High Cost of Healthcare Induced By Contradictory Goals of Providers and Payers

Healthcare has been the topic of debate for most of the last few years. From the boardroom to the water cooler, costs and quality of care are hot topics that impact everyone in this country. Young and old, Americans are feeling the squeeze and most are finding it difficult to come up with solutions. In the boardrooms of corporations both large and small, employers are struggling to cope with reality of rising premiums and declining benefits. Meanwhile employees are left with the prospect of going without health insurance. Currently it is estimated that 50 to 60 million adults in this country are walking the tightrope of living without health insurance. With such widespread reach for ripples created by this healthcare debacle, everyone is looking for answers. How can we afford coverage? Can we go without? What can be done to curb the costs and get this problem under control?

In the workplace, employers and employees often feel as if they’re on opposite sides of the fence. Employers feel as if their subordinates take no consideration of how difficult it can be to turn a profit while facing spiraling costs and a difficult economic environment. While large corporations may be able to ride out the storm, small businesses rarely have this luxury (especially at a time when credit is difficult to obtain). Most small businesses would close their doors if the balance sheet goes in the red for more than a few months or quarters. On the other hand, employees often adopt a near-sighted approach. How could they expect me to afford a premium increase? Should I just try to float without insurance for a while? These questions often lead to resentment on both sides of the coin, but are the employers or employees to take the blame and the higher cost?

Looking for answers to this growing problem is not easy. Where did the system go wrong? Why is it so expensive? Who’s to blame?

Many people blame healthcare providers for the rising costs of quality care. I can assure you this is not the case. Providers are facing a myriad of challenges and roadblocks. More so than ever, running a profitable medical practice is daunting task. Like any other business, a medical practice will close if it can not cover expenses and afford to pay salaries. Labor and leasing expenses are only the tip of the iceberg. Practitioners are forced to pay for equipment, insurance, hardware, software, licensing, and more. After establishing an office with all the appropriate resources, medical practices and hospitals must then attract patients in a very competitive marketplace.

Yet with all these costs and challenges in their way, healthcare providers are not complaining about patients or labor or costs! The largest problem facing healthcare providers is the insurance reimbursement process. Contradictory goals of payers and providers are resulting in inefficient and difficult payment systems. Insurance companies are more concerned with bottom-line profits and shareholders than they are about the care their members receive. How can we expect doctors and healthcare providers to keep their offices open if they can hardly get paid for the services they perform? Individuals believe that because they pay premiums, the insurance company will pay their doctor. Unfortunately, this is hardly the case. Health insurance claim denial rates can reach as high as 25% or more. Many providers have outstanding receivables measured in the millions of dollars. The insurance reimbursement process is so arduous that many medical practices never get paid and as a result close their doors forever.

Insurance companies use a wide variety of tactics to delay payments and deny claims. Payers employ hoards of representatives charged with the task of fielding calls and scrutinizing claims. Due to these tactics, insurance claims take anywhere from 30 days to more than 1 year to reach a completed status. In most cases claims are delayed and denied due to inconsequential, irrelevant errors. These errors result solely from the many difficult and senseless hoops that are placed in the way of the provider’s billing representatives. This extremely labor intensive process of collecting from insurance companies costs providers a great deal of time and money.

The only beneficiaries of this process are the shareholders of insurance companies. The delays in payments result in interest earned for the time period in which the claim was delayed. In many cases, providers never receive reimbursement for the services they perform. These claims must be written-off as a loss by providers while insurance companies see these cases as victories leaving more cash on their balance sheets. It appears that the primary goal of insurance companies may be to deny as many claims as possible; after all they answer to shareholders not providers or individual policy holders. This gross abuse of power by insurance companies may be the biggest problem we face in the healthcare sector.

The days when doctors sat on golf courses all day while making millions per year are over. Now they must battle insurance companies tooth and nail for every claim. If insurance companies paid doctors for the services they perform, perhaps we would see a reduction in costs related to providing care.

Surely there is no easy fix to this problem. We may find the answers by addressing the goals of big insurance companies. Providing oversight and incentives for paying healthcare providers for the services they perform would be a good start. If insurance companies focus on weeding out fraud rather than just delaying and denying payments, we could see an increase in efficiency and productivity in the healthcare sector that could be the start of controlling costs while maintaining a high standard of care. For the sake of all Americans, hopefully we find an answer soon!

