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Gift Decadence During This Season of Love

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Gift Decadence

(Family Features) Valentine’s Day may traditionally be a lovers’ holiday, but it’s also an opportunity to connect with those who make your heart happiest, whether it’s family, friends or anyone who enriches your life. Celebrate all types of love this Valentine’s Day with thoughtful gifts that show how much you care.

As the old adage says, the fastest way to one’s heart is the stomach. Sweet treats are a sure sign of your affection, and for centuries, chocolate has been revered as the flavor of love.

From gifting to hosting and all the other moments throughout the season of love, you can delight your nearest and dearest with gourmet chocolates from Ethel M Chocolates.

Treat those closest to your heart to a delicious experience and visit EthelM.com to explore more unique gifts this Valentine’s Day.

Handcrafted with Care
Topped with a red bow for a final touch, the Ethel M Chocolates 5-piece Love Collection features a series of heart-shaped, premium chocolates nestled in an elegant box. The sampler features popular selections including Milk Chocolate, Lemon Satin Crème, Dark Chocolate, Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter and White Chocolate. This sweet collection of handcrafted chocolate is a decadent way to show how much you care. It’s ideal as a thoughtful gesture of appreciation for friends and family, or for a more romantic connection, it’s the perfect item to pair with jewelry or flowers to surprise your loved one.

Heartfelt Appreciation
If your gift list includes chocolate aficionados, there’s no better way to speak straight to their heart than the Ethel M Chocolates 28-piece Large Heart Gift Box. This popular seasonal assortment showcases an expanded selection of mouthwatering, handcrafted, premium chocolates. The collection includes an array of flavors, from Dark Chocolate Sea-Salt Caramel and Milk Chocolate Raspberry Satin Crème to Milk Chocolate Almond Butter Krisp and Milk Chocolate Pecan Toffee Crisp. The gourmet variety is sure to delight, and the large satin-wrapped, heart-shaped box makes your affection deliciously clear.

 


SOURCE:
Ethel M Chocolates

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naturism

Nude Hiking in a National Park – Coronado National Forest

“Nude hiking in secluded areas of national parks, like Coronado National Forest, offers a liberating experience amidst nature’s beauty.”

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Coronado National Forest. (2023, November 14). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coronado_National_Forest

National Parks are often associated with stunning landscapes, diverse wildlife, and outdoor adventures. However, for those seeking a unique and liberating experience, there are secluded areas within these parks where nude hiking is not only possible but also quite common. While enjoying this activity, it is crucial to be mindful of others who may not appreciate nudity and to respect park regulations. One such place where nude hiking is known to occur is Tanque Verde Falls, located in the Coronado National Forest near Tucson, Arizona.

Tanque Verde Falls:
Tanque Verde Falls, situated in a narrow canyon, offers naturists a chance to connect with nature in their most natural form. Although caution is advised due to occasional heavy rainfall and rising water levels, the area provides opportunities for sunbathing on sandy beaches or large flat rocks. The falls themselves create a picturesque backdrop when water levels rise after snow melts or heavy rains. Visitors can choose between the main naturist area near the falls, commonly frequented by straight singles and couples, or venture further up the canyon to an area preferred by the LGBTQ+ community.

Safety and Precautions:
While embarking on a nude hiking adventure, it is essential to remain aware of potential hazards. Tanque Verde Falls is home to various desert wildlife, including rattlesnakes and gila monsters. Staying cautious and respecting the natural environment are crucial for a safe and enjoyable experience. Additionally, hikers should pack essentials such as water, snacks, and appropriate footwear, as there are no nearby services.

Alternative Location: Ka’u Desert, Volcano National Park, Hawai’i
For those looking for a nude hiking option on the Big Island of Hawai’i, Ka’u Desert in Volcano National Park offers a secluded area away from the crowds. However, it is important to be mindful of clothed visitors in the vicinity. Accommodations can be found in the well-located cottage known as Funny Valentine, providing a comfortable stay on the Hilo side of the island.


