Happy New Year from The Domestic Peach!

Wishing all of you a very happy, healthy, successful, and memorable 2015! 

Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365 page book. Take this chance for a fresh start and write yourself an amazing book of life in the New Year!

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What I learned on my winter vacation: How to enjoy it and use it to your advantage

Happy Holidays to everyone! I hope each and every one of you have had a joyous time and that you have allowed yourselves to relax, enjoy and have some quiet time. Two days ago, I returned home from a week away on a Caribbean cruise. It had been a couple of years since I skipped town to head for hotter weather during the winter break, so the cruise was a nice trip.

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As someone who lives and breathes her career as she works around the clock with her business partner to build up their company, taking a vacation is a luxury for me – not only financially, but finding the appropriate time to get away and escape my regular responsibilities for a week or two. During this last trip, I promised myself (and my fiancée and my parents) that I would try to disconnect as much as possible. Believe me, it was a tough thing to do, but after a week away, here are some things I learned while cruising the Caribbean (both how to enjoy it and use it to my advantage upon returning home):

 1) Disconnect yourself from work OR come up with a way to keep yourself in vacation mode with a little bit of work mode thrown in:  What I mean by this is IF you are able to and comfortable to, put on your out-of-office reply securely, hop on that plane and stay away from your work emails and just let yourself disconnect. However, if you are like me and need peace of mind about work while away, set a time ONCE a day to check your work emails. I did this on my trip and it actually helped me to relax more.

2) Take some alone time on your trip to reflect:  Vacations away are a great time to reflect on yourself and your life. Take that walk alone or sit out and enjoy a beautiful view and just think. During my cruise, I would walk alone on the upper deck, taking in the views of the ocean and think about my current state and what I wish to accomplish in the New Year. I even made a list of goals. Sure, you may not achieve everything in the next 12 months, but making a list and setting up some new heights to reach is a good thing.

3) Experience something new:  Whether you are visiting a new place or returning on a trip to the familiar, push yourself to try or experience something new. For me, this cruise was a new experience. I had never been on a cruise before, mainly to my loyalty to all-inclusive resorts. However, I loved it and enjoyed visiting four breathtaking islands that I have never been to before. I also went on a fun cable car ride up a mountain in St. Thomas – a new experience that I will never forget. Love the new life moments! They are certainly refreshing.

4) Allow yourself to relax:  This can be tough for a lot of us! Many of us work and live in a fast-paced environment, so it is difficult when you finally have a chance to sit back, put your feet up, and chill. Select a vacation destination that will personally help you relax (my favourite is any place that has hot weather and a beautiful beach, as you can tell) and pick a time of year where it is quieter at work, if that helps. If you are going with a staycation, plan your free time with activities that allow you to relax and enjoy. For example, book yourself in for a spa day and then enjoy a delicious night at a favourite restaurant with loved ones.

5) SLEEP!:  Even if you are going on a touring-heavy trip, make sure to get your 8 to 9 hours of Z’s in. For me, my cruise was great because I caught up on sleep and came back well-rested and rejuvenated. So, even if you are touring all day or are partying into the early hours of the morning, get your sleep. You will be thankful for it upon your return to reality, work, and regular life.

6) Cherish your vacation and the memories of it:  Enjoy every moment, turn any trip lemons into lemonade so to speak, take plenty of pictures and even keep a journal. As you vacation, live in the moment. Create ways to document it so you can always remember the special time that you had. For this cruise alone, I must have taken a minimum of 250 pictures. Yes, a lot of those will be deleted, but some of the gems will be frame-worthy!

Got any other ways to enjoy your vacation and use it to your advantage post-vacation? Share your suggestions below!

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Favourite Holiday Flicks

With Christmas only four days away, Chanukah in full swing, the Holiday break officially hitting this coming week and New Year’s Eve around the corner, one of my favourite activities is getting cozy on my couch with some of my favourite holiday-themed flicks. Turning the fireplace on, making some hot chocolate, and settling under a warm blanket in front of the television is a great way to wind down in between the holiday shopping, gatherings, eating, partying and more.

Here are just a few of my holiday favourite films…

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989) – This movie is the third installment in the National Lampoon’s Vacation series and in my opinion, probably the funniest. Clark Griswold, who dreams of hosting the ultimate family Christmas and in the process, has a lot of funny mishaps and many things go wrong.

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Love Actually (2003) – A wonderful holiday tale that focuses on 10 separate stories involving beautiful British people and how all of them experience love during the holiday season in a unique and special way.

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Home Alone (1990) – The night before a family holiday trip to Paris, Kevin McCallister acts up, gets in trouble and wishes for his family to disappear. When he awakes the next morning, his family is gone. Apparently they left him home alone during the holidays by accident, leaving him to fend for himself and fight off a couple of hysterical robbers.

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The Holiday (2006) – Two brokenhearted women decide to swap homes over Christmas time, where each of them step into each other’s lifestyle and surprisingly, both women find romance in the process.

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Gifts for The Guys for the Holidays and Beyond

The holiday season officially kicks off next week and everyone is getting excited! On top of the warm gatherings and delicious food, the inner child in everyone tends to come out as they receive gifts from family, friends, and colleagues. However, the selection process during gift shopping can be tricky, particularly for the favourite men in our lives.

I have had a few friends ask for my opinion on what to buy for their fathers, brothers, husbands, fiancées, boyfriends, etc. After advising a few on this, I thought I would share some gift ideas that one could use for the holidays… and beyond for birthdays, anniversaries and special surprises.

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Here is my guy gift rundown (starting from the top left corner, going in clockwise fashion):

1) Bugatchi Thick Bright Stripes Mens Socks, Socking Behaviour, $25 – Bringing personality from ankle to toe. This is a cute way for men to brighten up those dark and simple suits.

2) Cashmere Scarf, J.Crew, $110 – Soft, warm and in a trendy plaid print. This scarf is great for the winter and offers cashmere at a mid-level price.

3) Gents Rolex Stainless Steel Watch, Invaluable.com – If the guy is a fan of high-end watches, Invaluable.com allows you to enter premier online auction and win items such as Rolex watches at a better price.

4) Utopia Paisley Pocket Square in Teal, The Tie Bar, $8 – Gorgeous pocket squares in great fabrics at amazing prices. What could be better?

5) Ziegfeld Collection Cuff Links, Tiffany & Co., $435 – For a truly special gift or for someone who wishes to splurge on their fave man. Classic, classy, cuff links.

6) Dustin Pebble Leather Wallet, Danier Leather, $35 – A genuine leather wallet is a practical and sharp gift that any male could use. Also, it is under $50.