Sunday Stories for August 17th, 2014

I spent much of the last week in Hawaii, snugly in a hotel with every amenity working, but I was reminded that there were still areas in the islands without power. In those homes without power live people who help make Hawaii paradise. It was a good reminder that even when you’re traveling in paradise, take the time to look around and see if you can help others who may be hurting.

Now on to what caught my eye this week.

Windy on Kauai

It’s a blowing out there


How To Enjoy Your Hurricane or… What to do when the lights go out

While these tips won’t help if you’re experiencing the mother of all hurricanes, there are some creative ideas on how to spend quality time together if your electricity goes out. Maybe even if you’re electricity is still on and you just want some family bonding time.

Should you be advised to simply stay put and not evacuate , you might want to approach these forces of nature in a more positive way and look at the flip side of the coin. Hopefully, your worst case scenario will be loosing a few rooftop shingles, some branches will come down or perhaps the power will go off.   So what are you going to do when you are unplugged?

Vidalia Onion Dip

I think most of us have had that onion dip made from a dried box of soup; it’s been a staple and parties and get-togethers for decades. This recipe caught my eye because it seems to blend some of the best flavors in dips – all sorts of creamy cheeses – with fresh onions. It may take a little more time, but this sounds like a great menu addition.

Vidalia Onion Dip Recipe made from scratch with cream cheese, swiss cheese, cheddar cheese, and finely chopped vidalia onions baked until golden brown and bubbly! This is a super easy recipe and the result is a creamy delicious dip everyone will love.

And now, if you’ll permit me a few shameless plugs, the following stories are for personal projects that I’m involved with:

Hotels Cheap Interview with Mary Jo Manzanares on Travel Event Planning

I’m heading into a busy fall of conferences, with TBEX Cancun in September and TBEX Athens in October. I knew very little about event planning when I started as the Conference Director for TBEX about two and half years ago. Thanks to some wonderful mentors and friends, I know a bit more today, and I got a chance to talk about the programing process in this interview.

For every travel experience there is out there in the world, there’s probably been at least one travel blogger who’s written about it (and chances are you’ve read a post or two by these bloggers while planning your vacations).

Auburn Days 2014

Last weekend was Auburn Days and I headed there to hear my favorite uke band, The Castaways (a friend is in the band, check them out, they’re really good). It was a chance to wander an old fashioned street fair, check out some booths, and have an old fashioned breakfast. It was also a chance to launch a project that I’ve had in the works for some time now – a blog dedicated to things to do, see, eat and drink, and where to stay, in the Seattle area. A few years back I had such a blog, and after it was acquired by another media entity, I let the idea slip to the back of my mind. This area has always been home to me, and there’s so many great things to share about it, that I’ve resurrected the project and my story about Auburn Days was the first post on that site. It’s still very much a work in progress, and it will take some time to migrate over some content, set up all the functionality, and do some tweaking, but I’m inviting you to check it out (and watch it grow).

Auburn, a city of close to 75,000, is located to the southwest of Seattle.


Mary Jo Manzanares is a traveler, travel blogger, and podcaster. In addition to her blog, Traveling with MJ, she hosts the Where Else to Go podcast, and is the founder and the editor-in-chief of The Traveler’s Way, an online travel magazine. Her travel ethos is value luxury - luxury for real people - and her goal is to help travelers know when to splurge and when to save. Mary Jo has been a speaker at various industry events around the world. When she’s not traveling, Mary Jo likes lingering over a cup of coffee, wandering in a museum, sipping wine at a cafe, and sharing it all with friends and readers. Her most recent travels were to Stockholm, a Baltic cruise, and Universal Orlando Resort.

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