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  • Aitutaki, Cook Islands

    Aitutaki translates to ‘a little paradise’ which is what it is. It is home to 1800 charming people and is considered one of the most beautiful lagoons in the world. Aitutaki is a secluded sun-kissed lagoon that is home to 15 motus or islets; one of the best tourist destinations in the world. The island, which is part of the Cook Islands, has many things to offer; some of the best are covered in this article. 

    First things first; it is a stunning lagoon that has much to offer in terms of marine life. There is a brimming population of marine life making it a South Pacific treasure. Maina or ‘Little Girl’ is the best place to go snorkeling while in Aitutaki; it is also home to the red-tail tropicbird which is treasured for its red crimson feathers. 

    The second wonderful thing you can expect from Aitutaki is a delightful coconut cake, sweet fruit smoothies, and lovely afternoon teas. These can all be found at Tauono’s Garden Café; a charming garden café run by one-time Canadian-Austrian Sonja and her occasional team of travelers and WWOOFers (Willing Workers on Organic Farms). The best thing about this place is that all the food is organic and made from freshly-picked ingredients in the onsite garden. 

    Speaking of food, the Flying Boat Beach Bar & Grill is another place you should visit for great cuisine. It is a daytime restaurant that is open to outsiders that offers more than great food. It has one of the most stunning locations; near the horizon on an above-water deck, so you will go for the food but stay for the view. My friend who owns a catering company was impressed with the service here. If that says anything, it means you should really check it out!

    The Tamanu Beachfront is home to the Tamanu Beach Hotel; a breezy, thatched-roof, open-sided restaurant that is always open to outsiders. Here, you will enjoy the stunning view, a beautiful sand beach, and a chance to dine on Pacific-style fresh fish, great salads and other local dishes; all in the warmth of the sunset. 

    If you like outdoor activities that challenge your body but still keep the focus on fun, then the 30-minute hike to the top of Maungapu (124m) will be a wonderful experience. It is the highest peak in Aitutaki that will provide you with a magnificent view of the whole atoll and deep blue lagoon. The track will start you off gently then gradually become more challenging; in the end, the view is worth every step. 

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  • Factors to Consider Before You Renovate

    home renovation

    A newly renovated place provides an exciting feel of living in a brand new home without spending a fortune. Though home renovation could be a breath of fresh air, there is a risk that things may not go as you plan. Before getting a new look for your home, it is essential to ask yourself why you want to remodel your home and how you want your home to look? 

    So, before you start the process, here are some crucial factors to consider before you renovate your home.

    Decide Your Purpose Behind Renovation

    Have you decided to renovate because you need a change? Or do you need your home to be modernized with the trend? It is always best to define what you are looking for and why? You need to understand the fact that your requirements may change over the subsequent years. Hence, think of what you may necessitate for the long term. 

    Estimate And Plan Out Your Budget

    Before starting the renovation process, it is crucial to estimate the expenses related to it. You have to be sure that you don’t overshoot your budget and manage everything under the estimated cost. Keep a check over the expenses from the beginning. First, it will save money. And second, it will ensure that you don’t get anything beyond your requirement. 

    Do Some Research 

    Talk to your friends or relatives who have renovated their homes. As the renovation process could be emotional, it’s better to learn what you can expect in the coming days. You can also research for ideas and inspiration for renovating your place. Design magazines and blogs could be great sources to explore new designs. Otherwise, you can hire an interior designer for the same.

    Consult The Experts

    Whether you plan to renovate your place by yourself or hire someone, you shouldn’t forget to contact the local council to know about any regulations. It is best to have clear expectations in your mind. And ensure that you can implement those expectations in the space that you have. Hence, you can reach out to building inspectors and experienced builders for guidance.

    Look For The Right Contractor

    It is not that easy to find the right contractor, but you can ask your friends and relatives for referrals. It is essential to ensure that the contractor you are working with is fully insured and is state-licensed. Find a contractor who has a good track record for the quality of work and a history of completing projects successfully.

    Follow The Whole Renovation Process

    Even though your contractor asks you to visit your place once a week, make sure that you visit the site as many times as possible. Your presence is crucial to make sure that the process is going on as per your expectations. You can avoid mistakes and get everything done according to your expectations by visiting the site regularly. 

    There might be different reasons for which people renovate their homes. But at the end of the day, everything gets magically transformed into your dream place. By keeping the above simple factors in mind, you can get the home of your dream.…

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  • Should You Consider A Will Before You Renovate

    renovation

    If you own a house and are planning to renovate it, there are several steps involved. But one of the most crucial steps that shouldn’t skip your mind is creating a will. Having a will is something that you should preferably do to ensure that your property goes into the right hands after you. A will also protect your family legally and ensure that your ones get what belongs to them rightfully. Here is a step-by-step guide for you to consider a will and create one.

    Organize All Your Assets

    The first step you should take is to examine all your assets and properties and make sure that you don’t leave anything. For this process, you can also seek help from an estate lawyer. He will help you to evaluate your assets and suggest the most efficient way to distribute the assets. An estate lawyer will also consider things like renovations and their effects on your property. If your assets are not much complicated, you can easily specify the distribution and declare who would receive everything after you. 

