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Richmond, Which dog treats are dangerous?   

Every year, a new richmond dog treat product is introduced into the market. Year by year, you’ll discover different brands cropping up. Just because they make it on supermarket shelves doesn’t mean they are safe for your pets. If you don’t do your research, you might buy something harmful to your dog. Most of these brands are paying millions of dollars to advertise and market their products to make them look attractive to customers. If you care for your dogs, you will not be swayed by the beautiful packaging and compelling advertisements. Wise pet owners must look into the facts instead of being impressed by glossy labels and packages.

Believe it or not, there are dozens of dog treats being sold in supermarkets that are making dogs sick because of the ingredients they use and the unsafe and unregulated methods of processing these treats.


One of the most infamous dog treats is rawhide. Rawhide is the most in-demand dog treat is rawhide. They are inexpensive and you can find them everywhere. It’s impossible not to find rawhide in pet stores. The way they are designed makes them attractive to dogs. Sheets of rawhide are being made into rings, balls, and bones. If you check out ads, you’ll discover that manufacturers have designed rawhide to last for years and that it encourages healthy chewing sparing your furniture pieces at home. They also claim that rawhide helps keep your dog’s teeth clean by preventing the buildup of plaque and tartar. Sad to say, this product is dangerous to chew with because it’s sturdy and you can’t break it into smaller pieces. If your dog accidentally swallows the entire thing this can lead to an internal blockage.

Knowing how rawhide is processed will discourage you from buying them for your pet. First of all, the hide of a cattle (the most popular animal used in rawhide products) is split with the top layer used in the leather trade and the second layer turned into rawhide. This layer contains little to no nutritional value and only high amounts of collagen. Before the skin is turned into rawhide it must be degreased and washed using powerful detergents before it gets sterilized and bleached. Manufacturers also use various flavors and coloring to make the rawhide more appealing. Sadly, this can contain sodium sulfide and lime. Ingesting sodium sulfide can result in vomiting, diarrhea, and nausea.

Bleach or hydrogen peroxide is also used to whiten rawhide. Again, this is harmful because hydrogen peroxide can cause diarrhea and vomiting. Titanium oxide is also harmful to your dog as it has been proven to cause cancer. Other harmful chemicals used in making rawhide include mercury arsenic, lead, and formaldehyde.

Colorful Treats

Most dog treats are dyed using bright colors to make them more appealing. Sadly, numerous pieces of evidence shows that the additives used to make the treats colorful are in fact bad for your pets. Examples of these additives are E102 or Tartrazine, E110 or Sunset Yellow, and E123 Indigotine, E129 Allure Red.

What Can Happen To Your Dog?

Bad things can happen to your dog if you give them poisonous or toxic treats. Studies found that treats containing harmful ingredients can cause cancer. Minor side effects include vomiting and diarrhea.


Don’t sacrifice your pet’s health and life just because you were too lazy to do your research. If you want to train your dog and you intend to use dog treats during training we recommend you talk to your veterinarian to know what brands are safe and what brands aren’t. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. To keep your dogs safe, always do some reading and research.

Nick White
Nick White is the owner of Off Leash K9 Training. He has over 80 dog training franchise locations throughout the United States. He currently hosts the A&E show, America's Top Dog.

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Things to Do in Las Vegas in Winter

Las Vegas is not just about the out-of-the-world casinos. Those who love to travel will have a specific itinerary about the best places to visit in Las Vegas. If you are on that list as well and planning to spend your winter vacation in Las Vegas, there are lots of places to visit and a variety of things to do. From enjoying the best concerts Las Vegas performances to going skiing, here are the top 6 activities you shouldn’t miss:

1. Take a tour to the Hoover Dam

You may have seen various dams around the world, but the Hoover Dam is something special. Many people call it the “greatest dam ever built.” Don’t forget to take a guide when you visit this dam. He/she will provide various informative and entertaining stories about the history of the dam and how it was built. Also, check out the exhibit walls, observation deck, power plant, visitor’s center, and theatre. It takes approximately two hours to finish the complete tour.

2. Bird’s view from the Stratosphere Observation Deck

Want to see the entire city of Las Vegas amidst the mist from the very top? Head over to the Stratosphere Observation Deck, and you will not feel like leaving. It gives a 360-degree view of the entire city from 1149 feet above the ground. You can also see how the city lights up during Christmas if you go during that time. Beat your acrophobia after visiting the tallest freestanding observation tower in all of the United States.

3. Enjoy the grandeur of Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon is one of the finest places in Las Vegas that attracts thousands of tourists every year. Winter is the best time to visit this place because of the pleasant weather and a clear view of the surrounding mountains. Also, the roadway leading to the Grand Canyon includes several tourist attractions, such as the Black Canyon, the bighorn sheep habitat, Lake Mead, the Bypass Bridge, Hoover Dam, and the Joshua Tree Forest.

