Latest Blog Entries

How To Give Thoughtful Gifts To People


One of the most difficult aspects of gift giving is finding something that is valuable and wonderful for somebody else. This is because what holds more value and greatness to you and what is going on in your head as a gift giver may be quite different from what a present receiver is thinking or expecting. 

Here are great tips for giving thoughtful gifts. Read on!

8 Tips For Giving A Thoughtful Gift To People


1. Gift What They Need 

Gifting a person with something they need at the exact time is so thoughtful. The recipient will feel that you're thinking about them and are aware of what's happening in their life at that moment. For example, if you're gifting new parents, you can organize, schedule, and pay for a professional photoshoot with their newborn. These family photos are a lifelong treasured memory that's just thoughtfully perfect. 

And if your parents have been dreaming and saving up to travel to a certain destination, you could surprise them with an all-paid expense trip to that place. This is one of the best parent Christmas gift ideas you can consider.

2. Gift An Experience 

Giving the gift of an experience is often more meaningful than giving a person material things. You can gift them with a snorkeling session, a couples massage, a skydiving date, or a special dinner at their favorite restaurant.

Consider experiences that will startle and thrill the recipient since they are likely to leave a lasting memory.

3. Focus On Creating A Sense Of Connection 

Humans have an innate yearning for connection with others. And this is where handmade/homemade gift crafts come to your rescue. A handmade present provides the recipient with a connection beyond the gift's usage and versatility. If they can visualize and imagine where and how the item was specially handcrafted, they will feel more connected to it.

People have a relationship with the items with which they connect to, and understanding where the origin of the gift deepens this connection. If you're not creative enough to DIY an item, you can go ahead and buy from brands your recipient adores. It could be a custom-made designer bag or shoe, depending on what tickles their fancy.

4. Find Out What They Value 

Make the present more personal by sitting down and establishing a list of the recipient's hobbies, preferences, and what they value most. Make a list of the specific objects or experiences the person has ever shared with you and narrow it down to what is appropriate at that time. Consider the person's personality type to assist you in determining what type of indoor or outdoor experience is ideal for them.

You can also learn about their interests. If the recipient enjoys gardening, consider sending gardening journals, sprinklers, and assorted plant seeds as gifts.

If your friend loves spending their downtime watching football, you can give them premium tickets to a match featuring their favorite team and players.

5. Make The Recipient Feel Known 

To know your recipient better and give thoughtful presents, begin by asking great questions and paying close attention to their replies.

What do they do with their free time? What films do they like? What's their dream holiday destination? Do they have previous passions that have cooled or new pastimes that they've discovered? What restaurant or spa would they love to visit if they have a full day for themselves?

This is definitely a barrage of queries, and it's not wise to bombard them all at once. You can consider asking one or two questions randomly and keeping a record of their responses for the purpose of wonderful gift-giving!

The more you learn about the replies to these kinds of inquiries, the better ideas you will have for getting great presents. The thoughtful presents, no matter how big or tiny, are valuable because they show the receiver that they are acknowledged, loved, and valued.

6. Gift Intentionally From The Heart 

Gifts that involve a significant amount of work, such as something handcrafted or that took you a long time to outsource, can be valuable ways for you to communicate exactly how much you care symbolically.

A thoughtful gift should ideally correspond to what the recipient desires.

Gifting from the heart can also take the shape of meaningful presents. You shouldn't be afraid of sentimentality since receivers respect gifts with emotional significance.

When in doubt, put together a diverse portfolio of presents. You may give someone something you know they'll appreciate, either because you enquired directly from them or because you secretly stole the idea from their wish list, and then augment that with a more meaningful gift.

7. Gift Your Time 

As part of the gift, provide your time. Offer to give your recipient your time if they're frequently anxious, overworked, or going through a difficult moment. You can do this by mowing their lawn for a week or by bringing their children out for the day so they can have some alone time. Giving your time may also benefit those with physical or mental problems, as you might offer to take them out to dinner and help them for the night or run a couple of errands for them that they would be unable to complete on their own.

