Wine Tours – Cincinnati’s Wine Scene

Have you ever been to Cincinnati?  If so, hopefully this travelogue brings back a lot of fond memories and tempts you for a return visit.  If not, let’s see if we can entice you!  Nestled along the Ohio River in the southwest corner of Ohio, Cincinnati is a diverse energetic city complete with unique geographical features and a burgeoning wine culture.

But before we help you discover all that’s great about Cincinnati, let’s take a higher level view.  Ohio, the Buckeye State, has long been part of America’s wine culture.  In fact, we were interested to learn that Ohio has numerous micro climates, with grapes grown all over the state.

Ohio Wines

Ohio is much like many other north central states.  It’s a cool climate state, and the positive effects on grape crops is notable.  There are five separate wine appelations in Ohio, producing a wide variety of interesting and award winning wines.

Known as a wine producing state since the mid 1800’s, Ohio now boasts over 80 wineries.  We’ve had the pleasure to sample wines from several Ohio wineries, and have noticed the wines tend to be crisp, fruity, and tangy.  While we lean toward Ohio white wines, it’s merely a personal preference and not intended as a slight to Ohio winemakers many fine red offerings.

You’ll find many grape and wine varieties in Ohio.  Some of the more commonly grown grapes are Riesling, Cabernet France, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, and Catawba.  No matter what part of the state you visit, you’ll find dedicated winemakers producing wines in every style imaginable.

The Queen City

Ever since we discovered Cincinnati almost 30 years ago, we’ve  kept coming back for more.  Maybe because it’s a city of unique local specialties, like Cincinnati chili and charming, vibrant neighborhoods.  Maybe because it’s a gateway city to the South, with Kentucky’s rolling hills beckoning just across the Ohio River.  Or maybe it’s because Cincinnati is a compact, friendly city that blends urban sophistication with an open, honest vibe that’s prevalent among Cincinnatians.

If you drive into Cincinnati, the first thing you’ll notice is the hilly terrain.  Cincinnati is actually built on seven hills, each with a distinct name, like Mt. Healthy and Mt. Adams.  You’ll descend from these hills off Interstates I-74 or I-71 as you make your way into the city’s heart.

An Insider’s Tour Of Cincinnati

No matter your sightseeing preferences, there’s plenty to do in Cincinnati.  Most of the attractions are unique to this city and give you a glimpse into why Cincinnati holds such an allure to visitors.  The weather was beautiful when we arrived, so we made our way to 5th and Vine downtown, the site of Cincinnati’s tallest building, the Carew Tower.

An Art Deco treasure, the Carew Tower houses offices, shops, and an outdoor observation deck affording panoramic views.  This is the best way to get a handle on Cincinnati’s unique topography.  To the south, you’ll see the Ohio River and northern Kentucky.  To the north and east sit Cincinnati’s seven hills.  To the west, you’ll see the river valleys of western Ohio and southeastern Indiana, home to many vineyards and wineries.  More on that later.

After experiencing the fresh air and striking views atop the Carew Tower, it was time to reaquaint ourselves with a Cincinnati culinary tradition – 5 way chili.

Local Delicacies Abound

Cincinnati is a foodie town, with numerous local restaurants and small local specialty chains.  Whether your tastes lean toward German, steaks, or ice cream, you’ll find a perfect fit here.  Nothing quite defines Cincinnati like chili, though.  It’s a continuous subject for debate and a tremendous source of community pride.  Not wanting to play favorites, we made a quick stop at a location for each of the two predominant chili parlors – Gold Star and Skyline.

Wherever you turn, you won’t be far from a Gold Star or Skyline outlet.  There are over 170 chili parlors in and around the city, serving up plates of 5-way chili and Coney Dogs.  5-way Cincinnati chili consists of meat, beans, cheese, onion, and spaghetti.  You haven’t lived until you’ve tried it!  We detect allspice, cumin, cocoa powder, and cinnamon.  We love both Skyline and Gold Star, but by all means, make the judgement for yourself!

 Cincinnati’s downtown is perfect for a stroll, so we walked off our chili fix in and around Fountain Square, the centerpiece of the city.  This city square is home to lunchtime music concerts and all sorts of shopping and dining destinations.  Of particular note, there’s an outlet of Graeter’s Ice Cream on the Square.  Graeter’s is as much a part of the Cincinnati culinary scene as 5-way chili, so if you’re craving a delicious inexpensive dessert, Graeter’s fits the bill.

Southwest Ohio Wine

After a relaxing one hour river cruise on the Ohio River, it was time to visit the first of four wineries in this immediate area.  First stop was a long time favorite, Henke Winery on Harrison Avenue, in the midst of residential Cincinnati.

Every time we’re in Cincinnati, Henke Winery is a must stop.  It’s a unique destination, kind of an urban oasis and a combination winery/restaurant/live music venue.  We’ve been here for dinner before, and if you visit during the week, the winery is only open after 5 p.m.

We stopped here on a late afternoon Friday and enjoyed some wine tasting during happy hour.  Henke usually offers about 15 wines,  so we settled in for a few tastes.               