4. Outdoor activities at Lee Canyon

While the Grand Canyon offers spectacular views of the picturesque landscape, Lee Canyon provides ample opportunities to enjoy outdoor activities, such as tubing, snowboarding, skiing, and many more. Lee Canyon will have visitors all the time, but there’s a rush in winter because tourists love to enjoy the snow here. Make sure you have enough warm clothes and prepare to slip, slop, and fall on the snow frequently.

5. Enjoy concerts of your favorite pop-stars

Winter is the season for pop-stars to hit the stage and rock the concerts. The Park Theatre and The Colosseum are two of the most prominent places where you can enjoy an evening of song and dance. Book your tickets early because they usually sell out in a flash. If you are lucky enough, you can see Lady Gaga or even Journey performing on consecutive days. So, don’t waste this opportunity to keep an evening free for your favorite music star.

6. Shop, shop, and shop

Shop till your legs give way. Las Vegas has numerous shopping malls where you will feel like buying everything you see. Whether you want souvenirs for kids or looking for high-end boutiques, this city never disappoints anyone, especially when it comes to satisfactory shopping. Make sure you have enough budget for shopping because you may start with a small budget, but that can go up any time as you explore more stores.

So, if Las Vegas is your next holiday destination during winters, don’t forget to try these things. They will make your vacation worth remembering for a long time.

172 Live Music
172 Live Music in the Rio Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas is the only place to experience live local and national talent in an intimate, up close and personal setting. Paired with an elevated Japanese tapas and sushi dining experience and expertly crafted cocktails.

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Non-Toxic Window Cleaning Cleaning Products

Have you a problem like this? You spray a commercial window cleaner onto glass. You wipe it off using a paper towel expecting the window to be clean and sparkling. But, the paper towel comes away leaving streaks, dullness or even worse – the window still has those spots and smudges on the glass that you were trying to clean off.

Cleaning windows seems like it is more than a chore at times. It seems like there must be a magic trick to getting windows to sparkle. For many people, they rely on commercially prepared products that include ingredients like ammonia or other toxic ingredients. Some people are highly allergic to the smell of cleaning chemicals and cannot use these products.

What is the solution? Do you just give up on having sparkling windows around your house and get used to peeking out at the view by ignoring those spots and smudges? You can get your window clean without offensive toxic odors or chemicals. Here are some ingredients to use to make the best cleaning products available.

Mix Your Own

Vinegar is an all-natural, non-toxic ingredient most people have lying around the house. You can clean your windows using some of this and a few old newspaper pages. This is a pretty good tip and even professional window cleaners or glass installers abide by it! If it is good enough for them, imagine how good it will be for you.

Use distilled white vinegar as your base. Mix it with water. Use more water than vinegar. A simple recipe is to use 2 cups of water and ¼ cup vinegar. Adjust the mixture more or less depending upon how much you are cleaning.

Add the mixture to a spray bottle. Re-purpose a clean one that you have from an emptied container or buy a spray bottle at any store that sells cleansers or home goods. If you do not have a spray bottle, you can mix the two ingredients in a bucket.

This method is only viable if you have a squeegee tool with a sponge on one side and a rubber blade on the other. It will be too hard to apply the mixture to the glass using the newspaper from a bucket.

Spritz the glass with the mixture and wipe it off with a sheet of newsprint. You will notice immediately that the glass comes away brilliantly clean and sparkling.

Do not worry about the odor. Vinegar will smell until it dries which takes a short time. All you will be left with is windows so bright you will wonder why you did not clean them with vinegar sooner.

For an even better cleaner or for those times when you need to do the exteriors of windows, add some dishwashing detergent to your mix. Using the ratio described above you can add about ½ teaspoon of detergent to provide the cleanser with an added boost.

When doing the outside windows be sure to use a bucket for the mixture. Also have a scrub brush with soft, non-abrasive bristles on hand. You also want to rinse the mixture off the windows so use your garden hose or, if you have one, a power-washer hose at a low setting.

Use Ready-made Products or Homemade Products

The best window cleaners are yours to determine based on your preferences or needs. Commercially available, ready-made products are fine in most instances. They do the work you need them to do. However, if you are sensitive to chemicals you can often get better results using simple non-toxic ingredients like water and vinegar that you mix yourself.

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Liz Slaney
Liz Slaney owns and operates Squeegee Pro, a window cleaning company in Orange County, CA. Despite growing up in rainy Oregon, Liz always loved the sun shine of Southern California when visiting family in Orange County. So today she loves running Squeegee Pro and offering a quality service for nice people in Orange County.

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Hospitality Uniform Trends – History and Future

The history of hotel uniforms is as old as the concept of the hotel itself and was influenced by a number of trends such as those found in the military.

The origins of the hotel itself are actually relatively recent. In the Middle Ages, what we know as the modern hotel, a place where people would seek accommodation and a variety of services, simply did not exist. There were usually inns which were placed on frequently traveled highways and byways. These were usually family run and there was no real need for a uniform (excuse the pun) identity among staff.

