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You ask, we answer: The best indie self-care brand is Asutra!

Our favorite way to kick-off a weekday-self-care session? With a proper body scrub, followed by a nice long soak. American-made Asutra specializes in this ritual with a variety of products created to make you feel balanced, invigorated, refreshed and find pain relief. They call this living the “Asutra Life”- and the options are lovely!

Here…we’re going to let you in on a little secret to erasing the day, recentering, and bringing your awareness back to your happy place. Asutra has two specific products, that used in tandem, will Scrub the Day Away and Soak the Day Away.  

As Prime Women readers, you have an exclusive discount to try! Just use the code PRIME15 at checkout for 15% off. 

Why Scrub ‘n’ Soak?

The benefit of a body scrub+bath soak at the end of the day is really more about your releasing from your body all the stresses that have built up over the course of the day (or days, if you can’t sneak this habit in on the daily) and then disconnecting your mind from the day, and turning inward to focusing on you. You 100% deserve this after a long day dealing with the demands of everyone else. Remember, even if you only commit to do a 5 minute scrub/rinse and a 10 minute soak, that’s worth every minute of long-lasting stress-relief and a better night’s sleep.

TIP: Visualize the stresses of the day being scrubbed off the skin, and breathe in relaxation from the aromatherapeutic soak for a complete recharge of body and soul. 

Dead Sea and Himalayan Sea Salt Body Scrubs

Amazingly soft skin in minutes. Each scrub has a specific aromatherapy note, ranging from the soothing lavender pictured here, or cooling cucumber to uplifting lemongrass so you can specify just how you need to hit reset after a long day.

Included in every jar is a soothing mix of jojoba, argan, and sweet almond oils to boost hydration while exfoliating  9 Formulas | $22.95 | 12 oz.

Now that you’ve scrubbed all that emotional and physical gunk from the day, you can really turn the focus to soaking back into yourself, continuing the shift in focus to self-care for the best end-of-day routine!

100% Dead Sea Soaking Salts

Mineral-rich Dead Sea salts, which naturally contain  20+ healing minerals, and a blend of organic essential oils offer a variety of options for resetting body and mind after a complex day.

With focused formulas, like the joint/muscle pain relief pictured here, the detox and slimming, or the skin rejuvenation, these nutrients put your mind and body in a more peaceful state. Alongside, aloe vera and vitamin E help to condition your skin as you soak.  6 Formulas Available | $24.95 | 12 oz.

Asutra recommends building a ritual around these practices: light a candle or two, play music or a podcast (my favorite in this setting is On Being, with Krista Tippett) to complete the self-care routine.

>READ: WANT TO MAKE EVERY DAY BETTER? CHANGE YOUR MORNING ROUTINE

The bath products are only a tiny portion of the library of products that Asutra creates. There’s everything from pain relief sprays, sleeping aids, skin treatments, and more. We know you’ll love them all!

Fun Fact: Did you know that Venus Williams has invested in Asutra as her go-to-self-care-goodies, and recently told WWD, “I love their focus on active self-care,” Williams said. “Obviously I live and breathe that, and I was able to use their products as a part of actively taking care of myself. I also love that their products work and they use all natural ingredients, so you can use the products for your mind, body and soul. That was a huge appeal for me and just fit right into my lifestyle.”

Every formula offered is filled with all natural ingredients, is cruelty-free, and paraben-free.

Asutra is currently offering FREE standard shipping on orders of $30 or more in US for retail customers!

>READ: THE ANTI-AGING BENEFITS OF ESSENTIAL OILS & OTHER SMALL MIRACLES

>SHOP: OUR OTHER PRIME PICKS, INCLUDING JEANS YOU’LL WANT TO LIVE IN, THE ONLY BRA YOU NEED TO OWN, AND THE BEST DIY ANT-CELLULITE TREATMENT

The post Prime Pick: Best Indie Self-Care Brand is Asutra appeared first on Prime Women | An Online Magazine.

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We’re all familiar with the notion of work life balance, and no doubt at some point in our lives, we may have even felt that achieving this balance represented some type of life goal or nirvanic state. Frankly, I’ve always felt that this type of balance is bogus and that what we should be striving for is more of an optimization at each stage of our life. After all, work is an integral part of your life, and your life is comprised of both personal and professional aspirations, achievements, learnings, growth, and relationships.

And so, what is that perfect equation for the optimization of your life? Can you have it all? I say that each of us can have it all – just not all at the same time. And, I would argue that even if we had it all at once, it’d be wasted on us, as not everything has the same value to us at any given moment in terms of meaning, fulfillment, and impact. Does this sound too theoretical? Are you worried that too much time has passed and that it’s too late? Well, never fear, there is no better time to start than NOW. Here are some suggestions to develop your own perfect life optimization equation:

1. Understand what success means to you. Have great clarity on your priorities – right here and right now.

A mistake I see people make is they either spend too much time lamenting about what was and/or musing about what could/should be in the future. What is most important to you right now? Is it getting your kids through school? Is it developing a healthy relationship with your partner? Is it caring for elderly relatives? Is it achieving some pinnacle in your career? Is it learning a new skill? Is it gaining a new experience?

Once you identify your top priorities with a true understanding of the reasons behind them, you gain greater clarity on what can drop lower on your list of “to-dos” (including what can be postponed) and decision making becomes easier.

>READ: 12 COMMON LIFE MISTAKES WOMEN OVER 50 MAKE

2. Prioritize “No Do-Over” moments

Sometimes, you find yourself in a dilemma where it feels like any choice you make is bad one, that someone or something will be sacrificed, no matter which path you take. Whether it’s a critical client or board meeting at work – or an important milestone in support of a family member or friend – we’re faced with decisions at every turn. With the average adult making tens of thousands of remotely conscious decisions a day, how do we ensure that the conscious choices we make are the right ones? Well, there is only right as defined by you. So, my advice here would be to prioritize and choose the “no do-overs.”

Play it out in your mind. if a vetoed choice has a lasting impact of regret (by you or someone you care about), that’s a no do-over moment. Think through the consequences and contingencies associated with your possible choices. Note that this isn’t binary. You need to also factor in your heart and your gut. For me, a no do-over moment has been my kids’ back-to-school nights. With my day job, I’m away a lot. That one evening I get to spend visiting their school and teachers is invaluable to me so that I can stay relevantly connected throughout the entire school year.

>READ: EXCEL WITH INTUITIVE DECISION MAKING 3. Invest in You

You’ve got to feed your mind, body, and soul. To fully live this life that we’ve been given, we have to keep growing – on all levels. Emotional and spiritual health, mental growth and development, and physical well-being and strength can be developed throughout our lives. And it can be found in many forms.