First was the Riesling, a good value at $12 a bottle.  As we mentioned before, we’ve always been partial to Ohio whites.  Henke’s Riesling is just as we remembered – crisp and fruity, with a perfect balance between the two.  We tasted pear and maybe a bit of apricot in the middle and finish. 

Next, we ventured into a few lighter red selections.  The Cellar Blush and Cin Zin (loved that name) were easy drinkers and an ideal companion for the patio or deck.  Particularly interesting was the Vendage A Trois, a combination of Cabernet Sauvignon, Franc, and Merlot.  Bold and full flavored, it’s a perfect example of Ohio winemakers creativity.

Cincinnati’s Evening Scene

After leaving Henke, it was time to begin our evening in Cincinnati, always a treat for us and we’d imagine for thousands of others.  Recently, Esquire Magazine named Cincinnati as one of the “Top 10 Cities That Rock”, using the broadest sense of the word.  There’s an energy in Cincinnati, a friendliness extending to visitors and locals alike.  Eagerly, we set out for a few personal favorites, up the hill in lively, funky Mt. Adams.

Mt. Adams is actually a neighborhood.  It’s up a steep hill and overlooks downtown Cincinnati, and the views are addicting.  Years ago it was a bit tricky to find the way, but signage is now well marked and plentiful.  Parking is much easier as well, with the addition of a city parking deck that nicely blends into the unique bohemian charm and early 20th century architecture.

So Many Places, So Little Time

For us, the hardest part of visiting Mt. Adams again is finding the time to stop in all our favorites.  It’s a long list!

Our home away from home kicked off the evening.  It’s very much a locals place, and truly a hidden gem … the City View Tavern.  I first visited in 1991 on a baseball trip with my father, uncle, and cousin.  Seventeen years later, my cousin still talks it up!

City View Tavern is a small place, and quite non descript.  It’s located on Oregon Street, a residential side street away from the heart of Mt. Adams.  MapQuest it so you find your way.  When you arrive, you’ll walk through a dark corridor of sorts that leads to the small bar/grill area. 

Once there, you’ll notice two things.  First is the aroma of hefty burgers and a specialty Cincinnati sausage cooking on the grill.  Second is the outdoor deck, with a commanding view of downtown Cincinnati and the Ohio River below.  We spent the first part of our evening here, enjoying local Barrelhouse Brewing Co. beer, a burger, and a mettwurst, kind of a smokey spiced sausage that seems indiginous to Cincinnati.  If you want a true taste of real Cincinnati, don’t miss the City View Tavern! 

Mt. Adams Nightlife

From the City View, it was a slightly strenuous but pleasing walk uphill to the center of Mt. Adams.  This is an area you’ll want to stroll, shop, and enjoy the evening, even into the wee hours if you dare.  

Truth be told, you can’t go wrong wherever you pop in.  The establishments are vibrant and lively, and there’s something for everyone.  For acoustic live music on a 4 seasons patio, opt for the Blind Lemon, a treasure for over 40 years.  Right next door on Hatch Street is the Mt. Adams Bar and Grill, whose name says it all.  It’s an excellent choice for casual dinner or just appetizers and drinks.  Then, there’s the Longworth Pavillion, a night spot with rambling outdoor decks, all affording a great view of the city below.

Winery Hopping

After a nightcap at the Hofbrauhaus (see Recommendations) near our hotel, we settled in for the night, with a full day of sightseeing and winery hopping ahead.

There are so many things to do in Cincinnati, and agenda planning is a breeze.  On this visit, we enjoyed the Cincinnati Zoo (to see the fantastic white Bengal tigers), Krohn Conservatory, Newport Aquarium, and the home of William Howard Taft, our 27th President.  Cincinnati and the surrounding area are compact enough, so navigating between activities is a breeze.

We began the day with breakfast at Camp Washinton Chili, a newly remodeled Cincinnati mainstay serving marvelous inexpensive breakfasts and of course, 5 way chili.  Yes, I will admit I had Cincinnati chili for breakfast!

After enjoying the Cincinnati Zoo and Krohn Conservatory, we headed out to visit two Cincinnati area wineries – Meier’s Wine Cellars and Vinoklet Winery.

Meier’s Wine Cellars and Vinoklet Winery

Just a few minutes north of downtown sits Ohio’s oldest and largest winery, Meier’s Wine Cellars.  Many years ago, Meier’s was our introduction to Ohio wine.  Meier’s produces a full range of wines, from dessert wine, champagne, sparkling wine, and everything in between.  We settled in at the large tasting bar to reacquaint ourselves.

Our first choice was the Walleye White, a pleasant, fruity blend of three white wines.  It works well with, what else, fish.  Also recommended is the Sauternes, slightly sweet and full of fruit.

When you’re at Meier’s Wine Cellars, be sure to taste and take home some of their juice.  These non-alcoholic selections are ideal for summer time, specifically to try your hand at creating a sangria. If you can’t make it to the winery, you can find Meier’s wine at most wine/liquor outlets in Ohio.

