Western Winter Wonderland – Why You Should Check Out NYC In The Winter

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If you’ve been wondering where to head to for your winter getaway but you aren’t sure whether you want to face the weather in colder climates or head somewhere warm, why not consider New York City for a winter city break? With milder winter temperatures than many other cities and a whole host of things to see and do, it’s no wonder more and more people opt for a holiday to remember in snowy New York.

Tours Galore

If you’re looking to see the New York attractions but only have a short time in which to do so, consider booking yourself on one of the many tours that the city has on offer. Much like London and other major European cities, there are a number of tours of the city overall which you can join which will take you around all the major sights and tell you about each attraction in more detail. Tickets can be bought in advance online, which also saves you time and money, allowing you to get into the city and get right to sightseeing, so what are you waiting for? Get those tickets today!

The City

The city itself is comprised of several main tourist areas such as Manhattan, Brooklyn, Long Island and more. The major attractions in the city include the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island – immigration gateway to ‘the new world’. Climb the statue for some spectacular views around the area, and if you like the cruising aspect out to the island, consider booking a dinner cruise through the New York Harbour – a great way to catch the bright lights of the city by night. Times Square is a great sight to take in after dark when the snow is in the air, with all the bright lights reflecting off the white stuff, making it even more magical. Don’t forget to head to the likes of the Empire State Building as well as One World Trade to not only check out the observation deck, but also the massive memorial to the victims of 9/11.

Unique Things To Do

New York isn’t just all buildings and shopping though, and in the winter time there are several truly magical things to take in that take on an even more unique air in the winter time such as taking a Hansom Cab ride through Central Park, especially during the snowy twilight hours or by dark when you can snuggle up with your sweetie over a warm drink under a blanket and take in the city lights through the clickety clack of horses hooves. For those who love skating, be sure to stop off at Rockefeller Centre and take advantage of the outdoor skating rink they have set up in the winter months. A real treat, especially around Christmas when they have their enormous Christmas tree set up, sparkling away with its thousands of tiny lights.

So there you have a couple of amazing things to see and do in New York, especially over winter. With so many things to see and do year round though, it’s easy to see why it continues to be a favourite amongst travellers the world over.

 

7 Questions to Answer When Choosing a Family Vacation

Are you in the process of selecting a family vacation destination? Are you finding it difficult to make a final decision? Are you looking for answers in hope that it will provide you and your family with a trip that you will remember for the rest of your life?

Before you can pack for your trip, you need to get a few important details in place. It all starts with choosing a destination.

Using Expedia will make your life a bit easier, as you can compare the best family vacations online, which gives you confidence in every step you take.

If you’re on the fence and need a push in the right direction, there are a few questions you can answer. By addressing these, you’ll find it much easier to select a family vacation destination that makes sense for every member of your traveling party.

  1. What fits your budget?

It would be nice if you could afford any and every destination, but you know that this may not be the case.

For example, you may have your eyes set on the Kimpton Epic Hotel in Miami, just to find that it’s a bit out of your price range.

Here’s the good thing: with so many destinations to choose from, you should be able to find one that suits your budget. Once you have a number in mind, you can then begin your search.

  1. What works in regards to timing?

While some families have the ability to take a vacation at pretty much any time of the year, this doesn’t hold true for everyone.

Maybe you can only travel during the summer months. Or maybe you find that it’s easiest to take a trip during the holiday season.

You need to know what will work for your family in regards to timing, as this will help you answer a variety of other questions. For instance, taking a trip during the off-peak season will save you money.

  1. Where does your family want to go?

It goes without saying that you want to treat your family to a vacation they will always remember. For this reason, you need to answer this question a soon as possible.

If you’ve got an aspiring movie maker in the family, a trip to Iceland could be an inspiring trip for a young video editor.  Check out this blog from Square Ship to see why. On the other hand, a young artist may benefit from a trip to Italy’s art museums.

Once you know where your family wants to go, you can then begin your search for the perfect destination. You may find that your family wants to hit a local beach. Or you may find that they would rather to skiing in the mountains.

It’s not always easy to get to the bottom of this question, but once you do you’re in better position to move forward with booking your trip.