My wakeup call was when I passed a milestone birthday. Having recently moved my family across the country (including two teenage girls), I was in the worst shape of my life and had lost myself somewhere along the way. Through trial and error, I found something that helps me stay grounded – fitness boxing. But even today, I find that I have to schedule it on my calendar as the temptation to not prioritize me in order to take care of everyone (and everything) else is always there. In order to be your best for those you care about – whether it’s your family, friends, community, team, organization, customers, and others – you need to be at your best. Only you know what that means for you.

Now the best news…life is ever-evolving. Throughout our lives, we’re each given countless opportunities to succeed, fail, learn, adapt and make progress. Your optimization equation – namely, your life – is your own. Your definition of success, your priorities, your no do-over moments, your best well-being – are uniquely yours and are fluid – changing and progressing as you grow.

In the words of George Bernard Shaw, “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” There is no better time than right now to become your most compelling and exceptional creation.

>READ NEXT: MAKE SHIFTING YOUR PRIORITIES A PRIORITY

>READ NEXT: HEALTHY HABITS THROUGH SELF-ACCOUNTABILITY

>READ NEXT: STAYING SANE IN A CRAZY WORLD

The post Life is an Optimization Equation | Top 3 Tips appeared first on Prime Women | An Online Magazine.

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Making working remotely workable

New career stage? New company? New role? Chances are you will work (or continue to work) remotely (aka Telecommuting) in the next decade. Following a few A/B/Cs of working remotely will allow you to both succeed and capture all the benefits including no commute, working when you are most productive, and flexibility in your work week.

I have worked for 30+ years for Fortune 50 companies in cubicles and in corner offices. I have worked at appliance manufacturing plants and in Wall Street towers. I have had offices with closed doors, as well as worked in an open floor plan environment. Then, I worked remotely for 13+ years and have learned how to make it work. Guess what? I’m never going back! (Viva independence! Viva lifestyle flexibility! Viva no wasted time in the car!) I simply love owning my own time. I want to share how you can make telecommuting work for you….

First, let’s look at the trends:

52% of employees around the world work from home at least once per week. (Owl Labs)

3.9 million Americans reported working from home sometimes or working remotely full-time in 2018. (FlexJobs)

“Telecommuting, one of many forms of work-life flexibility, should no longer be viewed as a nice-to-have, optional perk mostly used by working moms. These common stereotypes don’t match reality — allowing employees to work remotely is a core business strategy today… We need to de-parent, de-gender, and de-age the perception of the flexible worker.” — Cali Williams Yost, CEO and Founder of Flex+Strategy Group and Work+Life Fit

Make no mistake ~ while working from home may mean working in a casual environment you must still maintain formal work ties, goal setting processes, accountability structures, etc. in order for remote work to work.

Follow these ABCs for making remote work a success  A. Active Anchors

Pro-actively determine and discuss with your employer (which might be you if you are a solopreneur!) all the details, definitions and expectations each of you are anchored on vis a vis the Telecommuting arrangement.

Here is a starter list:

  • What are your business goals and how will they be measured?
  • To what degree do you need to travel or come into the home office to be productive, effective and meet those goals?
  • What can your employer expect of you regarding your accessibility and availability?
  • What will be your preferred means of 2-way communication? And are these modalities aligned with the intent / importance of what you want to communicate? (In Person? Video? Phone? Email? Text? etc.?)
  • What can you expect of your employer regarding tools to be productive? Access to Slack? A premier Zoom account? A formal travel budget?
  • When should you have a formal discussion about the work arrangement, and what adjustments should be made? Hint – ‘soon’ and calendar it!
  • To what degree does your boss need to see you in person to feel comfortable with the arrangement?

Remember, your traditional casual in-office touch points / drop-in discussions will no longer be available. You need to think in advance about the items that may trip up the remote work arrangement ~ solving for items before they surface.

B. Bold Boundary-setting

Because managers, team members and peers don’t see you day-to-day, they can lose sight of your workload. One unintended consequence of working remotely is that there is a tendency to over-work and over-commit in order to prove you are ‘all in’.

I vividly remember one summer of ‘overwhelm.’  My kids were at sleep-away camp and I had a vision of completing my committed work and then basking in “reflection / me time” during the week which was sorely lacking while kids were home. What happened? My employer knew I had some additional flex hours available and sent more work my way. Instead of working with my boss on revised deadlines and priorities to get the work done in a reasonable time horizon, I simply accepted it and worked harder! What was the net? I found myself working very late on several days not having left the house, being angry at my work, frustrated with myself, and demotivated. This was MY self-imposed problem as I did not set down and communicate my boundaries and expectations in real time.

Working from home makes it is easy to fall into the trap of never being ‘off.’ There is always something to do and you do not have the ‘built-in trigger that the work day is ending’ derived from going to and from the office while commuting. You need to put this trigger in place! (ex. 7 pm and the computer is turned off; 2-hour media free time through dinner time and beyond; Sundays 100% blocked from any work activity).

The key point – you must be intentional setting and disciplined following these boundaries for fear that your work and personal lives become too intertwined.

>READ: SETTING BOUNDARIES IS SELF-CARE

C. Choreographed Connectedness

Working from home can be lonely. It is ‘on you’ to make sure this does not happen. Here are a few ways to avoid isolation:

  • Have a standing meeting with your boss via Zoom video (or Skype, WebEx etc.) so that you can see one another. The calls can be weekly, bi-weekly or whatever cadence makes the most sense.
  • Have at least 1 video meeting daily with your work peers, team mates, vendors, clients. (Every Sunday I look at my calendar for the week to take inventory of calls or meetings I have set up which ‘scratch the itch’ of needing and wanting to see others).
  • Form an informal alliance of other local folks who work virtually and meet them in person 1x per month to exchange ideas and build a support system.
  • Join a local non-work-related live group where you have to ‘show up’ and are expected to carry a load. Join an exercise class, a book club or volunteer group where you will see many of the same people on-going who expect you to be there!

Working from home…. Liberating or lonely? Successful or stress-inducing? Energizing or enervating? Follow the A/B/Cs around making working remotely do-able to set yourself up for success!

>READ: OFFICE NOMADS: 7 TIPS TO WORK REMOTELY

>READ: DO’S AND DON’TS OF WORKING FROM HOME

>READ: SECOND ACT CAREERS: WORK IS NOT A PLACE

The post Does Remote Work Remotely Work? appeared first on Prime Women | An Online Magazine.

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Vacation to actively transition into retirement

Boredom is a common fear of women approaching retirement along with a nagging feeling that they won’t know what to do after leaving the workplace. As appealing as lounging in bed after the usual workday alarm sounds most days, doing only that is terrifying. Working in our current career until we die isn’t the answer but we also don’t want to be bored. Some have accumulated so much vacation, they won’t be able to use it before their set retirement date. Most people dream of traveling but not necessarily floating around on a cruise ship and going to buffets. Seek out one of these active vacations for seniors to keep your blood flowing and spark your adventurous side.

