Best Aquariums in the U.S.

Long time no speak! I’ve had a crazy few months – girls in school, girls home schooled, one girl in, one girl out. I think the public school system wants to kill me. For now, both girls are in school and both are happy, so I’m happy. PHEW. The only thing now, is that I really miss them! I miss planning field trips and hanging out with other homeschool moms (and a few dads) and their kids who we’ve become so close with. So I’ve made a point of staying involved in the homeschool community and of still taking the girls on mini fieldtrips on Sundays and after school.

Last year we were all into zoos, and this year it seems like aquariums have stepped up to bat.

(Thank you Forbestraveler.com for the list!)

Enjoy these and have a whale of a time! (Katie just saw that and rolled her eyes.)
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Public Menorah lightings

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah to all! On Sunday night (the first night of Hanukkah) I went to the public lighting of the world’s largest menorah. It was a 32 foot, 4000 pound steel candelabra with gas lamps in a windproof casing. It was designed by Israeli artist Yaakov Agam, inspired by the original menorah that was in the Holy Temple of Jerusalem almost 2000 years ago. Mayor Bloomberg lit the wicks, symbolizing the first of eight nights of the Jewish festival of lights. There was quite a crowd there on the corner of 59th St. and 5th Ave., right near Central Park. This menorah, and about 700 more located all over the world are organized by the Chabad organization and this year have the added significance of standing strong in honor of those who were killed in the recent Mumbai terrorist attacks.

Another popular New York City public lighting took place on Sunday night at Washington Square Park.

The other “world’s largest menorah” is lighting up Washington, D.C. It’s located on the Ellipse, just across from the White House.

Other large scale lightings are taking place all week long in Santa Monica, San Francisco, Honolulu, and Chicago, as well as in 732 more cities in 47 countries worldwide.

Check out this youtube video

from the Chabad of Malibu about their candle lighting initiative. And if you’re curious as to HOW to attend a public lighting, ehow’s got you covered.

Happy holidays!
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Wine spas in the U.S. (mainly California)

Now there’s a concept. I only recently became introduced to the concept of the “wine spa” recently when I treated my girlfriend (who is now an ex-girlfriend, but I promise it was not spa related) to a weekend up in Wine Country that included some spa going. We discovered that it’s quite a trend to include wine and grapes in spa treatments. Apparently it’s a tradition from Bordeaux, France that made its way over to the U.S., and particularly to Northern California. Most of these spas (following) are located in vineyards or are at least nearby. I’ll list the spa and then one or two treatments offered on their spa menu that includes grapes or wine.

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Real Men go to Spas

There is nothing unmanly about relaxation. Some guys play video games, some guys work out, and some guys go to spas. When I leave a spa, either after a simple shiatsu massage or after a full day go at skin care and specific body work, I feel so relaxed and distressed that I feel the effects of it for weeks afterwards. According to Men’s Health magazine, “Any vacation is a good vacation. But the best ones can calm your mind, refresh your body, revive your relationships, and maybe even extend your life.” I couldn’t agree more. And it’s a great way to meet chicks…or make one very happy if you’ve already got one. It’s a romantic valentine’s gift or anniversary idea. Or, more likely (for me at least) a way I can get out of the city (or feel like I’ve left the city) and completely relax and take care of my body. A lot of spas have fitness centers on their premises, so you really get to feel like you’re working towards a healthier existence.

Here are some great spas that offer spa treatments for men—sports massages, facials, back skin care, and male manicures and pedicures, among others.

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Dog-Friendly Ski Resorts in California

I know ski season is over, but I just came across this great resource that lists pet-friendly ski resorts by state. And since I myself have needed a list like this, I thought I’d share. First, from the website, www.petswelcome.com:
“Okay, you’re probably thinking that dogs and cats aren’t meant for skiing. But neither are people. And that doesn’t stop us. So why not take your pet along? When you’re on the mountain you probably spend a lot of time with your nose in the snow anyway, right? Dogs appreciate this. They’ll think you suddenly got some sense and will begin treating you with a renewed respect. They might not even chew on your crutches. So take advantage of this bonding opportunity and hit the slopes with your favorite animal ASAP!”
So, you probably can’t go ASAP, but when you get a chance, here’s where to go:

There’s nothing like sharing a day on the slopes with your dog. One of life’s great pleasures. Continue reading