Are you keen to travel on one of the most famous trains in the world? No doubt you have heard about the Trans-Siberian. It is the longest single-service railway line and spans nearly 9,300 kilometres, connecting Vladivostok and Moscow. The train passes through no less than seven time zones and takes a week to complete.
Image by Durandi2 via Flickr
That’s the most popular route, but there are connecting services that will bring you from Asia, through Europe from Beijing to Moscow. There is also the Tran-Manchurian which bypasses Mongolia.
There’s a lot to consider when choosing an express tour package. Here are our top 4 tips.
A few things to note when booking your trip include:
The train times – Russian train times are listed in Moscow time
Departure/arrival station – There are several different stations in Moscow, but they aren’t very far apart. Be sure to note which one you are arriving at or departing from so you don’t miss your train
Check the box for linen and sheets. You will need to pay extra for this
Seating allocation – Not all seats are the same, choose carefully or let your travel agent advise you
Seating and Classes
There are three class choices on the Trans-Siberian railway: spalny vagon, kupe and platskartny. The first class is a private cabin for two with higher-quality facilities. Second class offers a cabin for four people and third class is an open carriage with dozens of beds, arranged into four-berth spaces.
You’ll find that first class is full of tourists. If you’d like to interact with the locals, and you may be on a budget, book a second or third class ticket. You may want to avoid the side berths in third class as these run along the corridor and offer less privacy with people walking past.
Besides the different berths and classes, different train numbers and names have different facilities and take different lengths of time to get you to a fantastic location.
Chances are, you will complete international border crossings during your trip. This can be laborious as visas are checked, custom forms have to be filled in, and even the cabins are inspected. Often, you can get off the train, but sometimes you are not permitted to. Be sure to check the stopping schedules so that you know what’s permissible.
The Facilities and What to Pack
Food – You can buy food from the restaurant car. Some of the higher-end tickets include meals too. But, it’s a good idea to bring a few supplies along. Some of the stops are long enough to pop to a shop or the kiosk on the platform.
Hot water – This is provided so you can make things like pots of noodles, but cold water isn’t provided, so make sure you take drinking water with you. You may also want to take a mug to make your soups in. Tea and coffee is provided at a price.
Electrical outlets – There is no access to outlets unless you are in first class. There are a few communal ones in the corridors but are quite inconvenient.
A few other things to take along include a pocket knife for opening food packets and cut food up, wet wipes, toilet paper, and sandals.
We hope that these tips could help you with your Trans-Siberian tour. If you’ve travelled via the Trans-Siberian railway, feel free to share your experience in the Comments below.
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What a great evening full of fun, singing, and dancing.
The Saint Louis Symphony at Powell Symphony Hall conducted by Brent Havens, and Windborne Music performed a Prince Tribute with artist Jason Tenner. This was a sold out show that St. Louis was anticipating. I saw so many people in the audience with their purple on in various different styles. My hubby and I wore purple.When I walked into the door the lady took our tickets and said when you walk out you can leave your sweater at the door because that’s my color. I smiled. The sweater, designed by Bob Mackie, had sequined details that makes it look stunning.
JT at the Prince Tribute concert
Some may come close to imitating Prince, but there is only one and he was in a class of sound all his own. It appeared that at times during the performance Tenner did not know which song was next on the playlist. Tenner has been doing a tribute show in Las Vega for over twenty years. But this was his first performance with the Symphony. I suspect that they had been only rehearsed together for a short time before Sunday night’s show. However, in spite of the few glitches, it was a good show and the crowd enjoyed it as well.
The night was magical and Tenner performed many of Prince’s well-known hits, from Delirious to When Doves Cry. The background singer (whose name I didn’t get) did an awesome job singer with Tenner. Windborne Music keyboardist, Justin Avery did a fantastic job with How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore?“
Some of the crowd stood up and danced in the aisles and at their seats. By the time Tenner performed 1999 and the finale Purple Rain, people were on their feet. After the show end, some of the people shook Tenner’s hand and one guy that was sitting next to me gave him the purple jacket that he wore to the show.
Jason Tenner after the Prince Tribute Show
Jason Tenner’s Las Vegas show is called Purple Reign and includes costumes and wig changes. That sounds like a must-see show.