    Divide Your Debt

    You have to ensure that your family doesn’t get burdened with debt after you pass away. Hence, you need to understand how the process works. Normally, any kind of loan is paid by using your assets or possessions. But the enforcer may also pay off your debt from the life insurance policy amount. If the debt can’t be paid by insurance or estate, then it can be paid by the people who guaranteed the debt, or the co-owner of the assets. Hence, you must discuss your debts and finances with your family members and let them know how they will proceed after you pass away.

    Protect Your Will From Objections

    Your family may have to go through so many inconveniences if your will is not properly executed after you pass away. Let your lawyer assist you in drafting a will in the presence of witnesses that don’t belong to your family.

    To protect your will from challenges, put your decisions clearly in front of your family and explain to them your reasons. Once you have talked to your family and they are convinced, then possibly they won’t cause any problems.

    Get Rid Of Influences

    While drafting your will, don’t allow any of your family members to influence your decision. Before drafting the final will, you should discuss it only with your lawyers. Also, ensure that you’re sound and mentally competent while your will is being drafted. If necessary, let a doctor test you before signing the will. You can also record the whole process on camera.

    No matter if you live in an apartment or a bungalow, having a will is something that shouldn’t be ignored. Even if you are planning the renovation of your house, a will helps you to organize everything. In this way, you can learn about the process to ensure that your assets go to the ones you want. Also, your legacy will be protected by your loved ones.…

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  • Day Trips around Paris

    louvre

    Paris is home to rich local culture. Visitors may never get tired of all the excitement that the lively city has to offer. However, in this guide, we will be looking at 5 day trips that you can embark on away from the city. Get ready to learn about Chantilly, Fontainebleau, Lille, Reims, and Versailles!

    Chantilly

    Do you know that a Château is a manor house in France? If you didn’t, well now you do. Thankfully, you will be able to see one that is worth exploring in Chantilly—the Château de Chantilly. You can take a walk around its remarkable gardens, large stables, and then inside the luxurious building itself. The gardens were planted by Le Nôtre, the famous French gardener. 

    Before you leave the town, you may want to check its culturally significant race course. The horses are also one of the features that gives Chantilly its prestige. You could get to the town from Paris in just 25 minutes by rail.

    Fontainebleau

    Getting to Fontainebleau by rail may take 48 minutes from Paris. This distance would be worth covering the moment you set your eyes on the Château de Fontainebleau. From visiting the palace, you can also decide to wine and dine at places like the popular L’Axel restaurant. If you are into rock climbing or bouldering, then the town’s fantastic forest may pique your interest too.

    Lille

    It is a fact that Lille is called the European Capital of Culture. From this, you will start to get interested in what the France-Belgium border city has to offer. To get there from Paris, you may need to take a 1 hour-30 minute journey by rail.

    Tourists will enjoy the Flemish-rich architecture and other influences during their visit. It has a university town with its bustle of students and residents, as well as the ancient town of Vieux Lille with its captivating restored red-brick buildings.

    Reims

    Visitors will enjoy seeing evidence of Roman history here. You would be able to visit a good number of UNESCO World Heritage sites in this location, including the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Reims. By road, it may take roughly 1 hour and 30 minutes to make this journey from Paris.

    Versailles

    When you are thinking about taking a trip around Paris, you should consider visiting Versailles. It may take just 30 minutes to get there by rail from Paris. You will get to experience ancient history with the area’s magnificent structures.

    Not only is this location one of France’s most popular destinations, it is also home to the Palace of Versailles (one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country). This also includes the court of Louis XIV. Dining at the local restaurants would be a wonderful treat too.

    You may want to check other day trips apart from the ones given in this guide. Notable among them are Chartres (e.g. the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Chartres), Normandy (e.g. Mont Saint-Michel and the Normandy D-day Battlefields and Landing Beaches), Maincy (e.g. Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte), etc. It’s all about appreciating history and culture.…

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  • Top Michelin Restaurants in the World

    chef plating food

    Michelin restaurants are the best in fine dining globally. Every other fine dining restaurant aspires to hold the prestigious three Michelin stars by being innovative and creative with the meals they serve.

    If you love good food, and you are a regular fine dining customer, you should visit some of these places to see (and taste) things for yourself. The list below contains a selection of 5 of the world’s top Michelin restaurants.

    Central

    Central is located in Lima, Peru. It is known for its high level of innovation in using ingredients that are gotten from within the country to produce delightful flavors. 

    Why is Central so special? One reason is that it has a 17-course taster menu that can take your taste buds to paradise. The menu reflects Peruvian culture extensively, as well as the chef’s (Virgilio Martínez Véliz) love for his roots.

    Bon-Bon

    This fine dining restaurant is located in Brussels, Belgium. It promises to give you some of the best culinary treats you will ever have in your life. You will wonder how much thought was put into Bon-Bon’s magnificent interior and exterior the moment you step in.