Five Active Vacations for Seniors (Prime Women as we preferred to be called) 1. Adult Adventure Camps

Remember camp as a kid? Now there are camps for adults. Dude ranch style camps let you act as ranch hands and experience ranch living. Health and wellness camps give you a chance to pamper yourself. Actual adventure camps involve one or multiple activities such as hiking, biking or even surfing. Some theme camps target niches like foodie camps, nerd camp, and escape from tech retreats. There are even band camps for adults. The common goal through all the camps to focus on yourself and fun.

2. Backpacking / Hiking

Something most people think about doing but don’t actually go. Maybe there previously wasn’t time to spend a day in the mountains and or you didn’t have trails right outside the door. With this newly found time, step out a little further to explore these possibilities. The great thing about hiking is that there are all levels, lengths and intensities. Hiking alone in the right place is ok, but it’s better to go with someone. Plenty of joinable groups explore the great outdoors. REI offers classes for every level of hiker and backpacker.

READ: A MOTHER-DAUGHTER BACKPACKING TRIP REVEAL UNEXPLORED TERRITORY

Once you get your boots on and get walking it’s easier to process the idea of spending the night either on a backpacking or camping trip. Spending the night allows you to explore places you can’t go in a day. Camping trips can involve tents or the luxury of a camper. Backpacking takes you to places you would never see from the road and enables you to experience the outdoors in new ways. Don’t be put off by age limits. Last week I hiked with a lady who celebrated her 70th birthday by backpacking from one side of the Sierra to the other.

3. Travel to Play Sports

For those over 50, this is growing. Senior sports leagues, teams and players exist in every state and many countries. People of every level of fitness find opportunities. Plenty of stories posted on senior sports sites show people over 50, 60, 70, 80 and even over 90 finding their place in the athletic world. Find satisfaction both in competing and the camaraderie with others seeking active fulfillment.

READ: WHAT IS PICKLEBALL? THIS NEW FITNESS CRAZE CAN SPARK JOY

4. Walking Vacations

Everything is about walking now. Walking for exercise. Walking to work. Walking to calm your mind. Incorporate this new freedom with our feet into a vacation or getaway. It’s called a walkabout. Find these walking adventures all over the world. Probably the most famous is the Camino de Santiago. I walked the most famous route, the Camino Francés, with my daughter when I was 51. Many of the people we met were well into their 60s and we met a few people who were in their 80s.

Camino de Santiago de Compostela

The Camino’s many routes cover much of Europe. You can go the whole original Camino starting in St Jean Pied de Port and ending in Santiago de Compostela. Or if you don’t have enough time for a 35-day walk, choose one of the shorter Caminos such as the Camino Portugués. There are others in Scotland, notably the West Highland Way. England’s most famous walk is the Coast-to-Coast, although there are beautiful walks in the Lake District and the Cotswolds. Italy has a number as well. In the US I found some walkabouts listed in New Mexico.

5. Golfing

So many people take up golf as they age. It’s a sport almost anyone can do and it’s an activity that you can do alone or with a partner. It’s a way to share time with grandkids, too. Turn this into an active vacation by picking golf courses in several areas, travel to play the course and then set out for some sightseeing. It’s an opportunity to get a little exercise, especially if you don’t take the cart, and to meet others enjoying a similar interest. Pick a few destinations and get going!

Ease your fears of retirement boredom by dreaming up one of these active vacations for seniors. Then, research both the activity and where you want to experience it.  Meet others out there seeking the same adventure. Active vacations are a great way to transition from one passion in life to another.

>READ NEXT: KEEP MOVING-21 TIPS FOR STAYING ACTIVE AFTER 50

>READ NEXT: TIPS FOR STAYING HEALTHY-DELAY AGING BY STAYING ACTIVE…

>READ NEXT: BUDGET TRAVEL-CENTRAL EUROPE

The post Five Active Vacations for Prime Women appeared first on Prime Women | An Online Magazine.

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50 ways to Leave your 40s: Experience 28 – Les Miserables

Ok, ok, I know I’m very late to the party with this one but all the best things are worth waiting for, right? Jobs, friends, relationships, marriage…. surely the longer you wait, the sweeter the outcome. Well, I certainly believe in that anyway…probably answers why I’m single and never married, although not through lack of trying, I hasten to add. Anyway, I digress….

When I first started writing my ’50 things’ list, seeing Les Mis in London was right up at the top. Having seen the film a few years ago and loving it, then becoming totally obsessed with the soundtrack, I knew it was just a matter of time until I saw it on stage and imagining I was the slightly love-struck Eponine, belting out ‘On my Own’ without a care in the world. There’s been many a long car journey where I have found the Les Mis soundtrack on my playlist, ramped up the volume and wailed my way through 2 1/2 hours up the M40, lost in the French Revolution and all its sadness.

So, as I made my annual trip to Wimbledon last week, I decided to finally make an effort and go and see the show. Rather than spend another night in a hotel room, I hopped on the train and popped back above ground in the very busy Piccadilly Circus. Ahh…the lights, the noise, the crowds, the smells of our fine capital. Wandering along like the stereotypical country bumpkin, I took in the sights, the street names and the vibe of London on a Friday evening in summer. And then as I meandered through China Town, I saw it; The Queens Theatre. I took a sharp intake of breath as I got closer, not quite believing I was finally here; finally seeing this masterpiece on stage.

After a quick gin in the bar (pleasantly surprised it wasn’t ridiculously expensive!), I made my way to my seat and instantly realised my first schoolgirl error. As I’d only booked my ticket two days before, the only available ones were ‘Up in the Gods’ – also known as the cheap seats. And as I booked an end of row, my view was unfortunately not the best – well, if I wanted to see anything happening stage left, that is. Still, I would not be put off. I was too excited to care if I missed a tiny bit.

From the moment it started, the moment the first note was sung, the moment Jean Valjean waked on stage, I was mesmerised. I hung on to every word, watched enthralled as each character came onstage, bringing the story to life. I found my heart beating a little faster as ‘One Day More’ rang across the theatre and had to stop myself jumping up and joining in. To say I was moved would be an understatement.

READ: 50 WAYS TO LEAVE YOUR 40S: #20 DON’T CRY FOR ME ARGENTINA

The second half of the show was as wonderful as the first; although so much sadder. From my restricted view, I couldn’t see poor Eponine meet her maker, but I closed my eyes and remembered the film scene. As the story moved through all of its separate parts – the love story of Marius and Cosette; the fatherly protection from Valjean; the cat and mouse game with Javert and of course the French Revolution – I just knew I didn’t want it to end.

