Creative Gift Giving Is Easier Than You Think

(NewsUSA) – It’s no secret that shopping for holiday gifts can be overwhelming.The answer to alleviating the stress of thoughtful gift giving comes in a cardboard box.Seriously.Subscription box services are popular options for a "gift that keeps on giving," providing a personalized experience delivered safely every month.In fact, in a survey conducted by the Paper and Packaging Board from August 2015 to November 2016, 82 percent of those surveyed agreed that they could rely on corrugated cardboard boxes to get their merchandise shipped and delivered safely. And 60 percent feel that products that come in paper-packaging tend to feel more premium.Innovations in box and packaging design allow these boxes to delight well past delivery with extended use and upcycling options.Find the perfect gift for your loved one this season with one of these favorites:* KiwiCo (Kiwico.com):For the Kid Who Is Going to Run the World.KiwiCo develops monthly STEAM educational hands-on projects and activities to spark curiosity and creativity in kids aged 0-16+.Each eco-friendly corrugated box is filled with interactive projects to fit a child’s respective age group. As your child or loved one grows, so do the boxes!* Loot Crate (LootCrate.com): For the Pop-Culture Obsessed.Loot Crate is a pop culture- themed subscription box featuring a changing monthly theme that covers all fandoms.These corrugated boxes hit every interest from video games to television and movies. Loot Crate offers an additional perk – the box is part of the monthly theme itself, which is to say, the box transforms into a "bonus" gift with some simple cuts and folds. You have to see it to believe it.* Graze (Graze.com) – For the Foodie.Graze is a subscription box that uses high-quality, nutritionist- approved ingredients to provide wholesome snacks. Graze uses responsibly resourced paper-based packaging to ensure that its products are safe and fresh for consumption.Foodies can subscribe for weekly, bi-weekly or monthly deliveries of personalized Graze boxes based on their custom-snack profile.*KitNipBox (KitNipBox.com): For the Cat Lover.KitNipBox is uniquely themed so cats (and their humans!) have something fresh, fun and new to look forward to each month. The design of the box, which can be recycled, is specifically made to fit 95 percent of cats, so they can play with the box and fit inside of it.Additionally, KitNipBox uses specially designed crinkling tissue paper in the boxes, so that the unwrapping experience is even more special for cats and their owners.* Cratejoy (Cratejoy.com):For Everyone.Cratejoy is the world’s premier subscription box website, providing a global marketplace of products.Cratejoy offers a vast selection of uniquely crafted corrugated boxes suited to virtually any hobby, interest or taste.Gifting a subscription box service is an easy yet thoughtful option for anyone on your shopping list! Unbox an experience that will last long past this holiday season. Find out more by visiting HowLifeUnfolds.comClick here to view video. 

