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11 Travel Destinations for Gluten Free Foodies

20 Apr

When your diet calls for gluten free foods, international travel can be tricky. To help make planning your next dream vacation easier, below you’ll find 11 destinations with great options for gluten-free dining, how to pronounce “Gluten Free” in the local language as well as a few restaurants known for their gluten free options and delicious eats.

But don’t stop at the bottom of the infographic, we’ve got more restaurants listed in the post below.

International Gluten Free Travel Ideas for Foodies

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Easter Traditions Around the World

06 Apr

Easter is a religious holiday when many celebrate spring and Jesus Christ’s resurrection. However, Easter traditions vary from country to country and even family to family. This year, Orthodox Easter and Catholic Easter fall on the same day, April 16th, providing the perfect opportunity to take a deeper look into Easter traditions around the world.  Many people enjoy sending Easter Baskets to friends and family, so knowing a little about how they celebrate can help you pick out the perfect surprise.

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5 Differences in Easter Celebrations vs. Passover

31 Mar

Spring’s return means it’s time for two of the most significant religious holidays people can name! So we’re here to tell you the differences between Easter celebrations and festivities for Passover. The frequent overlapping of the Christian Holy Week and eight-day celebration of Passover merits attention. Like Christmas and Hanukkah, Easter and Passover are equally important and get a lot of attention. Side by side, they bring to light the deep structures of Christianity and Judaism.

Want to know what the main differences between Catholic Easter celebrations and Jewish Passover are without going into too many details? This video below will give you a pretty good idea.

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St. Patrick’s Day is NOT About Irish Cocktails

16 Mar

St. Patrick’s Day is NOT About Irish Cocktails: Here are Some Anyway

I want to make it clear that St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland is NOT about drinking Irish cocktails half the night (the Irish do that other days of the year). And it’s certainly not about green beer – there is NO green beer in Ireland – and it would probably be considered an insult to great beer.

Irish Cocktails aren't only for St. Patrick's Day

In Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day is more like Thanksgiving in the US. Families go to church together to celebrate the patron saint of Ireland (that’s Saint Patrick). Afterward, they often enjoy a big family meal and a day off to relax. There might be Irish cocktails, but that’s more about Irish people making a drink than it is about a holiday tradition.

That having been said, I know some people are preparing for their St. Patrick’s party by stocking up the liquor cabinet. So, I thought I’d share some of the authentic Irish cocktails and drinks I actually had while I was in Ireland during Holy Week once upon a time. Keep reading…

 
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8 Useful Lunch Box Life Hacks for Kids and Adults

10 Mar

If you wonder if packing your lunch is worth it, try it and find out! You’ll save on buying lunch every day, and you’ll enjoy delicious and healthy options you actually like. Plus, if you have children, you’ll be able to pack lunch for the whole family in one very rewarding session. We have 8 simple lunch box tips for grown-ups and kids that will help you pack your own lunch easily every day. Besides, March 10 is a National Pack Your Lunch Day, and it’s the perfect reason to have your lunch box ready to take to work, school, on a picnic, or where ever you spend the day.

Save money, save time - pack your lunch! Keep reading…

 
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Healthy Pancake Recipes for Your Family

07 Mar

If weight gain wasn’t an issue, then we’d probably eat pancakes for breakfast and lunch, and maybe between meals. For those folks who are addicted to fluffy pancakes, with melting butter and a decadent drizzle of syrup, we have good news! Since we’re in love with pancakes, but not the extra pounds, we’ve got healthy pancake recipes just in time for International Pancake Day on March 7th. It’s the perfect excuse to dive into a stack of steaming hot pancakes! But there’s no need to stick with the classic buttermilk version. It’s a hearty option for breakfast, but not the healthiest way start to your day.

Tips for Gluten Free and Healthy Pancakes

People who are allergic to wheat gluten, or who have other dietary restrictions, can’t include traditional pancakes in their diet! But our healthy pancake recipes make sure they too have options. Pancakes do not have to be full of carbs, or calorie guilt. When you learn these recipes, you’ll be able to indulge in heavenly homemade pancakes while on a diet, and it will be as easy as making regular buttermilk pancakes. These healthy pancake alternatives are low fat, delicious and absolutely guilt free. See for yourself! Keep reading…

 
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What is Purim? A Time For Joy and Giving

01 Mar

What is Purim?

For many people, Jewish holidays are shrouded in an air of mystery, and Purim – since it’s lesser known among non-Jewish people – can be even more enigmatic. It can be intimidating or awkward to figure out the best way to approach someone and ask what their holidays are all about. So, we’re here to shed a bit of light on Purim: a holiday that you may have never heard of, and certainly, have some questions about.