From here, it was off to Vinoklet Winery on the north edge of the city.  The winery is situated among rolling hills, and in addition to tasting Vinoklet’s wines, you can stay for dinner in their restaurant.  We arrived late afternoon, ready to taste.

Vinoklet’s wines have won awards at several prominent wine competitions, including the Indy International and the Finger Lakes International.  Try the spicy Traminette, and Dreamer, a pleasantly drinkable semi dry white.  It was a real joy to be here, with the beautiful grounds and tasting room offering views of the surrounding area.  And if you can make it for dinner, all the better … the menu is tantalizing!

With dinner time looming, we headed back downtown for happy hour at the Montgomery Inn Boathouse, a well known restaurant famous for ribs.  The bar overlooks the Ohio River and is a convivial spot to mingle with locals.

From there, it was time for dinner at the oldest restaurant/bar in Cincinnati, Arnold’s Bar and Grill. Open since 1861, Arnold’s has an old saloon feel, and you’re comfortable just as soon as you enter the well worn front door.  If the weather is nice, have lunch or dinner in the courtyard, or stop by later in the evening for live music, never a cover charge.

Dinner is a real bargain at Arnold’s.  Everything is homemade, and the daily specials are fresh and delicious.  We started with roasted garlic, a bulb sauteed in olive oil and served with olives and pita bread.  For our entrees, we chose a tasty eggplant marinara and a grilled Greek style chicken breast sandwich, dressed with bacon and feta cheese.  When you visit, make sure to see the bathtub in the upstairs seating area … rumor has it the bathtub was used to make gin during Prohibition.

Cincinnati’s Micro Distillery

The next morning started with a stop at the Findlay Market, Cincinnati’s year around public market.  Operating since 1852, Findlay Market is where Cincinnati restaurateurs shop, as well as the general public.  Here you’ll find meat markets, cheese shops, spice stores, bakeries, and all sorts of places to have a bite to eat for breakfast or lunch.  It’s a quintessential urban shopping experience, with over two dozen indoor vendors and many more outdoor vendors in the warmer months.

After a visit to the spectacular Newport Aquarium just over the river in Kentucky, we visited Woodstone Creek Winery and Distillery, just outside downtown Cincinnati.  Woodstone Creek is Ohio’s only micro distillery and produces numerous specialty wines and small batch spirits.

Woodstone Creek is a fascinating place to visit.  Not only will you enjoy the tasting room, but there’s also an on premise art gallery.  You can shop here for handmade jewelry either before or after sampling at the classic mahogany bar.

Starting with wines, we enjoyed the Vidal Blanc, an Indy International Wine Fest medal winner.  It’s a semi dry, nicely balanced offering that pairs well with snacks or finger food.  We loved the Laureate, a rich red port, and the fun Eden, an apple dessert wine.

Although we didn’t sample, Woodstone Creek also produces an interesting array of small batch liqours like vodka, rum, and  bourbon.  We bought a bottle of the rum and bourbon and our only regret is we didn’t buy more!  This is a place that’s enjoyable for everyone, whether you imbibe or not.  Only open on Saturdays at this writing, Woodstone Creek is a lot of fun, and you’re sure to strike up a friendly conversation or even develop a new friendship.  Don’t miss Woodstone Creek on your next visit to Cincinnati.

Final Thoughts

In a way, we almost hesitate to sing the praises of Cincinnati and its special local places.  But it’d be selfish to keep it to ourselves, now wouldn’t it?  Having been here many times through the years, we feel as if we’re evangelists for Cincinnati.  The east/central location makes it readily accessible to much of the country, and if you drive, there are numerous wineries along the way, no matter what direction your origin.

Ohio is a terrific, underrated state for wine.  Cincinnati and the southwestern part of the state are just one of many wine trails to explore for wine travel lovers.  We’ll be back to Ohio in the near future, and we’ll look forward to sharing our wine and travel discoveries with you.

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Source by Jim Hofman

Convert Any Table Into A Table Tennis Table With A Table Tennis Conversion Top

When it comes to providing convenience regarding your home entertainment, versatility and space-saving options really make the most of your environment. Often, large gaming items, such as pool tables, shuffleboard or table tennis equipment can be placed in a separate game room, basement setting or large garage. To obtain all of the above and still have enough room to move around or store other items, conversion tops are a rather helpful investment to consider.

On the market, there are plenty of table tennis conversion tops that are created to fit an array of different pool table sizes. This product is great for someone who already owns a pool table or is looking to save money and space regarding future purchases. Basically, a table tennis conversion top utilizes the frame and body of a pool table so individuals may enjoy the convenience of playing the game at the drop of a hat.

