Thursday, October 30, 2014

Your Best Turkey - Ever

No matter if you are hosting your first Thanksgiving dinner or your tenth, these practical tips should help you turn out a terrific turkey, for the pleasure of your family and friends - and your own certainly. 


Buy the Right Turkey - in the Right Size
Why not a heritage or organic? If you want to eat a healthy and delicious Turkey,  raised according to organic standards, and don't mind paying a little extra for it . They are for sure leaner and way more flavorful.  Fresh Turkey may not necessarily be better than frozen, which are snap-frozen immediately after butchering.  Frozen Turkeys are in fact fresher than “fresh” Turkey.  6 People will require ca. 8 - 10 lbs of Turkey (1 - 1 1/2 lbs per person). But leftovers are certainly appreciated too!

To Brine or not to Brine?
A lengthy article explains almost scientifically why or why not.     Just one sentence out of it:  “I don't brine my birds because I like my birds to taste like birds, not like watered-down birds. Salting your meat is nearly as effective at preventing moisture loss, and the flavor gains are noticeable.”  The whole tests can be found at the FoodLab of

Cook Your Turkey on a Rack
Use either a V-rack or create a natural roasting rack for your Turkey:  onions, carrots, parsnip and celery on the bottom of the roasting pan. Racks allow hot air circulation around the whole bird so that it will get crispy all over.  Veggis add great flavor to the gravy.

Keep the Stuffing Separate
A stuffed turkey will take longer to cook, which could dry out the white meat.  Loosely fill the Turkey with parsley, onions and lots of herbs, and cook the stuffing separately.

Truss (Tie) Your Turkey
It helps to cook the bird evenly, such as many professional cooks. While it's not a necessary step in cooking a terrific turkey, it can be fun to show off your culinary skills. Just tuck the wings of the turkey under the body and tie the legs together with kitchen string to create a tight package.

Rub the Turkey with Butter
Before putting it in the oven, make sure the skin of the turkey is as dry as possible, and then rub it all around with butter. For an even moister meat, place pats of butter under the skin.

Get a Good Meat Thermometer
Check by inserting an instant-read thermometer in the thickest part of the turkey around the thigh. At 165 degrees F, the bird is done. It will continue to cook as it rests, so the temperature should rise another 10 degrees or so out of the oven.  Now cover your Turkey loosely with foil and let it rest at least 15 minutes before preparing for the table. 

More detailed tips on Turkey-Cooking can be found here:

Enjoy!  Happy ThanksGiving



Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Computer Security: A Non-Brainer

Just a quick reminder ...  Been a victim of computer viruses, trojans or malware already? You wouldn't be the only one: banks, governments and big business all have been there.  If you are not, chances are high you could be, if not properly protected.  Here is the ugly truth about this epidemic of computer threats: 

Software Terrorists: Scams and Viruses
Explore more infographics like this one on the web's largest information design community - Visually.


Computer Security has a lot of meanings
Locking your computer room and your machine, protecting your log-in accounts with passwords, using file protection to keep your data from being destroyed or encrypting network communications lines for example. The least you can do, is to get a security software for your laptop or home computer. Emails saying you've already won money, pop-up ads that want you to click and claim a free prize. Online scams and viruses can not only put your computer at risk, but also your privacy, identity, and money.

Don't rely on free programs. 
Sure they are better than nothing, but to be on top of the computer scams and viruses software, specialists have to work hard and when they charge just a few dollars per months, this small change is worth it.  Computer security software creators are working very hard to catch up with the ever expanding threats of malicious attacks of cyber terrorists.


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

How Much Does it Cost to Ski in Europe



The German Online Magazine Spiegel just published Ski Pass prices in Euros for five countries of the Alpes.  If you book a ski and fly package, some of the Ski Pass prices might be lower and are already included, together with the flight and accommodation.  

