Grant Me a Higher Love this Valentine’s Day and Forever

Cindi Sansone-Braff:  The Romance Whisperer

Cindi Sansone-Braff: The Romance Whisperer

Ugh, love relationships. It’s crazy how they can be so off-the-charts wonderful and at other times so down-in-the-dumps horrible. Who among us has not ridden this roller coaster of love at least once in his or her life? Whether you’re looking for your perfect soulmate or trying to elevate the divine love you’ve already found, help is on the way.

I chatted with Cindi Sansone-Braff, author of Grant Me a Higher Love:  How to Go from Relationship from Hell to One that’s Heaven Sent in a recent Travel Fun interview. Cindi started out by talking about the importance of travel and getaways with people in love and how travel can be a test of compatibility. She quickly segued into more meatier stuff and emphasized the importance of people having either “two feet in or two feet out of a relationship.” It seems as though many people in today’s society only approach relationships halfway.

“Being granted a higher love is not so difficult,” Cindi explains, something that most of us can likely attest to if we’ve been fortunate enough to be hit with the thunderbolt of love a few months into a relationship. “Maintaining love is the hard part,” Cindi continues. “It does demand work or it’s going to go bad.” It seems as though many people are on cruise mode and allow dysfunction to destroy the love they’ve been granted.

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Fifty Shades of Grey Wine

Fifty Shades of Grey Red Silk

Fifty Shades of Grey Red Satin

“If you spill the wine, I will punish you, Miss Steele.”  —Christian Grey

Mon dieu. Not only might you not want to be punished (or perhaps you do), but you don’t want to lose a drop of Fifty Shades of Grey Wine from acclaimed novelist E.L. James. Who doesn’t love white silk and red satin, especially when it comes in the form of wine?

Floral aromatics of lychee, honey and pear lead off Fifty Shades of Grey White Silk, a primarily Gewürztraminer and Sauvignon Blanc blend. Aged in stainless steel, it’s both delicate and rich in character.

Fifty Shades of Grey Red Satin, a decadent blend of primarily Petite Sirah and Syrah, fills your mouth with a full-bodied deliciousness of black cherry, cocoa, caramel and vanilla. Hmmm, and you thought Christian was yummy.

No date for Valentine’s? How about spending a titillating evening with yourself and the Fifty Shades of Grey book and wine in hand? Or, spice it up with your hunny and surprise him or her with a Fifty Shades of Grey excerpt, accompanied by one of these smooth wines.

The combination of love and wine has never been so bold.

In Praise of the Italian-American Vote

Beaming Over Bombolini and More

Just about a year ago, my boyfriend of four years, Stefano Togni, became American. Many people from both his personal and professional life—even some of his closest friends—had no idea that he wasn’t an American citizen. Indeed, this Italian-born man, known to most as Steve, appears as American as my dad (who is first generation American, born of Italian parents). Although he is fluent in the Italian language and culture, his speech doesn’t reveal a hint of an Italian accent. Plus, his enthusiasm for sports—including Monday night football—rivals that of every other red-blooded American guy. Indeed, he has lived in the United States since he was a senior in high school and aside from an almost unhealthy penchant for pasta, bread, salad and San Pelligrino one would never know that his American passport is as crisp as a new billfold.

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A Tour of the Heart and KOTO Love

My New Book: A TOUR OF THE HEART

Last year around this time, I celebrated a milestone birthday. I was grateful that I was feeling healthy and well, the most fit I’d been in ages and ten pounds thinner (a rarity for me since my weight never fluctuates). Here I am a year later having perhaps gained back five of those pounds—I don’t really know since I stopped weighing myself (a good sign of maturity). And now I’m two days away from another b-day with something far more significant to celebrate—a new book!

