One summer my family and I took a trip to Yosemite, via Napa Valley. An Australian friend of ours was...
Mary, the “mom”
Well, school is back in full swing and summer is already a distant memory, despite the 90-degree weather. Gone is the whining “I’m bored”. Instead, we’re back to running in circles. And, at least for us, this year is worse than ever. Despite how busy my kids were last year, we were able to eat together almost every night. This year’s activity schedules don’t work out as well and as a result, there is no time most weeknights when everyone is home at the same time anywhere near what one would consider dinner time.
The result is the rest of us eat while our older daughter is a dance. She has something light before she goes and again when she gets home. I’m not worried about her nutrition, but I am concerned about losing that talking time. Granted it wasn’t always quality time. You know, we had our share of: “Your chair is too close to mine!” “Don’t touch me!” “Who finished all the potatoes?” But at least we were together and talking.
My second favorite place for catching up and talking with my kids in the car. God knows we spend enough time in it! Well, thankfully we’ve gotten some good carpools going, but the downside is that I can’t really talk to her then either.
I use to walk into her room when she was going to bed and say good night and just see if there was anything on her mind. But I recently made a new rule that I won’t step into her room unless there is a path cleared. (While there was a real danger of falling or stubbing your toe, worse was the effect it had on my blood pressure!)
At 13, I think it’s more important than ever to keep those lines of communication open, in case she decides to actually, you know, communicate. So, do I take my life in my hands and walk back into her room? Do I make a point of getting some alone time in the car? What do you think?
Rach, the “teen”
Having relatively recently been a thirteen-year-old girl, there is absolutely no reason that you shouldn’t try to talk with her as much as possible. Navigating her room, no matter how messy, is completely and entirely worth it.
My mom and I spend a lot of time talking in the car, sure, I want her to drive me to go shopping, but a lot of that want to go with her is because I want to be alone and just talk. No judgment of dad, no annoying brother, and no feeling of pressure that it’s “time to talk.” It’s nice to be in the car because there isn’t a need to talk about deep meaningful things – we can talk about anything.
So, “Mom”, talk to your older daughter, and your younger one too. And your son. Just make sure that each kid gets some alone time, even if one night they don’t want to talk when you come in, make sure you keep doing it, so they always know you’re there when they need you.
Brad, the “dad”
Oh, you actually talk to your fourteen-year-old? What an interesting idea. Not that I’d want to try it myself, you understand, but…interesting.
Seriously: the “meal together” strategy is wonderful, but it broke down for us right around the time the second kid entered teenhood and trying to enforce it made things worse rather than better. After all, we want the kids to be socially active, have extracurricular activities, work on group projects…and that made ’set’ mealtimes impossible for all the right reasons. And like “Mom,” when one parent or the other was driving the one kid to school all alone, that 20 minutes or so each way was an ideal opportunity for a little ‘tude-checking and information exchange. But now we’re deep into carpooling, and that particular private-time is gone as well.
So this summer, Mums and Duds decided that each of us would quietly but intentionally carve out some kind of ‘routine’ time to have casual conversational contact with the Elf. Waltzing into her sanctum sanctorum and demanding an audience? A non-starter. But she was interested in learning to draw, and her Mom, as a former art teacher, was more than happy to set up a little “art class” for her and some friends at our church. Now Mom gets some of that private drive-time back every Saturday morning, going to and from the class, plus a lunch most weeks, that she can use to catch up. Meanwhile, the Elf and I have discovered a – yes, I’ll admit it – unhealthy love of certain video games. So I invested in a subscription to GameFly, and we spend a couple of hours a week shooting at or running from things in a succession of RPGs. Strange how much conversation works its way in between salvos and big-bads – bits and pieces that let me know how she’s feeling, what she’s up to, what’s bothering her.
That would be my only advice: just because dinnertime or drivetime doesn’t work anymore, do not give up on finding a routine, casual time to stay in touch with your young teen. Find some time, anything, in common and nail some regularly scheduled schmooze into the calendar. Not only is it good for the kid(s) in question, it also forces you, as a parent, to make a regular commitment in the midst of a highly irregular time of life – for everyone.
Brad, the “dad”
I’m sorry, I’m running late this week. I … I …
Excuse me, what were we talking about?
All I know is that last night my daughter graduated from high school, and I feel like somebody’s hit me in the head with a two-by-four.
