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Shana Adkisson, Editor email@example.com 366-3532 Cathy Hanselman, Account Executive firstname.lastname@example.org 366-3563 Julianna Parker-Jones, Writer Mary Gray, Writer Abigail Hess, Writer Michael Kinney, Writer
Table of Contents Editorâ€™s Note . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Desperately seeking childcare . . . .4 A Weigh of Life . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7 Fostering beauty . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8 Taking it outside . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 Summer chill . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11 Parenting a parent . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12 Ask A Man . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14 Clipping the savings . . . . . . . . . . . .16 Travel deals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18 Covered In Silk . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20
Cami Morris, Photographer Marise Boehs, Designer Jason Clarke, Webmaster Saundra Morris, Advertising Director David Stringer, Publisher Silk is a publication of The Norman Transcript with offices at 215 E. Comanche, Norman, OK 73069
Silk Staff: (l-r back row) Peggy Laizure, Abigail Hess, Shana Adkisson, Saundra Morris, Cathy Hanselman (l-r front row) Cami Morris, Julianna Parker--Jones, Michael Kinney
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Letter from the Editor I love my family. We don’t always agree. We don’t always say kind things to one another. But we always respect and support each other. That’s what a family does. A year ago my extended family grew when I was asked to become editor of Silk. I won’t shy away from the idea that I was excited and scared all at the same time. I’d been in the newspaper business for years, but magazine production was relatively new to me. When I was a freshman in college I spent some time on the college’s magazine, a modest publication that only came out once a semester. I don’t think I have to admit that my freshman year of college was a long time ago. Needless to say, I was outside my comfort zone. But then something wonderful happened. Like a family the magazine staff gathered together. We realized we did have a common bond after all — each and everyone one of us wanted the magazine to grow and be successful. But the staff of Silk also knows that the magazine is nothing without the positive support of our readers. Thanks to you the magazine has grown. Many of you have offered your kind words about the magazine. Thank you. Some of you have even been so kind as to share the magazine with a friend, the highest form of compliment anyone could give. Thank you again. Sincerely, Shana Adkisson, Editor
Desperately seeking child care By Mary Gray It’s summertime and the living is easy — for your children that is. You’re still working your 9 to 5. While the kids are enjoying their breaks, how can you be sure their safe while your at work? Summer is the perfect time to find a babysitter or child care professional, but there is a great deal to remember when looking for a sitter. According to Care.com, there are many different ways to find a reliable babysitter. You can ask friends and family or check online communities like Care.com. “The best place to find a babysitter is through someone you know and trust,” said Megan Doke, Norman Community Church director of ministry. “Talk to your friends, your mom, your sister. Ask other moms you respect and trust. Ask who they use and if the person is available to talk. If possible, use someone you have known for a period of time.” Doke said that some of her friends use babysitters from Norman Regional Hospital. She said most local hospitals have babysitter programs that offer CPR certified babysitters. “Most babysitting jobs I get through are word of mouth,” said Summer Grantham, co-teacher at Middle Earth Child Development Center and personal babysitter. It is important to ask potential babysitters for at least three references from previous parents or employers, according to Care.com. “References are a must for me,” Doke said. “If possible, a background check is wonderful and will put any mom at ease.
Especially if you don’t know the person very well, I would ask them if they are comfortable with a background check.” Doke also said if the potential babysitter refuses a background check or feels uncomfortable with having one done, it is better to keep looking for other babysitters. “I know it’s extreme, but when it comes to my kids, I error on the side of major caution,” she said. “Better safe than sorry.” When contacting former parents, Care.com suggests asking: “What were the sitter’s strengths and weaknesses?” “How did the sitter handle emergency and disciplinary situations?” and “What activities did the sitter do with your children?” When it comes to interviewing a potential sitter, Doke suggests asking about their experience with children, how much they charge per hour, if they are CPR certified and finally ask them to tell a little about themselves. Also, try to make your child a part of the process of finding a sitter. “Schedule ‘a meet my kids’ time with the babysitter,” Doke said. “She can come over for 30 minutes to an hour and just play with the kids. See how they interact and watch your child’s temperament.” Doke said that if your child is old enough you can then ask him or her to tell you about their time with the babysitter. She said for younger children and babies, it is important to closely observe how they respond and act around the babysitter.
