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My new project to keep me off the streets is to start a savings fund for "My Around The World Cruise" that I have been dreaming of for years. To do this, I am going to bake home goods and sell them from my home. I will be offering a limited selection, both fattening (the best way) and keto style (my way). This will be offered locally only in the Las Vegas area. To start this process, I have to get my cottage kitchen

certified. Already started with getting an appliance guy to check out my stove/oven. Bad news-time to replace the oven-I knew it was coming.

My first dish offered will be Pizza Supreme Dip, which can be served with breadsticks for dipping or keto style served with low carb crackers. 12 servings, $12 and if you want delivery in Las Vegas, Summerlin and Henderson, it will be a $3 delivery fee. I have served this at my home before and with the Holidays coming up, this would be a great dish to serve. Your option is ready to bake in an oven ware tin (like the pie tin below) or in a microwave container. Either way, it can be frozen for up to 3 months. To order: text me at 702-981-0445. The picture below is what it looks like before it goes into the oven.


Everything Coming to Netflix in November, Including Tons of Christmas Movies

Tons of holiday shows and movies are dropping this month!

As we enter what feels like the 42nd week of social distancing, I’ve realized just how much I appreciate my Netflix subscription. Since the world has been feeling a bit overwhelming lately, I’ve appreciated the chance to tune in to a movie or show to take my mind off the situation for a while. Some of my recent favorites include Selling Sunset, Grey's Anatomy, and Schitt's Creek. And while these shows are available to watch again and again, I’m starting to feel like I’ve already watched all of the shows on Netflix and I’ve been itching for something new to binge. Luckily, there's a whole lineup of new content coming in November, including some of the best Christmas shows and movies, so you're sure to find something new to watch during the pre-holiday season. If you're interested in planning a virtual girls night, download Netflix Party and stream the sequel to The Princess Switch starring Vanessa Hudgens, or catch the sequel to The Christmas Chronicles starring Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell. On November 15, fans of the royal family will also be able to queue up new episodes of The Crown, and later on in the month you'll be able to sing along with Dolly herself in Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square, which drops on November 22. Available November 1

  • 60 Days In: Season 5

  • A Clockwork Orange

  • Boyz n the Hood

  • Casper

  • Christmas Break-In

  • Dawson’s Creek: Seasons 1-6

  • Easy A

  • Elf Pets: A Fox Cub’s Christmas Tale

  • Elf Pets: Santa’s Reindeer Rescue

  • Elliot the Littlest Reindeer

  • Forged in Fire: Season 6

  • Jumping the Broom

  • Knock Knock

  • Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath: Seasons 1-3

  • Little Monsters

  • Mile 22

  • Ocean’s Eleven

  • Paul Blart: Mall Cop

  • Piercing

  • Platoon

  • School Daze

  • Snowden

  • The Garfield Show: Season 3

  • The Impossible

  • The Indian in the Cupboard

  • The Next Karate Kid

  • Wheels of Fortune

  • Yes Man

Available November 2

  • Prospect

Available November 3

  • Felix Lobrecht: Hype

  • Mother

Available November 4

  • A Christmas Catch

  • Christmas With A Prince

  • Love and Anarchy

Available November 5

  • Carmel: Who Killed Maria Marta?

  • Midnight at the Magnolia

  • Operation Christmas Drop

  • Paranormal

Available November 6

  • Citation

  • Country Ever After

  • La trinchera infinita / The Endless Trench

  • The Late Bloomer

Available November 9

  • Undercover: Season 2

Available November 10

  • Dash & Lily

  • Trash Truck

Available November 11

  • Aunty Donna’s Big Ol’ House of Fun

  • The Liberator

  • Nasce uma Rainha / A Queen Is Born

  • What We Wanted

Available November 12

  • Fruitvale Station

  • Graceful Friends

  • Ludo

  • Prom Night

Available November 13

  • American Horror Story: 1984

  • Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey

  • The Life Ahead

  • The Minions of Midas

Available November 15

  • A Very Country Christmas

  • America’s Next Top Model: Seasons 19-20

  • Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2

  • The Crown: Season 4

  • Hometown Holiday

  • Survivor: Seasons 20 & 28

  • V for Vendetta

Available November 16

  • Loving

  • Whose Streets?