A table tennis conversion top often fastens to a pool table with the use of top mounting brackets that holds both surfaces together in a firm manner. Since individuals purchase conversion tops that correspond to the size of their pool table, the fit will remove the fear of pocket interference. Below, you will find a few benefits that come with the purchase of a table tennis conversion top:

Easy Installation

The playing surface of a table tennis conversion top is designed to conveniently match the playing surface of the pool table in your home. All you need to know is the playing field measurements. A 3 1/2′ x 7′ table offers a playing field of 39″ x 78″, while a 4′ x 8′ table provides 44″ x 88″ of playing space. Commercial 4′ x 8′ tables include a playing field of 46″ x 92″ while regulation play (50″ x 100″) is found on a 4 1/2′ x 9′ table.

Added Value

When purchasing a conversion top for table tennis play, the value received is quite an advantage as you save money from purchasing an entire ping-pong apparatus for your home. When not used for play, the tabletop may serve as a sturdy counter for studying, eating and other hobbies.

Space Saving

Instead of having two separate gaming tables, pool and table tennis, you can save space by purchasing one large table and a conversion top that easily stores on top of your pool table when not in use.

Protective Covering

One of the biggest threats that a home pool table faces involves the appearance of the surface, which has a tendency to attract food crumbs and spilled beverages. With the purchase of a table tennis conversion top, you will not only expand your entertainment capabilities, but also have a convenient protective covering to increase the life of your pool table surface.

Table Tennis Conversion Top Example

An example of a table tennis conversion top includes the ultra-versatile Switch-Top model, which can transform a pool table into both a table tennis arena and hockey center. This type of tabletop package will include a net, two posts, hockey pucks and hockey handles. Ping-pong paddles and balls are often purchased separately or offered through different sets.

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Makler Heidelberg

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Source by Evert Du Toit

Going Green With Promotional Products – An Earth-Friendly Trend

Promotional products are no doubt used on quite a regular and sometimes excessive basis in terms of their production, distribution and overall quantities. And naturally, most of these items are selected with one narrow-minded, business-driven goal in mind – gaining wide exposure to lift a business’s status higher, and their success, soaring. And this popular pursuit of gaining and continuing elevated statuses through promo products is the standard.

What’s not standardized is unconventionality; items selected and given at trade shows are usually pinpointed with a mundane mindset, unless unorthodox minds are dealing with selection processes. But, of all, one this is certain about selection considerations. When most individuals are selecting promotional items for a trade show, the last concern that comes to mind is the notion of saving the earth, of being eco-friendly, or oddly enough, being that envious color, green.

Green Horizons For Promotional Decisions

Promotional products are usually run-of-the-mill, both in their composition and existence, but are also detrimental to the environment. Most are not, as mentioned, in that “gone green status.” Green promotional products are not visually distinctive through actual color, yet are categorized as “green” based on the materials used in their overall compositions. Green promotional items are ones made of earth-friendly and environmentally-conscious materials, or are specifically products veering off course from standardized not-so-earth-considerate methods, such as items utilizing heavy paper and/or plastic ingredients.

Currently, there is quite a green movement in the corporate and business realm as environmental concerns have become much more pronounced and publicly declared. An awareness is spreading and companies are taking advantage of this simply to further push the urgency of being more concerned and active in mending our wounded and polluted earth.

Making Promotional Items Green, An Easy Task

Taking a promotional item from standard to eco-friendly is not troublesome or difficult. Actually, it’s much easier than one would think, especially since the green movement is in full swing. This said, there are many options of well-designed and eco-friendly products for trade show purposes.

Eco-Friendly Promotional Options

The best thing to do as a distributer of promo items at a trade show is to not only provide eco-friendly giveaways, but also spur an instilled sense of continued environmental care though the products themselves. Saving trees by not using excessive amounts of paper and using non-plastic items are basics to start with and can easily be accomplished through correct promo item selection.

To save trees and spur continued consciousness for avoiding overuse of paper, why not give away USB flash drives and non-disposable drinkware? USB drives will cut down on already discouraging amounts of printing and will make information not only environmentally accommodating, but also compactly mobile and convenient. Make carrying information limited to a space the size of a thumb, rather than a bulky portfolio.

And by providing non-paper or plastic based cups, mugs and the like will cut down on individuals continually using and then discarding wasted drinkware items. Coffee mugs and sport bottles -made of polycarbonate materials- are great types of permanent and long-life drinkware items that can be considered to imprint and prolong a green way of thinking and doing.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

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Source by E.S. Cromwell

Tips on Preserving Ceramic Dinnerware

Dinnerware is a type of formal china setting that comprises of a salad plate, dinner plate, tea cup and saucer. Some sets have bread and butter plate. These pieces of china are very fragile items that tend to break easily. Know how to take care of these items properly.

Decide and finalize on the type of dinnerware you need. For formal occasion, porcelain or bone china is the best option. Stoneware is the type you can use every day.

You can only hand wash your antique china. Don’t put it in a dishwasher. Take note that antique china is very fragile because of its age and usage. When you hand wash, scrape off the plates, and then, wash it in sudsy, warm water dishwasher. Make sure you rinse well and allow air drying.

Put a clean sink mat or dish towel along the bottom part of the sink. This will not only pad it, it will also prevent breaking fine crystals and dinnerware.

