Beef Up Your Retirement Savings — Your 401(k) May Not Be Enough

(NewsUSA) – There’s no doubt, Americans have a love affair with their 401(k) plans.But with their portfolios battered by the financial meltdown and the …

A Toast to Knowledge: Fun Facts About California Wine

<b>A Toast to Knowledge: Fun Facts About California Wine</b>“></td>
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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Modern Americans have little in common with ancient Egyptians and Romans — except, perhaps, their love affair with wine.

Wine shows up in religious texts and hieroglyphics, not to mention at any decent dinner party. Most American wines come from California, though all 50 states now have wineries.

The next time you pour a glass, impress your guests with these facts about California wine provided by Wine Institute and the California Association of Winegrape Growers:

Fact #1 — California makes about 90 percent of all American wine. The state’s size and diverse climate and soils allow over 100 winegrape varieties to grow in the state, covering 526,600 vineyard acres.

Fact #2 — The church brought wine to California. Specifically, a Franciscan missionary named Father Junipero Serra started planting grapes at Mission San Diego de Alcala in 1769.

Fact #3 — California wine is earth-friendly. California vintners and growers have the most widely adopted green winegrowing and winemaking program in the world, one that has won Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s top environmental award.

Fact #4 — Many celebrities own or co-own wineries. Some names you might recognize? Olympic Gold Medal figure skater Peggy Fleming, racecar driver Randy Lewis and “The Bachelor” reality star Andrew Firestone all own or co-own wineries.

Fact #5 — Movies love wine. Sales of Pinot Noir skyrocketed after 2004’s hit movie Sideways, which took place in Santa Barbara County. 2008’s Bottle Shock tells the story of the 1976 “Judgment of Paris,” where California wines beat French wines in a blind taste test, giving California international recognition.

Fact #6 — Wine label term explained. “Appellation” means where the grapes were grown — wineries are required to put that information on the label. A wine’s appellation can be as broad as a country or as narrow as a couple hundred acres.

Fact #7 — Winegrapes were still grown during Prohibition. California winegrowers shipped grapes to home winemakers, who could legally make up to 200 gallons of wine for home use. Some wineries made sacramental wines as well.

For more information, visit www.discovercaliforniawine.com.

Steve McQueen Rides Into a Renaissance

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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Hollywood legend Steve McQueen, known as the “King of Cool,” is best known for the 1960’s films “Bullitt” and “The Great Escape.” He was named one of the “greatest movie stars of all time” by Entertainment Weekly. Today, he is seeing a resurgence in popularity nearly 30 years after his untimely passing, including the development of a new TV special based on his love for motorcycles and fast cars.

Born to an alcoholic mother and abandoned by his father, McQueen overcame early beginnings as a petty criminal to become a race-car driver, actor and father to two children. McQueen never lost his adventurous streak, often performing his own action stunts in his films. Of his past, McQueen once said, “If I hadn’t made it as an actor, I might have wound up a hood.”

While McQueen died in 1980, he is more popular than ever, inspiring cars, motorcycles, books, movies, designer clothing and a whole new generation of fans.

The successful coffee table book “McQueen’s Machines,” which chronicles McQueen’s love for cars and motorcycles, and his private collections of both, is being developed into a television special targeted for release next year.

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the “Bullitt” film, last year Ford released a new Mustang Bullitt to pay homage to one of McQueen’s biggest starring roles. Meanwhile, Metisse has introduced a limited-edition Desert Racer motorcycle, a replica of the bike owned and used by Steve McQueen for competitive racing, faithfully reproduced by hand and authorized by the McQueen estate.

The desire among his legions of fans for all things McQueen reached new heights recently as his Ferrari sold at auction for a whopping $1.6 million. TAG Heuer, Ballentine’s and Dolce & Gabbana have all made lucrative forays into high fashion with McQueen branded products.

“McQueen is a legend that many of today’s celebrities would love to emulate, but few do,” said Diana Brobmann, an expert at a celebrity branding and licensing firm called GreenLight. “He has an enduring appeal and symbolizes masculinity, adventure and pure guts.”

For additional information about Steve McQueen, visit his official Web site at www.stevemcqueen.com.

