October 27, 2017

Flowers! The Gift That Can Speak a Thousand Words

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You might think that sending a bouquet of flowers may be cliche or a little old-fashioned but there’s a reason that people have sent one another bunches of blooms for centuries now. Flowers are truly a gift that can suit almost any occasion, as different species of plants have all sorts of connotations and symbolisms behind them. So, no matter what the occasion, there’s a floral gift that will suit your needs perfectly. Flowers truly are the gift that can speak a thousand words. Here are a few different occasions and the best type to suit it!

New Home
When people move into a new property, it can be rather difficult to choose something to congratulate them. Purchasing household goods is a kind idea at its core. However, chances are that the new homeowners will want to decorate and furnish their property to their own specific taste and preferences. They may appreciate a new set of dishes, some cushions, or a rug. But there’s a good chance that they may well have something else in mind that suits their aesthetic or the functionality of their home better. Flowers are a simple gift that shows that you’re excited for them. However, they are not permanent. They can decorate the property for a short time and then be moved aside for things that they’ve chosen for themselves. If you know their tastes well and want to opt for something a little more permanent, a brilliant option could be a peace lily. These potted plants signify peace and tranquillity: perfect for the domestic environment.

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Get Well Soon
Many hospitals don’t allow visitors to bring flowers anymore. This is logical and practical, as you never know whether other patients have allergies to things like pollen plus everyone wants to ensure that recovery spaces are as clean and sterile as possible. However, once someone has returned home after an operation or treatment, a bouquet of beautiful flowers might be exactly what they need to brighten the place up a bit and lift their spirits. A Florist will be able to combine the best quality picks to make something truly stunning. Choose something bright and joyous, like sunflowers. These plants follow the sun, so will remind your loved one to keep their chin up at even the most adverse times.

Loss
Loss is awful, and there are never any words that can truly comfort someone who is mourning. However, flowers are a simple way of showing that you have someone in your thoughts. It’s not imposing, as you can have them delivered. For situations such as this, standard lilies may be ideal. They are indicative of transience, representing the individual who has passed to the other side.

These are just a few occasions where flowers can be used as the perfect gift. Others can include mother’s day, birthdays, or even as a simple surprise. So, if you’re ever in doubt, remember that flowers should do just the trick.

*This is a collaborative/contributed/partnered, compensated post. The copy, content, images & opinions are not my own.

October 25, 2017

Don't Forget to Do These Things Before Going Traveling


When you go abroad for a long period of time, it can feel overwhelming with all the things that you have to remember. Packing your suitcase early is a good start, but there are a host of other things that you want to do before getting on that plane. In this article, we are going to take a closer look at the things that people often forget to do. Use it as a checklist and you can tick off everything one by one so you don’t make the same error. Let’s get started!

Make Copies of Important Documents and Buy Insurance
It is always worth preparing for the worst case scenario. Even if it doesn’t happen, you will at least give yourself peace of mind while you are on your trip. So, it is a good idea to make both digital and hard copies of things like your passport, credit cards, driver’s license etc. Email a copy of all of them to yourself, and you will be able to access them no matter the situation. Speaking of things to give you peace of mind, it is so important that you have proper travel insurance in case any of your valuable possessions get lost or stolen. This is such an important thing to do and it often doesn’t cost you a great deal.


Call Your Bank
Letting your bank know when and where you will be traveling will help you to avoid any awkward situations when they freeze your cards, thinking that they have been stolen. Also, make sure you keep a copy of their information on file so you are ready to get in touch with them in case anything goes wrong while you are abroad.

Write Down Important Numbers
We have become so reliant on technology these days that we panic as soon as our phones run out of battery. It is a good idea to have an index card of all your important phone numbers and documents so you can call them in the event of an emergency.