In cities, it wasn’t uncommon for those seeking accommodation to stay for extended period of time with a family who would also supply essential services such as meals.

As cities grew and industrialization began to shape modern society there was a growing requirement for what we would today recognize as the beginnings of the modern hotel.

As competition grew it became essential that hotels or inns provided a brand that those in search of superior accommodations could recognize. And with that, the concept of the hotel uniform was born. The uniforms were often ornate and reflected the prestige that would accrue to those who chose a superior establishment.

Many of these ornate uniforms were modeled after military styles or the styling of the uniforms worn by the personal servants of the nobility. The implication being that you would be receiving disciplined service of a type only previously enjoyed by the privileged upper classes. and comfort was only a secondary consideration.

As time went on styles become far less formal, although one still come across ultra-luxury hotels where doormen for instance still boast extremely ornate uniforms.

However today the trend is for uniforms worn by hotel staff to reflect the brand identity of the parent organization, as well as providing guests with a visual clue as to the functions of the various staff at the hotel. Therefore, you will have more formal attire for those in management and front of house positions, while those engaged in housekeeping or general duties will have a very different look – while still maintaining a cohesive brand identity.

There are also new trends in just how uniforms are sourced and how the appearance of staff can best represent the brand while still providing excellent return on investment for the hotel chain.

One of these trends is towards the outsourcing of uniforms. Uniform rental is today becoming increasingly popular. This is growing since modern hotel operations are growing increasingly complex. With staff providing meals, cleaning services, management services and a variety of other services related to the smooth running of the hotel it makes much more sense to outsource the care and maintenance of the wide variety of hospitality uniforms that are required.

Another trend is for the use of more advanced modern materials in the design of the uniforms. There are today materials that are resistant to stains and even wrinkling. These materials are consistently hard wearing and can in the long term save the hotel operation significant amounts of operating capital. In addition, these materials are tailored to provide an extensive range of style – making them suitable for both formal and informal uniforms.

No matter how times have changed the hotel brand is one of the most important assets that any hotel operation has in its portfolio. For this reason, it seems unlikely that the hotel uniform as we know it today will be disappearing anytime soon, even as the industry continues to expand.


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Get A Real Taste Of Local London Culture

Planning a trip to London England can be almost as fun as the time you end up spending there. It is even more special when you’re able to get good advice from locals on what to see and do. One of the best ways to see and experience London is to stay at a bed and breakfast.

A London bed and breakfast may have never crossed your mind because most of us are accustomed to staying at hotels when traveling to a foreign country. If you think about it, what better way to get good local advice on the very best that London has to offer, than to stay at a B&B run by Londoners?

Big Ben and Houses of parliament in London, UK

Big Ben and Houses of parliament in London, UK

Not only will you get a comfortable bed and room to relax in, the hosts at the London bed and breakfast are there to ensure that your time is memorable. Of course, it is true they want you to come back and also refer others, but owning a bed and breakfast is about connecting with your guests.

Bed and Breakfasts in London have a reputation for being places where you can find relaxing comfort, a good meal and lots of interesting local conversation. Making a connection with the guests no matter where you’re from, is what makes the owners of the London B&B proud. If you happen to stay at one and don’t feel like you’re getting first class treatment, it is time to choose another bed and breakfast.

Forget about the prepackaged tour that is designed to take you to all the tourist traps, how about staying at a B&B with locals who will direct you to places that aren’t normally frequented by tourists? Experience London as if you were a citizen, with a travel plan in hand that was recommended to you by your hosts at the B&B. Stay off the tour buses and hop into an iconic black taxi and see the sites like a local.

A nice cozy London bed and breakfast with its quaint charm, friendly hosts, located in a quieter part of the city is the perfect place to come home to each night. Since eating out at restaurants and London pubs is a huge expense, spending money at a tourist trap that has mediocre food can eat up most of your travel budget, leaving you with little money for recreational activities and shopping. And the authentic food is more likely to be found right at your B&B.

Before booking a reservation at a London bed and breakfast, it is very important that you read online reviews. Many guests who stay at London B&B’s leave online messages where they discuss their stay. These reviews can be both positive and negative, so be sure to read both sides to get a complete picture. Once you have found plenty of good reviews, visit their websites to see where they are located, check prices, and book a reservation.

London has a lot to offer when it comes to places to stay, but if you really want to get the inside scoop on where the locals like to hang out, staying at a B&B is something you should you definitely consider. As long as you take the time to research different B&B’s in London, you are going to have an extraordinary experience.


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Starting a Bed & Breakfast? Consider Hilton Head Island

Very frequently we receive emails from readers who are interested in starting their own Bed & Breakfast Inn. The question we are asked most frequently is, “where would be a good location to start a Bed & Breakfast?” Well, that one is tough to answer, as there are so many great locations, for so many reasons.

