Everything Autumn

I don’t reblog too often but this is my friends blog and I loved this Fall post with some yummy recipes. Enjoy!

The A.R.T. of Domesticity

Everything Autumn 

October gave a party;

The leaves by hundreds came –

The Chestnuts, Oaks, and Maples,

And leaves of every name.

The Sunshine spread a carpet,

And everything was grand,

Miss Weather led the dancing,

Professor Wind the band.

 – George Cooper, “October’s Party”


Fall is one of my favorite seasons. I love to take in all the beauty of this time of year, whether it’s natural or cultivated, but it always goes too fast. Between the rush of back to school, a plethora of family birthdays in September,  the start of church ministry for me, and a late trip to Hawaii with my husband, I often look up surprised to find it’s November.

So with all that said, it really isn’t too late to consider the beautiful colors of autumn.


I love the look of this cozy room, from Elle Decor, with subtle pops of orange.



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The most beautiful place in the world

Hi Everyone ~
I am reblogging a post from my friend Sandra Maddox who has recently started a new blog ~ The A.R.T. of Domesticity. Sandra is an author, world traveler and accomplished Interior Designer with impeccable taste. She and her husband have just returned from a trip to Mallorca, Spain and she is sharing photos from this incredible trip. If the spirit moves you, give her blog a follow and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. Enjoy!

The A.R.T. of Domesticity

With a cordial “bienvenidos” I would like to welcome you to my blog. I am sorry that I have been absent, my husband and I were exploring Mallorca, Spain. This island is filled with rich history and beautiful architecture. We spent a glorious ten days immersed in Spanish culture.

My husband and I

Here is a quick glimpse into my recent trip…



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We stayed at the Valldemossa. This hotel was formerly a Majorcan monastery farmhouse set in the mountains of Mallorca, Spain. Interestingly enough, Frederic Chopin and his lover, George Sand, rented rooms at this very hotel.

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This architectural beauty was designed by Antoni Gaudí i Cornet (1852-1926), a Spanish architecture. Gaudí was heavily influenced by neo-Gothic art and was a big catalyst in the Catalan Modernista movement. I was happy to see one of Gaudí’s designs up close.


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If architecture does not interest you, perhaps the Mediterranean sea will catch your eye. Mallorca, Spain is certainly a…

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Dreaming of….

Kona, HI

Terranea Resort

I recently had the opportunity to stay at the Terranea Resort (terra-nay-a) in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA. Terranea has a beautiful setting on the cliffs of the Pacific Ocean in Southern California with a view of Catalina Island across the channel.

Situated on 102 acres, this luxury resort offers over 580 rooms consisting of hotel suites, residential style bungalows, casitas and villas. The resort also offers a 9-hole par 3 golf course, a luxurious spa, three ocean view pools and eight distinctive restaurants, bars, cafes and lounges. Terranea 5-5-13 403 The property was previously Marineland of the Pacific. Marineland was the world’s largest oceanarium featuring sea life, entertainment, and research facilities. Opening one year before Disneyland, many consider Marineland California’s first major theme park, and it remained a major attraction to the area until it closed in 1987. The property has also been the location of dozens of Hollywood films and television shows over the years.


My first full day there, the weather was stunningly perfect so I spent it lounging at one of the three pools, my choice was the adult pool on a cushy chaise lounge. This pool has a hip, contemporary feel. Pops of orange add some drama and a sleek, orange glass fire pit adds a bit a sass to the patio. Conversation seating and lounge chairs on a make-shift sand beach overlook the stunning cliffs and ocean. The pool offers a full bar and snack shack and tunes are played throughout the day for a really relaxing and pleasurable experience.


The next day I decided to give the resort’s luxury spa a try ~ a little workout in the gym, sat in the steam room, sauna and hot tub for awhile and then had a healthy lunch out by the pool.


I ate at a different restaurant each night and they all offered good food. The most popular by far was Nelson’s ~ a casual hangout with a great patio for having drinks and watching the sunset.