This is the proper order of cleaning your set: glassware, dinnerware, then flatware and the pans. You can wash modern china, earthenware and stoneware inside the dishwasher.

Make sure that flatware as well as other types of metallic objects is segregated from your dinnerware. The rubbing effect of dinnerware and metals can leave gray marks.

You can remove gray marks by scrubbing it with a very mild cleanser like Bon Ami or Bar Keeper’s Friend. Steer clear of lemon-scented detergents. This can damage dinnerware.

Use the shortest cycle when washing dinnerware. Line your storage areas with cloth, paper towels or other dish protectors.

You can hang your tea cups onto hooks or you can stack them up. Make sure you place a protector in-between the cups.

Stoneware is basically sturdier. They are fired at higher temperatures just like Porcelain China. However, porcelain is noted as translucent. Kaolin, a type of white clay, is the key ingredient of porcelain china.

Similar to porcelain china and Stoneware, bone china is also fired at higher temperatures. It is extremely durable, lightweight and thin. Corelleware, on the other hand, is a durable glass-based American dinnerware. It is popular because of its low weight, durability and microwaveable features.

When heating food inside the microwave, on no account should you use metallic trimmed type of dinnerware. Furthermore, fine china settings include a salad plate, dinner plate, tea cup and saucer set as well as a bread and butter plate. For casual dinner settings, use a salad plate, dinner plate, a mug and a bowl.

Ceramic Italian Dinnerware needs proper maintenance to last a long time.

Never use your Italian ceramics for reheating or cooking purposes. On no account should you place these inside a microwave, oven or a burner. Although they were fired 2x at a temperature of no less than 1600oF, they are still prone to chipping or cracking.

Avoid any sudden change of temperature. When serving very hot liquids or foods, temper your ceramic plates with warm tap water first. It avoids cracking or thermal shock.

Although this is dishwasher safe, keep it on low heat and use only good quality detergents. Take note on where you place it inside your dishwasher. Each piece should never touch each other during the cycle.

When removing dry food and stains, place the Italian ceramic dinnerware in warm, soapy water and allow soaking for several minutes. For worst cases, you can use plastic scrubbers. Never use scouring powders or any rough materials for scrubbing.

For tea stains on hand-painted ceramics, mix 2 tablespoons of chlorine bleach with a quart of water. Soak your ceramic cups for about 1 to 2 minutes. After soaking, rinse them thoroughly but gently. For black marks from cutlery, you can remove them by using non-abrasive and good quality metal cleaner.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

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Source by David Urmann

Itchy Flaky Scalp? Try This Simple Home Remedy

Itchy flaky scalp getting you down? If you’ll give me a couple of minutes of your time I’ll show you how a simple and little known herbal remedy can get rid of your itchy flaky scalp once and for all.

An itchy flaky scalp can be caused by any number of things but often has to do with lifestyle, nutrition, infection or even an allergic reaction to the products you normally put on your hair. You see, most off-the-shelf products these days are so loaded with chemicals that in some cases they actually do more harm than good. Many anti-dandruff shampoos contain strong chemicals like Sodium Laureth Sulphate (the same ingredient used in engine degreasers), Propylene Glycol (found in antifreeze), and Silicone which is often found in leading brand conditioners and is used to add an artificial shine to your hair.

Apple Cider Vinegar is an excellent little home remedy that has been used for many, many years to get rid of an itchy flaky scalp and dandruff.

Try the following recipe:

Wash hair with a mild, pH-balanced shampoo. There’s no need to use a dandruff shampoo because the apple cider vinegar will gradually disperse and get rid of the dandruff and itchy flaky scalp problem.

Mix together the apple cider vinegar with some warm water (2 parts vinegar to one part water). By adding a few drops of essential oils such as lavender or rosemary you will help to cleanse the scalp further and add a little fragrance to your hair. (Always remember to patch test oils in case of allergies, and always consult your doctor if you are pregnant).

Pour the mixture directly on to clean hair or alternatively put it in a bottle and spray onto your scalp. Massage it in and let the mixture dry on your hair. There’s no need to rinse it out (unless the smell bothers you).

In case of more stubborn dandruff and itchy flaky scalp you can try a stronger mixture of vinegar to water, such as a one-to-one ratio. You could even try using the vinegar undiluted and applying it directly to the scalp. Leave it on for about 15 minutes and then wash the cider out with a mild, pH-balanced shampoo.

You’ll get the best results if you use raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar to treat your dandruff. If you don’t happen to have any apple cider vinegar, lemon juice can also be used instead.

Essential oils can be used to soothe the itching. Mixing together Lavender, German Chamomile and Eucalyptus Oils with water (4 parts water to 1 part oil), and applying locally to affected areas will help to relieve your itchy flaky scalp.