Do You Fear a Bathroom Remodel?

So You Want to Remodel Your Bathroom

An increasing number of people find that they can remodel their bathrooms to create the perfect place in which they can relax, refresh, rejuvenate and/or have a romantic time. A bathroom redo can be an inexpensive and fun way to spruce up your entire house. So, what you need are some tips for remodeling your bathroom.

When you decide to begin a bathroom remodeling project, it is quickest to organize your goals before shopping for materials. Choose what items you want to replace, add, or take away from the bath area. Consider refinishing existing items such as bathtub, shower, sinks and toilet, or renewing the tiles or tub and shower enclosure to give a new look to your bathroom even with just a little investment. The bathroom is one of the most used areas of the house, so you want to be sure that you have it remodeled in such a way that it will last for a long time. Remodeling is extremely exciting because it means you are getting to create the ambiance you have always wanted in one of your favorite places: the bathroom.

Why Remodel If You Can Decorate?

Perhaps you would like to redo the bathroom, but at the same time you would like to keep things uncomplicated. If it is time for a bathroom makeover, count yourself lucky when you see the number of wonderful current decorating ideas for the bathroom today. There is a huge amount you can do with simple decorative treatments that avoid a full remodel.

If you have a small bathroom, remodeling ideas should mostly revolve around freeing the space of clutter and making better use of the available space. Using shelves, taller cabinets, and other organizational items will help the room seem larger because everything has a place and there is nothing left to crowd the space. There are any number of cabinets available to fit over the toilet or along empty walls to maximize the available area, or cabinets can be hung on the wall to free up floor space.

Regardless of the size of your bathroom, it is important that you sort out the existing items in the bathroom and choose which items you want to keep and which items can now retire. Clearing out unimportant clutter from the bathroom can help you decorate the room easily and match items for your fresh theme. Don’t be afraid to be bold and exciting – make your bathroom a fun place to visit!

Another decorating idea for a bathroom is to redo the porcelain sink and the tub. These tend to take a lot of abuse through the years, and with a fresh treatment, they will look brand-new. It’s a lot cheaper than putting in all new fixtures, and it really does make your bathroom look good.

A common bathroom decorating idea for people on a budget is adding or replacing light fixtures. While choosing a light may seem like a daunting task, be aware that once you have chosen the perfect lighting to enhance your bathroom’s theme, it can make a dramatic change to the overall feel of the room. Of course, also consider new paint, tile or wall paper to freshen up the space.

Following the new bathroom decorating trends while maintaining individual taste and style can be achieved with a little research and great imagination. Building on these ideas is sure to help anyone create the bathroom of their dreams. Home decorating magazines can be quite helpful, because if you see decorating materials that you like, there is often a section that shows how you can get them. They are also good at allowing you to see how the materials you’re interested in fit with other colors in the room.

But I Need to Remodel

If you find that redecorating just won’t do, and you really need to remodel, as part of your planning process create a bathroom remodeling check list to help you determine how much of an upgrade you can afford. Make sure you know exactly where your fixtures will go when designing your remodeling project, since you need the plumbing there to accommodate them. Unless you can somehow move the location of your fixtures, your sink, tub, and toilet are going to be exactly where you have them right now. In most cases, the location of your fixtures is going to be a hard limit, so plan accordingly.

Depending on the size of your bathroom and your budget, there are a few bathroom remodeling tips that can the project go smoother, as well as make life after the project easier. For large-budgeted bathroom remodeling projects, you can go beyond your dream bathroom by expanding the area and separating the toilet from the bath area. You can even add spa treatments, bathtubs, water jets and other more expensive bathroom add-ons.

If you have a more modest budget, one of the most important things is to make sure that the shower area is easily accessible. For example, some showers require a person to step up in order to enter the shower, while others are just walk-in showers. Whichever kind of shower you choose, it is important to note that it will have to be well installed in order to prevent leaks. Another method of controlling bathroom remodeling costs could be instead of replacing your tub and all the wall tiles, you could look into a tub and wall unit that fits right over an existing tub and wall. By using this technique and for a few hundred dollars the area can look as if it is brand-new. The alternative is replacing everything, which could run into the thousands.