Purim Celebration Decorations

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How to Welcome Spring Into Your Home in 5 Easy Steps

17 Feb

In like a lion, out like a lamb, the first spring month is almost here, which means we made it through the coldest season and it’s time to shed our winter layers in favor of the lightness of spring. While it may still be a few weeks until we can put away heavy jackets and sweaters for good, it’s perfectly fine to start preparing your home for the big seasonal transition. Brighter hues, fresher scents… it’s time to bring the warmth indoors, and the warmth outdoors will follow sooner than you think!

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  1. Clean and declutter

Unfortunately, there’s no way around a time consuming and massive seasonal spruce-up. But there are some tricks that can make the process faster and hopefully a little bit simpler. Before you go cleaning all the way, make sure you de-clutter right out of the gate. This will clear the space and make it easier for you to see what needs sweeping, dusting, or to be taken to the dry cleaners.

And don’t forget to check your fridge! Even if you’re pretty good about keeping your refrigerator in a good shape, you might be surprised to find some expired condiments, forgotten leftovers, and other unwanted items. Make sure to clean the inside of the fridge! You can either spray it with some vinegar and water and wipe it down or make a solution of two tablespoons of baking soda for every quart of warm water for any hardened spills. To make the cleaning easier next time, make it a habit to throw out old food at least once a week. What a great spring resolution to have in the beginning of a new season!

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  1. Give your home a quick color makeover

Nothing says spring quite like cheerful and vibrant colors. As we head into spring, switch things up inside your home. Start with changing the darker and deeper hues of winter and surround yourself with a light springy palette. Pack away heavy fabrics, knit blankets, and remove heavy window coverings in favor of lighter and brighter fabrics.

A quick and easy way to bring a laid-back springtime vibe into the bedroom, is with a fresh duvet cover, featuring a cheerful stripe pattern, flower illustrations, or a more pronounced accent color. Swapping out your shower curtain for something bursting with happy hues is another quick and inexpensive way to bring the feeling of spring into your home.

If you’re not afraid of making a drastic change and a bold statement, go ahead and welcome the season with a bang! A fresh coat of paint in a bright hue is just the thing to make your living room exciting again. Something vivid but not overwhelming like pale aqua, spring green or crisp white will create a wonderful spring atmosphere you are sure to enjoy.

  1. Get creative with a spring DIY project

Spring is the perfect time to take on a new DIY project. It doesn’t have to be complicated, and something as simple as displaying your favorite photographs or pictures in a creative way can be sufficient enough. While we love gorgeous gallery walls, there is a much simpler solution. A metal photo clip string hung on a wall is a great and very easy way to decorate your living room or kitchen and set the right mood.

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  1. Bring some life indoors

Buying fresh flowers or a beautiful new plant will add a nice finishing touch to your refreshed space. Not only will they complete the spring look, but also make you a happier person. As they say, plants can improve indoor air quality, brighten your mood, and even boost your creative energy. That’s exactly what you need to start a new season!

Why not commit to treating yourself to a fresh bouquet of flowers every week? This small and inexpensive ritual will go miles for your mood and general well-being. If you haven’t indulged in a bouquet in a while, now is the perfect time. And don’t forget to spoil someone you love! Surprise your best friend, significant other, or colleague at work with a spring flower arrangement and be sure this thoughtful gesture will go a long way.

Besides flowers, potted plants add life and refresh a home unlike anything else. Natural air purifiers, they will not only add a welcome burst of green, but also help you with your spring makeover. As an added bonus, you can try planting herbs like mint or cilantro. Not only are they pretty, but they smell wonderful and can bring a bit of freshness to your dinner.

For a quick pick-me-up, head outside and just snip any green foliage that caught your attention (make sure to stay on your own property). Placed into a mason jar or a cute vase, a small bundle of ferns or tree leaves makes a simple, fresh, (and free!) arrangement.

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  1. Reward yourself

By now, you’ve completed your big spring cleaning and did a nice job refreshing your living space for the new season, so it’s time to reward yourself! And the best grown-up way to savor vibrant spring flavors as you coax the sun out of winter hiding is a seasonal cocktail. Not just any cocktail but a perfectly spring-inspired yummy sip that’s easy to make and fun to share with friends.

A Kiwi Capiroska is a Brazilian drink, similar to a more popular caipirinha, but made with more familiar vodka and kiwi for a punch of flavor. Bright and refreshing it’s our top choice this spring.