**Bonus Itchy Flaky Scalp Remedy**

Ok, I’m feeling kind today, so here’s an extra little home remedy for you.:)

Fenugreek seeds are excellent for getting rid of dandruff:

  • Take 2 tablespoons of fenugreek seeds and soak overnight in water
  • In the morning grind the soft seeds into a fine paste
  • Apply this paste all over scalp and leave for half an hour
  • Rinse off thoroughly with soap nut solution
  • A teaspoon of lime juice on the last rinse will work wonders

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

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Source by Anne Cresacre

Proper Engagement Party Etiquette

If you are recently engaged, someone may have mentioned the idea of an engagement party to you. Not to be confused with a bridal shower or a rehearsal dinner, engagement parties can be a fun way to celebrate the good news of your upcoming nuptials. Get prepared with this engagement party etiquette.

When to Have It:

Engagement parties typically take place very shortly after the couple has become engaged. Actually, in its most traditional form, this party is when the betrothal is publicly announced for the first time. In these days of social media, that type of “surprise” announcement is likely to be old news; however the father of the bride can still raise a toast to the engaged couple, even if everyone already knows they are planning to be wed.

Whom to Invite:

As with a bridal shower, only people that you will invite to the actual wedding should be invited to the engagement party. It is just a matter of simple etiquette. It is not polite to ask people to come make a fuss over you for getting the ring, but not include them in the main event (the actual wedding). For this reason, the party should not be scheduled until you have roughed out the guest list for the wedding reception. By the way, engagement parties can be as large or small as you like, so just because someone will be invited to the wedding doesn’t necessarily mean they will be asked to all of the pre-wedding parties. It depends on your relationship with them and whether or not they live nearby.

What Happens at the Party:

A betrothal party is not terribly different than any other gathering, expect for the toast from the bride’s father. It may be that a few other people will also be inspired to stand up and give their best wishes to the happy couple, although it is not mandatory. Given the celebratory nature of the event, you will likely want to have champagne on hand. But besides that, it is pretty much just a nice cocktail party, garden party, or barbeque, depending on the style of gathering you most enjoy. If the engagement has actually been kept a secret until that point, then people are just invited to a party, and the groom can give his fiancee her wedding jewelry engagement ring at the celebration.

Will There Be Gifts?

Officially, the answer is no. The bridal shower is the pre-wedding party that centers around presents. There may be some folks who feel moved to give the happy couple a little something, but nothing is required other than good wishes. If the father of the bride wishes to give his daughter a special piece of jewelry for the wedding during the party, he can do so when he gives his toast. Brides sometimes ask if they should set up a gift registry for their engagement party. Since it is not technically a gift-giving occasion, it would not be proper to create an “engagement registry”. That said, there is nothing to stop you from making your bridal registry before the party; if people feel the urge to give you something from the registry, that is their choice. Be sure to send a thank you note for any gifts that are received.

Once your engagement party has taken place, you will officially be in full wedding planning mode. It is an exciting time, so try to enjoy it!

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

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Source by Bridget Mora

Ladies’ Watches – Fashion Meets Function

Historically, ladies’ watches have posed the greater challenge to watch makers, partly in finding a design that appeals to women, and partly in manufacturing a watch that would not overwhelm a woman’s wrist. For women who prefer a chunky, functional sports watch, this is not such a problem, but when designing watches to be worn as fashion items as well as timekeepers, many complications had to be surrendered to reduce the space that the movement took up.

This could be why, for the most part, ladies’ watches over the years have developed into clean, simple designs that focus on the elegance that a watch can possess as it sits on a wrist. While men’s watches developed variations and additions to chronograph functions, the features of a ladies watch remained much the same. Changes were instead made to the shape of the dial and case, and to colours for the wrist strap and dial itself.

Ladies’ fashion watches come in two types. There are the delicate watches produced by fashion houses themselves, which often have quartz mechanisms to allow for the small dials that they usually have. Expensive case materials and luxurious straps accent diamonds placed in the dial and the case itself. Fashion houses such as Gucci and Christian Dior sell watches like this to accompany bags, clothing, and even perfume.

The other type of ladies’ fashion watch is that made by a watch house, which contains a mechanical movement. These watches are usually slightly smaller than the men’s ranges to account for women’s more delicate wrist. Size is dictated to a certain degree by the movement placed inside the watch, and so the biggest difference between a men’s watch and a ladies watch will often be the materials and dial.

For example, Rolex’s ladies’ watches often have diamonds embedded in the case surrounding the dial, which can turn an ordinary-looking watch into something fit to be worn at the most prestigious of occasions. Cartier watches have a fine balance between simplicity and extravagance. Although diamonds are often seen as the symbol of luxury, many Cartier watches have few or no diamonds at all. Instead, the square dial in a gold or white gold case shows tasteful refinement, and is instantly recognisable as the brand it is.

Jewellery watches, as may be gathered from the name, are like a bracelet that  can tell the time; something to be proudly displayed at parties. They are usually encrusted with diamonds, a dress watch to be worn on special occasions only. Jewellery watches are now often described as ‘bling’ watches, as their great cost makes them a statement of wealth as much as taste.

