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Guide to Self-Quarantine After Travel

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Self-quarantine after travel is a significant way to stop the possible transmission of COVID-19, be it to your loved ones or your colleagues at work.

Admit it. It’s a tad difficult to stop yourself from traveling especially when you’re so used to going places way before the onset of this nasty pandemic. Experts, however, stress that it’s important for you to follow protocols. So, even when you can get away with it, you need to remember to self-quarantine after travel.

If you’ve been out of state during Thanksgiving, it’s crucial to self-quarantine after travel. California announced that traveling residents must do a 14-day quarantine right after arrival. Moreover, if you’ve been lengthyly exposed to someone who isn’t part of your household, it’s imperative for you to quarantine yourself, as well.

Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, former director of the division of communicable disease control and prevention at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and a current professor at UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, asserts that people must do self-quarantine after travel, an automatic new normal response as opposed to doing complete isolation when you know that you have the COVID-19 virus. Self-quarantining, he says, is a kind of middle ground between full isolation and outdoor mask-wearing.

The term, “quarantine,” has seemingly lost its gravity as we typically have been hearing it since the onset of this deadly pandemic. Nevertheless, it is crucial to take heed of the different warnings provided by authorities as to the significance of this word. More so, doing self-quarantine after travel allows us to protect others especially if we have been unknowingly exposed to the virus while traveling.

Below are several tips that we should remember as regards the importance of voluntary self-quarantine after travel.

What is self-quarantine? Self-quarantine is the act of staying isolated from others for 14 days after we arrive from a prolonged travel to another area besides our own. This means, then, that you voluntarily stay away from people, even from your housemates, for a period of two weeks to eradicate the possibility of COVID-19 transmission if, for instance, you’ve been unfortunately infected with it. The 14-day rule also allows you to check yourself for the symptoms of the virus as they typically manifest themselves during the said duration.

Aside from staying away from your family and housemates, it is also crucial to stay home from work. This means that you can apply for a work from home arrangement, as well. Doing a self-quarantine after travel includes isolating yourself from work colleagues, preferring to do WFH for the time being. As with the possibility of transmitting COVID-19 to your family, you might transfer the virus to your workmates, as well. A responsible traveler, of course, must aim to halt infection and the two-week isolation is an effective safety measure.

Finally, Kim-Farley shares that, as regards food and other essentials, you may want to adopt a temporary no-contact basis of procuring these things. For example, you can ask your loved ones to leave these implements outside your room or, if you live alone, you can request deliveries to be left on your doorstep. Paying for these goods may be done through digital means, as well. Self-quarantine after travel is your way of helping halt the rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus as more and more cases are still being reported daily.

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A Quiet Bethlehem This 2020 Christmas Celebration

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Sans the influx of tourists in the historical birthplace of Christ, a quiet Bethlehem community gets to experience a renewal in faith over a boom in business.

Prior to the pandemic, the Palestinian city located in occupied West Bank was always filled with visiting tourists who wanted to experience walking in the land of Jesus Christ’s official birthplace. In the past, those who wanted to visit the Church of the Nativity were forced to maneuver through the crowds teeming the streets of Bethlehem. This year, however, a quiet Bethlehem becomes largely part of the massive lockdown and quarantine restrictions imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Nevertheless, the absence of tourists is an opportunity for renewal, says Father Rami Asakrieh, the parish priest of Bethlehem. “Sometimes there are more than half million people who arrive in this period to visit the Nativity Church,” he recounts.

During the days leading to Christmas, however, the Church of the Nativity has been so silent, devoid of the yearly visiting faithful who traditionally visited Bethlehem from all over the world. A quiet Bethlehem, then, is a new thing for the community as locals are used to the noisy throng of commuters and visitors who annually arrived during the holiday season.

Armenian prayers are recited by four (4) monks below the Grotto of the Nativity, echoing through the typically crowded vicinity. Even during this year’s Christmas Eve, the most essential part of the celebration, the church was closed to the public. The lack of yearly visits from Palestinian authority representatives starkly reiterated the difference of this year’s celebration, as well.

