Natural grooming products for dogs useful on a trip

Article and photo* by Chester Godsy


We used Sexy Beast on Wager, our model dog

During a recent trip with our dogs we tried Sexy Beast, a new hypo-allergenic and vegan product grooming line for dogs made by Project Rover, LLC. Sexy Beast is a three step refresher process, Fresh, Powder, and Gloss, to condition dog coats. While Fresh is described as a gentle cleanser and deodorizer, Powder promises to add body, fluff and shimmer to a dog’s coat, and Gloss is described as a laminating mist “to restore luster and shine.” A travel set in due to be released soon.

We tried Sexy Beast on our three dogs and a friend’s two dogs that traveled with us. We keep our dogs fairly clean; we bathe them frequently and they live in our house. We use a variety of products to keep our dogs clean and keep their coats healthy. I must admit that I was a bit skeptical of this product. However, I found that the dogs did not mind having these products on their coats. Often dogs will react poorly to perfumes on their coats. After shampoos and product application dogs will usually go outside and roll around.

sbtrsexybeast.jpg sbtrsexybeastfresh.jpg

Sexy Beast Gloss and Fresh

This was not the case with these products; they reacted well to the Sexy Beast line. At the same time, people liked the fragrances. A little bit of the Sexy Beast product goes a long way in terms of fragrance. There is no substitute for keeping a dog clean. Although Sexy Beast was pleasant for dogs and their human friends, the products won’t cover up an already stinky dog. 

We used Sexy Beast products on our dogs just before we traveled so that they would smell better to the people we encountered along the way. We also traveled with two other dogs owned by friends. One of these two dogs had a reputation for smelling poorly. After we treated the smelly pooch with Sexy Beast products things improved for us humans. One thing I liked about the products was that the were made with natural ingredients.

Based on my experience with Sexy Beast , I recommend it to my friends who want to improve the scent of their dogs and keep their coat clean and shiny between shampoos. The line is available on the company website and at luxury pet stores.

*Product photos courtesy of Sexy Beast

Bonaire, a diver’s paradise


The dock at Buddy Dive in Bonaire

Diving options and destinations abound across the globe. Warm water diving destinations are fewer but there are still many to choose from. Having sampled a few we favor Bonaire for several reasons: the island itself holds a charming appeal, friendly locals, lots of shore dive spots, numerous dive operators to choose from and nearby dive locations within a 15 to 30 minute boat ride. Other advantages include a southern Caribbean location away from the hurricane belt, an arid climate with limited rainfall, an on island recompression chamber in case of an accident, as well as protected and pristine tropical waters to showcase the best of the island’s underwater world.

Although the visibility was not 100 feet, as we read in many promotional websites and brochures before visiting the island, the water was clean and with minimum signs of human visitors. One of the reasons for the excellent condition of the marine environment is that all the area surrounding the island up to a depth of 200 feet has been a protected marine park for 25 years.

Locals care for their marine park and instruct visiting divers about the importance of protecting the environment. For example, first time visitors and those who have not been on the island in a year or longer are required to have an orientation with a local diver and pay for a marine park tag. We also noticed the dive staff we went out with were always protective of the coral reef and sea life when diving and reminded everyone on the dive boats to do the same.

For dive courses, relaxed diving, small groups, personalized attention, and resort shore diving we loved Great Adventures Dive & Water Sports Bonaire at Harbour Beach Village Club. On our last visit, we enjoyed many a shore dive including a brief sunset dive just off the beach. There were plenty of opportunities where we were one of a handful of guests on the dive boat. Several times we were the only two divers to go out. We enjoyed those especially because it was like chartering a private dive. Staff members were experienced and knew the area and dive sites well. They were helpful and friendly.

We also liked Buddy Dive at the Buddy Dive Resort. There was a constant buzz of activity, a healthy selection of dive options, courses and packages, and a well stocked dive shop. They catered to guests staying onsite, luxury property renters who only needed tank replacements and off site guests like us who needed an island orientation, were taking a course or fine tuning their diving skills. In spite of the many guests and staff, one of the characteristics we enjoyed most at Buddy Dive was the personal touch and service oriented staff.

Basilica, new book about the building of St. Peter’s, a fun read for history buffs


Basilica: The Splendor and The Scandal: Building St. Peter’s

History buffs and Rome enthusiasts may find it interesting to know that Pope Julius II caused a scandal when he ordered the construction of St. Peter’s, the symbol of one of the most revered religious centers of that time. It may also surprise some to discover that the pope rejected Michelangelo, one of the world’s most famous sculpturers and an artist of renown in his own time; and later after the artist’s departure wanted to lure him back to Rome.

The author’s fluid writing style and ability to condense hundreds of years of political rivalry and architectural and building activity of the construction of one of the world’s most famous architectural marvels, make Basilica: The Splendor and The Scandal: Building St. Peter’s an entertaining and instructive read.

A religious magnet for millions of faithful, friends and enemies, the curious and the profane, St. Peter’s history is closely entwined with the history of Rome. The book is written for fans of Rome and the Vatican, whether faith or art driven. Author R.A Scotti distills centuries of history, intrigue, and religious and pagan lore, painting a picture that, though wracked with human failings, inspires.


Author R.A Scotti

By the 15th century Rome had become a broken down medieval town. The efforts of the Vatican’s most flamboyant popes and some of history’s most gifted artists and the creation of the new basilica, made Rome one of the centers of the world once again.

