Savvy Shopping Tips for the At-Home Bartender

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Whether you’re shopping for a casual get together or stocking your home bar, your goal on the liquor aisle is usually the same: Find quality alcohol at a price that won’t break the bank.
To cut down your stress, look to the label for peace of mind when considering the quality level of spirits that fit your budget. Fancy packaging aside, the content provided on the label can be your best indication of the quality you can expect in the bottle.
Here are some tips to keep handy when navigating the booze aisle:
Tequila: The most important quality cue to look for when purchasing tequila is “100 percent agave tequila” on the label.
That’s your guarantee the tequila you are drinking is made from 100 percent pure agave with no additives, added flavor or color. Tequila labeled “Oro,” “Joven” or “Gold,” by comparison, indicates designation as a mixto; a lesser-quality tequila made with equal parts agave and cane sugar distillates that can often lead to hangovers.
There are a handful of quality, affordable 100 percent agave tequilas on the market today that sell for $20 or less. Look for Familia Camarena Tequila (www.tequilacamarena.com), a widely available, popular-priced tequila produced by the respected Camarena family of Mexico. With tequila industry experience spanning six generations, Familia Camarena makes both 100 percent agave silver tequila (unaged) and reposado tequila (slightly aged) delicious for sipping or mixing.
Vodka: Stay away from vodka made from corn and other cheap sources of starch, which often can taste harsh. Stick with vodkas made from pure, high-quality ingredients like potato, rye or wheat.
A great way to find affordable, high-quality vodka is to look for American-made vodka, which is often less expensive than higher-priced imports. Watch out for Blue Ice Vodka, a reliable and budget-friendly American potato vodka.
Whiskey: Remember that scotch, Irish whiskey and bourbon are all classified within the whiskey family, and all have great opportunities for budget-friendly bottlings.
Buy bottles at the lowest proof, or 80-proof (40 percent alcohol by volume). Distilleries often charge more for a higher proof, which can go as high as 160. Lower-proof bottles tend to be lighter and smoother in taste.
Instead of expensive single malts, pay attention to more economical blended whiskies, which blend malt whiskey with less-expensive neutral grain spirits. For superior-quality blended whiskies, look for those with a malt percentage that exceeds the grain percentage.

Holiday Shopping? Experiences Trump Boxes This Season

As the holiday season approaches, shoppers face the annual challenge of finding the perfect gift in the right size at the best price. Shopping online can save both time and money but can also overwhelm consumers with the endless list of options to choose from.

This year, experts recommend harnessing the national trend of collective buying to ease shopping woes and save money in the process.

Collective buying sites streamline the holiday shopping process by connecting users with creative gift suggestions at unbeatable discounts. It has become just as easy to give someone the gift of a great unique experience as it is to send them a sweater.

Gift Trends This Year? Give Experiences, Not Goods

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – As the holiday season approaches, shoppers face the annual challenge of finding the perfect gift in the right size at the best price. Shopping online can save both time and money, but can also overwhelm consumers with the endless list of options to choose from.
This year, experts recommend harnessing the national trend of collective buying to ease shopping woes and save money in the process.
“Collective buying sites streamline the holiday shopping process by connecting users with creative gift suggestions at unbeatable discounts,” said Andrew Mason, founder and chief executive officer of Groupon.com, a shopping website that offers daily deals on the best local goods, services and cultural events in more than 250 markets around the world. “It’s become just as easy to give someone the gift of a great unique experience as it is to send them a sweater.”
Groupon provides some top picks for 2010 gifts, proven to be best-sellers this year:
Health and Beauty: Pamper loved ones with a trendy no-chip manicure or relaxing massage package. Sites like Groupon.com provide incredible deals — sometimes as high as 90 percent off — that make it possible to be extra generous this holiday season.
Cultural: For a thoughtful option that can be reused, gift an annual membership to a favorite museum. Some of the country’s top institutions are discounting their individual and family memberships by half-off this year.
Fitness: Give a friend’s New Year’s resolution a boost with the gift of fitness. Popular deals, including gym memberships and yoga classes, are conveniently packaged and allow the recipient to start their trial when they’re ready.
Dining: Need a gift for a foodie? Many high-end restaurants offer discounted packages worth $50, $75 or $100 towards the final bill.
Experiential: While a traditional gift is wrapped neatly in a box and tied with a bow, gifts like rock climbing, skydiving or wine-tasting classes provide one-of-a-kind experiences that recipients won’t soon forget.
By consolidating the best gift options at prices that beat out door-busters, daily deal websites are a smart choice this holiday shopping season. Deals are redeemed with printable vouchers that only show the actual service value, not the discounted price paid for the gift! Not a subscriber? Visit www.groupon.com to sign up for free and start receiving your daily deals.