When you choose where smaller fixtures go in the bathroom remodeling design, think function over form. For items such as the towel rack or even the toilet paper roll, keep in mind that they should go in places that are sensible, The towel rack might look nice by the door, but if it’s out of arm’s reach of the bathtub, then you won’t be happy whenever you get out of the shower, for example. With all things in bathroom remodeling design, if you design with an eye for common sense and space, you will be successful in your attempt to create a room that’s both stylish and functional.

There is no greater joy to a homeowner then to remodel a favorite room such as the bathroom. So, enjoy every minute of it, and, more importantly, enjoy the outcome of your work and labor. Once you are satisfied with the project, you can take your first relaxing shower and enjoy the long-term benefit from the investment you made.

Travel Nursing Benefits

Travel nursing gives you the right opportunity to satisfy your medical aspirations. With travel nursing jobs, you can choose the most stressful and fulfilling process of serving people, located in various states of the United States. All you have to identify a good placement agency where your dreams can be turned into a reality.

There are many traveling agencies who recruit travel nurses to place them in different hospitals and medical facilities in order to fulfill the shortages of medical personnel in different parts of the US. However, the compensation package, accommodation and utilities of each placement agency vary from each other. Being a new phenomenon in the healthcare sector, travel nursing is seen as the bright future for women going for full time nursing career. Normally, traveling nursing jobs are set up for a short term basis but it can be extended after the mutual agreement from both the employer and nurses part.

This can be chosen for many reasons. One of the main reason is this job can fulfill your traveling desires. You gotta see different geographies and feel their difference and exclusive beauty. Secondly, you can experience the working of nurses in different cities or states of the United States. Besides these, you will be awarded with a good and well furnished home, attractive salary package, other allowances and benefits to enjoy a great and high standard of living. Above more, it is the duty of travel agency to help nurses to get their passports, work licenses and other documents in order to work comfortably.

These jobs also offer other advantages including above market payment rates to live and work in a new place or area. It also includes provision of certain utility services, health, dental and workers compensation as well as payroll benefits. Many times a traveling nurse agency also offers 401K and other retirement plans. A travel nurse is paid by the agency it contracts with and the mode of payments is generally by direct bank deposit checks.

So if you are a nurse, trying to make a good career, opting for travel nursing can give you some of the added advantage.

First Date Clothing Suggestions For Men

Dressing smartly and suitably for a date is an area which some men unfortunately overlook and feel they don’t need to make an effort dressing for a date. This is the first mistake a man can make when going on a date. Having said that, not all men overlook this area; there are some men who spend hours getting ready for a date but wouldn’t admit it. Wherever you decide to go on a date, regardless of the class, it is vital that you appear to have made an effort and turn up looking your best wearing a freshly washed and ironed outfit.

First impressions can make or break a date, so the importance of looking smart cannot be underestimated. Along with being washed and ironed, clothes must fit properly, be stain free, be hole free, not too tight, not too baggy, not garish and not old and faded. It is also important that the outfit you choose to wear on a date is suitable for the date location plus matches your age. Dressing older or younger than your actual age will only make you stand out. By dressing too young you may appear like you are trying to recapture your youth resulting in your date believing you have other personal issues going on. Alternatively dressing too old could be off putting for your date. You want your date to look at you and feel happy to be on a date with you, not to wonder what they have got themselves into.

The easiest date to dress for is a casual date. This may include going for a drink in a bar, going out for fast food or a visit to the cinema. For any casual date, it is perfectly acceptable to wear jeans. It does not mean that you can dress down or wear jeans that have seen better days. Jeans should be in good condition and have a perfect fit, especially around the bottom area, which is where most women tend to have a good look at. You can choose between a variety of tops to accompany jeans, such as a t-shirt, a poloshirt, a casual shirt or a sweater. Poloshirts are ideal if you have a good physique and you wish to show it off. If the weather is cold, then a casual jacket is suitable. If you decide to wear a t-shirt, it is best to avoid garish colours and stay away from novelty t-shirts, at least for the first date anyway. If you decide to tuck your top into your trousers, remember to wear a belt to add a finishing touch to your look.

