Royal Caribbean International: Allure of the Seas

The Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas is truly an amazing cruise ship that aims to captivate guests with first class services and establishments. This new cruise ship also features the first Starbucks at sea, the hit wonder Chicago Musical, and ever creative DreamWorks Experience in which your favorite animated characters are along board. If you are looking for a place to dine in, then it’s best to visit Rita’s Cantina and Samba Grill Brazilian Steakhouse. Also, if you want Quality time with your family, you can always visit the Boardwalk, Aqua Theater, and Central Park. Everything you need is right in this cruise ship.

Rest and Relaxation

There are plenty of stuffs to do while you are boarding The Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas. In case you want to unwind and relax, one can visit the Spa and Fitness center.

· Visit the renowned Vitality Spa wherein one could choose unique treatment programs such as medi-spa treatments and acupuncture.

· If you are health conscious then the Fitness Center will accommodate your needs.

· Central Park – features an open-air garden with BRITTO Gallery, Coach Store, and bistros.

· New Library to educate feed your thoughts and a Card room to socialize.

· Go on a splash! There are 4 pools including the Solarium and 10 whirlpools wherein 2 are distinct because it’s overlooking the sea.

· Clubs and Lounges for you to chill out.

Action and Adventure

This impressive cruise ship offers every family distinctive action and adventure activities. If you want to get thrilled then you must not miss these highlights:

· 2 well-known Flow Rider surf simulator and Rock-climbing walls.

· Zip line – measures 9 decks in the air and 82 feet diagonally.

· A full-sized basketball field and boxing ring

· Ice-skating Arena

· Compact Golf Course

· Distinctive Handcrafted Carousel

Dining Information

The cruise ship is packed with exquisite cuisine in which families can truly enjoy. The ship offer multi-course dining for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There are also other dining options that families could choose from.

· Main Dining Room which serves daily meals for every families and guests.

· 13 other dining options including Windjammer Café, Park Café, Boardwalk Dog House and it features room service.

· First ever Starbucks at sea

· New restaurants including The Cupcake Cupboard – classic connoisseur bakery and serve 30 unique cupcakes.

· Casual dining at Johnny Rockets, Cupcake Cupboard, and many more.

· Specialty cafeterias like Chops Grille steakhouse, 150 Central Park, Giovanni’s Table Italian Restaurant, and Samba Grill Brazilian Steakhouse offer menus at a low price fee.

· Izumi Asian Cuisine for sushi bar selection and a la carte style. Vintages Wine Bar that serves exquisite wines.

· NEW Central Park Dining Package at $70 per guest.

· NEW Chef’s Dining Package at $130 per guest.

· NEW Choice Dining Package at $80 per guest.

Kids and Families

A family getaway is not complete without overall enjoyment. Allure of the Seas presents the spectacular DreamWorks Experience that features cartoon characters, parades, story time and parties.

Here are other highlights:

· Award-winning Adventure Ocean Youth Program. This program is indeed very essential for your youngsters for educational and fun purposes.

· Royal Babies and Royal Tots especially prepared for your toddlers and it features Fisher Price activities.

· Royal Babies & Tots Nursery

· Family-friendly Activities – This includes instructional classes and lectures, challenges and competitions, and many more.

· H20 Zone – kiddies water park

· 3D Movie Theater

· Adventure Beach kiddy pool with water slide.

· Lounge Areas and Disco – Exclusive for your Teens.

Entertainment and Shopping

If you are looking for entertain then the Broadway hit musical Chicago, Aqua Theater shows, ice shows and other live entertainments will definitely suit your preferences. Furthermore, here are other important highlights of the Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas:

· Broadway Hit Musical Chicago – If you like musical then this group will truly entertain you.

· Aqua Theater shows and other live entertainment

· Casino Royale – has an area of 18,000 sq. foot and it accommodates 456 slots and 27 tables.

· Entertainment clubs and lounges -this includes karaoke and comedy bar, jazz club, as well as live performances.