With the gorgeous cliffs and grounds this resort boasts, you can bet I’ll be looking forward to returning soon.

@2013 Susan Edel


Guest Post: Vanuatu the Luxury Destination by Danny Duric

Vanuatu the Luxury Travel Destination

If you’re searching for a unique holiday experience, Vanuatu is hard to beat. Once voted the happiest place on earth, it is easy to see why this island is a small heaven on earth. The gorgeous island is located in the South Pacific Ocean and offers many enchanting experiences. It is home to picture-perfect beaches that are a diver’s and snorkeler’s paradise. The world’s most reachable active volcano can also be found here in Tanna Island. You will be captivated by the unique cultural dances and ceremonies in Malekula Island as you explore primitive villages and witness ancient living culture.

Vanuatu the luxury travel destination has a lot to offer far away from the crowds. Remote villages, thunderous waterfalls, magnificent mountains, tropical islets, and huge lagoons are some of the things that make this island a paradise on earth. With a total of 83 islands, you’ll simply be spoilt for choice. Honeymooners and couples on holiday will love the island’s secluded aura and families will love the excellent selection of family friendly hotels. Vanuatu offers a wealth of attractions for all types of visitors. These include:

Iririki, Vanuatu

Port Villa

Port Villa, Vanuatu’s capital city is located on the island of Efate. The vibrant capital is a tourist hub with excellent restaurants and quality accommodation. If you want to sample the many attractions in the island, take advantage of Vanuatu holiday packages. The packages help you to discover the unique place that is Vanuatu. You can choose to have a relaxing holiday or try out some sporty options like parasailing over a spectacular harbour, abseiling down a waterfall, or exploring nature’s delights on a small offshore island. The local markets in Port Villa sell handmade carvings, mats, baskets, and necklaces made from sea shells. The capital is home to glorious sandy beaches that are perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and relaxing. Fishing trips are also available.


Hideaway Island

This Island is one of the most spectacular islands in Vanuatu. It is home to the world’s only underwater post office. There are many snorkelling safaris that offer an opportunity to sample the numerous tropical fish and wildlife found in the island’s waters.

Samoa Hideaway

The Secret Garden

Located in Mele just outside Vanuatu, the garden is a haven for nature lovers. It has a reptile park, a botanic garden and is a natural habitat for different types of wildlife. Crabs, foxes, birds, parrots, wild ducks, turtles, and lizards and other wildlife can be found here. Ancient houses that date back hundreds of years are also located in the area.

Travel Tips

Your visitor visa will last a maximum of 30 days. Upon arrival, you will be given an entrance visa as long as you show proof of a scheduled departure flight. You passport must be valid for at least 6 months after the end of your trip. Visa requirements change easily so you can contact the Vanuatu Department of Immigration in case you have any questions.

All drivers must have a valid Australian driver’s license. When driving, make sure you carefully monitor the driving conditions as pedestrians are always walking on the roadside.

Before you embark on a boat trip, ask the boat operator for life jackets and proof of insurance as all boats are required to be seaworthy.

Most local beaches are privately owned, so make sure you get permission before visiting one. You may be charged a few dollars for access.

Vanuatu holidays are spectacular and offer out-of-this-world experiences. During your stay, you will feel truly safe and happy. The locals love their country and offer a warm welcome to visitors. While there are many things being sold, there is no pressure to buy. Vanuatu the luxury travel destination is a truly refreshing place to visit.

All statements of fact and opinion are those of the guest authors. 

Guest Post: Luxury Travel Around Menorca by Sally Lynch

Luxury Travel Around Menorca

Most people think of Menorca as just another family package holiday island. Think again – the island is remarkably unspoilt in this modern fly anywhere in the world age. The interior of the island is lush boasting rolling hills and the shoreline is spectacular boasting white sand beaches and crystal clear waters.