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I can clearly remember the first time I figured out how good it felt to set a goal and reach it. I was doing ball handling drills in my Granny’s kitchen. Sounds odd, I know. But it was the perfect set up. The room was laid out in the shape of a C. The fridge anchored one end, the stove anchored the other, and connecting the two was a string of durable white cabinets, interrupted only by a sink. The floor was linoleum, white with little blue flowers in the corners of every faux tile, if I remember correctly. And above the stove was a clock, a dime store special that had big black numbers and a second hand that plunked reliably lap after lap. It was almost better than a gym. It was there, in the heart of Granny’s home, that I learned to handle a basketball. Three times a day it was me, a scarred up Voit, and my red spiral notebook of drills and charts showing up to race against the clock. I would pound the ball with my left hand until the clock’s lesser arrow lined up perfectly on 12 and then I would fly. For 30 seconds, or sometimes for 60, I would wrap and slam that ball in between and around my legs and body counting every turn. Three times a day, every day all summer until that ball was an extension of my hand, I raced against time. That kitchen was a magical place. In addition to being a makeshift gym, it was, first and foremost, the birthplace of Granny’s infamous mashed potatoes. Richer than dessert, they were a southern Oklahoma legend. If you didn’t get in the front of the line on pot luck Sundays, you weren’t getting any. And once you had Granny’s masterpiece, no other mashed potatoes on the planet would do. I have personally watched that concoction change the way a large number of people see the world. From this room with the rickety stove came seas of meals for families in distress. Cupcakes multiplied there like the loaves and fishes, and cookies went out by the truckload. This tiny little space taught me that compassion has arms and hands and that generosity has no price tag. When a need arose, we went to the kitchen to try to do something about it. The kitchen was also a rural house of couture. Gran was widely known as one of the best seamstresses around, and most of her sewing took place right there in the same air where the ball bounced and the chicken fried. In the corner of the room where the linoleum liked to curl up from the floor around the edges, sat an old Singer that rarely rested. It produced a bunch of bedspreads and curtains, slacks and jackets, Halloween costumes, and even a prom dress. I once made an aqua blue terry cloth cover-up for a home economics project there. I vividly remember chasing that crawly terry cloth fabric all around the room just to cut it, Gran watching, snickering to herself I am sure, but never saying a word. Then I wrestled it through the Singer only to discover that it was large enough for the both of us to wear together! I held it up and we laughed until we cried. And I learned then and there that thread can be ripped out and seams can be re-sewn and you can eventually get it right if it’s important enough to you. I swear angels hovered in that room.When I was in junior high, we had to be involved in the Carter County Fair, and the kitchen once again became the incubator. Some kids showed animals, some were involved in the Scouts, some did arts and crafts. And since sports wasn’t an option, I chose baking. I figured the worst that could happen is that my dish of choice would lose and I could eat it. Plus, I had Granny for a teacher, so I figured success, though a definite long shot, was still a possibility. So I made a Pecan Roll.
Talk about an adolescent being outside of her comfort zone! With Granny over my shoulder, I boiled and stirred and chopped and rolled and created this thing that looked kind of pretty and tasted even better they said. I brought the remnants of it home in a box with a blue ribbon that said “Best in Show”. The family had never been so surprised. We hung the ribbon on the kitchen wall next to the clock with big black numbers and the predictable second hand and we laughed every time we walked by it for weeks. No way that happens without the karma of that kitchen where dreams were born and given wings to fly. Years later when my papa died, I remember standing in the kitchen a lot. Especially the day of the funeral. That room just seemed safe. Looking back, I now know why. The story of my life was there. I notice it still, that Siren’s Song from the kitchen. When people gather in a home, regardless of the occasion, folks just seem to migrate there. I would venture to guess that the kitchen is the room where most life decisions get made. I bet lots of weddings actually occur there long before the pomp and circumstance of the Big Day. And I wouldn’t be surprised if most problems were solved while sitting on a countertop or leaning on a fridge. The kitchen is a space that sustains us. It nourishes our body and our soul.