  1. What types of activities does your family like?

This goes along with the question above. Does your family like to swim in the ocean? Do they like to ski? Do they enjoy sightseeing?

Don’t be shy about asking your family for feedback on what they want to do on their trip. This will go a long way in putting you in a better place as you research a variety of destinations.

  1. Are you seeking a certain type of weather?

This doesn’t matter to everyone, but some people consider it a “deal breaker.”

Don’t be surprised if you hear from your spouse that they only want to vacation in a warm weather destination. Or don’t be surprised if your child tells you that they want to visit an area where they can play in the snow.

  1. How will you find a hotel with the right amenities and enough space?

Regardless of where you’re visiting, you should be able to find a handful of hotels that suit your needs.

You should begin your search with a list of amenities that you absolutely need. Along with this, make sure you can find a hotel room or suite with enough space for your entire family.

  1. Will you fly or drive to your location?

This is a matter of preference, but time and location may have an impact on your answer.

If you’re vacationing nearby, you may want to drive. This can save you time and money.

Conversely, if you’re vacationing in a destination thousands of miles away, you’ll want to think long and hard about booking airline tickets.

Final Thoughts

These are just a few of the many questions you should answer when selecting a family vacation destination. There are other things to think about along the way, but these questions (and your answers) will put you in position to make a confident decision.

What steps do you take when booking a family vacation? Is there anything you try to avoid along the way? Is there anything that has allowed you to make the right choice in the past? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Should You Stay In A Hostel or Hotel When Traveling?

When you’re planning a trip, whether domestic or abroad, there are plenty of things to consider. One of the big decisions you’ll have to make is where you’ll stay, and there are quite a few options available to the modern traveler, but which is right for you?

Should you stay in a hostel or a hotel on your next trip? It’s a big question, and people have to weight the pros and cons of each before making a decision.

The following are some of the key things to consider are you’re deciding.

Cost

For a lot of travelers, the decision between hostel or hotel comes down to something incredibly simple: the cost.

A hostel is almost always going to be cheaper than a hotel, but you’re also going to have a sacrifice luxuries for this lower price.

Of course, if you want to save money there are still ways to make it happen, such as browsing Yatra hotel booking deals or signing up for email lists that will alert you when hotels have special pricing events.

Do Your Research

When you’re planning a trip, you’re going to find that there are lots of great hostels and hotels, but finding the right one boils down to doing your research. You want to read as many reviews as you can, and you might luck up and find a hostel that offers many amenities of a hotel at a fraction of the price.

Just because you go the hostel route versus a hotel doesn’t mean you have to give up all luxuries on your trip.

If you find a hostel and the price is right but you read reviews, and it seems like it’s far away from where you’ll be spending time at your destination or it’s dangerous, it’s probably not going to be worth the cost savings. You might be better off spending a little more and going with a hotel.

Speaking of security, while hostels can offer unique experiences, hotels are almost always going to be safer. Hotels have security and key cards as well as other protections in place to keep visitors safe, so bear that in mind.

Privacy or Socializing?

Every traveler has a different idea of what they’d like their trip to be like. If you value privacy and quiet time to relax when you’re done sightseeing for the day, you’re probably going to want to skip the hostel.

On the other hand, some people might prefer a hostel to a hotel, not because of the cost, but because it gives them a built-in opportunity to socialize with other travelers, meet friends, and just be around people.

Some people like this and some hate it, so it’s a personal preference. At a hostel, you might even be able to share a nightly meal with the other travelers.

If you’re traveling alone and want to meet people while you’re away a hostel can provide that, where a hotel probably isn’t going to.

Finally, think about additional costs that could come up depending on whether you stay at a hostel or hotel. For example, if you find an inexpensive hotel but it’s far from the city center, are you going to be spending extra money on transportation? If so, the cost of the hostel and hotel might ultimately balance out.

Don’t Overdo It: How to Properly Relax on Vacation

Are you one of those people who turn up at work on the first day after a vacation, saying “I’m exhausted; I need a vacation?” It may indicate that you have enjoyed your break, but has the vacation achieved its other purpose—to restore your energy? Perhaps you need to take a different approach to vacations, to enjoy them while relaxing more.

