A new year brings reflections on the past, which tends to leads to thoughts of ways that we want to change and improve ourselves and our lives, which can become bogged down at times with stresses of everyday life, work, putting kids through college, caring for our aging parent. When we think of everyone else first, we tend to push our needs and the needs of our relationship with our partner to a back burner – if they are even on the stove anymore.
New Year, New You
This new year, make it a new you. Commit yourself to do those things that you always wanted to do – explore the world, see foreign countries or stay local. Texas is a big, diverse state – see what is in your backyard that you may not have known about. Just get out and DO something fun. Reconnect with your partner. Rekindle the flame that maybe isn’t as hot as it used to be. When you make the time to reconnect and strengthen the bond between the two of you, it will ease some of the stress of life.
One of the best ways that I have found to rekindle, reconnect, and strengthen that bond is through travel and specialized couple’s retreats. Travel “forces” you to take distractions out of your “life equation” leaving just the two of you to focus on what is important – the two of you. Couples retreats create an avenue for you to learn ways to bond, reconnect, relax and feel rejuvenated.
I will let you in on a little secret; it is entirely acceptable for men to be pampered too. Yes, they go to spas. Yes, they get manis, pedis, facials, massages and do yoga. Real men even eat quiche.
Ready to reconnect, relax, and feel that happy rejuvenated step in your walk again? Grab a glass of champagne and have a look at some of these resorts that offer retreats, spa packages and yoga classes for couples.
Empowering couples to concentrate each other and their relationship, Thae Retreats provides exclusivity and privacy with groups of less than ten couples per retreat in Thailand. Offering packages with dates throughout the year Thae Retreats is a good option for those couples really looking to focus in on their relationship.
While you are in Thailand, make time to explore these sights and things to do – be sure to check out the spectacular Grand Palace in Bangkok, built in 1782 and home of the Royal court for 150 years. Erawan National Park, one of the most famous national parks in Thailand has streams, waterfalls, emerald green pools, and home to the annual Songkran Festival in April where the waterfall tiers turn into a place of celebration with water fights. It is highly recommended that you do not bring any electronics that are not waterproof. Not far from Bangkok is Amphawa Floating Market, one of Thailand’s oldest floating markets where you can sample local dishes, pick up a few souvenirs for home, or take a boat tour of the canals.
Cancion del Corazon Wholistic Lifepath Center located in the lush tropical mountains of Vilcabamba, Ecuador, offers numerous all-inclusive couples retreats with healthy cooking, hot springs aqua-massage, yoga and meditation. While in Ecuador be sure to check out Ingapirca, the most significant and best preserved archaeological site in Ecuador and home to the Canari, a matriarchal society that dates back to the pre-Inca period. Ingapirca is the Machu Picchu of Ecuador. No trip to Ecuador is complete without a visit to Quito. Founded in the 16th century, Quito is the capital city of Ecuador and offers numerous museums, parks, cathedrals and markets for visitors to explore.
Nestled in the picturesque rolling garden farmland of New Jersey, Crystal Springs Resort is an excellent getaway that offers couple spa packages dedicated to easing your stress and help you unwind opening the door for you to have a new perspective on life. My favorite was the Fall In Love Package with a couples massage, dinner, golf, and chocolate covered strawberries. What is not to love? If New Jersey is your destination, then the glowing rocks of Sterling Hill Mining in Ogdensburg is a must see. The mine became operational in 1739 with tunnels totaling more than 35 miles in length going down to depths of 2,550 feet below the surface. Sterling Hill Mine is known for its phosphorescent rocks that glow under black lights in neon-bright blue, pink, red, green and yellow colors. Quite a sight to see if you are a rock hound.
Located in the heart of enchanting New Mexico with stunning sunsets in what seems like an unending sky is Four Seasons Santa Fe that delivers a variety of luxury spa and massage packages perfectly suited for couples. Santa Fe has an abundance of activities whether you want to experience the colorful desert mountain formations with vibrant reds and yellows, sample Santa Fe’s unique signature dishes that combines Anglo frontier cooking with Pueblo Indian and Spanish Colonial flavors, explore the cliff dwellings of Bandelier National Monument or even get in some shopping therapy, there is something for both of you.