And even though I knew the ending, I knew what to expect, it still slapped me across the face and caught me off guard. Now, this isn’t a spoiler if you’ve not seen Les Mis, but as you can probably guess, not many people make it out alive. But that’s not the sad part, well not the really sad part anyway. Seeing Valjean as an old dying man was the tipping point for me; the point where the tears I’d been holding back came flooding out – along with the snot, the snot bubbles and the rivers of mascara. Oh, my goodness, I sobbed. Proper heaving sobs as well. It wasn’t a pleasant sight and I can only be grateful I was (A) on my own and (B) not the only one crying in the audience!

READ: 50 WAYS TO LEAVE YOUR 40S – LONDON LANDMARKS

It is of no surprise whatsoever that this show has been running for over 30 years. It is outstanding. Fact. If you have never seen it, just go – you won’t regret it. Les Mis is touring next year and when it comes to Birmingham, I can assure each and every one of you I will be there at least once.

Next time though, I am booking better seats, not wearing any mascara and taking a lot more tissues!

>READ NEXT: 50 WAYS TO LEAVE YOUR 40S – #24 RICK STEIN’S CAFE

>READ ALL OF JO HOWELL’S 50 WAYS TO LEAVE YOUR 40s EXPERIENCES

The post Too Late to the Les Mis Party? appeared first on Prime Women | An Online Magazine.

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Everyone needs to be organized when they begin their travel experience. There is too much chaos in the travel itself (airport delays, security checks, etc.). The only way to bring some sanity and calmness to the time before arriving at your destination is to have all your travel essentials in your suitcase (which is under the weight limit and has room to spare). Unfortunately, this requires planning. These travel accessories for women will help you organize your travel needs and make the first part of your trip hassle-free.

Organizational Travel Tools 1. Packing Cubes

I love my packing cubes. These are a must for your stuffable items (socks, accessories, scarves and underwear). I am always amazed by how many pairs of underwear I can shove into one small cube that fits neatly in my suitcase. You can use them for other items, too (shirts, pants, etc.) although other alternatives may save more space. Unpacking is also a breeze. Just unzip the bag and put the items in the drawer.

Here are some of my favorites (all of these are very light):

eBags, Hyper-Lite Packing Cubes 7pc Set, $65

Eagle Creek Translucent Specter Pack-It Cubes, $40

If you are packing shirts, consider getting a set that also includes an envelope. It is amazing how many shirts you can fit into one envelope.

Eagle Creek Travel Gear Luggage Pack-it Garment Folder, $29

>READ: BEFORE YOU FLY, BUY THE BEST BAG FOR YOUR TRIP

2. Space Savers

If you are concerned about packing space or are taking lots of sweaters or other heavy or bulky items, you should consider using compression bags. These come in different sizes depending on how many items you have and their bulkiness. These aren’t the best for avoiding wrinkles, but they sure save space in your suitcase. Also, I have found that it is difficult to remove all the air from the bags (and get the same effect) after they have been used more than once. So, you may need to replace them frequently.

Some I have used in my travels:

Compression Travel Storage Bags 12 Pack, $17

Samsonite Compression Bags 12-Piece Kit, $20

3. Jewelry Case

Finding a great jewelry case that keeps your necklaces untangled and your earrings organized is difficult. I tend to use two different containers for each. For my earrings, I like this cube because it allows me to make my earring choice without having to take all of them out of the case. I often just keep my earrings in the cube even following a trip. I just place the container in my jewelry drawer for storing some of my earrings. Plus, it fits easily in a carry on and in the safe in your hotel room.

Stackers Taupe Folding Travel Jewelry Storage Tray, $8

And for your necklaces, I think this is the best choice. It fits in your carry on and has individual compartments for your necklaces.

Vlando Viaggio Small Jewelry Case, $14

4. Make-Up Case

I think a make-up case must be large enough for all your makeup and brushes, but also be structured so that it is easy to find what you need, when you need it. Plus, I have never understood the need to have a case that hangs, since I generally am sitting down when applying my makeup. The hanging gear actually gets in my way. I really like this one (it has a separate space for your brushes and will easily fit into your suitcase):

Rownyeon Travel Makeup Bag, $18

And if you want to be fashionable, look at this one. It costs a lot more, but it has a separate place for brushes and several pouches that nest into the larger case. Plus, you will feel joy when you use it.

Tory Burch, Tilda Cosmetic Bag Set, $258

5. Tech Organizer

Everyone needs an easy and compact way to organize their chargers, adapters, air pods and other tech accessories in their travel. Plus, it needs to be small enough to fit in your purse or carry-on, so they are available when you need them.

Mark & Graham Tech Bag, $40

And if you have lots of tech needs, this one (although not as compact) is a good alternative:

Bagsmart, Electronic Organizer, $18

>SEE: TRAVEL MUST-HAVES ON THE PRIME WOMEN MARKETPLACE

Optional but Recommended Travel Accessories for Women: 6. Travel Steamer

I never think that I am going to need a steamer to get the wrinkles out of my clothes, but I have to say that if you have room in your suitcase, this is something that will come in handy. It’s amazing how it gets the wrinkles out and makes every outfit look neat and pressed:

Masteam Portable Travel Garment Steamer, $25

7. Travel Hairdryer

How often have you gotten to your room, washed your hair and found out that the hairdryer the hotel provides is noisy and doesn’t really dry your hair? It is worth investing in a great travel hair dryer. This one’s quiet, compact, foldable, very powerful and lightweight. Plus, it has dual voltage, so you can use it in foreign locations.

Compact Travel Blow Dryer, $25

8. Travel Bottles

Don’t forget that your liquids will have to be stored separately from your other makeup when you are not checking. Consider using this clear plastic bag and all of bottles and containers to carry your liquids. It is TSA approved, includes an assortment of containers and bottles that can be easily be filled without using a funnel, and even includes labels for the bottles:

Magigo Leak Proof Travel Bottle Set-16 Pack, $15

9. The Perfect Wrap

I never travel on long trips without my White and Warren cashmere travel wrap. It fits easily in my carry-on bag and is perfect for snuggling on the plane. It can be used as a scarf, pillow or blanket. Plus, it comes in multiple colors. There are even videos on line demonstrating how it can be tied and worn when you get to your destination.

Mer-Sea, Classic Pocket Travel Wrap, $60 (was $120)

10. Compression Socks

I know. They are not attractive. But they do serve a purpose when traveling. Remember: don’t get them so tight that they hurt or make you itch. I like the medium strength ones that seem to be lighter and less constrictive (and perhaps less effective). My favorite even comes in a shorter sock version for summer travel:

Physix Gear Compression Socks, $30

There may be a number of other items that you may want to include as you organize for your trip: a travel mirror, a travel pillow or even perhaps a travel wallet. But, I find these to be the most useful travel accessories for women.  I know that they will alleviate some of the stress you may feel as you embark on your vacation.