“It has never happened before,” contemplates Asakrieh, as he mentions that the only times that the church was forced to close its doors were during periods of uprisings and Palestinian intifadas that were done in protest against Israel’s continued occupation.

“I think that this Christmas is different because people are not busy with the external manifestations of the feast,” the priest shares, referring to the customary purchasing of gifts and the conduct of extravagant get-togethers that have long been linked to Christmas celebrations.  “Now (people) have the time, and they are obligated, to concentrate on the essential… the theological spirit of Christmas,” he expressed. “Less business, but more religion,” Asakrieh continues.

During the days leading up to Christmas, the chapel of Saint Catherine, a small one that is next to the Church of the Nativity was made open to the local Bethlehem public. Amid a distinctively quiet Bethlehem atmosphere, many of the local faithful turned up as they donned their Sunday’s best.

One of them was Nicolas al-Zoghbi who mentions that the usual joy of the Christmas season was replaced by the overall feeling of depression. He shares that his son is among those who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic. “We hope the Lord will destroy corona, just get rid of it so we can return to our previous life,” states al-Zoghbi who is now in his 70s.

The city’s economy is hugely reliant on the annual influx of visitors who purchase items like rosaries and other Nativity-based trinkets from the shops and stands that pepper the place. Thus, a quiet Bethlehem during this holiday season signifies a highly decreased income for those who rely on the earnings that used to be generated from these yearly tourist visits.

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9 of the Best Places to Visit in Florida

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Florida is a hotspot for Americans traveling domestically and for international travelers as well. It’s home to some of the biggest theme parks like Universal Studios and Disney World. 

Plus, it offers some of the most incredible beaches in North America. How can you be that? But the most amazing thing about Florida is that there isn’t just one or two cities that have something to offer.

In fact, there are multiple cities that are great for vacation, and there’s something for everyone. On that note, take a look at this list of the best places to visit in Florida:

1. Miami

Everyone knows that Miami is one of the best places to visit in Florida. It’s one of the top hotspots for vacationers looking to live it up with their hair down.

If you want to sit on a beautiful beach, Miami’s got it. If you want fine dining, Miami’s got it. When you’re trying to figure out where to go in Florida, Miami is the answer.

This city is known for being flashy, and if you want to do a big vacation, this is the place to go all out.

2. Orlando

Orlando is another one of the best places to visit in Florida. How can anyone say no to Disney World and SeaWorld? If you’re looking for the ultimate vacation, Orlando is the spot.

With all the theme parks and water parks that this city offers, you’ll never get bored. Even if you’re not into big parks, they also offer fun activities at Universal CityWalk.

Also, Orlando isn’t just for little kids. This is also a great place for a group of teenage or college kids to visit for a fun getaway.

3. Naples 

When you’re thinking about visiting Florida, don’t forget about Naples. It’s one of Florida’s gulf coast cities, and it’s located in an upscale region. It’s adorned with a nice stretch of beachfront that accompanied by elaborate houses and luxurious resorts.

When you and your lover want to get away, this is the place to go. Not to mention, the beaches in Naples offer some of the best in the entire state. The warm waters provide a nice soothing feel that vacationers can’t deny.

Also, if you want to do something out of the box, check out the best Florida helicopter rides to book an exciting excursion!

4. Tampa

There may not be much sand and water in Tampa, but it’s still one of the best places to go in Florida. It’s filled with famous attractions like Busch Gardens and the Tampa Zoo at Lowry Park.

If you have children, they’ll also love visiting the Tampa Aquarium and taking a walk through the Big Cat Rescue. When you’re not in the mood for the big theme parks of Orlando, Tampa is an awesome alternative.

5. Key West

Key West sits at the southern tip of Florida, and it provides visitors with an island feel. It’s one of the best places to visit in Florida because of its beautiful water. It’s the perfect alternative for travelers who want the experience of an island getaway without leaving the country.

However, if you do decide to take an international trip, Key West is one of the main cruise ship ports for cruise lovers. You can always spend a few days in Key West, hop on the ship, and come back. It provides the perfect getaway.