Menorca is a well-kept secret and it’s one that needs to be investigated because this is one stylish island that has a lot to offer which doesn’t include flocks of tourists.


Beautiful peaceful bays of Menorca

Image source: http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8147/7235920294_135513152c.jpg

A Wonderful Peaceful Paradise Balearic Island

The one thing that Menorca has a lot of is space and peacefulness. A cove like Cala d’Algaiarens is just one of the idyllic locations where you get to enjoy the entire place and the amazing thing is you get to have it all to yourself. Turquoise seas, superbly clean beaches and foxgloves growing along the shoreline that slowly melts into fresh scented woodlands. It’s an island that offers its visitors the luxury of space and tranquillity making Menorca a more natural and authentic destination to choose when thinking about visiting the Balearic Islands.

A UNESCO Biosphere Reserve

Back in 1993, the island was declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and today conservation of the natural beauty of the island both its flora and fauna, is taken very seriously. Tourists who visit Menorca appreciate this beauty in all its glory and will be able to do so for years to come.

The island also has a strong bond with Barcelona, the Catalan capital of Spain. This has added a certain cachet to Menorca. The bars found around the harbour of Es Grau are proof of this up-market feel the island has adopted. Es Grau does not boast a hotel but it’s a real Menorcan resort that’s stylish, authentic and has a lot of class – which naturally, visitors from the mainland and in particular from Barcelona really appreciate.

M2Pure style and luxury

Image source:http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2528/4117485541_960523013a.jpg

Classic, Stylish Four and Five Star Hotels

Because the island is so tranquil, it is turning into the idyllic family holiday destination with a difference. There’s a superb selection of four and five star hotels which include the Hotel Santo Tomas, situated right on the beach. Another choice is the Insotel Club Punta Prima, boasting a good variety of facilities – ideal for families. The Hotel Port Mahon boasts a wonderful location on a palm lined promenade, making it a lovely choice of places to stay during a trip to Menorca.

Eating Out is a Real Pleasure

Eating out on the island is a real pleasure, the fish and shellfish are all locally caught and served as fresh as you will ever get. Naturally every visitor to the island has to sample the mayonnaise – it was after all invented in Menorca. Then there are all the marvellous artisan cheeses made in the interior that have to be tasted and appreciated. Below are a couple of restaurants worth putting on a list of places to dine at in style.

Café Balear – Ciutadella

This is a delightful restaurant found in Ciutadella where the food served is out of this world. Try the Caldereta de Langosta, a Menorcan speciality. The location of the restaurant is idyllic, right on the waterfront and the ambiance is relaxed and friendly, serving the freshest of fresh produce. The restaurant is closed on Sundays during the summer months and on Mondays in the winter.

Meson Del Puerto – Port Mahon

Another superb traditional restaurant is situated in Port Mahon, Meson Del Puerto serves excellent dishes as well as some delicious cured hams. The cuisine is a mixture of Basque and Menorquin a combination that works incredibly well. The clam stew is one of the restaurants’ signature dishes that have to be tasted.


Of all the Balearic Islands, Menorca has captured and retained its own unique identity – it is this that sets it apart from the other islands. The peacefulness and tranquillity of Menorca married to the beauty both along the coast and inland, makes it such an idyllic ‘getaway’ paradise and as a bonus, it’s so easy to get to being such a short flight away.

Sally Lynch is a Menorca and Cote D’azur expert in travelling. She is spending her life in the luxury villas of Menorca, tasting and rejoicing in the distinct culture of Balearic islands. She also committed sharing this experience with anyone interested in Mediterranean culture and climate.

Image source: Paul Stephenson and INSOTEL PRESTIGE HOTELS & RESORTS


Guest Post: Why Cruise to Magical Alaska…

…we dispel the common myths around Alaska Cruises.

By Mundy Cruising


There are so many preconceptions about Alaska cruises.  The most common are, ‘I don’t really like the ice and cold’; ‘I think it would be a bit boring’; and ‘There are so many ships there, it just must be a seething mass of tourists’. So I think it is worth taking a look at these comments and addressing them.