You can get away with wearing jeans on a casual date, but if you are going on a classy date, then they are not appropriate. A more formal look is required for a classy date, such as a visit to the theatre or a meal at a fancy restaurant. It’s a good idea to own a suit, ideally in a dark colour such as charcoal grey or navy, as you can create a number of different looks using just one suit. You can wear a variety of different shirts and ties with a suit or you can change your look entirely by wearing the suit trousers with a casual shirt, or even wear the suit jacket over a casual outfit to create another great look. If you choose to wear casual attire on a classy date then all you will achieve is showing your date that you couldn’t be bothered to make an effort, plus you will stand out especially if your date is wearing a stylish dress. Once you have chosen your outfit, don’t ruin the look by wearing inappropriate shoes. Formal footwear should be worn when going on a formal date. Trainers, sandals, pumps and boots are not appropriate. Formal shoes must be clean, match the outfit and comfortable to wear. If you are wearing a belt with your trousers, then ideally your shoes should be the same colour as the belt. Footwear is an area that women tend to notice, so great footwear can leave a great lasting impression on your date.

An active date, such as playing a game of tennis, or going walking together, requires a different look. It is necessary to wear sports gear and not forgetting supportive footwear. Clean modern jogging bottoms or shorts are appropriate, just as long as shorts aren’t too small and tight and jogging bottoms aren’t baggy at the knees. A t-shirt, long or short sleeved is suitable and if the weather is cold, then a sports jacket or a sweatshirt can be worn. Dressing for a sporty date is not a time to put fashion before comfort. You need to dress in clothes that won’t restrict your movement plus feel comfortable to wear; remembering to check that they are clean before you put them on, including your footwear.

If your date has arranged the date and you don’t know where you are going, then you need to wear an outfit that is suitable for a range of date locations. A good suggestion is a pair of smart trousers accompanied with a fashionable shirt and a stylish jacket. A stylish jacket, such as a suit jacket will be appropriate if your date has booked a table at a fancy restaurant, and a fashionable shirt is sufficient for any casual date and even a slightly classier date. There is no need to wear a tie, but if you prefer, you could always conceal a tie in your jacket pocket in case you find yourself going to an upmarket venue. If you feel overdressed, you can remove the suit jacket to reveal your casual shirt. It is always better to be slightly overdressed than underdressed, which will show that you have made an effort.

Along with clean, ironed, fresh smelling and well fitted clothes, it is a good idea to turn up for a date clean shaven, showered and smelling great. Smelling good is very attractive to women, just don’t overdo the aftershave or body spray. Don’t leave your decision making to the last minute. Think in advance about what you wish to wear and take your time getting ready. The last thing you want is to turn up for a date feeling flustered and worried because you forgot to shave or put on deodorant. Planning your outfit in advance and looking like you have made an effort are the two main keys to dressing well for a first date.

How Medical Transcription Services Benefit Acute Care Hospitals and Medical Centers

Today, medical transcription services enjoy great demand in acute care hospitals and medical centers, since these lighten the workload and related stress in these healthcare settings. Moreover, medical practitioners and their staff can find more time to focus on providing quality services for their patients. With reliable medical transcription service, acute care hospitals and medical centers can save considerably on time, money and effort.

To deliver high quality medical transcription outsourcing solutions, a medical transcription company will have a team of professionals including transcriptionists, proofreaders, quality controllers and senior editors.

With state-of-the-art dictation tools, technology and software, these experts take care of the entire process of transcription for all types of medical reports including:

• Patient history and physical reports
• Operative notes, consultation notes, narratives, SOAP notes
• Discharge summaries, procedure notes, radiology reports, chart notes, laboratory reports, as well as other medical documents

Medical Transcription Services Come with a Range of Benefits

Medical transcription services benefit acute care hospitals and medical centers in many ways. By medical transcription outsourcing, you can reduce the amount of paperwork in your organization. In addition, it enables healthcare professionals to efficiently manage their patient’s health related records. Backup copies of patient’s medical records are readily available on demand.

With medical transcription services, healthcare facilities including acute care hospitals and medical centers can easily access even old patient records. Physicians can send the medical records across many destinations via the internet, and keep in touch with their patients even if they are out of station. Other benefits include:

• Cost-effective and quality medical transcription solutions
• Helps you save on hiring and maintaining more staff, resources and software for transcription purposes
• Save on employee benefits such as payroll taxes, medical office space, health insurance, paid vacation time, office equipment and many more.
• Reduce workload: Medical transcription service providers transcribe your medical documents efficiently, and thus reduce the workload. You get more time to focus on your core issues.
• Privacy and strict confidentiality of data: The transcription firms take strong safety measures to ensure privacy and confidentiality of all patient data.
• Convenient storage and retrieval of data: The data is stored digitally and can be retrieved easily, thus reducing storage space and paper work.
• Quick turnaround time that can be customized according to your requirements. Normally, it varies between 12 to 24 hours.
• No backlogs.