What the heck just happened? There was a baby here just a minute ago. And I remember this cute little girl, couldn’t have been more than four, five years old, sitting in my lap. Then I looked away for just one minute, and suddenly there’s this beautiful, accomplished, confident Valkyrie walking down the aisle in her pretty green robe and mortarboard, picking up her high school diploma, making plans for a month-long road trip, going off to college – leaving. More than that, really – leaving me.
I know we’ve been planning this for months. It’s just that it happened so fast. All of it – the birth, the childhood, the school and Christmases and homework and birthdays and vacations, and crises and partnerships and arguments and now…
I guess I didn’t expect quite so much melancholy to be mixed up with the pride and excitement. I didn’t expect to feel like the guy who’s left standing on the dock while the party ship begins to slowly, slowly sail away without me. Of course, I’m proud of her. Of course, I understand she’s not disappearing, she’s just going to college. I know she’s still my kid, but not a kid and…
Like I said: two-by-four.
I wonder what happens next?
Mary, the “mom”
No fair – you’re going to make me cry! Seriously!
I get this same feeling at every major event (preschool graduation, the first day of kindergarten, middle school graduation, the first day of high school) and some not so major – and often quite boring – events (2nd-grade concert, Brownie bridging ceremony, 5th-grade band concert…). You get the picture.
Sometimes the feeling is positive, as in: “Wow, a few years ago I was worrying about packing a stroller, diapers and baby food for even the simplest outing. Now, they grab their iPods and we’re off. Yeah!” But mostly it’s of the nature of “where did the time go?”
I guess the trick is to remember how fast the time goes when I want to scream at them about the mess they made in the kitchen. Of course, I never do remember til afterward when I feel bad – not that I always feel bad, just sometimes.
What’s next you wondered. Well, for me it’s that high school graduation you just went through. For you, I’m guessing college graduation. Maybe even a walk down the aisle eventually. Talk about a two-by-four! I guess those hits are going to keep coming. But, for now, Congratulations!
Rach, the “teen”
You haven’t been left on the dock. The boat won’t leave without you.
I graduated last week, and it’s scary thinking about what happens next. I know my parents are feeling melancholy about me (their “baby”) being done with high school, but, they know I’m not really leaving them. Sure, I’ll be at college, but I’ll never really be gone.
So, what happens next? I have no idea. But you’d better bet that my parents are coming with me on my boat, wherever it leads me.
Have you ever been told that things are the way that they are in your business because “that’s how we’ve always done it”? This is a way of thinking that proved successful in big business for many years. Well, it’s 2014, and while we may not be living life like The Jetsons, times have certainly changed. This way of thinking does not inspire creativity, and most importantly, prohibits innovation. Technology is advancing at a faster rate than ever before, and every minute that you’re pushing away new technologies, your competitors are gaining an edge on you. It’s time to be disruptive.
Let’s look at Big Data for example. There’s a large divide on companies who support big data analytics and those who don’t. For those who don’t, a common argument is that customers want a human-to-human interaction, and that’s something you cannot get simply with numbers and analytics. It’s the same “Moneyball” argument (for those of you who are baseball fans)
While that’s important, that will not be enough in the future. Kroger company embraced big data early and now the midwest grocery chain is the second-largest in the country (second to Wal-Mart). They were able to accomplish this by mining all customer purchase history with their Kroger Plus card and then creating personalized marketing sent to the customer on products that fit their “consumer profile.” But it doesn’t stop there. They can also use this data to determine which products they will put in a particular store. The products at Kroger in Terre Haute, Indiana may be completely different than a Kroger in Little Rock, Arkansas, and even different than a store in Cincinnati, Ohio. With the advancement of mobile technologies and smart Wi-Fi networks, retailers will even be able to gather location-based analytics that will allow them to determine which part of the store the most products are sold, where the most foot traffic is, and even what times lines are the longest. Retailers embracing these technologies and stepping away from the status quo are instantly gaining a substantial competitive advantage.
