway Resort and Spa captures the elegance of a world-class destination with contemporary resort amenities. Nestled in the heart of Texas, away from the hustle and bustle of downtown Austin’s attractions (but close enough for nightlife or sightseeing if you feel like it), guests of Lakeway Resort and Spa are enjoying the rebirth of a legend. The resort’s San Saba Spa has unique treatments such as the warm Colorado River Rock as well as classic Swedish massage, wraps, facials, manicures, pedicures, and more. The beautifully appointed Spa has his and her dry saunas and quiet rooms with mesmerizing views of Lake Travis. In addition, the attached fitness center offers the latest training equipment and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the garden and infinity edge pool. Rooms start at around $150, but right now they’re running a special: stay two nights and get the third night free!

Adventure Vacation

If you’re looking for more adventure, whether it’s honing a sport or learning a new skill, there are dozens of websites catering to a growing number of single adventure-lovers.

Costa Rica has been an increasingly popular destination for U.S. travelers and transplants for more than a decade. The peaceful nation’s 34 parks and reserves make it a nature-lover’s dream. The landscape from one side of the small country to the other is diverse, with volcanic mountain ranges, rain forests, fertile valleys dotted with coffee plantations; and of course the warm waters of both the Pacific and the Caribbean.

The School of the World in Playa Jaco combines its photography courses with your choice of surfing, yoga or Spanish lessons — its motto is “Educating Travelers in Inspirational Environments.” It opened in 1997 with the goal of taking a creative approach to learning by combining aspects of a language school, surf school, photography workshop and adventure travel, to create an unforgettable travel experience.


About a thousand miles north of Costa Rica lies Veracruz, a port city living the traditional life of old Mexico. The tourists are Mexicans from around the country, and it’s possible not to see another American during your stay. Here, The Language Immersion School prides itself on an accomplished track record of helping its students become conversational in days — while supporting the local culture and giving students the taste of life in Veracruz. Additional learning available includes cooking, ecotourism, folk dancing and guitar making.

Want a little more down time? Check out the annual Women’s Yoga and Journaling Vacation offered by River Soul Journeys. River Soul Journeys are river-based spiritual retreats that combine guided meditation, yoga and river rafting in secluded portions of the American West. Trips are customized to your white-water skill level. Each River Soul Journey offers different levels of whitewater challenge, outdoor activities and spiritual growth paths. No matter which River Soul Journey you choose, one thing is guaranteed — a noticeable shift in your consciousness.

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