Find a Reliable Service Provider

To benefit from comprehensive medical transcription service, acute care facilities can depend on a reputable medical transcription company. An experienced medical transcription service provider would be able to offer well-organized and timely medical documentation solutions at competitive rates.

Prior to selecting a medical transcription firm to partner with, make sure that it has enough years of experience, ensures quality assurance, offers flexible dictation options, and 24 hour customer service among other things.

The Most Iconic Style on Feet – UGG Boots

When searching for the most sought-after accessories online, you will find that a kind of footwear is extremely popular among a large part of keen fashionistas. With such a chic pair on your feet, you will feel comfortable throughout the cold days, and create trendy look in front of others. What is it? It’s UGG boot.

As far as I’m concerned, besides luxury watches, designer handbags and Tiffany jewelry, UGG is one of the hottest words all around the globe. When it comes to buying shoes for freezing cold days, UGG boots are always the top one in the list. Thanks for their comfort and functionality, people of any age are spotted wearing them. Even some celebrities tend to wear a pair of them to pair with her fashionable clothes when she is invited to the red-carpet situation. It is not bold to say that beside UGG boots, there is no one that can make such a renown feet style.

Made with twin-faced sheepskin, these boots will make you feel incredible warm and comfortable. While, do not just regard that they are specially for freezing cold days. Actually, sheepskin also has the ability to keep the body temperature normal even in hot days. If you are tired of wearing high heels everyday, you could have a try with UGG to create a fresh casual look. After all, wearing shoes with heels everyday is harmful for your feet.

I guess that some of you would consider these boots as unfashionable and will make a big feet look. Actually, that is absolutely wrong. Though they look big, they will make a chic and refined look. Now they come in a variety of styles, sizes and colors. No matter which style you are searching for, you can always find the suitable one to fit with any kind of apparel you are wearing.

The genuine boots never come up with cheap prices, so you are not recommended to buy them of the season. Instead, you should wait until the seasonal or clearance sales begin. That will help you to save a lot of money.

In a word, the great popularity of UGG boots truly proves that they will never go out of fashion. If you want to keep up with the fashion trend and make feet feel pretty comfortable at the same time, just go ahead to add a pair of them to your wardrobe.

Car Rental Coupons

Rental cars have become quite popular during the current economic slowdown. People who plan to buy a used car or even a brand new car is getting attracted to different car rental agencies because of the tough competition, cheap prices and unbelievable options car rental companies offer. Several car rental agencies offer car rentals coupons throughout the year for various reasons. Some of the agencies want to promote their business during off season while some other agencies offer car rentals coupons so that their service will be cheaper than that of their competitor who offers similar services.

Once you finalize a rental company suiting well to your needs, you can check on their official website for ongoing discounts and rental coupons. These coupons come with different offers. Some of the coupons offer a discount on rate from 10-50% while some others add 1-5 extra days to your booking period without extra cost. It is up to you to choose the right type of discount. If you plan to rent for long term, a discount on the rental price will be the right choice for you. If you plan a trip for 7 days and find a coupon offering ‘book for 5 days and get 3 extra days free’ will be the right choice for you.

There are several websites that compare different car rental services and their rates. These websites also highlight the ongoing discounts and coupons available. Such comparison websites are a good choice to know what is going on in the neighborhood but always watch out for scam. Try to rent your car from a reputed car rental agency but also check for any hidden costs. Then check for car rental coupons offered by such reputed agencies.

Some coupons also provide free insurance coverage for a selected number of days and some additional accessories like GPS or child seat for free of cost. Such promotional offers may or may not be useful for you. For example, if you are planning to travel somewhere you are not very familiar, a coupon offering free GPS navigation system can be a great choice for you because you hardly will ‘get lost’ somewhere. Similarly a free child seat is good for you only if you are travelling with a child. Car rental companies design their coupons targeting different customers and their various tastes.