Kiwi Capiroska (Serves 3)

Ingredients:
1 Cup kiwi, peeled and diced + 1 kiwi peeled and thinly sliced to garnish
6 Mint leaves, divided
1 Tablespoon sugar, divided
1 1/2 Limes, juiced
1 Cup vodka
1 Cup tonic water
Ice cubes

Directions:

  1. Prepare 3 highball glasses and fill each with 1/3 cup of diced kiwis, 2 mint leaves, 1 tsp sugar, and ½ lime juice.
  2. Mix thoroughly.
  3. Fill each glass with ice and top off with 1/3 cup vodka and 1/3 cup tonic water.
  4. Stir, garnish with kiwi slices and enjoy.
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Now, You’re All Ready For Spring – What’s Next?

  • Start preparing for spring holidays. Browse spring gifts to USA, UK & 200 countries, and make sure your gifts are delivered on time!
  • Learn about major upcoming holidays including Easter and Passover.
  • You’ve read this far, we’re sure you have a friend who’d like to see this too. Click those share buttons below.
 
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5 Creative Valentine’s Date Ideas

03 Feb

Valentine’s Day is nearly here and we’re sure many of you haven’t planned a date yet. This is bad news if you want to book a reservation at the most popular restaurant in town. But you probably don’t want to do that; after all, you’re a free spirit, an innovator, a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of person who likes to go against the rules and do things last minute. Or, maybe more honestly, you’re reading this on February 13th and won’t for the life of you be able to do any of the more traditional things and that’s okay.

Just for you, dear romantic voyager, we’ve put together some of our favorite date ideas that aren’t the typical Valentine’s Day package. Some cater to those who “plan” last minute, some cater to those who like adventure, and all can be enjoyed by couples, singles, friends, and family alike. After all, Valentine’s Day is a day we think should celebrate love in all of its many amazing forms.

1. Spend the night Scrapbooking (digital, Facebook, or physical forms are all acceptable) – This may seem cheesy, but if the night is about celebrating you and the person (or people) you love most, then this is a perfect way to cherish them. Pop open your beverage of choice, order in (or cook together), and spend the night reminiscing about your favorite moments together. Once you’ve finished putting together your album of memories you might be surprised to find that you feel closer than ever before, all while ditching crowds and having an evening more intimate than any dinner and movie combination could hope to provide.

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2. Enjoy one of your favorite childhood activities This can be anything from paintball to staying up late and watching a comforting TV show. The love of your life should welcome all sides of you, even your childish moments and you may find the nostalgia comforting.  This is particularly great for a singles night together. Have everyone bring their favorite board game and spend the evening battling it out! Winner gets to pick what wine you open next!

3. Support local art A lot of cities have different concert venues large and small, art galleries, and independent film showings going on during Valentine’s Day. While they may not make the top of everyone’s list that is part of their charm. You get an evening filled with culture and new experiences the two of you can share. You also get the satisfaction of knowing that your date is supporting local creative arts and helping enrich your community. There is nothing sexier than a partner who cares about community!

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4. Volunteer This may not be the most romantic way to spend your evening we admit, but it is one of the most fulfilling. Volunteering is something you can do together with friends, family, and a partner who doesn’t like the idea of a traditional Valentine’s Day. A lot of people are starting to think that a big date on Valentine’s Day is somehow cheating since every industry in the world is reminding you to participate. So don’t! Go against the grain, and ignore the date all together.

As a bonus, you’ll feel amazing! Nothing makes you appreciate the people and things in your life like helping out the less fortunate. If you do pick this route, we recommend you plan a romantic night later. Maybe at the end of March. Show her you want romance to make her happy, not because a calendar reminded you too. Besides, it’s a great bonding experience! You will discover the qualities in your special someone you never knew existed. Sometimes it’s an unusual experience that helps us to know each other better and to connect in a way we weren’t able to before.

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5. Schedule a classWhat would you like to learn together? There are cooking classes, guitar classes, acting lessons, pottery classes, painting classes, couples massage classes, dance classes, and more. If you can name it, someone out there is teaching it. Why not use Valentine’s Day as an excuse to learn and grow together?! If you two are into completely different things, make it a weekend event. Go to the class you know your partner would love one day, and a class you would love the next. That way you both walk out happy, with skills to last you a lifetime. The most romantic gift of all is one that helps your love grow and fulfill their passions.

Now, You’re Almost Ready for Valentine’s Day – What’s Next? 