Available November 17

  • The Boss Baby: Back in Business: Season 4

  • We Are the Champions

Available November 18

  • El sabor de las margaritas / Bitter Daisies: Season 2

  • Holiday Home Makeover with Mr. Christmas

Available November 19

  • The Princess Switch: Switched Again

Available November 20

  • Alien Xmas

  • Flavorful Origins: Gansu Cuisine

  • If Anything Happens I Love You

  • Voices of Fire

Available November 22

  • Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square

  • Machete Kills

Available November 23

  • Hard Kill

  • Shawn Mendes: In Wonder

Available November 24

  • Dragons: Rescue Riders: Huttsgalor Holiday

  • El Cuaderno de Tomy / Notes for My Son

  • Hillbilly Elegy

  • Wonderoos

Available November 25

  • The Christmas Chronicles: Part 2

  • Great Pretender: Season 2

Available November 26

  • Larry the Cable Guy: Remain Seated

  • Mosu

Available November 27

  • A Go! Go! Cory Carson Christmas

  • The Cal

  • Dance Dreams: Hot Chocolate Nutcracker

  • Don’t Listen

  • Sugar Rush Christmas: Season 2

  • Überweihnachten / Over Christmas

  • Virgin River: Season 2

  • La Belva / The Beast

Available November 28

  • The Uncanny Counter

Available November 29

  • Wonderoos: Holiday Holiday!

Available November 30

  • The 2nd

  • A Love So Beautiful

  • Finding Agnes

  • Rust Creek

  • Spookley and the Christmas Kittens


What Cruise COVID-19 Changes Are Likely Here to Stay -- And What's Not

The Virtual Muster

The end of the muster drill as we know it is nigh -- Royal Caribbean has even named it -- Muster 2.0 or eMuster. And while there may be a few of you die hards who love traipsing down the stairs to your designated muster station, sitting (if you are lucky) or standing waiting patiently for the run-through while all your fellow passengers talk/drink/take selfies -- we will not miss the experience.

The Royal Caribbean Group (and no doubt other lines will follow) has designed a system to replace passengers gathering in large groups at different points around the ship with a process that cruisers can complete on their own time before the ship sails.

Known as eMuster, the process starts with passengers reviewing safety information either on their own mobile devices or on their in-stateroom interactive TVs. These electronic briefings include what to expect during and emergency and where to go, as well as the proper way to use life jackets.

People then visit their assigned assembly stations, where crew members verify that all steps have been completed and scan the passengers' keycard to complete the process.

For people who like to unwind and leave their smart phone at home, this will be unwelcome news. But in general, we think that passengers will enjoy the convenience that the move brings.

One big change that will stick with us is using your phone as key card. This is already in use on Celebrity Cruises, where your phone can open your cabin door, control the lighting and A/C, your blinds (in an Infinite Veranda cabin).

Another is using your phone to house your boarding pass, which many lines already encourage.

Carnival's HUB, Royal Caribbean's Royal app, Viking's Viking Voyager and MSC Cruises' MSC for Me all reduce the need for passengers to touch documentation, as well as take other actions such as making purchases, booking dinner and spa treatments and -- with the use of an app -- track your kids via RFID bracelets (already in use on MSC Cruises' ships).

An interesting additional feature of RFID wristbands is that they can be adapted for use as a track and trace device -- something that MSC has already done and something that Royal Caribbean has patented -- expect to be wearing a "Tracelet" on your next Royal cruise.

The use of QR codes to bring up menus (which also reduces waste) will likely be here to stay.

Staggered Arrival Times

While the lines have given cruise passengers different arrival times before, often designated by stateroom category or loyalty level, many people ignored it and came early anyway.

We predict that designated arrival times will be strictly enforced, going forward.

The move is meant to manage crowds in parking lots, drop-off areas and terminals to allow for social distancing and testing in the short term. Post-COVID, staggered arrivals will make it much easier for lines to process passengers, avoid bottlenecks and people jams, as well as onboard crowding in the restaurants and at the elevators.

It is also likely to help with timings for people to enter their cabins -- stewards will be able to plan for when passengers are likely to board, and also conduct the enhanced cleaning that will become the norm going forward.

Don't worry, the buffet will remain. We predict the key difference will be a compromise where you go to the serving stations and are served, rather than table service. This was already in practice pre-COVID on Holland America Line's newer ships, where you point to your food and are served, rather than help yourself.