If you are planning to rent a car for your vacation trip or for your everyday requirements, check with different agencies for their specialized coupons. Don’t assume that you will not get a discount coupon because its holiday season. There are several service providers and several offers throughout the year and you will not find the best for yourself without constantly checking for them. Websites such as carrentalmomma.com and rentalcarscode.com have coupons throughout the year with a wide array of offers. Even Google is a great place to find information on best deals available.

Riding, Running and Rebounding For Health and Fitness

What do horseback riding, cycling and running all have in common? Simple! They all require a strong, lifted core to execute and maximize the exercise. That means that rely on the use of the abdominal center, erectors of the back and spine, tuck of the butt and lift of the lower back to maneuver and they also require/benefit from open, lifted and proud shoulders.

It also should come as no surprise that the cross-training benefits of yoga and pilates, in building core strength, re-aligning musculature and developing mind-body connections are transferable to these exercise disciplines. What might surprise and delight is the use of a rebound exercise tool, the Kangoo Jumps, as a recommended resource for the devotee of riding, cycling and running to maximize cardiovascular training and effectiveness.

A young woman wrote to me recently, looking for a way and a recommendation as to how she could put less stress on her body (knees, joints, ankles, hips) while gaining aerobic and cardiovascular conditioning. A lover of Pilates and equestrian sports judge by profession, she wanted a way to maximize her fitness programming, increase her cardiovascular fitness training while preventing injury to her body. She didn’t want to run anymore because of the stress and strain it caused to her knees. I knew her connectedness to nature, the outdoors and the feeling of control through movement was tantamount to finding success for her training. While I don’t ride horses, I do understood the desire to avoid the body breakdown caused by of running. Torn, as she was, as I find it to have the closest connection one can duplicate to the experience of riding in the open, free space and having a connected feeling to the elements.

I understood the need to avoid the body breakdown as it was my personal pursuit a few month earlier. As an exceptionally active person, the older I got, the more pounding, I experienced on my knees, heels and hip joints and less and less I enjoyed running 3 miles, 2x week to keep my weight in check. As a result, last spring, I bought a pair of Kangoo Jumps and totally eliminated the pain (and recovery) in each and everyone one of my workouts. For that reason, I recommended the same option to her.

The shoes are based on rebound exercise and are a low impact rebound sport shoe designed to provide a safe platform for jogging and other exercises that are hard on the joints. The boots use a lightweight spring to absorb the shocks due to impact on the ground and create a rebound effect that reduces shock impact on ankles, knees, hips and lower back. They are Swiss designed for joggers, however, they also provide benefits for athletic strengthening and conditioning, rehabilitation and injury prevention and group aerobics. The unique “floating above the ground” sensation created by Kangoo Jumps has to be experienced to be understood.

Core balance and control are two other variables (and benefits) of using the shoes for training.

Quality vs Quantity

Kangoo Jumps deliver the benefit of 50-minutes exercise in only 20 minutes and the injury prevention potential has already caught the attention of several elite football teams. The boots can be used indoors or outdoors on paved roads, dirt paths and grass as well as at the beach or on snow. N.A.S.A. has found rebound exercise to be the best form of exercise for astronauts because it restores bone and muscle mass lost during time spent in outer space. Consequently Kangoo Jumps are recommended for people suffering osteoporosis, with the “slow-motion” steps and exercises of Kangoo Aerobics make it suitable for middle aged and senior people.

Other Cardiovascular Options

The other option I recommended, and one I personally use during the warm weather months, to avoid joint pain, is a road bike. A road bike and a trail can make a world of difference in clearing your head while building cardiovascular strength. Climbing hills with a bike will give anyone keen cardiovascular training.

As a Pilates and equestrian sports devotee, my friend already understood the reliance on core strength and easily made the connection that these two disciplines were good cross-training modalities to support the prevention and overuse of muscle and back pain; typical injuries and imbalances caused by cycling.

Enjoy your Devon holiday in a luxury cottage

The charming county of Devon is the ideal place to spend a vacation, whether it is a weekend getaway for a couple, family or friends. The wealth of diversity offered in Devon is unrivalled in England – there is so much to do here whether you wish to ramble through nature’s creations or indulge in more active sport. The list of attractions in Devon is endless, which is why visitors can never get enough of the place, and return to Devon time after time.