The Basilica took 200 years to complete, outlasted 27 popes, and sparked the Protestant Reformation. Over the centuries of its construction, Guttenberg invented the printing press, Columbus stumbled on a new continent, Magellan sailed around the world, Henry VIII married six times, Shakespeare wrote all his plays, and the Mayflower landed at Plymouth Rock.

Through Scotti’s eye the reader can see the failings and successes, the political intrigues, financial, architectural challenges and countless other obstacles the project supporters faced. In the end, it’s a tale about larger than life figures committed to making the basilica a reality.

Scotti, the author of two previous works of nonfiction, including Sudden Sea: The Great Hurricane of 1938 and four novels, lives in New York City.


Click here to purchase Basilica: The Splendor and The Scandal: Building St. Peter’s

Botswana is a hot destination for exclusive safari tourism

By Elena del Valle 

An elephant at the Chobe Safari Lodge

An elephant at the Chobe Safari Lodge
Visitors to Botswana are almost guaranteed an elephant sighting 

For those thinking of going on safari in a remote area, this might be a good time to visit or revisit Botswana. The small and sparsely populated country is best known as the largest producer of gem quality diamonds in the world. The landlocked country, home to exclusive and remote safari camps and one of the largest herds of free roaming elephants in Africa, is making travel and tourism a priority.

Thanks in part to its mining wealth, this southern Africa country took the time and effort to develop its travel and tourism industry by planning ahead and focusing on luxury. Setting aside a large portion of its land for game viewing, the Botswana government issued concessions to private companies to establish temporary luxury oriented camps with minimum impact on the environment.

Although foreign companies and workers were allowed in initially, the government places strong emphasis on recruiting and training locals. The goal is for the luxury game viewing concessions to eventually be managed by Botswana natives. As part of the process, thousands of families were relocated from their ancestral homelands to make way for the game viewing reserves. At the same time, promising youth who grew up in farming and fishing families, were hired and placed on the fast track to training and promotion opportunities. This formula, though at times bumpy, seems to be paying off for Botswana.

The future of tourist travel in Botswana is bright according to the Tourism Satellite Accounting (TSA) report produced by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and commissioned by the Government of Botswana and the Botswana Tourism Board. The report estimates the travel and tourism industry in Botswana will generate $1.6 billion in economic activity.

Over the next ten years Botswana’s travel and tourism industry is expected to achieve an annualized real growth of 5 percent, exceeding the world average at 4.3 per cent and the Sub-Saharan African average at 4.5 percent. According to the forecasts detailed in the report, travel and tourism already contributes over 10 percent of total employment and 16 percent of the non-mining gross domestic product of the country.

World Travel & Tourism Council report on Botswana

World Travel & Tourism Council report on Botswana

“Although this growth is positive and the country is one of the Africa’s most exciting travel destinations, it remains relatively unknown and is heavily dependent on intraregional tourists. Indeed, as far as long-haul markets are concerned, it is probably Africa’s best-kept secret,” said Jean-Claude Baumgarten, World Travel & Tourism Council. ”However these forecasts show that, with the right policy framework, Botswana has the potential not only to expand rapidly but also to significantly broaden its tourism product base, appealing to much a wider range of tourist tastes and budgets.”

Baumgarten believes the Botswana government has set many examples on how to run a country’s travel and tourism industry and preserve its environment, culture and heritage. Onkokame Kitso Mokaila, Botswana’s Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism indicated that travel and tourism will be a priority for the country’s economy, which can no longer depend on its mining industry.

“This report comes at a crucial point for Botswana and will help the government to reach the highest level of potential that can be realized,” said Kitso Mokaila. “Travel and tourism will contribute enormously to the country’s economy and we are committed to running a conscious campaign to publicize the strategic role and benefits of tourism in order to stimulate a more positive perception to the wider public.”

The World Travel & Tourism Council is the forum for the chairs and chief executives of 100 prominent travel and tourism companies. The Council works with industry and governments to raise awareness of the strategic importance of travel and tourism, one of the world’s largest industries employing more than 230 million people and generating over 10 per cent of world GDP.

To find out about our travel teams experiences in Botswana click on the hyperlinks Botswana, Camp Okavango, Chobe Safari Lodge, Deception Valley LodgeKings Pool Camp, Kwara Camp, Kwetsani Camp, Lebala Camp, Nxai Pan Reserve/John Chase Safari, Savute Safari Lodge, and Xigera Camp

Crown Court 44A – Sajo’s Reef


Crown Court 44A – Sajo’s Reef waterfront view

When our travel team members visited Bonaire earlier this year they stayed at Crown Court 44A – Sajo’s Reef, a waterfront luxury rental villa, for a week. Read all about their visit, in the articles we published on the island including Crown Court 44A (see below for more on the villa); Harbour Beach Village Club, the island’s premier resort; and a couple of the top dive operators, Great Adventures Dive & Water Sports Bonaire at Harbour Beach Village Club and Buddy Dive at the Buddy Dive Resort.

Crown Court 44A – Sajo’s Reef

We were delighted to discover the southern Caribbean island of Bonaire offered many accommodation options, including luxury rental villas. After a few email exchanges with Sunrentals, one of the largest rental agencies on the island, we were rewarded with last minute space in Crown Court 44A, one of their most popular rental homes and one of very few waterfront homes with WiFi. The roomy three bedroom waterfront $2 million villa was in Bonaire’s most luxurious residential neighborhood.

Click here to read more about Crown Court 44A Sajo’s Reef