Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Getting A Good Night's Sleep Is All Down To Your Bed Linen

We spend around a third of our lives in bed asleep, so it makes sense that our bedding should be as comfortable as possible. Many of us struggle with getting a good night’s sleep and are unsure of what the reason for that is. Could it be that our bed linen just isn’t comfortable enough?

When it comes to choosing new bed linen for ourselves or our children, it can be a little overwhelming as there are lots of options. From choosing the thread count to choosing the type of fabric for your linen, it can be hard to know what bed linen is best.

bed linen.jpg

However, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming; the key is to tackle each part of choosing bed linen separately. Want to find the perfect bed linen and get a great night’s sleep? Yes - here’s what you need to do:

It’s not all about thread count

When it came to choosing sheets a few years ago, it was all about the thread count of the linen. However, today, that is no longer the case. Unless the sheets you are investing in are made of a high-quality material, such as Martex sheets, then the thread count isn’t important.

Did you know that many low-quality bed linen companies mix cheaper yarns in with the more expensive ones? They do this so that their sheets have a higher thread count. That’s why when you are choosing new bed linen, it pays to buy from a reputable company.

The material you choose is important

When it comes to what we sleep on, we all have our personal preferences. While some people prefer to sleep on crisp, cool sheets, others prefer softer, more comfortable bed linen. When it comes to choosing new bed linen for yourself or your children, it’s important to take this into account.

From cotton sheets to poly-blend sheets, there are various options on the market. The type of sheets that you choose will depend on what material makes you feel more comfortable, as well as how much you can afford to spend.

If you want sheets that will last for a long time and are happy to pay out for them, Linen is the best option. Linen sheets are of an incredibly high-quality, are comfortable, great for keeping you cool in the heat, and will only get better with age.

Take note of the weave

Did you know that as well as taking note of the material and thread count, you also need to take note of the weave of the sheets? Believe it or not, how the sheets are woven affects how they feel.

For example, for a crisp feel to your bedding, you want sheets that are lightweight and tightly woven. Whereas, if you want bedding that is extra soft, you want to look for sheets with a more dense weave to them. It might sound confusing, but you can find all the information that you need on the back of the sheet packaging.

If you want to get a good night’s sleep the key is having bedding the is as comfortable as possible. That’s why it’s so important that you choose your sheets carefully, as if you pick the wrong ones, you may struggle to sleep.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Why Flying Is Cheaper and Greener Than Ever

Why Flying Is Cheaper and Greener Than Ever

In the 1960s, the air travel might have seemed a little more luxurious, but it was a pretty crummy experience in a lot of ways. Longer travel times and fewer direct flights meant aerial travel could be protracted, expensive, and really bad for the environment.

But as decades passed, we’ve seen a combination of rising oil prices, improved fuel efficiency (and technology), an increasingly crowded marketplace, and an apparent willingness to sacrifice roominess for cheaper air travel. Somewhere along the way, flying has become one of the more environmentally friendly ways to travel.

In fact, jet aircrafts today are around 70 percent more fuel-efficient than their 1960s counterparts, to the point that flying might even be greener than driving. An April 2015 report published in the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute found driving today is more “energy intensive” than flying if you consider the amount of energy needed to transport one person a given distance. The fact that today’s bustling airliners can fly dozens or even hundreds of people at a time simply outweighs the carbon footprint of trundling across the country in an automobile.

There are a lot of variables to consider, of course: People usually drive shorter distances than they fly, and the shorter the distance you fly, the more energy the plane uses per person per mile. But the study’s conclusion is still sound, and it’s not the only one to reach it.

Probably the biggest and the best known investigation is a 2013 study published in Environmental Science & Technology, which took a broader view of a vehicle’s “greenness” by looking at not just the amount of energy used but also at a range of pollutants like sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and water vapor. It also measured a slew of related factors, like how long the gases remain in the atmosphere and how culpable each gas is in the onward march of climate change.

This verdict was pretty similar. After five years of research performed by 45 teams around the world, it was found that the greenest forms of travel for individuals are rail and bus, and that in the long term (think a 20-year time frame), cars contributed more to global warming than planes on a kilometer-per-passenger basis – even for trips as short as New York to Boston.

The airlines seem to be doing their part to cut down on flying’s environmental footprint. Want to do something yourself to make air travel a little greener? Check out our quick tips:

● Planes burn through a disproportionate amount of fuel during takeoff and landing. If you can swing it, it’s a lot greener to fly non-stop.

● Hate running through all those little plastic water bottles? Bring your own to fill up — once you’re past the TSA, of course!