Get in Touch with Your Phone Company
Before you go away, it is a good idea to get in touch with your phone company to check if there are any specific deals that they can give you while you are abroad. While you will get good rates in some countries, others can end up being extremely expensive. Otherwise, you can consider investing in a foreign SIM card as a way of getting a better deal. Make sure you keep your data switched off until you need to use it to avoid incurring any unnecessary charges along the way.



Make a Note of Important Dates in Your Calendar
Just because you are away traveling, that doesn’t mean that you want to sever all connections from back home. Also, you want to keep in contact with people as much as possible rather than just posting bragging comments and photos up on Facebook! So, make a note of any important dates such as birthdays, anniversaries, weddings etc. There are plenty of delivery services such as usflowersdelivery so you can send presents from wherever you are in the world. Keeping in contact with the people from home to find out about how things are going and letting them know what you have been doing is one of the great pleasures of traveling.

Check in for Your Flight and Print Tickets
A huge number of airline allow you to check in for your flight ahead of time, as well as printing off your boarding pass so make sure you do this before you get to the airport. Many budget airlines actually charge a fee if you don’t check-in online, and this is the last thing you need. Also, if you have pre-booked any other transportation tickets before you travel, it is worth downloading these and keeping a paper copy as backup as well.

Research Climate/Current Weather Conditions
You will find it much easier to pack if you have researched the climate and current weather conditions. The last thing that you need is to arrive, only to find that you don’t have the appropriate waterproof or warm clothing. As well as this, it is worth doing some research on local customs and cultures to ensure that you are dressed appropriately. For example, some temples in Asia will only allow you to enter if your arms and legs are covered up.

There is a lot to remember before going traveling, but hopefully this guide has jogged your memory in case you have forgotten to do any of these things.   

*This is a collaborative/contributed/partnered, compensated post. The copy, content, images & opinions are not my own.

Searching for Culture in Charlotte, NC

Charlotte, North Carolina is a vibrant city, which offers plenty of things to do. Although it's a commercial hub and also home to the University of North Carolina. It's a city that's definitely not lacking in arts, culture, and sports. If you're thinking about a visit to NC, don't neglect Charlotte - especially because it's the largest city in the state. You might be planning a visit to check out the college campus or perhaps visiting someone enrolled there. Or you could just be looking for somewhere to enjoy a fun few days. When you start planning your trip, make sure you think about these fun cultural things to do.

Enjoy Plenty of Sports
While not everyone would include sports as part of culture, it's one thing that Charlotte is definitely not short of. If you're a NASCAR fan, the Charlotte Motor Speedway is a must. You can even stay close by at the Days Inn Charlotte North-Speedway-UNCC-Research Park. Or if you're not into watching cars go around a track, the Bank of America Stadium is the place to go for football and soccer, and even the occasional music concert too. Basketball fans should head to the Spectrum Center, home to the Charlotte Hornets. You'll find a range of other sporting events there too.


History and Heritage
Most people seeking culture can't resist visiting a museum or two, or perhaps some important monuments. There are some great history and heritage museums to explore in Charlotte, as well as some scientific establishments too. Try the Levine Museum of the New South for a post-Civil War look at the city. The Carolinas Aviation Museum is great for plane spotters or just anyone who loves technology, and Discovery Place is another science-focused museum that's great for families. Since Charlotte is a major business hub, you might also be interested in the Wells Fargo Museum, which tracks the history of the company.

Visual Arts
Art lovers will enjoy the galleries and museums that Charlotte has to offer. If modern art is your thing, the Bechtler Museum should be your first stop. Or for something different, you could visit the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts and Culture or perhaps see Native American art at the Mint Museum Randolph. The other part of the Mint Museum, the Mint Museum Uptown, has contemporary collections. Try a different art form and explore photography and film at The Light Factory, or take a trip to the McColl Center for Art and Innovation.

