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You Can Live Under a Literal Rock During Election Week is giving one lucky person the chance to book an underground cave vacation rental this election week.

Between the pandemic, murder hornets, swarms of locusts, and a U.S. presidential election, 2020 has been intense, and we don’t blame you for wanting to get away from it all. This election season, wants you to live under a rock — literally — to relieve any stress.

After casting your ballot — by mail, absentee, or early voting — in the 2020 election, take an off-the-grid trip to this man-made cave built 50 feet below ground. From Nov. 2 to 7, enjoy five nights of stress-free isolation as you relax in these rustic underground accommodations in New Mexico. Plus, the entire five-night stay will cost just $25 for the lucky traveler who snags this once-in-a-lifetime booking. The booking will go live on the Under a Rock website on Friday, Oct. 9, at 9 a.m. ET, so be sure to have your laptop ready if you hope to score this deal.


Why You Should Always Mail Yourself a Postcard When Traveling

I mail one to myself on every trip I take, and they're among my most treasured possessions.


To most, sending postcards is an old-fashioned, outdated way of keeping in touch — what’s the point when you can just post on Facebook and rake in the likes from everyone you know (and their mother)?

When I send a postcard to a loved one, their (texted) response is usually something along the lines of, “Wow, thanks! I haven’t gotten a postcard in forever!” And when I admit to others that I’m an avid postcard sender, people usually tilt their heads and ask, “They still sell postcards?”

But when I add that I also write a postcard to myself and mail it home from wherever I am in the world, as a way to record memories and experiences from my travels, their eyes light up — the most common response I get to that is,“Brilliant! Why have I never thought of that before?”

Below I’ll share why I always mail myself a postcard on my travels — and why you should adopt this trip ritual, too.

It’s an enriching travel experience you can do anywhere in the world.

Finding and mailing a postcard from anywhere I am in the world has led me on some interesting adventures and always provides a taste of the mundane (read: authentic) side of local life.

I’ve bought stamps from a newsstand in Hungary; begged our tour guide in Brazil to mail my postcard for me after I forgot to do so until the airport; ventured into post offices in Italy, Hong Kong, and South Korea looking confused enough to make the locals around me chuckle to themselves as I tried to figure out the proper line to stand in.

Postcards are an easy-to-find, super-cheap “souvenir” available pretty much everywhere around the world. You always learn a bit about the postal system in foreign countries, too, for better or worse — mailing postcards from around the world has certainly deepened my appreciation for the U.S. Postal Service.

It helps you remember special details of a trip in a tangible way.

In today’s digital world, having something you can hold in your hands imbues the object with meaning. That’s another reason why mailing postcards to myself has quickly become one of my favorite travel traditions — my husband and I have a postcard from our St. Lucia honeymoon in 2014 (though we sadly lost the camera memory card from our trip), lots of fun ones from our adventures backpacking Europe in 2015, and even a postcard from our first post-lockdown trip to St. Croix in June, already a watershed period of history.

You know that question about what you’d grab in a fire, if your house was burning down? Our collection of postcards mailed from around the world would be one of the first items in my arms.

Writing down fun trip snippets on a postcard helps you to remember where you went, when, and what you did there. My postcards always contain a few elements, for consistency: the location (usually incorporated into the design of the postcard), the dates I visited, and a few standout activities or experiences from the trip.

It’s a quick way to preserve memories from your trip.

While many recommend journaling throughout a trip, it can be time-consuming.

to sit down and recount the day’s happenings, and you definitely don’t want to turn down an opportunity to meet up with new friends or squeeze in another tour just to allow for enough time to jot down your thoughts and experiences while traveling.

Instead, sum it up on a tiny square and send it off — kinda like a Tweet, but no Wi-Fi required.

It’s the perfect collectible souvenir.

Knick-knacks like tchotchke magnets and T-shirts are cool, but they take up a lot of space and can’t really be considered timeless — they mostly just collect dust.

Instead, opt for a “collectible” souvenir that not only preserves your memories of a trip, but simultaneously captures a moment in history. Postcards you send home not only arrive with whatever you’ve written, but also cool stamps and postmarks from around the world, usually with the date included in the postmark, too.

You can pick a postcard design that captures the spirit of the location for you — and if that includes art by a local artist, even better.

Plus, postcards are always a fun surprise to find in your mailbox upon returning home — even if they take weeks to arrive. Yet, remarkably, every postcard I’ve mailed from overseas has eventually arrived to me (pro tip: don’t forget to add USA to the end of your address).

It’s easy to share with family and friends — and pass down as an heirloom.

One of the best parts of traveling is sharing your experiences with the ones you love — but as any serial traveler knows, people who weren’t there with you have a pretty limited attention span as you scroll through photo after photo in your camera roll.

Instead, put together a more engaging way to reminisce on your adventures: display your postcard collection from around the world in a photo album, which interested parties can page through at their leisure to get a more tangible peek at the places you’ve gone. It’s both a keepsake and a great conversation starter.