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A We i g h o f L i f e
Fostering beauty By Shana Adkisson When Amanda Foster, 24, wrote the words “My mom deserves to be the Silk’s Picture Perfect Mom makeover winner,” she had no idea her mother would be chosen for a day of pampering. And before Debbie Foster received information that she had been chosen for Silk’s makeover, she had no idea that her daughter submitted her name for the contest. Amanda said she saw the magazine and thought it’d be good for her mother to have a luxurious day. “My mom does a lot for me and I thought it’d be nice to do something for her,” Amanda said. In Amanda’s letter to the magazine she wrote, “My mom is my best friend. She is the most caring, loving and selfless person that I know. I look up to her immensely. She goes out of her way to make sure everyone else is taken care of and always puts her children before herself. She works full time as an RN and is continually on the go. She loves to get her nails and hair done and has a new love for clothes, but putting me through college takes away from her ability to spend much money on herself.” When Debbie found out she had been chosen for the makeover she said she was elated. “This was such a wonderful surprise. For her to do this on her own is wonderful. And to top it all off she graduated this year. I was really proud to have her
nominate me.” Debbie, a lactation consultant at Norman Regional Hospital, said the only words to describe her day of beauty was “love” and “fabulous.” Debbie’s day started at Vivian Gilbert for a manicure and pedicure, from there she went to Le Visage Day Spa and Skin Care Clinic for a facial, then it was off to Private Collection Spa and Salon for a haircut, color and style. Debbie then returned to Le Visage for makeup and ended her day at Dillards in Sooner Fashion Mall where she picked an outfit. “Hannah from Vivian Gilbert salon gave me the most relaxing pedicure and manicure. Laura from Le Visage treated me to the most exquisite facial. Kim from Private Collection Salon did a great job on my hair color and style and Shaida from Le Visage finished the look with a make up application which she explained, as she did a great job. Dillards generously provided my outfit. I wish every mom could have this. This is parent heaven.”
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Taking it outside By Abigail Hess
Tradition tells us men don’t cook. Though this is clearly a stereotype, it’s safe to say most Oklahoma households are nutritionally balanced due to mom’s homemade chicken noodle and not dad’s Hungryman/popcorn combo. But one season a year brings out the culinary artist hidden within every American male, and the menfolk come out in droves to take the tongs and assume the task of resident chef — for once. And that time, known statewide as grilling season, is again upon us. So during this brief hiatus from preparing the main entrée, what can you do to spice up your summertime get-togethers? We found some ideas to add zest to your party without breaking the bank. Aubrey Kinat, Norman, said a variety of available activities keeps her summer guests entertained. From Bocce Ball to potato-sack races to Wii Fit, group games allow visitors to get to know each other and let loose. And for gatherings of all ages, Kinat recommends a good oldfashion piñata. “My great, great uncle went after a piñata at one of our cookouts, and he’s almost 90. It was entertaining for everybody.” Lauren Park, Norman, says party favors also are a big hit. “We put door prizes under people’s chairs… nothing fancy or expensive, just funny things that go with a theme.” Cindy Hines, Norman, said music is key in setting the tone for any occasion. “My eldest son usually makes a mix when we have people over” she said. Park also recommends tunes to create atmosphere. She and husband Gib prefer mellow musicians like John Mayer, but they also suggest Indian music to liven up a crowd. To add an Eastern flavor to your next gathering, try the music
of Aradhna or the Slumdog Millionaire soundtrack. Although the men generally prepare the main course, there are still snacks, sides, and desserts to consider. Need fresh ideas for summer dishes? Hines recommends kitchenlink.com to put a new spin on the traditional grill-out. “They have all kinds of ideas and copycat restaurant recipes, and they’re always easy to follow.” In this age of health-conscious eating, Kinat suggests grilling vegetarian-friendly “chicken” and corn on the cob in addition to burgers and franks. Park recommends grilling pizza, though she said she’s yet to do it herself. “That’ll be something we try this summer.” As a preemptive strike against Oklahoma’s annual mosquito infestation, try citronella lamps around outside seating areas. If those don’t do the trick, Kinat recommends planting marigolds. “I hear the smell keeps the bugs away,” she said.