● Pack light to reduce the weight of the plane. (And avoid any potential additional baggage fees!)

● Try to find a greener airline. Some airlines, like Southwest, have been retrofitting their planes to improve their fuel efficiency, while others are designing newer, greener planes that are in use now. A recent study by the International Council on Clean Transportation might have done the ranking for you; check out their list here.

● Finally, remember to turn off and unplug all electronics before you leave for the airport!

Travel is no longer for the rich, it’s no longer for the childless (or petless!), and it’s certainly not for people who don’t care about the environment. Fortunately, the drive to be greener and more fuel-efficient is finally in the interests of both the consumer and the airlines themselves. Time to get flying!

This post was posted by Fiona Moriarty on Hipmunk’s Tailwind blog on July 14, 2015

Zaful Dress Review

Zaful is your one-stop online shop for today’s most daring, exciting and edgy fashion apparel. Our affordable collections are all about redefining trends, design excellence and exceptional quality to satisfy the needs of every aspiring fashionista. The original idea is to share the latest news and fashion trends on women’s clothing with fashion-forward, free-thinking girls, and we offer the fast fashion worldwide.

I received two dresses from Zaful at no cost in exchange for an honest review.

My Review

I didn't use to be much of a dress wearer, but since moving to Florida dresses have become my go to wardrobe item. It is just simply too hot and uncomfortable to have to wear constricting shorts and pants. I go the opportunity to review for Zaful and picked these two adorable dresses for myself. When I received the dresses I happy to see that their sizing chart is pretty accurate. It can be difficult for someone as small as myself to get correct sizing sometimes. 

The black and white dress is very soft, stretchy, and one of the most comfortable dresses I have now. It can be worn by itself, with shorts, capri's or leggings depending on your personal comfort. For me, I wear it with shorts or black pants if I want to dress it up a little bit, as it is a tad short for my own comfort. This dress has gone through the wash a few times now and keeps it's color, and does not lose it's shape.

The colorful geometric dress is more of a cover up item than a dress that can be worn alone. The fabric is pretty sheer, so this would go well over a bathing suit, or a slim red or white sleeveless mini dress, something along that line. The fabric is spandex and very comfortable and flowy. It's comfortable to wear in the hottest weather and dries very quickly if you get wet at the beach or if it rains while wearing it.

I love these dresses from Zaful, and they have many many other styles and designs to chose from. I can not wait to add more of their items to my wardrobe!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Young Hercules: The Complete Series DVD Review

The early years of mythology’s mightiest man are revealed in Young Hercules: The Complete Series! 

This prequel series to the smash hit Hercules: The Legendary Journeys explores the dawn of an ancient age of light and darkness as the half-god, half-man Hercules (Ryan Gosling, The Notebook) alongside his friends, Prince Jason (Chris Conrad, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation) and Iolaus (Dean O’Gorman, The Hobbit Trilogy) struggles to find his place in the world and learns what it means to be a hero. 

Executive produced by Sam Raimi and Robert G. Tapert (Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Xena: Warrior Princess), Young Hercules is titanic television, finally available in a complete series set! 

Includes all 50 episodes!

We received a copy of Young Hercules: The Complete Series at no cost in exchange for an honest review.

Our Review

My boys are a little obsessed with all the new Hercules movies coming out lately. I knew they would enjoy this series that I watched when I was younger. They were excited to start watching this series. There is a lot of adventure in these episodes to keep their attention. They love the mythological and fantasy aspect of this series, they get so excited to see what happens next with all the different characters and story lines. This is a wholesome, family friendly show that we can all enjoy together.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Four Travel Tips for an Exceptional Las Vegas Experience

Four Travel Tips for anExceptional Las Vegas Experience

A trip to Las Vegas, Nevada is an unofficial rite of passage for most Americans, as well as for many folks worldwide. The sensory overload headquarters of the West offers thrills for all tastes and inclinations, so make the most of a trip to Sin City by adhering to a few sensible guidelines.

Plan to Beat the Heat

Summertime temperatures can reach 115 degrees. Drinking plenty of water while you trek from one attraction to another is a key strategy for enjoying your trip and avoiding dehydration. Keep in mind, however, that regardless of the season most hotels in Las Vegas set their casino thermostats at around 60 degrees, so a light jacket might still be necessary. If you plan to relax poolside, golf or wander up and down the strip, don't forget to use plenty of sunscreen -- preferably the kind that doesn't wear off from perspiration.