A Change Is as Good as a Rest

Relaxing on a vacation is not the same as doing nothing. You can keep quite active, but doing different things from your normal daily routine. So you can relax while hiking, playing tennis, swimming, or learning bridge. Engaging new parts of your brain helps the parts which usually work hard to ease off. Engaging your body more than usual stimulates the endorphins which make life feel worth living.

Drown Out Those Accusing Voices

Much of our working life is driven by a culture of both guilt and shame—guilt that we are not performing as well as we should, and shame that other people might notice. As a result, we tend to schedule every moment to prove our value.

Get away from that attitude on your vacations. The culture in which we live prizes activity and achievements and that often means we feel we must return from vacation with a good account of how we used the time. Wrong! You are not there to please anyone but yourself and the family or friends you are with.

Balance Things Out

A vacation is a time to get some balance back into life. Often that means following our instincts. Eat when you feel like it; sleep when you feel like it; run when you feel like it; dream when you feel like it.

If you love exploring a big city, do it on foot. Boston, for instance, is a wonderful place to walk around, and the walking pace is very good for you. But there is a lot to see, so have a comfortable hotel to retreat to when you have walked enough, the Boston Marriott Cambridge is well-placed and very relaxing.

If your vacation is more physically relaxing, then choose a hotel with a pool or a fitness center and treat yourself to a daily workout.

Work on Relationships

We are creatures whose welfare largely depends on our relationships. Observations of other primates indicate that a vital part of their relationship structure is what happens when they are chilling out. If you are away with family or friends, spend idle time with them and absorb other people’s ways of relaxing. If you are responsible for a family, understand that the kids need to relax in their own way, which seems pretty active to an adult.

Making the Most

“Vacation” comes from a word that means “emptying.” Getting the best out a vacation is not always a matter of squeezing in as much activity as possible. It is also about making space to refresh body, mind, and soul for the routine life that we must return to.

Choose A Man With Van For Your Next Move

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Now that autumn is in the air and the chilly, wet weather is soon to be setting in, you may be thinking that it’s time to up sticks and get a move on with that move you have been contemplating. Even if you aren’t planning on moving yourself and just need to move something too big for your car to another location, it can be a pain in the neck when it’s chucking down with rain. Never fear though, solutions are here! Check out a couple of reasons why hiring a man with a van is the best idea yet to fulfill your moving needs.

Small Spaces Move For Less

Hiring a van to do it yourself can be costly, especially if the company you’re looking to hire from doesn’t have the right size van to fit your needs. You might end up with a much bigger van than you require, or a smaller van that means you will need to take multiple trips over a longer period of time which can increase your rental costs. Renting a man with a van to help move your smaller spaces is a great, cost effective way to get the job done right, the first time. With Shiply, it’s never been easier to choose a great man with a van in your area to get your job done, and they make it super simple to pick someone who not only fits your budget, move size and other requirements, but also helps you find the right person for the job in terms of expertise. Check out their huge database of men with vans today to pick the right guy for your job.

Cheaper Than Your Average Courier or Moving Company

If you’re only sending something to another location, like giving or selling your old sofa to a friend, hiring a man with a van can be a great way to move that object from A to B for less, especially if neither you nor your mate have a car or truck that can get the job done. Instead of looking around for someone to lend you their van, just get online and pick the right man with a van to do the grunt work for you and split the difference. Chances are it’s going to be heavily cheaper than your average courier or moving company, especially if it’s just a couple of things that need to be relocated.

Service With A Smile

Many of the men with vans on sites like Shiply are highly vetted and chosen for their knowledge and expertise in the service industry of moving items from A to B. Most are a type of freelancer who uses their van to help make some money on the side in their spare time. You can pick the delivery driver closest to you with the right stuff for your job right from the website and rest easy knowing that your job is being completed by the best person, hand chosen by you.

So there you have a couple of reasons why picking a man with a van, especially through Shiply is a great idea. Get that chest of drawers moved today or don’t fret about high moving costs. You can get all of that and more through a man with a van for less than you’d expect.