    The restaurateurs (Christophe and Stephanie Hardiquest) have managed to ensure that most of the ingredients used are bio-organic. You will be getting everything from special international culinary delights to meals that offer original Belgian flavors.

    Atelier Crenn

    This is a French-owned Michelin restaurant in the United States that has proven itself in terms of being the top fine dining place among about 90 Michelin restaurants in California. Now, it is among the best worldwide.

    Atelier Crenn is known for its meal presentations that can only be described as amazingly artistic. Tasting is believing, but you will not be disappointed in that area either. It is worthy to note that this is the only restaurant that is run by a woman (Dominique Crenn) to have earned 3 Michelin stars in the US.

    Le Bernadin

    In New York, United States, there is one Michelin restaurant that stands out—Le Bernadin. This Manhattan (New York City) restaurant is known for its impressive seafood menu. It is a very successful restaurant that owes its high ratings to a selection of luscious meals which are inspired by Asian and Greek cuisines that are enriched with its original French flavors.

    Mirazur

    Mirazur gives guests a remarkable view of the Mediterranean and a mountain area while they enjoy their meals. Who wouldn’t want to have such an experience? Feasting your eyes on your marvelous surroundings, while you eat some of the best French meals in the world.

    You should check out this restaurant based in Menton, France. Another fascinating fact about this place is that it is run by an Italian-Argentinian chef (Mauro Colagreco). His signature dishes include some vegetarian delights.

    The best-tasting meals in the world await your taste buds. You will surely be getting value for your money right from the moment you step into any of the restaurants described in the list. Some of them can be among your options for a romantic rendezvous.…

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  • Filipino Street Foods Guide

    The Philippines is not as iconic for street food as its neighboring countries Hong Kong and Bangkok are. Filipino street snacks are a must-try for intrepid foreign visitors!

    Isaw — is charred pork or chicken gut on a skewer, is among the most highly regarded street foods in the Philippines. Every local has a personal opinion. With pork isaw being marginally larger and firmer than chicken isaw, the lightly seared meat is full of flavor. Flavoring with vinegar has been one of the smartest ways about consuming Isaw. Most individuals prefer to drench their isaw in chili onion vinegar and then let as much vinegar as possible be absorbed. It is especially gratifying to contrast the smoky isaw with vinegar.

    Mango-on-a-stick —You can think of it as the Filipino take on a caramel apple, except that it’s a green mango instead of an apple, and it’s spicy shrimp paste instead of caramel. And it’s one of the best things for me that you could always eat on the streets of Manila.

    Usually, they choose Indian mangoes which are split from the seed, threaded onto skewers, with a good spread of shrimp paste. Although the shrimp paste is salty and fishy and a little spicy, the mango is crispy and very sour, producing the perfect blend of texture and flavor.

    Taho —For a sweet and filling snack or dessert, another well-loved classic from the streets is taho, which is silken tofu mixed with arnibal and sago pearls. It’s common to see (and hear) taho purveyors in the morning and early afternoon on the sidewalks, so sample a cup of the relatively healthy bite when you spot one. Some use a spoon to eat it, while others choose to use a straw or even drink it straight from the cup.

    Banana Q and Camote Q — A basic snack consisting of skewered bananas wrapped in caramelized brown sugar is Banana q, also referred to as banana cue. It is also marketed along with kamote q which is prepared using sweet potatoes (Kamote) in the same way. These are two of the most abundant snacks that you should indulge in the streets.

    Fish, Chicken, Squid Balls — Most Filipinos who go out for a swift fix in the afternoon settle for deep-fried balls made up of fish, chicken, and squid. It’s a popular food item throughout Asia. It’s primarily made out of flour, and yet these bite-sized orbs are perfect snacks on-the-go when soaked in sweet and sour sauce or vinegar.

    Kwek-Kwek — Not only are these bright orange eggs gaze-catching but delectably appetizing, too. When you boil a quail’s egg, Kwek-Kwek is what you’ll get, then drop it in a mixture and deep-fry until the surface is nicely browned And crispy. Before consuming, Kwek-Kwek is commonly submerged in vinegar, like most Filipino street food.

    Helmet and Adidas — In coming up with names for their favorite items, like street food, Filipinos can be very imaginative. Helmet corresponds to chicken head, while chicken feet are Adidas, and yes, in the Philippines, both are charred to delicious perfection! With delicacies like Walkman (pig ears) and Betamax (cubed chicken or pork blood), you’ll find that no animal parts are wasted in the Philippines.

    Sorbetes — Sorbetes are Philippine-made ice cream and are typically served on wafer cones, sugar cones, or even bread sometimes. In the mornings and afternoons, street vendors usually wander the streets, peddling the Filipino favorite that local people jokingly call “dirty ice cream.”

    There are some incredible must-eat street food snacks in the Philippines, from smoky grilled chicken intestines dunked in vinegar to Filipino balut to sweet banana turon. And one of the most unforgettable aspects of eating street food in the Philippines, apart from the food, is the exceptionally nice people you will encounter when you eat! So, which Pinoy street food Are you thrilled to try…

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