I was invited to attend a #MOTOZFASHIONNIGHT BY #VERIZON, at Laurie Solet. The Laurie Solet store was closed to the public for this special event. I found out more about the new New Moto Z Device and accessories; available exclusively to Verizon Wireless. I also was able to learn about Verizon’s Hopeline program.
It was an awesome night and I had the privilege of meeting the Verizon representatives in person, and seeing some familiar faces and a great group of bloggers who blog about various genres from Fashion to mom-hood.
Motorola Droid Z
The Moto Z Droid Phone is one of the thinnest phones I have seen and very lightweight. Verizon representative, Megan gave a demonstration of how to use the phone. The Moto Z has a battery that can last a full day and includes the turbo drive charge that can charge your phone for eight hours of use in only fifteen minutes. The snap on interchangeable Moto Mods that attach to convert the phone into a projector and speaker.
Moto Droid Z
I was amazed how the Moto Droid Z projected the image onto the screen up to 70 feet. I can envision friends and family showing photo galleries at get-togethers. It could also be used for presentations at work if the presentation was downloaded on your phone.If I get the opportunity to try out the phone and the snap mods I will do an in-depth detailed review on my blog.
The night included some great shopping, I and the other bloggers received a Laurie Solet gift card. The store has beautiful women’s apparel and jewelry that are perfect for fall and winter. The designs are from local designers and the styles are relaxed and laid back.
What I thought was most important was learning more about Verizon’s Hopeline program. Megan gave a presentation that shared some of the Hopeline facts. If you have old cell phones or devices, Verizon will collect them and either give them to people in need or recycle them an a environmental manner.
Did you see in the chart that 1 in 4 Women, 1 in 9 men, and more than 3 million children are affected by domestic violence in the USA.
Please watch William Gay’s story.
The color purple represents Domestic Violence Awareness month. In the gift bags were the Mophie power station charger and a pair of LG Tone Pro headphones.
On each box of a Verizon purple product for Domestic Violence Awareness Month reads:
“Support victims and survivors of domestic violence by going purple. For every purple product purchased for Domestic Violence Awareness Month , Verizon- through its HopeLine program will make a $3 donation to Camp Hope America. Your purple purchase will help victims and their children gain access to valuable services to help them heal, survive and thrive.”
Thank you Verizon for inviting me to this event. Great opportunity to learn and support Domestic Awareness Month.
JTwisdom received a Laurie Solet gift card for attending the event; and a Mophie Powerstation and the LG TonePRO in the gift bag in exchange for writing about the Hopeline Program. This blog is my honest and heartfelt review of the event.
Fall is in the air and as the leaves are changing colors, I am thinking about fashion. Not only what I would like to wear, but also a new exhibition opening at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York entitled, “Masterworks: Unpacking Fashion.”
“The Costume Institute’s Fall exhibition, Masterworks: Unpacking Fashion Exhibition Dates: on view in the Anna Winter Costume Center from
November 18, 2016 to February 5, 2017, will feature significant acquisitions of the past 10 years. The show, curated by Assistant Curator, Jessica Regan with support from Curator in Charge Andrew Bolton, will explore how the mass department has honed its collecting strategy to amass masterworks of the highest aesthetic and technical quality, including of iconic works by designers who have changed the course of fashion historians advanced fashion as an art form.”
“Our mission is to present fashion as a living art that interprets history, becomes part of the historical process, and inspires subsequent art,” said Mr. Bolton. “Over the seven decades since The Costume Institute because part of The Met in 1946, our collecting strategy has shifted from creating a collection of Western high fashion that is encyclopedic in breadth to one focused on acquiring a body of masterworks.”
This is definitely a different direction in fashion exhibitions and quite refreshing to show masterworks from key designers of each period that represent various changes.
“The exhibit will showcases sixty different masterworks from the 18th century to the present which The Costume Institute has acquired since its last acquisitions show in 2007.”
I wanted to share some exquisite highlights of objects that will be included in the exhibit.
This gown by Viktor rolf is part tutu, part ballroom gown. When you first look at the gown, I know you are saying, How did they do that? The gown looks like a sculpture but gives off a romantic appeal at the same time. A must see?
The Robe Volant French 1700s brocade gown looks so regal. However, the gown looks very comfortable because it is unstructured in detail. The pleats on the back of the dress commands a standing ovation.