I have been skiing at most of these places while living in Europe and can assure you: it is a lot of fun, temperatures (aside from January) are mostly very pleasant and the "Apres-Ski" is just fabulous: wine & dine, dancing, night-skiing, Sauna (very popular!) skating, half-pipe snowboarding, in- and outdoor swimming, snowshoeing, or just sitting by the fire place.

6-Day Ski Pass in Switzerland (CH), Austria (A), France (F), Italy (I) and Germany (D)

LandSkipassPreis (Euro) 2015Preis (Euro) 2014
CHZermatt-Val d'Aosta385367
CHEngadin St. Moritz304304
CHQatre Vallées-Verbier296296
FTrois Vallées283277
FLes Arcs/La Plagne277277
CHGstaad Superpass277246
IDolomiti Superski270262
AIschgl Silvretta265257
FVal d'Isère/Tignes260253
ASki 6 Austria259247
AKitzbüheler Alpen249241
ASalzburg Superski249241
F/CHPortes du Soleil242238
ASki Amadé234227
AZell am See-Kaprun232225
AWilder Kaiser225219
ATop Ski Kärnten222216
DAllgäu-T. Superschnee217213
A3 Täler Vorarlberg210201
ISestriere/Via Lattea190188
DVitales Land172166
DAlpen plus162156
DOberammergau (5 Tage)9696
Dok.: srt; Kurs EUR/CHF: 1,2
(Swiss Franks is 1,2 times the Euro)


Top Reasons for Booking a Cruise



There are many good Reasons for booking a cruise:

Multiple Destinations - Unpack Only Once
Your floating hotel takes you from port to port or from island to island and there’s no need to pack and unpack, or to mess with train or ferry schedules, or lug your heavy suitcase along with you. Evening suit / tie and beautiful gowns are no longer required. So pack lightly!

Great Value
Get value for your vacation dollar because cruise fares include a fantastic trip: great food, accommodations, daytime and evening entertainment and transportation between travel destinations. Many cruise lines offer all this under $100 per person, per night, which is much cheaper than you would spend on land for a hotel, dinner and a show. On some cruise lines, kids even sail free or at discounted rates when sharing a cabin with two adults.

Cruising is Social

If you love to meet people from around the country - and the world - cruising provides a wonderful opportunity to make new friends. On-board, you will meet people at your dinner table, at the piano bar, in the gym or pool-side.

Ships are Like Floating Cities
Cruise ships have everything you could possibly want on-board. Today's vessels are for example equipped with Wi-Fi, cell service and satellite TV so you can stay in touch with the world during your cruise (if you really want to).  On-board shops sell the toiletries you forgot to pack, medical centers can provide medications or a doctor's services if needed, and laundry facilities let you wash your clothes mid-cruise so you don't need to over-pack. Of course, there's also the fun stuff like gyms, multiple restaurants, movie screens, spas, swimming pools, theaters and discos.

Ships Offer a Variety of On-board Activities
Today's cruise ships are designed to keep everyone happy. Want to pamper yourself at the spa while your spouse hits the casino? Or lounge in the sun reading a book while your family plays basketball. You can go to an educational lecture, a wine tasting, a computer class or a dance workshop;

Cruise Ships are Family Friendly
Cruises are fun for all ages. You will have a vacation that your 5 to your 16-year-old will all love, and that has adult activities, too -- ships now have extensive kids' facilities, split by age.

Get Quiet Time and Places on a Cruise
If you can afford a balcony, get one. It becomes your own private refuge - and a wonderful place to sit and relax. You will also be able to find a number of quiet places on board during any cruise - certainly not the pool deck on days-at-sea, but in front of the long windows at a bar during the day, and a number of different decks, inside and out, where you will hardly ever see anyone.

Grand Turks Island


No Single Mosquito on Board!

What I love most on cruises: there is not a single mosquito on board!  Coming from Canada where you can only sit on your patio with a screen to keep these critters out, it is a pleasure to sit at night on your state room's balcony with the light on or a candle and read or watch the stars, without being bitten or having to spray yourself constantly.
So have lots of fun on your next cruise!