· Surf’s Up Party – A restaurant that offers guests beverages and serves popular dishes.

· Central Park and Royal Promenade-the shopping center; store includes Duty Free, Coach, BRITTO Gallery, etc.

· NEW Rita’s Fiesta – reservation-only themed party and it features exquisite dishes and non-alcoholic beverages.

· NEW Prohibition Party – reservation-only 1920’s themed celebration. It features jazz age outfits.

Set sail and enjoy life to the fullest. The Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas first-class service will surely satisfy your needs.

Source by Jeemar Mel Pepino Vilan

Look Who Wants to Give You a Birthday Present!

Happy Spring! At the time I am writing this article, my birthday is just a few days away! Did you know that many restaurants now offer Birthday freebies? I hope that you will enjoy this list of freebies that you can get on your birthday! I can’t wait to enjoy mine!

*Rita’s Italian Ice-sign up for their e-Club and they will email you a coupon for a FREE Italian Ice on your birthday.

*Jason’s Deli- Join the Real Good e-List and they will email you a coupon for $5 off any purchase on your birthday.

*Ruby Tuesday-sign up for their e-Club and they will email you a coupon for a FREE Handcrafted Burger on your birthday.

*Denny’s – Join Denny’s Rewards to receive a Free Grand Slam Breakfast on your birthday,

*Chili’s-Join the Chili’s e-Club for a Free brownie sundae with entree purchase on your birthday.

*Auntie Anne’s Pretzels-Join Pretzel Perks for a special birthday surprise.

*Firehouse Subs-Show a valid ID to receive a Free medium sub on your birthday.

*Baskin Robbins-Join the Baskin Robbins Birthday Club to receive a free 2.5 oz. scoop on your birthday.

*Moe’s- Sign up for the Moe’s e-World list and they will email you a coupon for a Free entrée (excluding fajitas)

*Red Robin-Join the e-Club and they will send you a coupon for a Free Burger on your birthday.

*Arby’s-Become an Arby’ Extras Member and receive a coupon for a Free 12 oz. shake with any purchase on your special day.

*T.G.I.Friday’s-Join the Give Me More Stripes Club to receive a Free dessert with entrée purchase.

*Outback Steakhouse-Join My Outback Rewards for a Free Bloomin’ Onion with Photo ID.

*The Melting Pot Fondue Restaurant-Join Club Fondue for a Free dessert fondue for two.

*Qdoba-Join the Qdoba Rewards Program for a buy one get one Free entree coupon.

*Starbucks-Register a Starbucks gift card and you will receive a coupon for a FREE beverage.

*Bob Evans-Join the e-Club for a Free dessert on your birthday.

*Logan’s Roadhouse-Join the Nut E Club for a complimentary Nutter Butter Fudge Slide with purchase of any entree.

*Dairy Queen-Join the e-Club for a Free 16 oz. Blizzard with the purchase of a 16 oz. Blizzard on your birthday.

*First Watch-Join the Sun e-Club and receive a Free entree for your birthday.

*Red Lobster-Join the Fresh Catch Club and receive a coupon for $5 off any 2 Adult entrees.

*Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream-Free Ice Cream on your birthday when you become a Chunk Spelunker

*Coldstone Creamery-Free Ice Cream creation on your birthday.

*Applebee’s-sign up for Applebee’s emails to receive a Free dessert on your birthday.

*Dunkin Donuts-Join the Dunkin’ Perks program for a Free medium beverage on your birthday.

*Joe’s Crab Shack-Stop by for a free piece of cake on your birthday.

*Maggiano’s- Join the Maggiano’s e-Club and receive a discount coupon valid towards your meal purchase.

*Romano’s Macaroni Grill-Join the Macaroni Grill e-Club for a Free Dessert on your birthday.

*Bruegger’s-Join Fresh News for Bruegger’s to receive a special surprise for your birthday.

*Lone Star Steakhouse-Join the Western Hospitality e-Club for a Free dessert on your birthday.