Robe Volant French
The Jean Philippe-Worh ball gown is structured and accentuates the neckline, shoulders, arms and waist. The dress is beautiful and looks like a fairy tale with the butterflies embroidered on the fabric as if they are flying effortlessly around the dress.
The Raf Simons for the House of Dior ensemble commands and second head turn for attention. The embroidery along the cuffs and front of the jacket is jaw-dropping gorgeous. How many hours did it take to do the embroidery? This ensemble fit is tailored to perfection and very slimming.
My last highlight is from John Giliano, the detail of the lapel and the pleating of the lower part of the jacket is always in style.
Ensemble John Galliano
I can’t wait to see this exhibit because the pieces are timeless and go beyond all boundaries.
I want you to be completely fresh when you go so I will only list some of the designers that will be featured in the exhibit. Some of the designers include Gilbert Adrian, Geoffrey Beene, Christian Dior, Tom Ford, and you will have to go to the exhibit to see the surprise designer objects.
*Exhibition information from Metropolitan Museum of Art Masterworks Unpacking Fashion press release.
I recently had the opportunity to sample the Vino Labs Vitamin C Moisturizer. My full review can be found here. I want to say “THANK YOU!!” to Vino Labs for the chance to try one of their many fine products. Vino Labs has also been so gracious to give me a second bottle of the moisturizer to give to one of my wonderful followers. The giveaway ran here on the blog and on my YouTube Channel during the month of September and it is now time to announce the winner.
There were a total of 12 entries between the Blog and YouTube. I arranged in order of the time that the entry was received. I used Random.org to determine the winner.
Congratulations to Chimee A. You Are A Winner!! I will be in contact with you shortly!
Thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway. Looking forward to the next one!
This month I recently celebrated my sevententh wedding anniversary with my hubby in Colorado and Utah. And I also had the pleasure of celebrating my hubby’s birthday. Very thankful to God for a wonderful time.
My hubby and I saw many beautiful rock formations and awe inspiring scenery that made us really want to incorporate more plants inside our home and around the yard. Certain plants promote great air quality and are very calming. I found on wikipedia that the NASA Clean Air Study said that the Peace lily, Boston fern, Rubber plant and Spider plant are some of the greenery that promote good air quality.
This is why I am so excited about this Hanging Water Garden and $50 Giveaway! What better way to relax after a full day at work or just winding down after a busy day. Seeing this Hanging water garden in your home will put you in that peaceful mode.
Let’s face it: most of us can’t afford to budge on our wedding budgets. Planning a ceremony when money is tight is easier said than done; however, savvy couples can easily cut costs granted they know where to look.
First and foremost, couples should consider the most important aspects of their ceremony and trim the fat accordingly. For example, compromises should be made concerning the following:
The size of the ceremony and how many guests should be invited (an intimate affair versus a lavish party)
Which of the major and minor details of the ceremony matter the most, from fabrics and arrangements to music and catering
How much you’re willing to spend on the essentials, such as wedding rings, her dress and his tuxedo
Understanding what matters most can reduce a couple’s stress of planning the ceremony; meanwhile, it can also uncover opportunities for you to slash costs and stay within your budget. By harnessing the power of smart shopping and keeping the following tips in the back of your mind, you can save big without sacrificing your ceremony.
Research the Ring It’s incredibly easy to overspend on your wedding rings if you don’t know what to look for. Diamond prices can vary wildly from dealer to dealer and are determined by a number of factors including:
The diamond’s weight and amount of carats
The cut of the stone
The clarity and certification of the diamond
If such concepts seem foreign to you, make sure that you research the in’s and out’s of price prior to committing to a ring. In many cases, it makes more sense to shop around online versus buying blindly at a brick-and-mortar retailer.
Frugal with Flowers Flowers can eat up a shocking seven to ten percent of your wedding budget, leaving many couples wondering how they can keep their ceremony classy yet also save on decorations. Thankfully, getting frugal with your flowers is relatively easy, depending on how much of your budget you are willing to spend. For example:
You can rely on seasonal or local blooms which are guaranteed to be fresh and cost-effective
Seek out year-round blooms such as roses and orchids which likely won’t have to be imported
Consider artificial flowers or a mixture of real and artificial flowers: in many cases, guests won’t be able to tell the difference
Flowers on candle stand
Many couples aren’t willing to fore-go flowers; therefore, consider cost effective options before ruling them out entirely. Once you’ve made your decision, price out your flowers both locally and online to find the best deals.