Fragrance Stirs Emotions For Valentine’s Day

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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Valentine’s Day, the most romantic day of the year, remains the day to express heartfelt gratitude for companionship, friendship and love. It also can be an occasion that will create fond memories for years to come.

And believe it or not, the fragrance that you wear on this romantic day can become a significant element of the experience. The reason? The brain’s smell center, the olfactory lobe, is closely linked to the area that controls our emotions and memories, the limbic system.

Olfaction, unlike the other senses, goes directly to the emotional rather than the reasoning part of the brain, which means you “feel” a fragrance, rather than “think” it through. Because of this phenomenon, for centuries women have relied on the ability of fragrance to elicit a desired response.

“Fragrance and romance have always gone hand-in-hand. So connected are the two that we’ve heard many women say that they continue to wear the scent from their wedding day,” says Darcy Miller, editor-in-chief of the magazine Martha Stewart Weddings.

Therefore, think carefully when selecting a fragrance to wear this Valentine’s Day, because it may be one of your most memorable.

“In its pure form, fragrance is an emotional experience,” says Karyn Khoury, senior vice president of Corporate Fragrance Development Worldwide, Estée Lauder Companies. “Not only does it express intense feelings, but fragrance can evoke them as well. And when a fragrance becomes associated with an event or inspires a positive reaction in another person, our bond to it becomes especially strong.”

Estée Lauder, for example, chose to capture the feelings of love in both its classic Beautiful and new Beautiful Love fragrances. By using a different combination and concentration of ingredients, each fragrance represents a different facet of love.

Beautiful celebrates the bride’s radiant moment of love with a heady bouquet of white flowers and rose, confident green notes and rich woods. Beautiful Love was designed to celebrate the depth of a couple’s shared love. To achieve this goal, the company created a scent that was inspired by the voluptuous white florals in the original Beautiful but in a more understated way.

The fragrance is also infused with a rich, velvety, deeper tonality, juxtaposed with a modern clarity. Beautiful Love uses less-intense green notes and leaves a creamier and more sensuous lasting impression.

Because of fragrance’s ability to incite love and passion, it’s no wonder that fragrance and Valentine’s Day go hand-in-hand.

Living a Better Life in Times of Chaos

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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Is your life full of chaos?

Challenges such as stress, anxiety, illness and depression all contribute to a chaotic life. So how do you rid your life of the obstacles to your happiness and change it for the better?

Yehuda Berg says the answer lies within a group of sacred letters from the biblical story of Moses and the Red Sea. In his book “The 72 Names of God,” Berg says that through 72 three-letter combinations taken from three biblical verses, you can find the strength to eliminate negative forces that keep you from living a fulfilling life.

The book explains that the 72 names are not “names” in the literal sense, but visual mantras that are activated spiritually rather than vocally. These spiritual tools come from a tradition called Kabbalah, which is today the fastest-growing global spiritual movement. Contrary to popular belief, Kabbalah is not a religion and you do not have to be Jewish to study it.

According to the teachings of Kabbalah, everything, including our destiny, begins and ends with our own individual behavior. The apparent randomness that we encounter in life is actually a system of cause and effect. Furthermore, the ability to overcome challenges lies in the power of mind over matter.

“The 72 Names of God” encourages readers to meditate on the names and follow through with a physical action to implement positive change in their lives.

Here are a few of the names and their applications:

* Healing: Think about others who also need healing. Be accountable. Blaming someone or something else absolves us of responsibility. Accepting 100 percent responsibility brings about the energy of healing.

* Unconditional Love: You should offer unconditional love to others if you want to have peace and serenity in your life. Love has the power to eradicate all forms of darkness. When you offer love to your enemies, you destroy their darkness and hatred.

* Eliminating Negative Thoughts: When negative thoughts – worry, anxiety, fear, pessimism, uncertainty – invade your mind, focus on thoughts that move you forward, not backward.

* Letting Go: Human nature is to hang on to past regrets and earlier traumas. But you cannot live a fulfilling future if you are hanging on to an unhappy and cynical past. This name gives you the courage to let go.

For more information about “The 72 Names of God,” log on to www.72.com.