*The Spaghetti Warehouse-Join the e-Club and receive a coupon for a Free Spaghetti dinner on your birthday.

*Village Inn-Join the e-Club for a special birthday surprise.

Source by Heather Brickell

5 Ways to Leverage Your Personal Brand For Greater Career Success

How to differentiate yourself from peers and competitors is the question, and personal branding is the answer. Here are five key insights into why individual executives need to discover and market their own personal brands – just as large organizations must market their corporate brands.

#1 Success Today Demands a Magnetic Brand

The global economy has drastically altered our employment landscape and new rules apply. Even top professional jobs are unstable, so high achievers have to stay on the innovative edge of career opportunities. Today it is common for executives to change jobs every several years – not every few decades – because of lay-offs, downsizing, or the desire to work in a different and more exciting and rewarding environment.

Highly successful leaders and high achievers are now managing their own careers by discovering and leveraging a personal brand to attract greater business opportunities and career progress. Those who understand how to use this innovative business tool become the hunted – not the hunter – as they are actively sought out and courted for prized positions and leadership roles.

#2 Why Personal Branding Works

Large corporations like Starbucks spend millions of dollars to instill and nurture strong brand loyalty by communicating clear, concise, consistent advertising messages about their unique promise of value. Otherwise why do we spend top dollar on a cup of coffee at Starbucks when we could stop by McDonalds and pick up a caffeine boost at a bargain price?

It’s because we will pay a premium to identify with their brand – which encompasses a great store ambiance, specialty coffees, and that inviting and innovative cultural and social place where we can meet and mingle. We spend more in order to get more – which means we expect to be served not just a cup of java but also the emotional feeling and experience conveyed through their carefully crafted brand.

Personal branding utilizes the same principles of brand marketing to help professionals discover their authenticity and unique promise of value. As a personal branding strategist I tell my clients it’s like discovering your true self and then communicating it to a selective group of people so that you become the highly sought after celebrity within your area of expertise. Professionals typically only need to market their unique brand to a very selective and influential group of superiors, human resource professionals, or competitors in order to get “A-listed” on the “fast-track” to greater success. The rest happens automatically as people beat a path to your door.

#3 The Mirror Principle: Discover and Know Thyself

One of the most innovative business tools I utilize with my clients to help them discover their personal brand is the 360 Reach Assessment tool. Unlike other corporate 360 assessments, this particular branding tool allows you to receive anonymous feedback from your friends, family, colleagues, and peers – and get a true picture of how they perceive your brand attributes.

This allows you to discover and get to know not only yourself, but how others around you perceive you. Every successful professional understands that knowledge is power. This is also a great tool to enhance self confidence, because it really helps you to focus on where you can honestly claim your strengths – understanding that they are in your true essence. I coach my clients to focus on those personal strengths – unlike the approach taken by typical corporate assessments that place more emphasis on areas of weakness that may need improvement.

It’s important to discover your true self, but it is also powerful to understand and know how you are held in the hearts and minds of others. Your brand and reputation is identical. Are you communicating your brand message in a clear and concise way so that others perceive you the same way you perceive yourself? Participate in a 360 Reach Assessment process with a qualified brand and image strategist and you’ll discover new ways to market yourself in this new decade.

#4 Strong Brands are Never Stagnant

Once you have discovered your personal brand it may evolve and change as you mature in your position or change career directions. The best brands take on a life of their own over time.

Perhaps the three to five brand attributes that you marketed for a certain position in one firm may need to be slightly adapted to attract a new position in a different industry. You always want to stay true to your authentic self and your values, but you will find that your 360 Reach Assessment will give you numerous strengths that you can pull from in a flexible, adaptable way.

So always tailor your personal brand to the “targeted” messages that your new audience may need to hear. If you currently work in a creative field, for example, then being “avant-garde, creative, and quirky” may be a great brand persona. But if you find yourself later seeking employment in a more conservative industry, you may want to choose descriptors that resonate more with a traditional audience – such as “innovative, creative, self-starter.” A certified brand strategist can coach you to select the right brand attributes to create the desired brand message.

