If you’re interested in providing relief to those affected by the massive Australian Bushfire, here are some organizations that could use your support:
The Kangaroo Island Mayors Bushfire Appeal Fund: Accepting donations on GoFundMe to help rebuild homes and businesses lost in the fires.
Hanson Bay Wildlife and Koala Sanctuary: Donations will go towards rebuilding koala habitats.
Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park: Currently treating injured animals. Donations will help with veterinary costs, koala milk and supplements, extra holding/rehabilitation enclosures.
County Fire Service Foundation: Helps the families of volunteer firefighters who have been injured or lost their homes or lives while battling the blazes.
Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund: The Australian Red Cross is accepting monetary donations along with contributions of clothing and small home items to sell as a fundraiser. They’re also accepting volunteers.
Nick Molle – Filmmaker, Adventurer, Conservationist
Colleen & Catie’s Picks for Winter Weather Getaways
Destination: Tucson, Arizona
Weather in Winter: Avg. High is 66 degrees, low is 42 degrees. Winter (Nov–Apr) is sunny, mild.
Accommodations: White Stallion Ranch (25 min from downtown Tucson)
Charming informal ranch gives a true feeling of the old west.
Made up of 3,000 unspoiled acres, located at the foot of the ruggedly beautiful Tucson Mountains.
Located right beside Saguaro National Park West
Great for families – Good way to bond!
Ranch Privately owned by the True Family for over 50 years
Ranch has 43 rooms, and every guest room has more than one bed. No TVs, encouraging kids to hang out together.
Dining: Ranch Cookout at White Stallion Ranch
White Stallion Ranch does all the cooking for you.
They offer a variety of meal options to please most everyone, using the freshest, quality ingredients.
All meals and snacks are included in their full American Plan nightly rates
Their Bed & Breakfast rates ONLY include Breakfast as a full meal.
Breakfast includes a cooked-to-order menu as well as an extensive continental buffet.
Daily lunch buffet allows you to dine inside or on the patio with a selection of two entrees, several side dishes and salads, a salad and a sandwich bar.
Dinner is often a buffet with the main entrees grilled outdoors with a choice of two entrees and a variety of side dishes. Delicious dessert options vary nightly.
Snacks are always available, including fresh fruit, chips and salsa, peanuts and their famous homemade trail mix.
Coffee, cappuccino, hot chocolate, hot and cold teas and lemonade are available all day.
At White Stallion:
Cookouts, breakfast rides, steak barbecues, hayrides, rodeos, a heated pool, a hot tub, tennis courts, volleyball, horseshoes, billiards, a petting zoo and a full bar.
Team building – Learn techniques during the stay, then compete in a “friendly” competition with your family.
You even get a horse, take care of the same one during your whole stay
Tucson Bike Tours – Guided bike tours that offer the best of historic and revitalized Tucson.
From old barrios to modern art.
Safe for riders of all abilities.
9 to 11 miles (2½ hours) – $60
Book ahead at www.tucsonbiketours.com
Museum – The Pima Air & Space Museum
The third largest aviation museum in the world.
Tickets can be bought as one day or two day passes
ONE DAY – $13.75 for kids/$16.50 for adults
TWO DAY – $18.75 for kids/$22 for adults
Visit www.pimaair.org for more info
Book early – Winter is the peak travel travel time for Tucson, which means prices can go up quickly and rooms can book up. We recommend booking before Thanksgiving for a winter getaway to Tucson.
Dress in layers – While it’s often warm and sunny during the day, it can get cold at night.
Destination: Clearwater, Florida – Located on Florida’s Gulf Coast
Weather in Winter: Low 70’s and high 60’s but it felt warmer to us.
Accommodations: Sand Pearl is our favorite located on the water in Clearwater.
Dining: Guppy’s – Warm, mellow hangout near the beach focuses on eclectic, upscale seafood dishes & small plates, in Indian Rocks Beach, FL right next to Clearwater.
Clearwater is a city in Florida’s Tampa Bay area known for sunny weather and gulf coast beaches. Clearwater Beach, on a barrier island, is a 3-mile stretch of white sand backed by hotels and restaurants.
At the city’s Spectrum Field, the Phillies pro baseball team plays spring training games.
Check out Clearwater Marine Aquarium, where you can meet winter, the famous dolphin with the prosthetic tail, as well as other rescued dolphins, sea turtles, and marine life.
Kids of all ages – and more than a few adults, too – will enjoy the bumper boats and other rides and games at Celebration Station Amusement Park
Check out fun events at Sunsets at Pier 60 daily festival.
Clearwater’s main attraction is its perfect beach, named #1 in the U.S. on TripAdvisor’s list of Top Beaches for 2019, 2018 and 2016.
Rent a cabana or beach chair and beach umbrella from a local vendor (simply choose which one you want, settle down and wait for an attendant to come by for payment), or walk toward the more residential north side of the beach for a little serenity away from the bustling scene of Pier 60 and Clearwater Marina.
Take advantage of free parking in downtown Clearwater, then hop on the Clearwater Ferry for a traffic-free ride to the beach.