The Value of the Tourist Experience

Just itching to get out and see the world, experience things you never have before, visit places you’ll likely never see again and learn new (and sometimes unusual) things about other cultures? Then now maybe the perfect time you became a tourist again.

But beyond being a mere form of entertainment, what else does “the tourist experience” offer? Why do 10 million people visit the Great Wall of China each year, why do 4 million people tour the Statue of Liberty annually, and why do half a million people trek their way through Redwood National Park?

The answers are as diverse as the places visited and the people spending their time, money, and energy on. But here are 5 key benefits of being a tourist that keep the travel industry alive and well year after year:

1. A Change of Pace and Scenery

Too many of us get ourselves into a rut. We go through much the same motions, day after day, week after week, all year long. Consider that no matter where you go as a tourist, someone is living there as “a local.” They may see every day what you’ve traveled hundreds of thousands of miles to see.

Breaking up the monotony of life, having a unique experience you’ve never had before, and finding plenty of memorable and photo-worthy moments, is part of what it’s all about.

2. Today, It’s Convenient and Affordable

Tourism is more “doable” to the average American today than it ever has been in the past. Anyone can quickly buy tour tickets at GoNYTours.com, for example, and be set up for a very affordable but very exciting and thorough New York City double decker bus tour.

In fact, you can plan and pay for nearly your entire trip (minus, perhaps, some restaurant and souvenir shop stops) from the comfort of your own computer chair. Additionally, if you can’t quite afford an international trip at the moment or are just a bit leery about leaving “the good ol’ USA,” there are endless worthwhile tourist opportunities right here at home.

3. Free From Usual Responsibilities

As a tourist, you are freer than at almost any other time during your life. While a certain over-your-shoulder or via-smartphone management of home matters is necessary, the fact is, you are largely freed up from your usual responsibilities. That alone can make tourism exhilarating. It also means you have more time to “take in all in,” contemplate the “meaning of life,” and mull over past treasured memories even as you are making new ones.

4. Family Time

Family vacation is a veritable American icon, a tradition so deeply ingrained in the national psyche that to remove it would be like ripping out our very heart and soul. OK, perhaps, there may be a bit of exaggeration there, but you catch my meaning. Time together with your same loved family but in a totally new environment is the ideal chance for family bonding time that leaves a lasting, positive impression.

5. Romantic Getaways

Finally, we mention one other prime reason for becoming a tourist: romance. There is no denying that tourism itself is “romantic” in a way, and thus, it’s no surprise that romantic partners love to spend time with the one they love as tourists exploring the sights, culture, cuisine, and historical landmarks of places they’ve never been before.

If honeymoon and anniversary getaways are any clue, it’s obvious that being a tourist is 100% compatible with being in love.

Marriage Laws in Nigeria

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Nigeria is a country that is very pluralistic, both ethnically and legally. Essentially, three legal systems exist: the Islamic law, customary law, and English law. And, at times, these laws are conflicting, as someone like Nenadi Esther Usman is well aware of. This is because Nenadi Esther Usman was born Esther Nenadi, a Christian, but married Mr. Usman, a Muslim man. That said, Nigeria, and even the traditional places like the state of Southern Kaduna, accept marriages under each of those law systems as being legal. Sometimes, however, people do choose to have multiple marriage ceremonies, under each of those laws.

English Laws

There are a number of conditions that must be met in order for a marriage to be recognized under English law. As Esther Usan was then the economic and financial minister for Kaduna, and the overarching law is that of English law, she married her husband under these laws. This meant she met the following conditions:

  1. Senator Nenadi Esther and her husband both agreed to be married.
  2. Usman filed his intention to be married to Nenadi Esther, and said notice was entered by the registrar, remaining open for 21 days, after which the marriage certificate was issued. During this 21 day period, anyone is able to object to the marriage. As the former finance minister, Esther Nenadi Usman though some protest may have been made due to the interfaith nature of their wedding and her being from Kaduna, but none were made.

There are a number of issues, or caveats, that may be raised in objection to a marriage. If these caveats are raised, the registrar refers them to the High Court, who hold the ultimate decision.