#5 The Exponential Benefits of Personal Branding

When high achievers and executives discover and understand their unique brand promise of value – and start to exude it – they begin to stand out from their peers and competitors. Since they understand and appreciate what makes them different, they also know what they can uniquely offer to an organization to leverage their employment status.

Here are a few benefits that accrue from using personal branding in a corporate environment:

  • Be memorable and command higher salaries as a valued asset to the organization.
  • Extend your brand by accepting new developmental experiences to provide personal growth and stretch your brand attributes – giving you a leading edge over your peers as you become more conceptual in your decision making and skill-gathering.
  • Survive economic downsizing by marketing your brand attributes to key people to strategically ensure you are on the new “must-have” list
  • Attract top talent to join your team as people begin to really understand your strengths, values and leadership vision.
  • Leverage your strengths to become flexible and embrace changes that allow you to survive a tumultuous employment situation.
  • Become better focused on understanding your ultimate goals and vision so that you start to make much better long-term career decisions.

This personal branding process is a must-have business tool for today’s professionals. Employers and companies expect it of those who are high achievers desirous of career advancement, so learn to understand your own brand essence and you can control your own destiny.

Source by Sarah Hathorn

Bridal Shower Ideas – 10 Door Prize Ideas For a Wedding Shower

As you search different bridal shower ideas, remember that your guests will be just as excited about the door prizes as they are about being involved in the pre-wedding celebrations. They will be anticipating with curiosity what wedding shower favors and game prizes you will be handing out. Most people will be happy to receive anything, but it is always nice to give something that will be appreciated and enjoyed. The general rule of thumb is to select bridal shower door prizes that you would want to receive yourself. Here are ten door prize ideas, both inexpensive and pricier, for bridal showers.

If you would like everyone to get a prize or bridal shower favor, then you will probably want to choose one of these inexpensive favor ideas.

Inexpensive door prizes:

  1. Makeup, such as lipstick or kits in the same colors as your decorations. Think pink lipstick for a pink and brown party.
  2. Fun or romantic candles. If the wedding will have a beach theme, you can even get flip flop shaped candles.
  3. Soaps that fit your bridal shower theme. For example, you can get ‘perfect pair’ soaps for that theme.
  4. Lotions in the colors of your theme
  5. Picture frames. You could even take pictures on the day to put in the frame right away.
  6. Purse hooks. Every woman needs a purse hook for restaurants or clubs, and we rarely have one.
  7. Small mirror compacts. These can be personalized as well, for very little money.
  8. Personalized candy or chocolates. Classic mint tins or favor boxes with chocolates are always popular.
  9. Personalized book marks. These can be purchased in many theme shapes.
  10. Gift cards to places such as Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks

If you are planning to just give out one large door prize, and you can afford it, then select something from the list of expensive prizes.

More expensive door prizes:

  1. Movie tickets. A pair of movie tickets can also be combined with a dinner gift card.
  2. Restaurant gift card for a nice restaurant locally.
  3. Champagne or wine. You could also combine this with chocolate or candles for romance.
  4. Gift baskets with spa products or food. Select different lotions, bath salts and soaps; or collect gourmet wine, cheese and crackers.
  5. Spa certificates. A gift card to a spa works well if everyone is local to where the spa is located.
  6. Personalized manicure sets. Depending on what you choose, this can also be an inexpensive favor that you give to everyone.
  7. Jewelry, such as small bracelets. There are pretty silk pouches that you can put a cute bracelet or earrings in, so long as you have all girls at your shower.
  8. Plants or flowers, if everyone is local. Flowers can be placed in a pretty vase for a longer lasting keepsake.
  9. Box of gourmet chocolate. There is nothing quite like an expensive box of Belgian chocolates.
  10. Night at a bed and breakfast. This is a more expensive prize, but sure to be appreciated. You just have to make sure it is somewhere that anyone at the shower could take advantage of.

