A Travel Guide to Discover the Best of Sicily

Mediterranean island

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Some of the best places to visit in Italy are located in the Mediterranean island of Sicily. Are you planning to visit? This travel guide will help you discover the best places in the island. Don’t forget to book in advance a villa in Sicily, checking out holiday rentals online like Wishsicily.com before you embark on your journey. Remember that accommodations can be taken up in a flash especially during peak seasons.

Palermo, panoramic photo of the interior of The Church of Saint Mary of Gesu (aka Chiesa del Gesu or Casa Professa), Palermo, Sicily, Italy, Europe

Image credit: matthewwilliams-ellis.com

1. Palermo –This bustling capital of the region is the ideal place to make as a base. You will find a mélange of architectural buildings, a cultural heritage left by different civilizations that include the medieval ages, the Byzantine and the Norman periods. The place is chock-full of churches, museums and palazzi. Appease your hunger on popular street foods such as arancini and milza as you slowly walk on cobbled streets and discover nudes on many beautiful piazze. Visit the 700-year old open-air markets of Vucciria to shop among a variety of items and accessories.

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Image credit: italybeyondtheobvious.com

2. Valley of the Temples – If you are into ancient wonders, you will be amazed at the number of well-preserved Greek temples and ruins located in one place in Agrigento. Allow at least a day to visit the place. After roaming around the area of the temples, drop by the archeological museum which covers the history of the place from the earliest human settlement. Then, head on to the town centre which is characterized by a network of steep alleys and stairways. Significant sights such as the Duomo and the church of Santa Maria dei Greci await you.

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3. Mount Etna – The most active volcano in the whole of Europe, Mt. Etna attracts a huge following yearly, whatever the season. Trekking to its craters is one of the most popular activities here. Skiing in winter is likewise a favorite thing to do. The scenery from the top is breath-taking. On the slopes of the volcano, you can also find vineyards that produce some of the finest wines in the region.

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Image credit: taormina.it

4. Taormina – This town that sits on the rocky Mt. Tauro is one of the most-picturesque s in Sicily. The amazing Teatro Greco annually hosts the Taormina Film festival, attracting people from all over the world. The view from this vantage point is just stupendous, with the sea stretching down below, and the majestic Mt. Etna on the horizon. It is worth visiting the areas around such as Isola Bella, Giardini Naxos and the Alcantara Valley.

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Image credit: cntraveller.com

5. Aeolian Islands – Jump on a ferry or hire a boat to go island-hopping around the Aeolian group of islands to see smoking volcanoes, to enjoy hot baths, to play on black-sand beaches, to be amazed by the sciara del fuoco in Stromboli, to hang out with the rich in Panarea, to dive among ship wrecks in Filicudi, or to just watch the sun set. Whatever it is you prefer to do, you will surely find the experience all worth it.

#thechewysbkkgiveaway

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Sawadee ka~! The Chewys are currently holidaying in Bangkok! Taking things slow on our first day (it’s actually 11pm here lol) and hopefully, we will be in full gear tomorrow!

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As a token of appreciation to all our readers, we will be conducting a little giveaway! Head over to our Facebook www.facebook.com/missuschewy and Instagram @missuschewy for more details! :)

Happy Mother’s Day 2015

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Mother’s Day this year feels so much more meaningful than the last, when Chanelle was barely two months old. Calling me “Mama”, grinning from ear to ear while bouncing up and down when she sees me appearing at the doorstep after a long day at work, kissing me on my mouth when I pretend to sleep or cry, and many other actions warm the cockles of my heart. I never knew that such a young human being is capable of expressing so much love and affection. And thanks to the wonderful hubby for being a proactive father and for putting the family first. Motherhood isn’t easy but thanks for sharing the burden and making this an enjoyable journey :) Happy Mother’s Day! 💐

Why is Platinum So Expensive?

Many Many people understand very little as to why the value of platinum is what it is, so we thought we’d drop everything we were doing to explain why!

Platinum is a relatively unknown metal because it has a much shorter history in modern circles than other precious metals like gold and silver.

And when the market is healthy, platinum can be more than double the price of gold –although its value can also fall well below the value of gold when the market is weak. Platinum is strange like that; but how come?

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The History of Platinum

First let’s take a look at the history of platinum and go back –way back. Around 2 billion years ago by scientist’s current guess, to when the first known asteroid crash landed into earth and caused a whole lot of problems for the planet. That was somewhere around 2 Billion BC.

That asteroid, and many like it contained scores of platinum, which is otherwise an incredibly rare metal on planet earth.

The next recorded “platinum event” was logged a whole lot later in history than that, as archaeologists located jewellery made from gold from the long lost kingdom of ancient Nubia which had traces of platinum within it. That was in 1200 BC.

And then in 700 BC, Egypt’s high priestess Shepenupet was buried in a majestic gold and platinum decorated sarcophagus, its hieroglyphs fashioned out of the two precious metals. In addition to platinum glyphs, a small document casket made of platinum was also included within her tomb.