8. Gift Creatively 

Get creative with your gift-giving. Instead of just handing the present to the recipient, go creative and make the gift-giving task fascinating. Send the recipient on a treasure quest to discover their gift, or plant a hidden message in the recipient's favorite book for them to decipher to find the gift.

You might even place the present somewhere they might not think to find one and let them be surprised. Being inventive in how you give the present might increase the receiver's enthusiasm and make their encounter with getting the gift much more enjoyable.

Conclusion 

Gifting is not always about the size of the gift or how much it costs. The gift you give must be thoughtful and worth it all the way! Worth the effort, materials, and time. There are plenty of other ideas for meaningful presents for everyone in your life. I hope some of these tips have inspired you to be a more thoughtful gifter.

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Safety Precautions When Travelling

Millions of people travel for business or leisure every year in the vast travel industry. With so many people traveling around the world, security is necessary. Whether you're traveling to a new city or country, there are certain things that you need to keep in mind to stay safe. This guide will look at how you can stay safe when traveling:

Before You Go

As you prepare to travel, follow these precautions to ensure safety and convenience.

Pack Appropriately

If traveling by car, ensure you have enough petrol and snacks for the journey. If flying, don't forget your passport and any other travel documents needed for your trip (e.g., visa). Also, ensure that all your valuables are safely packed away so they don't get lost or stolen while on holiday! 

Consider the weather of your destination and carry appropriate clothing and gear. If the place is prone to getting hit by natural disasters, it's best to postpone or plan appropriately for your safety. 

Have All Your Prescription Medicine

Pack all medications in their original containers, along with copies of prescriptions and doctors' notes explaining why you need them. If you have chronic conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure, bring extra supplies in case of delays at customs or long layovers at airports that prevent you from getting food or medication from local pharmacies or hospitals.

Pack All Vital Documents

Also, ensure you have an up-to-date copy of all documents on you at all times, including copies of your passport, driving license, health insurance card, and travel insurance details (including emergency contact numbers). It will help if you lose anything while traveling abroad or need to make an appointment with a doctor or hospital.

Get Travel Insurance

Travel insurance covers unexpected medical expenses during your trips, such as emergency hospital treatment or evacuation to a country with better facilities. It also covers private medical treatment needed because of an injury or illness sustained in an accident while abroad – so long as it's not related to driving or riding a motorcycle.

While in Transit

If you are traveling by plane, bus or train, there are some things you can do to stay safe:

  • If you are traveling by plane, wear slip-on shoes that can easily be removed for security checks. Don't carry any weapons or sharp objects on board with you.

  • Do not leave any personal belongings unattended on a bus or train for long periods.

  • Never accept free drinks from strangers or take food offered by someone who may not have your best interests at heart.

  • Do not travel alone, if possible, especially at night or when traveling through unfamiliar territory. Keep any essential medications with you at all times in case of emergencies or unexpected delays; keep copies of prescriptions or doctor's notes on hand so that you don't have to carry around the original documents if you need medical attention while traveling.

While at Your Destination

It's essential to stay safe while at your destination. Here are some tips:

  • Be Aware of Your Surroundings

  • Be vigilant and aware of your surroundings, even in a crowd or on public transport. If something doesn't feel right, trust your instincts and find an alternative route or place to be.

  • Avoid walking alone after dark or through deserted areas, as this could put you at risk if someone tries to attack or rob you. If possible, stick to well-lit streets and well-populated areas.

Stay Safe

In conclusion, it's essential to trust your instincts and avoid certain places or situations that make you feel uncomfortable. If you don't feel safe, leave the area immediately and find another way to get home (or back to work). If this is not possible, stay with a group of people. 


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6 Tips for Your Next Travel Adventure


Between now and the end of the year, millions of people are going to be jetting off on their first travel adventures for several years. The pandemic era meant that hopping on a plane and booking a hotel was essentially impossible – but not anymore. Thankfully, life is back to normal, which means you can travel pretty much anywhere you like.

So, whether you’re planning on touring different spots in Europe or have booked a 2-week stay somewhere in Asia, perhaps to Surat Thani, a rural province in southern Thailand, then here are six tips that will make sure your next travel adventure is one to remember!