For the inexpensive bridal shower favors that you hand out to everyone, you can place them at each person’s seat if you are having a sit-down meal. Alternatively, you can place them on a table for your guests to take as they walk out the door.

If you are only giving out one or two bigger prizes, there are a few ways to do it. The gifts can be a prize that someone wins as part of your bridal shower games, or you could use scratch off lottery tickets. The person who gets the highest number wins the prize. A more traditional way to win is to place numbers under every seat or plate and do a drawing at the end in which you pull a number from a basket.

A great way to make sure that everyone comes away happy is to give a small, inexpensive bridal shower favor to everyone. Then give just one or two larger prizes for winners of a game or drawing. All your guests will have something to take home as a memory of the day, no one leaves empty-handed, and there is at least one person who is ecstatic!

Source by Sharyn Sheldon

How to Make Home Made Tea With Menthol Crystals

Today I’m going to be talking about making home made tea. We’ll be discussing how to make it from loose leaf tea and infuser balls. We’ll be discussing the benefit of making home made tea vs buying from tea/coffee restaurants like Starbucks or Coffee bean. We’ll be talking about what you need to buy in order to make home made tea, and the process of making it. Let’s get started.

Why make it at home? First of all, going to Starbucks and purchasing an organic black tea, every morning, is a $3 a day habit, $18 a week, $936 a year habit. That’s a ridiculous amount of money, even if you’re only drinking half of that amount, it’s still ridiculous! Making it at home is just way more efficient financially. You must also be aware of the social/cool aspect of Starbucks. There’s some validation you might be getting by going there and buying a drink, like it feels good to you. Let go of that and open your mind to other possibilities.

Another reason making home made tea is awesome is you can put whatever you want in it! Make your own concoction. My favorite thing is menthol crystals. It’s the stuff that makes gum taste so good, the cool airy-fresh flavor in mint-based stuff. It’s soothing on the throat and lungs. You can buy menthol crystals in bulk, along side loose leaf selections like organic black tea or irish breakfast tea, and put them together in an infuser ball.. Steep them for 1-2 minutes while you organize your kitchen or something before work, and you have a high quality tea for dirt cheap.

Some things you’ll need to buy are loose leaf teas like Irish breakfast tea or organic black tea. These have a decent amount of caffeine (about 30mg each). Remember, they’re dark teas so they’re essentially coffee alternatives.

Some special ways to make tea better are including non-tea ingredients in your ‘concoction’, so that’s stuff like menthol crystals, chamomile flowers, spearmint or peppermint. Makes green tea taste excellent, especially.

In conclusion, making tea at home is just way more efficient financially, and it’s also really fun, but most importantly its dynamic because you can make your own mixtures of teas and try new things. It’s really easy to get started, to be afraid of trying something new. Get some menthol crystals and some loose leaf organic black tea and have at it.

Source by Ryan Bassett

Niche Marketing in the Hospitality Industry

Welcome to our glorious capitalist society, where every entrepreneur may stay busy at whatever industry they like for as long as they wish to be industrious. Just look at those busy wheels of the marketplace turn, will you! Beautiful to watch it all go round, but when you dive in, you’ll notice that you have this little factor against which you must struggle to make your business succeed: competition.

Yes, it is kind of a kill-joy that so many of your customers have the option of taking their business somewhere else. Particularly in the hospitality field, where restaurants, bars, hotels, and casinos are so commonly found everywhere. You can compete directly, trying to outdo your competitors on either price or quality. But when that fails, a possible strategy to consider is going for a niche market.

Here, you specialize in one particular category, and profess to do that one thing well and do it exclusively. The Starbucks coffee franchise is an excellent example: They started out as a small chain of espresso shops in Seattle, Washington. That’s it, that’s all they’re known for: coffee. Although their success has helped them branch out into tea and other drinks, as well as snacks and pastry. So now they’re more of a chain of cafes mostly known for their coffee.