Fast Forward another several hundred years, and in 100 BC pre-Inca civilisations had used the precious metal platinum in ceremonial jewellery located in what we now consider South America.

For over two millennia following the pre-Inca civilisation that were familiar with the metal, it hadn’t made another recorded appearance.

By 1590 AD, Spanish conquistadors were ravaging the people of the land once dominated by the Incas in South America and came across the metal. As history remembers the conquistadors for their brutal barbaric behaviours and less so their smarts, they dismissed the precious metal as inferior and gave it the origin of the name we call it today; they called it “platina”, meaning “little silver”. And that’s when its name stuck.

In the 1700’s, when early European scientists were obsessed with the concept of being able to turn lead into gold, they praised platinum as just the ingredient to be able to accomplish the feat. The practice at the time was called Alchemy.

Later that century, in 1751, a scientist from Sweden finally labelled the metal as precious. And later yet in that century, King Louis XV1 of France declared the metal the only metal fit for kings.

Throughout the close of the 17th century, the metal had been used in gifts to the Pope of the day, and also became the centre point of the metric system.

Platinum was the choice of the first standard kilogram metric weight, and that weight still exists today in the International Bureau of Weights and Measures.

The precious metal was used for everything from religious symbols to interior decoration until another scientist from Britain discovered a way to make the metal more malleable, thus increasing its number of applications dramatically. It was finally ready for commercial uses.

Since then, the precious metal platinum has been discovered in deposits located in Russia and Africa, and jewellers were just about the central group who used the metal for their creations. The metal was used in royal crowns, gifts for tsars, diamond platinum eternity rings and eventually deemed a “strategic metal” by the United States during WWII when resources were low. This new designation temporarily made using it for jewellery illegal, although after the war the precious metal was back in the hands of jewellers by 1947. Just in time for Elvis to popularize the metal for wedding rings a mere 20 years later.

The story ends with platinum being a vogue jewellery choice from the red carpet to her Majesty in jolly old England.

With a rich history (pun!) like that, and with its absolute rarity status, platinum has retained its value and no artificial process has been found where we can make our own from scratch as we can with diamonds.
And there are so many things we can do with diamonds, but that is a story for another day!

Back to the Future

Now back to present day; platinum is exchanged on stock markets, collect in coin form, and Switzerland offers platinum accounts where the precious metal can be bought or sold like currencies.

While gold can have its roots traced back to early merchants, it still has made numerous more appearances through history to warrant it a lower value than platinum for the most part.

Platinum is a super metal, one that has such an exceptional history that can only be matched by fantasy, like Superman’s Krypton. Except we don’t need an alien to travel millions of miles to bring it to us –it’s here and now, and as close as your local jeweller.

This article is contributed by Media Buzzer.

Love and Antiques – Match Made on Earth

Sharing a common interest like a love for antiques could be just the thing to solidify a special relationship with your significant other.

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Image by auctiontv via Flickr

Buying antiques, for many, is a great love affair. And just like any love affair in life, it’s seldom approached with a clinical or somewhat analytical detachment, but rather with emotion, and dare we say, passion. Many customers who have shopped for jewellery for sale from Kalmar Antiques have vocalised the emotions they experience when looking for items. They never quite know which piece exactly will evoke such strong emotions, but when it happens, they say, it’s like falling in love. And then there are those couples who have actually found love through antiques – be it from being in the same place at the same time and sharing in a mutual passion for beauty; or those who come across one another time and again at auctions and antique stores.

LOVE TRUMPS ALL

Love has become a cardinal guideline when it comes to buying antiques and like with any affair, it sure trumps all. A piece can be of amazing quality and consist of an envious pedigree. It can look stunning and fit perfectly into a spot at home. It can be a great bargain too. And if you’re buying the item with the one you love, it can only serve as a symbol of your commitment to one another.

INSTINCT

Love is by far the most magical ingredients for making things work well together. From the elegant and the rustic to pieces steeped in incredible history, so too can be love for another be found when shopping for antiques. Imagine shopping for antique jewellery for sale by Kalmar Antiques when your eyes meet across the room, you’re both attracted to similar items of jewellery and you get chatting about your mutual fascination and admiration for antiques pieces. It’s an instant common ground that can only lead to something quite special.

COLOURING OUTSIDE THE LINES

Antiques have really interesting mixes of shades and hues along with a variety of finished, styles and of course periods. But they all have quality and age in common. And of course mutual love for a piece can be just the thing to solidify your new found attraction to potential significant other.

THE QUALITY OF LOVE

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Image by Anu via Flickr

Naturally love is the main thing, isn’t it? But it’s not necessarily the only quality you’re looking for. When you’re purchasing an antique item, you need to make sure you’re buying something of top notch quality, as age doesn’t necessarily guarantee quality. And even if a piece was of a high quality when it was first made, age can take its toll. So if you fall in love with an antique, give it a good once over to check that it is in good condition. It’s sort of similar when you meet someone you’re interested in, isn’t it? You get to go on dates and get to know each other in order to find out if you’re a good match. And having a love for antiques in common gives you ample opportunity to find out if you’re compatible over a mutual interest. You may just discover that antique passion is the dovetail that will join the two of you together for life.