Nude hiking in national parks provides a unique way to connect with nature and embrace personal freedom. While it may be challenging to practice outdoor nudity in the United States due to cultural differences, secluded areas like Tanque Verde Falls in the Coronado National Forest offer naturists an opportunity to enjoy this liberating activity. By respecting others’ boundaries and the natural environment, hikers can have a memorable and fulfilling experience surrounded by the beauty of nature.

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Family

Get Creative with Easter Sweets

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Kid-friendly crafts that bring loved ones together

(Family Features) Holiday hams and deviled eggs may take center stage at Easter gatherings, but edible crafts offer a reminder of the magic of the season that’s found in moments spent together. Simple recipes that call for a dose of creativity are perfect ways to bring the kids to the kitchen, made even easier when all that work leads to sweet treats.

While plastic eggs may have led to a decline in good, old-fashioned egg-dyeing, there are still fun ways to bring crafts back to Easter celebrations. Consider these Kids Krafty Easter Cake Pops, which call for little ones to help dip seasonal shapes in chocolate, use cake molds and more.

Children of virtually any age can relish in the joys of using cookie cutters and decorating Easter Sugar Cookies, all with a little supervision and short list of instructions. This version shows how to make the cookies and homemade icing so you can create any color you desire for maximum creativity.

Remember, these delicious crafts don’t have to be perfect – having fun and making memories that last a lifetime are what make Easter truly special.

Visit Culinary.net to find more Easter inspiration and recipes from “Cookin’ Savvy.”

Kids Krafty Easter Cake Pops

Recipe courtesy of “Cookin’ Savvy”

  • 1 box cake mix
  • 1 can frosting
  • 1 bunny chocolate mold
  • 1 cakesicle mold
  • ice pop sticks
  • 1 bag white chocolate chips or melting chips
  • cake pop sticks
  • 1 bag orange melting chips
  • 2 tablespoons canola or coconut oil, divided
  • 1 bag green melting chips
  • pastel sprinkles
  • 1 piece hard foam (optional)
  • edible markers
  1. Bake cake according to package instructions and let cool completely.
  2. Crumble cake and mix with 1/2 can frosting until dough forms. Add more frosting, if needed. Using small cookie scoop, form dough into balls and set aside. Place dough in bunny molds then pop out and set aside with balls. Place dough in cakesicle mold, insert ice pop stick in each slot and freeze 5-10 minutes.
  3. Melt handful of white melting chips. Stick tip of each cake pop stick in chocolate then insert into every cake ball and bunny until each has one stick. Set aside to dry.
  4. Remove cakesicles from freezer and pop out of molds. In bowl, melt orange melts then mix in 1 tablespoon oil and transfer to cup. Dip cakesicles and scrape off excess using rim of cup. Place on parchment paper to dry.
  5. In bowl, melt green melts then place in zip-top or piping bag. Cut tip off bag, pipe carrot leaves onto piece of parchment paper and let dry.
  6. Melt remaining white melts and mix in remaining oil. Transfer to cup and dip ball-shaped cake pops and bunnies then tap stick on edge of cup to remove excess.
  7. Over separate bowl, sprinkle ball-shaped pops with pastel sprinkles. To keep ball shape, let dry by sticking in piece of hard foam. Bunnies can dry face side up on parchment paper. After bunnies are dry, use edible markers to make face and color in ears.
  8. When carrots and leaves are dry, remelt orange melts and place in piping or zip-top bag. Cut off tip and drizzle orange over carrots. Add small line of orange on each ice pop stick and place leaves on each stick. Let dry.