It is arguable that Starbucks would not have existed without the college/techie crowd. The chain became the “happening” place for college students and especially technology entrepreneurs, two groups who are known for their enthusiasm about coffee beverages. The decor and atmosphere of the earliest Starbucks stores reflects this very well: a hip, urban, sophisticated atmosphere, where you wouldn’t at all be surprised to find a poet scribbling on a legal pad, a programmer or blogger tattering away on a laptop, an artist quietly sketching the crowd, and a couple of old intellectuals playing chess at a corner table, all the while with the alternative music on the speakers providing the subtext.

Bars are a prime candidate for niche specialization. We’ve all discovered the country/western themed bar, the disco club, the working-class “fern bar”, the biker bar, the sailor bar, and the popular sports bar. Bars cater to a wide range of specialties, and there are establishments dedicated to singles, bars exclusively for the members of an alternative lifestyle to meet and mingle, or bars themed for the fans of a particular genre of music. Bars, being for recreational purposes anyway, lend themselves easily to having a theme. You also see bars marketing to an age-based niche, such as establishments themed as “speakeasies” or catering to a jazz-loving crowd. Anything from a 1950’s “sock hop” to a 1990’s “yuppie safari” can be styled with a bar.

Restaurants are another frequent candidate for niche specialties. Virtually any ethnic variety of food is represented in a restaurant somewhere. But restaurants have many more options for finding their niche than just their national identity on the menu; and so we have truck-stop diners, wine-country bed-and-breakfast inns, swanky upper-crust establishments, sidewalk cafes, family-oriented pizza parlors, and specialties like bakeries and ice-cream shops.

It could be argued that pizza, by itself, is no longer identified with Italian food. The national “Chuck E. Cheese” chain demonstrates that very well. Founded by Atari founder Nolan Bushnell in San Jose California, they knew their target market was suburban families, and so they set up a restaurant not just selling pizza, but arcades, shows, and a wide variety of entertainment aimed mostly at small children. The chain remains today as one of the few reliably family-friendly establishments to offer a viable option for a night out for the whole household. The restaurant is suburban and Americanized; you will find very little references to Italy aside from the menu.

Even hotels and casinos get in on the niche marketing action. Here, the niche marketing is less important, since these establishments are too large to not be aimed at being for everyone. Casinos especially aim for a specific theme to style everything after. A cruise of the Las Vegas strip will reveal casinos themed after an ancient Roman emperor, a Western saloon, an Egyptian pyramid, the city of Paris, the city of Venice, and so on. Many casinos now target fun for the whole family as well, and include everything from movie theaters to full scale amusement parks with rides, live shows, and attractions.

Whatever niche you pick for your own business, you should be able to understand your target audience. Think of it as a system of points. You score one point for your Asian restaurant if your menu is authentic enough that a member of that country could eat there and not know the difference. You score more points if the business is decorated with a theme of the country; for an Asian restaurant Foo dogs, Buddhas, and bamboo and water fountains are all popular touches. You score another point for your Asian theme if you offer chopsticks as an alternative utensil. And so on. Each point you can add to the score card represents one more way you can provide your niche market customer base with an authentic experience.

Source by J Stone

Healthier Alternative to the Average Cup of Coffee: Organo Gold

Organo Gold products are known for their unique and beneficial main ingredient. The top selling product of Organo Gold is its Healthy, affordable, and tasty coffee. O.G.’s coffee has a blend of roasted coffee beans and the extract of Ganoderma Lucidum. This extract has been used for centuries in China for its health benefits. Grown in the wild, our coffee is touted as a safe and natural alternative to the typical cup of coffee and it offers a plethora of health benefits.

Health Benefits provided by the Ganoderma extract:

• Supports the immune system

• Helps fight against issues of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes

• Curving your appetite promoting weight loss

• Improves blood circulation, reducing inflammation and arthritis in joints.

• Oxygenates the body, boosting stamina and reducing stress

• Improves quality of sleep

• Provides over 150 natural antioxidants, making it a natural body detoxifier

• Balances ph levels keeping your body at homeostasis making your body less susceptible to headaches, sinus infections and symptoms of the common cold.