COMMON INTERESTS, COMMON SENSE

Just as you would use common sense to choose a quality antique item, so you use common sense to pick a mate. When looking at the antique you’ll wonder if the finish is consistent; if the piece if appropriately dirty for its age and even whether or not it has all its original parts. But unless you’re a really serious collector of antiques and care about investment value, common sense is the main element. Is the piece functional, does it serve its intended purpose?

And the same goes for when you first meet your intended – unless you’re really worried about age differences and, well, functionality, it’s all about common sense and getting to know a person. Sharing a love for antique items and jewellery can be just the thing to solidify a very special relationship.

This article is contributed by Media Buzzer.

Start a Successful Marriage With a Successful Wedding At a Beautiful Venue

With the divorce rate soaring, many couples are looking for answers in their quest for a successful marriage. Start with a memorable wedding reception.

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Image by Katsu Nojiri via Flickr

Right now, you may be enmeshed in the glorious specifics of planning a wedding, burdened with the seemingly endless array of decisions, experiencing the highs and lows of enchantment and disappointment. It is, for many brides and grooms, an all-consuming venture. “My brain is always thinking what am I missing, and I’ve already been planning for two years,” says bride-to-be Kelsey Ajango, an American based in Wisconsin, who’ll marry Mike Lager, her boyfriend of seven years, this fall. “It even happens,” she admits, “while I’m at work.”

And, as long as it is a fun preoccupation, and moreover, one you can enjoy with your future spouse, making mutual choices, bonding all the while, why not? You’re gathering storytelling material to share with your children (if you have them), and friends and family. You can, as many have before you, start with an examination of Melbourne function venues and design and produce a most memorable wedding reception to begin the rest of your life together.

But don’t forget what all the planning is for – marriage, your commitment to each other, the premise for what should be, the rest of your life. We took a cautious research venture to see if we could reveal the secrets to a happy, fulfilled partnership.

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Image by Nadja Antonova via Flickr

Kindness, it seems, is key. Many confuse being nice with being kind and while that is an understandable mistake, they’re actually different. The easiest way to explain: nice is the superficial, which you should happily use in your daily life’s interactions. Consider kindness as something deeper, more profound, and more impactful. One of the smartest men we know says it best: “It’s about letting go of the need to always be right.” And, this is a philosophy to live by, and, to apply during this potentially tempestuous time of wedding planning.

Preeminent couples therapy researcher John Gottman, co-author of The Seven Principles for Making a Marriage has spend hundreds of research hours observing and chronicling the very subject of that book. Gottman, who is a professor of psychology at the University of Washington, is world-renowned in the study of couple dynamics. He cites the following components are necessary to sustain a long-term relationship:

1. They are gentle with each other.
2. They spend time in and enjoy conversation with each other.
3. They allow for influence by their partner.
4. They do keep score by remembering the good things their partner does for them.
5. Each partner knows themselves reasonably well.
6. Each partner honors the others’ dreams.
7. There is a positive sense of humor in the relationship.
8. There are shared goals and a sense of team-work in the relationship.
9. There are good conflict resolution skills in the relationship. (Sometimes this means doing something, and sometimes it means lettings things take care of themselves.)
10. There is a sense of continued romance in the relationship.
11. Contempt, for the partner, in all its forms, will more than anything else bring the relationship down. It needs to be avoided or worked through.

In 5 Simple Steps to Take Your Marriage from Good to Great, psychologist Terri Orbuch cites the following as valuable tips:

1. Expect less and get more from your partner (offer two top expectations to see if they mesh)
2. Give incentives and rewards (affirmations like “I love you,” “You’re my best friend.”)
3. Have daily briefings for improved communication (practice a 10-minute rule: every single day, talk to your partner for at least 10 minutes about anything but work, family, household duties or the relationship.)
4. Implement change (don’t get in a rut, keep things fresh)
5. Keep costs low and benefits high (happy couples have a five to one ratio, five positive feelings or experiences for every one negative.

While she says “If you’re having conflict, you aren’t talking about the important issues in your relationship,” reserve those arguments and fights for the right time (she doesn’t recommend visits or night), it’s also a myth that you shouldn’t go to bed mad, because staying up can make things worse; don’t fight irritated, exhausted and angry. The following morning is much better. As the old song goes, “accentuate the positive” and strengthen what you do well.

This article is contributed by Media Buzzer.

Goodbye 2014! Hello 2015!

Hello 2015

Wow! 2014 is finally coming to an end! I shall not attempt to do a recollection of major events that occurred this year due to time constraints. Let’s keep it short and sweet yeah! 2014, without a doubt, is the most exciting and fulfilling year of my life so far! Of course, my giving birth to Little misschewy takes centre stage, and not forgetting the responsibilities that come along with it! Life couldn’t be any better now that we are blessed with such a cheeky and lovely little baby girl. The Chewys will strive to make 2015 an even more fulfilling year! 😀