But since we’ve been getting pressed to answer this, we’re going to stick our necks out and name an actual location. In fact, we think it’s one of the best opportunities you’ll find, as it is a very popular resort area, with no B&B to be found. And so, that is why our current answer for the best location for a new Bed & Breakfast is Hilton Head, South Carolina.

Hilton Head Island harbor and lighthouse

Hilton Head, South Carolina, lighthouse at twilight.

But first, we want to give a little justification for our choice. You can start a B&B almost anywhere. So, with that in mind, why not start it somewhere that YOU would like to live? Hilton Head Island offers the perfect setting for a B&B Inn. But even better are its newer private communities for those who choose to have a separate residence from their B&B business. Take, for example, Hilton Head Plantation.

When it comes to communities that have a lot going on, the Hilton Head Plantation is chock full due to the efforts of the HHPPOA Activities Recreation Department and other groups in the area, and there are always a good number of beautiful luxury Hilton Head Plantation homes for sale. Because the population is so diverse, the variety of events is broad enough to make sure that everyone has a chance to get in on the fun. These activities include workshops, classes, seminars, and special events, and they are held at facilities around the area including the Spring Lake Recreation area, the Spring Lake Pavilion, and the Plantation House.

Every summer, a Kids Kamp is held for the younger set. But, that is just the start. With miles of hiking trails and plenty of places to revel in nature, kids get the opportunity to spend time in a natural setting exploring, swimming, or fishing. Of course, with so many tennis courts and other facilities for sports, they can get involved in a pickup game or sign up for league play as well. Or, if they just want to spend time being kids for a while, there are enchanting and challenging playgrounds located throughout the area.

The entire community gets a chance to enjoy special events planned by the Activities and Recreation Department. They range from seasonal events such as Christmas, Halloween, and July 4th parties for the kids to both outdoor and indoor concerts, depending upon the season. People who love searching for bargains will enjoy the Trash and Treasure Sale while entire families celebrate on Easter Sunday at a Sunrise Service.

Of course, if your interests range towards the culinary, it’s not hard to be pleased by the delectable cookouts featuring bounty from the sea at shrimp boils and oyster roasts. If the food is too rich, residents of Hilton Head Plantation can head to an event to have their cholesterol tested and arrange for a flu shot.

However, since there are many clubs available to residents that schedule their own events, it isn’t necessary to rely on the Department to find something fun to do. Almost every day of the year, the local clubhouses are booked for a party, event, meeting, or even a class sponsored by one of these clubs. And, there is every type of club imaginable available for the residents from woodcarving to farming to a club for dog owners. Each month, the Plantation Living magazine published a list of events scheduled with information about how to join in.

In addition to all of these scheduled activities, there is always something special to do just by heading out of doors. The fishing is spectacular, and the area is filled with vibrant eco-systems for the nature lover. Head to a marshy area and go bird watching or wander down one of the trails to enjoy the wonder of a wooded lane. In the 127-acre conservancy, you will see small native birds as well as spectacular hawks, osprey, and owls.

Of course, some residents get involved in the management of the Hilton Head Plantation by becoming members on the Board. They help to resolve disputes and establish a budget to keep the area protected and clean for the people who love living there. For many of these volunteers, it is a true labor of love.

Hilton Head Plantation is a unique place to live. Located in one of the most beautiful places on earth, it nurtures the spirit of those who live there with its resplendent beauty and its wide variety of activities. One thing is sure. No matter who you are or what you like, there is always something you will enjoy doing available. In the end, it’s a great place to live and that’s why we think it might be one of the best places to open your new bed and breakfast!


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Hotel Pest Control Issues: What You Should Know About Bed Bugs

Staying in a hotel can be a great way to relax and get away from it all. When you’re at a hotel, you don’t need to worry about making your bed or taking care of the dishes in your sink.

However, hotel stays aren’t always completely stress free. Lately there have been a lot of stories in the news about a something of which every traveler should be aware: bed bugs.

If you’re worried that bed bugs will ruin your hotel stay, you’ll want to take a few precautions. We spoke with Fox Pest Control – Long Island to find out what a traveler can do, and they gave us these tips to help you to avoid bedbugs on your next trip.

Stay In A Well-Reviewed Hotel

Bed bug on pillow and in bed as a bedbug infestation concept

Avoid Bed Bugs on Your Hotel Stay

Before you book a hotel, take the time to read numerous reviews. Pay close attention to any comments about the cleanliness of the hotel. Make sure that past guests have been satisfied with the cleanliness of the rooms that they’ve stayed in.

If there are numerous complaints about dirty rooms, you may want to avoid the hotel. Even if the reviews don’t mention bed bugs specifically, an unclean room is a big red flag.

Inspect The Bedding After Your Arrival

When you arrive at the hotel, take the time to examine the bedding. Pull away the covers and look at the sheets. Does everything appear to be fresh and clean?

Bed bugs aren’t always easy to spot. However, you may notice signs that suggest that the sheets in your room haven’t been cleaned recently. If you suspect that your room has dirty linens, call a maid and ask them to replace those linens with something fresh and new.