Mind the Etiquette of Freemont Street

Freemont Street is the lifeline of Downtown Las Vegas and is home to a special brand of regional charm in the way of local exhibitionists dressed up as everything from Batman to Michael Jackson. If you're walking into the Golden Gate Hotel and Casino and you happen to run into the King of Pop, be sure to present a tip if you ask to have your picture taken with him. This practice is as customary to the area as adding a gratuity onto your dinner bill or your taxi cab fare.

Avoid Toxic Overload

In addition to dehydration, the Las Vegas landscape presents other health-related pitfalls. Exposure to cigarettes in gambling areas can affect those who are sensitive to secondhand smoke. Thankfully several hotels like the Renaissance Las Vegas Hotel offer smoke-free gambling areas. Another danger is alcohol abuse. Since many of the bars never close it's rather easy to overdo it. The day after that bachelor party or wedding can be pretty brutal, yet Vegas is home to a unique service called Hangover Heaven, a mobile service that provides IV treatment including hydration, vitamins, antioxidants and more. So, you can roll out of bed at the Mirage Hotel and Casino looking pretty wrecked, make a phone call and feel better in no time.

Stay Connected

Paying for a nice vacation might mean you'll need to stay in touch with the office while you are away. Many hotels offer free high-speed internet, Wi-Fi and even business centers so you can take care of a little work and get back to the business of having fun -- so don't forget your laptop.

Get the most out of your trip to America's playground. If you're hydrated, hip to local customs, health-conscious and connected, it will no doubt be a trip to remember.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Turbo FAST Review

On July 31st, Turbo and his crew take Turbotown by storm in the all-new season of DREAMWORKS TURBO FAST, premiering exclusively on Netflix July 31st. The world’s coolest snails take a turn off the track and set off on a wild ride filled with hilarious hijinks at every turn. You’ll laugh out loud when they launch into outer space, battle an apocalyptic robot, clash with a ninja stinkbug and escape a booby-trapped treasure hunt.


My boys loved the original Turbo movie when it came out. When the first season of Turbo FAST showed up on Netflix they were very excited. They have watched these episodes over and over and still never get bored, and laugh the 100th time just like they did the first.

Turbo FAST is a very cute show for kids that is funny and clean. It's enjoyable for the whole family, and not nearly as annoying as some of the other shows on television and Netflix. There is plenty of adventure and laughs in every episode. My boys are obsessed with racing, and basically anything fast, so this is the perfect cartoon for them. They love watching Turbo and his friends race the different tracks, and take on all the original zany characters.

New episodes are available on July 31st. Mark your calendar!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Dryel Review

Whether we’re at the office or out on the town, we always want the clothes we wear to look their best. Every wardrobe tells a story and keeping clothes in good order is critical to setting the right vibe. But when it comes to our delicate garments, sometimes we just can’t find the time or money for all those trips to the dry cleaners. 

Dryel is a patented at-home dry cleaning process that is easy to use and cheaper than the dry cleaners. You can quickly refresh and renew your clothes in only 15 minutes in your dryer. Dryel safely and thoroughly cleans clothes, protects colors and preserves shapes without any harsh chemicals. Dryel is also eco-friendly, biodegradable and includes no hard chemicals. 

My Review

I don't have a lot of clothes that need dry cleaning or special handling, so it's not really cost effective for me to have to take 1 or 2 things to be dry cleaned. It's a pain in the you know what, so I rarely wear anything that is not wash and wear. Dryel makes it easy to dry clean those special items in the comfort of your own home, no fuss, no hassle. 

The Dryel At Home Dry Cleaner is great for those items that you wear only a few times, and are not really stained and dirty, but need a little bit of refreshing before re wearing. I have a shirt and 2 dresses that fall into this category. The bag and sheets in this kit that I received have worked great for my needs. My clothing comes out of the dryer soft, they look clean and smell great.

The starter kit and refill sheets are very affordable, and will save you quite a bit of money over trips to the dry cleaner. You will also have your clothes available to you quickly, without having to wait for them to come back from the dry cleaner.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Triscuit Summer Snacks Review

 We believe that when you weave together three simple ingredients, you get so much more. That’s why Triscuit starts with just wheat, oil and salt.

Triscuit has partnered with five artisanal food producers – Makers of More - to create exclusive products specifically designed for Original Triscuit crackers. Topping the Original Triscuit this summer: Detroit’s McClure’s Pickles’ Olive Tapenade, Brooklyn’s The Jam Stand’s Cherry Ginger Jam, Orlando’s Wondermade’s Blackberry Marshmallow, Portland Oregon’s Olympia Provisions’ Summer Sausage and Georgia’s Savannah Bee Company’s White Honey with Passion Fruit.