>READ: CLEVER CAPSULE WARDROBE: STYLISH TRAVEL CLOTHES FOR WOMEN OVER 50

>READ: BEFORE YOU FLY, BUY THE BEST BAG FOR YOUR TRIP

>READ: THE MOST COMFORTABLE SHOES FOR SEEING THE WORLD

The post The 10 Best Travel Accessories for Women appeared first on Prime Women | An Online Magazine.

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Watch Tricia’s Rose Reviews

Premium Rosé Wine in the USA with Tricia Conover - YouTube

Dry rosé wines are produced all around the world in many wine regions using countless varieties of red grapes. Rosé wines have been the fastest growing category of wine consumption in the last few years. Rosé wine brands in the USA are a rapids growing trend.

What is not to like? Savoring the flavors and aromas of red grapes in a chilled glass on a beautiful patio is my idea of a great happy hour.

And these are not your Grandmother’s White Zinfandels!

The most well-known rosé wine brands come from Provence in the South of France. Provence rosé history goes back to Roman occupation of the region in the days of Julius Caesar. Some of the wines were called “claret” for being such a clear red/pink color.

In the 19th century tourists started to flock to the Cote d’Azur to go swimming in the Mediterranean sea on those beautiful beaches and would relax afterwards with a chilled glass of rosé. These local wines became a symbol of glamour, leisure, and summer.

But, rosé is now a year-round wine and pairs so well with many foods ranging from light cheeses and seafood to grilled meats. And, it hails from many winemaking regions of the globe.

Chateau D’Esclans, Provence, France

Wines like Chateau D’Esclans Whispering Angel is an example against which many people measure the rosé wine brands. Whispering Angel is the #1 selling imported wine from France with a production of 3.2M bottles annually. It is probably the greatest wine brand to come out of France in 20 years. The pale color comes from just a touch of red grape skin contact.

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Whispering Angel is made from the grapes of Rolle (Vermentino) along with Grenache and Cinsault, all well-known grapes in the South of France. Since Rolle (or Vermentino) is a white grapes this rosé can also be classified as being a blend of red and white grapes. The Rolle give Whispering Angel a nice touch of floral pizazz. Whispering Angel has an even more expensive, prestigious sister, Garrus. This wine is made of Grenache grapes and then is aged 12 months in French oak barrels. It is an ultra-premium wine selling for $100, and may be the most expensive dry rosé in the world.

USA Rosé Wine Brands

The USA is making world-class rosé wines now, too. USA winemaking is distinctive in the fact that each of the wine regions has the freedom to make the rosé wine they prefer. They also can select the combination of any grapes they want to use. The “Old World” winemaking in Europe does not always have this choice, as laws regulating the best wine regions are explicit in the style and blend required. We make wines in the US by any of the “The 4 Ways to Make Rosé Wine.” See Below.

I requested rosé wine brands from some of my favorite wineries across California, Texas, Oregon, Washington State, and New York. These represent 5 of the top 6 states for winemaking and grape growing in the USA. I received 10 very special bottles.

Let’s explore what the USA can do compared to the typical French rosé. For the tasting I’ll start with the lightest in color and end with the darkest, most extracted and richly-colored rosé wines, but I describe the wines by region and state. 

Washington State Rosés

Kyle MacLachlan, Pursued by Bear, Washington State

You may remember Kyle MacLachlan as the dentist next door in the television show “Desperate Housewives” among his many acting accomplishments. He also owns the winery, Pursued by Bear, located in the Columbia Valley AVA (American Viticulture Area) of Washington State.

This wine is similar to a Provence-style rosé. It has the same pale pink color as Whispering Angel yet the grapes are grown in Columbia Valley, Washington. And, the wine is made with the “Direct Press” method. The grape blend consists of 50% Mourvedre, 30% Grenache, and 20% Cinsault. Nectarine and pink grapefruit come through distinctly in both aroma and flavor. This is a really well made wine that retails for $30, and was recently highly rated at 90-point by Wine Enthusiast Magazine.

When traveling to Washington State near Seattle, try to visit the town of Woodinville that features 130 tasting rooms and wine bars. This town is located a convenient 26 miles from Seattle and offers an opportunity to sample many Washington wines made in far-flung areas of the state without extensive travel required.

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Texas Rosés

Texas American Viticultural Area’s or AVA’s are scattered throughout the state of Texas. Note that 85% of the grapes grown in Texas are grown in the High Plains AVA near Lubbock, Texas, an optimal area for wine grape growing. The Llano Estacado plateau’s altitude ranges from 3300 to 3700 feet covering about 8 Million acres. Sunlight prevails during the day at this elevation, promoting very efficient photosynthesis. This elevation allows the grapes to rest and cool off better at night than other areas of Texas. The dry conditions prevent fungal disease, which is always a viticultural issue in virtually every winery appellation and AVA in the world.

A Tex-Med (Texas-Mediterranean) grape selection strategy has evolved in the last 20 years in Texas. Texas viticulturists have discovered that traditional Mediterranean grapes originating from Southern France, Italy, and Spain, for instance, do well in the Texas climate.

Brennan Winery, Comanche, Texas

Brennan Winery is located in Comanche in central Texas. While visiting this winery I have been impressed with the incredible awards they have amassed for many of their wines. Brennan’s very broad portfolio consists of whites, reds, and rosé wine styles. Brennan is part of the consortia of 5 wineries called Texas Fine Wine,  from which com some of the most celebrated Texas wines.

Brennan’s rosé is made from 85% Mourvedre grapes, a grape most typically grown in Southern France, and 15% Muscat of Alexandra grapes, which together give the rosé its wonderful floral aroma. Granny Smith apples and the floral/rose notes dominate this rosé’s aroma and flavor. This wine retails for $20, and I’ve given it my personal endorsement.

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Pedernales Cellars patio

The husband and wife team of Julie Kuhlken and Frederick Osterberg craft award-winning wines. Pedernales Cellars is considered among the Top 10 wineries in the state of Texas, and is located in the Texas Hill Country near Fredericksburg and Austin. It is a great place to go to sample a rosé on their wide patio. The Pedernales rosé is made from tradition Provence grapes that also grow well in Texas: 67% Cinsault, 28% Mourvedre, and 5% Carignan. Strawberries, candied watermelon, red apples, and cherry aromas dominate this wine made by the both the Saignée and Direct Press methods. I love this wine, and have enjoyed Pedernales rosé over several recent vintages.

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Duchman Family Winery

Duchman Family Winery is recognized for making Italian varietal wines in Texas, and this rosé is no exception. Duchman is also one of the prettiest Texas wineries for staging weddings and special events. It is located in Driftwood, Texas, just 31 miles from Austin.

The Duchman rosé is made from 100% Aglianico grapes – a grape which traditionally comes from the Basilicata and Campania regions of Italy.

I adore this rosé and give it high marks. It has spiced plum and cola aromas and flavors, which would pair wonderfully with the barbeque famous in the Texas Hill Country. At $18-20 retail this is a food-friendly, good value rosé wine.