1)     Alaska is too cold for me

First of all, Alaska is not an icy destination. Yes, there are glaciers, and of course in the winter there is plenty of snow, but on an Alaska cruise you will visit in the summer months, and you will be visiting a temperate area of rain forest. Like other temperate areas (the UK for example) it is lush and green as a result of high levels of rainfall. But at the same time, the weather is mild, and if you are lucky it will be warm and sunny for the whole time you are there. Even when you get heavy rain in the morning, you could be enjoying blazing sunshine and blue skies by the afternoon.


2)     Aren’t Alaska cruises a bit boring

An Alaska cruise is certainly not boring. This multi-faceted destination has so much to offer: amazing natural beauty, of course, with mountain peaks and extraordinary multicoloured glaciers, but also an incredible array of wildlife including bears and whales, an extraordinary history relating to the gold rush to the Klondike in the late 19th century, and long traditions and folklores revolving around the myths and histories of the native Americans in the region.

Shore excursions are more varied and exciting than in any other mainstream cruise destination, with Alaska cruises offering options such as white-water rafting, floatplane expeditions, helicopter landings on glaciers, mountain biking, dog-sledding, snorkeling and so much more.


3)     Won’t there be thousands of cruises to Alaska in 2013 – I’ll be surrounded by people!

Because the destination has so much to offer the tourist, large numbers of large ships spend the whole summer there.  It is true that when you wake one morning in Juneau and see four huge ships lined up, your heart may sink. But within minutes you are in the wilderness: even the congested Inland Passage region is quite large enough for you to spend the day with no sign of life apart from your fellow passengers on a shore excursion, and the amazing wildlife.

So having established that Alaska should definitely be on your ‘must do’ list, how to do it? There is an array of cruises to Alaska in 2013 for all tastes and preferences.  If you enjoy a luxury ship, the smaller Silversea and Regent vessels can get you away from the crowds – and in a destination where the shore excursions are so important, Regent’s all-inclusive pricing really represents great value.   Premium Alaska cruise options include Oceania Cruises and Alaska veteran and expert Holland America, with its extraordinary selection of land and cruise options, including the Klondike, Fairbanks, The Denali National Park, and of course Canada and the Rockies.  No Alaska cruise is complete without a pre or post cruise trip on the Rocky Mountaineer.  The Rocky Mountaineer starts in Calgary and travels via the beautiful mountain town of Banff, Kamloops before arriving in Vancouver.  The train also operates in reverse.  Highlights include Hell’s Gate in the Fraser Canyon, the stunning views along the Thompson River and miraculous Spiral Tunnels.  If you are planning a cruise to Alaska in 2013, the Rocky Mountaineer is a must.

Guest post written on behalf of Mundy Cruising, a UK based cruise specialist.

All statements of fact and opinion are those of the guest authors. 

Guest Post: Great Walking Tours of Australian Cities

By Jessica Spencer

One of the coolest ways to see a city is by the ‘number 11 bus’. That’s code for walking.

Not only is it great exercise, but if you’re on an official guided walking tour, you’re guaranteed to be let in on some of the city’s most intimate and jaw-dropping secrets.

It’s also an excellent way to meet new folk. So what are you waiting for? Grab your hat and sunscreen and put on those walking shoes.


The Top End of Australia is renowned for its flamboyant local characters, tropical climate and colourful past. To get an intriguing insight into Darwin’s history, book yourself into the all-popular Darwin Walking & Bicycle Tours. On the intimate walking group tours, the effusive guides will point out the bomb fragments and shrapnel scars in some of the city’s buildings – visible remnants of the Japanese aerial raids during World War Two. You’ll also be treated to fascinating commentary and anecdotes about Cyclone Tracy’s devastation, the Gold Rush and indigenous culture. The walk is at a relaxed pace taking in landmark buildings, parks, monuments, cathedrals and ruins. To experience Darwin through the perspective of its traditional indigenous Larrakia owners, Batji Tours is the top choice. Started by Larrakia senior Robert Mills as a way of preserving and promoting his culture, the illuminating tour focuses on the region’s Aboriginal history, art, wildlife and fauna. The itinerary loops through the Darwin Harbour and Esplanade to the historic Lyons Cottage, finishing up at the visitor information centre.


