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Now that summer’s rolling in, I’m sure most of you are heading somewhere on vacation (or at least planning or wishing for a vacation).  And vacation usually means a night (or 2, or 3…) in a hotel.  I love staying in hotels.  The black out curtains.  The super cold AC (well, that’s more for JP).  Knowing you’re someplace other than home.  In fact, I’m still thinking about the awesome sheets/bed at a hotel we stayed at in San Francisco.  There was also the Jupiter Beach Resort where we had our wedding – super cute amenities to take home.  

I found this article from Travel +Leisure on CNN.com quite amusing – Is it OK to steal hotel amenities?  It said that most places actually want you to take home their goodies.  It makes sense.  You arrive at Cute Bed & Breakfast.  Take home Cute Bed & Breakfast soap and lotions.  Use those soap & lotions at home a couple of weeks later, then think of Cute Bed & Breakfast again.  

What do you take from hotels??

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On another note, has anyone else noticed the rise in mentions of Australia on US television lately?  Seriously.  Andrew Zimmerman and his balls-tongue-eye-eating self went to Australia.  The former Girls Next Door star, Bridget Marquardt, opened her new show with a trip Down Under visiting Bondi and the Gold Coast among other places.  Just this morning, Good Morning America had some guy on talking about Australia’s deadliest creatures.  

I think it’s a sign.  Must.  Go.  Back.  Soon.

Ring, ring JP’s mobile went the other day.  And, lo and behold, it was Australia!  (Not the entire continent, but some bloke or other.)  Why was Australia calling, you ask; we wondered the same thing.  Did they want us Yanks back?  No.  But, apparently, they want to give us some money back!  We have to thank Australia’s Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, for coming through on his economic stimulus plan.  His stimulus package is “amounting to about 1.8% of its [Australia’s] GDP.”  So, for those who filed taxes in 2008 and made less than $100,000AUD, you get part of $42 billion dollars…sweet!  

Yet another reason Australia makes us smile.  We’re not even in the country and we’re getting benefits!  I would, of course, love to take the money to support the Aussies.  Perhaps I can buy some Tim Tams?  Anyone?  Tim Tams?  I’ll trade ya’…..

One of the things I miss about living on the Gold Coast of Australia is – beaches aside – listening to triple j.  On tv, they did a morning show on Saturdays (or Sundays?  I can’t remember) a la MTV – videos, musician interviews, tour news….  And on the radio, triple j played everything from Kanye West to Tegan and Sara in one segment.  I still check out their website to see what’s on the decks there, and it’s so nice not to see the usual American pop fodder.  Don’t get me wrong, Aussies definitely love them some American tunes, but they’re also keen on the likes of other great, maybe-maybe-not-so-well-known artists like The Grates, La Roux, Lady Sovereign, Xavier Rudd, Vampire Weekend….

Australia itself has tons of great music & artists, and I’m not really sure why it’s so hard for them to break into the US scene.  (Are we that snobby?!)  Anywho, maybe times are a changin’ – I heard that some Aussies made a stop down in Ft. Laudy recently – Missy Higgins (huge in AU), Lenka (with that catchy, kind of syrupy pop song The Show) & Justin Nozuka (though not an Aussie, I remember his name popping up while we were there).  And, I’ve been hearing The Veronicas and their Untouched song around a lot lately.  Although I’m not rushing out to buy their album or anything, I like listening to them because it makes me think of Australia 🙂

Pack your bags, there’s an airline fare war about to start – and we, the customers, are going to benefit!  The bad arse guy behind (most) everything Virgin – airlines, records, mobile – Sir Richard Branson has just launced a V Australia fleet.  V Australia will begin LA-Sydney flights on February 27th, and Brisbane-LA on April 8th.  In addition, new flights to Melbourne will be added in September.  YESSSS!!  Qantas and United Airlines have been the dominating airlines from US to Australia.  With the presence of V Australia, though, we can expect the prices to start droppin’ like it’s hot!

“The way to get out of recessions is try to expand out of recessions and create more jobs, bring airfares down and try to offer better quality of products…We will never go out with an empty seat so if we have an empty seat we will slash the fare,” Branson said.

Awesome!!!!!!  Seriously, this is the attitude we need in these economic times.  There are some people left in America that have jobs, and thus have money, yet there’s no incentive to spend it.  This is the initiative companies need to take to jump start job creation and pump more money into the economy.  

Read the whole article from Yahoo! News Australia here.

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