More Useful Links:
·         Insider Tips for an Amazing Caribbean Cruise
Caribbean Cruise Insider Tips
·         Hand luggage - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Hand Luggage Requirements for Various Airlines
·         Cruises - First Time Cruisers - Cruise Critic
Advice for first-time cruisers; how to pick a cabin, get a bargain, what to pack.

Dunn's Falls Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Useful Accessories for Any Trip, Not Only Cruises:

  • I love the Delsey Luggage Helium Aero Carry-On Spinner Trolley.  Fits in overhead bins of all major air carriers, and holds a lot of clothing. You can carry it on board of your cruise ship, ready to check-in right away.  No longer waiting for your luggage!
  • A charger is a must!  1,115 times a 5-Star review for the EASY ACCESS AKKU
  • Want to watch the Whales and Dolphins?  Or discover the islands before anyone else? A high-quality, light-weight binocular brings even more fun to your cruise!



Sunday, October 26, 2014

Free Entrance at the Best Museums in Paris

Paris is undoubtedly one of world’s cities with the most important museums of historical and contemporary art and architecture.  Not only the recently opened, eye-catching feats of modern architecture in the world, the Louis Vuitton art museum, but dozens of outstanding, world-wide known places enchant locals and visitors alike. 

Get your Paris Pass
Free Metro Travelcard & Entry to 60+ Attractions 
It’s your all-in-one package and will save you time, money and stress, providing you everything you need to discover Paris!  

Examples of Paris Pass Benefits:
Free Entry to The Louvre Museum with the Paris Pass.  Normal Entry Price: Adult: €12.00
Home to hundreds of thousands of classic and modern masterpieces, the Louvre is the icing on the cake of French culture and a testament to European art history – it’s not surprising that it’s also the most visited art gallery in the world!

Centre Pompidou   
The National Museum of Modern Art at the Centre Pompidou houses one of Europe's most important collections of contemporary art.

Musée d'Orsay  
The Musée d'Orsay's light, airy rooms guide you through three floors of amazing modern art, from Degas' ethereal dancers to Monet's water lilies, all the way to Gaugin's leafy jungles. Major works by Van Gogh, Delacroix, Manet, and others are shown too.

Museum of Modern Art of Paris - Picasso Museum   
Contemporary art buffs will enjoy a visit of the city of Paris' museum of modern art, created in 1961 and housed in the distinctive Palais de Tokyo. The terrace outside the palace allows a striking view of the Eiffel Tower.

Rodin Museum   
In addition to Rodin’s iconic works such "The Thinker", the museum hosts an extensive sculpture garden that's a true pleasure to explore.

Carnavalet Museum   
Pay a visit to the Carnavalet Museum. Housed within the walls of two Renaissance-era mansions, the Hotel de Carnavalet and the Hotel Le Peletier de Saint-Fargeau.  The Musee Carnavalet in Paris includes an ornate garden.

Musée du Luxembourg   
Situated on the stately grounds of the Luxembourg Gardens, this museum is one of Europe's oldest, and was opened in 1750 as France's first state-run collection of paintings.

Musee Jacquemart-André  
This is another lesser-known gem in the Paris arts scene that focuses on masterpieces in 18th century painting. 

Louis Vuitton Art Museum    
The hyper-modern ship-like museum building opened its doors on the edge of the Bois de Boulogne park, on Monday in a glitzy ceremony attended by French president François Hollande.
Designed by architect Frank Gehry, known for designing the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles and the Guggenheim Museum building in Bilbao, Spain, the striking structure boasts 12 glass sails which billow around the museum's main building - nicknamed 'the iceberg'.

There are certainly many more places for historical and modern art lovers to explore in Paris.  Which one is YOUR favored museum?



Saturday, October 25, 2014

UPS May Charge More for Last-Minute on Christmas


UPS said it may charge customers more money for last-minute delivery. “If it [a late surge] creates challenges and adds costs we would charge a premium,” said Chief Financial Officer Kurt Kuehn to Reuters.  But that’s not all. “If it puts our service at risk, we would have to deny,” he added.

