Nestled across 400 rolling acres of ranch land in the Carmel Valley, is what is known as the valley’s best kept secret: Holman Ranch. It’s steeped in history combined with today’s modern amenities. Full of romance and history, it features a hacienda made of stone with furnishings imported directly from Mexico. Inside the hacienda are several lovely rooms, including its very own chapel, great room, and courtyard filled with roses. Every angle is easy on the eyes, with spectacular vistas and panoramic views. The historic estate offers serenity and privacy along with beautiful vineyards and olive groves.
Holman Ranch was built with an artist’s eye, back when California was still a part of Mexico. In the Spanish era, it was originally part of the Mission San Carlos Borromeo del Rio Carmelo. It was originally part of the land that belonged to one of the valley’s first ranchers,Don Jose Manuel Boronda, who was granted the Los Laureles Rancho. This includes what is now Holman Ranch. Passed through several generations, in 1928 the ranch was a modern Spanish-style hacienda built with impressive Carmel stone walls and accented with handmade Mexican terracotta roofing and hand carved oak-beamed ceilings that still stands today. Its nickname was Casa Escondida or Hidden House. Mature oaks surround the property.Many celebrities flocked here to relax and unwind, including Charlie Chaplin, Clark Gable, Joan Crawford, Marlon Brando and Vincent Price. It was like their own personal hideaway from their daily pressures.
In the 1940’s, Clarence Holman of the Holman’s Department Store , bought the guest ranch and remodeled and expanded the structuresto feature guest roomsand one of Carmel Valley’s first swimming pools.
The ranch was reborn when it was purchased by Dorothy McEwen in 1989. Her role was to not only preserve the ranch , but to reinvent it as an event facility as well as a private estate.
In 2006, The Lowder family took it off her hands and began to restore its original mystique.
Estate grown wines across 19 rolling acres and olive oil are now produced at Holman Ranch.Whether it’s group meetings, intimate gatherings or weddings, the ranch proves itself to be a truly unique experience for those who partake in its beauty. Hosting one event at a time, the private estate opens its doors to the public sector and it offers comfortable bungalow-style guest rooms as well. The rooms are cozy with all the modern conveniences you can imagine.
As the Peninsula’s best kept secret, it is only seconds away from their wine tasting facilities in the Carmel Valley Village and just 20-minutes away from Carmel-by-the-Sea. They spotlight a variety of Pinot Noirs as the grape growing region is perfect for this. They also make a palatable Rose of Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and a Sauvignon Blanc. Their tasting room is spacious and the tastings are generous.
The romantic setting of Holman Ranch, its breathtaking grounds, and 400 acres of propertyalong with its colorful gardens make Holman Ranch a truly a magical venue. It’s seconds from Carmel Valley Village, where they have their wine tasting facilities. You are welcome to join in the glamour and peace of Holman Ranch. As a guest, you could be invited to any special eventyou can imagine. Come discover the secret for yourself at a place where the past meets the present and anything and everything is possible.
Connie Werner Reichert is a Wall of Fame member of the International Travel Writers and Photographers Alliance. Loving what she does, Connie has been a travel writer for more than two decades. Connie may be reached at Connieis@pacbell.net or visit www.authrosden.com/conniewreichert.
Cape Grace, Cape Town's award-winning hotel, has created a new wellness package to kick-start a healthy New Year. To entice guests to stay healthy all year, Cape Grace's new package promotes fitness, wellbeing and an overall healthy lifestyle.
The Wellness Package includes:
Three nights' accommodations at Cape Grace, in a Luxury room with views of the working harbor and Cape Town's V&A Waterfront
One six-course Vegetarian Tasting Menu for two at Signal, specially created by Executive Chef Malika van Reenen
Kalahari "Relax" Massage for both guests, designed to de-stress and relax the muscles by using traditional African methods
Two entry tickets to Table Mountain: hike or take a ride to the summit
The package is priced from ZAR 17,520 (approx. US$1,974), based on double occupancy, and is valid through October 31, 2013 (subject to availability and excluding travel between December 20, 2012 and January 5, 2013).
Cape Grace has held pride of place on its own quay in the V&A Waterfront for the past 15 years, increasing its reputation for ultimate style and luxury in the perfect waterside setting. The spaciousness of the rooms, the diversity of amenities and the unsurpassed service, have all ensured Cape Grace is the ultimate Cape Town destination.
24 year-old Benjamin Woods of Somerset, California, is wise beyond his years. He is the Founder of Mama Earth Farm, part of A Space for Learning, where they offer rejuvenating adventures, natural building and systemic living. As a bioneer, his goal is to help others live a healthy life. With systemic living, the philosophy is that you must be empowered before you can be whole, and he empowers all who will listen with life-changing facts that promote wellness through healthy and natural living. He has been very busy building straw bale houses in El Dorado County and collecting rainwater to irrigate with and harvests the water to feed chickens so they grow without chemicals. They also sprout raw, organic grains for their chickens because of the release of proteins and nutrients are so essential to health.
What sets his organic home building company apart from the competition? “I suppose, it is what sets any individual apart from another: we are each unique,” explains Woods. “I focus on creating beauty, designing through purpose, and fostering simplicity. Furthermore, I gain inspiration from the many indigenous peoples of the world.”
After having developed an appreciation for nature as a child, Woods was lead to look deeper into the natural world as an adult.“Through education and experience I learned of the harsh impact modern humans have on the earth, Woods continues.“Immediately, I wanted to know why this was the case, and how I could help change it.I was then introduced to the modern philosophy of sustainability., which of course gave me all the answers and the means of creating change!”
All aspects of Woods’ work reflect who he is and that all are interconnected.The general impetus for doing what he does is to inspire healthy living.So whether he is guiding someone through the forest, teaching others the process of creating a cob oven or designing an organic orchard and garden, he is consistently working to bring health into the world.
Mama Earth Farm also offers rejuvenating adventures. “I accompany others to places they might not normally find themselves,” Woods remarks.“I intuit the elements they need to embrace, be it water, wood, soil, rock etc.. Depending on the person, we walk, run, swim, climb- what ever activity will strengthen the health of the individual. Overall, the experience is always meditative, rejuvenating, and real.”
The natural building work Woods completes, fortunately inevitably ends up costing the project owner less than building a traditional structure.
He chooses to use the phrase systemic living to describe the holistic experience of living a healthy life. One cannot live a healthy life unless the environment in which they live is healthy.This is the basic idea of systemic living. The practice and philosophy ofPermaculture is a solid model to help people harmoniously blend their human lives with the life of the natural setting they find themselves living in.
Woods is a master at building cob ovens. What is cob? A building material composed of clay, sand and straw, all available in the foothills. This humble formula is extremely durable and requires minimal maintenance. It won’t burn, bugs won’t eat it, and it’s “dirt cheap.” It’s also non-toxic, creates no waste and requires just few tools to construct a cob house or oven. Thousands of cob structures have weathered rainy England for centuries.It’s not about mud huts and primitively per se. It is sophisticated technology in harmony with nature to break free of the financial trap and general insanity of wasteful tract homes.
As a bioneer, Woods realizes that mostly people already know it is about simply living in nature -- taken to the full extent. When simple living in nature is taken to the full extent, personal and systemic transformation ensues.
Systemic Living and permacultureis a very practical experiment which is devoid of external rules that are not consistent with the operations of nature. Woods shows people through his natural projects that what ever living philosophy one constructs, it cannot avoid the laws of nature, and the best way to get familiar with the laws of nature is to live simply in natural surroundings. Once placed within this context, the individual can attend to his/her heart's greatest desire, whatever that may be at the time, such as bringing up children, building, growing, studying, or providing a community with a product or service.
It is critical to realize that true systemic living starts with the lifestyle first that is intimate with nature, and then, because the individuals' hearts are singing, they are quite well able to manifest suitable activity. It is not a new idea - it harks back to Henry David Thoreau's Walden, St Francis of Assisi, and long before.
Systemic living is living simply in nature. Woods believes one can start out by searching out a piece of land and then creating an arrangement with the local biosystem that will allow one to dwell, breathe, look for water, and find some food. One might make a shelter and a cob oven and in so doing a new kind of life has now begun.
Currently, Mama Earth Farm is working to build a local farmer’s market with a team of dedicated organic farmers. Absolutely all of the food that will be sold will be grown within a 15-mile radius, right here in El Dorado County.
It’s all about being committed to preserving and supporting the future of life. Uniting nature, culture and spirit, bioneering embodies a change of heart—a spiritual connection with the world.
Systemic, natural living is a concept, not a place. It can be done by anyone, anywhere. As we satisfy our lower motivations through direct engagement with natural living processes, amazing new things start happening and the higher faculties come pouring forth. For more details, contact Benjamin Woods at (530) 620-2702.
I am a travel writer, and I certainly appreciate all the helpful information in the Frommer's Guidebooks, which are known all over the globe. What you may not know of yet, is their durable, functional, excellent yet affordable Frommers Luggage Collection. Here are a few highlights:
MAIN FEATURES OF THE
Recessed locking Trolley
handle with easy-access
push button to lock and release (“one-hand-operation”).
E.x.p.a.n.d.a.b.l.e up to 2 inches for additional items and convenientpacking.
Protected and recessed
wheels for an easy roll and long lasting service.
Integrated ID tag on thetrolley uprights.
TM in-line skate
Main material is 1800 D Polyester.
Patent-Pending Fiberglass Graphite frame.
Lightweight and fully featured.
Protected Velocity™ Inline Skate Wheels.
Trolley Uprights expand 2” for extra packing capacity.
Front panel design features two packing pockets.
A zippered back pocket with integrated ID tag on the trolley uprights.
Top and side “comfort” carrying handles.
Lockable #10 self-repairing nylon coil zippers on main opening.
Detachable add-a-bag strap for carrying extra bags “hands-free”.
Molded polypropylene curb guards and kickplate.
organizing packed clothes, and four mesh pockets for personal items.
Fully lined interior features, webbed tie-down straps for
The lid features a zipout suiter panel, cinch strap for hanging garments, 2 tie-downs
So what does all this mean, in a nutshell? Luggage that looks good and holds up extremely well (unfortunately we know how rough those baggage handlers can be at the airport, don't we?). Plus, it is good for your budget at the same time. Quite affordable---you get a lot for what you pay for.
I chose Frommer's luggage because I love to travel, and I love to pack a lot of things. I don't much believe in packing too light. What for? I like to be prepared. From first aid and vitamins, to beauty products and clothing to well, uh, several pairs of shoes (I am a woman, after all). I also carry with me their Frommer's Guidebooks, which are a Godsend should you need direction or decent to luxorious reccomendations on where to go, what to do, where to eat, etc.
I also appreciate their friendliness and thoughfulness in fast shipping and stellar customer service. It is hassle free---their luggage and doing business with Frommer's.
I am on-the-go quite a bit, and this luggage takes me everywhere I need to be and want to go to.
It is easy to use, and has a place for everything you bring with you.
Bottom line: Trust Frommer's. Take it from a gal with 23 years of travel writing expertise, and buy a piece or the entire collection today.
All-Natural & Antioxidant Lines Expanded to Protect Skin and Protect Rainforests
Save Your World, the first company in the United States to launch a personal care product line infused with organic yerba maté and organic aloe vera, has expanded its product offerings to now include a Save Your Body® brand, a line of exfoliating bar soaps made with organic oils, as well as Save Your Lips™, a line of all-natural, oil-infused lip balms.
