Sunday Stories for May 25th, 2014

It’s a holiday weekend here in the United States, Memorial Day – a day that we honor all those who lost their lives  in service to our country. I’m not traveling this weekend and am enjoying some time here in Seattle – along with getting to a lost list of chores and errands – I’ll still be taking time to reflect on the people responsible for fighting for my freedoms.

Now, on to these week’s list of stories I’d recommend reading.

Cancun beach

TBEX North America 2014 Heads to Cancun, Mexico

Many of you already know that I am the Conference Director for TBEX, the Travel Blog Exchange, and we put on two major conferences each year. Our European conference will be in Athens, Greece, and we just announced our North American conference will be in Cancun, Mexico. If you’ve ever wondered if travel blogging is for you, these conference are an easy way to check it out, meet other travel bloggers, learn enough to decide if you want to give it a go – and have some fun, too. Feel free to contact me for more information.

TBEX North America 2014 will be held in Cancun, Mexico, at the beautiful Moon Palace  Golf & Spa Resort   on September 11-14th. Cancun’s beautiful beaches, natural beauty, culture and history, combine with the warmth of the Mexican people to make it a world class destination for travelers.

Losing a Pet: Lucy’s Last Day and How I Told the Children

No one wants to think about losing a pet, let alone how to explain it to someone who has not yet come to terms with death. This is a sad read, but a sensitive way of handling a very sad and difficult situation.

I decided I needed to have a conversation with my twins about our dog Lucy’s death the day before we had her put down.

10 great deals if you’re over 50

Sigh. Yes, I’ve over 50 and am admitting it publicly. Can an AARP emembership be far behind? It turns AARP is not just a bunch of crotchety old people, but is a far mor vital organziation that I’ve acknowledge. And there’s some decent value and savings for us Baby Boomers. I’m going to check it out and you may want to as well.

You may spend your 30′s and 40′s dreaming about what you’d do if you had the time and the money, but when 50 arrives you can FORGET about all of that talk and get right to the ACTION.

Guinness Pourhouse in Dublin

8 Beers That You Should Stop Drinking Immediately

It’s a stretch for me to think of beer as healthy, but even when it comes to beer, there are healthier choices that we can make. And I’m glad to see that while Guinness was once on the avoid list, it’s not back on the “healthy” list.

Many of us choose what we eat very carefully, or at least dedicate our minimum attention to it. But when it comes to drinks, especially alcoholic beverages, we do little to make the best decisions for our health. Which is a HUGE mistake.

Don’t be Stranded in a Travel Emergency

I’ve been injured while traveling — a torn rotator cuff in Washington D.C., a broken elbow in San Francisco (and thank you Jen Miner for helping me out) — but nothing so serious that it meant I couldn’t travel home as originally planned. Maybe it’s my age, maybe it’s more big picture planning, but I’m starting to think that evacuation coverage isn’t a bad idea. This story gives a great example why it’s on my mind.

You’re bicycling through a French vineyard. Splat! You just fell down and broke a leg. At the hospital, the doctor says that the injury requires a full leg cast. Uh-oh. The full leg cast means that you can’t fly on a commercial airliner.

Piazza in Siena

Deep into the Secret Lair of Siena’s Contrade System

I didn’t go to the Palio last time I was in Italy. Friends did, however, and suggested we head over a couple of days later when the frenzy of the race was over but the pride of winning still weighed heavy in the town. I’m glad we did. That’s one reason why I enjoyed this story from pal Cindy Maloney.

It is the wildest, most passionate event that you will ever witness – people screaming, crying and some almost going out of their  minds – so beware as a bystander, as it can get dangerous and scary at times.

Read original article here: Deep into the Secret Lair of Siena’s Contrade System.

How to cut the ‘ums,’ uhs,’ and ‘literallys’ when speaking

I’ve been thinking a lot of speakers lately as part of the TBEX programming process. It’s easy to pay attention to filler words in a prepared presentation, but so many of us – myself included – have filler words peppering our everyday speech. I’m going to start thinking, literally, about mine a lot more.

What’s your filler word? You probably have one and you just don’t know it.



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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