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Bending Branch Winery, Outdoor tasting patio

Dr. Bob Young, owner at Bending Branch Winery and a physician, has one of the most technologically advanced wineries in the Texas Hill Country. He and his winemakers, Greg and Deb, have put together a 100% Tannat grape-based rosé wine brand. They make a dark, dense Tannat red wine, too. This grape flourishes in the Southwest of France, is common in Uruguay, but is also making a splash in Texas.

Bending Branch Winery’s 2018 Rosé retails for $24. Red grapefruit and tart peach are the predominant aromas in this highly-rated wine.

Visit Bending Branch, Duchman, and Pedernales on your next trip to the Texas Hill Country where rosé wine and barbeque are a perfect pairing.

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Napa Valley, California Rosés

Napa Valley, photo courtesy of Linda Spina

The Napa Valley is the USA’s most famous wine region. The billboard in front of the Robert Mondavi vineyards declares “Welcome to this world famous wine growing region – Napa Valley.” “And the wine is bottled poetry,” quotes Robert Lewis Stevenson, who spent his honeymoon in the Napa Valley. 3.85 million annual tourists see this sign as they travel north on Napa Valley’s busy Highway 29 seeking their next wine-tasting location.

Michelle Baggett, Alpha Omega Winery patio, courtesy of Alpha Omega

Alpha Omega Winery has the perfect setting for wine tasting. The fountains near the outside tasting area offer a lovely venue to sit and watch the sun set over the Mayacamas Mountains on the Valley’s west side. In this picture co-owner Michelle Baggett sits sipping the Alpha Omega rosé in front of their iconic fountains. Don’t miss a chance to taste Alpha Omega Winery’s wonderful reserve Chardonnay and highly acclaimed Cabernet Sauvignon wines while you are there.

The Alpha Omega Reserve Rosé is made from a red grape blend of 66% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Malbec, and 2% Merlot grapes, giving this wine the signature aromas of bright cherries, strawberries, rose petals, and vanilla. It is made by the traditional Saignée method. This rosé is only available if you are a member of the Alpha Omega wine club. It normally sells for around $40. Alpha Omega rosé has garnered my highest ratings. I have enjoyed the Alpha Omega Rosé wine brand over many vintages for many years.

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Life Mistakes Often Made By Women over 50

We all know growing older does not necessarily mean being old. Many older people are leading active lives and proving that age is just a number. However, women tend to hold onto certain ideas and it’s harder for us to shake them. Let’s look at some common life mistakes women over 50 tend to make in different aspects.

Health:

1. Ignoring our heart health.

We often associate heart issues with men, but in fact, heart-related issues are the #1 killer among women. In 2015 the CDC put out a statement stating a woman’s heart age is typically five years older than her chronological age. So, see your doctor and make certain your heart is healthy.

>READ: 9 HEART HEALTHY FOODS THAT PROTECT AGAINST HEART DISEASE

2. Menopause miseries

They are something we must live with. Many women think we must just endure the misery of menopause and make the best of it. This is not true. Today there are so many options to help minimize the menopause miseries. Options range from prescriptions, certain diets and exercise to homeopathic treatments.

>READ: WHAT YOUR OB/GYN WANTS YOU TO KNOW ABOUT MENOPAUSE

3. Assuming Weight Gain is Inevitable

Don’t think we can’t do anything about gaining weight as we get older. It is true that a certain amount of weight gain will happen as we age. This is due to our body’s metabolism and other issues changing. See your doctor and find out what is a healthy weight for you. Once this is established then work to keep off any extra pounds that may occur. The important thing is to accept some weight gain is natural, but gaining a lot is not a given.

>READ: DON’T LET THE DOWNSIDE OF MENOPAUSE “WEIGH” ON YOU

>DISCOVER: PLATE WEIGHT MANAGEMENT FOR WOMEN OVER 50

Dating:

4. Date to find our perfect mate

We are taught the result of dating is to find your mate. I mean, why else date, right? Wrong. Certainly, we all want to find someone to share our life with (even a second, third time around), but dating can also be just for fun. Some women may be looking for a future spouse and some may only want a companion. Either way, date and have fun!

>READ: DATING TO DATE OR MATE – DATING RELATIONSHIPS AFTER 50

5. True love is over

Opposite of above … you could think you’ve had your one true love and there is no one else out there. Women are conditioned to believe we only have one fairytale prince and once we lose him, we have to be alone. We believe no one else can take his place. If our love passed away, women often feel guilty if they find someone new and deny themselves the chance at another love. It is ok to love again. Loving someone else does not mean you love your first spouse any less.

>READ: FINDING LOVE IN YOUR PRIME

Sex: 6. Our sex life is over at a certain age

As we age, the frequency of sex may change, but doesn’t mean our sex life has to end altogether. A recent study showed that people in the 60s, 70s and 80s are leading active sex lives. Some are having sex several times a week.

>READ: EXPECT A BETTER SEX LIFE ONCE YOU GET OLDER

7. Sex will be uncomfortable

Uncomfortable sex due to menopause changes can be helped. Consult with your doctor. Many options are now available that can allow a continued healthy and enjoyable sex life.

>READ: COULD YOUR SEX LIFE IMPROVE WITH A FRACTIONAL CO2 LASER TREATMENT?

Hair, Make-up and Fashion:

8. Hairstyles must be short

Why think the older we get, the shorter our hair must be? Often, we associate older age with short hair. When determining the appropriate length of your hair for your age, consider these two things:

A) if your hair is thinning then a shorter hairstyle with layers and depth is a better choice

B) if your hair is long, the longer the length the older we may look. Stylists state that a length longer than about 2” below the shoulder may make us look older than we really are.

>READ: THE BEST HAIRSTYLES FOR WOMEN OVER 50

9. Grey must be covered

This is so far from the truth. Take a browse at any website for women over 50 (like this one!) and you will see just how beautiful women are with their natural grey hair.

>READ: GOING GREY GRACEFULLY

10. Dressing younger

Many women make the mistake of trying to appear or feel younger by dressing younger. Today the fashion options for older women are wonderful so there is no need to dress like a 30-year-old.

>READ FASHION OVER 50: IT’S A FINE LINE

Work: 11. Turning down jobs in new areas

Older job seekers often pass on great jobs because it isn’t exactly what they did before. Do not limit yourself. Look at the possibilities this new job may bring. View your skills as transferable and try something new.

>READ: HOW TO TRANSITION TO A NEW CAREER

12. Rejecting social media

A lack of social presence can hinder your job search or possibilities. Most job recruiters and companies use social media avenues such as LinkedIn, Monster and other tools to find candidates. So, go get a digital presence!

