Category: Holidays

Fourth of July Barbecue Essentials

The 4th of July is fast approaching and revelers across the nation are preparing to toast their independence with family and friends. For many Americans, backyard barbecues are synonymous with the Fourth of July, a day that, in the United States of America, commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence by the Second Continental Congress on July 4, 1776.

Precious few Americans can say they have not been present at a 4th of July barbecue or witnessed a fireworks display honoring America’s official declaration of independence from Great Britain. Hosting a July 4th barbecue for the first time may have some hosts anxious about throwing a summer soirée to remember, but fun is sure to be had if hosts remember to include the following backyard barbecue essentials this Independence Day.

Food

No Fourth of July barbecue is complete without food, so hosts should be sure to stock up on popular barbecue fare like hot dogs and hamburgers. Though such foods likely won’t be mistaken for gourmet fare anytime soon, Fourth of July revelers often embrace the tradition of grilling up some hot dogs and hamburgers even if they tend to avoid such foods throughout the rest of the year. Hosts should not feel pressured to provide gourmet fare on July 4th, but it is a thoughtful gesture to ask guests in advance if they have any food allergies or need to avoid certain foods for other reasons.

Beverages

It goes without saying that guests will need refreshing beverages at parties held in early July, but be sure to stock up on a variety of beverages so guests are not forced to consume drinks they don’t want. Be sure to have plenty of water available to guests, and provide sodas, iced tea and lemonade as well. Offer alcoholic beverages to adult guests, but don’t go overboard stocking up on alcohol, as that might encourage guests to overindulge.

Games

Backyard barbecues are most fun when guests are entertained, so plan to have some games available for guests of all ages. Encourage guests to bring a change of clothes or swimsuits if games will involve water or something that might soil their clothing. If you have a pool, purchase some pool games so swimmers can do more than just wade in the water or take a few laps. Plan a Wiffle® ball game for kids and dig some horseshoe pits or buy a ring toss set so adults can engage in some friendly competition as well.

Safety

Though no one wants to think of a 4th of July celebration taking a turn for the worst, hosts must prepare for emergencies. Restock the first-aid kit if necessary and keep a constant eye on guests, especially children, to ensure everyone is having a safe and happy time. Program a list of local taxi companies into your phone so you can easily call for transportation should any guests have too much to drink during the festivities. Hosts should abstain from alcohol so they can serve as designated driver should the need arise at the end of the night.

Backyard barbecues are a staple of July 4th, and there’s no reason your summer soirée can’t be one to remember for years to come.

TF156255

A Perfect Mother’s Day in Three Simple Steps

It’s the things that she seems to do so effortlessly that make a Mom special: the encouraging words at the perfect time, the small affectionate gesture when you need it most, the thoughtful advice that only she could provide.

This Mother’s Day, follow these three simple steps to show Mom how much you love her and appreciate all that she does.

1. Share A Kind Word.

She is the one who always reminded you to say “thank you” – this Mother’s Day, show her you were listening and put pen to paper and capture a few words from the heart. Whether it’s a beautiful card or a simple heartfelt letter, your mother will treasure the personalized sentiment.

2. Find a Gift as Meaningful as it is Beautiful.

Jewelry is a popular way to express love and admiration – making it an ideal Mother’s Day gift. If you’re not sure where to start, a trusted jeweler can help you find something Mom is sure to treasure. For example, at Jared the Galleria of Jewelry, experts take the time to work with each customer to select the right piece for every occasion and recipient.

This Mother’s Day you can celebrate the most important milestones of the past year with a piece of jewelry, such as one from the Brilliant Moments collection featuring hand-selected diamonds; show your appreciation for her impeccable style with a gift from the popular Le Vian collection, which features rare and exotic diamonds and gems from around the world; or, for an even more personalized gift, check out the Pandora collection where you can create a unique piece or gift set.

“It was such a pleasant surprise, and caught me completely off guard in the best way possible. It made Mother’s Day truly unforgettable,” said Daisy Teh of “The It Mom” after receiving a diamond necklace from Jared’s Brilliant Moments collection, “Having this necklace, with all that it means in our lives, is something that will always remind me of all the love that surrounds us.”

For some additional gifting inspiration, visit the Jared, Mother’s Day gift guide.

3. Remember the Little Things.

Treat mom to a day of relaxation – whether that means cooking her favorite meal or checking a few chores off her to-do list yourself. Mom is always there to do the little things for us, so on her day, do those little things for her.

With a few words from the heart, a meaningful gift and a small gesture of kindness and appreciation you can give her the Mother’s Day she deserves.

(StatePoint)

10 Romantic Films for Valentine’s Day

Many people feel the best way to celebrate Valentine’s Day is to enjoy an evening at home with the one they love. A quiet dinner followed by a romantic movie can make for a relaxing, memorable Valentine’s Day.
Romantic films pluck at the heartstrings and leave few dry eyes in the house. This genre has produced many unforgettable moments in film. While many people have their go-to romantic films, it can be fun to rethink those preferences and watch something new. The following are just some of the films dubbed “the most romantic movies” by sources such as AMC, TimeOut magazine, Rotten Tomatoes, and Flavorwire.