The days of some passengers picking up a piece of bread/pizza/fruit inspecting it and returning it to the tray are well and truly gone -- and we definitely welcome that.

Cruise lines are also likely to make more wrapped "grab-and-go" items available at the buffet and cafes.

The Paper Daily Planner

Many readers will bemoan the end of the Daily Planner in paper form, while others will welcome the end of seven nights of planners strewn around their cabins. What's abundantly clear is that it's a lot easier and cheaper for the lines to make the planner available on your in-cabin TV or via an app than print out 5,000 a day.

Royal Caribbean has already confirmed that the Daily Planner has gone digital and will be accessed through your phone.

We are also likely to say goodbye to those paper invitations to join the Captain for dinner and say hello to push notifications on our apps.


Amazing Dogsledding Trips in the US

For the ultimate winter adventure, take to the backwoods on a sled, driven by your very own team of Alaskan Huskies. Best suited for the physically active, these top five dogsledding trips guarantee thrills over frozen lakes, deeply wooded trails, and endless horizons of snow and sky.

White Wilderness (Ely, Minnesota)

Northern Minnesota’s many lakes and remote forests are idyllic for a dogsled adventure. Based in Ely, White Wilderness offers sled dog adventures that range from day trips to four nights spent exploring the deep woods of the Gabbro Lakes area within the Boundary Waters Wilderness. A stone’s throw from the Canadian border, snow blankets the area throughout the winter months, keeping White Wilderness in operation from December through March. White Wilderness prides itself on offering a truly immersive experience with its multi-day trips, providing accommodations in a cozy yurt and serving fine cuisine such as fresh fish and chicken grilled on site. Solo sled day trip for $345 per person on weekends or $1,575 for a four-night stay.

Yellowstone Dog Sled Adventures (Emigrant, Montana)

There’s no more thrilling way to experience Yellowstone than with a pack of huskies towing the way. Yellowstone Dog Sled Adventures’ powerful pups know the way along the rugged terrain, valleys, and frozen rivers as they zoom swiftly atop the snow. Small group adventures are the best opportunity to access the scenic trails of the national park, with options from a one-hour sled experience to their half-day adventure, both providing plenty of time to play with the dogs and learn a primer on the enduring sport. Sampler for $95 or "Learn to Mush" half-day experience for $195.

Mahoosuc Guide Service (Grafton Notch, Maine)

Maine’s Umbagog Lake and the Mahoosuc Mountains, not far from the border of Vermont, is an oasis of pristine trails where dogs race along with ease. Seek out the Mahoosuc Guide Service that takes nature lovers through the great wilderness with the challenge of leading your own canine team. Start with the Mahoosuc Intro package, a two-day excursion that combines mushing, skiing, and snowshoeing for the perfect outdoor adventure. The guides provide all winter equipment including skis, snowshoes, parkas, gaiters, and sleeping bags so all you really need to bring is warm clothing. Physically challenging (though not far above the demands of an afternoon spent cross-country skiing), the trip is the perfect opportunity to reconnect with nature. Mahoosuc two-day intro for $595 per person.

Jackson Hole’s Continental Divide Dog Sled Adventures (Dubois, Wyoming)

Take the reins and hold on as you careen through Wyoming’s picture-perfect peaks and valleys, dusted with a fresh coating of snow. Iditarod veteran Billy Snodgrass brings dog sledding groups through the mountainside with skill, offering masterful knowledge on the caring and treatment of the dogs, insight into many of nature’s wonders, and hidden trails that lead to natural treasures. Half -day with lunch and transportation for $248 or full-day snowshoe/dog sledding combo for $355.

Wilderness Adventures Dog Sled Tours (Olympic Valley, California)

One of California’s only dog sledding operations, Wilderness Adventures Dog Sled Tours offers opportunities to explore the Lake Tahoe region -- one of the nation’s finest forests. Under the guidance of Brian Maas, the huskies pull with an amazing force through the trails. Look for the wildlife, including mule deer, porcupines, and even the occasional coyote. The hour-long tours provide the perfect opportunity for a pleasant ride and plenty of time for photos. Rates start at $110 on weekdays.


I'm ready to try the dogsledding. How about you?

Until next time.

Val Brown

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