1. Download All the Apps and Games You Need Before You Leave

While you’re out seeing what the world has to offer, your smartphone will be your number one companion. This is why you need to ensure that all the apps and games you need are downloaded and installed prior to setting off.

Apps

  • When it comes to travel apps, you should ideally have:  
  • A translation app (Google Translate, Translate Now) 
  • A news app for travel updates (BBC News, Apple News) and major events you might need to be aware of. 
  • A lodging app for hotels (Marriott Bonvoy) and rentable homes (Airbnb)

These types of apps will make your life so much easier, ensuring you experience as few problems as possible while traveling. 

For example, if the hotel you booked randomly had a problem that night and had to shut down, you would be able to use Airbnb to find an emergency last-minute place to stay!


Games 

Additionally, make sure you have some games either downloaded or bookmarked in your smartphone’s browser. When you’re in the middle of a long road plane journey or simply need a boost of entertainment, games will be there to occupy you. If you don’t know what to play, that is to be expected – there are so many games out there that it can be a little overwhelming to know the best type of game when traveling. 

The best types of games are ones that are designed for mobile and tablets, like casino games. You can find games that work perfectly on your mobile phone and that provide you with hours of entertainment when you are traveling. The great thing about casinos is that they are made even more exciting by the possibility of jackpots. Jackpot games are where the grand prize increases every time a game is played – this is usually a predetermined amount, but it could grow quite large the longer you play and win. When you find specific jackpot games on sites like slots.lv/casino/jackpots, you’ll find that the stakes are increased, and the excitement is raised, making it a popular game option for many.

This is the best way to keep occupied on the road.

Also, word puzzle games are becoming popular again – just look at how popular Wordle has become over the past year.

2. Learn Local Phrases 

Whether you’re heading to France or Spain, it’s recommended that you learn local phrases prior to getting there. Sure, your smartphone can do all the hard work for you, but learning the language yourself will be more rewarding for you. Plus, it shows local people that you’re making an effort, which is more likely to lead to you making new travel friends! Don’t worry: even the most basic phrases (such as “Hello” and “Can you help me find somewhere?”) will come in handy.

3. Keep a Backpack with You 

Backpacks are amazing! They’re small, compact, and allow you to carry all the essentials you need with you, from water bottles to snacks. This is incredibly important when you’re in hot countries with a different climate from what you’re typically used to. Plus, you can also carry other items you might need, from spare clothes to a camera. After all, it’s important to make the most of your holiday snaps and insta shots.

4. Pack Lightly 

Most people (like me!) can’t help but overpack for travel trips – it’s a habit! However, everyone knows that overpacking is never worth it in the end. All it does is make getting around much more difficult than it needs to be, especially when you’re navigating airports. I try to picture which outfit I'll be wearing each day and only take those, so I don't deviate. Less is more. So, with this in mind, try and pack as lightly as possible for your next trip. Remember, you’ll be able to buy lots of new gifts and treasures while you’re out there, meaning there’s no need to take tons of them with you in the first place. 

5. Carry Hygiene Accessories with You 

Right now, many countries and cities have different rules regarding wearing masks and other forms of protective hygiene. Therefore, it’s best to stay on the safe side by carrying the essentials with you (masks, hand sanitizer) so that you don’t accidentally get stuck anywhere. The same goes for a toothbrush and deodorant, but them in the backpack.

6. Don’t Carry too Much Cash with You 

No matter where you travel in the world, it’s usually never a good idea to carry too much cash with you. This is because it can be easily lost or stolen, leading to you experiencing all kinds of problems (especially if that money was going to be used for flights or accommodation). Instead, it’s much better to use your smartphone or bank card to pay for most things. Alternatively, only draw cash out in small amounts when you need it.

Final Thoughts

There are lots of reasons to be excited about your next travel adventure – but make sure you use all of the tips mentioned above! This way, you’ll have a good time while also remaining as safe as possible, which is important in the post-pandemic era of travel. Have fun and happy traveling!