Twelve years. Yes, twelve years. I can’t believe it myself. It was twelve years ago that I began to plan a trip that would forever change my life. I actually took that trip in the fall of 2000. We all have transformative events and travels in our lives. I just happen to take a lot of notes on mine. “A Tour of the Heart:  A Seductive Cycling Trip Through France” is the fruit of all that note taking and so much more.” Click here to see a preview and download excerpts. I hope you’ll enjoy the read. Books are rolling into bookstores now; be sure to ask for it if you don’t readily see it on the shelf. You can also purchase it as a paperback through amazon now or as an eBook on kindle.

Since it’s KOTO fundraising time and I love my NPR-station here in Telluride, Colorado, you can receive a free e-book with every $20. donation and a free paperback with every $30. donation. Books sell for $8. and $20. respectively. Contact me directly through this site to make your donation. Also, if you enjoy Travel Fun, my talk radio show on travel, and the podcasts of those interviews I post here on this blog, please make a pledge or donation to KOTO as well. For that also, it’s best to contact me directly. Community radio is a rare breed in the U.S. and ours is almost entirely supported by caring people like you.

I will be talking about “A Tour of the Heart:  A Seductive Cycling Trip Through France,” on Travel Fun tomorrow, August 21, at 6 p.m. mountain time. You can also tune in on the Internet at KOTO.org at the time of the broadcast. I hope to post that interview as a podcast on this blog within the upcoming week.

One more thing:  Click here to become a fan of A Tour of the Heart on Facebook. 

Merci!


I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change

The Perfect Cast of Perfect Change

Men. Women. Will we ever understand each other? Probably not. If we did, life would be boring. It’s best just to make fun of our missteps and miscommunication. That’s exactly what goes in in “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change,” playing at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. It’s been such a smashing hit that performances have been extended through October 14, 2012.

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Dr. Pepper Schwartz on Sex, Travel and Fun

Dr. Pepper Schwartz

I interviewed Dr. Pepper Schwartz on my Travel Fun radio show a few years ago. In honor of Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d post this program here as a podcast, especially since most people I know are still looking for ways to spice up their lives at home and while traveling. As the co-author of “The Great Sex Weekend” and a nationally-recognized authority on sexuality, Dr. Pepper Schwartz knows how to speak intelligently about finding a healthy combination of sex, travel and fun. And if you tune in to our interview below, you’ll learn that romance plays a big role in a couple’s connection as well. (Did you hear that guys?)

“Every couple needs to get away to refocus on each other,” Dr. Schwartz emphasizes. “It’s important to remember they’re lovers and that they can surprise and delight each other,” she continues. If you go away, it’s a way of saying you’re going to focus on each other, Dr. Schwartz explains.

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Elizabeth Bard Talks About Lunch in Paris, Love and Provence

Elizabeth Bard

I don’t think there’s a woman out there that hasn’t dreamed about falling in love in Paris. C’mon, admit it to yourself. See, I told you—I’m sure you’ve allowed just a shred of this fantasy to play out in your head at least once in your life. Many women indulge themselves with full-blown visions of strolling hand-in-hand with a lover alongside the Seine or sharing a tête-à-tête in a cozy French bistrot over a savory coq au vin and a good Bordeaux with the man of her dreams. Others just allow a glimmer of a romance flash through their minds. I bet there are some men (those sensitive types!) that have thought wistfully about love in Paris as well. I may be biased but Paris is surely the most romantic city in the world.

What makes it so? Well, it would take a whole book to divulge that—the decor, the mood, the ambiance, the food and wine. Elizabeth Bard does just that in her book “Lunch in Paris:  A Love Story with Recipes.” I found it to be a terrific read. And I know Paris, love and the whole bonne salade of it all. Elizabeth has done a wonderful job at describing the sights and tastes of the moveablefeast that is Paris. (I haven’t yet tried the recipes she shares, but they seem wonderful and quite easy which is actually what most French cooking is all about.) And of course, Elizabeth meets a love, a Frenchman, and we are swept into their lives like a tourist on a fourteen-day European tour. Fortunately she provides many opportunities for us to savor their moment as well.

