Ring in the New Year in Rio!

by Nancy Mueller
( December 18th, 2014 )

flickr - Leandro Neumann Ciuffo

(photo courtesy of flickr – Leandro Neumann Ciuffo, Rèveillon 2013 – Copacabana – Rio de Janeiro)

So, how do the Cariocas (as Rio’s fun-loving city inhabitants call themselves) ring in the New Year in Rio? Let’s take a look . . .


As with many cultures, the start of the New Year in Brazil represents a time of renewal, a fresh start and hope for the future. In Rio, the biggest celebration takes place on Copacabana Beach where millions of partygoers flock to the shore to watch the midnight fireworks display set from ocean barges. Meanwhile a steady samba beat fills the sultry summer evening air.

Cultural Traditions

New Year’s in Rio honors the city’s rich cultural heritage. For starters, revelers wear all white clothing to symbolize a cleansing of the past and a welcoming nod to the New Year. But to attract a certain kind of luck, many add accent colors, too, each with its own symbolism: red, to attract love and romance; green, for good health; and yellow for prosperity.

Another popular New Year’s tradition comes from Candomblé, Rio’s Afro-Brazilian religion. In this ritual, celebrants cast white flowers, floating candles and toy wooden boats with small gifts into the ocean as offerings to Yemanja, Queen of the Seas. Believers say that if your tokens return to you, your wishes will not be granted, though nothing prevents you from trying again.

Just after midnight, merrymakers jump into the ocean to skip over seven different waves, making seven different wishes to Yemanja for the New Year. But legend says that if you turn your back while going back to shore, your wishes will not come true.


Naturally, Rio’s New Year festivities include favorite Brazilian foods for good luck, like lentils, pork and fish accompanied by the pop of champagne to bring in the New Year. And where does chocolate fit in, I wonder . . . ?

flickr - Leandro Neumann Ciuffo

(photo courtesy of flickr – Leandro Neumann Ciuffo, Rèveillon 2013 – Rio de Janeiro)

Feliz Ano Novo, wanderboomers!

Wander on!


Have you ever celebrated New Year’s in Rio, wanderboomers? Where’s your favorite place to ring in the New Year?










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5 Fun Boomer Women Winter Travels

by Nancy Mueller
( November 30th, 2014 )

Women Winter Travels

We boomer women love to travel whatever the season, don’t we? And when we do, experiential travel ranks high on our list. Adventure travel has its place. But you don’t need to heli-ski down mountain slopes or sign up for the Iditarod to engage with the local culture – unless you want to, of course.

Here are 5 fun boomer women winter travel experiences to help you make the most of the season, whether traveling solo or with loved ones:

1) Stay cool at Quebec City’s Ice Hotel.

Ice Hotel Quebec City

Enjoy magnificent snow sculpture displays set within the incandescent beauty of a winter wonderland. Sure, you can simply stop by the hotel bar or take a guided tour of the site. But for an unforgettable experience, stretch your comfort zone with an overnight stay. Soak in the outdoor hot tub under a canopy of stars, then spring for a themed suite of myths and legends from around the world. While your bedding rests on a block of ice, you’ll keep plenty warm inside the sleeping bag and liner provided by the hotel.

2) Get out and play at Quebec City’s Winter Carnival.

Quebec Winter Carnival

After your stay at the Ice Hotel, head into Quebec City where you can celebrate winter with sleigh or dog-sled rides, snow tubing, snow shoeing or ice-skating among the Quebecois. For the real party hardy, try the ice slides or a snow bath in your bathing suit. Three dips in the snow does it for bragging rights to friends. Naturally you’ll want to check out the local food scene while strolling through Old Quebec. Add a guided walking tour to take in the city’s architecture, history and culture, including stops at the Citadel and newly renovated Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac.

3) Follow the Okanagan, BC Wine Trail.

Sumac Ridge Okanagan, BC

Why not plan a winter wine festival getaway where you can wander through an alpine village for a progressive wine tasting after a day of skiing? Or settle in with a glass of mulled wine after your moonlight snowshoe tour? Discover which wines pair best with the season’s ultimate comfort food, like grilled cheese sandwiches and chocolate. British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley hosts three seasonal wine festivals – Winter, Spring and Fall – each with its own signature events.

4) Go chase the Northern Lights.

Northern Lights

Photo courtesy of Beverly & Pack, flickr

For one of nature’s most magical aerial displays, the Aurora Borealis (commonly known as the Northern Lights) paints a spellbinding scene. Imagine shimmering skies brushed in palettes of pale yellows and florescent greens with shades of blue, red and violet. For best viewing, head to remote regions away from city lights, like Fairbanks, Alaska, Northern Canada, Iceland, Norway, Finland and Sweden. There’s no guarantee you’ll catch the ephemeral lights show, but you increase the odds when you book a visit December through March.