Best of all, this album becomes a time capsule of sorts, an heirloom to pass down. Imagine if your great-grandfather had a 100-year-old collection of postcards preserved from his adventures around the world, which you could now peruse — mementos from when Thailand was called Siam, or when West and East Germany had differing postmarks, or when Sikkim and Yugoslavia were countries.

Such a collection would be quite the family treasure — so why not start now on a gift like that for your own descendants?


I have been talking alot about AirFryer Cooking lately-I like it.

This is what mine looks like and no, I haven't made fries with it yet. This is a Farberware AirFryer and it will feed 1-2 people. Though it has a small capacity-it's the perfect size for me. I love it, I make chicken wings in it, egg rolls, reheat pizza, stuffed jalapeno peppers, & burgers. I clean it after each use in the dishwaser, but it is usually so mess free, if my hot water heated up faster, I would just do it in the sink. There is very little muss or fuss with and very little clean-up. Keep in mind, it looks small in the photo, but it does take up a big part of my counter-which is fine, I use it almost every day.

On the minus size, my son got one and ended up giving his away. He did not get enough use out of it. Whereas they now own an Instant Pot and they use that almost every day. I have no need for an Instant Pot.

For growing families with bigger food needs, there are numerous Air Fryers I can recommend. They will take the place of having a hot oven on during the summer, your toaster oven, rotisserie and your dried food dehydrator But because the AirFryers can do so much, it also takes up a lot of counter space-things to consider when upgrading.

The one I can recommend is the Emeril La Gasse Air Fryer:

Now if you do decide to get one of the above and you click on the above link, I may be paid as an Amazon Affiliate a small commission.


5 Makeup Tips For Older Women


  • 1.Use Cream-based Cosmetics on your face (not powdered-based). Powder adds textures to skin that already has developed texture.

  • 2. Find a tone of lipstick that matches your inner gums.

  • 3. Don't recreate the brows you had in your 20s. Women older than 50 tend to lose definition in their eyebrows. Just go with that.

  • 4. Do not wear any eye shadow at all. Especially no contour in the crease because it gives the appearance of deepening the crease. A little mascara is OK.

  • 5. Tinted Moisturizers don't work. If you're going to use a foundation to even out skin tone, find one that gives coverage but doesn't add texture.


Double Testing Catches False Positives: Why You Shouldn't Panic Over COVID-19 Test Result News-Cruise News!

A dozen suspected cases of COVID-19 aboard TUI Cruises' Mein Schiff 6 have turned out to be false positives, following a second round of tests conducted in the Greek port of Piraeus.

It's the latest in a series of incidents on cruise ships that have drawn initial screaming headlines, with no real threat to passengers onboard. It also shows that the screening protocols that the lines are putting in place are working, while also underscoring the need for multiple or rapid response tests, particularly for crew members who are generally in closer quarters than passengers.

In this week's case on Mein Schiff 6, 12 crewmembers aboard the ship had tested positive for COVID-19, following tests conducted in a shoreside facility. TUI re-tested the crewmembers three times, including two PCR tests and one antigen test. Greek authorities confirmed today that all 12 crew members were negative for the presence of COVID-19.

With no COVID-19 cases aboard the ship, the vessel is due to sail from Piraeus and resume its Mediterranean cruise itinerary.

Other notable cases of false positives took place this summer as cruising has resumed. A false positive on UnCruise Adventures' only Alaskan voyage to restart ended up causing the line to jettison its season. When MSC made its restart, the initial antigen COVID-19 test given to passengers in the terminal turned up some positive tests, which were later found to be negative by a subsequent PCR test. Passengers were able to rebook on the next week's cruise.

It goes to show that when an initial report of a COVID-19 case takes place, it's not necessarily cause for alarm.

By law, any and all presumptive cases of COVID-19 must be reported to the relevant authorities. That public disclosure leads to shocking and often worrying articles revealing outbreaks among crew on cruises that have restarted in Europe.The most disturbing outbreak came aboard Hurtigruten's Roald Amundsen, when the line's failure to follow its own advertised health guidelines caused at least 62 passengers and crew to contract the disease. Other COVID-positive cases have generally involved a single passenger, with no community spread. This is what happened on Paul Gauguin in late July, when a single passenger forced the first voyage back out to be scrapped. SeaDream I in Norway had a similar occurrence, when a passenger returning home to Denmark from a previous voyage tested positive. On both ships, the other passengers and crew immediately underwent testing and quarantine. No one else onboard was found to have COVID-19.Quick action on the part of the cruise lines is crucial to keep the virus from spreading. On TUI's Mein Schiff 6, the cruise line received positive test results from 12 crewmembers from an external laboratory Monday morning. To rule out the presence of COVID-19, shipboard staff immediately isolated all 12 crew members and utilized the rapid PCR testing available onboard the vessel.By the end of the day, half the results had already come back negative. On Tuesday, the remaining six also were revealed to be negative. The Greek authorities confirmed the line's findings."The safety of the guests, the crew, but also the Greek population is the top priority for TUI Cruises," company CEO Wybcke Meier said. "I would like to thank all the responsible authorities for their good and professional cooperation in connection with the unclear test results on board Mein Schiff 6, and I am pleased that the voyage can be continued for all guests tomorrow with shore excursions in Piraeus."Health and Safety Policies That Work.