• Beauty and the Beast (1991): This animated classic tells the tale of a prince who is disfigured into a beast to outwardly represent his internal ugliness. Only true love can break the spell, which seems unlikely until the lovely Belle comes into the Beast’s life. Fans of the animated film will have another opportunity to fall in love again with the live-action retelling of the story set for release in March 2017.

• Once (2007): A modern-day busker in Dublin has a chance meeting with a Czech immigrant. The two begin to collaborate musically and a romance blossoms. The film features musician Glen Hansard and his Irish band “The Frames.”

• Say Anything (1989): In a tale of first love, Lloyd seeks to capture the heart of Diane, who is an unattainable high school beauty. The movie includes a now-famous pivotal scene when Lloyd holds up a boombox playing Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes.”

• The Notebook (2004): Based on Nicholas Sparks’ novel of the same name, this modern cult classic is set in 1940s South Carolina. The movie is the tale of a poor man who falls in love with a rich young woman, only to be separated by their social differences. However, true love ultimately prevails in the end.

• When Harry Met Sally (1989): Close friends Harry and Sally have known each other for years and ponder if engaging in an intimate relationship would ruin the friendship.

• Gone With the Wind (1939): This sweeping epic is set in the antebellum south during the American Civil War. The story of Scarlett O’Hara’s tangled love affairs has been popular with film fans for nearly 80 years.

• Sense and Sensibility (1995): This film is a dramatic interpretation of Jane Austen’s novel published in 1811. Sudden financial struggles force the Dashwood sisters to move to a distant cottage. Locals develop romantic feelings for the ladies in this story that is considered an early example of the romantic novels of today.

• Roman Holiday (1953): A European princess is disillusioned with her life and needs an escape. She takes off for a night in Rome and meets an American reporter, who first thinks he can get the exclusive scoop on the runaway princess. However, romance soon gets in the way of that plan.

• The Princess Bride (1987): Wesley and Buttercup begin with a tumultuous servant-master relationship. But their love blooms only to have Wesley be called away, leaving Buttercup to believe he has died. The two ultimately reunite in this classic and often hilarious tale of romance.

• Casablanca (1943): A nightclub owner in Casablanca is reunited with his old flame, only to discover she is traveling with her husband. During World War II, Ilsa wants her rebel husband to escape to America, but her renewed feelings for Rick leave her struggling with what to do.

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Successfully Plan Your Holiday Escape

Millions of travelers take to the roads, rails and sky in the days surrounding major holidays. While a large percentage of people travel miles and miles to visit with friends and family members these times of year, others use days off from school and work as prime times for vacations.

Holiday excursions can be exciting, but they may require some extra planning and patience. Larger crowds at airports and more cars on the roads can make holiday-timed travel challenging. Make these trips memorable by reducing travel-related stressors.


Research thoroughly

Study your travel options to determine the best way to get from point A to point B. Weigh the cost of your trip as well as the time involved in traveling. Driving may seem like a good idea if you don’t want to stretch your budget, but it may eat up too much of your vacation time if you’re traveling long distances.

If you will be flying, learn the airline baggage restrictions and the security measures in place at your departing airports. This makes navigating the airport that much easier.

Planning well in advance also enables you to get the best prices possible. A study by CheapAir.com found that those who booked tickets for domestic travel 49 days prior to departure saved the most money.

Develop a contingency plan

Even the best laid plans can go awry. Know what to do in the event a particular rest stop or scenic spot along the way is closed or if travel plans get delayed or rerouted. Certain travel apps provide real-time updates on delays or provide gate numbers prior to arriving at the airport. Other apps indicate which gas stations have the lowest prices or which rest stops offer the cleanest bathrooms.

Take your car in for a tune-up

Drivers should make sure their vehicles are in good working condition prior to departure. More cars are on the roads during holidays, and that means a greater potential for stop-and-go traffic, which can put added stress on the vehicle. Make sure your tires are properly inflated and in good condition to avoid flats or blowouts, which can delay your trip.

Pack light

Ship gifts or keepsakes ahead of time so you do not have much to lug through airport terminals or rail stations. If you must take gifts with you, wait until you arrive at your destination before wrapping them, as this makes items easier to inspect.

If you’re going on vacation instead of just a weekend getaway, you will probably return home with more items than you brought because of gifts or souvenirs. Pack an extra tote bag or an empty carry-on suitcase where you can store extra items accumulated on the trip. Otherwise, see if these things can be shipped home. It may be cheaper to ship items than to pay airline baggage fees.

Travel off-peak

It’s often quicker and less stressful to travel during off-peak hours when roads and airports are less crowded. Off-peak hours include overnight, early morning or late evening. Red-eye flights or off-peak travel times also may be less expensive.

Travelers looking to avoid crowded roadways or airports may also want to avoid especially popular travel days, such as the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Leave a few days before a major holiday or arrive a few days after to avoid the crowds.

Travel with your own snacks

Failure to eat or drink can do more than lead to hunger pangs and dehydration. It can make the body sluggish and may affect your ability to deal with minor (or major) irritations. Pack nutritious snacks and take breaks to refuel your body.

Remember your destination

If you find holiday travel stressful, focus on the comforting thought that once you get to your destination you can kick back and relax. Do not overbook your trip and leave yourself time to unwind and decompress. TF153030