Napa Valley Holiday Traditions from Marc Mondavi and Family

(NewsUSA) – Holiday entertaining can be stressful. What to cook? Which wines pair well? But with a few tools and a bit of planning, you can breeze through the holiday season like an entertaining pro.Janice Mondavi knows this all too well. As a mother of four girls and a member of the iconic C. Mondavi wine family, Janice hosts her large, extended family throughout the holidays. She gets through the season by keeping some go-to recipes on hand and a few quick tips for the perfect wine pairing.Janice’s go-to’s include her favorite roast recipes and easy, no-nonsense wine pairings. She finds that roasts and steak recipes feed her large family without breaking the bank. Her favorite holiday recipe is the family’s "Steak Sliced Thin" New York Strip Steak recipe that was created by Rosa Mondavi, the wife of Cesare and the family matriarch who started the Mondavi wine legacy in the Napa Valley in 1943.When pairing wines, Janice says it’s all about pairing similar flavors together. For instance, Janice pairs sweet wines with spicy foods, simple fare with lighter wines, and bold flavors together. She also points out that rules are made to be broken, even with wine."Wine is simply a matter of personal preference and sometimes it’s fun to mix things up, especially during the holidays," she adds. Some people prefer to pair opposite flavors together, and will pair a dry, acidic wine with a rich creamy sauce.Janice loves a good cheat sheet for pairing wines and that’s why she and her team at CK Mondavi and Family wines came up with this handy wine-pairing sheet, "The CK Mondavi and Family Wine Pairing Made Simple," which can be downloaded here: www.ckmondavi.com/ckm-pairings.This Christmas, Janice will be making the Steak Sliced Thin Recipe for her family. "It is one of my husband Marc’s favorite dishes, is easy to make and everyone enjoys it," she says. Janice will pair this recipe with CK Mondavi and Family Cabernet Sauvignon or Scarlet Five (their red blend).Grandma Rosa’s Mondavi Steak Sliced Thin RecipeIngredients:- 1-2 lb New York strip sliced by your butcher to 1/2" or thinner- 6-8 Garlic Cloves- 1/4 cup CK Mondavi and Family Sauvignon Blanc- 2 tbsp. Olive Oil- Steak seasoning (The Mondavis prefer a simple seasoning of oregano, salt and pepper)Directions:Pound both sides of the steak slices until they are somewhat thin. Season each slice with oregano, salt and pepper (or your steak seasoning of choice). Set aside. Slice the cloves of garlic. Heat 2 tbsp. of the olive oil in a frying pan on very low heat. Add the garlic and sauté for a minute or so. Be sure not to burn the garlic slices. Add the wine and cook until the wine has evaporated. Turn up the heat to medium and begin to sauté the steak slices for about 2 minutes on each side for medium rare, a bit longer if you like your meat well done. Place on a serving platter and pour the excess sauce on top. Serve hot with any of your favorite side dishes.Meet the Mondavis: Click here to view video.

Main Street Series Promises to Revitalize One Small Town

(NewsUSA) – "People are looking for magic in their lives and to experience something that stays with them forever," says Helen Marriage, the director of Artichoke, the producers and creators of the Lumiere London festival."People respond to light in a special way," Marriage continues. "and in the middle of winter, when night falls early, it’s just so wonderful and uplifting."In January 2018, London’s most iconic buildings, streets and landmarks will again be illuminated artistically for the British capital’s largest night-time festival, Lumiere London.Lumiere last lit up London in 2016, when millions of people visited the city to interact with the art installations. In January, the festival returns to London much bigger and bolder than before.More than 40 international artists will work to transform the city into a vast, nocturnal exhibition space, offering dazzling new perspectives on London’s iconic landmarks and historic architecture with beautiful, thought-provoking installations.As an example, Westminster Abbey, which has stood at the heart of London for hundreds of years, has been the setting for every coronation in the British monarchy since 1066 and has hosted 16 royal weddings, will be one of the key festival locations again.It will be illuminated by the French digital artist, Patrice Warrener, who will present the second installment of The Light of the Spirit for Westminster Abbey, one of the most popular installations at Lumiere London in 2016.Other installations include: Love, a Matisse-inspired animation of two paper-cut figures who spend the evening kissing and dancing to a bespoke soundtrack at the Royal Academy of Arts; interactive illuminated singing see-saws in Mayfair and, at Kings Cross, an immersive work that imagines a world underwater.The artists will create bespoke light installations for each selected building in London, turning the capital into a gallery without walls. Lumiere London is about more than the art: it’s about people sharing public space and re-discovering the city."Lumiere London offers the chance for visitors and Londoners alike to see the city in a totally new light, explore new areas, and see a familiar city in different ways," says Helen Marriage."Our mission from the start," Marriage continues, "was to make great art accessible to everyone and to bring back the joy of experiencing it. Lumiere London is about reclaiming the streets and bringing a new dimension to the daily life of our city."Lumiere London will take place on closed roads over four nights between 18 and 21 January 2018 at locations around the city, including: London’s West End, Mayfair, Westminster, Piccadilly, St James’s, Fitzrovia and Kings Cross.To find out more about the festival and to plan your trip to London, see https://www.visitlondon.com/lumiere#7kk8D0owMHHw6OqU.97