The celebration of marriage, meanwhile, also has to meet certain rules and regulations, including:

  1. That it is held at an approved location between 8am and 6pm on the presence of at least two witnesses.
  2. That a recognized minister conducts the ceremony.

Customary Law

This is the easiest of all marriage ceremonies in Nigeria. It is one that follows the traditions and customs of a tribe in the country, which means that the rules can vary. However, it usually requires:

  1. The man and woman to agree to be married.
  2. That the woman’s parents have consented.
  3. That the man has paid a dowry.
  4. That the woman is handed over to the man.

If these conditions are met, the marriage is classed as legally valid.

Islamic Law

Finally, there is Islamic law. Under Sharia law, a man is allowed up to four wives, so long as he treats them justly, equally, and fairly. In order for the marriage to be valid:

  1. Both man and woman must agree to be married.
  2. A male member of the woman’s family must consent to the marriage.
  3. The man must provide a dowry worth at least N5000.
  4. At least two witnesses must be present during the ceremony.

In terms of interfaith marriages, this is only permissible if the man is a Muslim and the woman is a “people of the book” (Christian or Jew), which Esther is.

How to Fix a Moss Problem on a Lawn

One of the biggest problems people can have with their lawn, is for moss to develop. If you have moss, then the best thing you can do is hire a professional lawn care service like True Green. TruGreen lawn care will ensure the issue is resolved quickly and definitely. If at all possible, however, you should have a lawn service before the moss happens. This means you need to do two things:

  1. Have a lawn care company on call.
  2. Know when moss is going to be likely.

Finding a Lawn Service

This is the easy part. Because most people have a lawn, and lawns are such an integral part of our lives, lots of service companies exist. The internet will reveal hundreds of them, in fact. To choose which one to become a customer of should be down to reviews. Spend some time finding reviews and comment on them if you have any questions. And if you find a review helpful, let people know. This review may be read by someone else as well, after all. Before you know it, you will be a regular customer with a company like True Green.

When Is Moss Likely?

Moss is most likely to develop when soil is moist, and grass is no longer growing. A key condition that causes moss, therefore, is snow. Snow slowly melts into the soil, but it also covers the grass itself, which lies dormant in winter anyway. Hence, moss can wreak havoc. Whenever you find that the soil of your lawn is too wet, and you worry about moisture being permanently ingrained in it, you can count on moss starting to develop.

Why Is Moss so Bad?

Moss creates a very poor surface. This means your lawn will be left bumpy and uncomfortable. It will be no fun for the kids to play on or for you to barbeque on. And, worryingly, if you don’t do anything about it, the moss will take over the lawn. Once that happens, you will have to completely renovate it.

Killing Moss

There are a number of key issues with removing moss:

  1. If you rake it, the roots stay in place and actually become stronger.
  2. If you leave it to die, you will find that it used a period of calm to come back stronger.
  3. If you use moss killer, you will also kill your grass.

Luckily, there are things that you can do, including:

  • Try killing the moss in April or May using lawn moss killers such as lawn sand.
  • Wait for the moss to turn black, then rake it.
  • Mow regularly, but leave your lawn long enough to build a strong root system.
  • Feed the lawn properly, using a nitrogen food during late spring/early summer. Do this even if the moss is still there.
  • Feed the lawn again towards the end of June, making sure you have lots of nitrogen in the food.
  • Feed it once more towards the start of September, but use a Fall lawn food, which is low in nitrogen.

Should you spot the moss before it becomes a real problem, then the above steps should be enough. Usually, however, people don’t spot the moss until it is too late. Once that happens, you really need to call in the professionals.

eDiscovery and Email Compliance

Today’s professional communication is done mainly through email, both internally and externally. It is a vital communication tool, therefore. Today, it is as legally valid as paper documentation in legal cases, as it is a document that proves what two parties agreed on. It can, therefore, be used as supporting cases. Because of this, it is vital that emails are stored properly and that they cannot be tampered with. This is known as archiving, which has to be compliant with eDiscovery rules. Professionals like Matt Knouff are working very hard to ensure there is an increased understanding of what this is and what it means.