Cutting Cake Costs What’s a wedding without cake? Elegant wedding cakes are indeed fun to marvel at and eat; however, they can quickly add up in terms of price. To compromise, it’s common for couples to have a small centerpiece cake coupled with a large sheet cake. You can also get more mileage out of your cake by cutting it into smaller slices or choosing butter cream icing versus pricier fondant. A little bit of creativity can go a long way to keeping your wedding cake delicious yet affordable.
A small cake can save money when on a budget.
Wedding’s don’t have to be insanely expensive: it all comes down to how you allocate your budget. By shopping smart, doing your homework and looking for smart ways to save, you can have the wedding of your dreams without sacrificing the essentials.
Most of us have an image in our heads of our ‘dream figure’- how we would ultimately love to look. Perhaps it’s how we used to look when we were younger, or maybe we aspire to achieve a celebrities enviable shape. This can be useful in motivating you in your diet and exercise regimes. However, it’s important not to get hung up on a shape that’s not actually achievable for you personally. Here are some of the things to consider when working towards your dream body.
Have You Considered Your Bone Structure? If the ‘dream figure’ you have in your head is tall and petite, and you’re five foot nothing with naturally wide hips, then you’re just setting yourself up for disappointment. It doesn’t mean to say you won’t look incredible at your goal weight. But all of the diet and exercise in the world isn’t going to change your bone structure. It’s the reason why the ‘thigh gap’ trend and other similar fads are so dangerous. Not all women are naturally built in a way where this will ever be possible at a healthy weight. Focus on looking like the best version of yourself, rather than a celebrity or model that’s built completely differently.
Will You Be Losing a Lot of Weight? Losing weight if you are above a healthy BMI is of course fantastic for health, as well as confidence reasons. But sometimes after losing weight, the body doesn’t ‘spring back’ to the smaller shape it once was. Some people can find loose skin or pockets of stubborn fat an issue. These kinds of things can be treated successfully with plastic surgery, but it’s worth knowing that this may be a hurdle to cross when reaching your dream figure. You could check out a cosmetic surgeon such as belredcosmeticsurgery.com to find out the different procedures available. Alternatively, you could look into non- surgical body sculpting methods such as fat freezing and laser fat removal.
Have You Had Children? The miracle of pregnancy and childbirth is of course incredible. The only problem is pregnancy can permanently change some areas of your body. For example carrying a baby can make your ribcage expand meaning you look wider in this area regardless of how much weight you lose. This is why even if you’re looking at an old picture of yourself as your ‘dream figure’ inspiration, it’s not necessarily possible to get back to exactly that. Hormones change during pregnancy as well as from just natural ageing. This means you’re likely to carry any excess weight differently to when you were younger.. So something to bear in mind when trying to slim down to your pre-pregnancy body.
It’s always good to have a goal and something to aim for (providing it’s a healthy goal). It’s just important to be aware that ‘perfect’ doesn’t exist, and aiming to be the best version of yourself is the best way to look at things.
Are you working towards your ‘Dream Figure’?
FTC Disclaimer: This is a collaborative post and may contain affiliate links.
Are you thinking about your steps? If not, you may want to start thinking about them. I thought that I had it all mapped out and I was getting my steps each day. I felt kinda proud about it. I would intentionally walk up and down three flights of steps at work about two or three times a day and I thought that was enough. I surprised that I had only achieved about 3,000 steps out of the 10,000 step goal. I started using a personal fitness tracker and it kicked my step level up a notch. However, with that tracker I had to always check my smart phone or its website to see how many steps I have achieved. This can be a disadvantage, especially when I want to see where I am at in a jiffy. I recently had the opportunity to try the FitBit Blaze Smart Fitness Watch, courtesy of Verizon Wireless, to see what the difference might be. The FitBit Blaze watch is available from Verizon for $199.99 and is available in Black, Blue or Plum.
