Tips to Get Your Move On

<b>Tips to Get Your Move On</b>“></td>
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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – You’re excited to start living in your new home, but before you start decorating, entertaining or relaxing with coffee in your new breakfast nook, you have to move your possessions from point A to point B. But with a little planning, you can make your move without shattering your great grandmother’s vase or slipping a disc while carrying kitchen appliances.

PakMail (www.pakmail.com), a company that specializes in packing, custom crating and shipping, offers the following tips to help you get your move on:

* Give yourself more time than you think you need. It doesn’t seem like you have that much stuff — until it’s time to neatly organize everything into cardboard boxes and load them into moving vans. You will probably need at least a month to pack. Start by going through your rooms and taking a quick inventory — figure out what you need to pack, and what you’d rather freecycle.

* Make sure you have plenty of packing materials. You will need more boxes than you expect. Make sure that you have 10 new boxes for last-minute additions. Other useful items include thick markers, bubble wrap, packing tape and foam wrap. PakMail sells a full line of shipping supplies, including boxes, bubble wrap, foam wrap, tape, labels, kits, packing peanuts and sealing tubes. PakMail also offers custom packaging for oddly shaped items.

* Choose the right box for your item. Heavy objects, like books, should always go in smaller boxes. Certain items, such as mattresses or mirrors, may require special packaging. It’s always best to ask an expert. Try to keep boxes under 30 pounds.

* Organize your packing. As you’re packing, assign each box a number. Create a list where you record everything that was put in each box. Also, decide where the boxes should go. For example, if boxes one through three contain DVDs, books and video games, make sure they end up in your new living room.

* Don’t forget your suitcase! Make sure you have enough clothes and toiletries to last three days in your suitcase, so you don’t have to buy new clothes if you can’t unpack your wardrobe immediately. Never pack important personal documents, medications or valuables — keeping them with you will provide easy access, not to mention help prevent theft or loss.

For more information, visit www.pakmail.com.

Budget-Friendly Entertaining Without Sacrificing Style

<b>Budget-Friendly Entertaining Without Sacrificing Style</b>“></td>
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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Outdoor entertaining lends itself to simplicity, so throwing a hip garden party or an impromptu barbecue can be easy and budget-friendly.

Here are some tips for the outdoor party planner:

* Divide and conquer. To stay relaxed and keep the budget in check, invite a group of friends to help coordinate the party. Splitting up decoration and food-preparation tasks will reduce costs and the strain on the host.

* Keep drinks simple. Instead of over-spending on ingredients for signature cocktails, consider offering wine. Boxed wine has enjoyed increased popularity, and for good reason. Bota Box offers premium Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Merlot and Old Vine Zinfandel in non-breakable packaging. Each box contains the equivalent of four bottles of wine and eliminates the need for a corkscrew.

Better yet, boxed wine can keep your party eco-friendly as well as budget-friendly. Bota Box labels are printed with soy-based inks on recycled paper containing 100 percent post-consumer fiber and is 100 percent recyclable.

* Keep the menu simple, fresh and laid back. Let guests mingle and eat at their own pace by setting up a centrally located table displaying small bites and finger foods. Ideas include an antipasto platter with an array of cured meats, hummus and olives, sliced cubano quesadillas, smoked salmon and dill on halved new potatoes, mini hamburger sliders, and chocolate chip cookies.

* Keep decorations simple. Simple décor is most suitable for outdoor entertaining — after all, flowers and trees provide a natural backdrop. Unpack white lights from holiday storage, and string them around the deck or bar area for a subtle garden glow. Take a peek in the linen closets for double-duty décor. Mix and match various shapes and sizes of white or clear glass plates, with a variety of fun, patterned cloth napkins.

For more entertaining tips, visit www.botabox.com.

Seeing Static? You Have Options To Restore Your TV

<b>Seeing Static? You Have Options To Restore Your TV</b>“></td>
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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Americans still using rabbit ears on their analog television sets got a rude awakening June 12 when their favorite shows were replaced by a screen full of static. That’s because the long-awaited digital transition — where all full-power stations stop broadcasting their analog signals and switch to all-digital signals — finally arrived. If you or someone you know lost one or more channels, don’t worry, you have several options to restore your TV that are easy to do and easy on your wallet.

An inexpensive way to get over 120 top channels, including locals, is to try a satellite TV system like DISH Network, which you can subscribe to for the first six months for only $14.99 per month.

If you prefer to watch only the local channels, invest in a TV set with a digital tuner, or purchase a converter box for your existing TV set. Many HDTVs, 32 inches and smaller, can cost less than $300, and with a government coupon, DISH Network’s DTVPal Plus converter box (www.dtvpal.com) costs only $19.99. The converter box includes an enhanced tuner built for weak signal areas, analog pass-through, timer settings and an onscreen program guide, all in a package the size of a paperback novel.

Most digital tuner TVs and converter boxes can be found at retailers like Sears or Kmart. To subscribe to DISH Network’s digital service, visit www.dishnetwork.com.

USO Delivered: Boosting Morale of Isolated Troops

<b>USO Delivered: Boosting Morale of Isolated Troops</b>“></td>
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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – How do you support troops you can’t get to? Today, many troops serve in isolated outposts around the world. “USO Delivered” is the USO’s cutting-edge focus on lifting the spirits of troops weherever they serve.

“With our troops serving at austere, far-flung bases, the need for USO programs and services has increased dramatically; we’re working hard to find new ways to deliver the comforts of home wherever they serve,” said Sloan Gibson, USO president.

As part of an effort to modernize the USO’s programming to meet the needs of today’s military, USO Delivered consists of USO2GO, MEGS (Mobile Entertainment Gaming Systems) and USO In A Box.

USO2GO lets units request tailored USO kits to set up their own service member-run centers. Commanders can select from eight kits containing a range of athletic equipment, books and games, toiletry items, furniture, nonperishable comfort foods and beverages, art supplies and much more, after which USO employees headquartered in Arlington, Va., send the kits to them. Since the program’s inception, USO2GO kits have reached more than 100 bases in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Philippines and Egypt.

MEGS are another effort by the USO to provide services to even the most remote areas. Created by Xe, MEGS units feature a high-end projection TV, DVD player and video game system contained in a rugged case. With the MEGS launch, the USO distributed 20 units in time for the 2008 holiday season. By the end of 2009, more than 50 MEGS will be delivered to isolated outposts worldwide.

The most extreme USO Delivered component is the USO In A Box, which is arguably also the most advanced way the organization is bringing a home away from home to service members. The 256-square-foot, collapsible USO In A Box can be transported by helicopter and used in just about any weather environment. Once opened, the “box” is set up in approximately 20 minutes and can hold up to 10 people. Each unit features satellite Internet, three Xbox 360 gaming consoles, two WiFi-capable rugged laptops, flat screen TVs and a theater area equipped with Dolby surround sound and DVDs. The first three USO In A Box units are in Afghanistan, with seven more to be delivered by year end.

“Supporting America’s troops and their families has always been the heart of the USO mission,” Gibson said. “Wherever they serve, whenever they serve, we’re working hard to lift their spirits.”

To donate to this private charity, visit www.uso.org.