Easter Sugar Cookies

Recipe courtesy of “Cookin’ Savvy”

Icing:

  • 1/3 cup meringue powder
  • 1/2 cup warm water, plus additional for thinning (optional), divided
  • 3 tablespoons vanilla
  • 1 bag (2 pounds) powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons corn syrup
  • assorted food coloring

Cookies:

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 dash salt
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  1. To make icing: Mix meringue powder, 1/2 cup warm water, vanilla, powdered sugar and corn syrup. Separate into bowls and add food coloring; mix with water, as needed, to thin for piping.
  2. To make cookies: Heat oven to 350 F.
  3. Cream butter and sugar. Mix in egg, vanilla, baking powder and salt. Mix in flour 1 cup at a time to form dough. Roll dough out to 1/4-1/2-inch thickness.
  4. Cut into shapes, place on baking sheet and freeze 10 minutes. Bake 8-12 minutes. Cool completely before icing.
  5. Place icing in zip-top or piping bags and cut off tips. Put cookies on parchment paper. Trace outline first then fill in middle. Use toothpicks to smooth out.
  6. Let dry 6 hours and finish decorating with different icing colors or edible markers.


SOURCE:
Culinary.net

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Lifestyle

The Ultimate Guide to Maximizing Your Fortune in Hong Kong

Unlock a perfect Year of the Dragon in 2024 with exclusive tips shared by feng shui master Mak Ling Ling

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TORONTO /CNW/ – 2024 marks the Year of the Dragon in the Chinese zodiac. A legendary creature with the fantastic ability to roam the sky and sea, the dragon is regarded as the most prestigious entity of the 12-animal Chinese zodiac; its corresponding year holds a significant place in Chinese culture. As the Year of the Dragon signifies a positive outlook and dynamic, it is the best time to broaden your horizons through traveling. With this “Ultimate Guide to a Prosperous Year of the Dragon” curated by feng shui master Mak Ling Ling, you can effortlessly unlock a perfect new year while immersed in the festive bliss around Hong Kong!

With this “Ultimate Guide to a Prosperous Year of the Dragon” curated by feng shui master Mak Ling Ling, you can effortlessly unlock a perfect new year while immersed in the festive bliss around Hong Kong! (CNW Group/Hong Kong Tourism Board)

To pray for success in career and education

No Chinese New Year trip to Hong Kong is complete without a visit to the temple! The city has many historic temples, including the Man Mo Temple in Sheung Wan. Widely regarded as a sanctum to pray for success in career and education, this declared monument remains one of the most popular attractions despite its relatively compact interior. Undoubtedly, its convenient location in the bustling tourist hotspot of Central and Sheung Wan has also contributed to its unwavering popularity. Man Mo Temple is dedicated primarily to the Civil God (god of literature) and the Martial God (god of martial arts): office workers who wish for career advancement can pray to the Civil God and touch the “Man Cheong Writing Brush” for good luck. At the same time, business owners can pay homage to the Martial God and touch his sword on the statue to pray for success. Students can bring their stationery and pencil case to the altar for academic achievement and let the deity bless the items to achieve better results. 

2. To pray for prosperity

Honouring Kwun Yum (the Goddess of Mercy) is the right way to pray for prosperity and happiness for the entire family. Among the numerous temples in Hong Kong dedicated to Kwun Yum, the one in Hung Hum is the largest and most famous in Kowloon. The 26th day of the first lunar month this year, March 6, is known as the “Kwun Yum Treasury Opening Festival” (the day that is believed when Kwun Yum opens her treasury and lends money to people). On this particular occasion, you will find worshippers flocking to this Grade 1 historic building and eagerly queueing up in front of the temple starting at midnight, all hoping for wealth that is symbolized by the “money” (an imaginary loaned amount written on a red paper note) they can borrow from the Goddess. Even on days other than the “Treasury Opening Festival,” tourists can still visit this historical temple to pray for the Kwun Yum’s blessing on fertility, love life and health.