Bring Your Own Sheets

If you are worried about the condition of the sheets you will be sleeping on, you may want to bring your own sheets from home. When you arrive at the hotel, you can swap out the old sheets for the new one.

Changing sheets can be an annoyance, but it won’t take up much of your time. You deserve to have clean sheets to sleep on no matter where you are.

Bring A Portable Dehumidifier

Bedbugs tend to thrive in environments that are damp. If you remove moisture from the room, then the bedbugs will not be able to survive.

You should take a portable dehumidifier with you on your trip, especially if you are staying somewhere where the weather is muggy. When you arrive in the room, you should start running your dehumidifier immediately. Even if there are bedbugs in the room, you shouldn’t be bringing any of them back with you.

A dehumidifier can be costly, but it’s definitely a worthwhile expense. Consider buying one to take on your next trip, or upon arrival.

Wash Everything When You Get Home

When you arrive home from your trip, wash every single item that you brought with you to the hotel. Make sure that all of your clothing and other items are cleaned and sterilized before they are brought back into your home.

If there were bedbugs in your hotel, they may try clinging to your clothing and other items. If you wash everything thoroughly, and dry on fairly high heat, you’ll be able to keep those nasty bugs from every causing a problem in your home.

Bedbugs aren’t as big of a problem as you might think. Most hotels work very hard to keep bedbugs and other insects at bay.

With that said, there are things that you can do that will help to keep you safer. Make sure that bedbugs won’t be an issue for you when you are travelling. Work to rid your hotel room of any bedbugs that might be there.


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Writers Retreat: Why The Bed And Breakfast Can Be An Author’s Best Friend

Writing is a tough job. Sometimes a change of scenery is the only way to get productive, and this is why writers retreats have long been a useful tool for wordsmiths. If you need to escape from your everyday rut and refresh your creativity, a stay in a bed and breakfast is a great way to jumpstart your writing engine.

Why You Might Need To Get Away

Female writer thinking of new ideasAlthough getting serious about writing involves cultivating the ability to write anywhere at any time, certain parts of the job are more demanding than others. If you’re laying the groundwork for a new story, polishing a piece to bring out its inner greatness, or working hard to meet a deadline, it pays to find a writing environment that offers you minimal distractions.

Sealing yourself off in your home isn’t really a workable option. It’s much better to find a space that’s new but welcoming. Here you can concentrate on your work to the exclusion of outside influences. This is in stark contrast to a professionally organized writers retreat. The type of retreat we’re talking about is one that can help you isolate your own ideas and can also land you in a powerfully inspirational setting that will have a positive effect on your writing.

Flexible Hosts

Writers love to use a stay at a bed and breakfast for a number of different reasons, but one of the most important is staying with hosts who are accommodating to their needs. Good B&B hosts offer a level of personalized service that ordinary hotels (even the very best of them) simply cannot match.

Whether you like a certain amount of daily interaction with other people when you’re writing or need absolute isolation, a good bed and breakfast should be able to meet your needs. B&B hosts are also excellent about fulfilling any special requests you have to make your retreat more productive. A full-service B&B (one which provides all of your meals) is also desirable for a writer, as it frees up more of your time for the business of writing.

Specialized Retreats

Of course, bed and breakfast operators haven’t overlooked the appeal that their services have to writers. You won’t go very far in hunting for a B&B for a retreat before turning up dozens of rooms and homes expressly marketed to writers. While you have to take some of these offerings with a grain of salt (see below), some writing-focused B&Bs offer you terrific opportunities.

You might try a stay in a historically-meaningful room, like the studio at Thoreau Farm. Here you can exercise your craft under the same roof that sheltered Henry David Thoreau as a child. Other writer-friendly B&Bs offer specialized amenities like libraries, literary tours, and even (in some cases) writing mentors. Many of the best writers retreats are collaborative, offering you the opportunity to stay with, and learn from, other writers.

Picking A Bed And Breakfast

As noted above, not all bed and breakfasts that market themselves to writers are created equal. You should review the offerings of any B&B carefully to confirm that it’s a good fit for your needs. Additionally, make sure you compare the pricing and features of a “writer’s” B&B to other accommodations in the area. You may be paying a significant markup for extras that won’t really help you.

As with many services, one of the best ways to get a feel for a bed and breakfast is by reading reviews from past guests. In the case of a dedicated writers retreat, you can pursue this line of inquiry from two directions. All of the usual sites which review ordinary accommodations are available to you. You can also learn more by poking around in online writers’ communities. This can help you find new options as well as teach you more about B&Bs you’re already considering.

Depending on your tastes, the perfect writers retreat for you might be monastically isolated or vibrantly busy. Whatever helps you write is worth looking into. You’ll find a range of different options in the bed and breakfast market that can meet almost any need, and picking the right place for your retreat can dramatically improve your productivity.