Detroit’s McClure’s Pickles’ Olive Tapenade- This is a new item from McClure's made with all naturally cured green olives from California, McClure's special brine recipe, garlic, lemon and rosemary. My husband and sons are the pickle eaters in the house, so they were excited to try this new spread on the Triscuit crackers. My husband thought it would be like a relish, but it has a slightly different texture to it. The flavor is kind of strong, but they all liked it pretty well. It was a bit on the strong side for me, but that is truly a matter of personal taste. This would be a nice summer appetizer for parties and get togethers. 

 Brooklyn’s The Jam Stand’s Cherry Ginger Jam- This is a unique flavor to what we normally use in this house. My boys are pretty hooked on their favorite grape and strawberry jellies and jams. It's nice for the grown ups to have something a little different, and a little more grown up tasting for our snacks. This jam is sweet, with a little bit of tart and is a nice contrast against the salty of the crackers.

 Orlando’s Wondermade’s Blackberry Marshmallow- I will admit I have a bit of a marshmallow addiction. I didn't share very many of these. I'm such a mean mommy. I have had flavored marshmallows before, so I was excited to try this new flavor. The marshmallows were full of flavor, and melt in your mouth squishy. These only lasted about 2 days here, and we didn't even get to try them on the Triscuit's. I can imagine the marshmallows would also be a great sweet and salty contrast with the crackers.

 Portland Oregon’s Olympia Provisions’ Summer Sausage-  My husband is a huge fan of summer sausage. He usually keeps some on hand and changes out what kinds of crackers and cheese he uses. This sausage has a great taste to it, it's a little tangy but not too spicy for me and our boys to be able to enjoy it. This summer sausage can be eaten just sliced and with some cheese and crackers, or you can heat it up a little bit on the stove also.

 Georgia’s Savannah Bee Company’s White Honey with Passion Fruit- Honey is delicious, but flavored honey is even better. We have just recently discovered the deliciousness of different flavors of honey. There is such a wide variety that you would probably never get bored of trying new ones. This Passion Fruit honey is smooth, creamy, and absolutely mouth watering. You only need to use a little bit of this honey to enjoy the flavor, so even a small jar lasts awhile. 

We weren't huge fans of Triscuit crackers before this review, but now that we know there are so many different products out there to accompany them, I think we will be including them on our grocery shopping lists more often.

6 Steps to Avoid Bedbugs as Vacation Souvenirs

6 Steps to Avoid Bedbugs as Vacation Souvenirs

 Bedbugs have been snacking on humans for centuries, but had become very rare in the U.S. by the time Mrs. Cleaver started vacuuming in pearls. Because of the widespread use of pesticides like DDT as well as the vacuums wielded by more and more housewives, most Americans grew up without even knowing that they were a real insect. Perhaps due to the regulation of pesticides (for good reason!), an increase in global travel, and a reduced awareness about how to identify and prevent bedbug infestations, this ancient pest has made a comeback. Around the time we were panicking about Y2K, bedbugs started becoming a problem in cities like New York, Miami, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. By 2010 bedbugs had become an epidemic, and not just in these “gateway cities.” They’ve hopped rides on suitcases and made themselves comfortable in dorm rooms, motels, and five-star hotels all over the country.
Just thinking about the subject is enough to make one’s skin crawl, so here’s a quick and dirty guide to avoid bringing them home. With a few precautions, travelers can once again “sleep tight” in that hotel room, and enjoy a worry-free vacation.

