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Travel & Play

Send a Card to a Friend Day

Posted on: February 6th, 2019 by actifirm-sales

Send a noteWhat’s an easy way to bring a smile to the face of a friend? Write a note telling them just how special they are! February 7 is Send a Card to a Friend Day, which is the perfect excuse to reach out to someone important in your life.

The benefits of sending a letter or card extend to both the letter writer and recipient – and those perks can be both physical and emotional. Writing down your thoughts can help alleviate stress, anxiety, and loneliness. And of course, anyone who receives a warm letter in their mailbox is practically guaranteed a happiness boost!

While the spirit of the day is to send a traditional letter via snail mail, any personal communication is great, whether via email or an electronic greeting card service. (more…)

A Peaceful, Productive Holiday Season

Posted on: November 28th, 2018 by Elysiann Bishop

Holiday PrepIt’s crunch time! Whether you’re wrapping up end-of-year business at the office or trying to squeeze in cookie baking between caroling and ice skating, it’s a season where you can truly have too much of a good thing. But with a planned approach, it’s possible to maintain peace and productivity throughout the holidays. Read on to learn how you can not only survive, but thrive right through the New Year.

Use your calendar. More importantly, stick to it! This applies to both work and play; decide what you want (or need) to accomplish and plan accordingly. On that note, don’t make commitments before consulting your schedule and determining if it’s reasonable. And it’s okay to politely say no; after all, we’re all overextended this time of year and (more…)

Welcome Houseguests With Style

Posted on: November 14th, 2018 by Elysiann Bishop

HouseguestThe holiday season is upon us, and as Thanksgiving draws nearer many of us look forward to hosting overnight guests. But there’s more to graciously welcoming family and friends than simply providing a bed. With a few simple steps, you can make visitors as comfortable as they’d be in a five-star hotel. Ready to become the host with the most? Read on and take note:

Assess the guest room. Many people make the mistake of purchasing a cheap mattress for guests, or retiring a worn-out or uncomfortable master bedroom mattress to the guest room. Have you actually slept on your guest mattress, pillows, and linens in recent history? If not, try them out before guests arrive. This step will also give you insight into other amenities your guest space is lacking, such as extra blankets, (more…)

Fight Holiday Fatigue

Posted on: November 7th, 2018 by Elysiann Bishop

Vladislav MuslakovNovember is here, and that means the ever-extending holiday season has officially begun. It’s a long stretch until New Year’s Eve, and festivities between now and then have the potential to exhaust even the most enthusiastic revelers. Our advice? Be proactive and instill habits now that will renew your energy and serve you well into 2019.

 Rule Out Medical Issues. Is it the hustle and bustle of the season that has you down, or could it be something more? Conditions like thyroid disease, arthritis, anemia, sleep apnea, and many more can cause exhaustion, so if there’s anyconcern, your first stop should be your physician’s office.


Hassle-Free Host: Wine Night

Posted on: September 19th, 2018 by Elysiann Bishop

hostingYou want to invite friends to your home for a gathering – but the idea of planning the perfect soiree is overwhelming. Our suggestion? Keep it relaxed with a low-key night in. A wine night offers an ideal structure, with minimal planning and maximum enjoyment for all. Just follow these steps to make your event one guests will love:

Keep the invite casual: No engraved invitations here! Send a group email or text a week or two before your date, specifying the date, time, and location, along with any other particulars (see next point). Ask for an RSVP so you’ll have a head count.

Make it a group effort. Suggest that your guests bring a bottle of their favorite wine, along with a complementary nibble to share. (more…)

Self-Care: 5 Global Lessons

Posted on: July 25th, 2018 by Elysiann Bishop

Self Care LessonsSelf-care is something we should all make time for, and while it’s a current buzz phrase, the concept is anything but new. People have been practicing self-care for centuries – that is, taking time to maintain and enhance their emotional and physical wellbeing. Cultures around the world have put their own unique stamp on the practice of self-care. Here, we’ve picked five of our favorite practices that can be easily incorporated into your busy life:

Coffee. Not to be confused with a speedy Starbucks takeout, the Swedish tradition of fika is a bit more sacred. Occurring midmorning and/or midafternoon, fika involves leaving your officewith a friend for a brief but focused session of coffee sipping, pastry nibbling, and chat. Research shows that this sort of break actually increases productivity, (more…)

Weekend Getaways: 5 Ideas for Couples

Posted on: July 18th, 2018 by Elysiann Bishop

couple getawayImagine this: You have a weekend with no agenda, and have been blessed with the gift of childcare from friends or family (alternately, you’re a kid-free duo or empty nesters). What’s a couple to do? The possibilities can overwhelm, so we’ve narrowed them down to some winning options for making the most of your time alone.

Hit the wine (or beer or whiskey) trail. Here’s a choice that would bore little ones to tears but will leave you all smiles. If a trip to Napa Valley isn’t in the cards, look closer to home. Regional wine (and beer and spirits) making has taken off in recent years, and there are great options all over the map – (more…)

Are We There Yet? Road Trip Fun

Posted on: July 4th, 2018 by Elysiann Bishop

Road TripTis the season for the great American road trip – complete with epic vistas, amazing experiences…and bored and whining passengers. Whether your problem travelers are kids or just impatient adults, we have an arsenal of ideas to keep them occupied while on the road, plus some fun ways to make the trip more interesting. Without further ado…the keys to your best summer road trip yet:

Be reasonable about drive time. Shoot for a maximum of 8 hours of driving a day. It will allow more time for impromptu plans.

Make unexpected stops. Speaking of changing plans, follow those aging billboards and make pit stops at those classic American roadside attractions. (more…)

Summer is for S’mores

Posted on: June 20th, 2018 by Elysiann Bishop

smoresClassic s’mores are as American as apple pie and just as decadent. The first known printing of a recipe for the campfire mainstay appeared in a 1927 Girl Scout handbook, and called for the very ingredients generations have come to know and love – two graham cracker halves, a toasted marshmallow, and portion of milk chocolate bar. Today, the s’more is still a beloved part of wilderness trips, summer camp, and evenings around the backyard fire pit.                                                          While we can’t deny that the simplicity of a s’more borders on perfection, foodies of late have discovered creative ways to enhance the traditional. If you’re looking for a way to up your s’more game this summer, these ideas will not only add a new twist to your bonfire, but may also add a healthy, nutritional boost: (more…)

Travel Light: Top Globetrotter Tips

Posted on: June 6th, 2018 by Elysiann Bishop

Travel Light

Vacation! It conjures images of majestic mountains, sunny beaches, and dragging piles of luggage to and fro. That last part doesn’t have to be a part of your travel plans if you’re committed to simplifying your packing. Here, some of our traveling friends impart wisdom for lightening your load on the road:

Choose luggage wisely. Whether you’re on holiday for a weekend, a month, or a year, it’s perfectly possible to pack everything you need into a carry-on size bag. Choose a roller suitcase approved for airplane cabins, or try a backpack/suitcase hybrid bag – eBags makes one that zips open like a suitcase, fits under an airline seat, has backpack and shoulder straps, and has great organizational features to boot. A carry-on also saves time at baggage claim, or even worse, the inconvenience of delayed or lost luggage. (more…)