Theater and Performing Arts
Some people prefer their art to move. If you would rather spend your time watching visual arts, you can catch a play, watch an opera, see a symphony performance, or go to the ballet. Blumenthal Performing Arts has multiple venues, where you can see music, theater, and dance, including the Charlotte Ballet and Charlotte Symphony. There's also the Charlotte Opera, as well as Children's Theatre of Charlotte.

There's so much to entertain you in Charlotte, NC that you certainly won't get bored. If you're looking for culture, there's plenty of it.

*This is a collaborative/contributed/partnered, compensated post. The copy, content, images & opinions are not my own.

Bon Voyage: What To Buy The Travel Junky In Your Life

If you know someone who is always packing up to go somewhere exotic, you might be curious to see what you can buy them as a gift. It might be that you want to buy them something before one of their many trips, just as something to remember you by. Or maybe you just want to treat them on their birthday to something travel-related. Either way, it is good to be prepared for these eventualities, so that you can find the ideal present when the time finally comes to do so. In this post, we are going to look at some of the best gift ideas for that person who is always going somewhere.

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World Map
Clearly, someone who enjoys traveling extensively will probably have a good use for a map. At first glance, you might feel that a world map is not actually an inspiring gift. But it all depends on the kind of map you buy. These days, you can get your hands on a huge range of different world maps, and it is possible that you will be able to find one that suits your friend perfectly. If you like, you could even order a personalized one, with markings depicting locations where a number of interesting or important things happened. Or you could consider buying them a scratch-off map, where they can scratch off countries as they visit them. Being able to log where they have been in this visual way is likely to go down pretty well, so this is a great gift to consider for any occasion of theirs.


Globe
Similarly, if you still think a world map is not quite unique enough, you could always consider buying them a globe instead. Globes are often much more exciting, partly because of their intuitively interactive nature, but also because they are just lovely to look at. If you happen to know that they are keen to find some kind of an ornament to fill their home with, then a globe could be the perfect way to fill that space. You can even get hold of light-up globes which can be used effectively as a lamp for any living room or bedroom too. Or you might want to choose a globe which is a little more ornate if you don’t mind spending a bit more money. However you do it, this is a gift that most people would enjoy, let alone the travel junkie in your life.

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Backpack
Or how about something practical instead? Chances are, they often have a need for a backpack when they are traveling, so getting them a brand new one could actually be a very thoughtful gift indeed. Of course, you might find that they are quite specific and picky about what kind of bag they actually enjoy using so it might be a good idea to check with them first. The last thing you want is to have wasted your money on a bag they won’t really use. But if you get it right, you might have actually made their future travels much more comfortable - and that is a delightfully thoughtful thing to have done for them. Just make sure that it is a good size, and that you pick out a color and design combination that they are likely to enjoy as much as possible. This could be a present that lasts them for years, and there is always something lovely about that.


Spending Money
If they are just about to head off on one of their many journeys, you could help them out even more by merely assisting with the cost of spending. While many people don’t like the idea of giving money as a gift, when it is foreign money in the name of a particular trip it is somewhat of a different element. There is no reason to be embarrassed about this, especially as you can wrap it up nicely and present it to them as they leave. You will probably find that this goes down better than you thought, and it also has the advantage of being a pretty straightforward kind of gift for you to get hold of too. It’s a good idea to present it in a greeting card or something similar, to add to the sense of actually having got them a gift rather than just exchanging money.

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Jewelry
If there is anything that works as a gift for literally any occasion, it has to be jewelry. That is as true here as anywhere else. If they are about to embark on another vacation, then buying them a bracelet or watch can be an excellent way to mark the event. Alternatively, if it is their birthday, or you are starting to think about Christmas, then you could consider buying them a piece of jewelry which coincides or reminds them somehow of their last trip, or perhaps even of their favorite place to visit (if they have a clear winner on that front, that is). You’ll need to be careful and think about who your friend is, what they like, and what will work. Some combinations are tricky, such as buying gold chains for men or a watch for women, but with the right focus and effort, you should be able to find them just the right piece. As we said, jewelry can be the ideal way to mark any occasion, so it is always something you can quickly consider here too.