Small Town Mayor Tackles Big Challenges

(NewsUSA) – As mayor of D’Lo, Mississippi, one of John Henry Berry’s recent challenges included tracking down errant employees — goats he had positioned to clip the town’s ball fields had wandered off. The quest for the goats is an example of the quirky challenges facing Mayor Berry and featured in the reality series, "Small Town, Big Mayor," airing on UP TV on Thursdays at 9:30 p.m. Eastern time.The series offers a refreshing escape from the negative attitude surrounding much of politics today with a behind-the-scenes look at a hard-working mayor and his family who want to make their town a better place and to help it survive and thrive in the future.The residents of D’Lo include 456 people, as well as 240 cows. Mayor Berry wears multiple hats, serving not only as mayor, but also as town arbitrator, dog catcher, landscaper, sewer repairman, volunteer fireman, high school football announcer, Parish drummer, and 4H Firearms Instructor, to name a few. He also finds time to be the father of five children: Ashley, Ben, Autumn, Preston, and Josh; and husband to Angie.The fourth-generation resident of D’Lo is known for his positive attitude, white suits, and the inclination to drive around town in a golf cart."The love of my town inspired me to run for mayor," says Mayor Berry. "As a native of D’Lo, Miss., I want to improve the town and bring in tourism," he adds. Specific plans to attract tourists include opening a restaurant, he notes.In addition to the restaurant, his goals include legalizing golf carts in D’Lo, making the town more environmentally friendly, putting D’Lo on Kickstarter, building a library, and launching a campaign to recruit new volunteer firemen.Each episode of "Small Town, Big Mayor" will focus on some aspect of his 95-point plan to revitalize the town.In the meantime, Mayor Berry gracefully juggles daily challenges of small-town administrations."There’s nothing I won’t do for D’Lo," says Berry. One surprise: "I had to learn to work on the water well and sewage system to keep things functioning properly without spending money the city didn’t have," he says.Tune in to "Small Town, Big Mayor" for a taste of genuine community spirit as the citizens rally around the mayor. As Mayor Berry says, "We may be tiny, but we have a lot of heart."

Boomers, Grandchildren Find Common Ground Through Music

(NewsUSA) – As mayor of D’Lo, Mississippi, one of John Henry Berry’s recent challenges included tracking down errant employees — goats he had positioned to clip the town’s ball fields had wandered off. The quest for the goats is an example of the quirky challenges facing Mayor Berry and featured in the reality series, "Small Town, Big Mayor," airing on UP TV on Thursdays at 9:30 p.m. Eastern time.The series offers a refreshing escape from the negative attitude surrounding much of politics today with a behind-the-scenes look at a hard-working mayor and his family who want to make their town a better place and to help it survive and thrive in the future.The residents of D’Lo include 456 people, as well as 240 cows. Mayor Berry wears multiple hats, serving not only as mayor, but also as town arbitrator, dog catcher, landscaper, sewer repairman, volunteer fireman, high school football announcer, Parish drummer, and 4H Firearms Instructor, to name a few. He also finds time to be the father of five children: Ashley, Ben, Autumn, Preston, and Josh; and husband to Angie.The fourth-generation resident of D’Lo is known for his positive attitude, white suits, and the inclination to drive around town in a golf cart."The love of my town inspired me to run for mayor," says Mayor Berry. "As a native of D’Lo, Miss., I want to improve the town and bring in tourism," he adds. Specific plans to attract tourists include opening a restaurant, he notes.In addition to the restaurant, his goals include legalizing golf carts in D’Lo, making the town more environmentally friendly, putting D’Lo on Kickstarter, building a library, and launching a campaign to recruit new volunteer firemen.Each episode of "Small Town, Big Mayor" will focus on some aspect of his 95-point plan to revitalize the town.In the meantime, Mayor Berry gracefully juggles daily challenges of small-town administrations."There’s nothing I won’t do for D’Lo," says Berry. One surprise: "I had to learn to work on the water well and sewage system to keep things functioning properly without spending money the city didn’t have," he says.Tune in to "Small Town, Big Mayor" for a taste of genuine community spirit as the citizens rally around the mayor. As Mayor Berry says, "We may be tiny, but we have a lot of heart."