There are three signature scents: spicy wood-berry sensation Rainforest (my own favorite), Oasis Fruit (smells like fresh-squeezed orange juice), the floral rose, geranium, and lavender bouquet of Regal Blossom, and now in new Pure Mist natural scent (unscented).
Save Your World announces its plans to help protect your pocketbook, taking bold action to help the economy by reducing prices. In spite of rising fuel and energy costs, Save Your World is trying to Save Your Money by doing something unheard of in the personal care industry, by reducing pricing on its existing product lines including:
Save Your Hair®
Save Your Hair® all-natural hair care products nourish and replenish your hair. They are cruelty-free, and contain no Parabens, no Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and no 1, 4 Dioxane; just natural and organic ingredients including organic aloe and organic yerba maté, the nutrient-rich, antioxidant alternative to green tea. The best scent is Rainforest---energizing yet soothing at the same time. It may not make sense, but when you try it, you'll see it's true. The downside? You need to squeeze a plentiful amount out of the bottle to get a rich lather going. Same for the conditioner. No lather, but it does leave your hair coated, and when you rinse it off, it leaves your hair literally squeaky clean.
Save Your Skin™
Save Your SkinTM products include a moisturizing all-over body lotion that is a thirst-quenching drink for the skin.This nourishing experience can be enhanced by first using the exfoliating soaps that have delicious aromas, high-quality lather, rounded edges and a beautiful leaf stamp.Finally, adding lushly frgrant, almost overpowering, moisturizing shower gels to the routine will provide for a skin-nourishing shower or bath experience.
About Save Your World Save Your World is a green company made up of family and friends who share a passion for preserving the world's natural resources. Save Your World, under the brands Save Your Skin™, Save Your Hair®, Save Your Body®, Save Your World®, and Save Your Lips™, introduced the first pure organic yerba maté-infused, all-natural, personal care product line in the United States, with the mission to Save Your Rainforest through the product pledge "1 Product = 1 Acre of Rainforest Saved for 1 Year®." Products are available in a complete line of shampoos, conditioners, body lotions, shower gels, body washes, lip balms, and exfoliating soaps with naturally moisturizing glycerin. Save Your World recently announced a comprehensive program for eco-friendly hotels with a message of "1 Room for 1 Night = 1 Acre Saved for 1 Year™."Save Your World is an approved member of Co-op America 's Green Business Network™, and is a proud sponsor of Walking the Amazon.
Save Your World is helping to save the rainforest through a unique and innovative leasing program, one of the first of its kind in the world. Through contributions and product sales, Save Your World helps pay the annual royalties and fees required to maintain an agreement with the Guyana Forestry Commission to protect the rainforest in its pristine state. Save Your Worldhas already helped to protect 200,000 acres of Guyana rainforest for one year. This South American rainforest project is on one of the world's oldest geological rock formations and is one of the richest areas for plant and animal biodiversity. Rainforests contain about half the planet's five to ten million plant and animal species, and harbor 70 percent, or more than 2,000, of the plants identified as having anti-cancer characteristics by the US National Cancer Institute.
Bottom Line: These products are brilliant-- beautifully scented with ethical values while saving money for us---the consumers.
Major financial institutions may crumble, but holiday spending on pets won’t stumble. At least that’s the conclusion that can be drawn from a shamelessly unscientific survey conducted by Pet Supplies “Plus,” America’s third largest pet store chain.
The online survey of 328 pet owners found that they will be spending $54 on average for holiday pet gifts this year. Although almost half (48 percent) of those polled said that the economy will make them more careful about shopping for their pets this holiday season, 66 percent of them said they plan to spend more on their furry and feathered friends this year than last.
Maybe people are so generous with their pets because shopping for them is just plain fun. . . and a great way to escape the pressures of the outside world. Nine out of ten survey respondents said that it was more enjoyable shopping for pets than people during the holidays.
Another reason why pets rank so high on our holiday shopping list is that shopping for them is easy. They always seem appreciative of our efforts and never send anything back. No wonder that 93 percent of those surveyed said that it’s easier to find the perfect gift for their pets than their human friends and family.
When asked, “If you could buy only one gift this holiday season, who would it be for?” over four in ten of the survey respondents (41 percent) said their pets!Here’s a look at some of the trends that are shaping the holiday pet gift market:
Basic Values -- Customers are looking for tried-and-true pet products that offer them a real value. They’re will to buy gifts for their pets, but they want their money to go further. Gifts like dog biscuits and catnip toys are high on shopping lists. Proven products like Kong Dog Toys, which last, provide dogs with endless ours of entertainment, and are trusted for quality are very popular.
Stay At Homes – People are less prone to travel, so they are spending more time at home with their pets. This has created a demand for more entertainment products (both for people and pets). An example is the CatIt Cat Senses, a massager for cats.
Look-Don’t-Touch Pets – Since people are spending more time at home, they are more interested in products that will allow them to observe beautiful pets that are more suited to be looked at and admired, rather than petted. This includes aquariums, Crabworx (a product that houses hermit crabs), the Hagen Betta Kit, a compact desk top tank for betta fish, and new this year, the Exo Terra Terrarium for reptiles.
How many gifts will you buy for your pet this holiday season?Average 5
How much will you spend on your pet this holiday season? Average $54
Will you be spending more on your pet this holiday season? Yes 66%
Will the economy affect how you shop for your pet this holiday season? Yes 48%
Are pets more fun to shop for than people during the holidays? Yes 90%
Is it easier to find the perfect gift for your pet than a person? Yes 93%
Founded in 1988, Pet Supplies “Plus” is the nation’s third largest pet store chain with over 225 locations in 21 states. For more information on the chain visit, www.petsuppliesplus.com.
Frightening Memoir Just in Time for Halloween: The Perfect Read! One man takes on the U.S. Government’s spy experiments using telepathy.
Media: Get Your Advance Readers Copy
SEPTEMBER 19, 2008-SACRAMENTO, CA-Just in time for Halloween, it’s a new but very different occult read. It took Philip Chabot 40 years to tell his amazing story, and it’s now available through Amazon.com and www.philipchabot.com. Chabot was an integral part of an American conspiracy, where the U.S. Government and the CIA took advantage of a select group of people who had psychic abilities in order to spy on other countries.
In his newly released book, OPERATION BLUE LIGHT: My Secret Life Among Psychic Spies[Cherubim Publishing/September 2008/ ISBN 978-0-9816024-0-0/$26.95/294 pages], Chabot finally divulges his frightening experiences as a Psychic Spy with the United States Intelligence. An unusual and compelling memoir, this is a true account of deception and subterfuge—a book unlike any other on the market today. Chabot shows that the use of psychics started much earlier than previously revealed, and he tells us of his secret relationship to the family of Chairman Mao.
Traditional methods of gathering intelligence include using satellites, intercepting communications and recruiting agents. However, now top secret documents have emerged revealing that the Ministry of Defense ran a covert project to recruit psychic spies during the Cold War in the hope of tracking down people and items of interest to the government and the military.
What exactly went on? Back in the 60’s, any contact with a Communist country was almost impossible. Chabot himself was recruited as a spy to discuss the Iron Curtain—the Cold War. You can well imagine the terror and drama. However, dealing with what was known as “Red China” was much worse—there was a secret and disturbing version of the story of The People’s Republic of China desperately reaching out through taking advantage of psychic spies and covering-up marriage arrangements. Surprisingly in fact, the author was involved with a marriage arrangement with Chairman Mao’s daughter. In OPERATION BLUE LIGHT: My Secret Life Among Psychic Spies, all of this is revealed. Chabot has taken the Iron Curtain and ripped it away to peek beyond it. Now, you have the chance to learn what really went on.
Moreover, we knew things in China were bad, but we could only guess at how nervous those in control of China really were. This story gives us a real idea of how much trouble those around Chairman Mao must have believed the country was in during the 60’s. The worsening conditions in China caused them to take extreme measures to protect some of the members of his family. Chabot’s story forces us to believe that the Peoples Republic of China’s official practice of rejecting any arranged marriages was ignored in an attempt to safeguard Chairman Mao’s family if control of the country started to fall apart.
Even more intriguing, according to Chabot, “The use of psychic spies may still be happening today. Most recently, by the 1990s, it was revealed that the Pentagon continued to employ a highly classified team of ‘psychic spies,’ who use a form of remote viewing to aid in the gathering of intelligence in foreign countries.”
OPERATION BLUE LIGHT: My Secret Life Among Psychic Spies, reveals the government’s never-ending fascination and involvement with "mental" technologies and their collusion with psychiatric types to master control of the human mind for their own purposes and schemes. For the very first time, we get a chance to see what they were doing in the 1960’s. Chabot gives us a look at abilities, techniques and practices never before revealed. It tells the story of how powerful and even overpowering the psychic abilities of some of the world’s intelligence agents had become. We also see for the first time how Chabot found a way past all the barriers of the Cold War—to actually speak to the girl he agreed to marry. The orchestrated effort by the intelligence community to develop the author’s psychic abilities also gave him a way around the Iron Curtains that were constructed by various state departments.
Plus, you can now view Chabot’s harrowing tale through 12 videos on You-Tube by visiting www.philipchabot.com. If you are a member of the press and/or a book reviewer, for an advanced reader copy of this book or more details about OPERATION BLUE LIGHT please contact Connie Werner Reichert at e-mail Connieis@pacbell.net
or call 530.277.4560.
About the Author
Philip Chabot is a journalist specializing in the paranormal and the psychology of psychics. His recent book tells a story filled with the utmost subterfuge about what happened to him over 40 years ago. Comments Chabot, “My psychic gift started to show itself in my senior year of high school in 1961 and developed into almost perfect, ability to talk to other psychics, mostly those in the intelligence community by the summer of 1966.”
OPERATION BLUE LIGHT: MY SECRET LIFE AMONG PSYCHIC SPIES
isa groundbreaking new memoir that uncovers what the government has done to one “gifted” man unwillingly used as a spy.
OPERATION BLUE LIGHT:
MY SECRET LIFE AMONG PSYCHIC SPIES
Cherubim Publishing/Pub.Date:September 2008
ISBN 978-0-9816024-0-0/ 294 pages
Book Reviewers/Journalists: To request additional review copies and/or an interview with the author,
The Big Island of Hawaii does have its quandaries: Where’s the Beach? Because it’s the youngest island in the chain, unlike Oahu, the Big Island of Hawaii is home to just a select amount of beaches. But the beaches you do find, are all unique and very special places on the planet. Aside from pure white sand beaches, there are green sand beaches and black sand beaches, too. White sand beaches are made of crushed seashells and corals mainly on the north end of the island while black sand beaches are evolved from ground lava rock and mostly found on the southeastern part. Green sand beaches are made from olivine crystals and are very rare.
With all of the different color spectrums and wave intensity, you’ll find as you read on, that there are enough beaches to plan your special getaway—all with the spirit of aloha.
Best Big Island Beaches
1. Magic Sands Beach
Imagine trying to surf or swim and suddenly, there’s no beach! Also known as White Sands Beach, every day when the tide comes in, the beach disappears. The periods of high swells wash all of the sand away, only to have it magically return the next day. In December the water comes up so darn high there is hardly a beach at all! When there is a beach, it’s the place for boogie-boarding and volleyball.The sand is crystal white, and sooooo soft, just perfect for lying out in the sun and reading a good book. You’re kind of in a predicament because this is only one of three “real beaches” in the heart of Kailua-Kona. However, when the shallow, offshore sandbar is present, the swimming and boogie boarding is fabulous! Locals love it. This sandy and rock-strewn beach is one of the few beaches that have lifeguards and restrooms so you don’t have to pee-in-the-sea.