If you remember last year - or if you were one of those who did not get a Christmas gift - a surge in online orders left two million express packages back in storages on Christmas Eve. This year, the company is doing its best to avoid that delivery nightmare.

55,000 Additional Workers
To meet the expected demand for the 2014 holiday season, UPS invested $500 million for infrastructure upgrades, including hiring up to 95,000 seasonal employees to “support the anticipated holiday surge,” according to a recent press release, while in 2013 the company hired only 55,000 additional workers.

What's more: UPS tests a new service called UPS Access Point in Chicago and New York locations to speed delivery and lower costs.  With this new feature, neighborhood grocery stores and convenience stores act as pick-up locations for packages when someone isn’t home at the time of delivery. UPS hopes to have the service available in over 4,400 stores by the end of 2015.

What YOU Can Do:
Make everything better this year. Start shopping today for your Christmas Gifts.  Be smart:  the selection is larger, prices are lower and you have for sure more time (and fun) than in December.  Save yourself the hassle and maybe additional expenses of shopping two days before you want to present the gift. 




Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Shakespeare and Company, Paris


Every writer has heard about this bookstore in Paris, some have even bunked there, lots of articles have been written, from Wikipedia to The Guardian, but the most interesting story can be found at several pages of the current issue of Vanity Fair magazine.

Twice the Same Name
It all started with the first store and library in 1919, named "Shakespeare and Company" by the founder Sylvia Beach, an American expatriate.  Her bookstore and lending library became a hangout for Lost Generation writers such as Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ezra Pound, and James Joyce, whose Ulysses was first published in its complete form by Sylvia Beach because authorities in Britain and America deemed it obscene. She closed up shop during the Nazi occupation and never re-opened.

New Bookstore in 1951
Years later, another American, George Whitman, opened the present store at 37 rue de la Bûcherie, near Place Saint-Michel, just steps from the Seine, Notre Dame and the Île de la Cité. 
The shop has become a popular tourist attraction, even Frank Sinatra bought books there, and was featured in the Richard Linklater film Before Sunset and in the Woody Allen film Midnight in ParisJacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Jacques Chirac were later customers too.  "Shakespeare and Company" and the late owner George Whitman have been the subject of Portrait of a Bookstore as an Old Man, a 2003 documentary film.

Famous Writers

Writers who logged time at the current "Shakespeare and Company", sometimes even sleeping there, include Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Henry Miller, Richard Wright, Langston Hughes, Lawrence Durrell, Anaïs Nin, James Jones, and Ray Bradbury.  
Sylvia Whitman, the founders daughter, continues to run the store in the same manner as her father, allowing young writers to live and work there. 
Nathan Englander, the American novelist, was even married here in 2012.  Do read the companys "Le Blog" about current events.

Characterizations by Writers
  • C. J. Flood, a British writer whose first young-adult novel was published earlier this year: “I didn’t get as much writing done during my time there as I intended, but I certainly felt like a writer.”
  • Dave Eggers:  “an absurd place—almost down to the last crooked corner and narrow staircase, it was the bookstore of my dreams.”
  • Ethan Hawke: “It is definitely Dionysus’s favorite bookstore.” 

What a Personality!
Lots of fun to read in Vanity Fair about the life of the late George Whitman, such as when he saved a writer who ran from the Riot Police in Paris after a demonstration, or how he arrived in Paris after serving during the war as a medic in Greenland. Whitman came to Paris in 1946 to study at the Sorbonne on the G.I. Bill, and used his G.I. book vouchers to start a lending library, but also started selling books.  When he opened the Shakespeare and Company bookstore he mentioned to his parents: "a niche where I can safely look upon the world’s horror and beauty.”
A MUST When Visiting Paris
After reading the Vanity Fair feature In a Bookstore in Paris, about George Whitman and his literature obsession, you might as well buy a ticket to fly over and visit "Shakespeare and Company".  For sure more fun than ordering e-books online.