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Insider Tips for Dollywood Theme Park

Awarded “Friendliest Park” by Amusement Today and "America's Most Beautiful Park" Golden Ticket Award in 2021, Dollywood is a must visit for families, foodies and roller coaster enthusiasts. Now celebrating over 30 years of charming visitors, Dollywood spans 150 acres in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains and offers more than 40 rides and attractions, including record-breaking coasters. With so much to see and do, below are Insider Tips for Visiting Dollywood, so you can experience the very best that the theme park, water park, resort, cabins and live dinner shows has to offer.

Nestled in the Smokies in Northeast Tennessee, Dollywood is unlike any other amusement park. No matter if you’re a fan of Dolly Parton or not (but come on, who isn’t?), Dollywood offers something for everyone, from record-breaking coasters to delicious Cinnamon rolls, mouth-watering Southern-style food, and amazing mountain views.

Despite misconceptions, Dollywood is not a shrine to its namesake. In fact, you have to seek out the portions dedicated to the icon, like her tour bus and museum located within the park. Also, it’s not hokey or little. I was shocked when I unfolded the theme park map – there is so much to do.

After speaking with Dollywood Insiders, and employees and finally experiencing the park firsthand, here are Top Insider Tips for Visiting Dollywood the right way!

Insider Tips for Visiting Dollywood Theme Park

  1. Stay at Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort – It’s beautiful, affordable and very luxurious. Rates depend on seasonality with as low as $89 during the off-season (Jan-March). During peak season, you can expect rates to start at $169. Still a bargain considering the luxury of the resort. Basically, that’s the same rate of a Disney budget hotel, yet offers the experience of a Disney luxury hotel. Also, all room occupants staying at DreamMore receive a free TimeSaver Pass for bypassing lines at Dollywood. Plus, free parking, a shuttle to Dollywood parks, discounts on dinner attractions and park tickets (2 days for the price of one). Do try the juicy fried chicken at their hotel dinner buffet, yum!

    VIP Tip for Dollywood Stay at Dreammore Resort
  2. Take Advantage of Single Rider lanes – We saved an hour wait time by choosing the Single Rider line entrance for Lightning Rod roller coaster. We had a party of 8 and were able to at least ride on the same cars, just not seated together. After which, we immediately ran out and joined the single rider line again. We rode twice in a half hour and by the time we left the wait time was up to 70 minutes too. 


  3. Eat the Famous Cinnamon Bread – Everyone talks about Dollywood’s famous cinnamon rolls and now I know why. Located inside the Grist Mill, hot fresh cinnamon bread is made daily and lives up to the hype. They’re more loaves than rolls, really. Splurge and pay extra for the cup of apple butter for dipping.

    If the line is too long at the picturesque mill you can also purchase from the Spotlight Bakery on Showstreet by the main entrance. It's a fun workaround on busy days. 


  4. Ride the world’s fastest wooden roller coaster – Lightning Rod is also the world’s first wood launch coaster. Unlike other wooden coasters, it’s not jerky. It’s quite smooth and yes, fast! Since this is one of their most popular rides, head to this one right away or use a TimeSaver Pass.

    VIP Tips for Visiting Dollywood - Ride Lightning Rod.

  5. Go on Blazing Fury – This indoor dark coaster is a park original from 1978 and super kitsch. The outdated animatronics are laughable and creepy nowadays, but this coaster holds surprises and quick twists that will make you laugh and gasp too. Worth going on just for the nostalgic bragging rights alone. 


  6. Reserve a Retreat at Dollywood’s Splash Country – For the ultimate VIP visit to Dollywood’s Splash Country, book one of their Waterside or Riverside Retreats. It’s a great way to get some shade and unwind. This feature is especially good for babies needing to nap while older siblings continue to play in the water park. Each private retreat offers 200 square feet of shaded space, or you can soak up the sun on the additional 100-square-foot sun deck. Each unit includes a dining table, ceiling fan, satellite TV, food delivery, and lounge chairs. Max 10 people. They are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Make reservations as far in advance as possible—especially for busy weekends and popular summer holidays. Click here for more tips for visiting Dollywood Splash Country Water Park.
  7. Get Your Child Measured – Instead of having your younger children measured before each ride you can get a wristband that will clear them for all the appropriate-sized rides for them. Simply head to the Measuring Station near the entrance where a Dollywood staffer will measure them once and put a colored wristband on them that shows their height. Now you'll easily know what ride they can safely go on per the color-coding system. 