2. Hapuna Beach
The best beach on the Big Island, and often voted as the best beach in the U.S. Hapuna’s waters are warm and welcoming with a long stretch of fine white sand (½ long) and almost 200 feet to the water during summer.
Swimming conditions?Excellent!(lifeguard on duty) Hapuna is great for body surfing and working on that tan. They don’t have snack bar, so make sure you bring your cooler.
There is easy access to the beach, full facilities, the crystal clear sea, and pretty scenery. You can do best by getting here by 10 a.m. as the parking lot fills up rather fast. There is a nice shady area and a picnic pavilion to kick back in if you’re sun-sensitive.
3. Pawai Bay
This is a fabulous and protected underwater marine preserve. You and the kids will be delighted to swim with thousands of brilliantly colored tropical fish, endangered sea turtles and wild dolphins, amongst the gorgeous coral reef gardens at Pawai Bay. I learnd the hardway not to swim too close to those coral reefs as I was bitten by a moray eel and had to get bandaged up! So beware of those eels At any rate, the best way to get here is by boat. You can hop on board the Body Glove for an all day cruise that departs from Kona.! There are other diversions you can get yourself into. The Queen’s Bath tub” near the Captain Cook monument is like nature’s own Jacuzzi. The water is warm and gently swirls around you. You will find this bay as the primo spot for snorkeling and snuba diving, as well as whale watchinhg depending on the season. The friendly Body Glove staff serves up tropical fruits, snacks,sodas and juices and a no-hostt bar, and hih & Her Restrooms are onboard.Excellent Photo opportunities. (800) 551-8911 or www.bodyglovehawaii.com.
4. Kalena Beach
Located on the east side of the island, Kahena Beach is a black sand beach where clothing is optional! Time to kick back Island style and not be so shy!Leave you inhibitions at the resort, and enjoy Big Island Style rest and fun at the beach. There are exotic treasures waiting to be found. I suggest you take the time to soak it all in and most of all, hang loose!
You’ll discover people of all ages—from babies to the elderly, sans clothing. They usually keep to themselves, although there is a certain type of camaraderie when you’re with so many other naked people.
5. Kahalu’u Beach
It doesn’t look like much from the road, but once you get in the water, that’s another story. This is by far, the most amazing beach on the Big Island for snorkeling that you’ll ever see! I can’t count how many times I have snorkeled there, and the amount of fish that swam through my arms and legs. My 12 year-old daughter gave a delighted squeal as the bigger trumpet fish swam by and the little puffer fish nibbled at her toes.
Kahalu’u Beach is in Kailua-Kona at the South end of Alii Drive. It is a dark sand beach with a small sandy area but don’t let that fool you. It’s a prime property with a large, reef-protected snorkeling area. Since it is one of only a few sandy beaches in town, it can get pretty crowded. Fed by a fresh water spring, up to 10 million gallons per day, the waters are almost always calm, but it can get a bit choppy in the afternoon at times. It is filled with colorful corals, rock formations, and over a hundred species of fish.
Quiktip: Bring plenty of bottled water in an ice chest filled with ice and be sure to wear sunscreen from 20-45 SPF, even if you have olive skin like yours truly. If you do get burned, pack on aloe vera gel, available at your local market.
Connie Werner Reichert is the President of Write Side Up Travel Journalism. She is also a member of the International Travel Writers & Photographers Alliance. Visit her new website at www.conniewreichert.comor e mail Connieis@pacbell.net.
My idea of camping is staying in a hotel room without room service and a wall-mounted blow dryer. Give me a clean hotel room with 400 thread count sheets and a lanai I can walk out on so I may greet the early morning sunrise. I long for a place with a cool swimming pool and hot tub to soak in after a long day of sightseeing.
Needless to say, we didn’t camp this summer. Instead, without any particular itinerary, our family embarked on a road trip to experience the spectacular United States. Fueled with excitement as well as gasoline, we stayed in a different hotel each night. We could’ve flown, but that takes the fun out of a good old American road trip.
Sure, airplanes get you there faster, but the seats are rather uncomfortable. Remember when it was glamorous to fly? Well the style and sophistication have been replaced by stale sandwiches packed in plastic trays served by snippy flight attendants. The golden days of train travel have also disappeared. Instead of nice meals served inside a dining car,we now eat microwaved beef dinners and look out dingy windows as we chug along the tracks.
Besides, there is something comforting and thrilling about traveling long distances by car. It’s a spontaneous, panoramic adventure into the real world. You can stop and go as you please, and if the kids have to pee for the umpteeth time, who cares?
The pleasure of being “somewhere else” gives us a burst of energy. Travel has proved to be the ideal Rx for boredom, broken hearts and strange illnesses. I think part of that is because no matter where we travel, we look at similar things through a different pair of eyes. A cocker spaniel panting on the sidewalk on a hot summer’s day in Santa Fe is suddenly much more interesting than a dog panting on the sidewalk back home. Heck, we’ll even take its picture on our digital camera.
An old historic building in North Carolina is more exciting than one with similar architectural features at home. Breaking down in the middle of a cornfield in Iowa is much more adventurous than having your car stalled on Main Street at home.
We even look at people crossing the street in awe. See the old man in Martha’s Vineyard smoking a cigar on that bench over there? Such a scene suddenly seems poignant to us.
Moreover, everything is unusually significant because we aren’t going to stay there too long and we are compelled to experience everything within our reach.
We’ll eat in a café in Ontario and although the scones are like hockey pucks, we convince ourselves it is the best thing we’ve ever eaten, just because we’re so far away from home.
We’ll eat stale bagels in New York just because not eating a bagel in New York is a sin.
We also tend to do foolish things we normally wouldn’t dare do at home. Things like dancing in the water fountain without our shoes on, for example. Sometimes I like to speak with a Russian accent to see if I can fool people.I find it to be a very inexpensive form of entertainment. These people will never see us again.
I have an entire collection of hotel lotions, shampoos and bars of soap and shower caps I will never use, but I feel compelled to “steal” them anyway.
Many of us convince ourselves that we’ll be more productive at work if we take a vacation. Ironically, when we return it’s the same old thing all over again and we realize we need another vacation to recover from the original vacation.
And I think we travel not only to see new places, but to appreciate where we live.
Dorothy was right: There is no place like home.
Connie Werner Reichert has been a travel journalist for several years. The President of Write Side Up may be reached at Connieis@pacbell.net or visit her website at
When Mexico comes to mind, many of us picture sandy beaches, cerulean skies and authentic Mexican food. But it’s so much more than that. RosaritoBeach, just 30 miles across the border from San Diego, is also the haven for Mexico’s top day spas. Many spa treatments here are given with natural lotions made from fruits of the region.
Because RosaritoBeach is the Baja Spa capitol, there are ten welcoming spa retreats to choose from. Here, lets go inside two of the very best—the crème de la crème of all Baja spas.
Las Rocas Spa
Spa day Number 1: The well-appointed couples retreat, the Las Rocas Resort, is the home of Spacifico, a full-service organic spa for both men and women that reaches out to locals and tourists alike. Enter through their doors and you will immediately be greeted by their friendly yet very professional staff, as they kindly bring you cool cucumber and lemon water while you relax in the hot tub before you begin your treatments in one of the spa’s several treatment rooms.
There to test their services, I had my pick of their spa menu, and you will, too.
Las Rocas Spa offers Swedish massages, organic healthy facials, herbal body wraps, manicures, pedicures, and exotic body exfoliations. They even provide soothing baths, such as a soak in a holistic milk & honey bath, or a calming rose bath.
A must-try is their Fusion Massage— Las Rocas Spa’s signature service with their own Spacifico product line.There’s no such thing as a lousy massage here. Rather, you will be very taken care of by their competent and kind massage therapists through deep tissue modalities and hot stones. My muscles were kneaded into oblivion, and I was surprised to experience how strong my massage therapist was. No part of my body was forgotten as Eucalyptus compresses were applied to painful muscles and joints. Further aromatherapy is utilized to relax you into a state of bliss. If fact, relaxation is guaranteed.
After almost an hour of being therapeutically pummeled and pampered, you’ll don awhite robe and spa slippers as you drink more of that fabulous cucumber and lemon water to help release the toxins that have built up in your body during the massage.
I was shortly whisked away by a smiling attendant, and they sent me to my next unique treatment. Here, a Toe-rrific experience awaits you. Down the hallway, and around the corner, you will sink into a plush green chair that doubles as a pedicure throne. Right before your eyes, seen through big, bay windows, is the calm BajaSea. A friendly pedicurist begins your next sensation by gently placing your feet into a warm soak infused by lavender water and grape seed oil. Known as the Margarita Pedicure, this exotic regimen will leave your feet spanking fresh and clean. Juicy slices of lemon will cleanse and disinfect your toes. Plus, helping your nails to stay white, a shot of Tequila is poured over your feet into the footbath.Your legs are gently exfoliated with a special polish made with sea salt and lemon. You will be served an ice cold Margarita at this point while your pedicurist buffs your toenails to perfection and rids them of those unsightly cuticles and calluses.You will leave with beautifully painted toenails in the color of your choice, and, of course, those funny flip-flops to wear until the polish dries.
Casa Playa Spa
Spa Day Number 2: Located in a breathtakingly beautiful mansion on the grounds of the famous and historic Rosarito Beach Hotel, Casa Playa Spa is one of the wonders of the world—a true European style spa experience. Rich in history and built in 1925, this magnificent mansion was the owner’s home. After restoration, the mansion was transformed into one of the top spas along the BajaCoast.
Inside, an atmosphere of elegance prevails. The elaborate architecture and its surroundings will give you a feeling of romance and serenity. “Your personal comfort and well-being is important to us,” says Casa Playa Spa Director, Beatrice Avalos. “You will feel well taken care of by our professional and caring staff who is sure to meet, and, hopefully, exceed your expectations.”
And exceed my expectations they did. I was kindly offered a robe and slippers as well as a locker to store my purse and clothing. Next, I soaked in the hot tub until I felt my muscles release from the warmth. Rising out of the water and into the steam room, I found that this was even more relaxing. I walked up the grand staircase of this mansion-turned-spa, and tucked into Casa Playa’s relaxation room. You are invited to lie down on one of their several beige-cushioned chaise lounges to read a magazine, sip water, or simply take a nap with your fellow spa-seekers. It’s the place to be in between treatments.
An attractive Mexican massage therapist came in to get me, and showed me in to one of their 25 treatment rooms.Embarking on a body polish, massage and herbal wrap, I had a feeling this was going to be incredible. I wasn’t wrong. First, they buffed my entire body, with a soft yet bristly brush to take the dead skin off. Then, I was polished from head to toe with a lavender salt body scrub. After that, my massage therapist, Camille, gently helped my naked self off the table and into the bath tub directly behind me. She scrubbed my back and I felt so nurtured that it reminded me of when my mom bathed me when I was a little girl. Next, it’s back on the table. My body was towel dried and ready for the next step, a 90-minute Butter Body Wrap and Massage. Camille mixed the butter with vanilla and orange essential oils and lathered it all over my body. I felt like a basted turkey. When she wrapped my body in cellophane and folded warm towels and blankets on top of me, I felt like a human burrito. Without the use of my arms and legs, all I could feel was quite pleased with myself in all of this splendor.15 minutes later, the “burrito” came unwrapped and the massage began. A cool compress of lavender covered my eyes, and I drifted off, completely sated. But that’s not all. I was then sent to the esthetician for my facial.Using only Jansenn products, my esthetician, a plastic surgery nurse, took great pride in the cleansing ritual and applied a soothing mask over my gauze-covered face. My neck, shoulders and scalp were massaged yet again. A cool moisturizer with sunblock was the final touch. Can this get any better? I have yet to see it.