Mobile technologies are also disrupting businesses more than ever before. Let’s take a look at the taxi industry. For decades, getting a taxi in any city required you to stand on the side of the street and “hail a cab” or just call a number to request a driver. Many taxi cars still require riders to pay cash, which is a huge disadvantage in today’s age. Now introduce Uber and Lyft. They went against the status quo and introduced mobile technology, and are now making a huge dent in the industry. By creating mobile applications that allow consumers to request a car, pay a fee, check driver location on a map, and rate drivers, these companies made it easier to use these services. They took advantage of mobile trends and made technology easy. They disrupted the industry by going against the status quo, became successful, all while the taxi industry as we knew it will continually see a decline in revenue because they did not embrace new technologies.
These are just a couple of examples of how going against the status quo has allowed businesses to be more successful. The point is that technology is going to play a huge part in business for many years to come. There will never be a replacement for human interaction, and there shouldn’t, but adding a layer of technology to help your business succeed is going to pay big dividends. Let’s get rid of the “that’s the way we’ve always done it” mentality, especially if your business is flat-lining. Be disruptive, be innovative and be creative to help your business succeed at the next level.
More than 70% of the western U.S. has been hit by drought, while China has been suffering from a national shortage of water and energy resources, prompting plans to develop 172 major water projects by 2020, says Paul Simpson of the CDP research firm working for institutional investors.
A survey by CDP of the world’s largest listed companies finds an increasing number of corporate executives say water is or soon will become a restraint on their corporate growth. In the CDP Global Water Report 2014, more than two-thirds of the Global 500 companies reported substantive water risks, “therefore investing to conserve, manage or obtain water has become crucial for some sectors,” said Simpson.
For instance, BHP Billiton has invested nearly US$2 billion “in a desalination plant in Chile to ensure adequate water is available for its desert mining operation,”’ he noted.
“Competition for scarce water resources is leading to business disruption, brand damage and the loss of the license to operate. A lack of water, or insufficient water of the right quality, can cut or even halt production,” observed the survey. “This is of growing concern to institutional investors as evidenced by investors’ support for CDP’s water programs.”
573 financial institutions with assets of US$60 trillion were signatories to the CDP 2013 water questionnaire dated Feb. 1, 2014.
“CDP investor signatories are essentially seeking the answer to one question: what shareholder value is put at risk by poor management of water exposures?” said the report. “They are concerned about potential impacts to the bottom line, and about the threats that poorly understood and managed water impacts pose to the future performance of their investments.”
The organization’s CEO Water Mandate defines water stress as having three core components: water availability; water quality; and water accessibility. “Compared to water scarcity, water stress is a broader concept as it considers several physical aspects related to water resources, including scarcity, but also water quality, environmental flows and the accessibility of water.”
“The good news is that respondents are increasingly acknowledging the importance of water security as a corporate issue,” said CDP. “The responses to CDP’s water questionnaire this year show clear progress on some of the most important indicators of effective water risk monitoring and management.”
“Furthermore, analysis shows that companies exposed to water risk are prepared to invest—in technological improvements, monitoring, and staff training, among other things—to minimize those risks,” said CDP.
Among the technical solutions highlighted in water monitoring by the report is Vale, which “has invested US$8 million in monitoring systems to track changes in precipitation patterns, allowing it to take any preventative measures necessary.”
Nevertheless, CDP finds that while in some cases, “companies may be able to engineer solutions that secure their own water needs, this may do little to address the underlying risk drivers. There is little advantage to being a clean fish in a dirty pond.”
“Furthermore, those parts of the world that offer the greatest potential for economic growth in the years to come are also those that are at most risk from water stress,” the report advised.
The materials sector, including mining, provided a high rate of response to the CDP water survey as 73% companies responded. The majority of metals & mining companies answered the survey including Anglo American, AngloGold Ashanti, Amplats, Antofagasta, Barrick Gold, BHP Billiton, Fortescue Metals, Freeport-McMoRan, Fresnillo, Glencore, Gold Fields, Harmony Gold Mining, Hitachi Metals, Impala Platinum, Newcrest Mining, Newmont Mining, Northam Platinum, PotashCorp, Rio Tinto, Sumitomo Metal Mining and Vale. Among the mining companies that did not respond to the survey were Cliffs Natural Resources, Grupo Mexico, Randgold Resources and Southern Copper.
Among the survey’s key findings within the materials sector: Almost half of the respondent experienced detrimental water impacts in the last report year, the second highest among all the sectors; and 80% of respondents have committed to both goals and water targets this year.