The Need for Email Compliance

Businesses have to have an eDiscovery system in place in which all user activities are logged. These logs should be fully encrypted, so that they cannot be tampered with. If evidence of tempering is found, this can be strong litigation evidence. If any data has been deliberately deleted, then courts may impose fines on them because of not being compliant with modern rules.

What Are the Necessary eDiscovery Factors to Comply With?

Matthew Knouff understands how difficult it can be for organizations to be fully compliant, considering how many emails they receive every day. This can be resolved, however, with a proper eDiscovery solution. To maximize these solutions for compliance, he believes the following elements are of importance:

  1. The system should take an integrated, holistic approach in which the entire process is streamlined and no complications arise. It is likely that additional applications will need to be added at some point. Hence, good eDiscovery systems must be scalable so that future costs can be avoided.
  2. A good eDiscovery tool can manage all types of different data to ensure full compliance, and this data should be stored in the same way, in the same database. Organizations should have to use just one system in order to access all the necessary information, thereby reducing confusing and the chance of human error.
  3. The eDiscovery tool should be able to avoid duplication of data, thereby saving on storage space. It should be able to convert multiple copies into single files, thereby keeping a smooth and organized process.
  4. The service should be structurally designed to ensure processing is spread across multiple points. If only one entry point is available, then indexing and searching processes will significantly slow down.
  5. The overarching aim of these systems is to make it easy to search for things. Hence, the system should be able to find results very rapidly when specific keywords are entered. Exact results should be searchable too, and this should be fully transparent.

If litigation is commenced, cases can be lost completely if it is not possible for one of the parties to provide the evidence that backs up their statements. The result is a loss of money through fines, and a loss of reputation. The latter is difficult, if not impossible, to recover from. By having a proper eDiscovery system in place, the risk of this happening is significantly reduced.

How to Play Baccarat – A Three-Phased Game

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The game of Baccarat is a popular game among people. It actually dates back to the 15th century, although it didn’t come to this country until 1962, when James Bond got a taste for it in the movie Dr. No. Here, it was called “Chemin de Fer”, and it was played at the Monte Carlo casino. Since it turn out to be James Bond (then played by Sean Connery)’s favorite game, people suddenly started to pay real attention to it, although it had been available in this country for about 15 years prior to this. The history of Baccarat is actually one of three phases.

Phase 1 – Chemin de Fer

Chemin de Fer is the original version of the game, where everybody participated and won and lost their money. Players would take turn being dealers in counterclockwise rotations. The casino, meanwhile, would take a 5% commission of winnings.

Phase 2 – Punto Banco

Punto Banco was brought from Cuba to Nevada in the 1950s. Cuba was a gamblers’ paradise until Castro shut it down. Punto Banco was very similar to Chemin de Fer, but the game was banked by the house. To increase their earnings on top of the 5% commission, a tie bet was also included. Someone decided to call it Baccarat, which is Italian for the number zero, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Phase 3 – Mini Baccarat

It didn’t take long for casinos too see that Baccarat could be a profitable game. Places like the Bicycle Casino Hotel were some of the first to introduce Mini-Baccarat. The rules are like those in Punto Banco, but there is a single house dealer, and no more than seven players. Table minimums can also be set, and there are now a range of side bets to choose from as well.

The Rules of Baccarat

In Baccarat, the player needs to come as close as possible to 9 by adding up the numbers on their cards (Aces are 1, 10, J, Q, K are zero). The dealer hands two cards out, and the total is the number they have. If this is a double digit number, such as 17, then the first number is dropped, making it 7. No skill is required to play Baccarat, but there are rules to be aware of. There are game rules for player bets and game rules for banker bets as well.

Statistically speaking, there isn’t a strategy that will work for Baccarat. However, those who love the game will generally claim that they have a strategy regardless. Really, the question is on how much risk you want to take with your bet. As with all casino games, if you bet on something that is unlikely to happen, the payout is much higher. But because it is unlikely to happen, you probably won’t win. And, as with all casino games, the casino is usually the overall winner, because the odds are always in their favor. If you are happy to accept that, then Baccarat is a really fun game, and a very interesting piece of history as well.