Spaghetti Salad 1 pound of spaghetti, cooked and refrigerated over night 1 large tomato 3 sticks of celery 1 bunch of green onions 1 large green pepper 1 large red pepper 1 bottle of Supreme salad mix 1 large bottle of Zesty Salad Dressing Dice all the vegetables and put in bowl of Supreme Salad mix and dressing. Let sit over night and in the morning mix with spaghetti. Rinse spaghetti in cold water before putting in refrigerator. — Courtesy of Geri Mignery
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Summer chill By Abigail Hess
In the sweltering heat of the Sooner State’s summer, everyone can use a good cocktail from time to time. But who wants to spend $10 on a drink? For a refreshing treat you can create affordably at home, here are some of our favorite summertime thirst-quenchers. Lemon Fusion Mix: • Country Time Lemonade • Skyy vodka • Touch of fresh mint To treat a sweet tooth, replace vodka with Bacardi Limon The Kendall Kisser Start with: • 1 whole seedless watermelon • 1 bottle of your favorite champagne Chill both overnight Scoop out watermelon and puree in food processor, strain watermelon with a coffee filter Chill Mix equal parts watermelon juice and champagne Garnish with orange slice or lime wedge Salty Dog Mix: • Stolichnaya or Skyy vodka • Grapefruit juice Salt rim To add a new twist, try various flavors of Skyy vodka Ocean Water Mix: • Malibu rum • Peach schnapps • Orange juice • Pineapple juice • Blue Curacao Add splash of cranberry juice Melon Margarita Mix: • Tequila • Midori • Triple Sec • Sweet and sour • Fresh lime juice Top off with a cherry
Parenting a parent By Abigail Hess One of the hardest things to go through is the decline of an aging parent. And though outlets for support are available to those in this difficult position, few know how to find them — and even fewer know when it is time to start looking. Norman resident Pat Hall knows firsthand how daunting it can be to care for aging relatives. In 2006, Hall noticed changes in his parents’ behavior. His typically active senior parents were showing signs of memory loss and their once tidy house became disorganized and in need of attention. But like many in his position, Hall was hesitant to take action. “I was in a little bit of denial about my parents getting older,” he said. “But once I realized there were serious problems, I knew I had to step in.” Prior to his dementia Halls’ father established a power of attorney and directives for he and his wife — something Hall said all seniors (or their caretakers) should do. He also said keeping a close watch on his parents was key in knowing what needed to be done. “Be aware of your parents,” Hall urges. “Check under their sink, in their fridge… check their pills and medications. Be nosy. You have to for their benefit.” Though Hall was actively involved in his parents’ care once their issues were known, he wishes he had recognized the signs sooner. “Most of us are very good at avoiding issues; procrastination is easy. But when you have an aging parent, you can’t procrastinate.” Hall eventually made the tough decision to move his parents into a nursing home; a choice he said was incredibly difficult and absolutely necessary. Through the process Hall had assistance from friends who dealt with similar issues and he recommends others dealing with aging parents find similar support groups. Full Circle Adult Daycare in Norman offers such outlets for aid. One of 41 adult day centers in Oklahoma and the only facility of its kind in Norman, Full Circle provides daytime care for seniors in an engaging, cheerful atmosphere. It also offers support groups for caregivers of aging loved ones. Executive Director Tammy Vaughn said enabling caregivers is a key service offered at Full Circle. In addition to monthly support group meetings, a psychologist is available to meet with participants and their families. “Caregiving is hard work. It’s not only that you’re doing so
much for someone; it’s also very emotional. It can be draining if you don’t have help.” Full Circle allows seniors to live at home, while alleviating some caregiver responsibility through daytime programs. Participants can play games, sing karaoke or just enjoy new friends. “We help people’s minds and bodies not deteriorate so quickly,” Vaughn said. But no matter where you are in the process of caring for an aging loved one, the most important thing to remember is that you are not alone. Programs like Full Circle, Meals on Wheels, community centers and churches all provide aid for seniors and those who care for them. Although there is no checklist, caregiving comes down to knowing when to help and knowing when to ask for it. “I wish I had an easy answer to a difficult problem,” Hall said. “But my best piece of advice is to not be embarrassed to ask for help.”