  • Schedule your gift now, so you don’t forget. Browse Valentine’s Day gifts to USA, Canada & 200 countries, and make sure your gift is delivered on time!
  • Plan to make this Valentine’s Day truly unforgettable. Get inspired with these Unusual Yet Romantic Gifts.
  • You’ve read this far, we’re sure you have a friend who’d like to see this too. Click those share buttons below.
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Image #3 by Mystic Country CT
Image #4 by Katja Hasselkus
 
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The Year of the Rooster: How does Chinese Zodiac Work?

23 Jan

The start of the lunar year is getting closer, and millions of people around the world have already started getting ready for one of the biggest celebrations: Chinese New Year. This January 28th denotes the beginning of the Year of the Red Fire Rooster, as defined by the Chinese zodiac cycle. But what does it really mean to all of us?

Chinese astrology has been around for thousands of years and it is deeply rooted in Chinese philosophy and culture. It’s based on the belief that both living things and objects have a purpose in this world, and achieving harmony is the most important among them. The Chinese also believe that everything has its own energy which can be either male – vibrant and outgoing called “yang”, or female – quiet and subdued, called “yin”. Yin Yang energy plays a key role in Chinese astrology and determines common traits and potential for compatibility between the animal signs.

Just like in Western astrology, there are 12 signs in the Chinese zodiac, but they are divided by years instead of months. While the Western astrology signs are based on the solar cycle, Chinese astrology months are based on the lunar, sixty-year cycle, with the animal signs changing every year, and elements changing every other year. The animal signs of the Chinese Zodiac relate to the signs in the Western Zodiac, and are in order: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig.

Legend has it that it was Buddha who founded the system for Chinese astrology. To celebrate the New Year, he invited all the animals, but only 12 showed up and that’s how they got their place in the calendar. According to another legend, when developing a calendar, Buddha invited all the animals to a race and the order in which they would arrive determined their place in the Chinese zodiac.

Chinese Zodiac

  • Rat

Years: 2008, 1996, 1984, 1972, 1960, 1948, 1936, 1924, 1912, 1900
Fixed Element: Water / Yang
Characteristics:
The rat is the first sign in the Chinese Zodiac. Those born in the year of the rat are known to be quick-witted, creative and innovative people with rich imaginations. They are hardworking and problem solvers. Their appealing personality makes them charmers who are very good at getting along with all types of people. Rats are also quite wasteful and don’t like saving money. The rat’s color is black and their element is water.

  • Ox

Years: 2009, 1997, 1985, 1973, 1961, 1949, 1937, 1925, 1913, 1901
Fixed Element: Earth / Yin

Characteristics:
The ox is a born leader with strong opinions but poor communication skills. They are extremely powerful and stubborn. On the other hand, oxen are honest, patient, trustworthy, conservative and peace loving. They are usually quite patriotic and deeply attached to their family and friends. The ox’s color is yellow and their element is earth.

  • Tiger

Years: 2010, 1998, 1986, 1974, 1962, 1950, 1938, 1926, 1914, 1902
Fixed Element: Wood /Yang
Characteristics:

Just like in nature, Tigers are brave, independent and powerful creatures. They are authoritative and dare to take risks, which makes them good natural leaders. But sometimes they have to be careful not to get too short tempered, selfish and head-strong. The tiger’s color is green and their element is wood.

  • Rabbit

Years: 2011, 1999, 1987, 1975, 1963, 1951, 1939, 1927, 1915, 1903
Fixed Element: Wood/ Yin
Characteristics:

The say that those born in the year of the Rabbit are the luckiest of them all. This is because Rabbits have wonderful demeanor and are very easy going. They are one of the most compassionate signs and want to see peace in life. Rabbits are also affectionate, gentle, friendly, gracious, which makes them highly popular among their friends. Sometimes, a Rabbit can be quite shy and sentimental, but if they can overcome that, they can succeed in almost everything they do. The rabbit’s color is green and their element is wood.

  • Dragon

Years: 2012, 2000, 1988, 1976, 1964, 1952, 1940, 1928, 1916, 1904
Fixed Element: Earth / Yang
Characteristics:
The dragon is the most vital and powerful sign in the Chinese zodiac, although with an infamous reputation for being aggressive and having a sharp tongue. Dragons are one of the most popular of the signs and demand attention. They are energetic, talented, determined creatures with interesting imaginations. They can also be overly-dramatic, quick-tempered and moody. The dragon’s color is gold and their element is earth.

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  • Snake

Years: 2013, 2001, 1989, 1977, 1965, 1953, 1941, 1929, 1917, 1905
Fixed Element: Fire / Yin
Characteristics:
Don’t believe those who say that snakes are sly and cunning, because they are actually extremely intelligent, graceful and talented creatures. People born in the year of the Snake are the most intuitive and represent the symbol of wisdom. They are generally alluring, care about their looks and can be rather stingy. However, if only the Snake knows how to make use of their true qualities, they will be very successful. The snake’s color is red and their element is fire.