5) Cruise the Galapagos Islands.

Blue-footed Booby Galapagos

If your idea of winter fun doesn’t include snow, cold or ice, consider a cruise to the Galapagos, one of the few remaining sites on planet Earth where it’s possible to not only observe, but to walk among wildlife in their natural habitats, both on land and sea. Remote. Pristine. Other-worldly. While there’s no better or worse time to visit the island chain off the coast of mainland Ecuador, water visibility is at its peak December – March. Snorkel with hammerhead sharks and sea lions, go whale watching for humpbacks, or marvel at the wonder of blue-footed boobies and marine iguana on shore.

For more information:

Quebec Winter Carnival

Ice Hotel

Okanagan Winter Wine Festival

Northern Lights Packages

Galapagos Tours

Wander on!


Thanks to Tourisme Quebec, Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association and Quaser Expeditions for hosting.

What’s your favorite winter getaway, wanderboomers? Where are you head this winter?





Oprah Dazzles in Seattle: Life You Want Weekend Tour

by Nancy Mueller
( November 14th, 2014 )

PicMonkey CollageShe came. She spoke. She dazzled.

Oprah stopped by Seattle last weekend, nearing the final leg of her “Life You Want Weekend Tour.” Her message?

“I want us all to fulfill our greatest potential. To find our calling, and summon the courage to live it.”

Oprah's Life You Want Weekend Tour in Seattle

After a previous day of torrential rain, the Friday kick-off began on a promising note: abundant Seattle sunshine with clear, blue skies, the perfect weather to accompany my tour of O Town, a “pop-up town square” on the lawn of Seattle Center, leading up to the evening’s main event.

O Town

I intended to check it out, then head back home before returning for Oprah’s evening presentation. But I ended up staying the entire day. With such a fun, festive, infectious energy surrounding the event, how could I leave just when the party was getting started – especially knowing I couldn’t make it on the second day?

First stop: a photo-op with Oprah’s life-size image.

Nancy Mueller and Oprah

Next up, the pampering tent because we wanderboomers can never have too much pampering, can we?

PicMonkey Collage

Then off to another tent to visit with a couple of Oprah’s favorite friends, like Gayle King.

Gayle King and Oprah

From the outdoor stage I picked up a few fashion tips from O Magazine’s Creative Director, Adam Glassman, e.g ways to tie a scarf, what’s trending (“Fanny packs are in, but personally I wouldn’t do it.”), what’s classic (turtlenecks) and here to stay (skinny jeans) if you can wear them.

Nancy Mueller and Adam Glassman

Once we entered Key Arena for Oprah’s evening presentation, the music playlist had us all dancing our way to our seats where we each found a gift, courtesy of Starbucks.

PicMonkey Collage


Starbucks O Quote

All of this before we even had a LIVE Oprah sighting.

Then the O moment had arrived, starting with the sound of Oprah’s voice rising in volume and energy from off stage, climaxing with her grand entrance. She brought down the house. In a mesmerizing performance sprinkled with personal anecdotes and humor over the next two hours, Oprah shared her inspirational message with the moms, daughters, aunts and sisters (along with a few brothers) who had come out to greet her. Here’s a sampling of what I heard:

You are here to honor your calling.

I am where I am because I listened to my spirit.

Your legacy is every life you’ve ever touched.

No matter what you’ve been through, if you are here, it means you have a second chance.

Invictus – “I am the Master of my Fate. I am the Captain of my Soul.”

I learned that I could be a better Oprah than I could a pretend Barbara Walters.

I move on when I’m done growing.

We know we are all equal in spirit – but our hair? No.

When you feel not at ease, it’s life trying to move you in a new direction.

Everybody has a thread that has led you to the space that you now hold in your life.

Anything that you have, you are supposed to share it in service. Your life is validated in your service to others.

We are all asking, “Am I okay?” We are all looking for validation. We want to know that we matter.

We are all co-creating our lives.

Third Law of Motion in physics: for every action there is a reaction. It doesn’t matter if you believe it or not.

You co-create your life with the energy of your Intention. Your Intention rules your life always.

All this time I didn’t say no because I didn’t want people to think I wasn’t nice.

You are responsible for your Intentions.

Your thoughts become what you believe.

Be responsible for the energy you bring into a room – Jill Bolte Taylor

You have power in your energy field. Stop meddling in other people’s energy fields.

To have the life you want, you have to choose love.

You must choose the way you think about your life.

Go Boldly

Thanks for stopping by Seattle, Oprah! Same time next year?

Wander on!


*If you liked this, be sure to check out my previous post on Oprah.

How does Oprah inspire you, wanderboomers? Please share with us here.

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