Top Left, Full Circle Adult Daycare Executive Director Tammy Vaughn sits at her desk. Right, Full Circle participants enjoy activities at the center. Photos by Cami Morris
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A grilling question By Michael Kinney Dear Ask A Man: Why is my man obsessed with grilling? For some reason, every man seems to feel he was born with an extra gene in his body that allows him to barbecue and grill like he was Bobby Flay. And, for some reason, men think this special gene can only be found in the male species. We all have witnessed the same scene every summer. A man standing by a large barbecue grill, dousing charcoal with gallons of lighter fluid and a tray full of steaks, chicken, burgers and hot dogs ready to be grilled to a nice burnt coat. All the while, his buddies stand around him talking about sports, the weather, the cool Members Only jackets they wore in high school or how many times they mow their lawns. But you may have noticed there is something critical missing from that scenario. Women. In the man’s mind, the females are inside, watching the kids, fixing salads and discussing how great their spouses are. Is it a male chauvinist outlook? Yes. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t what they’re thinking. I could tell you all day how grilling is a man’s right of passage and that when women pick up the grilling utensils, they are upsetting the balance of power in the universe. But I decided to let a few men, who take their grilling seriously, explain why they love to grill and why it’s a man’s thing. “I would say for those women who cook everyday in the home, it can get pretty routine,” Anthony Santiago said. “So it’s up to us men to make a spectacle out of ourselves once or twice a month. Just to catch up to the countless meals our spouses have slaved over. It’s our way of showing we are doing our part. Now, don’t ask me about cleaning up afterward.” “It gives us an excuse to drink beer,” Chris Scott said. “Where else can you throw a big hunk of meat on the grill and
cook it till perfection?” William Brown said. “The clean up is easy. Just burn it off. I love the sound of fire hitting the meat. The hickory smoke in the air. I love that smoky grill taste. And I love to see the expression on a woman’s face when I cook meat better than she does.” “Are you kidding me? It’s meat,” Albert Castleberry stated. “Only meat. There is not some salad which your wife tries to make you eat. Grilling is the one thing that your wife can’t tell you how to cook.” As you see, men feel they have domain over any cooking that takes place outside. But for you ladies who will not be deterred and want to help on the barbecue, here are a few rules you must follow in order not to cause a rift between you and your man. • No vegetables must ever touch the grill. Corn on the cob is the exception. • Wine coolers must be kept in the refrigerator, not in the cooler with the rest of the manly drinks. • All conversations must include either sports, work, cars, movies or food. • These names must never be mentioned — Oprah, Hannah Montana, Barbara Walters or Lorena Bobbitt. • Celine Dion and Barbra Streisand are not appropriate barbecue music. • Most importantly, never, ever ask a man in front of his friends who is cleaning up the mess when the party is over. It’s just understood that you will be. That is until the friends leave. Then order can be restored and you can order him to do whatever you want.
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Clipping the savings By Julianna Parker Jones
If you think saving money means spending hours painstakingly clipping and organizing coupons, think again. A lot has changed in the world of using coupons, and the Internet is a big part of that. Coupons are available online and blogs and message boards are ready to help you match up the best deals for the most savings. It’s that help that enables Shelley Gallope to save at least $50 a week using coupons for her family of five. And she said it doesn’t take much more time to buy the things she needs now because she’s more organized and efficient when she shops. The stay-at-home mom spends about an hour a week cutting and printing coupons. On one recent trip to Homeland, she purchased more than $60 worth of name-brand groceries for only $3.88. How did she do it? She combined manufacturers’ coupons, which Homeland doubles as long as the value isn’t more than $1, and store sales for major savings. Gallope said she only got into using coupons a few months ago. She said she saw her friend post on Facebook about the deals she kept finding. “So I asked her and she took me shopping, showed me the ropes,” Gallope said. She’s not alone. “Everybody wants to save money right now because of the economy,” said Tara Kuczykowski, who writes about saving money on her blog, www.dealseekingmom.com. She said many women who previously looked down on using coupons are embracing them now. “I think a lot more people are open to it and interested,” she said. Gallope said the key to saving money is to plan ahead. Tips for using coupons to the max: • You can use manufacturers and store coupons together on the same item. • Most stores let you use two coupons when you buy something that has a buy-one-get-one-free promotion. • Some grocery stores, like Homeland, double coupons up to a certain amount. That can mean big savings • Check out store flyers for promotions, like Target’s deals that give you Target gift cards when you purchase certain items. • Know how much the average price of your most-purchased items are so you’ll know when something really is a good deal. Source: Tara Kuczykowski and Shelley Gallope Coupon and freebie Web sites: • www.dealseekingmom.com • www.couponmom.com • www.couponcravings.com • www.centstosaveformoms.com • www.moneysavingmom.com
Photo Provided Moore resident Shelley Gallope bought these groceries at a trip to Homeland recently using coupons on each item, most of which were on sale as well. The total value of her purchase was $61.30. After store discounts and manufacturers’ coupons, she only spent $3.88. Prices on every day items fluctuate greatly, she said. Gallope said once you understand the cyclical nature of coupons and sales, you can stock up on what you need when it’s at a low price and save money in the long run. There are all kinds of tricks to saving money with coupons, and it can be daunting when you first begin, Kuczykowski said. She recommends choosing one store, such as Homeland, Target or CVS, and focusing on understanding how to save money at that one store. Many women starting out with coupons try to figure out everything all at once, Kuczykowski said. “It can be beneficial,” she said. “But it can also be a huge time suck.” She also said beginners can start out right away with printable coupons online. Also start collecting coupons in your local newspaper, but deals in combination with those don’t usually roll around for a few weeks, she said. One mistake many women who are new to couponing make is not waiting to use their coupons at the right time, Kuczykowski said. “Coupons are kind of like a card game in that you want to hold them and play them at the right time,” she said. Gallope said those who want to get started with coupons should check out the instructional manual for using coupons at www.couponmom.com. “Find a blog that covers a store you shop at really well. They’re doing all the work for you,” Kuczykowski said. “All you have to do is spend 15 minutes cutting and clipping coupons and making a list.”