In the risk analysis portion of the materials sector survey, 64% of respondents report that water poses a substantial risk to their businesses. 14 respondents reported a total of 118 risks, 47% of which are expected to materialize within the next three years.
A wide range of risk drivers were reported with 54% of them physical, including increased water stress or scarcity. Thirty three percent of drivers fell under regulatory risk, such as increased difficulty in obtaining operations permits, and 7% were reputational.
“Respondents are pursuing a wide range of response strategies including engagement with suppliers (11%), engagement with policy makers (8%), compliance with local legal requirements (7%), and supplier diversification (6%),” said the survey.
“For example, Anglo American implements water efficiency and conservation measures and works with government to develop sector water efficiency targets aligned with principles of water conservation and demand management,” CDP cited.
If you are planning your honeymoon, you will want to enjoy your time in peace and not have much to worry about. That is the point of all-inclusive resorts. Just about everything you could need or want is included in one package price at these resorts to make vacations easy to manage and enjoy. If you are looking to book a vacation, consider staying at one of the world’s finest all-inclusive resorts designed with couples in mind.
Galley Bay Resort and Spa
Galley Bay is an adults-only four-star located on the shores of Antiqua. This premium upscale resort was modernized and fully renovated in 2008, and each suite features flat-panel television screens, iPod docks, wireless Internet access, a desk area and telephones with voicemail access. Guests have on-site access to a fully-equipped exercise studio, water sports that include kayaking, jet skiing and scuba diving, nightly entertainment, a number of spools and spas and several on-site restaurants and bars. One swimming pool features a swim-up bar so you can stay cool while you relax. Ask a concierge at the front desk to help you plan adventures into the rainforest, book tee times at local courses or just ask for advice about the best shopping destinations in the capital city of St. John, which is just a few minutes from the resort.
Galley Bay Resort and Spa
P.O. Box 305
St. John’s, Antigua
Barbados Beach Club
Rooms and suites at Barbados beach Club are available in several layouts with several bed choices, and every suite features a panoramic view of the ocean and the surrounding area from a private balcony or patio. Dine on a diverse selection of gourmet fare at one of three gourmet restaurants on the property, and enjoy drinks at one of two two full-service bars known to serve colorful libations. Barbados Beach Club also caters to the sports-minded traveler by offering water sports, volleyball, tennis and a modern workout area. After playing and exercising, relax in a number of swimming pools and whirlpools throughout the property. A health spa is also available and its services can be booked for in-suite to ensure privacy and comfort.
Barbados Beach Club
Maxwell Coast Road
Christ Church, Barbados
The Ritz Carlton Kapalua is one of the most popular all-inclusive honeymoon destinations in the world for the wealthy and privileged. More than 450 rooms and suites await you here. Enjoy large flat-panel high-definition televisions with satellite program and DVD players, iPod docks, bathrooms that feature spa tubs and premium bath notions and a wireless Internet connection that be used from a large desk area. Property amenities include a modern fitness studio with a private yoga room, swimming pools with private cabanas, whirlpools and a spa and a salon that offers services that can be done in in-house or in your suite. Four restaurants serve gourmet fare on site, and several full bars serve long wine lists and a number of specialty tropical cocktails.
1 Ritz-Carlton Drive
Kapalua, Hawaii 96761
When internet radio exploded onto the scene around 2005, it completely transformed radio from both a consumer and marketer perspective. Paired with the hundreds of new internet-enabled devices, radio has become on-demand consumer experience.
With apps such as Pandora, Slacker, TuneIn, Spotify, Stitcher, and iHeartRadio available at your finger tips, internet radio has become a popular way to access audio stream. Through the eyes of the advertiser, this phenomenon provides the opportunity to get what they really want: active consumers willing to engage in their brand.
Unlike traditional radio, many of these on-demand apps offer customized playlists, allowing the consumer to design the type of content they want. With registration data often including zip codes, this allows the advertiser to place relevant and compelling ads based on the consumers personalized music selection and their location. Internet radio can provide national reach or local market targeting and allows consumers to interact and engage with the advertisers website or Facebook page.
So what do these Internet stations offer and how do they differ in both a consumer and advertising perspective? Here is a brief summary of just a few of the popular stations being used today:
One of the main stations, and arguably the most well-known one is Pandora. According to a study released from Nielsen in June 2010, Pandora is one of the top three most downloaded apps from the Apple app store and consistently ranks in the top five most used apps in the BlackBerry and Android stores.