Although I am glad I went to the two top Baja Spas, I ended up so relaxed I couldn’t do any sightseeing during those two days or even eat dinner. I simply slipped inside my hotel room and collapsed in bed without a care in the world. Why not experience all this for yourself? Chances are you haven’t been truly pampered in a long time.
Rest and Relaxation. So much bliss it’s almost sinful. It’s all part of the ultimate in the Baja Spa experience. Make this a highpoint of your vacation in RosaritoBeach on the BajaCoast in Mexico.
Las Rocas Spa
Open seven days a week from to
The Margarita Pedicure………………$30.00
The Fusion Massage………………….$60.00 Phone Toll Free 1-888-527-7622
Connie Werner Reichert is a member of the International Travel Writers & Photographers Alliance. The former Sacramento area Radio/TV Newscaster is the President of Write Side Up Travel Journalism in Latrobe, California. She may be reached at Connieis@pacbell.net or visit her online at www.authorsden.com/conniewreichert. Call 530.277.4560
You don’t have to make a lot of money to be rich. You can simply live the rich and glamorous life through many experiences as a writer, and make a little cash at the same time. As a freelance journalist and publicist, I’ve had several barter and trade agreements with my clients. This was even on a grander scale with my travel writing assignments.
I have a dance studio as a PR client. For my 12 year old daughter, I’ve arranged for three years of ballet lessons in exchange of writing and sending press releases about their recitals. My child has also benefited from a year of horseback riding lessons after I placed their business profile in a magazine. But that;s not all. I’ve gone hot air ballooning in Woodland, CA, snowmobiling in Canada, and took a Jeep tour in the red rocks and mountains of Sedona, AZ. And I didn’t pay a cent. Rather, I charged each of these clients a $300 initiation fee coupled with the trade.
Currently, I’m enjoying a full year of haircuts, facials, pedicures, microdermabrasion, and massage from one of Northern California’s elite spas, all for the task of writing articles and press releases about their business. By writing a series of direct mail pieces for a client, I was even able to join a gym and participate in yoga classes for a full year---free of charge.
As a travel writer, I’ve been wined and dined in fabulous resorts, such as Sedona, Arizona, Mendocino, California and Ogden,Utah---all with the power of my laptop. In Sedona, I found myself tucked in a luxurious four poster bed with a fluffy down comforter along with a fireplace in my suite. Towel warmers were in the bathroom, and even the bathroom floors were heated. Outside, rich abobe walls surrounded a hot tub. In Mendocino, I was able to bring my family on a wild whale watching adventure along with stellar accommodations that normally ran $600 per night at the lovely Heritage House in Little River. They even surprised me with a fully stocked bar with cognac, brandy, several varieties of wine and champagne. One evening there, a hot stone massage at their spa soothed the cramp in my neck. In Ogden, I went on a five day trip that was stunning in its beauty. I stayed in a different B&B or hotel every night and enjoyed their hospitality. Often, welcome gifts were found in my room such as chocolate, flowers and fresh fruit and locally made honey and jam. I didn't pay a dime.
You, too, can live the high life as a travel writer. Comb through various Visitors & Convention Bureau directories. Log on to travel-related web sites for further details and pointers. The Visitors & Convention Bureaus are all searching for viable journalists. You will need to send samples of your writing and possibly an assignment letter from a publication. All of their PR people know that publicity generated through travel writers' articles are a much more affordable way to promote their region than advertising.
How can you go about living a “rich life” as a publicist? Start with small businesses. They often don’t have the working capital to hire large PR firms, yet they desperately need the exposure so their business can succeed. Many of these small businesses are willing to work on trade of products and services. Again, I charge a small initiation fee of $300 to begin my contracts to cover expenses such as copies, mileage, postage and fed exes. Your contractual agreement must spell out exactly what your trade is, i.e., 10 haircuts for one press release and article placement, or 10 massages and a bikini wax for writing their web site copy.
Nevertheless, make certain that you really want what the business is offering and are willing to work hard to get it. Otherwise, it just wouldn’t be a good fit. I’ve established an excellent rapport with my clients who otherwise couldn’t afford to hire a public relations agency, and my family and I enjoy all the perks that we otherwise couldn't afford. Remember, you’re not taking advantage of them. Small business owners want and need your services and trading services makes good sense.
Start your new year by living rich. The rewards are worth it and will enrich your life and your practice.
This article appeared in the Maiden issue of Destinations Magazine:
A truly unique spa experience awaits you at one of the finest wellness facilities in the country—The Spa at Cache Creek. We’re on mission to help you feel your very best; body, mind and soul.Our incredibly lush spa offers you everything to look and feel incredible.Here you’ll discover a haven to relax, renew and replenish between forays into the casino floor. By infusing sensual oriental-based health, beauty and massage techniques with the offerings of a continental spa, our caring staff provides a pampering experience that stands apart from the rest.
Following the ancient principles of Feng-Shui, the Chinese art of placement, you’ll notice a distinct difference in ambiance when you enter the spa. There are multiple tranquil treatment rooms specifically designed for each healing and beauty modality for both men and women, from super-comfortable pedicure thrones to hardwood massage tables, heightened by imported embroidered silks and carpets plus artwork from around the globe.
We are proud of the fact that we offer an expert staff of licensed estheticians and therapiststo take care of you. To enhance your Spa at Cache Creek experience, weprovide lockers, healthy refreshments, plush robes, shower and vanity amenities, a gym, steam rooms, private hydrotherapy tubs and dry saunas. There is even a zen-like relaxation lounge to help you unwind before treatments.
The Spa at Cache Creek believes massage is an integral part of maintaining your energy balance and our menu of massage services support that. We bring you Swedish, deep tissue and stone massages plus cranial sacral bodywork as well as hotel room massages.
Our body treatments are an experience in itself as you find yourself surrounded by rosepetals and rich emollients for your skin. Elite yet organic products including Collin of Paris and Janssen skincare lines are of the highest echelon, and the basis of our creation of unforgettable professional facials and skincare sessions.
In addition, you can treat yourself to our spa pedicures and manicures, waxing services and a full menu of hair care needs including cuts, highlights and perms.
We’ll help you look and feel beautiful. Book your spa appointment today with the Spa at Cache Creek and indulge in the ultimate sanctuary.
What do you do when you’re in debt and want to keep your house but are near the foreclosing stage? Consider a short sale. A short sale in real estate occurs when the outstanding obligations (loans) against a property are greater than what the property can be sold for. It’s a negotiated settlement between a mortgage broker and yourself. This can be your ticket out of a major financial catastrophe when you’re out of a job, have other financial burdens or if you’re in the middle of a divorce.
Ed Fontes, Regional Loan Production Manager at American Home Loans in Roseville has a few things to say in the subject. “Forget the stigma of short sales in the 90’s. Today, banks are being more cautious in making sure it is a hardship created by outside influences so they are not granting a lot of the short sales to just anyone. Banks want to be convinced without a doubt that the short sale is the answer to your problems to prevent a foreclosure. Furthermore, there are lenders out there who don’t look out for their client’s interests and hook people up with the wrong loans, and that often leads to a short sale.”
Mike Toste, Realtor for Coldwell Banker for Diez and Lies in Sacramento, offers his expertise from a bank’s perspective on short sales. “Lenders are fine with doing short sales as long as there is a genuine circumstance in the default.”
If you decide to sell your home to avoid foreclosure, the way to handle this depends on whether or not you have equity in your home. You have equity in your home if there is enough money to pay off your mortgage in full after all the expenses are paid when you sell. If not, then you should probably apply for a short sale.
“People have a bad perception about short sales,” explains Fontes. “A lot of people think they are getting a good deal buying a short sale, but in reality they are buying at market value which is why it is a short sale in the first place.”
According to Scott Thompson, President of Short Sale Resolution Services, “The number of notices of default on mortgages in Sacramento, Placer and El Dorado Counties are up almost triple over last year’s numbers.”
“The numbers are really troubling,” says Thompson “It is astounding. In December of 2006, 280 properties in Sacramento were taken back by banks. There are more houses to sell and not enough buyers. There’s clearly a supply and demand problem.”
There are several benefits of a short sale for homeowners in dire straits. You avoid having forclosure on your credit record, plus, while a foreclosure timeline is at least a six month process, a short sale can get you out of a bind in about 90 days.
A short sale is a good way to get the bank off your back. Here is how it works: Imagine your home is worth $200,000, but you owe $220,000 on it. If you were to sell it on the open market at $200,000, you might net $184,000 or $36,000 less that what you need to pay off the loan. A short pay off is where your lender will forgive a portion or all of the short amount.
Accdording to HUD, a short sale accounts for approximately 50% of all workouts on conventional loans. This option is one of the oldest and most frequently used, and is the one that lenders are most familiar with. And because they are familiar with it, it is the option they prefer more than any other.
So where do you begin? First, verify the value of your property. If you are selling the property through a real estate broker, your broker will provide you with an estimate of market value. If you are selling the property yourself, do your own market analysis of the area and your property. Then, add up all the costs of selling the property. If you are using the services of a real estate broker, the broker will provide an estimate of closing costs. If you are selling the property on your own (for sale by owner), call a local title company or real estate attorney and ask, as a seller, what the closing costs will be. Next, determine the amount owed against the property. This will be the total of all loans against the property. Do the calculations. Subtract the total amount owing against the property from the estimated proceeds of the sale. On a short sale, this will be a negative number. You will also want to contact the lender or lenders. Talk to someone in the customer service department and tell them the situation. They may direct you to a specific department. Talk to a supervisor or manager if possible; this person will have more authority. Plus, ask the lender what its procedures are for a short sale. Some lenders are willing to work with you by reducing the amount owed or making other arrangements. Others will look to the agents involved (if any) or anyone else who's making money off the transaction to see if they are willing to make concessions to make the transaction happen. Still other lenders will tell you that your debt is your responsibility, one way or the other. And finally, sell your property.
A word of caution, however: Closing costs will include title and escrow fees (if the seller is responsible for any portion of them, which will depend on your county), attorney fees, a portion of unpaid property taxes, re-conveyance fees, notary fees, delivery fees, documentary fees and/or transfer fees. If you sell the property without the assistance of a real estate broker, you will save the amount of the commission and have more to apply toward paying off your loan. If you feel more secure having a real estate broker handle the transaction, consider using a discount broker to market your property. You could also try to negotiate the sales commission with your broker. Remember that the amount on your monthly loan statement does not include interest. Interest is accrued until the date a loan is paid off, so you may have as much as 30 days of interest on top of the balance owing, and you'll need to include this interest in the total payoff amount. If a property is sold under a short sale, the lender may require the buyer to make up the difference, either through a personal obligation or a collection. The IRS often gets involved with short sales, because they are seen as a relief of debt and may be treated as income. Check with your accountant.
A lender requires many things from you if you are considering a short sale.It is for their own benefit. Packaging is crucial. When you place the property on the market with an agent, your agent should send the lender several documents including your past two years of tax returns, a letter of hardship, a completed loan application, a preliminary title report, a listing contract, copy of MLS, a marketing plan of your home and a broker price opinion (like an appraisal).