Making a ladies’ watch has often been considered a challenge, but as watch movements have developed and become smaller over time, this challenge has eased somewhat. It is now possible to buy a ladies’ watch from all major watch houses that will flatter the wrist and complement an evening outfit.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

Schnell, zuverlässig und kompetent


Source by Jemma Hill

A Diamond’s Four "C’s"

Diamonds are a woman’s best friends. There is something about this stone that makes it one of the most coveted gems. The desirability of this gem probably stems from its beauty, rarity and the expensive price that comes along with it.

It has been a tradition, up to recently, to give a diamond ring as an engagement present. It was in Austria where this practice started when the Archduke Maximilian gave a diamond ring to his beloved Mary of Burgundy during their engagement. This practice has been carried on up to this day and the diamond has become a representation of unconquerable love to last forever.

A diamond’s 4Cs are very important considerations when you plan to purchase diamonds. We are well aware that a diamond comes with a hefty price tag and can be considered a valuable investment. Armed with the necessary know-how in buying these gems will ensure that we get our money’s worth.

The diamond’s CUT is responsible for its shine and sparkle and it accounts for 40% of the diamond’s price. The diamond’s light dispersing and light reflecting properties determines if it has a good cut. When light passes through a diamond, it can break this off into the rainbow’s colors. How the diamond’s facets or sides are cut, shaped and polished can have a significant effect on its brilliance and in creating an exquisitely crafted stone. Over the years, diamond cutters have developed mathematical formulas for precision cuts and have discovered various cuts that give off the best brilliance. The brilliant cut, which has 58 facets, is one of the most popular. Your chosen cut will all boil down to personal taste and preference.

The COLOR of a diamond can start anywhere from totally colorless, to those with a slight hint of yellow or even a slight brown touch. Colored diamonds are also available in green, pink, brown, purple, black, blue and red colors (red being very rare). The scarcity of the color also determines the diamond’s value. In order to see the diamond’s actual color, it is best viewed under white or neutral light. The diamond’s setting can also have an impact on its appearing color. For instance, a yellowish diamond may appear somewhat colorless in a yellow gold setting but may not appear as such when placed in a white gold setting.

A diamond’s CLARITY refers to what extent the diamond is free from certain inclusions like air bubbles, fissures, cracks, scratches, cloudy appearance and other substances. The type of inclusions, their number, where they lie and how visible they are can affect a diamond’s value. Rare are the diamonds that have no flaws or imperfections in them and of course they come with the right price as well. The clarity of a diamond can be flawless, internally flawless, very, very small inclusions, very small inclusions, small inclusions and imperfect. Carat refers to the size or the weight of the diamond. A carat is actually divided into “points” with a carat having one hundred segments or one hundred points. The carat of a diamond has a significant impact on its value.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

Schnell, zuverlässig und kompetent


Source by Michael Russell

Wedding Invitations

A way to cut costs for my wedding was on the invitations. I didn’t really think of this until my husband reminded me that people will either:

1. Lose them

2. Will eventually throw them out after the wedding.

When you think about it, no one really cares about what the invitations look like. Out of all the weddings you have been to can you remember one or still have it? I am guessing the answer is no.

I have been invited to weddings were the invitations were quite plain but they really only serve one purpose. They are for telling people your getting married and to be here at this time and date and rsvp by this date.

If you endless amounts of money then of course spend $10 an invitation if you want but for most of us we want to have our dream wedding without breaking the bank.

I picked up my invitations for AU $0.95 each.

This included the invitation basics on it and envelopes. All I had to do was write on their names & rsvp date for the invitations and that was it. Very simple and easy.

To make them look fancier I added a magnet onto the back of the invitation so my guests could put it on the fridge and not throw it in a draw and get lost. These cost about $10 from eBay for 100 of them.

The envelope was plain on the outside but I bought small heart stickers from eBay for $2.50 for 100 and placed one on the top left hand corner on the front.

I also bought bigger square cherub stickers (to match the invitations) to act as a seal on the back. These cost about $5.00 for 100 again from Ebay.

I wrote on the envelope and invitation in gold pen which cost me $2.00.

To save extra money I did not send a rsvp card with it. I did not have any complaints from guests as there were just as happy to send through an email or phone instead of taking the effort to post something back.

I have helped my cousin plan her wedding and she had rsvp cards with her invitations. They cost her about $2.00 each and out of 100 guests she only received 5 back. What a waste!

In this day and age the normal traditional wedding guidelines don’t always get followed as we decide how we want our wedding to run.

Another tip I learnt from other weddings is that when people arrive at the wedding place at a certain time which is great and was outlined on the invitations. If they need to drive somewhere else or change locations people get confused and have no idea.

The same thing happened to my husband and I. We actually got lost going from the chapel to the reception and we were an hour late and there were also other people that were later as we had no clue as to where we were supposed to be.

I am a very organised people and the 2 weddings I went to were unorganised and we all stood around going where do we go, when is dinner etc

A great idea is to add a note on how the day will plan out. use it as a running sheet so people can relax. I sent this plain piece of cream paper with my invitations to tell people exactly where, when and what they need to do on the day so everyone knew what was going on. I also put the afternoon outline, I put directions to the wedding venue, accommodation details, wishing well poem and the contact details for rsvp.

