1 Aperitivo – You can have a full dinner of light appetizers (usually pizza, pasta and bread based) when you pay for one drink in a bar or a lounge. In any town in Italy ask the locals about the APERITIVO spot. This is a usually the most swank bar or a lounge that entices people to come for a drink by spreading out an elaborate buffet on the bar starting around 6:30 pm until about 9 pm. It’s the place where you come to meet your friends and have a cocktail or a glass of wine before heading off to dinner. Today with Italy’s recession it has turned into the place you meet your friends to drink and eat for free. The buffet is included for free with the purchase of just 1 drink. Try a Negroni!
The dreaded part about going on a vacation is often all the preparation and time mounting up to actually arriving there. Stuffing all the necessary belongings into a tiny suitcase, careful not to forget anything. Arriving to the airport two hours in advance, security lines, disgruntled airline employees. Sitting still for 10 hours-straight stuffed like a sardine in a tiny aircraft seat, crying infants, terrible airline food, crooked necks from trying to sleep sitting up. Arriving only to find lost luggage or a delayed second leg.
- Check the weather of my travel destination before I begin to pack – Rain Jacket & umbrella, winter gloves & scarf, sunscreen & bikini. Be sure to pack your suitcase the day before you are scheduled to fly out. That will give you time to add anything that you have forgotten as it comes to you. It also allows you to wake up on travel day already relaxed and ready to go.
- Weigh my luggage on my bathroom scale. I don’t want to get to the airport and realize I have to take something out bc it is over the weight limit. Check with the airline that you are flying to see what the weight limit is for checked bags and pack accordingly.
- I have my frequent flyer airline “800 number” programmed in my iPhone under my favorites & I have the airlines app on all my iDevices. This way I am in direct contact with my airline. I am able to check-in online 24 hours in advance using my smart phone. I get automatic updates any time there is a delay or gate change or any other update. I call the airline or look online to double check my seat assignment to see if there could be something more comfortable. Most often now a days flights are fully booked, but it doesn’t hurt to check.
- I also check what type of aircraft I will be flying on. Understanding what aircraft means knowing if I will have my own personal entertainment monitor. If I have one in my seat, I won’t bother to download too many movies on my iPad. I used to not look and would end up paying for & downloading the same movies that were available free to me on the flight. If there is no personal entertainment device, I download at least three movies to be sure that I am not stuck watching some idiotic film.
- Get Cash! If I am going to a different country, I exchange dollars for the local currency at my bank. DO NOT EXCHANGE MONEY IN THE AIRPORT! Its a total rip off and they will take a huge commission. If you forget to exchange your dollars, get cash out from an ATM in the new country. That is the other best option for not getting ripped off. Then use your credit card as much as possible bc your Credit Card will give you a pretty fair exchange rate, however they will tack on a foreign exchange fee.
- Call my Credit Cards to let them know what countries I plan to visit and the duration of my stay. Otherwise I will be in the middle of a shopping spree and have my card blocked by the first international transaction. Then I am stuck either with no credit card or on the phone with the credit card company trying to get everything back up and running.
- Buy snacks at the grocery store to keep in my carry-on. I am not a fan of airline food and usually do not eat what is served on the plane. It usually causes some type of stomach discomfort, makes me feel super-full for days, or just tastes gross. I buy my snacks at the grocery store bc if I wait and buy them at the airport, I will be paying double for junk food.
- I charge all of my iDevices fully and put all of my charges in a bag in my carry-on.
- Get a good nights sleep. I don’t want to be any more distressed on a long cramped flight.
- Get dressed with the Security Line & sleeping in a chair in mind. I never wear too much metal jewelry, belts, or clunky shoes that I can’t just slip on or off. I try to make it fast and easy for me & everyone else in the security line. I wear stylish but comfortable clothes. I find that I get better service if I am dressed nicely… AND I sleep better in a sports bra and cotton clothes. Don’t wear anything that you think you might want to take off to sleep! I had this uncomfortable bangle one time, that I took off and left in the airplane, gone gone jewelry!
