Happy Holidays & Happy New Year!!

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Join the Mile High Dating Club

I hate that dreaded feeling when you're boarding a flight not knowing who your seat mate might be...so you smile as you go down the aisle trying to identify your  row way before you get there to size up the person you're going to be stuck with for the next five and a half hours.

Well, now there's an app for that.  Well, not quite, but almost the same...KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has teamed up with Malaysia Airlines to offer seat mate selection.  Yes, now you, too, can select your seat mate ahead of time by screening them on Facebook or LinkedIn.   

The 'meet and seat' service is set to start in early 2012 but I'm totally on the fence on this one.  What if the person is a stalker?  What is the person is just damn creepy?  Or on the other hand, what if this person is the love of your life?

And the big question, will there be a fee for this new service?  I'm sure there will be.  And the other big question, is this legal?  What about privacy laws - wouldn't they be disclosing their own confidential passenger list?

Maybe it's just me but I'm thinking it might not be...what do you think?  I'd love to hear your comments on this one ;)

Flickr.com Photo Credit:
Handsome Couple by born1945

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Travel Writer Wishes You & Yours a Very

Celebrate Christmas Around the World

The night before Christmas, or Christmas Eve as it’s widely known, produces a number of different traditions for children and families around the world.

In the U.S.A. and Canada, children go to bed early but leave cookies and milk by the Christmas tree for Santa to enjoy.  After all, he’s on a long journey and will no doubt get hungry as he travels around the globe; plus he has to keep up his figure.  Other North American traditions include the reading of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas,’ watching Jimmy Stewart in ‘It’s a Wonderful Life,’ or singing Christmas carols.

In Austria and throughout the United Kingdom, children leave out a small glass of sherry and a mince pie for Santa.  In Sweden, children leave brownies for Santa; in the Netherlands, they leave out carrots and hay to feed Santa’s hungry reindeer.

In Italy, a Christmas Eve meal is prepared (without any meat) and is followed by a visit to a live nativity scene, or maybe a bonfire, and then everyone attends midnight mass.  

On Christmas Eve in Egypt, it is customary to wear a new outfit; in Japan, couples spend a romantic evening together or opt out and eat traditional Christmas cakes with their family.

Noche Bueno is Christmas Eve in Mexico where the family spends the day together, enjoys an evening meal, and then attends traditional midnight mass.

Watch about Origins of Santa Claus on History.com or track Santa on Christmas Eve!

Flickr.com  Photo Credit: Thomas Ott

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Take the Tacky Christmas Light Tour

It came from my Mother years ago, when on a cold winter's eve we bundled up in the car and drove off wide-eyed into the darkness looking for the most extravagant Christmas light displays we could find.

Now you,too, can follow this family fun tradition without having to leave the comfort of your own home with the Tacky Light Tour.  Featuring, and I quote: 59,083,539 lights; 4,778 inflatables; and 1,362,302 animated scenes. Now that's something even Clark Griswald would be proud of.

 Tacky Lights, visitors can also view (and upload their own photos) of Christmas Pets in full attire, Christmas Cubicles (for those enjoying holiday festivities at work), and my horror of all horrors, those tacky Christmas Sweaters.
Tacky Light Tour allows visitors to watch videos, see the latest uploaded photos, and view the most popular tacky lights. And before you drive off into the cold of the night, plan your route by searching your zip code or postal code to find the tackiest light shows near you.

For more information or to see the Tacky Lights for yourself, visit Tacky Light Tour.

Tacky Light Tour Photo Credits:2008 Picture submitted by Gary from Livonia, MIToth Extravaganza - submitted by Matthew from Fort Wayne, INXmas Picture - submitted by Catherine

Tacky Christmas Lights

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Christmas Cuisine in Paris

When it comes to French cuisine during the Christmas holiday season in Paris, the traditional Reveillon dinner celebration takes place at midnight on December 25 or December 31.  A rather lengthy process, the dinner is meant to bring together family and friends while enjoying treasured delicacies not normally eaten throughout the rest of the year.

Several courses are served during a tradtional Reveillon dinner including an array of hors d'oeuvres with the likes of foie gras and puffs du fromage, followed by a simple vinaigrette salad, a rich soup like oyster, and then onto the main course consisting of entrees like stuffed poultry or even seafood. 

For dessert, the French favor the traditional Yule log known as buche de Noel.  It's made from a thin layer of pound cake smothered in butter cream icing that's rolled up and decorated to look like it came from an actual tree.

If you're lucky enough to be strolling the streets of Paris during Christmas, other holiday treats to look out for include mulled wine, roasted chestnuts and the newly released Beaujolais Nouveau wines of the season.

If you'd like to enjoy a traditional French Reveillon dinner closer to home, check out 
Travel Writer: Enjoy Christmas New Orleans Style!