“Realtors often have a difficult time packaging the short sale documents required by the bank,” remarks Toste. “Agents must check all the angles of a short sale to protect their clients, such as credit consequences, potential tax liabilities and the bank’s abilitiy to pursue the seller for a judgement.”
When you have the offer, all of the above should be included with the offer with the exception of the marketing plan. You’ll also need to include the purchase agreement and a good faith estimate as to what the lender will net after the close of escrow. Thompson recommends that buyers make a commitment to own their dwelling for the long term—at least five years befoere values are above today at any significant extent. “Now is the time to buy for the long term and not for investing,”Thompson continues. “Interest rates are low and there are plenty to choose from. Buy for the right reasons. Get a good realtor and don’t buy more than you need and get the fixed rate mortgage; a home that fits into your family plan. Basically it’s a very good time to buy a home.”
“The nightmare is many smart and responsible people are caught up in the real estate ‘moment’ and signed up for a loan product wrong for them so they could buy a house that was bigger than they really needed. Unfortunately, now there is no way for them to stay current on their mortgage,” comments Thompson. “These are the people for whom a short sale is appropriate. We need more lenders that are cooperative.”
Don’t panic. Many homeowners in today’s market don’t think they have a choice about whether to stay or sell. This simply isn’t realistic. If your equity has fallen and your calculations show no room for profit, you may think you have no recourse but to stay in your home. The opposite is true. There are qualified professionals who have implemented programs specifically designed to help you by negotiating short payoff arrangements with your lender.
Connie Werner Reichert has enjoyed 21 years as a freelance journalist. The former radio and television newscaster (KHYL/KXOA/KXTV) owns Write Side Up Freelance Writing & Publicity in Latrobe. A member of the International Travel Writers & Photographers Alliance, she may be reached at Connieis@pacbell.net. Peruse a handful of her recent articles at www.authorsden.com/conniewreichert . Aside from writing and traveling, Connie is an avid reader of novels and loves spending time with her husband and daughter. When she’s not on her laptop, she can be found either at Starbucks or on her yoga mat several times a week.
Surround yourself in comfort and style at Cache Creek Casino Resort. We’ve captured the quintessential California lifestyle. You’ll experience the sheer luxury of our four-star, AAA four-diamond resort that boasts 200 beautifully appointed rooms and suites with stunning views and the ultimate of amenities. It’s the foremost attraction in Northern California.
So much more than a wonderful place to sleep; Cache Creek is a resort that literally turns staying in a hotel into a fun and exciting experience that stimulates the senses and lifts the spirit. Pure and honest, yet full of pleasant surprises.
Think of it as a “key” to a life of leisure that awaits you at our hotel registration center. As you enter the lobby you will be impressed by our colorful water feature and super-friendly and efficient service. Imported floral and woven carpets from England grace the marble floors of the eight story jewel of Capay Valley. Sconces spotlight burgundy and cinnamon colored walls, bringing a touch of elegance to the excitement of the casino.
Luxury illuminates every enticing room and suite at Cache Creek. Enter your room and you’ll see why our hotel has earned such prestigious awards. Each of the 173 spacious 505 square foot standard rooms are tastefully furnished with all the trappings you would expect from a hotel of this caliber. Our property has 27 elegantly decorated suites which feature relaxing living areas with a half bath, a stately granite-top wet bar as well as another bedroom and full bath. The focal point of the indulgent bath is an oversized jetted tub dividing twin sinks and granite-top vanities. The huge glass-encased shower is especially welcoming with its dual shower heads and a sleek and sophisticated Plasma LCD monitor affixed to the bathroom wall. In fact, there is a TV in every room. You’ll also delight in your own coffee maker, iron and ironing board, hair dryer, cordless two-line telephone, fully stocked automated mini-bar and complimentary bathing and grooming amenities. The Ambassador Suite even has a walk-out patio with an outdoor fireplace and hot tub. The Presidential Suite comes with an additional room that makes it perfect for entertaining.
No expense has been spared in the designation of our standard rooms and suites. In fact, the beds are so comfortable, many of our guests purchase fluffy pillows and cozy comforters from us to bring them home to enjoy and reminisce of their time here.
Why travel to Reno or Tahoe when you can experience the epicenter of Yolo County? Aside from total luxury, our highly skilled staff is diligently prepared to meet any and all of your needs. Let us exceed your expectations. Find out first-hand how Cache Creek Casino Resort is committed to delivering unparalleled comfort, attentive service and world-class hospitality.
Ms. Robin Mikels, co-owner and instructor of Pacific Dance Arts in Shingle Springs,California, offers twenty four years of study and teaching dance. This includes solo variations and historical choreography.
It is every little girl’s dream to become a ballerina, and Mikels was certainly no exception. She always knew she wanted to dance. At the young age of fourteen, Mikels was able to embark on a ballet scholarship in Australia with the South Australian Youth Ballet. She has also studied at the renowned Verla Flowers Dance Arts, Seattle Children's Ballet, North Seattle Ballet, the prominent American Dance Institute, the Cornish Institute, the Loudon Ballet (Virginia), and the Pacific Northwest Ballet. Mikels also completed a four year apprenticeship and has perfected a teaching method for the study of pointe. Some masters she has studied under include Mark Morris, Wade Walthall, Illaria Ladre and Hugh Bigney. As a performer she has carried out leading roles in Dance Festivals, musicals, plays and media work.
With all of this experience, she has written and directed plays and road shows, choreographed for recitals and has been chair for an area dance festival that involved over 300 youth. She also founded Prima Arts ballet Company which focused on traveling performances for area Elementary schools. And soon, she will be presenting the premiere of the Pacific Youth Ballet, filled with the combined talent of many performers in our region, This will allow young dancers to not only perfect their ballet skills at the highest level, but give them the opportunity to perform for schools and other local events involving the arts in El Dorado County.
Most of all Robin is dedicated to her supportive husband and children, and thru her teaching hopes to inspire young people with a positive focus. “In dance, your body is an instrument,” remarks Mikels. “Through dance, we challenge both our bodies and minds. Our goal is to maintain healthy bodies and boost self-confidence by improving the poise and grace of our students. Learning proper technique is so important. Dance requires extreme discipline that is good for children of all ages.”
As a mother of four, she brings more than just dance experience to the table—She intrinsically understands children and the individual needs of each student. Aside from being one of the top dance instructors in the nation, Mikels is truly a warm and caring person and invites you and your children to particpate in their classes.
For more information, call (530) 676-9800 or visit www.pacificdancearts.com.
Harmony Skin and Body Wellness Celebrates Three Year Anniversary By Connie Werner Reichert
It’s a day spa unlike any other. Walk through the doors of Harmony Skin and Body Wellness and your senses will be filled with calming and healing fragrances. Tranquil music plays in the background, relaxing you into a state of bliss. Celebrating their three-year anniversary this summer, Harmony Skin and Body Wellness at the Executive Air Park in Cameron Park is a true haven for natural beauty, massage, waxing and other healing modalities. The ambiance is pristine, peaceful and captivatingly first-class. Included in the spa is a lovely seating area with soothing herbal tea that awaits you. Esthetician--from the French "to beautify," is practice in the enhancement of beauty. Estheticians are a crucial part of the salon and spa industry as they perform facials, hair removal and other body treatments, including massage. Estheticians may customize facials by cleansing, performing skin analysis, exfoliation, deep cleansing, lymphatic drainage massage, relaxation massage, masking, toning and moisturizing. Estheticians help to increase circulation, stimulate lymphatic systems, nourish skin, increase firmness and elasticity, remove toxins from tissues. At Harmony, Owner Linda Bowers offers 22 years of expertise as an esthetician. Harmony has a clear and compelling mission to provide an exclusive fusion of skin and body services that meet the needs of the foothills. They utilize only state-of-the–art innovative and holistic products and services. Before she opened Harmony, Bowers worked long hours at another day spa in Placerville. She envisioned she could do better, and created a space that is completely devoted to healing and truly caring for the men and women of the foothills. Because the skin is the largest organ of our bodies, it should be well cared for. The skin protects us and keep bacteria out while allowing in nutrients and oxygen that are vital to our health. Because stress and hormones as well as the basic environment we live in has such a damaging effect on our skin, Harmony revitalizes the skin and is here to assist you with prevention, anti-aging and skin damage reversal. They offer many services with only the best products available. This is not a “cookie-cutter” approach. The estheticians diagnose your skin type and customize the products and procedures you need. Their specialists have the knowledge and the training to help you with all of your skin care needs. Each and every person has different skin and it is exposed to different environmental conditions. Only a skin care specialist can recommend the products and treatments that your skin requires to look its very best. Many of their satisfied clients that are accustomed to the offerings of spas throughout the world have said their time at Harmony was more than they had ever hoped for: not only rejuvenating, but also life changing. With so many day spas in El Dorado County, why would someone want to patronize Harmony? “We are committed to results and excellence,” explains Bowers. “These values are important to us. For this reason, we are an ever evolving work in progress striving to meet our continuous emerging high standards while taking a fresh approach to wellness and beauty.” At Harmony, they honestly look forward to providing you the utmost personalized care and service in their stress-free studio, bringing you harmony from within and without. With the goal of offering their clientele an alternative to what more main-stream day spas galleries are providing, Harmony strives to present fresh, relaxing and rejuvenating experiences for their clients. This has been a constant guideline and principal strategy since its inception in 2003. Moreover, there are topical oxygen treatments at Harmony to exfoliate and kill bacteria. 98.9% of pure oxygen is delivered to the face with the use of a hand atomizer. Their lam-probe machine utilizes radio frequency to remove skin tags and small unsightly benign skin growths. Microdermabrasion is a simple cosmetic procedure provided at Harmony that is designed to safely exfoliate the outer epidermal layer of the skin, removing dead, dull skin cells to reveal the fresh, younger-looking skin beneath. Pure, sugar-fine mineral crystals gently sweep away the damaged surface cells, encouraging the skin's natural renewal process so radiant, refined skin can shine through. The procedure is quick and painless. And, while just one treatment may produce results, additional treatments are desirable and recommended to attain - and maintain - the dewy complexion desired. In microdermabrasion, a wand is run over the skin, creating an air-pressured vacuum which acts as a mini-lymphatic drainage system to remove toxins from the skin as well as firming up the skin’s collagen for an instant anti-aging effect. Developed more than a decade ago in Europe, microdermabrasion crossed the Atlantic in 1998, gaining popularity at an astounding rate. Today, it's one of the top non-surgical cosmetic procedures in the U.S., enticing millions of women every year with its magical skin-rejuvenating effects. By removing the damaged top layers of the skin, microdermabrasion can literally help undo the ravages of time. After just one treatment, it can diminish fine lines and wrinkles, fade age spots and superficial sun damage, refine enlarged pores, equalize skin tone, and stimulate circulation. Overall, the effect is much like turning back the clock to restore the silky soft skin of younger years. Bowers is one of the regions leading estheticians with several years of microdermabrasion expertise. Skin peels are a popular service at Harmony, too. Typical results from performing a peel every 2-3 weeks and maintaining the skin with daily exfoliators and skin growth factors include a more youthful and radiant appearance, noticeably smoother skin, softer and more evenly pigmented skin. Fine lines, large pores and acne scars become less noticeable. It is vital that you use a moisturizer and sun protection when treating your skin with exfoliator and peel acids. Harmony offers a full line of Rhonda Allison products such as highly developed and effective moisturizers designed specifically to compliment the exfoliation and peel process as they are oil-free and free of the harmful chemical additives found in traditional creams that can block pores and cause chemical irritation. They also feature Jan Iredale mineral cosmetics. One of the best services they provide is their permanent make-up for the eyes, brows and lips. They use a SofTap procedure after numbing the area with a special cream so you do not feel any pain at all. In fact, many clients fall asleep during this relaxing process. Imagine going through summer without having to worry about your make-up melting. It’s also good for sports such as swimming, and for those allergic to cosmetics andor have tearing eyes. It enhances your natural beauty without a fuss. Plus, waxing is another Harmony specialized service. They wax and design brows, lips, chin, full facial, legs, arms, underarms, back, shoulders, bikini and Brazilian waxing so you can always look and feel your very best. Thankfully, because Harmony believes in tranquility in all of their diverse services, they offer the most gentle products and technology for waxing. In addition, Harmony is very active in the community and contributes to many charities such as Suicide Prevention Education Action Resource (S.P.E.A.R.S) and CASA. Harmony also offers special services that many people don’t know about. This includes new lash extentions, South Seas spray tanning and gentleman’s facials, back treatments, waxing and deep tissue massage. They even provide make-up artistry for weddings, proms, or other special occasions with make-up that is good for the skin. Offering a special promotion for their anniversary this summer, in August there is a 10% discount offered to new clients. They are located in The Executive Air Park on Cameron Park Drive near the airport. At Harmony, their aim is to enable you to both see and experience the beauty of yourself. See for yourself the magnificent results of your own natural beauty as it comes to life. For more details, call 677-3777 or visit www.harmonyskinandbody.com.