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It may not be possible for you to take your dream vacation this summer, what with all the lay-offs and pay cuts going on these days. But it would be a mistake to believe that means you have to forgo your vacation entirely. Everyone needs a break now and then, and if you’re wise with the way you do it, you can still get a special trip in this summer. An April survey by TripAdvisor showed 92 percent of travelers with children will take a family vacation in the next 12 months, up from 87 percent in the past 12 months. Sixty-four percent of travelers with children will take a family vacation this summer. About 44 percent of travelers with children expect to spend the same amount on family vacations this year compared to last, while 36 percent intend to spend less. Here are some tips to enjoy a fun vacation without breaking the bank: • Set your priorities — and then be flexible about the rest. If you definitely want to stay at a nice hotel, it’s helpful to be flexible about the location. Finding a locale that’s cheaper to fly to
(or within driving distance) will make that dream stay more feasible. • Try vacationing in off-peak times. Especially if you’re going somewhere warm, travel in September or October can be just as nice as the summer, and sometimes even better because there aren’t as many crowds in tourist spots. Flights and vacation rentals — especially to high-traffic tourist areas — are cheaper in the spring and fall and even moreso in the winter. • Timing is everything when trying to find a good deal. When booking flights, try to book mid-week, as that is when the cheaper rates are released by airlines. If you need to fly on certain dates or at specific times, don’t wait until the last minute to book. Try to buy flights at least six weeks out or prices might increase drastically. • If your dates and destination are flexible, it could be worth it to wait for last-minute deals. Get on as many hotel/flight/cruise/travel e-mail lists as you can and wait to find a last-minute deal that appeals to you.
How to snatch those travel deals By Julianna Parker Jones
• Negotiate. It can’t hurt, but it might just help. Because the economy isn’t doing so hot right now, lots of people are cutting back on their vacations. As a result, many hotels and resorts are desperate to fill rooms, even if it’s at a reduced rate. Make a phone call to the manager at a hotel you’d like to stay at and see what he can do. If that doesn’t work, try someplace else. • Don’t be afraid to try a vacation closer to home if your budget is tight. Many ideal destinations exist within driving distance, and they can save a lot of money, especially if the group traveling is larger. • Cruises can be a great deal for travel because hotel, transportation, entertainment and food are all included. Check cruise line Web sites for great deals as low as $50 a night. Keep in mind, however, that that price does not include your flight to the boat’s port, nor does it include alcohol or activities in each port of call.
Travel Web sites: • TravelZoo.com rounds up deals from around the Web, and even has an e-mail list that notifies you of the top 20 travel deals. Great for the flexible traveler. • TripAdvisor.com gives you destination-specific reviews from real travelers on hotels, restaurants, cruises and more. • FlyCheapo.com lets you search for deals on the super-cheap airlines criss-crossing Europe. This is a good way to go for inexpensive travel within Europe. • SeatGuru.com shows detailed maps of commercial aircraft, giving reviews of seats (proximity to plugs, less legroom, etc.) so you can choose your favorite seat on the plane.
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