Sunday Stories for February 9th, 2014

Wrath Winery wine cat

Wow, what a week! It’s been a long path to the SuperBowl for the Seattle Seahawks, joining the NFL as an expansion team in 1976 and finally bringing home that big shiny trophy. There may have been naysayers at one time, but this week, I think everyone is proud to be a Seahawk fan.

Here’s what I’ve been reading this week. I think you’ll enjoy these stories as well, and hope you’ll take a few minutes to click through, read the whole story, and leave a comment.

seattle skyline

36 Reasons Seattle Not Only Won The Super Bowl, But Also Wins At Life

Those of us who live here know why Seattle is the best. It is, afterall, why we put up months (and months) of incessant rain. After the SuperBowl win, and a few other recent events, the whole world is now in on our secret.

Between the Super Bowl , Macklemore’s Grammy , and the ever-increasing popularity of recreational marijuana use , Seattle is pretty much winning 2014 so far. It’s no wonder, when you realize what an incredible city all these incredible things are coming from. Seattle is, quite simply, the best.

A Toast to Love: Valentine Cocktails

Valentine’s Day is coming up this week, so why not impress a loved one with an exotic, but easy to make, chocolate-themed specialty cocktails. How romantic!

One of the crucial keystones of Valentine’s Day, as we all know, is chocolate, that most luscious of aphrodisiacs. The romantic holiday gives couples and singles alike newfound excuses to horde chocolate after all those pesky New Year’s resolutions ruin all the fun. The day just wouldn’t be the same without it.

White Chocolate Strawberries

Chocolate dipped strawberries can make a wonderfully romantic Valentine treat, and with this recipe, they’re easy to make, too. Why not give it a try?

Valentine’s Day is almost here and I am preparing a favorite White Chocolate Strawberries with colored sugar for a festive look. I invite you to join me preparing this easy recipe that will be a favorite for all because who doesn’t like strawberries covered in chocolate, so let’s cook!

Wrath Winery wine cat

Corks vs Screw Caps

I love my red wine, but I just can’t bring myself to buy a bottle with a screw top cap. It screams of cheap, rot-gut stuff to me. But, it seems that’s not necessarily the case. Read about the debate between corks (a limited resource) and screw caps and see where you come down on the issue. Do you buy wine with a screw cap?

Corks are the classic choice in the question of what goes between you and your wine. However, there’s been some surprising proof that shows how the corks vs screw caps argument is not as black and white as it seems.

Read original article here: Corks vs Screw Caps

Pairing Wine With Girl Scout Cookies

While we’re on the topic of wine, I love the cookie-wine pairings just in time for the Girl Scout Cookie sale. Banyuls with Samoas, sparkling with Trefoils. This is all good stuff to know. What’s going to be your favorite pairing?

February 8th is National Girl Scout Cookie Day, and we’re celebrating by pairing some of our favorite cookies with some of our favorite wines!

Which Airlines Serve The Best Champagne?

I do love the bubbly, and although I stick with the budget friendly Prosecco at home, when I’m flying business or first class, champagne is usually my beverage of choice. With this handy dandy guide, I now know who’s serving the good stuff.

For those of you that enjoy champagne nearly as much as me, I have put together this post on what I believe are the top champagnes offered in first and business class respectively, and a few of the best first and business class lounge champagne offerings.

Airplane wing taken out the window

Airlines, Listen Up: Here’s the Boarding Pass You Should Be Using

If you’ve ever been confused when looking at your boarding pass, trying to figure out what your departure time is, what gate you’re leaving from, or wondered  you’re supposed to go, you might appreciate this new design. Now, do you think we’ll have any airline takers for this simple, informative, and sized so as not to lose, boarding pass?

It hasn’t been a great decade for air travel. And while crappily designed boarding passes aren’t at the very top of my list of axes to grind with the airline industry, they’re more important than you might think. Just take a look at this great version by UK designer Peter Smart for proof.

Electronics Hacks and Tricks

I travel with tons of electronics. I know I should pare it down, but I always seem to need my laptop, iPad, iPhone, Kindle, camera, and who knows what else. I like to think I’m pretty travel savvy with all of it, but I picked up a couple of tips from this list of hacks and tricks.

Traveling with electronics is the norm these days, as we don’t want to go anywhere without something to remember our trip with. There are lots of hacks to keeping your electronics safe and charged while traveling, whether it be keeping your cords and cables untangled or protecting them from breaking during that bumpy flight.

The Step-by-Step Guide to Self-Publishing

Do you have a book inside of you, dying to get out? Wondering if self-publishing might be a way to tell your story to a wider audience, make some extra income, position yourself as an expert? This details step-by-step guide, from a husband and wife team who have successful navigated the self-publishing waters, will tell you everything you need to know.

Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of how we’ve split up the different roles while writing, publishing and marketing all of our books, as well as the tools we use to create and sell them.

Read original article here: The Step-by-Step Guide to Self-Publishing

Sunflowers, Tuscany 2009

Travel: 10 top Movie-Inspired Holiday Destinations

Top 10 lists of this type are always subjective, so while I wouldn’t rely on it for the facts, the list is a lot of fun for discussion purposes. I’ve fallen in love with destinations based on seeing it in the movies, although the accuracy of portraying the destination is often suspect.  I fell in love with the sunflowers in Under the Tuscan Sun. Do you have a favorite movie inspired destination?

Many beautiful and exotic locations have featured in movies over the years and below I take a fun look at 10 of the most desirable.

Read original article here: Travel: 10 top Movie-Inspired Holiday Destinations

Travelers Share 20 Ways to Make Money While Traveling

Some people look for ways to make money to support their two weeks of vacation, others to create a nomadic lifestyle, and still others (like yours truly; I’m one of the people featured in the article) create careers that are intricately intertwined with travel. If you want to see the world, here are some ways you can afford to do it. UPDATE:  Several hours after publishing the round up post, I learned that Kimmy Hayes, who interviewed me for this post, was killed in a tragic car accident in a snow and ice storm in Portland, Oregon. Her husband, Drew, remains hospitalized in critical condition. The shock of this tragedy is immense, and my condolences go out to Kimmy’s entire family.

Many of the skills you have at home will translate to jobs anywhere in the world. Our top picks for ways to make money while traveling all provides you with cash in hand and some priceless stories to share on your travels.

London Shard bathtubs not for the shy

A new Shangri-La Hotel is opening in London, and one of the features of this deluxe high rise property is a bathtub with stunning veiws of the city. Would this create a problem for you? How much modesty would you have in this situation?

According to the company, a third of the bathrooms will have floor-to-ceiling city views — right next to the bathtub. There are shades, but what’s the point of having a tub next to a view like that if you’re going to pull the shades.

Best free luxury travel activities and perks

I’m more of a value luxury traveler than a true luxury one, and that means knowing when to save and when to splurge. These free luxury perks leave me more money for a decadent spa treatment or a great glass of wine. If you can save on things like these, what would you splurge on?

I may love luxury travel but I love FREE luxury travel even more – so I’ve combed through the tangled mess of my brain (seriously, the inside my head looks like my hair) to come up with some of the best free luxury travel activities and perks I’ve taken advantage of recently in Venice, New York, Bern and Paris.

 All photos from my personal collection


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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