Susan is a scintillating 25 year-old coffee house barista looking for some fun in her life. One evening, she scoured the internet to search for a scary mask for next weekend’s costume party at her cousin’s house in Sausalito, California. Her lap top brought up Ebay, and Amazon. She patiently searched these sites but to no avail. Then her browser brought up Hallowen-mask.com. With their excellent customer service and user-friendly web site, she ordered a simple mask of Medusa and waited for her shipment.
Two days later, Susan stood by her kitchen window of her modest apartment and signed with relief when she heard a knock on the door. The tanned and rugged UPS man asked her to sign for her package. “But, the box is old and battered,” Susan complained. “This was supposed to be sent first class!”
”There’s nothing I can do. I’m sure the contents and just fine and intact.” The UPS impatiently shifted from one tanned leg to another and impatiently waited for her to sign for approval. He climbed into his brown box of a truck and peeled out of her driveway, spitting up gravel.
She padded into her kitchen still wearing her nightgown and fuzzy slippers. An espresso machine hissed in the background. Susan gingerly opened the box and lifted out of the box, the most hideous mask of all. “I will be the ugliest, most frightening Medusa at the party! She smiled and donned the mask. Ouch! The latex fit rather tight. Still wearing the mask, she stuck her head out the kitchen window.
“Max! she called. Where are you Max, your chicken livers are ready!” She waited for her boxer’s thumping down the hallway. Max never responded. Opening her screen door off the back patio, Susan searched for her dog there. Following fresh footprints, under the gladiolas, was Max. He was dead. Susan carried his lifeless body into her car, and drove off to PetCare Emergency Animal Hospital. When she arrived, they said there was nothing they could do but bury him at the local Pet Cemetery on Fowler Lane.
Why didn’t they notice Medusa Mask? Surely they would have sent something. Crying, she tried to wipe her tears but that was impossible. She climbed instead her white Toyota Camry and decided to visit her mother.
“Hi Gorgeous,” greeted Susan’s mom. ‘I have missed you, darling.”
“Ah, mom, we talk on the phone several times a day but I had to come see you because since this morning all the electricity went out. My Nokia cell phone doesn’t even work. And now Max is dead, What shall I do?
“Well Susan, you look better than ever.”
“Stop joking around. What do you think my of my mask, Mother “
”Have you been using that doctor-approved oatmeal and olive oil mask I sent to you, because your pores are tight and you skin is glowing?
“Mom. I have to go now. Sorry. There is something I have to do!
Back home, she looked into her mirrow. AHHHHGGGGGG! Her reflection was horrifying, with eight bouncing medusa snakes erupting from her head. Why can’t anyone see this mask but me. It’s possessed and I know it killed Max! I’ve got to take this mask off! What am I going to do?????
The next day, her mother was reported dead.
After several attempts, Susan was able to wriggle the Medusa mask off, carefully without tearing her skin. She gingerly placed it to the battered box and a secret smile graced her lips. “My boyfriend has been cheating on me with my closest friend and I am unable to forgive him. He’ll be at that party, Perhaps I will make use of this mask the best way I can.” She said aloud.
According to a recent study conducted at Ohio State University, about 70 percent of the 50 Plus market use alternative medicine. Funded by the National Institute on Aging, Professor Gong-Soog Hong spearheaded a survey that included almost 900 participants aged 50 and above. 65 percent of seniors who described themselves in poor health said they used some form of alternative medicine they considered either curative or preventive—a higher percentage than any other group.
Baby boomers are searching for other ways to alleviate symptoms such as chronic pain and arthritis, as well as utilizing alternative therapies as preventive medicine. Chiropractic care topped the list with a whopping 43% of respondents, while acupuncture came in last.
Last fall, another survey of baby boomers was conducted by Sorelli B, a national research firm. This particular study showed than more than one third of those surveyed said that chiropractic care prevented the need for prescription drugs and physical therapy. The respondents also believed that chiropractic care helped them avoid back surgery and long, grueling, hospital stays. Close to 60 percent of those surveyed stated they would be willing to petition their insurance companies to include chiropractic as a component of their health care plan even though they were willing to pay for those services out-of-pocket.
The other most popular methods of alternative medicine include massage therapy, breathing exercises, herbal medicine and meditation.
The first study looking at alternative medicine use among seniors with depression finds that close to 20 percent are using gingko biloba, ginseng, St. John’s Wort and other herbal remedies. The surprising findings could cause concern with physicians who treat baby boomers as most patients were unaware of the risks of potential drug interactions. Helen Kale, M.D., from the University of Michigan says, “The results merit further study and suggest that seniors may have entered the alternative medicine market ina big way, much bigger than we thought.”
Why alternative medicine? Older adults are searching for different kind of treatment to lessen the aches and pains that often come with age. Seniors are reporting problems with daily activities such as carrying groceries, eating or bathing. Moreover, many of them are simply not satisfied with mainstream health care and often have issues with the current state of conventional health care. “Older adults tend to have more chronic illnesses and conventional medicine doesn’t always solve their problems,” says Hong.
In addition, the survey showed that because the treatment of chronic pain is very difficult and demanding, people living in such pain will try everything possible to alleviate it.
According to the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA), the percentage of the 50 plus market who received a massage from a massage therapist in the past five years has almost tripled. Why do baby boomers get massage? For health reasons, according to the survey. Seniors even indicated they seek massage for health reasons (other than stress relief and relaxation) more than any other age group (41 percent).
The least popular practice of alternative medicine surfaced in the U.S. in the 1970s, Acupuncture has gained acceptance as an alternative to traditional Western medicine for pain relief and for treating a variety of other health conditions. Studies show that baby boomers who sufffer from muscle and bone pain, carpal tunnel syndrome and other ranges of problems, are giving acupuncture a try to lessen their symptoms.
The health-minded baby boomer generation is also exercising. Being physically active is the solution to maintaining the quality of life for adults 50 years and older. 16 million seniors exercise at least three times per week. From 1987 to 1995, the number of 50-plus health club members jumped 199%, and the number of 65-plus who joined health clubs jumped a staggering 669%. According to the International Council on Active Aging (ICAA), most active adult communities are responding to this need by including wellness centers within their planned communities. Plus, age-targeted programs have been shown to be quite popular with tremendous benefits to other types of senior housing, fitness facilities and publicly-sponsored community recreation programs.
Interestingly enough, day spas are quickly becoming a hot market for those aged 50 and better. Instead of the usual day spa fare of facials and waxing, now medical spas or MedSpas are cropping up in the market. MedSpas take all the comfort and care of day spas, yet add the latest in medical technology. Mud packs and cucumber slices have been replaced with high-tech advanced fluorescence technology, microdermabrasion, and ultrasound technologies—all designed to help the 50 plus market feel better about their appearance.
Although alternative medicine plays a huge role in the lives of baby boomers, when it comes to health, there is no comparison to preventive measures. The Southeastern Institute of Research found that the 50 plus market say some of the most important things to do to stay healthy are to get enough sleep, drink plenty of water and eat a balanced diet. It’s no wonder that life expectancy has increased by 30 years in the past century.
As health care costs continue to rise, baby boomers will continue to seek alternative medicine and transform into “health boomers.” They have defined health care because they’re strong, vocal, and know what they want. Boomers are healthier than any generation of seniors in history and live longer, happier lives.
If the world was perfect, working moms and dads could afford to stay home with their children after school. However, since it’s not a perfect world, that’s not always the case. Because parents often have to work, our kids have to stay home alone for a few hours after school during the work week. So, as parents, with baited breath, we spend those last few hours of each work day hoping that our children will be safe and secure until our return.
Millions of American kids let themselves in or out of empty homes and supervise themselves for more than an hour each day. These “latchkey kids” are usually children of a single parent household or in a home with two working parents. The number of latchkey kids is expected to rise as more couples get divorced and more moms are re-entering the workforce.
According to the National Child Care Information Network, states do not have regulations or laws about when a child is old enough to stay home by themselves. However, the National SAFE KIDS Campaign recommends that minimum age requirements generally range from 12-13 years old. No matter what the age, some children might function quite well when they’re home alone, while other kids might not be ready to assume the responsibility of self care. As a parent, you probably should trust your instincts and make and informed decision based on your own child.
Many child development experts say that no child younger than ten can effectively supervise their brothers or sisters. It is recommended that when an older sibling is left in charge, that all the children in the home should be well versed about how to take care of themselves and be made individually responsible.
In order to make the right decision, parents should consider a few factors:
-Age readiness -Ability to follow parental rules and expectations -How safe the neighborhood is -The ability to access their parents’ phone numbers at work or their cell phones -Potentially dangerous situations such as medical emergencies, fire, drugs, strangers, etc. -When to answer the doorbell or the phone -Friends or visitors coming to the home -How they spend their time alone, whether it’s doing homework, surfing the internet or watching television
Perhaps the simplest way is to ask your child if she or he is comfortable staying home alone. Most kids will answer truthfully. Signs of a child’s fearfulness of being left alone include turning on all the lights in the house, having the radio or TV on for company, and the suffering from nightmares.
Most importantly, parents should consider their child’s level of maturity and past evidence of responsible behavior and good judgement. If your child is ready to be left alone, The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry states that a graduated approach should be used starting with a very short period of time (i.e. one hour).
Latchkey kids can be scared of being home alone so parents should definitely strive to limit the times when they are by themselves. Plus, parents should ready their kids in advance for how to deal with difficult situations. The Placerville Police Department suggests that children memorize their addresses and phone numbers, know how to use the phone, check in with a neighbor immediately after arriving home from school, and also never to go into their home if they notice a broken window or door.