Personalised Luggage Tag
Again we come back to the more practical gifts with this next one. Luggage tags are incredibly useful as a way for your travel-loving friend to be able to find their own luggage. What makes this even more helpful is if they are also personalized, and that also is a great way of making it a much more exciting and thoughtful gift. A personalized luggage tag can be a fantastic way to give them a gift which is both practical and enjoyable and is definitely on the conservative side of gift-giving too.

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Wallet Or Purse
Clearly, it is likely that they will often be in need of a good way to store their money as they travel. If you can get them something of this sort, you are effectively helping them to make their trip safer, as well as potentially buying them something that they can enjoy as an item in itself. Buying wallets or purses can be quite challenging to get right, but if you shop around enough, you should be able to let your instinct guide you to the right kind of one for the person you are thinking of. There is no doubt that this gift will go down well, especially if they are about to go on a trip to somewhere a little dangerous or risky. Help them look after their money, and they will be sure to be grateful - especially if you combine this gift with the above idea of getting them some spending money.

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Camera
Something that all travel-lovers enjoy is being able to accurately record their experiences. If you happen to know that they could probably do with a new camera, then this could be an extraordinarily generous and thoughtful way to show your feelings towards them. You don’t need to go overboard and buy the latest fancy SLR, but if you get hold of a mid-range digital camera, this is bound to go down pretty well. Just make sure that they really do need one, and that you are happy paying the money necessary for an item of that kind. With any luck, this could be one of the most generous gifts they have ever received.

*This is a collaborative/contributed/partnered, compensated post. The copy, content, images & opinions are not my own.

October 24, 2017

Holidays From Hell And How To Avoid Them

You’ve booked a holiday & you’re excited. The last thing you want is to get to your vacation destination and find that, almost immediately, things start to go wrong. If you’re not careful, that’s exactly what can happen.

  • Where’s your luggage? Vanished. 
  • Can you plug your electrical devices in? No, you can’t.
  • Is the room as it was advertised online? Certainly not! 

These are just some of the issues that you will have to deal with to avoid your wonderful vacation becoming a holiday from hell. Luckily, we’ve got a few tricks that are sure to help here.





Dealing With Lost Luggage
Apparently, 6 bags per 1,000 are lost each year according to www.foxnews.com which doesn’t sound so bad, unless you’re one of the six. It’s also worth pointing out that the lost bags are often never found so it's worth taking a few extra precautions. First, you might be traveling with someone. If so, make sure you’re packing each bag half and a half. Half your clothes should be in one case and and half in the other. Or, if you’re travelling alone, put a few vital pieces of clothing in your carry on. This will make things far less stressful if you do arrive and find while you’re in Hawaii, your suitcase is actually in Glasgow.

Another option is to make sure you book a direct flight. A direct flight makes it far less likely that your luggage gets lost. If it does, it will typically just be in the airport you left from and will arrive on the next flight. The other important info is to make sure you know your rights. If they do lose your luggage, make sure you know whether the airline is responsible for compensation.





Nothing Works!
You may find, once you've gotten to your hotel room, that none of the plugs works, that you have accidentally bought the wrong adapter, or that you forgot to buy an adapter completely. This won’t be the end of the world if you’re staying in the middle of a city, but if you’re staying in a secluded resort, you might not want to drive to the nearest travel shop after a long flight. Instead, you should make sure you packing both electric and manual options for essentials like your razor. Sites like www.manlymatters.net have tips on the best electric and manual razors to buy. As for tech like phones, make sure you pack a fully charged plug-in battery.