In the instances of all these lines, health and safety protocols worked as designed. These procedures, which include quarantine measures for crew members, multiple rounds of COVID-19 testing, mask wearing and social distancing, among others, are designed to catch and prevent the virus spread.Due to MSC's success, other cruise lines have adopted the double testing method before boarding. Costa Cruises has instituted the same protocols, with AIDA to follow in November. SeaDream has also said that it will use dockside COVID-19 testing when it starts its Caribbean season.Rapid testing would have rebutted the false positive that UnCruise experienced on its only sailing to Alaska. The passenger had tested negative for COVID-19 at home but then received a positive result from a test conducted at Juneau airport. Unfortunately, the passenger was onboard by that point, and the ship had to turn around.It was later determined following tests onboard and on-shore that the guest did not have COVID-19.COVID-19 Positive Cases Will Be A Part of Cruising.

In the Healthy Sail Report released by Royal Caribbean Group and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, the panel concluded that risk of COVID-19 can never be fully eliminated. Instead, the risk of COVID-19 has to be mitigated through the use of several stages and techniques of risk mitigation."An important principle underlying our effort was to create multiple layers of prevention," notes the report. "Both early detection of infected individuals and risk mitigation strategies are needed in order to reduce the risk of an outbreak. No single measure is sufficient, but all should be interconnected with other measures."Aggressive measures to minimize or prevent SARS-CoV-2 from entering a ship are the single most important step that can be taken to reduce risk of an outbreak on board."Cruising, much like airlines, hotels, church gatherings or any large public place, might at some point have COVID-19 outbreaks. Because cruise lines are required to report this to the relevant authorities, it will make the news cycle in a way that similar outbreaks in other modes of transport might not.But that doesn't mean that cruising is inherently unsafe or that the presence of COVID-19 is guaranteed. It means there have been presumptive cases onboard, and further testing and isolation protocols will be put in place."It is important to minimize consequences if the virus is identified on board through proper contact tracing and quarantine/isolation procedures to stop transmission and prevent an outbreak," notes the Healthy Sail Panel.  "The ultimate measure of success will be having robust protocols that are faithfully implemented and improved upon over time to prevent outbreaks and negative outcomes."In the case of Mein Schiff 6, the vessel was able to put into port, complete the tests, verify the negative result with Greek authorities and carry on its way. The 922 passengers and 666 crew members were able to go about their days normally after that.These interruptions are no doubt worrisome, but following the proper procedures makes cruising safer for everyone, passengers and crew alike.




Broadway Will Remain Dark Until at Least June 2021

Some shows are moving their opening dates to 2022.

The shutdown of Broadway theaters in New York City will now be in place for more than a full year.

The Broadway League announced Friday that performances will now be suspended through May 30, 2021, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Theaters in the city have been dark since March 12, 2020. Theatergoers holding tickets through that date should contact their point of purchase for details about exchanges and refunds.

Per the league, dates for returning and new shows will be announced on an individual basis as those productions determine their respective performance schedules.

“With nearly 97,000 workers who rely on Broadway for their livelihood and an annual economic impact of $14.8 billion to the city, our membership is committed to re-opening as soon as conditions permit us to do so. We are working tirelessly with multiple partners on sustaining the industry once we raise our curtains again,” Charlotte St. Martin, President of the Broadway League, said in a statement Friday.

When performances were suspended in March, 31 productions were running, including eight new shows in previews. Additionally, eight productions were in rehearsals preparing to open in the spring. Stagings of Martin McDonagh's Hangmen, a Laurie-Metcalf led production of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, and Disney's Frozen musical opted to close permanently in the wake of the shutdown, while others like Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster's revival of The Music Manand plays like The Minutes and American Buffalo, had announced reopening dates for spring 2021, plans that will now have to be revamped. (Indeed, The Music Man postponed its opening night to Feb. 10, 2022 after Friday's announcement, and the Michael Jackson musical MJ moved to September 2021.)

All of this is so sad. I miss Broadway and the live shows. Those poor people have been out of work for so long. My heart goes out to them.


And finally, Deal of the Day-grab it while it's available-9 day Mississippi Cruise for $899.00 per person from It includes a 7 night cruise and one night hotel before the cruise. Available dates are Jan 17, 24, 31 or Feb 7, 2021. Starting from New Orleans or Memphis, but this is subject to availability and must be booked by October 28th. Contact the cruise line directly 888-749-5286 option 3 and tell them you want the 2020 October TravelZoo. I am either going on Jan 31 or Feb 7, not sure which date yet.

Val Brown

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