It made me feel stress free knowing that no-one had an excuse of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I have been invited to one wedding this year exactly a month after mine and I received the invitation 2 weeks before. We had know the date & that it was local but other than that we had no idea what gift they wanted, what time it started so we could arrange a babysitter.

As much as invitations are a pain and take time you need to give people at least 2 months notice and even more for interstate or overseas guests so they can arrange flights and accommodation.

In saying that, I made a huge mistake with sending my invitations out too early. I sent my overseas & interstate guests their invitation 10 months before our wedding.

The local ones in about July/September. What a big ordeal…. Due to me having to have everything organised, I had people pulling out 3 weeks before the wedding.

This was a major pain as the venue needed final numbers & full payment 3 weeks before the wedding date. So we had already paid for 90 guests and gave the venue the numbers. Then after this for the next 3 weeks we had 20 people pull out & said they couldn’t come.

I was sooo mad and frustrated. Eventually we needed to call on people who were reserves just to fill seats so we didn’t have gaps everywhere and waste money.

If I had my time over again I would not send them out so early 2 months before is fine.

There is a wedding on the 22nd of September and we only found out we were invited by a friend of the bride on the 27th of August.

It is now 2 weeks before the wedding and we have no idea where it is or what time it starts. We had to rsvp to the friend that told us…once again this to me is slack and makes everyone involved stressed and frustrated.

Tip: If you think people will rsvp on the date you write on the invitations then think again. I had the rsvp date for 2 months before the wedding and I was still chasing people up about 1 month after that to see whether they were coming.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

1. Keep invitation costs to a bare minimum

2. Use eBay to purchase extras to make them look better

3. Try & add a fact sheet to avoid people being late or mucking up your plans

4. Give guests enough time but not too much time to receive and reply to the invitation dates

I can give you an exact amount on what I spend for 100 invitations:

Invites + Envelopes = AU $95.00

Gold Pen = AU $2.00

Magnets = AU $10.00

Cherub Stickers = AU $5.00

Heart Stickers = AU $2.50

Total Spent = AU $114.50

If you have already began looking you can see that some invitations start as high as $2.00 a piece.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

Schnell, zuverlässig und kompetent


Source by Melissa Hills

Free Gift Card Fraud

Recently the Federal Trade Commission cracked down on free gift card scammers and their spammer affiliates. The settlement was done for $2.5 million and the offer companies promised not to get involved in scamming people again with false $1000 gift card promises that they never delivered.

What they have done wrong:

First of all they didn’t deliver on their promises. No one ever got that $1000 Walmart gift card. Even those who went through the qualifying process never received any cards.

Second, instead of using this database of leads they built in their own marketing of related offers they sold the private information of their customers (or should I say victims) to third-party marketing companies without permission.

What you should know as a consumer:

As a consumer you need to know that those 6 companies/individuals involved in this law suit are not the only ones in the business, and you are still going to receive some more offers from companies and individuals who might be located in a different country where you are not protected.

Also you need to know that not all free gift card offers are scams. Some are legit and they are compensations for your efforts rather than a draw that no one ever wins.

Another thing you should know is that affiliates (the army of freelance marketers who spam your email with those offers) are not all spammers or pure evil. They are individuals who are trying to survive and make money on the Internet because in some cases they have no other choice. Also not all of them use spam as a marketing method. Some are honest and clear about what to expect from those offers and they wait for you to land on their websites instead of spamming your email with unwanted offers.

How to spot the scam in the offer:

1. Some offers are pure scams and they scream it out loud, just use common sense. For example there are offers of a “Visa gift card” to use in Costco. Given that Costco only accepts cash, debit, and Amex (no Visa) you don’t need to think twice.

2. When the offer is too good to be true most probably it is. No one is going to give away $1000 for nothing in return unless they are doing money laundry.

3. Never give your sensitive personal data on a free gift card offer. There is no reason for the gift card offering company to collect social security numbers or dates of birth. All what they need is your name, address to send the card, and a phone number to contact you.

4. Look for the contact information on the site and call them first before you participate. Make sure the company really exists and it is located in the territories in which you can sue them if they don’t deliver.

5. In some offers you are required to respond to some free trials (you pay shipping and handling). If those are things you don’t really need or want then don’t. And treat every single offer as a different company because it is. Call them and make sure they have customer service and they are located within your legal power territory.

What to do when you identify a scam free git card offer:

1. First contact the Federal Trade Commission and report it. They’ll be more than happy to know.

2. If you receive those offers in the email don’t respond or open those emails. If the spammers make money from spam they’ll keep doing it. Let it cost them an arm and a leg without any return from you. Eventually they’ll find some other way and leave the spam altogether.

3. If you find this offer on a website leave a comment and let other readers, and the webmaster, know about your experience with this offer. Most probably the webmaster will delete that offer or replace it. You can also warn your friends by email and on social media. Just be specific and don’t ruin it for other honest marketers by generalizing the accusations.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

Schnell, zuverlässig und kompetent


Source by Yahia Magraby

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