Nothing Like The Pictures
Again, this might be rare, but if you book through a private travel company, it can happen. What do you do when you get there if you can only see three massive tower blocks instead of the promised beach view? What would you say if, instead of an Olympic pool, there’s just a plastic puddle? Obviously you'd want to make the most of your holiday but make sure to contact representatives of the companies that did not fulfill their obligations when you get back. Even private individuals are beholden to someone, and you can always hold them accountable for misrepresentation. If the accommodation is an absolute nightmare, don’t stay at all. Leave, choose another place at last minute and get your money back when you get home. You worked hard for a holiday so make sure you enjoy it.

We hope this helps you handle some of the issues of a holiday nightmare and ensure that your dream vacation doesn’t become a disaster.

*This is a collaborative/contributed/partnered, compensated post. The copy, content, images & opinions are not my own.

October 22, 2017

Turning Your Holiday Into a Long-Lasting Experience

Traveling is something that can completely change our view of the world. It’s a fantastic way to meet new people, experience different cultures and also make some long-lasting memories. If you have a case of wanderlust and want to indulge in some meaningful travels, then here are a few tips that will help you make the most out of any travel adventure.




Learn to inspire yourself
If you’ve got no idea where to travel, then how about looking at blogs or even YouTube videos for inspiration? You’d be surprised at how informative blog posts can be, and videos will showcase some of the most interesting locations you can visit in the world.


Travel for the sake of experiencing something new
If you’re still stuck and can’t think of a place to visit, then about how about basing it on an experience? For instance, if you absolutely love Japanese culture, then why not schedule a trip to Tokyo? If you have a deep interest in wine, you could start planning your wine tasting experience at a famous Winery. Are you a daredevil? Then look for a unique location to go skydiving and experience some once-in-a-lifetime jumps.


Walk the less-traveled road
When you arrive at your destination, try to avoid any tourist attractions you see. Many of the popular destinations such as hotels, resorts and fancy restaurants are great if you want to be pampered, but you won’t get to experience cultural hot spots or places that the locals visit. Travel to places that aren’t filled with tourists and you’ll find some unique travel gems that are worth your time.


Learn a bit of the language
If you plan to travel somewhere that doesn’t speak your native tongue, then it’s worth learning a bit of the language so you can have an easier time interacting with people. If you show interest in a country’s culture and language, they’re more likely to help you out because you’re showing respect.


Interact with people that you meet…
Try and get to know other travelers or even locals. Other travelers can give you tips and tricks on how to experience more of the country, and the locals can tell you where to get the best food and drinks for low prices. If you decide to stay in a hostel instead of a hotel, then you’ll get to converse with other travelers and you may even get the chance to travel in a group.


...but put safety as a top priority
However, it’s important to look out for scammers and shady people. Some people might just be after your cash, and some travelers might be rude and obnoxious to speak with. Try your best to avoid anyone that makes you feel uncomfortable.


Don’t pack too many things with you
Taking luxury items on holiday is great if you have a suitcase and space, but if you want to be nimble and unhindered by heavy baggage, try and pack lightly for your travels. A couple spare changes of clothes, essentials like a phone and charger and some medical supplies are really all you need. It helps to have a physical map too in case your phone is charging, and it’s never a bad idea to carry emergency funds with you.


*This is a collaborative/contributed/partnered, compensated post. The copy, content, images & opinions are not my own.

October 20, 2017

5 Little Luxuries to Take With You When You Travel


These days, we are on the go all the time. From jetting off on our annual vacations to visiting friends and family scattered around the country, racking up the air miles travelling for work or even planning that long-dreamed-of road trip across America. Even if you love a more nomadic lifestyle, there are times when we just want our creature comforts around us. But traveling doesn’t necessarily have to mean compromising in life’s little luxuries. Here are five ways to add a little touch of luxe to your travel set-up, no matter the occasion.

Cozy up in a cashmere wrap

When you’re between multiple locations, it’s the variations in temperature that can catch you out. Even when you’re on the airplane or a train, things can get really cold, and there’s nothing less luxurious than shivering! Luckily help – and luxury – is at hand with a cashmere travel set. Warm and cozy, unbelievably soft and also lightweight, a set like this one from won’t add bulk to your baggage, but it will stop you shivering if temperatures drop. You can get different combinations, but a travel wrap, eye mask and socks are a winning combination.