6. Fort Myers

When you’re thinking about visiting Florida, Fort Myers might not be one of the first places you think about. however, it shouldn’t be overlooked. It’s known as the River District, and it provides travelers and residents with a lot to do.

There is plenty of dining, shopping, and sightseeing. Plus, Fort Myers is home to the IMAG History and Science Center which allows visitors to experience the city in 3D virtual reality.

This town is also situated on the shores of Estero Island, which is slightly separated from the mainland. It’s a hotspot for honeymooners and celebrities.

7. Sanibel Island

If you don’t know where to go in Florida, check out Sanibel Island. It’s just off the West coast of Florida and it’s home to many high-end resorts. There are also numerous water activities for visitors to get into, as well as incredible shopping boutiques and galleries for guests to enjoy.

Although this city is popular amongst tourists, it’s not as famous as some of the other cities in Florida. So if you want a nice getaway that’s not too crowded with tourists, this is it.

8. Pensacola

Pensacola is known for its awesome beaches and laid back, down-home environment. This is an area that many college students like to visit on the weekends or for a spring break vacation. It’s also a nice escape for the surrounding Florida towns that don’t have a beach.

If you’re a local resident, Pensacola is the perfect place to go for a weekend beach vacay.

9. Daytona Beach

Chances are you’ve heard about the Daytona 500 NASCAR race that’s held every year in Daytona. But outside of the big races, many people decide to go to Daytona for the beaches. It too is a hot spot for spring breakers and other visitors who want a fun time.

Daytona Beach spans over 23 miles of the Atlantic ocean, and it’s accompanied by a pier filled with games, restaurants, and amusement park rides.

The Best Places to Visit in Florida

If you didn’t know before, now you know that visiting Florida is a smart choice. It works well for couples who want to get away, a girl’s trip, and a family trip. This list of the best places to visit in Florida has something for everyone.

If you enjoyed reading this article, feel free to read more of our blog posts. We cover content relating to different destinations, the best ways to travel, food, and much more. You’ll love it!

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Scrumptious 3 Easy Dessert Recipes To Try Out Today

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Are you planning a dinner party soon and not quite sure how to end it?

You wouldn’t dare think of getting dessert delivered in these times when between 46 and 54 percent of people have become burgeoning cooks.

If you’re not one of those master-chefs-in-the-making, don’t worry. Simple desserts are delicious too.   

Check out these easy dessert recipes that make it look like you spent hours in the kitchen.

1. Everybody’s Favorite Brownies

This one is for all those who’ve tried to make brownies and failed before. This delectable dessert is notoriously temperamental for its too soft or too crunchy outcome. 

Here’s how to get it perfectly right the first time, quickly and easily.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of melted butter
  • 2 cups of white sugar
  • ½ cup of cocoa powder
  • 1 t of vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 ½ cups of all-purpose flour
  • ½ t of baking powder
  • ½ t of salt
  • ½ cup of walnut halves

Method:

  1. Grease a 9×13-inch pan and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Combine all the ingredients except the walnuts and then spread the batter into the prepared pan. Decorate with the walnut halves if desired.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 30 minutes. Test the center with a toothpick and continue baking until the toothpick comes out coated with crumbs.
  4. Cool on a wire rack.

Brownies are delicious when served plain or topped with ice cream or cream.

2. Simple and Delicious Chocolate Cheesecake

Chocolate and coffee are two of everyone’s favorite flavors. You can never have too much of a good thing, combine and you’ve got a showstopper dessert. 

Here goes…

Ingredients for the Crust:

  • 1 Full-size pack of Oreo cookies, crushed finely
  • 8 T of unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ t espresso powder

Ingredients for the Filling:

  • 14 ounces of bittersweet chocolate, chopped coarsely
  • 1 ½ t espresso powder
  • 24 ounces full-fat cream cheese
  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup of light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 T of Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1 ½ t of vanilla extract
  • 1 cup of heavy cream

Ingredients for the Ganache:

  • 1 1/3 cups semi-sweet chocolate, chopped finely
  • 1 ¼ cups of heavy cream
  • ¼ cup of unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1 t espresso powder

Espresso beans and chocolate shavings to garnish

All ingredients should be at room temperature.