After Olympics, Richmond, B.C. Becomes Tourist Destination

Nearly 3 billion people watched the 2010 Olympic Winter Games on television. Those who tuned into the long track speed skating competition received what was probably their first view of Richmond, British Columbia, the city that hosted the competition in its Richmond Olympic Oval.

But as visitors to the games can attest, there‚Äôs more to Richmond than the Richmond Olympic Oval. The Games gave visitors a chance to discover a unique city with plenty of dining, shopping and multicultural attractions — and more are following in their stead. The city is fast becoming a growing tourist destination with a variety of activities for all ages and abilities.

Shopping for a New Home?Check Out the Kitchen

Five words or   less(NewsUSA) – Buying a home is the largest investment most people will ever make, so it’s no surprise that such a big decision may seem daunting. There are, …

The Pursuit of Happier Shopping: Americans Aim for Affordability

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – According to Nielsen forecasts for 2010, consumers will continue to be frugal with their spending habits as the jobless recovery, like the …

Beat the Holiday Blues

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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Whether it’s jam-packed schedules, long lines or even longer lists, the happy holidays can be a time of stress. But if you plan ahead, be realistic and get creative, you can beat the holiday blues and celebrate your merriest season yet! Here’s how I, a mother of seven and the author of “Total Mom”, keep the holidays happy:

Spa-like Shopping Attitude

* To help ease your hectic holiday shopping, ditch the window-shopping and plan ahead by researching online. That way, you already know what you want and how much it costs, so you can stick to your budget.

* Shop for gifts in the morning — you’ll get first crack at sales, and the stores will be organized and less crowded, allowing you to relax and focus on crossing items off your shopping list.

Share Memorable Meals

* Do you remember your favorite dish during the holidays as a child? Use that as inspiration for a family meal, and check www.GetBacktotheTable.com for easy, tasty recipe ideas!

* Plan your holiday meals in advance, and store up on non-perishable items when they’re on sale. Canned vegetables such as Libby’s are affordable, convenient and great-tasting in holiday favorites like green bean casserole and roasted corn.

Selective Entertaining

* Holiday parties are a great way to connect with family and friends, but a busy calendar can really take a toll on you and your family. Prioritize the parties and dinners everyone is looking forward to the most, and choose from there.

* Offer to take turns hosting with your family and friends each year to avoid having to attend multiple parties in one season.

For more tips on how to beat the holiday blues, stretch your dollars and spend more time with your family, visit www.GetBacktotheTable.com.

Hannah Keeley is a mother of seven, the host of “Hannah Help Me!” on PBS and author of “Hannah Keeley’s Total Mom Makeover: The Six-Week Plan to Completely Transform Your Home, Health, Family, and Life.”

Men: Smart Tips for Effortless Shopping

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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Many men don’t spend a lot of time shopping to begin with, but in a tough economy, purchasing new clothes is even more likely to go by the wayside. When everything in the closet seems to be worn out, outdated or ill-fitting, the dread begins as it’s time to head to the store.

For these men, it’s not about fashion, but instead about finding an affordable price point for durable and comfortable clothes. If this sounds all too familiar, read on for shopping smart tips to make the process bearable.

Shop with ease: Find clothes where you are already shopping. You can find long-trusted brands offering top-quality clothing at the mass-market stores where you’re already shopping. Next time you make a trip to Wal-Mart, take a quick look at the men’s apparel section, and you’ll be surprised at what you see. Brands like Wrangler, for example, offer a variety of styles, all with a full warranty for a year, so you know what you get is worth the purchase. And one-stop shopping makes clothes-buying easier for even the most time-strapped consumers.

Shop necessity: Choose comfort and durability over flash and trends. Make sure anything you buy is made with premium fabrics and constructed to keep its shape. Higher-quality apparel lasts the longest, so you get the most for your money. When you find a quality brand, choose from any of its fits and finishes to get the style that works for you. Remember that traditional styles that fit well will always be in fashion.

Shop value: Look for the best deal. There’s no need to pay designer prices when you can buy what you want and need for a fraction of the cost. Wrangler clothing is priced right at less than $20 for jeans, pants, shorts and shirts at value-minded retailers nationwide. When you combine the price with the 100 percent satisfaction guarantee, you know you can count on Wrangler for quality, comfort and value.

For more information on smart shopping tips for men’s apparel, visit www.wrangler.com.