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From Paris to Austin with Tony Shalhoub

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It was a trip gone awry that brought Tony Shalhoub his first Tony Award last season, for best performance by a leading actor in a musical. In The Band’s Visit, Shalhoub played the leader of an Arab military band that inadvertently ends up stranded in a small, isolated Israeli town and not the more cultured city it was supposed to travel to for a concert performance. (The fact that one was named Petah Tikva and the other Bet Hatikva — “with a B” — might explain the confusion.)

More recently, Shalhoub, a three-time Emmy winner for USA Network’s detective procedural series Monk (2002-09), and a nominee this year for his work on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, was in Paris, where some of the scenes for Season 2 of that Amazon series were filmed. (That second season just began streaming.)

When he travels — whether for work or on vacation — Shalhoub says he wants to immerse himself in the experience, whether it is exploring art in Venice, ruins in Lebanon or glaciers in Iceland. “When I take a break I’m looking for a little bit of everything,” Shalhoub said. “Everything except crowds.”
When he travels — whether for work or on vacation — Shalhoub says he wants to immerse himself in the experience, whether it is exploring art in Venice, ruins in Lebanon or glaciers in Iceland. “When I take a break I’m looking for a little bit of everything,” Shalhoub said. “Everything except crowds.”  (TONY CENICOLA / The New York Times)

When he travels — whether for work or on vacation with his wife, actress Brooke Adams — Shalhoub says he wants to immerse himself in the experience, whether it is exploring art in Venice, ruins in Lebanon or glaciers in Iceland. Which isn’t to say that he isn’t content to just unwind. “I’m always happy if there’s a gorgeous beach involved,” he says. “I have to say, the most extraordinary ones were in Tahiti. The colour of the water, the feel of the water, the temperature of the water — it was so unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.”

In a recent email exchange and a followup conversation, Shalhoub revealed some of his most memorable trips, his soft spot for Texas-style ribs, and why he’s over hotels.

Question: When you travel, are you looking for adventure, relaxation, culture — all three?

Answer: When I take a break, I’m looking for a little bit of everything. Everything except crowds. And great food! Oh, and museums reflecting the local culture. Recently, when we were in Lebanon we went to Baalbek, where there are Roman ruins. A guide told us that a Roman temple was built on top of a Greek temple — the Greeks had been there before the Romans — and before that the Greeks built on top of a Phoenician temple. This notion of all of this labour and all of this time and all of this artistry crammed into one place, it was extraordinary.

Do you sleep on the plane? Read? Watch movies?

Typically, I sleep on short flights. Often I’m “out” before takeoff. On longer flights, I like to read a lot, do the crossword, watch films, play video poker or backgammon. And sleep (but only before takeoff).

Are there certain things you always take with you?

I always wear slip-ons. Uggs. Never shoes with laces! And I try to remember to bring along some Airborne or Emergen-C. And toothpicks. And earplugs. And a sleep mask. And a book or script. And good headphones. And a pen for crossword puzzles. Oh, and my wife.

Checked luggage or carry-on?

Carry-on. But only if it’s a direct flight.

What have been your favourite trips?

Well, Scotland is remarkable. Edinburgh, the Highlands, the Isle of Skye. Breathtaking. And, of course, hearing that fabulous Scottish brogue everywhere: lovely! Most recently we visited Lebanon — where my father was from — and it was unlike anything I’ve ever seen. (I want to go back for a much longer stay.) Just before that I was filming in Paris, to me the greatest city on Earth. Nothing that’s been said or written or painted or documented or sung about Paris can ever truly do it justice. When I’m there I feel like I’m walking around inside a beautiful painting.

Favourite hotel?

Lately, we opt for Airbnb-style apartments, rather than hotels, whenever possible. We were in Venice five years ago, during the Biennale, and the available hotels weren’t what we were looking for. And so we found a site, Views on Venice; they had extraordinary apartments right in the area we wanted to be. We found we had extra room, we had a kitchen, we had privacy. When we were shooting in Paris for “Maisel,” we were offered a hotel but we found an apartment in the Marais district. And it was just heavenly. Guests came from the States and stayed with us; we had three bedrooms. Way more space and convenience than we could get in a hotel.

When you were shooting The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel in Paris, did you have a favourite local restaurant?

We went to a place not far from where we were staying called the St. Regis Cafe, a breakfast and lunch place: perfection.

Where do you want to go that you haven’t gone yet?

Cuba. I’ve always been curious about it. And I love the idea that it might just be a bit like travelling back in time.

Have any places really surprised you?

As a family, we found Iceland totally surprising. The scenery and topography changes radically every time you turn a corner. We did a five-day trek on horseback.

Is there somewhere you went, for work, that you found unexpectedly interesting?

A number of years ago I had the chance to film in Austin, Texas. And I discovered that it’s definitely a place I could happily spend the rest of my life. The music! The young people! The ribs! There’s a lot to love.

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Travel & Escape

Why your hotel mattress feels like heaven (and how to bring that feeling home)

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(NC) Choosing the right mattress is a long-term investment in your health and well-being. To make a good choice for your home, take a cue from luxury hotel-room beds, which are designed to support the sound sleep of tens of thousands of guests, 365 nights a year.

“When we’re shopping for a mattress, we do lab testing, identify the best materials, bring in multiple mattress samples and have our associates test them,” explains David Rizzo, who works for Marriott International. “We ask for ratings on comfort level, firmness, body support and movement disruption. It takes 12 to 18 months just to research and select materials.”

Here, he shares his tips to pick the perfect mattress for your best sleep:

Understand your needs. People have different food and exercise preferences, as well as different sleep cycles. So, it’s no surprise that everyone has unique mattress preferences. Not sure whether a firm or a soft mattress is better? Rizzo says the best gauge is to ask yourself, “Do I wake up with aches and pains?” If the answer is no, you’re golden.

