Sunday Stories for December 29th, 2013

spa treatment tablesspa treatment tables

It’s the last Sunday of the year, a time when I’m both incredulous (where did the year go?) and reflective (wow, it’s been a great year). I’ve been spending time thinking about the ways I’ll be changing Traveling with MJ next year, and want to thank all of you who took the time to complete the survey as well as those who’ve written with suggestions, questions, and ideas.

It’s a short round up today, respecting that everyone is busy this time of year, but I still  hope you’ll enjoy these stories. Click through to read the whole story, and please, leave a comment.

spa treatment tables

I’m a Spa Virgin

I’ve been a fan of Pam’s blog for awhile now, and I was surprised to read that she hadn’t been to a spa before. I’m a big fan, but knowing that some of you might be a little reluctant, I thought reading  how she conquered her first time jitters might convince you to give it a try.

It seems silly in this day and age for me to admit that until this week I have never been to a spa. Like ever. Sure, I’ve toured a couple and I’ve stood at a reception desk to buy gift certificates for friends and family, but I have never actually had a spa treatment myself.

‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ actress reflects on extraordinary life

The pure joy of the holiday season has been wrapped up in this classic movie, and what could be more joyful that the youthful exuberance of little ZuZu. Turns out she lives not too far from where I live, and I enjoyed learning how she’s grown up and embraced her movie character.

When you meet Karolyn, you are not struck with a jolt of recognition. You don’t think to yourself, “I know her!” But you do. She is 74-years old, it’s true. But Karolyn is frozen forever as 6-year old ZuZu.

73-Year-Old Man Creates Magnificent Paintings Using Nothing But Excel

I’ve made no secret of the fact that Excel kicks my butt. I don’t seem to be able to conform my brain to its logic, and I’m not afraid to holler for help from my friends who’ve mastered the program. So, you can imagine my befuddlement when I discovered what this guy could do with Excel – create art. Amazing!

Tatsuo Horiuchi is a 73-year-old artist, who found his passion in digital art 13 years ago, right before his retirement. However, as graphics software often can be quite expensive, Horiuchi chose to challenge his artistic capabilities by creating his beautiful and highly intricate pictures with Excel.

Hawaiian hibiscus

Waikiki’s iconic International Market Place to close forever Dec. 31

This news made me sad. I spend a fair amount of time in Honolulu, and have wandered through the International Market Place too many times to count. The property has been sold, and the market is closing the end of the year, and the site will be demolished shortly thereafter to make room for upscale shopping. Very sad.

After 56 years on Kalakaua Avenue, Waikiki’s iconic International Market Place will shut down forever at the close of business, Dec. 31.

Tab Closed; Didn’t Read

I recently discovered the Tumblr account which focused on those annoying pop-ups that come onto the screen when we’re reading a webpage. Marketers love them, because they do, in fact, “convert” – which means people sign up for the newsletter, register, or take some other desired action. But, this site encourages us to just close the tab and not read those annoying sites. Maybe by changing our behavior, and not “converting,” we can collectively make a difference. Or maybe not. But it’s sure fun to read these.

How McDonald’s sends taxpayers the bill

I don’t eat at McDonald’s, save for the occasional need for a beverage on the road, and this article further just adds to the reasons why I choose to spend my money elsewhere. Coaching your full time workers how to apply for subsidized aid is not a business practice I want to reward with my patronage.

In reality, whether you eat the fries or not, fast-food companies such as McDonald’s actually shift billions of dollars in hidden costs onto taxpayers every year. How? These costs flow directly from their business model of low wages, nonexistent benefits and limited work hours, which force millions of fast-food workers to rely on public assistance to afford basic necessities such as food and health care.

Read original article here: How McDonald’s sends taxpayers the bill

Chunky Monkey Baked Oatmeal

I love oatmeal. It’s comfort food that’s also good for you. Here’s a baked version that’s all vegan. It sounds like a perfect winter morning breakfast.

Getting its name from a very popular ice cream flavor, this baked oatmeal boasts sweet bananas, chopped walnuts and sweet chocolate with a vanilla oatmeal base. As neat as it would be to eat ice cream for breakfast I feel that this version is going to get you a whole lot further and you won’t have a crazy comedown from your sugar high.



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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