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JetBlue Is Giving Away 1000 Free Flights To People Who Owe Taxes

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JetBlue Tax Return Return Flight giveaway

Have you heard? JetBlue wants to ease the burden on those people who owe money to the IRS this year by giving away free flights in their Tax Return Return Flight giveaway!

JetBlue knows that many people spend their tax return refunds on vacations, and they don’t want you to forgo some much needed R&R just because your bank account is feeling the crunch after writing that big check to Uncle Sam. So they’re giving away 1,000 one-way flights.

And unlike those complicated tax forms, it’s dead easy to enter. Simply submit your name, email address and birthdate at jetbluetaxreturnflight.com, confirm that you owed taxes (no proof necessary), and hit Submit. The deadline to enter is April 25, 2017, and winners will be notified via email.

Each of the winners will receive a travel certificate good for a one-way economy flight for travel within the 48 contiguous states and Alaska, and you can redeem it between May 1 and June 15, 2017.

Good luck!

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Cruises

Who’s Ready To Set Sail On The Largest Cruise Ship In The World?

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Symphony Of The Seas

Back in October, we told you about Symphony of the Seas, Royal Caribbean’s newest ship that would hold the distinction as the largest cruise ship in the world.

Now, after three years of construction, Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas was recently delivered, and it couldn’t be any more enormous, standing 18-decks-high and weighing in at 228,081 tons. It’s the ultimate over-the-top cruise experience.

Royal Caribbean - Symphony of the Seas

“It is a proud and exhilarating moment to welcome a new member to the family. Symphony will take family vacationing to an all new level with energy and options never before found in one place,” Royal Caribbean president and CEO Michael Bayley said during the ship’s delivery ceremony in France.

Symphony of the Seas is part of Royal Caribbean’s Oasis Class of vessels, which are more than 30% larger than the next largest cruise ships under them. Symphony is about 1,188 feet long and has 2,774 cabins. It will hold 6,680 passengers. It’s basically the Titanic of today. I’m talking size, not tragedy here. The Titanic would be envious of this ship.

Royal Caribbean - Symphony of the Seas

Passengers on the Symphony can look forward to things like laser tag, a new seafood concept, a live performance of the Broadway show Hairspray, a 10-story waterslide that spirals down the rear of the ship, numerous pools, lounges, bars, restaurants and much more. There’s also an ice-skating rink, two rock climbing walls, a basketball court, and seven “neighborhoods” with shops, bars (one with robot bartenders), and more.

If that’s not enough, there’s also the Ultimate Family Suite, which RC is billing as “the most spectacular family suite on land or sea.” This two-story family suite is a massive 1,346 square feet, and it’s chock full of family-friendly features, including a slide connecting the children’s room on the second level to the main living area below. Now that’s freaking cool.

Royal Caribbean - Symphony of the Seas

As you can see, there’s something for everyone on Symphony, and you’ll likely need all week just to explore every nook and cranny of this mega ship.

The Symphony of the Seas began its first real voyage with passengers on March 31, sailing the Mediterranean before heading to Miami. I don’t know about you, but I think I know where I’m going on my next vacation. Who’s with me?

Photo credit: SBW-Photo

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Drinks

If You’re A Fan Of Jack Daniel’s, You’ve Got To Make The Pilgrimage To Lynchburg

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Jack Daniel's Distillery

Earlier this month, the folks at Jack Daniel’s flew us down to Lynchburg, Tennessee to visit the iconic Jack Daniel’s Distillery, where the world-famous Old No. 7 has been produced for over 150 years, to learn firsthand about how their Tennessee Whiskey is made.

As someone who’s been drinking Jack Daniel’s for the greater part of 20 years, I was excited to learn more about the brand’s history of making whiskey, and the man behind it.

Our journey began in Nashville, about an hour and a half north of Lynchburg. During our ride to the distillery, our guide gave us some history about Jasper Newton Daniel (Jack), and the interesting road that led him to start Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey.

Jack Daniel's Distillery

Born in 1849, Jack Daniel was the youngest of 10 children, with his mother dying shortly after his birth (likely due to complications from childbirth). A few years later, his father remarried and had another 3 children with his new wife. Jack leaves home at a very young age and he is taken in by Reverend Dan Call, where he works on the family farm. And on his farm, he had a still, which Jack quickly took interest in it.

It’s here where Jack learns the art of whiskey making from the preacher and his head distiller, Nathan “Nearest” Green. In 1866, Call decides to focus on his calling as a minister, selling his whiskey business to Jack. Jack in turn hires Nearest as his Master Distiller. A few years later, they open the now-famous distillery in Lynchburg, and the rest is history.

Jack Daniel's Assistant Master Distiller Chris Fletcher

A short while later, we arrived at the Jack Daniel’s Distillery, and gathered together for a VIP tour hosted by none other than Assistant Master Distiller Chris Fletcher! As you can imagine, he’s got extensive knowledge of the whiskey making process, which he shared with us in great detail as he took us through the entire facility.

Not only that, but Fletcher is actually the grandson of retired Master Distiller Frank Bobo, the distillery’s fifth master distiller from 1966-89. Needless to say, whiskey is in his blood.

