Archives for 2013

‘Yes’ to the dress: Wedding gown shoppers flock to NYC

Brides line up at Kleinfeld, NY, for a wedding gown sample sale

by Candyce Stapen, USA TODAY 4:03 pm EDT October 2, 2013 The saleswoman at Kleinfeld, New York’s bridal gown emporium, offers sage advice. “A dress is not like a man,” Renee Pinto cautions. “A man, well, you can get used to him. He grows on you. But a wedding dress– you have to love it […]

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Which Cities rate as most and least honest?


by Candyce Stapen, USA TODAY 10:25 EDT September 26,2013 What would you do if you found a wallet containing $50 (or the equivalent), a cell phone number, a business card and a family photo? That’s precisely what Reader’s Digest aimed to find out by dropping 12 such lures on sidewalks and in parks in 16 major […]

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Will the terrorist attack affect tourism to Kenya?

The Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya was attacked by terrorists 9/24/2013

by Candyce Stapen, USA TODAY 5:21 pm EDT September 24, 2013 How the recent terrorist attack in a Nairobi mall that left at least 66 dead will impact tourism is a major concern in Kenya where tourism accounts for one in 10 jobs, 20% of exports and 12.5% of GDP. Speaking today at the Africa […]

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Orlando for Halloween: Frightful or delightful

The Walking Dead haunted house at Universal Orlando

by Candyce Stapen, USA TODAY, 3:03 pm EDT September 23,2013 The scariest part of Halloween for parents may be what to do with the kids. Little ones clamor for costumes and candy, but often meltdown way before evening’s end. Teens crave prowling, but the sight of your masked 16-year-old and his buddies banging on strangers’ […]

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Bucket List Bars: Places to drink at before you die

Discover 40 of America's iconic bars in 12 cities

by Candyce Stapen, USA TODAY, 11:52 am EDT September 17,2013 Bucket List Bars: Historic Saloons, Pubs and Dives of America, a new entry in the popular must-do-before-death genre, aims to reveal a city’s character, including its past, by pointing thirsty travelers—business or leisure– to 40 “authentic” drinking places in 12 cities– New York, Philadelphia, Boston, […]

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Fall Thrill Seekers

See fall colors soaring above Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains

Facebook envy ups the ante for fall thrill seekers by Candyce Stapen, USA TODAY, 9:19 pm EDT September 12, 2013 Although a quiet walk through dappled woods on a crisp fall day is nice, a forest stroll lacks the excitement to spark a series of “wows” from one’s social media friends and followers. But taking […]

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10Best Readers’ Choice awards

Winners: Chosen by readers of USA Today and 10Best I served as an expert for 10Best Readers’ Choice awards, nominating best waterparks, best destinations for teens, and best pet-friendly hotels. 10 Best Waterparks 10 Best Destination for Teens 10 Best Pet Friendly Hotels  

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Guilt trip: Pet travel can be stressful for people, too

by Candyce Stapen, USA TODAY Ever smuggle your dog or cat into your hotel? If so, you’re one of the pack. According to the first State of U.S. Pet Travel study conducted by, a home dog boarding registry, 15% of pet owners confess to sneaking their furry pals into no-four-paws allowed guest rooms, or […]

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Virginia’s Mountain Magic: Music, Crafts, Lodging

The Crooked Road

by Candyce Stapen, In Virginia’s southwest and its Blue Ridge Highlands, toe-tapping fiddle and banjo tunes as well as blends of folk and popular music ring out against the mountains. Along the region’s back roads and main streets, discover the other kind of mountain magic: handmade quilts and pottery plus contemporary glass, fiber and […]

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Kiteboarding, Puerto Rico

Kiteboarding, Puerto Rico

by Candyce Stapen, Kiteboarding: can a middle-aged woman of average athletic ability and no previous experience snowboarding or surfing fly through the waves on a kiteboard?  Absolutely. I discover this in San Juan on Puerto Rico’s Isla Verde Beach during a  two-hour lesson with 15 Knots. Forget-about requiring bulging muscles. “That’s one of the […]

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