Like Pandora, iHeartRadio allows users to listen to stations based on artist, song or album. The difference with iHeartRadio is its vast majority of song selections. iHeartRadio listeners can choose from a massive catalog of more than 11 million songs and 400,000 artists- more than 10 times the number of songs offered by Pandora.
Another popular consumer choice is Slacker Radio. What sets Slacker apart from its competitors is that it has professional DJ’s that customize the song selections and stations. This offers more personalized content than the other technology run sites.
Stitcher is the leader in internet radio for the “world beyond music.” This online site “stitches” together news, sports or talk shows from stations like Fox News, CNN and ABC.
TuneIn allows you to listen to live local and global radio from wherever you are. Whether you want to listen to sports, news, music or current events, TuneIn offers over 50,000 stations and 120,000 shows. It gives you the effect that you “right there with the people and places that are important to you.”
Spotify allows branded apps and channels that allows an advertiser to provide an added value to their target audience. Louisiana Tourism recently used this to their advantage. When the campaign is no longer live…the channel lives on as a wonderful reminder. Spotify utilizes the king of social networks; Facebook. You can share your playlist with your friends. They have taken this one step further with the “life sound tracker.” Using the tracker, consumers can select friends on Facebook and Spotify will generate a playlist containing music from upcoming concerts in your area based on a mash-up of your friends’ music. Users can then have the option to generate a Facebook invite and send it to their friends.
Although Internet radio offers advertising opportunities across both online and mobile platforms, users can also pay a fee in order have an ad-free experience, which could be dismaying to a media partner.
But in an article written about Pandora, media and marketing specialist Kathryn Koegel, states:
“Typical radio stations play nine minutes of ads per hour according to a 2006 study and in a study of clutter on radio, it was reported to be as high as 20 minutes per hour on some stations*. A service like Pandora currently runs a maximum of three audio ads or less per hour and banner ads only appear on a device when a phone is not locked or dimmed thus only when the consumer is interacting with the device.”
The research shows that only 9% of Pandora subscribers pay to use the product. It is also shows extreme growth in the amount of users listening to Pandora on their mobile device versus the web. It allows optimization as we saw with a recent client. By paying attention to ongoing measurement, we saw that mobile’s click-thru rate was much higher than the web; therefore we switched impressions to only mobile.
As marketers, we can conclude that the majority of consumers do not mind advertising, especially if it is targeted to the listener. However, we must stay ahead of the curve in terms of unique and targeted advertising. With mobile technology rapidly advancing, the way consumers listen to radio will continue down this ever-changing path.
When my son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes one of the hardest things for me was to come up with meals and snacks that would taste good, would give him proper nutrition and also would keep his blood glucose levels in check.
While he was at home I could monitor his food intake and make changes if he didn’t like something. During the school days however it was a different story. I had to make sure that the snacks and meals I pack in his lunchbox would be eaten.
For diabetics it is not only about watching sugar and carbohydrate intake……. It is about carefully choosing foods and snacks mostly with fiber and protein while watching carbohydrates, calories, fat and sodium.
My son’s diabetic team was very helpful with designing his menu plan and suggesting snacks……it was up to me to make sure that my diabetic child is well being taken care of.
Few years ago I read an article in Diabetic Living about selecting smart snacks for diabetics when grocery shopping.
With the help of that article and their research my son and I made a list of top 20 diabetic snacks he liked.
I keep that list on my fridge for a quick reference and snack ideas.
I do prefer to make meals and snacks from scratch or serve them in their natural state, but sometimes you just don’t have the option or time. That’s when the convenience of prepackaged foods kicks in.