Method:

  1. Grease a 9-inch springform pan.
  2. Combine the Oreo cookie crumbs, butter, and espresso powder in a large bowl and mix well.
  3. Press the crust into the pan, pressing it down firmly, and place the crust in the freezer.

To Make the Filling:

  1. Fill a medium-sized pot one-third full with water and bring it to a simmer.
  2. Find a heatproof bowl that fits the top of the pan snugly and place it on top of the pan. It should not touch the water.
  3. Reduce the heat to low and add the chocolate to the bowl. Heat, stirring occasionally until the chocolate’s melted.
  4. Remove from the heat but leave the bowl of chocolate balanced on the pan. Stir in the espresso powder and set aside.
  5. Pulse the cream cheese in a food processor for about two minutes until smooth.
  6. Add the sugars and the cocoa powder. Beat until smooth.
  7. Add the heavy cream and vanilla and mix for about 20 seconds until just combined.
  8. Fold in the chocolate.
  9. Take the bowl out of the food processor and stir the filling with a rubber spatula until it’s evenly combined.
  10. Remove the crust from the freezer and pour the filling inside, smoothing the top.
  11. Transfer your cheesecake to the refrigerator.
  12. Leave to chill for at least six hours.

To Make the Ganache:

  1. Place the chopped chocolate in a medium bowl.
  2. Bring the cream to a low simmer in a small saucepan and pour half the cream over the chocolate pieces.
  3. Set aside for two minutes.
  4. Whisk the melted chocolate/cream mix into the remaining cream.
  5. Whisk carefully until it’s smooth and glossy.
  6. Add the butter and stir the mixture with a spatula until the butter’s melted, then fold in the espresso powder.
  7. Set aside half a cup of the ganache until needed and pour the rest over the chilled cheesecake.
  8. Sprinkle the cheesecake with the chocolate shavings and set aside for one hour.
  9. Place the remaining ganache into a piping bag and pipe stars around the edge of the cheesecake. Top each star with a coffee bean.

To serve, slice the chilled cheesecake with a sharp knife. Wipe the blade clean after each slice. 

You can store this dessert in the refrigerator for up to four days, so it’s a great make-ahead option.

3. Easy Dessert Recipes With Cake

You simply can’t go wrong with cake and cupcakes are one of the world’s favorite treats. 

They’re easy to dress up or down and look fantastic displayed on a cupcake tower at dessert time. Try this easy vanilla cupcake recipe:

Ingredients for the Cupcakes:

  • 2 ½ cups of all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups of granulated sugar
  • 3 t baking powder
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 cup of milk
  • ½ cup of vegetable oil
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs, large
  • 1 cup of water

Ingredients for the Frosting:

  • ½ cup of salted butter
  • ½ cup of shortening
  • 4 cups of powdered sugar
  • 1 ½ t vanilla extract
  • 2–3 T of water or milk

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and place cupcake liners in your cupcake pan.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients and set aside.
  3. Combine the milk, vegetable oil, vanilla, and eggs in a medium-sized bowl.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.
  5. Slowly add the water and mix slowly until combined. The batter will be thin.
  6. Spoon the batter into your prepared cupcake liners.
  7. Bake the cupcakes for 15 to 17 minutes.

To Make the Frosting:

  1. Combine the butter and shortening and mix until smooth.
  2. Add two cups of powdered sugar and mix until smooth, then add the vanilla essence.
  3. Add the remaining powdered sugar and enough water or milk to reach the desired consistency.
  4. Pipe the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes.

You can decorate these cupcakes with sprinkles, chocolate, or fruit, depending on your preferences. 

Cooking Up a Storm

Armed with these easy dessert recipes you’re ready to wow your guests and impress your friends at your next dinner party. 

In case you’re wondering what’s for the main course, browse our blog for more awesome food and drink ideas for every occasion. 

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