  8. Order a slice from the 25-pound apple pie – Spotlight Bakery & Sandwich Shop near the entrance bakes up a 25 pound Apple Pie. One slice can feed up to six people! If you buy the whole thing it comes with the cast iron skillet. Whether you plan to try it or not, it’s worth photographing and salivating over.
  9. Board a WWII steam engine – Besides the rides, guests can board a real 110-ton coal-fired steam engine. Dollywood Express chugs through a scenic five-mile journey up the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. Originally stationed in Alaska during WW2, the Dollywood Express route now provides scenic views adults will love. Kids will enjoy this authentic ride, which is very different from the modern amusement train rides elsewhere. The whistle alone commands attention. Be sure to chat up the conductors too.

    VIP Tips for Visiting Dollywood - Ride Lightning Rod.

  10. View the Bald Eagles – Dollywood has dozens of majestic bald eagles for viewing in a 30,000-square-foot aviary. Don’t worry, they aren’t being imprisoned, but saved. These eagles have been deemed unreleasable and have found a sanctuary at Dollywood. 


More Dollywood Visitor Tips:



Insider Tips for Dollywood Theme Park


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Losing Photos In The Feed: How To Make The Most Of The Holiday Snaps You Posted Online



We have all been through that annoying experience of trying to find that one photo from a holiday that we actually liked, only for us to scroll through our feed for hours on end to no avail. Well, luckily, there are a few tactics you can employ that can help you avoid this troublesome headache in the future.

See below for a few different ways you can make sure you can find any photos that are of importance at just a moment's notice, as well as discussing why putting your photos online is not the best method of saving them.

Bring Them Into The Real-World


There is only so much you can do with an online photo. Sure, you can download and save a photo all you want, but there are just so many factors that can go wrong in the digital world that it will make little to no difference. 

Corrupted files, performance issues, old technology (CD disc/USB drives), photo sites closing down - the list goes on. At a certain point, you just have to look for other alternatives to keep those perfect holiday photos safe. 

Trillions of photos will remain in their digital form and will most likely never see themselves printed as it was a decade or two ago. Well, luckily, there is a solution. The Instagram photo book is a piece of technology that allows you to send your photos to a company that can bring photos from social media – uploaded easily and with intention – into the real world. 

Not only does this give you a much better way to keep track of all your photos and keep them safe, but it also allows you to have a much more personal experience with said photos - the ability for physical photos to take us to the exact time the picture was taken is akin to nothing else.

This is one of the few ways you can actually bring your photos to the real world without just simply printing them off (which you would have to do individually and at a much lower quality), and it is easily one of the best methods to get the most out of your holiday photos.


Store Your Photos In A Separate Folder 


If a photobook doesn't sound like your thing, then don't worry. Simply downloading all of your photos from social media can be an excellent way to keep everything together, and the classic “holiday photos” folder can be seen on PCs all across the world.

There are a ton of tips for organizing holiday photos out there that can make this method a viable option, and if you are someone who prefers having all of your photos stored on the cloud, then this would be an amazing way to go.

So, do you think you will be a little more careful when it comes to the organization of photos from now on? If so, you would be making an incredibly smart decision.

The importance of photos cannot be stated enough - they allow us to get a glimpse at some of our happiest moments. Protecting them at all costs is vital, and there is no doubt that you will thank yourself later.

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Podcast: The Unromantic Part of Writing Romance


Podcasts are amazing ways to share knowledge in a format that is accessible to virtually all, especially when on the go. 

I have several podcasts that I like to listen to about book reviews and for developing my craft as a blogger and author. One such show is All the WRITE Marketing hosted by Maria Dismondy who discusses... 

A new episode was released and I am the guest, where I share The Unromantic Part of Writing Romance, which is the marketing aspect, but I share how blogging and moving to audiobooks have helped me grow my audience. 

🎙️ You can listen below or in Apple Podcasts :) 

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