The Art of the Seam! Chrysler Museum Honors Baseball Folk Artist

(NewsUSA) – All artists have one thing in common — they start with a blank canvas.In the case of George Sosnak, a folk artist whose work is being exhibited through August at the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, Va., his canvas of choice happened to be a part of America’s favorite pastime — baseball.To understand the artist, you have to understand the medium, its history, and the man behind the art.It was around this small, leather ball that the artist found a way to express his love of the game.While Sosnak was passionate about baseball, he was athletically unskilled as a player. So, he did the next best thing — he became an umpire. After World War II, he landed in the Pioneer League for the 1956-1958 seasons, later going on to umpire in the Three-I League (Iowa, Idaho, and Indiana) and Southern Association, before both leagues folded. With that, his dream of becoming a Major League umpire died. The Artist Within Emerges His calling to art came in the form of an odd request from a female fan while he was umpiring a game in Idaho in 1956: Could he paint her favorite player on a baseball?From there, the seed of an idea began and became an outlet for Sosnak to maintain his passion and connection to baseball in a way that he had never envisioned.Demand soon followed — from politicians to U.S. presidents to baseball players and fans to foreign dignitaries, sportswriters, churches, and charities. On occasion, Sosnak would be paid for his work; oftentimes, he would give the baseball to the player, person, or organization as a gift.Over time, as with any artist, Sosnak’s technique developed to the point that baseballs became murals for his work. Using India ink, Sosnak would meticulously and elaborately cover the ball with microscopic text and colorful backgrounds. Many times, he would include logos from a certain team, using arcane material that he researched, commemorating everything from a player’s stats to the night of Aug. 6, 1967 when Dean Chance of the Minnesota Twins pitched a perfect no-hitter against the Red Sox for five innings before the game was called because of rain. Collectors Abound Before his death in 1992, auction houses believe Sosnak created somewhere between 800 and 3,000 baseballs. As for worth, prices started creeping up posthumously as more people realized the individuality of his work. In 2009, the market was anywhere from $500 to several thousand dollars for a ball.For fans who may not be able to afford a Sosnak baseball but would love to see his work, the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, VA., is exhibiting his baseballs until Aug. 27. Admission is free."His work combines the whimsical, artistic expression with endless statistics and game descriptions, that are so beloved by baseball fans," says Susan Leidy, deputy director of the museum."Even if you’re not a folk art fan, it’s fun to see every possible detail about someone’s career [because] everything is on these balls in the tiniest possible writing."For more information, visit www.chrysler.org

Customer Feedback Is Our North Star

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – “The customer always comes first” should be every company’s mantra. However, a lot of companies say it, but don’t act on it. So, how do we make sure we’re living up to that mindset?
The answer is simple — just ask.
On any given night, half of the guests in our hotels are members of the Hilton Honors loyalty program and their feedback is what helps us make our program so esteemed.

Reverse Mortgage Can Help With Retirement Planning

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – This article is a paid advertisement. The content was provided by One Reverse Mortgage.
When people want access to money from the equity in their home, they often turn to a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC). But homeowners who are 62 and older may have another option — the reverse mortgage line of credit. Similar to the HELOC, a reverse mortgage line of credit’s value is based on the equity in your home, and you can access the money whenever you need it.
Unlike a HELOC, the available funds in a reverse mortgage line of credit can be a big benefit for many people, because whether they ever use it or not, the reverse mortgage line of credit grows in value. This can be a great safety net that can cover future expenses for financially savvy clients. Another way people use the reverse mortgage line of credit is by receiving monthly distributions to live on while they defer the use of their retirement assets. This, in turn, may allow those assets more time to grow.
The reverse mortgage line of credit is widely used due to its many features. Some financial advisors are recommending that the reverse mortgage line of credit be used as a financial tool in retirement planning. But the line of credit is just one way to receive your proceeds from your reverse mortgage. You have other options, too. One of the best features of all reverse mortgage products is that you are not required to pay monthly mortgage payments; however, you are still responsible for paying homeowners insurance, property taxes, and home maintenance costs.
To receive more information, request a free guide from One Reverse Mortgage by visiting www.onereversemortgage.com/nu/ or call (888)779-8011 to speak to a licensed specialist. The licensed specialists at One Reverse Mortgage are trained to answer any questions you may have and get you started with a reverse mortgage product.
Equal Housing Lender. Listed in all 50 states. One Reverse Mortgage NMLS #2052
These materials are not from HUD or FHA and were not approved by HUD or a government agency.