So what should you do to make the latchkey kid experience work? It should be a positive experience for everyone in your family. Close communication is crucial. As a parent, you should reinforce your child’s sense of independence and competence so you can help them lessen their fears and anxiety. It should definitely be made clear than you’re still in charge, even when you’re not at home. A carefully considered set of house rules and back-up systems should be in place and talked about with your child so he or she will know exactly what to expect and how to behave when he or she is home alone. Some families set up family meetings to talk about this. Sometimes, a daily schedule is involved to help give kids structure. These routine schedules give the kids stability and helps keep them out of mischief while you’re away. Experts say you should also have chores for them to do. You may also want to consider having regular family meetings each week or so to talk about schedule changes and also to talk with your child about anything that bothers him or her.
Hopefully, with these guidelines you’ll feel empowered when you leave your child home alone. With careful forethought and planning, it could be a very positive experience for the entire family.
One certainly doesn’t need to travel to San Francisco to witness incredible live theatre. Right in our own backyard, we have a most impressive collection of actors to ever grace the stage. Placerville’s Imagination Theatre enthralled audiences this season during their run of Big River, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Known as one of the most astounding creations in American fiction, this is an adventure story that centers on self-discovery. Mark Twain's timeless classic sweeps us down the mighty Mississippi as the irrepressible Huck Finn (Jeff Harlow) helps his friend Jim (Derek Dozier), a slave, to escape for freedom at the mouth of the Ohio River. Big River chronicles their adventures along the way, with The King (Chris Weston) and the Duke (Rick Gaylord), great mischief, buried treasure, and the morality of Huck helping and befriending a runaway slave. Other characters from the book include Widow Douglas (Elizabeth Zangari) and her strict sister, Miss Watson (Debbie Murphy); Huck's partner in crime, Tom Sawyer (Michael Christiansen), and their wild gang; Huck's drunken father (another part played by Chris Weston), the sinister Pap Finn; the beautiful Mary Jane Wilkes (Christine Alvarez) and her vulnerable family. With Roger Miller’s amazing, emotional score, this journey down the Mississippi provides a truly brilliant theatrical celebration of pure Americana. With more than 20 musical numbers performed by the wonderful orchestra in Big River, the classics include “Do You Want to Go To Heaven,” “Waiting for the Light To Shine,” “Hand for the Hog,” “Muddy Water,” “When the Sun Goes Down in the South” and “Worlds Apart.” Produced by Peter Wolfe, we were entertained by musicians including Jenny Rutherford and Karen Orozco with their fiddles, Orvin Lambert on the harmonica, and pianist Matthew Yates. Based on the book by William Hauptman, Big River is truly an engaging story perfect for the entire family, and attractive to intimate theatres like Imagination Theatre. Huck and Jim help each other because they are both running away from something--that is their initial bond. The conflicts that make their relationship work for the audience are the morality issue for Huck, and that’s what makes the relationship strong and worth watching unfold from a dramatic point of view. At its core, Big River is about friendship, growing up, and learning through actions. Along the course of the two main characters journey down river we see their relationship strengthen from happenstance acquaintances to the closest of friends. I think this is best illustrated in "Worlds Apart." It makes the statement that while they come from different backgrounds and are of different race, the worlds they live in are very different. I believe that’s why Jim honors Huck’s friendship so much--he knows that he and Huck shouldn’t be friends, but that doesn’t matter to him. Their friendship transcends the prejudices of the people in their community. Indeed, both Harlow’s and Dozier’s performances seemed effortless yet amazing. Their facial expressions and character mannerisms alone were worth watching the three hour play. Through their acting abilities, we were immediately immersed into another world, which of course, is one of the main reasons why we enjoy going to the theatre. Who steals the show? Elise Reese. With her portrayal of Alice, her voice not only filled the theatre with its unbelievable luminosity, it also captivated the audience like no other, evoking incredible emotion and literally made audience members cry. Although this was her first performance with Imagination Theatre, she embraced her role and made it her own. Director Larry Langston had a sure handle on the entire performance and nothing fell between his grasp. The set design by Peter Wolfe was simple but made awesome use of its small size. Props by Carrie Christiansen were beautifully maintained, the lighting by Dave Patrick was right-on, and the costumes by Shirley Himes lent authenticity to the musical. Big River is fun to listen to, had some interesting effects and was able to do what I believe to be it’s true intention--to convey the story of Huckleberry Finn to an audience of all ages and backgrounds and educate them to some classic literature. The audience loved Big River and we cannot wait to see what else Imagination Theatre has in store for the Foothill community.
Imagination Theatre El Dorado County Fairgrounds Box Office: (530) 642-0404
On New Year’s Eve in 1994, I gave birth to a baby girl and a new business. Crazy, yes, but it was something I had to do. Determined to be a stay-at-home-mom, I began to make my living as a home-based publicist and freelance writer. This was especially challenging since I was an orphaned single mom with no one to help me. I had to figure out a way to raise my child and earn a living in an environment that catered to both. Thank God for the internet!
With a small investment for a monitor, mouse and telephone, I was all hooked up and dialed-in. Immediately after purchasing my computer, I hired a techie-nerd to set me up on the world wide web. I was swept away into cyberspace with a click of my mouse. I was off! I was ecstatic. I had e-mail, and I was ready to bring on the clientele. In one swift move, I tossed my fax machine out the sliding glass door and burned my paper trail. It was time to get moving, and get moving, I did. I quickly set up computer files and things started to happen.
Hooked up to a cordless telephone headset, I carried my infant from room to room, conversing with prospects as I changed dirty diapers. When my daughter slept, I worked online. Sometimes it was during Oprah, other times it was well past midnight. Being on the internet allowed me this valuable flexibility that I otherwise never would have had.
The internet helped me dig up new business. I wrote query letters to editors of trade journals and national magazines. I received responses and writing assignments immediately, and suffered no down-time. I no longer had to check my post office box for rejection letters or signed contracts. All of these documents were immediate accessed through e-mail.
Soon, ideas flew across my keyboard and press releases flowed from my fingertips. I was a cyberspace surfin’ mama, and nothing could slow me down. After each press kit was completed and all the bios were written, I would directly e-mail my information to various editors across the world. Instead of standing in line at OfficeMax to make copies or wait for faxes, everything I needed was neatly tucked into my home office computer.
Instant messaging helped me roll in even more business. I felt the adrenaline rush of high-tech heaven.
Thanks to the world wide web, I no longer felt isolated. I was able to hook up with newsgroups and various professionals who understand where I’m at and where I want to go. Resources such as Worldwide Freelance Writer and Writer’s Weekly allowed me to learn more about my craft and give me valuable resources for jobs for freelancers.
Moreover, gone were the days of doing heavy research in dimly-lit libraries. I didn’t have to commute downtown to look up information. All I had to do was step into my office, log on, and retrieve all the information I needed to craft a well-written article. When I received assignments about equine facilities, day spa dilemmas or the mating habits of past Presidents, I logged on. I downloaded. I felt empowered. Soon, a self-satisfied smirk would be on my face. Another article finished on time, and I was ready for more.
The internet even allowed me the ability to interview people online, rather than in-person. I did not need to meet people at Starbucks armed with a pen, paper and tape recorder to find out their life story. I simply e-mailed interview questions to people from all over the globe, and they liked the fact that this allowed them to think about their answers more carefully and saved them from being misquoted.
As my child grew, so did my business. I needed to hire both babysitters and copy editors. Instead of placing a classified ad that would appear in the local fish-wrapper the following week, I was able to instantly post a help-wanted ad on various job-hunting web-sites. In a matter of hours, I hired two bright, young people to help me at home with my baby and my business.
Seven years later, I met my husband online. I did all my wedding planning on the net as well. Our honeymoon reservations were made online, and I even found a minister on the web to conduct our ceremony.
Plus, not one to enjoy the shopping-maul during the holidaze, all my Christmas shopping is done online every year through Amazon.com and E-Bay. I’ve also been able to do my banking and pay the bills online.
Today, I’m still clicking away. I boot up my computer early every morning as the espresso machine hisses in the background. Celebrating my 11th anniversary in business, I have developed and nurtured several solvent business relationships---all thanks to the internet.
Both personally and professionally, I can certainly say that the internet is my greatest resource. What would I do without it?
What would I do without the internet? 1. Sit anxiously by the mailbox, twisting my hair in my fingers and be ready to greet the postman by his first name. 2. Jam the fax machine for the umpteeth time, killing pine trees by the acre. 3. Never get any work done.
It isn’t just another place to workout. The minute you walk in the door, you sense something special. Aromatherapy scents the room, the colors are subdued, the lights are low and metaphysical music plays softly in the background. Ahhh…
Just Breathe Mindbody Spa & Personal Fitness recently celebrated their grand opening inside the Goldorado (Bel Air) Shopping Center in Cameron Park. It is truly the only wellness center for women of its kind in the region.
Although the center opened its doors only four months ago, Just Breathe has already attracted several women interested in taking control of their bodies. The secret to their success? Integrity, enthusiasm and education. Owner and Personal Trainer Cheryl Martin earned a B.S. degree in Exercise Physiology with an emphasis in Cardiac Rehab from Florida International University. She also holds a B.S. degree in Business from the Eastern Connecticut State University, and several certifications including a Personal Training certificate from the National Strength Professionals Association and Hatha Yoga certification from YogaFit. She is even a Level 2 Yamuna Body roller.
“I think it is very important to be educated,” comments Martin. “I bring my knowledge to benefit my clients to help them look and feel their very best.”
Todd Webster is another Certified Personal Trainer at Just Breathe. He earned a B.S. degree in Exercise Physiology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Plus, Webster is American College of Sports Medicine certified, and holds a certificate in Pilates. Both Martine and Webster are CPR certified.
Just Breathe’s menu of products and services is impressive. In El Dorado County, they are the exclusive provider of the new GRAVITYSystem (GTS). Just Breathe is proud to introduce this new component of personal fitness that is designed to deliver quick, efficient and effective workouts. In fact, The American Council on Exercise cites GTS as one of 2005’s most important fitness trends.
The GTS is a gravity-training device even Sir Issac Newton would be in awe of. The gravity machine encourages functional exercise by using a person’s body weight as resistance. Adjustable to nine different levels of resistance, the GTS engages all major muscle groups and facilitates more than 250 strength training, Pilates and stretching exercises. At Just Breathe, club members are attracted to personal training sessions on GTS, either in one-on-one or small group sessions. With GTS, there is no moving around or waiting for equipment. Members also enjoy lower prices for training in small groups on GTS while they continue to receive the personal attention so important to the successful personal training experience. These exciting thirty-minute strength classes heat up all the major muscle groups for a total body workout.
“This system has such appeal to our members,” shares Martin, “Those who didn’t have enough time to strength train before can now enjoy maximum benefits with a shorter time commitment, and members interested in Pilates can now get functional top-notch training at every skill level.”
The exercises are intense, but the rewards are so worth it. It’s also a lot of fun.
But that’s not all. The center also provides a wide variety of exercise equipment such as a free motion machine, Pilates Reformer, free weights and a full line of cardio such as treadmills, exercise bikes and life fitness machines.
In addition, Just Breathe offers a curriculum of Hatha Yoga, Mat Pilates, Tai Chi, Kickboxing and Fit ball. They even provide classes in the hottest fitness trend from New York: Yamuna Body Rolling. It’s the revolutionary way to tone, lengthen and realign your body. Created by world-renowned yoga teacher and body therapist Yamuna Zake, Body Rolling uses six to ten inch reinflatable balls to stretch, tone, and realign the body. It provides a workout, massage and chiropractic session all in one. “Body rolling stretches and elongates the muscle, which improves balance and posture and makes you look and feel lighter, leaner and stronger,” Zake explains. “By realigning the spine and joints, it relieves pain and muscle tension caused by daily stress, pregnancy or back aches.”
