‘Real Food for Healthy People’ – A Great Resource for Healthy Eaters

Real Food for Healthy People by Carol D’Anca

One of our passions is healthy eating and we are lucky enough to have a close family friend who has written two great books on the importance of why we need to eat healthy. Carol D’Anca has found her passion in healthy eating and encouraging others to take the steps to plant-based nutrition. She has two advanced degrees in nutrition and has spent the past two decades helping others regain their health. Carol hosts an excellent cooking class called “The Academy” where she provides tips and hands-on cooking classes to show that eating plant-based can be fun and delicious. We have personally attended a few of her classes and they are wonderful! Carol also hosts small group trips to Italy that focus on the “Mediterranean Way of Life.”

Ravello, Italy

Ravello, Italy

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Rio Guadiana

Rios de Guadalquivir and Guadiana

Rios de Guadalquivir and Guadiana

Rio Guadalquivir

Rio Guadalquivir

Photo via Britannica.com

The Iberian river of Guadalquivir is the second largest in Spain.  The Guadalquivir is distinctive due to its plant and animal life being the most varied in Europe.  It begins in the national park of Cañada de las Fuentes from flowing streams cascading down the Cazorla mountain range.  It passes through Córdoba which was originally part of the Islamic Caliphate that comprised most of the Iberian Peninsula and a capital city of the Roman province.  This unique history provides an historic quarter anchored by the Mezquita, an Islamic mosque turned cathedral which serves as a reminder of the importance of Cordoba during medieval times.  It then flows through Sevilla which is the capital and largest city of the area known as Andalusia.  Sevilla also shares a Roman and Islamic history and its Cathedral is the burial place of Christopher Columbus.  The river ends at a small fishing village of Bonanza before emptying into the Atlantic Ocean via the Gulf of Cadiz.

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Stay On Track with Your New Year’s Resolutions

How to Stay on Track with New Year’s Resolutions!

How many of you are maintaining your New Year’s resolutions?  For most, by now good intentions have given way to bad habits.  Without a realistic plan and steps to achieve your goals, resolutions fall by the wayside.  Now that the fun of the holidays have passed and everyone is back into their regular routine, it is a good time to review your resolutions and create a solid plan to achieve those objectives.

Stay on track with your New Year's Resolutions - The Traveling Gals

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Panama City: More Than the Canal? - The Traveling Gals

Panama City: More Than the Canal

Is there more to Panama City than the remarkable Canal?

The capital of Panama, Panama City is a modern, vibrant city juxtaposed by a cobblestone center and flanked by shantytowns leading to the Panama Canal.   It is a splendid mix of the old and the new.  Panama was founded by the Spanish in the early 1500’s.  It was under Spanish rule until 1821 when it gained independence from Spain and joined with Colombia.  Independence from Colombia came in 1903 and Panama City was established as the capital of the independent Panama.  The USA handed over control of the Panama Canal in 2000 giving Panama control over one of the world’s most important trade routes.

Casco Viejo is the old quarter of Panama City and was the first European city built on the Pacific Coast of the Americas.   After decades of decline, Panama City received an influx of revitalization after the US dethroned Panama’s dictator, Manuel Noriega in 1989.  It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1997 in recognition of the extensive restoration and preservation of historical structures.    The Plaza de la Independencia is the main plaza where on Sundays the men used to promenade in one direction and the women in the other direction in a distinctive form of courtship.    There are many churches, municipal buildings and a museum.  Cobbled streets and wrought iron balconies give a true feeling of going back in time.  Although a small section of the city, it is absolutely worth the time to explore.

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Lunch in Paris and Picnic in Provence by Elizabeth Bard: Book Reviews

Which do you prefer…Lunch in Paris or a Picnic in Provence?

Lunch in Paris, A Love Story with Recipes

Picnic in Provence, A Memoir with Recipes

By Elizabeth Bard

Elizabeth Bard is an American journalist who moved to Paris, fell in love and settled in Provence.   She was raised in New Jersey and New York City.   Both of her memoirs received much critical acclaim and commercial success.

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New Year's Russia

New Year Celebrations Around the World

Happy New Year from The Traveling Gals!

Celebrate this year with a new tradition from around the world!

Austria – Austrian revelers burn mortars which is believed to ward off all the evil spirits and negative energies of the past, and ensure everything pleasant and positive for the coming time of the New Year.

Denmark – Danish New Year’s celebrations are raucous.  It is their tradition to save up old dishes and plates all year in order to hurl them at the doors of family and friends. The shattered glassware left littering a person’s front door represents how beloved they are, depending on how many well-wishers turned out to destroy plates in the name of friendship.

New Year's in Ecuador


Ecuador – Ecuadorians start the New Year literally on fire.  Each New Year’s Eve, life-sized or miniature models of public figures, celebrities or fictional characters that are believed to be “sinners” are set on fire at midnight. This is meant to banish the evil of the previous year and clear the air for the New Year.