Top 20 Convenient Diabetic Snacks:
- Honey Maid Cinnamon Rolls Thin Crisps (100 calories, 16g carbs, 3g fat, 115mg sodium)
- Sun-Maid Mediterranean Apricots (per 1/4 cup – 100 calories, 23g carbs, 0g fat, 15mg sodium, 3 g fiber)
- Triscuit Thin Crips Quattro Formaggio (15 crackers – 140 calories, 22g carbs, 4.5g fat,160g sodium, 3g fiber)
- Orville Redenbacher’s Smart Pop!94% Fat Free Butter (3.5cup – 120 calories, 25g carbs, 2g fat, 240g sodium, 4g fiber)
- Laughing Cow Mini Babybel Light (50 calories, 0g carbs, 3g fat, 6g protein, 160mg sodium)
- Planters Harvest California Almonds (25 nuts – 160calories, 6g carbs, 14g fat, 6 g protein, 95mg sodium, 3g fiber)
- Nature Valley Crunchy Granola Oats ‘N Honey Bars (2 bars – 180 calories, 29g carbs, 6g fat, 4g protein, 2g fiber, 160mg sodium)
- Plocky’s Original Three Grain Tortilla Chips (1 oz – 129 calories, 24g carbs, 4g fat, 2g protein, 2g fiber, 90mg sodium)
- Quaker Snack Mix – Baked Cheddar (3/4cup – 130 calories, 19g carbs, 4.5g fat, 2g protein, 1g fiber, 230mg sodium)
- Del Monte Fruit Naturals – No Sugar Added Peach Chunks (1/2cup – 40 calories, 12g carbs, 0g fat, 1g protein, 2 g fiber, 0g sodium)
- Simply Jif Creamy Peanut Butter (2Tbsp – 190 calories, 6g carbs, 16g fat, 8g protein, 2g fiber, 65mg sodium)
- Sun Chips Harvest Cheddar 100 Calorie Mini Bites (per pack – 100 calories, 12g carbs, 4.5g fat, 2g protein, 1g fiber, 110mg sodium)
- Dannon Activia Light Nonfat Yogurt (4oz – 70 calories, 13g carbs, 0g fat, 5g protein, 3g fiber, 75mg sodium)
- Genisoy Soy Crisps – Rich Cheddar Cheese (17 chips – 120 calories, 13g carbs, 4.5g fat, 7g protein, 2g fiber, 190mg sodium)
- Kashi TLC Original 7 Grain Crackers (15 crackers – 130calories, 22g carbs, 3g fat, 3g protein, 2g fiber, 160mg sodium)
- Planters Harvest Dark Chocolate Forest Blend Trail Mix (1/4cup – 170 calories, 18g carbs, 10g fat, 4g protein, 3g fiber, 45mg sodium)
- Dannon Activia Strawberry Dairy Drink (160 calories, 27g carbs, 3g fat, 6g protein, 1g fiber, 60mg sodium)
- Jell-O Sugar Free Chocolate Vanilla Swirls Pudding Snacks (60 calories, 12g carbs, 1.5g fat, 2g protein, 180mg sodium)
- Praeventia Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies (1 pouch – 150 calories, 21g carbs, 6g fat, 2g protein, 4g fiber, 95mg sodium)
- Kettle Baked Potato Chips – Hickory Honey BBQ ( 1 oz – 120 calories, 21g carbs, 3g fat, 3g protein, 2g fiber, 160mg sodium)
Important part to remember is that prepackaged and convenient snacks are to help in times when homemade is not an option and as a treat. Fresh and natural foods are always the best option.
Europe is full of rich history and cultural delights. However, with nearly 50 nations and countless cities to choose from, determining which places would make ideal honeymoon destinations in Europe can be quite the task. Whether looking for love in the city or a private getaway, your options are limitless. However, for the ultimate romantic experience, these five European destinations have it all.
Paris is considered the most romantic place on earth to many, making it the perfect European honeymoon destination. Sip a hot coffee on the banks of the Seine, share a special moment on the romantic Avenue des Champs-Elysees and indulge in a traditional French meal. Paris can be a wonderful honeymoon choice any time of year due to its moderate climate. In the heat of the summer, temperatures rarely reach the 80-degree point. In the winter, freezing temperatures are rare.
Florence is steeped in culture and history. Few things are more romantic than watching the sun set on the ancient city in the heart of Tuscany. Enjoy some fine art in one of the many galleries or museums, catch a ride on the river or shop for unique Italian fashions. If traveling between April and October, the tourist high season in Florence, ensure that any tickets you need are reserved ahead of time, as many sightseeing activities are prone to selling out admission quickly.
South Wales, United Kingdom
For those couples seeking a U.K. getaway, consider South Wales. South Wales is a quiet area seldom seen by tourists, making it the perfect secluded honeymoon destination in Europe. Enjoy the emerald green hills, quaint old-world houses and jovial community feel. Make some time for romance on the coast at Cardiff and enjoy a few local treats like traditional tea.