>READ: GOING SOCIAL WITH YOUR PERSONAL BRANDING

Misperceptions of What Older Means

As a sociologist, I teach my students that we are not only socialized as young children but throughout our entire life span. As we move through the stages in life, we learn new social norms or what is supposed to be good, bad, right or wrong for that stage or place in time. However, society often dictates some misconceptions of what is expected of us as we get older especially for women. As society grows with new knowledge, technology and capabilities, our lives have greatly improved. However, society’s mentality of what life is like for an older person hasn’t quite caught up with the advancements it’s made. This is known as culture lag. Culture lag is that time in which the nonmaterial culture (ideas, beliefs, etc.) have not caught up with the material conditions of society. But you don’t need to let their limited beliefs lead you to make life mistakes which hold you back.

Don’t Limit Yourself

Ladies let go of the “old” ways of thinking. Don’t be limited by making these and other life mistakes which we have been conditioned to think. We are what we think so think yourself bold, courageous, beautiful and worthy!

>READ: OLD WIVES TALES: THE MANY MYTHS ABOUT WOMEN OVER FIFTY

>READ: WHAT (REALLY) GOES INTO LIFE OVER 50 THAT WORKS: SETTING BOUNDARIES IS SELF-CARE

The post 12 Common Life Mistakes Women Over 50 Make appeared first on Prime Women | An Online Magazine.

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Everyone needs to be organized when they begin their travel experience. There is too much chaos in the travel itself (airport delays, security checks, etc.). The only way to bring some sanity and calmness to the time before arriving at your destination is to have all your travel essentials in your suitcase (which is under the weight limit and has room to spare). Unfortunately, this requires planning. These travel accessories for women will help you organize your travel needs and make the first part of your trip hassle-free.

Organizational Travel Tools Packing Cubes

I love my packing cubes. These are a must for your stuffable items (socks, accessories, scarves and underwear). I am always amazed by how many pairs of underwear I can shove into one small cube that fits neatly in my suitcase. You can use them for other items, too (shirts, pants, etc.) although other alternatives may save more space. Unpacking is also a breeze. Just unzip the bag and put the items in the drawer.

Here are some of my favorites (all of these are very light):

eBags, Hyper-Lite Packing Cubes 7pc Set, $65

Eagle Creek Translucent Specter Pack-It Cubes, $40

If you are packing shirts, consider getting a set that also includes an envelope. It is amazing how many shirts you can fit into one envelope.

Eagle Creek Travel Gear Luggage Pack-it Garment Folder, $29

>READ: BEFORE YOU FLY, BUY THE BEST BAG FOR YOUR TRIP

Space Savers

If you are concerned about packing space or are taking lots of sweaters or other heavy or bulky items, you should consider using compression bags. These come in different sizes depending on how many items you have and their bulkiness. These aren’t the best for avoiding wrinkles, but they sure save space in your suitcase. Also, I have found that it is difficult to remove all the air from the bags (and get the same effect) after they have been used more than once. So, you may need to replace them frequently.

Some I have used in my travels:

Compression Travel Storage Bags 12 Pack, $17

Samsonite Compression Bags 12-Piece Kit, $20

Jewelry Case

Finding a great jewelry case that keeps your necklaces untangled and your earrings organized is difficult. I tend to use two different containers for each. For my earrings, I like this cube because it allows me to make my earring choice without having to take all of them out of the case. I often just keep my earrings in the cube even following a trip. I just place the container in my jewelry drawer for storing some of my earrings. Plus, it fits easily in a carry on and in the safe in your hotel room.

Stackers Taupe Folding Travel Jewelry Storage Tray, $8

And for your necklaces, I think this is the best choice. It fits in your carry on and has individual compartments for your necklaces.

Vlando Viaggio Small Jewelry Case, $14

Make-Up Case

I think a make-up case must be large enough for all your makeup and brushes, but also be structured so that it is easy to find what you need, when you need it. Plus, I have never understood the need to have a case that hangs, since I generally am sitting down when applying my makeup. The hanging gear actually gets in my way. I really like this one (it has a separate space for your brushes and will easily fit into your suitcase):

Rownyeon Travel Makeup Bag, $18

And if you want to be fashionable, look at this one. It costs a lot more, but it has a separate place for brushes and several pouches that nest into the larger case. Plus, you will feel joy when you use it.

Tory Burch, Tilda Cosmetic Bag Set, $258

Tech Organizer

Everyone needs an easy and compact way to organize their chargers, adapters, air pods and other tech accessories in their travel. Plus, it needs to be small enough to fit in your purse or carry-on, so they are available when you need them.

Mark & Graham Tech Bag, $40

And if you have lots of tech needs, this one (although not as compact) is a good alternative:

Bagsmart, Electronic Organizer, $18

>SEE: TRAVEL MUST-HAVES ON THE PRIME WOMEN MARKETPLACE

Optional but Recommended Travel Accessories for Women: Travel Steamer

I never think that I am going to need a steamer to get the wrinkles out of my clothes, but I have to say that if you have room in your suitcase, this is something that will come in handy. It’s amazing how it gets the wrinkles out and makes every outfit look neat and pressed:

Masteam Portable Travel Garment Steamer, $25

Travel Hairdryer

How often have you gotten to your room, washed your hair and found out that the hairdryer the hotel provides is noisy and doesn’t really dry your hair? It is worth investing in a great travel hair dryer. This one’s quiet, compact, foldable, very powerful and lightweight. Plus, it has dual voltage, so you can use it in foreign locations.

Compact Travel Blow Dryer, $25

Travel Bottles

Don’t forget that your liquids will have to be stored separately from your other makeup when you are not checking. Consider using this clear plastic bag and all of bottles and containers to carry your liquids. It is TSA approved, includes an assortment of containers and bottles that can be easily be filled without using a funnel, and even includes labels for the bottles:

Magigo Leak Proof Travel Bottle Set-16 Pack, $15

The Perfect Wrap

I never travel on long trips without my White and Warren cashmere travel wrap. It fits easily in my carry-on bag and is perfect for snuggling on the plane. It can be used as a scarf, pillow or blanket. Plus, it comes in multiple colors. There are even videos on line demonstrating how it can be tied and worn when you get to your destination.

Mer-Sea, Classic Pocket Travel Wrap, $60 (was $120)

Compression Socks

I know. They are not attractive. But they do serve a purpose when traveling. Remember: don’t get them so tight that they hurt or make you itch. I like the medium strength ones that seem to be lighter and less constrictive (and perhaps less effective). My favorite even comes in a shorter sock version for summer travel:

Physix Gear Compression Socks, $30

There may be a number of other items that you may want to include as you organize for your trip: a travel mirror, a travel pillow or even perhaps a travel wallet. But, I find these to be the most useful travel accessories for women.  I know that they will alleviate some of the stress you may feel as you embark on your vacation.