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Christmas at Disney World

Christmas at Disney World [Updated For 2017]

Celebrating Christmas at Disney World

Our family has spent Christmas at Disney World for many years. It is our favorite place to spend the holidays. We love all the decorations, music, and holiday events throughout the World. Although we are sad that our beloved Osborne Light show is gone, there are still some wonderful things to do. Because our family is small, we enjoy being able to go out of town to celebrate Christmas at the most magical place on Earth. When we lived in Chicago, we would exchange gifts and have our big Christmas dinner a few days early before escaping the cold weather and heading down to Orlando. Now that we live only a couple hours from Orlando, it is easier than ever for us to hop in the car and celebrate Christmas at Disney World.

Christmas at Disney World - Magic Kingdom

  • Magic Kingdom

Of course there is nowhere more magical then the Magic Kingdom. (Or more crowded.) The decorations here are so beautiful and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is probably the most fun event. It is also a great way to enjoy the park with less of the crowds.


At EPCOT there is the Holidays Around the World (which has basically become Food & Wine Festival Part 2). This is a fun way to learn about holiday traditions in other countries around the World Showcase. You can also try different seasonal food and drink favorites. The Candlelight Processional is a beautiful retelling of the story of Christmas with celebrity narrators and a 50-piece orchestra. You also can’t miss Illuminations which has an added holiday presentation that is breathtaking.

  • Hollywood Studios

While we are very disappointed that the Osborne Lights are no longer at Hollywood Studios, they have sort of made up for it with the decorations, the new event this year called Sunset Seasons Greetings and Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! We still really miss the magical feeling of the Osborne Lights.

  • Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom doesn’t have any specific holiday celebrations, but we love the decorations! Also check out the decorations at Animal Kingdom Lodge!

  • Disney Springs

Now that everything is open at Disney Springs (and we love it! Check out our review of the Town Center) they have really brought the Christmas magic. You can also meet Santa, sing Christmas carols, and more. Oh, this is also where you can SHOP! And there is even stuff on sale! Our new favorite store is definitely Uniqlo.


What are your holiday traditions? Have you ever spent Christmas at Disney World? We would love to hear about it in the comments!

The Traveling Gals




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Shopping in Sarasota

Shopping While On Vacation: A Great Way to Preserve the Memories

This is a guest post from one of our very close family friends who came to visit us in Sarasota! We are so happy she wrote this post for us and we hope you enjoy! 

Shopping While on Vacation – A Great Way to Preserve the Memories

As a first-time visitor to Sarasota, I was expecting beautiful white sand beaches, warm temperatures and lots of sunshine. Even the quality of restaurants didn’t surprise me that much, but I have to say that I was amazed and pleased with the wonderful shopping experience the Sarasota area had to offer. After all, I am from Chicago! I had no problem finding souvenirs, and to my surprise, I was able to complete much of my Christmas shopping while sightseeing in Sarasota and the surrounding islands.

Shopping in Sarasota

Downtown Sarasota

While in the downtown area, I wandered into a charming shop on 1st Street called Envie where I found unique gifts that my artist sister could appreciate including a gorgeous dragonfly ornament and a decorative bejeweled box. Down the same street, I discovered I Tesori where I purchased a shiny keychain wallet for my niece. This shop also had an impressive collection of Murano glass beads, designer jewelry and clothing. It seemed that everywhere I turned there were interesting shops, boutiques and galleries.

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Georgian House Edinburgh

Edinburgh – Athens of the North

Edinburgh – Athens of the North

Edinburgh (pronounced ed-n-buh-ruh) is the capital city of Scotland.  Scotland has been part of the United Kingdom for over 300 years and recently voted to continue their union with England, Wales and North Ireland.  In the 19th century Edinburgh was called “the Athens of the North” due to its Greek revival buildings such as the Surgeon’s Hall museum.

Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh is a hilly city with a marine climate that has moderate temperatures with no dry season and typical mist and drizzle.  This creates a very lush and green landscape.  This is creates a great terrain for golf.  This is fitting as Scotland is widely accepted as the birthplace of golf.  Edinburgh has many top golf courses and is only an hour from the fabled links of St. Andrews.

The medieval Old Town section of Edinburgh along with the 18th century New Town is a protected UNESCO Heritage Site.  The Royal Mile is the main road running through Old Town from Edinburgh Castle to Holyrood Palace.  Holyrood is the official royal residence in Scotland and Edinburgh Castle is home to the legendary Military Tattoo.  The Military Tattoo is a musical performance of music by armed forces and is Edinburgh’s is an international favorite for its renowned pomp and ceremony.  Edinburgh Castle is also home to Scotland’s crown jewels and the Stone of Destiny, traditionally used in the coronation of Scottish rulers.  The Old Town is also includes Arthur’s Seat which is an extinct volcano in Holyrood Park with some of the best views from its peak.    In contrast, Edinburgh’s vaults are a subterranean world of underground chambers that housed the extremely poor in Old Town.

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