Flickr.com Photo Credits:
Joyeuses Fetes... by Thomas Claveirole
Buche de Noel by bgreenlee

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Christmas in Paris!

patinoire_1er etage_tour eiffel

No matter how many times I cover this topic, I'm still amazed and awestruck every time I think about Christmas in Paris...so let's take another look!

The City of Lights truly lights up with sparkling holiday lights strung from tree to tree along the Champs-Elysees and even the Eiffel Tower get's it holiday adornment.  From December 15, 2011, to January 31, 2012, visitors to the Eiffel Tower are invited to skate upon the first level of the icon, 57-metres above the streets of Paris.

More than 1,000 skaters enjoyed the Eiffel Tower ice rink each day during last year's run while more are expected during this holiday season.  It's the perfect opportunity for romance or a memorable family outing.  Enjoy the magnifique views of Paris while sipping a scrumptious hot chocolat or mulled wine avec cinnamon.

To plan your trip to the Eiffel Tower, visit La Tour Eiffel.

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Christmas Shop 'Till You Drop!

Dreading Christmas holiday shopping?  Make your trips to the mall much more bearable by taking in a little relaxing sun and sand along the way.  Sunny Palm Beach & Boca Raton, Florida, offer tons of opportunities for gift shopping at boutiques, galleries, malls and more!  You can truly Christmas shop 'till you drop! Let's take a look:

West Palm Beach:
  • Antique Row - over 40 stores within six blocks makes Antique Row the perfect treasure hunting experience for furniture, home decor and more!
  • CityPlace - located the downtown district, CityPlace is an open-air selection of over 100 stores including entertainment and dining venues - don't miss ice skating on the plaza!
  • Gardens Mall - this designer mall has it all!  Saks Fifth Avenue & Lilly Pulitzer are a just two of the 160 stores showcased in this sleek modern shopping experience
Delray Beach:
  • Atlantic Avenue - stroll along the beautiful brick sidewalks teeming with palm trees as you shop at trendy boutiques for one of a kind items
  • Pineapple Grove - another selection of boutiques and galleries featuring handmade items and chic cafes
Palm Beach:
  • Worth Avenue - as the Rodeo Drive of the east coast, Worth Avenue lives up to it's name by offering up the likes of Gucci, Jimmy Choo, Prada and more!
Boca Raton:
  • Downtown Boca Raton - here local shops combine with big name designers for the ultimate shopping experience; favorites include shopping at Royal Palm Place and Mizner Park
Flickr.com Photo Credits: 
Untitled by kleesohn (Worth Avenue, Palm Beach)
Horse Parking by dcwriterdawn

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Movie Buffs on Location in England

Are you a fan of Harry Potter?  Or perhaps Jane Austen is more your style?  Or maybe it's Tim Burton.  Anyway you like it, if you're a movie buff and planning a trip to England, the National Trust has you covered.

Since 1895 and as a volunteer organization, the goal of England's National Trust has been to protect England's treasures ranging from historic houses to nature reserves and everything in between.

On the National Trust's brand new website, it's as easy as clicking 1-2-3 where you'll have access to either a complete list or a downloadable Movie Map of England.  Plan your itinerary to view the rabbit hole in Alice in Wonderland (filmed at Antony House in Torpoint, Cornwall) or discover Mr. Bingley's house in Pride & Prejudice (filmed at Basildon Park in Reading, Berkshire).

There's additional information on the filming locations of Sherlock Holmes, Robin Hood along with the Harry Potter series and more!  

For more information, visit National Trust.

Flickr.com Photo Credit: 
Antony - National Trust House in Cornwall by HeatherOnHerTravels

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Boutique Travel: Check Into Room Mate Hotels!

The concept is simple - treat a hotel guest as if they were staying with a good friend.  Make them comfortable, pamper them with great amenities in the perfect location, give them personal suggestions of local places to visit and sights to see, and you've got Room Mate Hotels.

With 15 locations around the world and two in the U.S. - Grace in New York and the new Waldorf in Miami Beach - the concept of Room Mate Hotels has more than caught on.  

Let's take a look at Room Mate Grace in New York to see what she has to offer:
  • continental breakfast until noon
  • complimentary WI-FI
  • live DJ music in the lounge 5 nights a week
  • concierge service
  • complimentary apples at the front desk

And now onto Room Mate Waldorf in Miami Beach that includes all of the above plus:
  • VIP tickets to Miami Beach clubs
  • booking for guided tours
  • 24-hour reception
  • local reservation for cars, tickets, and taxis

Sexy Prices offer up to a 20% discount on Early Bookings while Sexy Plans offer a Romance, Wedding, Business or Party package to choose from.

For more information or to make your reservation, visit Room Mate Hotels.

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