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Why Stay At A Bed & Breakfast Rather Than A Hotel?

When it’s time to plan for trips, there are a number of things to consider. You have to figure out how much and what to pack. Figuring out how many suitcases you need and what should be in those suitcases is an incredibly important and time-consuming part of trip planning!

That’s not the only time-consuming part, however. There’s also figuring out the logistics. How will you get to where you’re going, both what path you’ll take and what method you’ll take to get there. Will you be going by train, or driving there yourself? Will you need to fly, or can you take a bus? These are important questions, and thus, take time and effort to plan out.

However, in the process of taking the time to plan things out, you might be tempted to reserve simply a hotel room at a decent hotel, and call it a day. It’s a strong temptation, and certainly understandable. Hotels are businesses that are specifically designed to make sure your stay is comfortable. You’ll get a decent bed; you’ll get a nice room, and you won’t have to pay an arm and a leg. However, it’s not the only option, and in fact, it’s not even the best option.

How Is A Bed & Breakfast Different From A Hotel

For many people, the idea of a Bed and Breakfast is nothing more than a more expensive hotel. You will sometimes hear all manner of insulting things about a Bed and Breakfast, and this is unfortunate. It’s unfortunate because a Bed and Breakfast is so much more than a more expensive hotel. It’s so much more than a hotel at all!

A hotel is nothing more than a people kennel. It may have nice amenities, it may be clean and well tended, and it may have good customer service. However, the staff is just that, staff. It’s a place where you go to stay for a few days, ignoring the world around you. You may be able to use their pool, or their gym, or one of their other facilities. But at no time is a hotel ever going to go out of their way to make you feel like their room could be your home.

A Bed and Breakfast does exactly that. It’s much more than simply a room in which to stay. It’s a place that actually tries to make the place feel like home. It does this with home cooked meals, as opposed to having a restaurant on site. Often, meals are served in a communal dining room, allowing people to sit together and converse as if they were friends and family. In addition, a Bed and Breakfast will often host a number of events that make the guests feel even more warm and welcome.

How Comfortable Do You Want To Be?

For some people, the idea of staying at a place that tries to feel like home is unnecessary. They don’t want to feel like they’re in a more cozy home. They just want a clean bed and a television, and perhaps internet access. As long as they have that, they’re fine.

If you’re planning on taking a vacation, then it might be much better to have a more comfortable place to stay. A place that doesn’t just give you a bed to sleep in and clean rooms, but a place where you’ll feel comfortable. A place where the people are friendly and the meals are warm. That is what a Bed and Breakfast can do.


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Where to Stay on Your Next Key West Fishing Trip

Key West is a destination which offers many different types of activity and entertainment, from Fantasy Fest to reef diving, to sport fishing. Its eclectic and historic charm also draws a large number of vacationers who simply want to relax and enjoy the “Key West experience.” But that doesn’t mean you can’t have your cake (or in this case, Key Lime pie) and eat it too.

Hemingway House in Key West, Florida

Hemingway House, Key West, Florida

Each year thousands of sports fishermen are lured to the land of The Old Man and the Sea and its famous Key West fishing charters, with the hope of “catching the big one,” or at least enjoying in the pursuit. However, your seafaring adventures needn’t limit you from enjoying the life of a land-lubber at the end of the day. And that’s why we recommend making your next fishing trip memorable by taking in the charm of one of Key West’s many Bed and Breakfasts.

Although there are more excellent establishments than one could explore in a lifetime of expeditions to this little island, we’ve made it easy for you by scouting out what we (and many online reviewers) feel are 5 of the top Key West Bed and Breakfast Inns:

The Coco Plum Inn

While it can be tempting to look for a hotel right on the beach while enjoying everything Key West has to offer, you’re not going to compete with the amazing lodging or friendly service that comes from staying at the Coco Plum Inn. A beautiful style Victorian home, this bed and breakfast combines elegance, traditional beauty, and comfort into one great package.

A beautifully fenced in backyard with abundant tropical trees and a private pool, reserved just for the guests staying at the Bed and Breakfast allow you to keep enjoying the amazing outdoor setting even when you want a quiet night back.

Ambrosia Key West

A double deck overlooks the pool in the backyard, flanked by tropical trees on both sides to produce a relaxing, yet luxurious setting, that matches the inside at Ambrosia Key West. Nestled snugly in the Old Town Historical District, the Ambrosia enjoys a reputation as one of the finest places for visitors to stay in all of Key West.

Enjoy the little Cuba influence in architecture, the unique quality of each room, and a staff with a reputation for service. Located within walking distance of most of the downtown, this is also the ideal location to explore the entire island from.

The Atlantis House

Don’t let the somewhat dated yellow of the outside of the house scare you away. Inside the Atlantis House you will find a clean and modern look, mixing the influences of Cuba and Florida into a relaxing blend. White tile floors and solid hardwood furniture blend seamlessly and the house is mere feet away from the long beach walkway and the beach itself, making a relaxing morning walk or a romantic evening on the beach both only a stone’s throw away.

