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Sunday, 03 February 2013

Love and Snow

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        Love is in the air. It’s that time to head to the nearest store to buy the same chocolate and flowers for that special someone. Don’t get me wrong. I am more than happy to bite into chocolate covered cherries. Or get the huge box of chocolate that I have no idea what each piece will be but somehow they all taste the same. Yet I’m expecting the next piece to be different. I still love it. I can’t wait to come home on Valentine’s and see my roses. Still, if I had the chance I’d rather be sitting in front of a fireplace snuggled down with a blanket and reading a book or playing a card game with that special someone. I know what you’re thinking I can do that anywhere. True. But then again anywhere isn’t The Swiss Alps. The name alone sounds romantic. 

Like most places you can opt for the grand hotel, get lost in the glittery effect of having everything be the best of the best; silk sheets, four star restaurants and all the amenities your heart desires. Of course you could also stay at the Le Chalet D’Adrien. While similar to a hotel it looks and feels more like a bed and breakfast. Le Chalet D’Adrien is located on the side of a mountain in the Swiss Alps. You will stay in one of the many “log cabin” buildings. Each one beautifully structured. As with most places there are numerous rooms to choose from. 

The Alps wouldn’t be the Alps without skiing, which is abundant in this area. I have tried to ski and would love to learn again but for me I’d rather be sitting in one of those cabins enjoying a nice glass of wine in the drawing room next to the fire with one of my favorite books while my significant is on the slopes. When he tires from the cold, stroll outside to the terrace and take in the views of the mountain while eating our lunch. 

Though all of this sounds endearing and romantic what really seals the deal for me is the heated outside pool. It overlooks a snowy mountain view. Yes, I can imagine spending an afternoon on the terrace swimming the day away, drinking champagne, and all the while knowing snow is surrounding me. 

The Chalet offers prestigious restaurants of five star qualities, a fitness center, a spa and any other luxury you can imagine. But if you’re just looking to escape with your loved one for the weekend that is a little over the top in all the right ways, this is the place to go. The Chalet even has a package for the most romantic of souls that includes a private candlelight dinner for two. After a few days at the Le Chalet D’Adrien you won’t remember the heart box of chocolates that won’t be waiting for you when you get home. 

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Snowmen and Palaces

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       I love the snow. I like the way it shimmers off the trees and covers streets and sidewalks. On my days off I like to go outside to make snow angels and snowmen. At times I’ve been known to build a snow fort. In my mind these are masterpieces of art. I’ve even gone so far as to take pictures of my artwork with pride. So when I became aware of China’s yearly Ice Sculpture Festival I was intrigued. Did I have the same skills? 

       In Harbin, China it stays below forty degrees for a half the year. The way they celebrate the coldness without letting the temperature get them down is to build and compete with ice sculptures. Beautiful pieces of art are displayed. Great dragons, a woman playing the flute and ice sculptures of animals are just a few that can be seen. Trees are decorated with hundreds of lights in colors of pink and blue. At night the sculptures are lit up with multi-colors. Ice palaces become alive. The Great Wall is lit in green and becomes an ice slope. You can hop on and go for a ride. There’s an ice wall you can climb. Ice horses you can sit on and have your picture taken. Take a ride on horse-drawn carriages. Go ice skating or sledding. 

       The Festival lasts for an entire month of January and into February. People from all over the world participate in the event. Whether they are building their own sculptures or just visiting. Couples will say their vows under castles in matrimony. There is something for everyone from swimming competitions to dance shows to paddling down the river during the Lantern Festival in ice boats. On any given day there is an activity going on that you can participate in or watch. 

       While I will still go out and make my snowmen with carrots for noses and stones for buttons and call them masterpieces. I will know somewhere; someone is perfecting my abilities by building an ice sculpture so beautiful even my snowman would bow in appreciation. 




Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Finding Relaxation

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As much as I love everything that goes with the holidays;  Christmas lights on homes, fresh baked cookies, presents under the tree and champagne on New Year’s, I am always ready for new beginning. I get out my journal, make a list of goals I want to accomplish for the upcoming year and reminisce on what I did accomplish the year that has gone by. Of course I’m usually exhausted by the second week of January. I don’t feel the need to dive right into life. Rather I like to take a moment to reflect and get my juices flowing again, in the form of a spa. 

There are spas all over the world for anything you desire. Horse ranch style spas in the Mid-West, a chocolate spa at the Hotel Hershey and of course yoga retreats in just about every corner you can think of. This year while I’m living in Boston I’m thinking warm. Very warm, a place that doesn’t have snow. I’m thinking the tranquil sunny Mexico. The Rancho La Puerto Resort, where everything I need to motivate me into a new year is here.

The holidays for me mean lots of delicious food and parties. By January I’m in need of a physical jump-start. Rancho La Puerto Resort is just the place to get my metabolism back on track. The resort offers all kinds of wonderful fitness programs. Here I can wake up and do yoga or Pilates or if I feel like taking the day by storm jumping right into cardio. After a day or two of yoga I can unwind with a day of reflective fitness. Which involves walking, meditating and a silent dinner to find my inner self. 