Foam versus spring. All mattresses have a core that is made up foam or innersprings or a combination of the two. Today’s foam-core mattresses contain memory foam — a material engineered by NASA to keep astronauts comfortable in their seats. It’s special because it retains or “remembers” its shape, yielding to pressure from the sleeper’s body, then bouncing back once the pressure is removed.

An innerspring mattress has an encased array of springs with individual coils that are connected by a single helical wire. This wire creates continuous movement across the coil that minimizes disruption if the mattress is disturbed, such as by a restless sleeper. According to Rizzo, the innerspring is “bouncier.”

Temperature preference. Consider how warm or cool you like to sleep, and factor in the construction of the mattress to find one with a temperature that suits you. The air space engineered into an innerspring mattress promotes ventilation, which some people find keeps them pleasantly cool. To accomplish the same purpose with a foam mattress (or the foam layer of an innerspring) it may be infused with metal, usually silver or copper, to help dissipate heat and humidity.

Need to test out the right mattress for your needs? Find the right fit during your next trip by booking your stay at marriott.com.

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Travel & Escape

How to make the most of summer travel

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(NC) One of the best parts of our short Canadian summers is the opportunity to enjoy them a little bit extra on long weekends. If you need ideas, check out these creative things to do whether you decide to stay in town or go away.

Do a dinner crawl. Pub crawls are fun for couples, friends and also families with older kids. For an exciting twist that stretches your dollars and lets you taste food from several spots before you get too full, try a dinner crawl. Eat apps at one restaurant, mains at another and dessert at another.

Go on a mini getaway. You don’t need to go very far to enjoy a vacation – exploring a Canadian city over a summer weekend is great way to treat yourself to a holiday. Whether it’s checking out the museums in Toronto or the parks in Vancouver, there’s something for everyone. For upgraded benefits, special experiences and the best rates guaranteed, join Marriott Bonvoy and book direct on Marriott.com.

Host a potluck. Perfect whether you’re staying at home or going to your cottage, gather friends and family together for some food and fun. A potluck is an easy and affordable way to host a big get-together and lets everyone try something new and swap recipes. Make the festivities extra special with a fireworks potluck, too – ask everyone to bring some fireworks or sparklers and put on a light show. Just be sure to follow local regulations for consumer fireworks.

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Lottoland: Here’s why Canadians love it!

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Lotteries have been in existence for many centuries now and it’s an open secret that most people enjoy playing a good lottery.

Asides from gauging your own luck, the thrill of playing, the anticipation of the results and the big wins every now and then is something most people look forward to. Since 1982, the lottery has been in Canada, but now there is a way to play both the Lotto and other international lotteries from Canada, all from the comfort of your home.

With Lottoland, all you need to do is register and get access to numerous international lotteries right from their website. The easy-to-use interface has all the information you need, and great amount of care has been taken to ensure that the online experience is similar—and even better—than if players were to visit each location personally.

The Powerball and Mega Millions lotteries are hitting record highs with their prize money, in what the organizers claim to be the largest jackpot in the history of the world. However, the U.S. has gambling laws that are state controlled and buying your ticket through an online broker can be considered gambling.

“No one except the lottery or their licensed retailers can sell a lottery ticket. No one. Not even us. No one. No, not even that website. Or that one,” Powerball’s website says.

Therefore, to stand a chance to win the $1.5 billion-dollar lottery jackpot it means you have to purchase your lottery tickets directly from a licensed retailer such as Lottoland.

Since 2013, Lottoland has been operating in Canada, rapidly growing in popularity amongst Canadians. Due to its easy of use and instant access to lotteries that were previously considered inaccessible—as Canadians had to travel all the way to the U.S. to purchase tickets in the past—Lottoland has attracted lots of visitors.

Currently, there about 8-million players on Lottoland, a figure that points to the reliability of the website.

One of the core values of Lottoland is transparency and that’s why a quick search on the website would show you a list of all of their winners. Recently, a Lottoland customer was awarded a world-record fee of $137 million CND.

Also, due to the incredibly slim chances of winning the grand prize not everyone would take home mega-dollar winnings, but there are substantial winnings every day.

Securing your information online is usually one important factor when registering on any platform and as the site explains, “Lottoland works very hard to verify your information.”

The site has a multi-verification process that will ensure that you confirm your identity and age before giving you a pay-out. However, in the rare case that a player has immediate luck and wins a lottery before completing the verification process, Lottoland will hold on to the winnings until they complete your verification.

While this might seem like a tedious process, it is very important as these safety features would ensure that your information wasn’t stolen and ultimately your winning routed to another account.

Lottoland is licensed with the National Supervisory Bodies For Lotteries in several countries such as the United Kingdom, Italy, Sweden, Ireland and Australia—where it is called a wagering license. Typically, most gaming companies don’t establish insurance companies as it entails that their activities have to be transparent and the must be highly reputable in the industry.

Nonetheless, Lottoland has no issues meeting up to these standards as they have established themselves as the only gaming sector company who has its own insurance company—an added advantage for new and existing users.

Lotteries aren’t the only games Canadians enjoy playing and Lottoland recognizes this by providing players with other types of gaming. As an industry leader, video designers of online games often make them their first choice when it comes to publishing their works.

Online games such as slots, blackjack, video poker, baccarat, keno, scratchoffs, roulette and many others are always on offer at the Lottoland Casino. There’s also the option of playing with a live dealer and a total of over 100 games.

Lottoland has received numerous rave reviews from its growing list of satisfied customer and their responsive customer service agents are always available to answer any questions users may have, along with solving challenges they may have encountered.

More and more Canadians are trooping to Lottoland in droves due to the unique experience of going to a casino without having to leave the comfort of their homes.

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