Vienna, Austria’s capital city, is full of breathtaking architecture and an unmatched musical history. Listen to the Vienna Philharmonic Symphony playing the classical music of city sons Mozart, Beethoven and Haydn, dine in an upscale restaurant or opt for a smaller intimate cafe and share a moment of romance at the Belvedere palace.
Reykjavik is the northernmost capital city in the world. In Reykjavik, you can expect to find fresh seafood, geothermal steam rising from the earth and unique shopping experiences. Walk the entire city to enjoy the sights and take the time to breathe in some of the freshest air in the world. This beautiful green landscape is sure to astound any couple seeking honeymoon destinations in Europe.
Learning a second language is valuable for anyone. But if you are spending a significant length of time in a location where you do not speak the language, you will be continually handicapped until you learn. Learning a new language is not difficult; even a few months of immersion in a foreign language will help you learn enough to function in many situations.
Listen and Observe
Start by listening. Listen to conversations in the language, even if you do not understand them. If you are in a situation where you do not have to understand everything–such as at a meal with friends–ask others not to translate for you. Instead, listen to their conversation. At first, you will just hear meaningless sounds, but gradually you will be able to distinguish words and phrases.
Use What You Know
Many people hesitate to begin speaking in a new language until they are certain they will not make any mistakes. If you wait until you are sure you can speak correctly, then you will never begin communicating. Jump in and repeat what you hear, even if you don’t know exactly what it means. When you hear a new word or a phrase, begin using it immediately.
Never hesitate to ask questions or to admit that you do not understand something. Most people, even strangers, will be pleased that you are trying to learn their language and will be happy to help you. If adults seem unwilling to help you learn new words, ask children. Children are usually pleased and proud to teach an adult something. Learn how to say, “What is this?” and “How do you say…?” and use those phrases often.
Keep a Notebook
As you begin collecting vocabulary and phrases, start a notebook of everything you are learning in your new language. Keep a list of vocabulary and organize it in a way that makes sense to you. Write down any rules you learn about grammar in your notebook as well. Ask people to help you write things down so you spell them correctly, but also include a phonetic spelling so you will remember how to pronounce words later.
Force Yourself to Communicate
Put yourself in situations where you will be forced to speak the language. Run a simple errand, such as going to the post office by yourself, without a translator. Bring a vocabulary list if you need to, but do not just show a clerk the list. Take the opportunity to have as many real conversations as you can. You will remember vocabulary much more easily after you have used it in a situation where you really needed it.
As early as you can, start reading. Begin with something fun and simple, like children’s stories. Picture books for toddlers are perfect for your reading level, and even the simple language of these books will introduce you to new words and improve your spelling and grammar. You can also read your favorite books in translation; if you choose a book that you are familiar with in English, then you will be able to understand it in your new language. Keep a copy of the original nearby to help you out if you cannot figure out a phrase.
Try a Language CD or Software
Languages can also be learned through CDs and from online sites. Companies like Rosetta Stone, a leader in the industry, specialize in this type of language education (see link in References). Rosetta specializes in the total immersion technique and does not start with grammatical explanations. You learn by constantly interacting with the program.
I am almost ashamed to admit it…….,but I never thought that Seattle had an aquarium….
….on our recent December trip we decided to walk from our hotel to waterfront in a search of the best seafood restaurant.
The weather was looking pretty good considering being Seattle in December…..till we almost reached the waterfront….that’s when the sky opened and the waterfall started….
Right in front of us was a building with a big sign…..SEATTLE AQUARIUM….
I just looked at my kids and hubby and all of them were thinking the same thing…..”For Crying Out Loud Woman….Enough Walking….Lets Go In”….How could you say no to that.
Seattle Aquarium is located on Pier 59 and it’s open every day except Christmas Day and June 1st.
It is not very big, but it offers many beautiful and educational exhibit….activities….
Don’t miss octopus feeding every day at noon and 4pm….your children will enjoy seeing, touching and exploring sea life of Puget Sound in tide-pools…take a virtual trip to Pacific Coral Reef…..meet the adorable otters and seals.
….and of course don’t forget to stop by Cafe for some delicious and fresh seafood dishes.