  • Horse

Years: 2014, 2002, 1990, 1978, 1966, 1954, 1942, 1930, 1918, 1906
Fixed Element: Fire / Yang
Characteristics: A Horse’s love of life and energy are engaging. Their positivity and loyalty make them extremely popular among friends. Horses are very elegant, charming, smart, but also hard-working creatures who have high goals in life. They tend to be stubborn when it comes to their beliefs, but are also very patient and good listeners when they need to hear out other people. The horse’s color is red and their element is fire.

  • Goat / Sheep

Years: 2015, 2003, 1991, 1979, 1967, 1955, 1943, 1931, 1919, 1907
Fixed Element: Earth / Yin
Characteristics:
Sheep are loving and gentle artists who can be quite shy and emotional at times. Although they try to stay positive, they often complain and stress about simple things. Sheep do not like sudden changes or impulsive decisions and they are also very protective about who they let into their inner circle. The goat’s color is yellow and their element is earth.

  • Monkey

Years: 2016, 2004, 1992, 1980. 1968, 1956, 1944, 1932, 1920, 1908
Fixed Element: Metal / Yang
Characteristics:
Monkeys are outgoing, energetic, positive and really fun people to be around; that’s why they usually have a lot of friends. They are also quite curious, very confident and often very successful. Moving from one experience to the other, they don’t care as much about the things that they are doing as the feelings that they evoke. The monkey’s color is white and their element is metal.

  • Rooster

Years: 2017, 2005, 1993, 1981, 1969, 1957, 1945, 1933, 1921, 1909
Fixed Element: Metal / Yin
Characteristics:
Roosters are very independent and confident people who dream big. They will achieve anything they put their mind to, especially if they allow themselves to be led by their instincts. Roosters are generally punctual and reliable people who enjoy being in the center of attention and sometimes suffer from being vain. The rooster’s color is white and their element is metal.

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  • Dog

Years: 2018, 2006, 1994, 1982, 1970, 1958, 1946, 1934, 1922, 1910
Fixed Element: Earth / Yang
Characteristics:
Dogs are honest and extremely loyal people who are going to fight for what they love. They are intelligent dreamers who don’t like sharing their inner lives with others. Dogs are also helpful and positive, although sometimes they tend to worry too much. The dog’s color is yellow and their element is earth.

  • Pig

Year: 2019, 2007, 1995, 1983, 1971, 1959, 1947, 1935, 1923, 1911
Fixed Element: Water / Ying
Characteristics:
Pigs are strong and noble creatures who will always put others ahead of themselves, especially when it comes to family.
Typically a follower rather than a leader, they are one of the easiest signs to get along with. Friendships build by Pigs will last for a long time even though their careless nature can sometimes be hard to handle. A pig’s color is black and their element is water.

The Year of the Red Fire Rooster is the time when all the 12 Chinese zodiac signs need to work hard and be patient in order to achieve success. Ruled by the fire element, this Yin year is to be spent in solitude and harmony with friends and family. The Chinese horoscope predicts that this year can be beneficial for career and money investments as well as auspicious for starting a new family. Professional relationships too will turn out to be fruitful. Just do not complicate things by over thinking and analyzing too much. Also stay away from risky ventures but stick to well-proven paths to ensure success.

If you’re wondering whether the Year of the Rooster will be lucky for your sign in particular, Chinese astrology forecasts predict that Dragons, as well as Snakes, Oxen and Roosters will be extremely successful. The Rats and Tigers too will have a good year. The Sheep, Pigs and Monkeys will have a mix of good and bad luck while the Rabbits, Horses and Dogs might face a few problems. But there’s no need to worry, in a Rooster Year, all of the Chinese animals can reach their goals by possessing the key Rooster traits. Loyalty, willpower, hard work, family values, and top-notch appearances are just some of the characteristics that are sure to be rewarded this year.

Now, You’re Almost Ready for Chinese New Year – What’s Next? 

  • Schedule your gift now, so you don’t forget. Browse Chinese New Year gifts to USA, China & 200 countries, and make sure your gift is delivered on time!
  • Make plans with these Tips to Jump Start Your New Year.
  • You’ve read this far, we’re sure you have a friend who’d like to see this too. Click those share buttons below.
Image #1,3,4 by IQRemix
Image #2 by Janet Hudson
 
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