No need to feel dazzled by the bright lights and chic vibe of Australia’s glam city. Free Sydney Walking Tours was started up by two young locals who wanted to share their passion for their stomping ground with local and international visitors – gratis. They run a daily twilight tour around the classic Rocks area as well as twice-daily walks around prominent Sydney sights. Some of their destinations include the iconic Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge, St Mary’s Cathedral, Circular Quay and more. Plus your guides will reveal a whole list of freebie activities for you to enjoy in this spectacular city.


Hobart is charming, idyllic and ideal for exploring by foot. The city’s unique facets can be discovered through a variety of tours. Hobart Walking Tours, for example, offers a suite of slightly offbeat guided tours including an ‘Alcohol History of Hobart’, the ‘Hobart Rivulet & Convict Female Factory’ and ‘Springs & Pipelines’, which lays out the area’s history of water. These tours are suitable for all fitness levels, from relaxed to fast-paced. A more classic route is the Hobart Historic Walk. Offered by Hobart Historic Tours, this leisurely 1.5 hour tour weaves in all the prominent heritage buildings, gives a compact outline of the city’s warts-and-all history and delivers a good introduction to Hobart’s overall layout. The company runs an equally fascinating Old Hobart Pub Tour and historic Battery Point walk.


Walking tours are perfectly suited to Melbourne as the city’s shiniest gems are often tucked away in cute laneways and arcades that only locals know about. Meltours runs a splendid three-hour laneway tour which snakes its way to hidden ‘hole in the wall’ eateries, cool shops and out-of-the-way galleries. It also runs historical laneway tours which focus on different sections of the city. You’ll get a good idea of what to expect from the tour names – ‘Prostitutes and Parliament’, ‘Banks and Bullion’ and ‘Criminals and Counsellors’. The Lanes and Arcades tour, courtesy of the award-winning Hidden Secrets Tours,is an irresistibly delicious way to spend three hours. Enroute, you’ll discover more than 30 local designers and boutique retailers and get a teeny dose of history and architecture. The company sums it up this way: ‘We specialise in what makes Melbourne tick, where design, small business and creativity are the heroes.’


This city’s compact size and grid-like structure make for a thoroughly enjoyable walking experience. Tourabout Adelaide has an eclectic variety of tours from ones that highlight cultural treasures to an exploration of West Terrace Cemetery, Adelaide’s oldest burial grounds. But perhaps its most unique offering is the ‘On Track for the Ghan’ tour, which traces the heroic stories of the pioneers, indigenous population, cameleers, missionaries and miners who all played a part in the creation of one of the world’s most incredible train rides. For free guided walks, try the Adelaide Botanic Gardens daily tour or the Adelaide City Council’s tour of its Town Hall on King William Street.


Dead flat and packed with flavour, walking is certainly one of the best ways to enjoy the city’s architectural heritage, colonial buildings, growing bar and restaurant scene and out-of-the-way places. Two Feet & a Heartbeat is an award-winning company that was conceived by two friends brainstorming at the pub. The operator runs classic urban adventures of Perth and Fremantle’s most popular sights. It also runs an ‘Eat/Drink/Walk Perth’ tour of the city’s emerging bar scene. Sample mouth-watering gourmet morsels along with a cocktail or two.

Jessica Spencer is a Niche blogger who loves to write about hot and trending topics. Earlier she has contributed to various travel niche blogs and she is currently working for web car hire.

All statements of fact and opinion and photographs are those of the guest authors.