Special Deals: It’s a good time to book at the beach in January. They run specials all month. For your hotel, request an ocean room too.
Tips: We flew into the Tampa airport. Be prepared to take multiple trams to get your rental car. It’s a little confusing. If you need a wheelchair book in advance when you book your ticket.
“What’s” with the “Trip Sisters”
What’s in Your Suitcase?
Sparkling Ice – Mix your own drinks + copper wine tumbler
Sparkling Ice flavored is a delicious no-sugar alternative to traditional sodas and mixers, and with this fun set, you can bring the bar to you – no guilt added! It comes with sparkling flavored water (Cranberry Frost is currently available for a limited time), mini vodka bottles, a copper wine tumbler, and a recipe card to mix your own drink. Pour contents over fresh ice into the rock glass. Garnish with a sprig and orange slice, stir, and Enjoy!
What’s on your phone?
Weather Underground – Free for Android or iOS https://www.wunderground.com/download
Powered by a network of 200,000+ weather stations this is one of the best hyper-local weather services for forecasts and current conditions. The interface, which is compatible with the Apple Watch app, is well designed and easy to read. You can get hour-by-hour weather and precipitation summaries, monitor air quality, identify UV risk, look up ski reports, and even find out about flu outbreaks.
What’s the tip?
Cold Weather Health Myths – Busted (credit: Board Certified NYC internist and gastroenterologist Dr. Niket Sonpal)
Myths busted by Board Certified NYC internist and gastroenterologist Dr. Niket Sonpal.
Myth: Allergies go away in the winter – Allergies might be the real source behind your stuffy nose and scratchy throat this season. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, one in five people suffer from indoor/outdoor allergies, and the indoor variety can actually be worse in the winter. Try antihistamine to help symptoms.
Myth: “I wash my hands all the time with hand sanitizer, so I should be fine” – Hand sanitizer will kill most viruses, but not all. You must make sure you use the right amount of hand sanitizer and let it dry completely. Some viruses, like norovirus, which causes vomiting, is not killed by hand sanitizer. Soap and water are best to get rid of all bacteria and viruses, but the hand sanitizer is better than nothing at all.
Myth: “It’s cold out, I don’t need sunscreen” – The sun’s rays are just as strong in the winter months as they are in the other seasons. Snow and ice can reflect even more sunlight, up to twice as much. Grab the SPF 30 and put it on, regardless of the temperature. Don’t forget sunglasses too.
Myth: “I’ll just drink some alcohol to keep myself warm” – Although it may feel like drinking alcohol is making you warmer, it does not. When you drink, the blood vessels dilate or get bigger, and blood flows to your skin and away from your internal organs. So, it may feel like you are getting warmer, but you are not.
Myth: The Flu Shot Gives You the Flu – According to a new survey from the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases and Rite Aide, 44% of American women view the flu as a serious threat to their health. Yet nearly half (49%) do not intend to get a flu shot this year because they believe the vaccine can give them the flu. The shot does not contain a live virus, making catching the flu from it impossible. However, the shot also does not protect you from all types of flus.
Myth: Winter weather makes you store fat and gain weight – Our bodies do not go into some kind of winter hibernation mode, stockpiling every ounce of fat to use for the lean times. It seems logical, like a throwback to our days living in caves foraging for food, but in reality, any weight gain comes from our winter habits. Dr. Sonpal points out that, “we tend to exercise less in winter. We eat more hearty meals and comfort foods, including more sugary snacks and desserts around the holidays.”
Myth: You Lose Most Heat Through Your Head – The saying goes “we lose 90% of our body heat through our heads.” But a study found that the head accounts for about 7 percent of the body’s surface area, and that heat loss in the region is fairly proportional. Your head is another extremity, and it’s susceptible to cold, so you should wear a hat, but it doesn’t lose more heat than another part of your body.
Myth: Chicken Soup Will Cure Colds – Many cultures teach us to drink warm liquids like tea, hot apple cider, and soups when we’re dealing with colds. It’s true that chicken soup may help soothe and ease congestion, but much like vitamin C, hot soup won’t do immediate wonders.
Myth: Being Cold Gives You a Cold – No matter what your grandma might have told you, spending too much time in the cold air doesn’t make you sick. One study found that healthy men who spent several hours in temperatures just above freezing had an increase in healthy, virus-fighting activity in their immune systems. In fact, you’re more likely to get sick indoors, where germs are easily passed.
Myth: Feed a cold, starve a fever – The original idea was that if you had a cold, food would warm you up. Conversely, if you had a high fever, not eating would cool you down. In both cases, good nutrition gives your body the fuel it needs to fight infections and recover from an illness. When you have a fever, your body is burning energy at a rapid rate, and that needs to be replenished. Even if you have stomach issues, find a way to take in lost fluids and electrolytes.
TIP: Take Emergen-C at the very start of a cold. Zinc tablets or gummies can also put a stop to an early cold.
TIP: Bring disinfectant wipes on the plane and wipe down EVERYTHING around you and on your seat.
TIP: Avoid cold drinks on planes – Hot coffees and teas are less likely to contain germs because they’ve been killed off by the hot water.