While their Hatha Yoga class also incorporates Body Rolling, Just Breathe offers Yoga classes on its own. An increasing number of people are practicing Yoga. One of the reasons why it’s so beneficial is because your level of flexibility affects virtually every movement you make, no matter how small or seemingly mundane. From getting out of bed in the morning, to walking up a flight of stairs, to lifting a carton at work, and playing with your kids, your flexibility helps determine how easily, effectively, and enjoyably you do the things you set out to do, and Yoga helps you do that. Fortunately, small improvements in flexibility can go a long way. You don’t have to stretch for hours or aspire to pretzel-like bodily poses. Acting on a few basic Yoga principles can help you move more freely and, ultimately, feel more empowered in your daily life. The experts at Just Breathe are here to help you with your Yoga asanas so you make the most out of each session. Because we all deserve to look after ourselves, Personal Training is one of the fastest growing segments of the fitness industry. This trend is expected to continue, as personal trainers offer a variety of services and motivation that go far beyond a general exercise program. Personal Training makes sense because it gets you results three times faster than working out on your own. At Just Breathe, their personal training regimen gives you an individualized program for your body type and for your specific needs and goals and grants you unparalleled motivation. Their service is truly incredible. You really feel special when you come to workout here. What makes Just Breathe so special is their focus on caring. It sets them apart as a fitness club and wellness center. Members are encouraged to care for themselves through personal fitness and peak attitude. Secondly, their staff is encouraged to care for each other as Just Breathe team members and to motivate one another to do their best. Most importantly, the staff cares for their members and look after their needs and interests as if it were their own. Because overall wellness is so essential, Just Breathe offers a team of specialty massage therapists. Their skilled holistic therapists bring their knowledge and expertise to offer serenity, deep relaxation and balance to your life. Therapists let their feet do the rubbing with incredible Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapy. There’s also hot stone treatments on their massage menu, along with acupressure sessions, reflexology and Swedish Massage. And if you need hypnotherapy to help you with weight loss and quitting smoking, they have that, too. “You can look and feel great at any age,” Martin remarks. “This is a place for women to come and relax and meet new friends.”
For more information, a class schedule, or to arrange a tour, please call (530) 676-0393.
Here are two shopping reviews I did for ultra-mega web-site Citysearch.com
Reality Boutique 2314 J Street Sacramento, CA 95816 Mon-Fri 11am-8pm, Sat 10am-8pm, Sun 11am-5pm (916) 492-0211 firstname.lastname@example.org Accepts all major credit cards
The Verdict: This is the boutique that will take you there. To the land of the beautiful people. To an ocean of whispered promises. Where you’ll get more than your share of admired glances and actually tingle from your feminine power.
The Scene: Snappy, enticing and completely foo-foo. It’s like walking into one of those enormous color-coded closets that take up the entire first floor of an estate. Among rose quartz walls, vibrant fuchsia skirts beckon you to slip them on. A turquoise sea of ruffled blouses and tropical sunset-colored capris dare you to don them. The most flirtatious gossamer gowns seduce you into finding a place to flaunt them.
Gotta Have it: Incredible shoes. From velvet babydolls to opalescent sequined slippers.
Like this?: Try Cheap Thrills on 1217 21st Street for more sumptuous clothing perfect for a daylight escapade or an evening out anytime. Prices:Expect to spend $74 for a pair of Nally & Milly clamdigger jeans and $30 for a peasant style t-shirt. Best Buys: $12 Robert Rose beaded chokers, $6 bangles and 3 for $10 sparkling Sunny Daisy eyeshadow and lipgloss.
What’s Unique: Strappy beaded cell phone purses along with their fun line of neckerchiefs and glamourous silver cigarette cases.
Something is always on sale at this shopping oasis. The meters in front of the store only allow you 30 minutes to park. You’ll need more than that, so move your car down the block a ways.
Rating Score: 10. If you want to look sexy this century, and don’t mind making some man’s wife forest green with envy, this is the store.
Buffalo Exchange 2996 Freeport Boulevard Sacramento, CA 95818 (916) 930-0386 www.buffaloexchange.com Mon-Sat 11am-7pm, Sun noon-6pm. Accepts all major credit cards
The Verdict: It’s the recipe for successful shopping. 80 percent men’s and women’s recycled clothing and 20 percent brand new stuff. Add a cup of service, a dash of kid stuff and season with personal and home accessories. Enhance your wardrobe or begin a new one. The contemporary, vintage and retro clothing are in surprisingly good condition.
The Scene: Room to groove. Shop to the oldies beat as you drift from rack to rack of well-organized bargains.
Gotta have it: Oriental paper lanterns, sterling silver toe rings, scented candles. Like this?: Try Crossroads Trading Company on 2935 Arden Way or 7831 Greenback Lane for more fabulous finds. Prices: $6 and up. Best Buys: $12 boots, $10 demin jeans and $6 women’s t-shirts.
What’s Unique: They carry small tin canisters to hold pocket change, cigarettes or a few love letters. You can bring someone here who doesn’t like to shop to kickback on their sofa and peruse a few magazines while you satisfy your impulse shopping addiction.
Clean out your closet and pile up the can-do-withouts. Trade in your duds for cash or clothing. Tootsie Time: The back wall is filled with shoes, from go-go boots and purple combats to tennies, leather mules and strappy sandals Service with a smile: The manager will scout for clothes on your behalf and if they get something they think you’ll like, they’ll call you.
Rating Score: 8. Quenches your shopping thirst with new treasures every day.
Introducing The House of Boxing in Placerville By Connie Werner Reichert As seen in the County Times & Review,Placerville, CA
The man is a machine--Michael Pettaway of Cameron Park is busy either motivating kids with dynamic boxing lessons, or concocting his own delectable product line of barbeque sauce.
Many of us have a general impression that boxing is a rough and brutal sport. It’s often misunderstood. We think of deadly blows to the head and a raw steak over the left eye. Because of that impression, a lot of parents believe that if they allow their children to box, they will get into fights or teach their child to be violent. However, Pettaway, owner and Senior Head Trainer of the House of Boxing, insists that’s not the case if the children are properly coached, equipped and supervised.
While professional boxing is an extremely rigorous sport, competing as an amateur boxer or just participating in boxing for fitness and recreation is very different than professional boxing. “It’s not about knocking people out,” explains Pettaway. “Learning to box at the House of Boxing in Placerville will teach a child how to rely on themselves. It also teaches kids to respect others and develop self-discipline. It is an excellent means of both physical and mental conditioning. Our mission is to provide a safe and competitive training program while our students develop these skills.”
Moreover, Pettaway says, “The part I would like to elaborate on about regarding amateur boxing is the safety factors. The modern amateur boxing safety guidelines is strictly enforced. The approved boxing equipment and trained officials along with better monitoring of boxing events is such that there is NO room for injuries. Boxing matches are not ‘staged’ like that of the professional matches.”
Here are some other points to consider---Boxing is holistic. It’s an alternative to the repetitious workouts one gets on treadmills and bikes at traditional health clubs. It’s also an alternative to doing countless “reps” of weights in order to build muscle for the sake of building muscle. Pettaway’s workout has the variety to keep kids interested, yet every workout gets them closer to their fitness goals. The added element that you don’t get from treadmills and weights is that participants have to engage their mind throughout the entire workout. Punching, kicking, ducking and sidestepping quickly to the left or right on your toes, etc., are all moves that require the boxer to think about how to put them together in a coherent sequence so that offensive moves are fluid yet effective, and defensive moves are elusive. While the boxer is quickly calculating what to do next, their heart rate is increasing, calories are burning, and both their upper and lower body are getting exercised simultaneously. This is especially important because studies show that there is an alarming national epidemic of overweight young people.
While amateur boxing is definitely a competitive sport, it’s designed so that boxers are matched against the same age group, weight and amount of bouts (win/loss). Children must be at least 12 years old to participate.
How did Pettaway get started with boxing? “My first exposure was watching the Saturday night fights in the 1950’s,” he grins. “To help myself as a child, I would practice boxing by punching the tops off of corn stalks! My big daddy would watch me and would say to me, ‘You must be crazy.’ During recess in elementary school, we would have boxing matches. We would wrap our hands with socks so that we wouldn’t hurt each other.”
That childhood experience developed into an impressive, lifetime love affair with the sport. In 1974, Pettaway joined the U.S. Army and visited a “boxing smoker.” This is where Army trainees box against each other. “After watching a few matches, I said to myself, ‘I can box better than these guys.,’” remarks Pettaway. “The next day, I went to the gym where they had training and I told the Sargeant I wanted to box. In August 1974, I had my first boxing match and won with a 1st round knockout. In April 1976, I won the All Army Welter-weight Championship in Fort Hood, Texas.” Two years later, he won matches while stationed in Korea. Pettaway accrued a record of 32 win and one lost.
His first experience as a trainer was from 1997-1999 at the North Area Teen Center in Carmichael. “I have trained boys and girls in the art of boxing and found that this is the most motivating sport on an individual level,” comments Pettaway.
So what is the inspiration for Pettaway’s love of boxing? His Reverend and his wife, along with his parents and grandparents. “Most people only have one or two mentors; I have six,” he shares with gratitude. “They didn’t have big houses, big cars or millions of dollars. They were simply God-fearing people. Every one of them were on the same page as far as making sure that I received the proper training at home so that I can become an adult with moral values. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of at least one of them.”
Boxing isn’t the only thing this charming gentleman is up to. Pettaway’s own line of Honey Mustard Barbeque Sauce also packs a powerful punch! There are three varieties—regular, mild and spicy. His sauce is absolutely delicious. Try it as a marinade for chicken, beef and pork. It’s also a wonderfully robust dipping sauce. Plus, for the salad lover, this sauce enhances the taste of a great salad with a taste of sweet delight.
With as much integrity as he has as a boxing trainer, Pettaway is also extremely conscious of what he puts in the sauce. Pettaway’s Honey Mustard Barbeque Sauce is a blend of pure honey and spices, and all of the all-natural ingredients come from various vendors in Placerville. “I get the honey and the peppers in town,” reveals Pettaway. “The only ingredient that isn’t from Placerville is the salt!” The special recipe contains dried garlic and dried onion and a secret mix of spices.
The House of Boxing is located inside Orr Brothers Martial Arts and Fitness , 4600 Missouri Flat Road, Suite A, across from the Dairy Depot in Placerville. The training schedule is from 6 p.m.-7 p.m. each Tuesday and Thursday. To register your child in the House of Boxing, or to enjoy the delicious Pettaway’s Honey Mustard Barbeque Sauce, call (530) 672-6498 or (530) 680-8316.
Wow! I had such an exciting month so far and it's only the 11th! I feel very blessed to have had so much positive feedback from clients and prospects about my writing and publicity business. My current clients are all very kind, intelligent and filled with integrity.
As each day goes on, it certainly seems like more and more people are ready to start off 2006 with the highest level of service when it comes to the writing realm. I feel as if writers are finally getting the respect they deserve, and that feels very nice. I have been approached by several prospective clients this year, and they all demand the very best writing services possible. Can I fill that role? Absolutely. Why? I love life. I enjoy living! Freelance writing and publicity feeds my soul. It really does, as corny as that may sound to you. Plus, it also helps that this has been my life-long career--20 years now and I feel as if I have so much more to do.
I believe that we are all special in our own ways. If everyone on this beautiful planet did what they loved for a living, the world would be a better place. I go for my dreams and set high goals for myself, and the returns are awesome. What about you?