1. Do Your Research
When choosing a hotel, look at reviews, and keep an eye out for any report of bedbugs. The bedbug registry can be a good resource. Keep in mind that there is no way to tell if someone misinterpreted mosquito bites from last night’s rooftop dinner, or wanted to spread malicious rumors about the hotel — so take reviews with a grain of salt. Also, most hotels will take every measure to eliminate bedbugs, once discovered. It’s possible that a problem last year, or even last week, has now been resolved. Before booking a room, it may be a good idea to ask about the hotel’s bedbug prevention practices.
2. Inspect the Room
After finally getting that keycard to work, a savvy traveler should temporarily stash their luggage in the bathroom (the least likely place for bedbugs) and do a quick inspection. It can be helpful to bring a small flashlight along for this purpose. To check the bed, un-tuck the sheets and look all the way around the perimeter of the mattress and box spring, as well as along and behind the headboard. If the bed looks okay, check out potential hiding places near the bed. Look in drawers and crevices in the bedside table and under the lamp, telephone, and notepads. Also check under picture frames above the bed. If all is clear, do a final inspection under cushions on other furniture, in cracks in the luggage rack, and along the baseboards in the closet.
3. Look for Clues
Bedbugs look roughly like apple seeds, and like to hang out in crevices of mattresses and bedding. There are also other telltale signs that bedbugs are present — even if the critters themselves are not visible. Look for rusty spots or little black specks that may look like pepper or mold. Bedbugs also leave behind dark lines, especially in the seams of mattresses. Be on the lookout for white powder, as well. This could be an insecticide, and might indicate a previous problem in the room. Hotel guests who do become a bedbug’s snack may notice itchy bug bites the next day, often occurring in a line of three or four.
4. Take Action
If the search turns up any of these signs, call hotel staff right away. In many states, hotels are not legally allowed to have guests stay in a room or a bed with a bedbug problem, so if staff are not accommodating, it may help to be familiar with state bedbug laws. For example, in California, hotels are required by law to provide bedding that is free of bedbugs, and in Kansas, lodging establishments cannot rent out guest rooms that have been infested. When you move, be sure to request a new room at least 2 floors away, in case the infestation has spread.
5. Protect Your Luggage
If this simple inspection doesn’t uncover anything suspicious, weary jet setters can go ahead and bring their suitcases into the room. To be on the safe side, however, don’t leave them on the floor or on a bed. Use luggage racks or a hard surface, such as a desk. For an added layer of protection, keep luggage encased in plastic (like a garbage bag or zip-up bag made especially for suitcases). This will ward off bedbugs not only in the hotel, but also in transit. If it seems like overkill, just bring a plastic bag to use for dirty laundry. Bedbugs are attracted to the clothing we have worn, so keep it wrapped up.
6. When You Return
Back home, either dry clean or wash all clothes (even unworn items) in hot water. The water should be at least 122°F in order to kill any of these bugs that might have somehow followed you home. Wipe down shoes with a hot, damp cloth. Vacuum suitcases inside and out, and store them in plastic. Afterward, change the vacuum bags and take out the trash. Finally, make yourself comfortable to look nostalgically at photos and purchases from the trip, then sleep tight knowing bedbugs are not among your souvenirs.
This post was posted by Fiona Moriarty on Hipmunk’s Tailwind blog on July 2, 2015

Friday, July 24, 2015

How To Get Around Vancouver, BC

How to Get Around Vancouver, BC

When visiting Vancouver, there is no need to rent a car because the city has a superior public transit system. Known as TransLink, the public transportation option encompasses the SkyTrain, buses and ferries to get you around quickly and efficiently. Numerous hotels in Vancouver are located in the downtown district within walking distance to the transportation options the city has to offer.
Here is a guide to successfully getting around Vancouver.


TransLink will efficiently get you anywhere you want to go in Metro Vancouver. It is also a unique transportation system because the entire design of TransLink focuses on providing passenger with unforgettable views of the city. When riding any one of TransLink's services, you will have the dual opportunity of not only getting to your destination, but also enjoying a bit of sightseeing.
Within the heart of downtown Vancouver sits the Four SeasonsHotel. It is within walking distance to several TransLink transit options, any of which will whisk you to whichever destination you desire.


The TransLink bus service runs from 5:00 a.m. until 1:00 a.m. every day. The city's express line makes fewer stops than the traditional buses and are often favored by local commuters. The TransLink bus service is operated by the Coast Mountain Bus Company.
The MetropolitanVancouver Hotel sits near numerous bus stops, which makes utilizing public transportation in the city a breeze.


The SkyTrain serves downtown Vancouver and the outlying areas. The SkyTrain runs every day and you will only have to wait a few minutes between cars.

Canada Line

The Canada Line is a part of the SkyTrain system. You can ride a speeding train from the airport to downtown Vancouver or out to Richmond. There are 16 stations servicing the Canada Line, and the trains leave every four or seven minutes and run seven days a week.


The SeaBus ferry service runs from Waterfront Station in Vancouver to Lonsdale Quay. It runs daily and is the perfect way to catch unforgettable views of the city and the nearby mountains framed by the sea.


The AquaBus will take you to Granville Island, a popular tourist area to dine and shop for the day. If you plan to visit Granville Island, consider staying in one of the GranvilleIsland Hotel's 82 comfortable guest rooms.

Vancouver provides visitors and locals with optimum transportation options. If you plan to spend a weekend or an extended vacation in the area, you will not have a problem getting around and exploring all that the area has to offer with exceptional public transportation options provided by the city.