Situated 900 feet above the Columbia River in central Quincy, Washington, Cave B Inn has a substantial selection of luxurious couple spa packages and outdoor activities to help you relax and unwind. Overlooking their own estate vineyard with breathtaking views of Gorge Amphitheater, stunning cliffside swimming pool, yurts for glamping as well as romantic guestrooms, Cave B Inn is perfect for a “pamper” weekend. Central Washington is a great place to hike with numerous trails ranging from easy to more strenuous up to 12 miles in length.
This is a new year and a perfect time to make it a new you. Take the time to travel, explore and pamper yourself. You deserve it.
Traveling the Alaska Highway
By Donna Long
Alaska or bust! Visiting Alaska seems to be a bucket list item for many people, as it should be. It’s an amazing place that always delivers on its promise of unique experiences and adventure. Unlike any other state in the Union, Alaska truly feels like a different country at times. This year we decided to drive to Alaska from Texas. I have flown in and out of Alaska countless times, but I have never driven to the Alcan. Let me tell you, wow, was it an experience.
The drive, while long, was filled with absolutely stunning views of mountains, rivers, lakes, glaciers, and historic places. The animals we saw made every day an adventure. I was raised in the backwoods off the grid and am used to seeing critters in the wild. What made seeing these wild animals different and so special for me was the quantity of animals that we saw.
To read more, pick up a copy of the September/October issue of LiveIt magazine. To subscribe by mail, call 940-872-2076.
Discover Your Favorite Parts of Greek’s Peloponnese Peninsula
By Donna Long
The Peloponnese region is a peninsula at the southern tip of the mainland of Greece. Technically, it is an island though rarely referred to as such because of several bridges, both above the water and submerged, that connect it to the mainland. The Corinth Canal, created in 1893, also connects the peninsula to the mainland.
The peninsula differs from other parts of Greece because of its mountainous craggy interior and deeply indented coasts. The jagged and colorful rock faces reminded me of Scotland and Ireland in a way. The Peloponnese Peninsula is another luring quality with their numerous spectacular beaches that line the coastline. Olympia, located in the western part of Peloponnese, is the birthplace of the first Olympic Games in 776 BC.
This date also marks the beginning of the classical period of Greek antiquity. During this time, the Peloponnese was the hub of ancient Greece, home to some of their most powerful city-states and also some of their bloodiest battles. Kalamata, one of the larger cities on the peninsula and home to Kalamata olives, is a good location to use as a base for day trips. You can fly directly to Kalamata from several European countries such as the UK, Spain, Germany, Italy, and France.
To read more, pick up a copy of the July/August issue of LiveIt Magazine. To subscribe call 940-872-5922.
Magic Balloon Festivals
By Donna Long
Hot air balloons impart a sense of magic, wonderment, and beauty every time I spot one in the sky. My mind wanders to thoughts of the serene peace that must await the pilots as they gently rise to drift over fields and forests gracefully. When hundreds of balloon pilots converge on a destination for a festival, it is nothing less than absolutely stunning. There are numerous balloon festivals throughout the United States and internationally. The festivals usually last from a couple of days up to 10 days. Cool, arid conditions are best for launching hot air balloons, which is why most launches occur in the early mornings or late evenings after the sun takes its bow.
There are several ballooning events that are commonly found at the festivals – Dawn Patrol, Mass Ascensions, and Balloon Glow. Dawn Patrol happens just before dawn. A group of specially trained balloon pilots will ascend before the rest of the pilots to test the air density, prevailing winds, and other flying conditions. Mass Ascensions are one of the two main events. This is what most people envision when they think of balloon festivals. Hundreds of hot air balloons all rise to the sky simultaneously, creating a magical and breathtaking sight.
To read more, pick up a copy of the May/June issue of LiveIt Magazine. To subscribe call 940-872-5922.
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