I can only exercise for so long and well, that’s not the only way to rejuvenate. Not only is fitness important but so are facials, massages and body treatments; all a necessity to get the energy flowing in a more positive direction. 

The Resort offers other amenities that are not for me. But some may want to take a cooking class, go bird watching or play golf. While those options sound tempting, as far as I’ll get is to the food and I won’t be preparing it. The resort serves freshly picked fruit and vegetables and well as serving fresh fish; the type of meal to clear my mind and help me focus on my new-found goals. 

Yes, this is the place to relax, find inner peace and energize for the year ahead. 

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Ballrooms and Champagne

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      This year many of us did the same thing on New Year’s Eve. We watched the ball drop with friends and family and toasted at midnight. But if you were one of the fortunate few who was in Vienna, your night was a little different. 


      In Vienna, Austria, the entire city turns into a party to celebrate the coming of a new year. The streets are alive with music and everyone from all over the world are in their homes and hotel rooms putting on their tuxedo’s and ball gowns getting ready for a night they shall never forget. 


      Palaces host the most extraordinary night. Everyone is dressed in glittering gowns and tuxedos. The women will have spent the day getting their hair just right and the makeup perfect. Their gowns will be dressed up with their best jewels. 


      As the night begins, champagne toasts start the evening. Ballet dancers in unique costumes come on to the dance floor and perform throughout the evening. Delicious multi-course meals are served with assorted flavors of coffee. Cocktail areas in different rooms have the latest music to dance into the early hours.   Rooms are transposed into dance floors with people waltzing the night away to live orchestras. As the night draws to a close, fireworks are set off to welcome the coming year. Afterwards, breakfast will be served and the night continues until the sun rises.  


This year as I watched the ball drop I imagined putting on my to do list for next year: find a ball gown and Cinderella shoes, and book my flight to Vienna for next New Year’s Eve. 

Monday, 03 December 2012

Christmas Time in New York

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I love this time of year. I bake hundreds of cookies; snicker doodles, oatmeal raisin and my favorite peppermint snowballs. I wait until midnight on Black Friday, make some coffee and shop until the sun comes up. I don’t usually buy a lot, but I do like the rush of everyone being on the streets and in the malls racing for the best bargains. I decorate my house with at least three Christmas trees and always have eggnog on hand. As the time draws closer to Christmas I try to leave my weekends open to visit New York City. 

I don’t have a favorite place I go as I love all of New York City. But there are of course my favorite places to go during the holidays. I make sure I bring along gloves, earmuffs and a warm coat. Whether it’s hot or cold, I will be walking or skating. Everyone goes to Rockefeller to ice skate but not me. I opt for going ice skating at Central Park. It’s not as crowded and as far as I’m concerned more beautiful. With trees all around and buildings in the background I could stay there for hours. I’ve tried taking pictures on the ice only to have the security tap me on the shoulder. There is no standing on the ice. Who knew? If time permits, my friends and I will rent a horse and carriage and take a stroll through the park. It lasts about an hour and cost around a hundred dollars. It seems like a lot of money but it is well worth every penny. To be able to sit back, listen to the sounds of the city and the hooves touching the pavement is beyond words. 

I might not go to Rockefeller to skate but I will take a quick look at the tree. It’s a must see. I have never been able to get too close as this is a definite favorite spot for tourists but if you have the time the lighting of the tree is awesome. So many lights fill the night sky. It’s magical. And speaking of magic, the windows on 5th avenue bring out the truly creative. Each one is different and magnificent. The stores display their imagination in every way possible to draw you into their stores. FAO Schwarz is in the heart of 5th avenue. The toy store made famous in the 80’s by the movie “Big” has an endless amount of toys. Any toy you can imagine, they will probably have. From huge teddy bears, Barbie’s to Harry Potter toys. I always leave with something even if it’s from their candy shop, which is just as big as some of their stuffed animals! 

While I enjoy the shopping and the ice skating, I cannot miss the Rockette’s Christmas show at Radio City. The first time I went I had no idea what to expect. I wasn’t even sure I was going to like the show. After the first five minutes I was glued to my seat until it was over. The show started with a movie of Santa done in 3-D. Then the Rockette’s came on stage and I was memorized until the end. They were flawless in the singing and dancing, not to mention the famous kicking. An absolute beautiful show. One that needs to be added to the yearly must do’s for Christmas. 

The Radio Christmas show with the Rockette’s isn’t the only show to see. For a more traditional elegant performance, the ballet of “The Nutcracker” is only shown throughout the holiday season. With toy soldiers, a Christmas tree and children dancing in exquisite outfits, it is another must see to top off your Christmas. 

This is just the start of my Christmas. New York City is bursting with shows, museums and food. I could go on forever about the food. But most of this can be done throughout the year and at Christmas time I want to immerse myself in its simplicity and remember what it’s like to be a kid again. If I’m lucky I’ll get a chance to go to Macy’s and see the most famous Santa of all. 

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