3. To pray for health and smooth sailing

With nearly 300 years of history, Hau Wong Temple in Kowloon City is favoured by worshippers who wish for good health. The temple is especially packed during the Hau Wong Festival, which falls on the 16th day of the sixth lunar month. Apart from the main deity of Hau Wong, the temple also houses Tai Sui, the 60 deities in charge of the 12 Chinese zodiac signs combined with the five elements of Chinese astrology. Every year, Chinese zodiac signs are considered “fan Tai Sui” (clash with that year’s ruling deity), and people with those signs are at risk of bad luck. For the Year of the Dragon, the “unlucky” signs include Dragon, Dog, Rabbit and Ox. If you were born in one of these years, you may appease the ruling deity by performing a “sip Tai Sui” ritual, which involves writing your name and date of birth on a “Tai Sui yi” (joss paper), followed by offering incense sticks to the Tai Sui deities, praying to be protected against adversity in the year ahead.

4. To pray for perfection and fruitfulness

Renowned for its supposed ability to make worshippers’ requests come true, Wong Tai Sin Temple is the ideal place to pray for a perfect Year of the Dragon. During Chinese New Year, the festively adorned temple is home to one of the city’s most significant traditions – the first incense offering. Locals believe those who enter the temple first and burn the inaugural incense sticks will receive the biggest blessings. Thus, crowds of worshippers gather at the temple around midnight on Chinese New Year’s Day to participate in a sacred running race. While the first place may be quite challenging, you can still burn incense sticks at Wong Tai Sin Temple any day during Chinese New Year to pray for a propitious Year of the Dragon. 

Wong Tai Sin Temple also houses the statue of Yuelao, the deity in charge of love and marriage. Believers who long for a breakthrough in their love life can make a wish by offering flowers and fruits to the Statues of Yuelao, flanked by the statues of Couples named mythical lovers “Golden Boy” and “Jade Maiden.” Legend has it that Yuelao will tie a red thread on the feet of couples destined for marriage, so after making your wish to Yuelao, don’t forget to conclude the ritual by touching the feet of either “Golden Boy” or “Jade Maiden”!

5. Good fortune galore

If you want to boost your luck during the Chinese New Year trip in Hong Kong, make a beeline for Che Kung Temple! On the third day of the Chinese New Year, droves of worshippers crowd the iconic temple, whose signature feature is the copper fan-bladed wheel of fortune. Even though Che Kung Festival falls on the second day of the Chinese New Year, many locals prefer to visit the temple on the third day instead as it is believed to be a day when people are prone to quarrel, so they opt to visit the temple to avoid meeting friends or family on this conflict-prone day.

There are specific rituals to pray for good luck at Che Kung Temple. Upon entering the temple, beat the drum three times before spinning the fan-bladed wheel of fortune. If you had an excellent previous year, spin the wheel clockwise to keep the upward trend; otherwise, spin the wheel counterclockwise to “spin away” the misfortune. Before you go, take a pinwheel home and place it at this year’s auspicious position on the southwest or northeast for an extra boost of luck!

In the art of feng shui, it is believed that the prosperity of a place is connected with its mountain and water, so a stroll in nature during the first lunar month is considered a promising way to kick off the new year. To embrace the beauty of Hong Kong’s majestic mountain and water landscape, hop on the Peak Tram at Central for a bird’s eye view of the Victoria Harbour, or visit the Big Buddha on Lantau Island, followed by a charming stroll in the “Venice of Hong Kong” – Tai O fishing village, which is just a 30-minute ride away.

Another fascinating place where you can tap into nature’s spiritual energy is Tai Tam Reservoirs. This declared monument is renowned for its magnificent dams and hundred-year-old masonry bridges, which can be admired along an easy hiking trail sprinkled with picture-perfect spots.

Hong Kong has many attractions waiting to be explored this Chinese New Year. Take action now for planning your trip to Hong Kong. Don’t miss out on the festivities and temple-hopping itineraries to usher in good fortune for the Year of the Dragon!

SOURCE Hong Kong Tourism Board

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