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The Outer Banks: The Perfect Hideaway for a Travel Writer and a Hotel GM

Our Path to Paradise

Summer is on the wane. And if you’re like me, you’re looking forward to embracing fall while clinging to your favorite memories of summer. I shared my best trip this summer with my boyfriend, Steve, an overworked hotel general manager. It occurred late summer on the Outer Banks of North Carolina and it included everything you’d ever want from a great vacation. Yes, you guessed it! Just as Serge Gainsbourg sang in his late 1970’s hit “Sea, Sex and Sun,” we had all the key components of a perfect beach getaway.

Our First Dinner Out

More Wonderful Seafood from Awful Arthur’s

Shucking Oysters: A North Carolina Speciality

Oh yes, we reveled in extraordinary surf, the main reason so many people love the Outer Banks. We also took immense pleasure in the beach throughout our entire stay. We feasted on seafood, lots of fried food, doughnuts and ice cream. (It is the South after all.) We savored swills of wine and frosty beers perched high on the dunes at sunset. We sipped tea together and marveled at the sunrise (they’re the best here) one morning when we managed to pry ourselves out of bed. We accompanied each other on long walks on the beach and drive-arounds to scout out the best surf spots of the day. We shopped for food, surf wax, salt water taffy and bikinis, potentially loaded forays that tested our togetherness, especially when the bikini was not found. We chilled in our modest—but wonderful—seaside apartment, cooking huge breakfasts, eating leftovers from our big nights out and listening to the Grateful Dead, Merle Haggard and other classic tunes. Our days were measured by the tides and the swells; our nights were punctuated by the moon and deep sleeps made possible by the incessant crashing of the surf outside our window. Either way, the presence of the wind and water lulled us into a continuous state of happiness, the sort of euphoric sense of well-being and relaxation that’s best achieved at the ocean or perhaps after a day on the slopes.

Just One of Countless Windswept Scenes

After my first visit to the Outer Banks two years ago, I wrote extensively about this magical place, but didn’t include a single address. And like the first time, I didn’t take a single note on this trip either. It was a vacation. Even travel writers need a vacation.

I can no longer, however, ignore my natural propensity to share travel information, even when it comes to the Outer Banks, my boyfriend’s special sanctuary that he’d prefer to keep to himself. There’s so much to chose from at this well-loved tourist destination that I’d like to point you in the right direction. The below establishments should prove to be a good start. We enjoyed them all and it’s my wish that you will, too.

And keep in mind that fall is a great time to visit the Outer Banks.

Days Inn Oceanfront Wright Brothers, Kill Devil Hills, 252-449-0827; they have houses, apartments and rooms for rent at reasonable prices right on the beach.

Awful Arthur’s Oyster Bar, Kill Devil Hills, 252-441-5955; we came here to feast on steamed clams, fried shrimp and fresh grilled flounder in our bathing suits (with coverups!) and flip flops. Now that’s a vacation!

Kelly’s Restaurant & Tavern, Nags Head, 252-441-4116; enjoy fine dining and a happening night life at this renowned OBX establishment.

Thank you to Three Dog Ink and Gulf Stream Creative for the use of the photos in this post.

Mike Kelly, Owner of Kelly’s and Steve’s Former Boss When He Was a Newbie to the Hospitality Industry

Kelly’s Spread

 

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    This blog is a personal blog written and edited by Maribeth Clemente. This blog sometimes accepts forms of cash advertising, sponsorship, paid insertions or other forms of compensation. The compensation received may influence the advertising content, topics or posts made in this blog. That content, advertising space or post may not always be identified as paid or sponsored content. The owner of this blog is sometimes compensated to provide opinion on products, services, Web sites and various other topics. Even though the owner of this blog receives compensation for certain posts or advertisements, she always gives her honest opinions, findings, beliefs or experiences on those topics or products. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the blogger's own. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider or party in question. This blog does not contain any content which might present a conflict of interest.
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