JT hiking in the Canyonlands with her Fitbit Blaze Smart Fitness watch
Specifications from Verizon website:
Fitbit Blaze™ Smart Fitness Watch
Get fit in style with the Fitbit Blaze™—a smart fitness watch designed to help you maximize every workout and every day. Use fitness features like PurePulse™ continuous heart rate, multi-sport tracking, Connected GPS and FitStar workout on your wrist. Automatically track your activity, exercise and sleep. Stay connected with call, text and calendar notifications. Customize Fitbit Blaze with a variety of watch faces or accessorize with bands and frames. It’s everything you need for fitness and style—all in one sleek time piece.
Activity Tracking – whether you are running, biking or hiking; the sensors recognizes the type of activity that you are doing and records it for you.
PurePulse™ Heart Rate and Simplified heart rate zones – This feature tracks your heart rate during the day and during a workout. It will let you know if your heart rate is in the rate zone when exercising, to burn the most calories.
Connected GPS – If you want to know the route of your walk or run; the GPS feature will track it for you.
FitStar Workouts – From your wrist, the Blaze will give you instructions with graphics for a simple and quick workout. A perfect option if want to have a workout on the go. You can workout anywhere at anytime with images and instructions on how to do the specific exercises.
The workout summaries provide insights and track progress from day-to-day, and week-to-week.
The design is sleek with a high resolution screen that is easy to read.
The watch band is interchangeable in leather, stainless steel and sports band selections.
With a flip of the wrist you can see the time and your current step total.
The sensors are sensitive and can register you taking steps when you are actually checking the screen. On my wedding anniversary, my hubby and I took an all-day Jeep tour through Canyonlands and Arches National Park. When we were jeeping through the rocks and rough terrains the Fitbit blaze was measuring my movements as steps. That was not an accurate count for me that day. It was good that I was also hiking on the tour. There is a big difference between in the total number of steps taken with my other tracker and the FItBit Blaze. If i reached 10,000 steps on the FItBit Blaze, I would still have about 3000 to 3500 more steps to do with the other tracker. This was very interesting because trackers were worn on different arms at the same time.
With the FitBit Blaze connected to my smart phone, you can receive Smart notifications from your calendar, email accounts, and text message on the watch. Everything is easy to see and clear.
The smart phone app organizes your daily stats with the option to add water intake and caloric intake. The information from the FitBit Blaze synced with the smart phone app with out any issues or problems.
On the Fitbit’s website, you and see more detailed information about your steps, weight, sleep and compare it with previous days statistics. This allows you to see if you are on track with your target number of steps, calories burned, or water intake. You can set goals and the app and website will do the tracking for you to see if you within reach of achieving that goal.
Though the FitBit website, you can join groups of like-minded, fitness-minded people. You can challenge each other for monthly step totals, miles covered or active-minutes achieved.
Once you sign up for the app and website, you will receive weekly updates of your progress; and provide you with tips for a healthy life. These tips include recipe for healthy food choices.
Fitbit Blaze Smart Fitness watch
The FitBit Blaze watch is your all-in-one fitness tracker. It is the ideal tracker for anyone who wants to take control of their fitness level and goals. It is all within reach of your wrist or your laptop. With all the technology built into the FitBit Blaze; there is no need to worry if it will be hard to understand. FitBit has gone the extra mile to simplify everything so that it’s easy to set-up, easy to use and easy to understand. The time is now to know your fitness level and to know where you want it to go to. You can get there with the FitBit Blaze.
Verizon Wireless provided me with the FITBIT Blaze to sample for six weeks, after which time I returned it back to Verizon. I received no monetary compensation to write this review. All opinions are my own.
For my wife and I, our favorite way to travel is in our Jeep Wrangler. We have been blessed and fortunate to be able to travel to some amazing places over the last seventeen years. From the Biltmore Mansion to Monument Valley; from Chicago to Memphis, we have experienced wonderful museums, historic sites, national parks, restaurants and places to stay. We have walked through the urban mountains of the big cities. We have driven through and to the top of the real mountains. We have stood on the top of bridges, looking down at the people and the water. We hiked in the desert heat to see the Earth’s beauty.
And We Are Home! Returning from a road trip to Utah
In a new series on our blog, we will share with you our experiences from the road. It may be a memorable stay at a bed and breakfast or reliving a special moment together. It may be providing must-see sites in the cities that we have traveled to. It may providing tips and tricks that we have learned that will make your own road trip a better experience for you and your family. It may be destinations and sites that is on our wish list of places to go.
Just hop in the Jeep, sit back and enjoy the ride with us.