Plush pillows and soft sheets mean a comfortable and deep sleep every night, the type worthy of a Florida Keys vacation.

The Conch House Heritage Inn

If you love the idea of staying right in the heart of Old Town in Key West, then the exquisitely restored Conch House Heritage Inn will be a dream come true! Wraparound porches on both the ground and second level give incredible views while the house itself is beautifully restored in a colonial type style. All rooms enjoy a private bathroom with bath, air conditioning unit, and TV, allowing for each person to control their personal level of comfort.

The pool outside is very well maintained and of course Old Town is literally just outside the door.

Avalon Bed & Breakfast

Avalon Bed & Breakfast is dedicated to providing the absolute finest in tropical luxury. This white linen beauty is run from a restored Victorian style house dating from 1885, and features high colonial style ceilings and whisper-sheer above the bed canopy nets. The atmosphere is sumptuous yet elegant, evoking the style and charm of golden era Hollywood pictures. Breakfast is served daily in an airy dining room overlooking the sleepy bustle of Duval Street, and features fresh fruit, yogurt, cereal, and an assortment of pastries. Also included is a unique daily special, which can range from delicate mini quiches to perfectly cooked omelettes.

Feel free to cast us a line, once you’ve enjoyed your stay, and let us know about your experience. And don’t forget to pay a visit to the Ernest Hemingway House, if you find yourself stuck with the seas a bit too rough for fishing, and real-in some old-time Florida Keys history about one of the Key West’s most famous fishermen.


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Guidelines on Flying the US Flag and Other Flags

Patriots all over the United States feel proud when they see the red, white and blue of our flag waving proudly in the breeze. Many businesses fly the flag to make a statement of their patriotism and attract potential customers, and some people will choose to do business with them as a result. Owners of historic bed and breakfast establishments often have a strong interest in displaying their patriotic spirit, but following the proper guidelines for flying the flag is important.

flags mounted to hotel exterior

Hotels often use wall-mounted flagpoles, which can be a more convenient option than upright halyard flagpoles.

Americans who choose to show their patriotism by displaying the flag should follow the US Flag Code to ensure the banner is flown properly. The most important requirement is that the flag should always occupy a high place of honor, meaning that it should always be visible. The most common procedure has been to raise the flag at sunrise and to lower it at sunset. If the flag is to be displayed after dark, it should be illuminated so that it always remains visible.

The American flag is more likely to be flown by citizens on Independence Day, Flag Day and for National Flag Week. The position of how the flag is hung from a pole is important. The union, or the blue field, should be positioned at the highest point. If it is hung over a street, the union should face north or east considering the direction the street runs.

The more pleasant weather of summer usually means the flag will not be displayed in stormy, windy or rainy weather. If it is necessary to display the flag in spite of inclement weather, the US Flag Code deems it acceptable to fly “all-weather” flags that are specially designed to resist weather damage. You can go online and purchase an all-weather nylon American flag for sale.

Sometimes it is proper to fly the flag at half-staff. This position typically reflects the death of an American leader or a national tragedy. The correct procedure of elevating the flag to half-staff is to raise it completely before lowering it to the half-staff position. It should then be raised completely again before lowering it for the day.

Sometimes several flags are flown at the same time, and the US Flag code has outlined the guidelines that must be followed in this case. If the other flags represent states or localities, the US flag should be placed at the position of honor in the center and the highest point of the group. If the display is against a wall in a position of crossed staff with another flag, the US flag should hang on the left with its staff in front of the other staff.

Many bed and breakfast owners present their establishment in a historical light with a patriotic feel. Displaying the American flag is an effective way to enhance that feeling, and their clients are attracted to the concept. Some bed and breakfast owners invite their guests to join them as they properly raise or lower the flag, explaining the proper procedures during the process.

B&B establishment owners may also wish to display the flags of the states or countries of the guests currently staying with them. This is normally done by setting up an array of flagpoles, with the US flag on the middle and tallest pole. While guests are sure to appreciate the effort of seeing their country’s flag flown at your B&B establishment, proper guidelines for flying the US flag and other banners should be followed as above.


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Going Organic – A Smart Trend for Your Bed & Breakfast

Once a mainstay of the local business landscape, the bed and breakfast inn went into decline with the rise in popularity of chain hotels but has since made a comeback as a niche industry catering to travelers who want a more personal touch to their food and lodgings. Some bed and breakfasts, in their effort to increasingly distinguish themselves from the big chains, have strengthened their niche advantage by serving organic items on their breakfast menus. There are a couple of reasons why you might want to join this trend and serve organic food to your bed and breakfast guests.

organic breakfast food

A delicious home style breakfast with crispy bacon, eggs, pancakes, toast, coffee, and orange juice can be even better when it’s organic.

B&B customers, by nature, are people who are looking for something out of the norm. Industry surveys typically show that guests opt for the B&B experience because they want to avoid the cookie-cutter hotel experience. In other words, they tend to see themselves as avoiding what “the masses” do.