Jack Daniel's Distillery

The first stop on our tour was Cave Spring Hollow, which houses Lynchburg’s greatest natural resource – clean, pure, spring water. The cave’s layers of limestone naturally impart a variety of minerals to the water which contribute to Jack Daniel’s character. More importantly, the limestone also removes iron (which is bad if you are making whiskey) from the water.

Did you know that every bottle of Jack Daniel’s sold around the world is made with water from this source? I actually got to take a drink from the spring, and it was perhaps the purest water that I’ve ever tasted.

Jack Daniel's Distillery

From here, we made our way to the Rickyard, where they stack 5-foot tall pallets of hard super maple, douse them in raw, unaged whiskey, before setting the wood ablaze. The inferno peaks at over 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit before burning down into smoldering embers. The resulting charcoal is used in the charcoal mellowing process.

We got to take part in this process, and it was pretty wild, the heat getting so intense that you had to walk away after awhile or risk getting burned. How these guys manage to keep cool in the hot Tennessee summers is beyond me, but my hats off to them.

Jack Daniel's Distillery

Afterwards, we walked down to the Distillery Building, where we got to learn more about the whiskey making process including the whiskey stills, the fermenting tanks and the charcoal-mellowing vats. That last part is perhaps the most important, filtering the 140-proof, unaged whiskey drop by drop through 10 feet of handcrafted charcoal.

It’s this extra step that imparts the distinctive smoothness you have come to expect from Jack Daniel’s, and it’s what makes this a Tennessee Whiskey and not a bourbon.

Jack Daniel's Distillery

Next, this whiskey goes into American White Oak barrels that are hand-built at Jack Daniel’s Cooperage. Once assembled, the barrel’s interior is toasted and charred using a proprietary method to coax the wood’s natural sugars out and caramelize them. The whiskey enters the barrel colorless and raw, but during the maturation process, the whiskey draws all of its rich amber color and much of its distinctive flavor from the barrels.

As you can imagine, if Jack Daniel’s were to reuse their barrels, they’d get diminishing returns, as the first batch of whiskey already draws out most of the flavor from the barrel. That’s why they only use a barrel once, after which they sell them off to third-parties.

Jack Daniel's Distillery

Interestingly enough, a number of variables determine how long a barrel of whiskey stays in the barrelhouse, including the barrel itself and where it’s located in the barrelhouse. Barrels located on the upper floors (where temperature changes are more extreme) tend to mature faster than barrels on the lower floors, where it’s generally cooler.

So rather than rely on age, a team of whiskey tasters sample each and every barrel to decide when they’re ready for bottling. Master Distiller Jeff Arnett showed us this process by bringing us to one of the barrelhouses and taking us up to the 6th floor, where he tapped into a couple of barrels and let us sample them right from the source. In a word.. incredible!

Jack Daniel's Distillery

If that wasn’t enough, they also set up a tasting for us, where we got to sample every product in their portfolio, including Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7, Gentleman Jack, Single Barrel Select, Rye, Honey, Fire, and more. I really enjoyed the Single Barrel Select, but Honey and Fire were also standouts for me, and I definitely need to pick up a few bottles of these for myself.

Overall, I had a great time visiting the Jack Daniel’s Distillery and seeing everything that they have to offer, and I’d highly recommend taking the tour if you’re coming through Tennessee, even if you’re not a whiskey drinker. There’s a ton of history here, and it’s sure to give you a newfound respect for Jack Daniel’s, and the man who started it all.

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Space

Who’s Ready To Stay In The World’s First Luxury Hotel.. In Space?

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Aurora Station

Sometimes you just need to get away. Sure, you could book a trip to the Bahamas, or Hawaii, or you could choose a destination that’s a little further out there. Like outer space. Imagine being able to play astronaut for a few days, while you unplug from your job and the daily grind. You’ll get your chance soon since a new luxury hotel is launching 200 miles above the Earth. It’s called Aurora Station.

Space tourism is all the rage right now, despite the fact that we can’t go to Mars and beyond just yet. Aurora Station is a project designed to let ordinary humans live out their Astronaut dreams above the Earth for 12 days. And even though you are off-planet, you’ll have all the luxuries of home, thanks to a luxury hotel in zero gravity.

Aurora Station

The hotel aims to welcome its first guests by 2022, and who knows? Maybe one day it will be a gathering place for humans and aliens as they travel to and from the Earth. This is basically a mini space station that consists of a modular capsule that has enough room to accommodate four guests and two crew members at a time.

During your stay, you can participate in research experiments like growing food, experience virtual reality on an actual holodeck, and live-stream with those jealous humans back home. The company behind the project, Orion Span, will only charge you $9.5 million per person for your 12-day stay. That breaks down to $791,667 per night. That price tag leaves most of us Earthbound, but if you have the money this will be the ultimate experience.

Aurora Station

A deposit of $80,000 will secure your reservation. You better be in good shape though, because you’ll have to undergo an intensive three-month astronaut certification program to train for launch, re-entry, and contingency scenarios. Guests will also be required to do exercise during their stay aboard Aurora.

Start saving your money and get ready for your trip to the final frontier.

Photo credit: Orion Span

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