Invest in a travel scent set

There is nothing more evocative than fragrance, so controlling how your environment smells can be a powerful comfort – it can lift your mood, energize you, or simply help you to relax. It’s such a simple thing and yet so transformative. The right scent can instantly make a hotel room or guest room feel much more like home. Muji does great travel sets with mini candles and incense sticks, all in light but durable little aluminium tins that so easy to transport.

Luxe up your bathrobe

A bathrobe is something that most of us throw into our suitcase without a second glance, but it can be a simple but effective way to add comfort to your travels. There are so many different types of bathrobes, so don’t settle for the first one you find! Consider soft silk or cozy cashmere again, to add an extra enhancement to your downtime. You are often so busy when you travel, so it’s great to be able to come back to your hotel room and really get comfortable by slipping on your robe.

Pack your own pillowcase

It may seem weird to some, but using strange pillows and bed linens can affect the quality of your sleep while you are travelling, and one way to deal with that is by taking your own pillow or even just the pillowcase along with you. A beautiful silk pillowcase can not only enhance your sleep, but it can also stop your hair getting tangled and frizzy in the night meaning you can get away with packing fewer hair products and tools as well!

Escape into music

The real luxury when you’re traveling is often a bit of head space from other people’s noise, and it’s so comforting to be able to escape into some music, a good TV show or an immersive movie on your iPad. But to make this experience so much better, it’s worth investing in some good quality noise-cancelling headphones. Being able to blot out the world when you want to sleep or just get some peace and quiet is fantastic – you can even wear them playing a white noise app if you don’t wish to hear music!

*This is a collaborative/contributed/partnered, compensated post. The copy, content, images & opinions are not my own.

The Little Touches That Make Any Occasion Special

Whenever you are planning any kind of event, it goes without saying that you want it to be very special. The truth is that this can be surprisingly hard to pull off, no matter what that event actually is. But as long as you are happy with making some small changes if they're needed, you might be surprised at the kind of effect it can have on the day overall. There are a few key things which you can look out for which are always going to help make any occasion a little more special. Let’s look at those now, and see how you can make them a reality for your next special event.

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Special Guests
If you are keen for the day to be well remembered by everyone in attendance, then one sure way to do so is to have a special guest of honor of some kind come and visit for the day. There are countless people you could choose from, and it depends partly on what kind of day it is and who is attending. You could have your partner’s favorite singer visit for your wedding, for example, or maybe a magician could attend your child’s birthday party. Having some kind of outside entertainment can really work wonders on any event, especially if it is someone that a few people have heard of.


Flowers
It’s truly hard to think of any event which does not see improvement when you add a few flowers. For one reason or another, having flowers is always a powerful way to make sure that the event looks as good as possible, so it is definitely worth trying to find a good florist for your next event - no matter what that gathering actually is. With the right flowers dotted around the place, people will feel as though it is much more of an official event, and you might be pleasantly surprised at how much it improves the mood of a place as well. Consider this next time you are wondering what your special occasion might be missing, but can’t quite put your finger on it.


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Free Drinks
Something that always pricks the ears of people is when there is a free bar. Of course, this is not the ideal thing for every occasion under the sun - but for a good many, it is likely to go down pretty well. If you can afford to offer free drinks at least for a part of the evening, you might find it really affects the mood in a positive way, and there are few quicker ways of making the atmosphere much more light and happy than this. Consider doing this for any all-adult party which you might be planning, or of course for a wedding.

If you consider the above simple touches to your next event, you will find it makes a huge difference to how well it is received. It’s worth considering these when you are planning a party, but make sure you don’t go overboard on any one. Simplicity is often the key to success.

*This is a collaborative/contributed/partnered, compensated post. The copy, content, images & opinions are not my own.