- Turn on the news and see what is going on in the world, be it severe weather or God For Bid, Airline Drama.
- Check the Flight Status. I like to use the *** Flight Tracker APP on my iPhone. It shows you if there are any flight delays and real time flying information for my scheduled flight.
- If my flight is not too early, I always make time to work out and get my body ready to sit still in an upright position for hours on end. I always go for a long walk or get into the gym to stretch out my body and tire myself out so that sitting still for so long will be received as more of a break than a punishment. Since I have back discomfort from sitting to long, I prefer to get into the Pilates, Yoga Or Barre studio to strengthen my core on flying day. It makes a big difference on long international flights.
- I like to stop at a good restaurant with my best friends or loved ones on the way to the airport. I make it an event with at least two hours to sit leisurely and relax with my company. We laugh and catch up over a bottle of wine & nibble on appetizers. I have a full meal to tide me over until I arrive in my destination. The snacks in the carry-on are for the plane ride. Its a great way to say goodbye to my loved ones and plan what we will be doing the next time we see each other.
- I arrive to the airport two hours before my international flight is scheduled to arrive, one for domestic. I don’t want to be that person running through the airport holding up the flight. Plus you never know what the security line will be like in the airport. I always check in curbside outside of the airport with the Sky Captains if that is available. There is usually no line & I have never had met a disgruntled Sky Cap. Maybe thats bc they work for tips, so be sure to give them at least $5 for assisting you!
- I call my mother and let her know how much I love her!
- Once on the plane, shoes off, socks on and try to get comfortable. I leave in arms reach my iPad and my travel bag (it contains earphones, eye mask, hand lotion, lip balm, and my Advil PM). I want to have everything I need close by so as not to disturb fellow travelers by constantly getting up and opening and closing the overhead bin.
- I read or write or watch a movie in the first couple of hours. Then I have about two glasses of wine and my snacks during the food and beverage service. As the flight attendants have served and removed all the food trays, I take 2 Advil Pm and settle into another movie, with the hopes of dozing off for the duration of the flight!
- Wake up feeling somewhat rested and ready to begin the fun part of the travel!!!
If you have never stepped foot in a Nursing Home, let me tell you that its NOT an easy place for anyone to enter, especially for the people who reside there. For you and me, we take it as scary entrance into Old and Deathdom Valley. For those who move in, its taken as an entrance into hell and punishment, looking at the other residents as old and decrepit… seeing themselves as young and able. As you enter, you are abruptly welcomed with a stench of medicines, cleaning products, and an indescribable funk. Walking the halls are women in wheelchairs clutching on to baby dolls, people screaming and singing strange songs to no one, men asking you “Where is my room?” It’s heartbreaking, frightening and eye opening.
For my first blog entry it seems only fitting to start with a road trip to my HOMETOWN of Augusta GA … Or Disgusta as I call it. But don’t get any ideas thinking that you can bad talk my hometown, it’s like you saying my mamma is fat… And don’t no body say nothing bad about my mamma!!! Truthfully, I love coming back home to Augusta GA. It’s where I spent the first part of my life, in and around… And I love Augusta GA.
Downtown Augusta GA preparing for the wave of chaos, that which is called the Masters, one of the most important golf tournaments in the world. I remember as a little girl, that the town turned new in one week of the year, they bring out new street signs that they keep stored and cleaned year round, only bringing out for this week of the year, all the blowers come out to blow away all the pollen and dust from the streets. It’s the most magical week in Augusta. Restaurants extend their hours, bring out their best silverware.
When you stay in Augusta, be sure to visit broad street in downtown. Ive seen such a revival downtown, and I my opinion we owe all of the life and energy to two places that started it all back in. The late 90’s. You have to stop in the Soul bar and the Pizza Joint. Yes I am partial to theme both, I was one of the original pizza joint waitresses back in 1996, when downtown was nothing more than wig shops, skanky furniture stores and bunk insurance companies. Today I barely recognize it. But I’m proud to have been there to see this huge transformation from rags to riches. Broad st Augusta … you got it going on baby! Work it, keep,up the good work! XOXO
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