>READ: CLEVER CAPSULE WARDROBE: STYLISH TRAVEL CLOTHES FOR WOMEN OVER 50

>READ: BEFORE YOU FLY, BUY THE BEST BAG FOR YOUR TRIP

>READ: THE MOST COMFORTABLE SHOES FOR SEEING THE WORLD

The post The Ten Best Travel Accessories for Women appeared first on Prime Women | An Online Magazine.

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Prime Women by Anne-sophie Blin - 1w ago

Seeking budget travel to Europe? Not only will you save money, but you’ll connect with the local population on a whole new level. Several countries haven’t yet been touched by en-masse tourism and are still affordable for budget travelers.

When planning a trip with a budget in mind, consider regions and sites that are not yet popular, and think about alternative accommodations. Some Central European countries, especially their countrysides, offer unspoiled landscapes, and varied scenery which enhances the experience. The three countries mentioned below use the Euro and are easy to travel to. They are safe and slowly opening to foreign tourism. 

Budget travel: Slovakia

While Bratislava, the charmingly small capital of Slovakia, is well worth a visit, let’s focus on the pastoral charm of the countryside. 

Hiking in the National Parks of Northern Slovakia

The High Tatras Mountains welcome more and more tourists every year, both in winter and summer for winter sports, hiking, horse riding and cycling. Trails are well marked everywhere and easy to follow. A ski vacation here is a lot cheaper than in Western Europe and Slovakia has more than 30 resorts to accommodate skiers.

The countryside during the summer months.

Some of the national parks have magnificent and diverse landscapes, and hiking isn’t necessarily long or difficult. Waterfalls, forests, quaint villages, canyons await visitors in beautiful Prosiecka Valley. Farther to the East in the Tatra Biosphere Reserve, verdant trails of various lengths and difficulties lead hikers to clear lakes and views of the mountains, which now appear like vertical walls of rock. 

>NEARBY HOTELS: SAVE AN EXTRA 10% WITH ORBITZ

Spa Resorts

Spas at Piešt’any, Františkovy Lázně (Franzensbad), Mariánské Lázně (Marienbad), Karlovy Vary (Karlsbad) have been welcoming visitors for centuries. Don’t expect modern facilities everywhere as some places have kept the rustic authenticity of their Soviet past, mixed with neoclassical architecture. Other facilities offer modern accommodations, like Aqua Park Tatralandia.

Franzensbad

Escapade in Southern Slovakia

The soft hills rolling along the Danube and the border with Hungary offer a green and quiet vacation. Here, cultivated fields share the countryside with beech and pine forests. Farms are clustered in small villages. Some ancient farms have been tastefully restored and now welcome guests. One really steps back in time when renting a simple cottage house in the cute village of Dolné Strháre: fruits and vegetables grow in the yard, a few hens peck at seeds and insects on the ground around the old farm buildings. Sharing the “Friendship Glass” with our hosts was the beginning of a glorious stay indeed! Lodging here for 7 guests is really cheap: the entire cottage rents for 50 euros.

>READ: EASY SUMMER TRAVEL FITNESS

Food and Drink

Hearty dishes characterize Central European cuisine. Small restaurants and pastry shops serve typical food. Why not do like the Slovaks and order two or three slices of cake for dessert? Indeed, it is the best way to try as many delicious pies and puddings as possible, along with a cup of sweetbrier tea.

Slovakia has a long wine tradition, thanks to vineyards in the Lesser Carpathian Mountains, around Nitra and around Košice. In the mountains, locals produce hard alcohols from juniper and plum. 

>YOU”LL NEED A CAR FOR THE COUNTRYSIDE – STARTING AT $133 wk

Budget Travel: Enjoying Ex-Yugoslavia

It’s already too late to enjoy the Adriatic Coast resorts quietly. While Kotor and Dubrovnik rightfully attract many visitors, for budget travel to Europe, the treasures of the mountainous interior are undeniably worth a visit. Neither Montenegro nor Slovenia suffered war that engulfed ex-Yugoslavian nations trying to free themselves from Serbian influence. While communist architecture is present in some cities (especially in Montenegro), cultural heritage has been preserved in many places. Cetinje, Kotor, Ljubljana and Ptuj reveal the rich heritage of both countries.

Montenegro, Land of Adventures

The river Tara, Montenegro.

Adventurers may rent rafts to go down pristine rivers surrounded by deep canyons in the North of Montenegro. Others dare try the cold and blue waters of high altitude lakes. Mountain peaks soar high around quiet villages, where sheep graze peacefully alongside the meandering roads. Here, the air is pure; landscapes invite to fun activities such as horse-back riding, bicycling and hiking. 

>BOOK ON ORBITZ: FLIGHTS TO MONTENEGRO IN OCTOBER RUN AROUND $760RT

Slovenia, a Slavic and Mediterranean Blend

While the Adriatic coast has been influenced by Venetian commerce for centuries near the coast and by the Habsburgs in the North, the rest of the country has deep rural roots where traditions are still alive. Many festivals, especially Shrovetide Carnival, enliven the entire country.

Ljubljana, capital of Slovenia, Europe. Long exposure. Time lapse.

Gruesome legends haunt medieval castles, recounting sad love stories or chivalrous tales. A few dragons still sit on a bridge in Ljubljana reminding visitors that Jason killed one of these fearsome creatures here on his way back from the Golden Fleece quest. Strolling through small cities like Ptuj or Maribor, tourists can enjoy various architectural styles that reflect the history of the country: from Roman ruins (Ptuj), 18th-century plague columns (Maribor), to baroque churches and buildings (Ljubljana). 

Food in Slovenia

Because of the complicated history of the country, Slovenian food has been influenced by many cuisines: Austrian and Hungarian in the North, Italian in the South, Croatian in the East, with a few Turkish additions here and there. Hearty soups, boiled potatoes served with cottage cheese and grilled meats will satisfy any appetite. Keep room for dessert of course: prekmurska Gibanica is a must. It can differ from one shop to another, as the fillings vary from poppy seed to apple, walnut or cottage cheese.   

For more details on Slovenia, read: Detour through Slovenia.

For more tips on accommodations, restaurants and transportation, please refer to Read: Travel on a Budget Like a Pro

Budget travel to Europe sets you up for a fantastic adventure and you will gain a new sense of freedom. While everyone knows Western European countries and their famous landmarks, many gorgeous places are left to explore and enjoy before the crowds arrive. In Central Europe, it’s still possible to visit new places, taste new flavors, learn about new cultures and meet new people. The experience will undeniably enrich the trip. To make things better, most accommodations are still cheap, as are restaurants. 

>SHOP: FLIGHTS TO SLOVENIA, STARTING AT $709 RT

>READ NEXT: GETTING SICK WHILE TRAVELING ABROAD

>READ NEXT:EXPLORE NATIONAL PARKS : AMERICA ON A BUDGET

 

The post Budget Travel : Central Europe appeared first on Prime Women | An Online Magazine.

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