If you are a beach and water sports fanatic, Devon is ideal for you. There are so many beaches to list, but here are a few. Blackpool Sands has a Blue Flag award for cleanliness and provides breathtaking views; Slapton Sands has a great car park and is dog friendly; Bantham Beach is one of the best sandy beaches in Devon and is perfect for sandcastle making.

Devon also has several famous Rivers – River Dart is one of the most popular and is referred to as the ‘most beautiful river in England’. Here you can enjoy fishing and the scenery while going on a boat ride. There are numerous sporting activities for enthusiasts in Devon – the most popular include fishing, horse riding and golf.

If you prefer visiting historic towns and sites, then Devon has so much in store for you. Historic towns include Totnes, Ashburton, Dartmouth, Salcombe, Exeter and Plymouth to name a few. These towns have fascinating old buildings, houses, castles and gardens. Some of the most visited properties in Devon include Dartington Hall, Buckland Abbey, Castle Drogo, RHS Rosemoor Gardens and Saltram House.

There are several types of accommodation available in Devon.

From hotels to cottages, bed and breakfast establishments to apartments, camping to caravans, the options are numerous. A stay in a luxury cottage in Devon is one of the many ways that one can enjoy Devon, and guarantees that your holiday will be perfect.

Self catering luxury cottages in Devon are ideally located either close to the coast or else in the beautiful countryside. Either way, you can enjoy Devon in style. Cottages come with bedrooms and bathrooms which are comfortable and well equipped and come complete with kitchen, living room and dining room furniture. Typical luxury cottages in Devon come with several facilities such as TV/DVD players, washer/dryer, full cooker, fridge, freezer, dishwasher, garden furniture and sun umbrellas.

Cookie Decorating and Cocktails: Themed Parties For the Holiday Season

The holidays are upon us, and one of the most timeless, beloved traditions is cookie decorating before Christmas time. Instead of setting aside an afternoon to bake batch after batch of Christmas cookies, why not plan a full-blown cookie decorating party to include friends and family?

How a Cookie Decorating Party Works

A cookie decorating party can work in one of two ways. You can ask all guests to bring their own favorite cookies, undecorated, to the party for a group decorating project. Or, you can ask guests to pitch in and make batches of cookies in your kitchen that you can all decorate together once they cool, fresh out of the oven.

For a smaller gathering with a few friends, baking cookies and decorating together will work well. For a larger party of five or more, it’s a better idea to ask guests to bring their own undecorated cookies so you don’t have to worry about squeezing a large group into a crowded, hot kitchen to bake cookies together.

To plan ahead, make sure that you have all of the necessary decorating supplies set up in advance in different stations throughout the room, including:

• Aprons or smocks
• Paper towels
• Tubes of icing in different colors
• Sprinkles and other assorted decorations
• Food coloring
• Small paintbrushes

From there, it’s time to get cracking! Guests can decorate plain cookies of their choice with different icings and assorted decorations, like sprinkles, chocolate chips, M&Ms, crushed peppermint, and more. You may also choose to splurge on fancy holiday cookie decorations like colored sugar, silver ball candies, and cinnamon hearts.

All of the decorations can be set up in individual bowls for use at each decorating station. Guests can also create their own colored icing with food coloring to paint different designs on each cookie using a small paintbrush.

Adult Beverages for Cookie Decorating

If this is an adults-only party, you have the perfect opportunity to pair holiday cookies with delicious seasonal cocktails to enjoy throughout the decorating process. Depending upon the type of cookies that you decorate, whether they’re plain sugar cookies, snickerdoodles, or even peanut butter cookies, you can pair your holiday drinks accordingly.

Decorated holiday sugar cookies will go well with a warm beverage like Irish Coffee or spiked cider. You can also make a large batch of alcoholic holiday punch with flavors of cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg, served chilled and topped with a splash of cranberry juice and sparkling wine.

For more flavorful cookies, like peanut butter or snickerdoodle, serve a refreshing holiday favorite like mulled wine, peppermint martinis, or rich yet satisfying alcoholic eggnog.

For an adult-themed cookie decorating holiday bash, make sure to provide guests with the convenience of arranging transportation to and from the venue with a limo rental or luxury town car. This will allow guests to ride safely to and from the party destination so that they can enjoy a few holiday cocktails without having to worry about driving home at the end of the evening. ‘Tis the season!