This attitude isn’t exclusive to their choice in lodging, but also extends to many of their other purchasing habits. They are more likely to purchase custom items and are willing to pay higher prices for better quality products, for example. And when it comes to their food choices, they are more likely to choose foods that are organic.

Serving organic foods can quickly become a noticeable selling point for your bed and breakfast among the type of customers who are already inclined to patronize your business.

The main concern, of course, is cost. Organic foods are a good bit more expensive, due to the costlier farming methods used in their production, and they also spoil somewhat sooner than conventionally grown foods, making them a hefty investment for any business owner. Since switching to organic foods is not a surefire way to increase your business, it should be carefully considered.

Another consideration lies in exactly what dishes you’re serving. Organic ingredients may help sell food, but they won’t improve the taste or nutritional content, so making sure your cooks are up to the task of transforming organic food into a good healthy meal is as essential to your business as it ever was.

There are many websites devoted to organic recipes and food preparation, which can help you craft your menu. And adding some items is as easy as simply ordering them online. For your organic coffee, one great online store we’ve found is Java Planet. Not only is their organic coffee roasted and packaged in the US, but it is also Fair Trade certified, which is another positive selling feature for your typical demographic. For a helpful list of other food items that can be ordered online, check out this page at It includes recipes with prep time, cook time and all the items you need can be ordered on their site. These resources can help you get up and running with an organic menu immediately.

If you feel your business is on stable enough ground that you can afford to sell a more upscale product, switching to organic foods can be a huge boon for your B&B. It can be the unique selling point that distinguishes you from the competition. Of course, the key is to make sure you let it be known that you serve organic food on your inn’s menu. Be sure to mention it on your website and also on your online profiles, such as Trip Advisor. When advertising your menu where travelers might see it, the mere mention of organic food can be a deciding factor for most of a bed and breakfast’s customer base, and should be prominently mentioned in your list of amenities. When it comes to offering organic foods, helping your guests stay healthy can also keep your business healthy, and that’s the type of win-win that is likely to be worth the cost and effort.


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Tips for Improving Hotel and Motel Security

Securing a hotel is an incredibly difficult thing to do. If you think about it, the core of security is ensuring that only authorized persons are allowed to enter a building or an area, and monitoring what leaves the area too. This is easy with your home – only you and your immediate family are going to be entering or leaving on a regular basis. It’s easy for most workplaces too, since the list of authorized people, while long, is not likely to change often.

With a hotel, the entire business model relies on a large number of people spending a relatively short amount of time on the property. And each of those people will need to be able to enter and leave the main building, security guard (2)and their room, as they please. You need to make sure that each room is secure so that guests can leave their belongings in their rooms without fear. It also goes without saying that the entire property must also be secured properly for the guests’ own safety.

Simple Ways to Improve Security

The approach that you take to security will depend on whether you are running a small hotel or a large one, and how many guests you tend to have. Tim Wilson, Jr., owner of IGS Protection, one of the top security companies in Houston, offers the following simple ways that hotels and motels can improve security.

Electronic Locks

One of the biggest problems with hotels – especially large ones – is the issue of copying keys. If your hotel uses simple physical keys to lock and unlock guest rooms, then you run the risk of a guest copying the key during their stay, coming back at a later date, and using that key to gain access to their old room. This is a common problem in a lot of cities. Keycard locks are problematic because they are often prone to data loss, but are one of the most common systems in use today. Electronic combination locks are probably the best choice in terms of reliability, but you might find that there is a customer service burden because of people forgetting the combination to get into their rooms. For this reason, many choose to forego this option in favor of practicality.


Get CCTV installed in the hallways and parking lots, and combine that with some type of motion sensor so that your security staff will be notified which monitors they should be watching. Don’t put CCTV in guest rooms – this would be a privacy and PR nightmare. Simply monitoring the halls, stairwells and parking areas for suspicious activity should be enough – if security staff are concerned something is going on, then they can investigate in person.

Train Your Staff to Be Proactive

Having security staff standing around and being intimidating might create the illusion of security, but it’s the cleaners, reception staff and restaurant staff that have the best opportunity of making a difference. Get them to talk to customers they encounter wandering around. Ask people if everything is OK with their room, or if they are enjoying their stay. Customers will respond positively, and many non-customers may be caught off-guard and will often give away clues to what they are doing. A non-customer might be someone visiting a room for a meeting, in which case there’s no harm done, or they could be a criminal. If an employee meets someone that they think doesn’t fit the usual demographic of a standard hotel guest, then they need to make a decision about alerting security or not.

With a few smart decisions, it’s possible to make a hotel secure without ruining the stay for legitimate guests. You don’t have to have curfews and demand that guests turn their keys in before they leave. There is a compromise between a secure environment and one that is welcoming and positive for all kinds of guests while reassuring them security is a priority.


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