Marketers: Get in touch with your audience

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Promotional products are more popular than ever, based on data from a 2016 consumer survey conducted by Promotional Products Association International (PPAI). The survey respondents were evenly split between men and women, and included millennials (43 percent), generation X (35 percent), baby boomers (19 percent), and the “silent generation” of older adults (3 percent).
Overall, 89 percent of the adult consumers surveyed reported receiving a promotional product within the last six months, an increase from previous years.
Key survey findings include:
–85 percent of individuals said they remembered the branding and 76 percent recalled messaging from at least one promotional product.
–82 percent of individuals said their impression of the brand changed for the better as a direct result of receiving a promotional product from that brand.
–79 percent of individuals said they looked up a brand and 83 percent said they would be more likely to do business with a brand after receiving a promotional product.
–All age groups rated promotional products as the most effective way to encourage consumers to take action with regard to the brand.
PPAI used five metrics to evaluate the participants’ responses to promotional products: Reach, Recall, Resonance, Reaction and Relativity.
Reach: Refers to the length, frequency, and range of exposure of a consumer to a brand. For example, 79 percent of consumers will pass along a promotional product, whether or not they use it themselves, which extends the brand’s reach. In addition, the survey found that 23 percent of men and 13 percent of women would keep a promotional product for up to 11 years or longer.
Recall: Refers to whether a consumer remembers a product. According to the survey, 85 percent of consumers could recall the branding of at least one promotional product, with some prompting; 76 percent remembered the message; and 71 percent remembered a call to action associated with the product.
Resonance: The survey results suggest that consumers feel engaged with promotional products on a personal level: 71 percent described their emotional connection to promotional products as “happy.”
Reaction: A positive response to advertising is more likely to generate the desired reaction, and 79 percent (87 percent of millennials) reported being curious enough to take further action after receiving a promotional product.
Relativity: Consumers across all age groups said they preferred visually appealing advertising with a clear message, and that promotional products were the most effective medium.
For more information, visit www.GetInTouchAdvertising.com

Sauces for the Win: Why They’re A Hit At A Party

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – It’s that time of year again–the time when families and friends come together to celebrate with food and open arms. That’s right, it’s almost playoff season, with football, basketball, and hockey playoffs all just around the corner.
With these highly anticipated games come the equally anticipated snacks–from chips and dip to wings and hot sauce. In fact, a lot can be said from people’s usage of dips and sauces, and that usage has increased over the past year.
According to a survey by the Association for Dressings & Sauces, the reasons for using dips and sauces more often include: making more or new foods that need them, using them on more foods or as a healthy option with healthy foods, and cooking or eating at home more. So satisfy your craving for the perfect mid-game snack and bring them to parties in new and creative ways.
Here are a couple of tips that will help you pick the perfect recipe for your friends:
* Survey results show that Asian sauces, horseradish, hot and Mexican sauces are more popular than they were last year, with hot sauce and mustard being used several times a week by the majority of respondents. So go exotic and use bold flavors in your dishes!
* Geography also has something to say about what you should bring to a gathering. People in the Northeast reported a greater affinity for horseradish. Folks in the Midwest loves barbecue sauces. Asian sauces and hummus are more popular in the West and the South is all about hot sauce.
These tips should get your creative juices flowing so you can bring a tasty and unique contribution to whatever playoff party you’re attending. Should you need a little recipe inspiration, however, check out some dishes at www.dressings-sauces.org/recipes.