Organo Gold has 3 different coffee flavors: Black, Latte and Mocha. All of them are infused with the 100% Ganoderma Extract. We also have Organic Green tea and Hot Chocolate that contain the same amounts of Ganoderma in them. To prepare your gourmet beverage, all you need is 8-12oz. of hot water, that’s it! You may add cream and sugar to coffee beverage as you normally would until preferred taste is achieved. Latte and Mocha are already flavored with a small amount of organic sweetener, so any additional cream and sugar added should be monitored to taste.

Price of Beverage Organo Gold National Average Starbucks

Black Coffee $1.00 $1.39 $1.87

Latte Coffee $1.50 $2.62 $2.83

Mocha Coffee $2.00 $3.20 $3.75

Hot Chocolate $2.00 $2.14 $2.41

*All sales tax included

The Price of Organo Gold is cheaper than the rest.

A box of Organic Gourmet Black Coffee cost $30.00. Each box contains 30 individual packets of coffee equaling 30 cups of coffee for the price of $1.00 a cup. Without sales tax, the avg. cup of Coffee cost $1.39. Starbucks= $1.75.

A box of Organic Gourmet Latte cost $30.00. Each box contains 20 individual packets of coffee equaling 20 cups of coffee for the price of $1.50 a cup. Without sales tax, the avg. cup of specialty coffee (Latte, Mocha, and Espresso) is $2.45 a cup. Starbucks= $2.65.

A box of Organic Gourmet Mocha cost $30.00. Each Box contains 15 individual packets of coffee equaling 15 cups of coffee for the price of $2.00 a cup. Without sales tax, Starbucks=$3.50

A box of Organic Green Tea cost $30.00. Each Box contains 25 individual packets of tea that you can use twice equaling 25 to 50 cups of tea.

A box of Organic Hot Chocolate cost $30.00. Each Box contains 15 individual packets of hot chocolate equaling 15 cups for the price of $2.00. Our Beverages are instant, therefore saving you time and their cheaper than all of the other brands of coffee, plus they taste better.

Those are retail prices. I can also get you these boxes at wholesale price if you are interested. Anyone who buys off my website gets a discount on all boxes.

Source by Tyrone Timmons

Late Night Talk Shows – Innovation, Small Business, Politics, or Economics

The other day, I was at Starbucks and I was talking to a gentleman who was quite distraught, as he was going through all of the ads in the newspaper to go find a job. He had popped into Starbucks due to the air-conditioning, grabbed himself the newspaper out of the newspaper “already read” newspaper rack, bought the cheapest coffee of the day, and pulled out his highlighter and a yellow notepad. Personally, I applaud this level of hard work to go find a job, rather than just collecting unemployment benefits. Okay so let’s talk about this shall we?

You see, the gentleman in question had run out of his unemployment benefits and therefore he is not counted in the 8.2% unemployment rate, but he is definitely out of work, and he is stressing to the max. As I talked with him and gave him suggestions of places to go to find a job on this side of our Valley, he admitted to me that he wasn’t getting much sleep that night. I told him he could always listen to late-night radio, and he told me he did, but the only really good shows on were the conspiracy theory shows, and that wasn’t doing him any good either.

He was working hard to keep his mental sanity, but what he really needed was a psychological uplift, and a way to get good sleep at night so he was sharp, motivated, and ready to go as he was looking for work during the day. The bills were piling up, and if the stress didn’t kill him, he would be homeless pushing a shopping cart soon enough. This got me to thinking that we need more late-night talk shows which are positive, things which talk about innovation, small business topics, economics, and what’s going on in the political structure.

Folks need to be able to make sense of the world, but it’s quite hard with the politicians saying one thing, and the economy responds doing another. Many folks who can’t find work should probably be thinking about starting their own business, or perhaps they’ve had a lot of time on their hands to think of a new innovative concept that they can bring to market, so they can achieve their life’s dreams and goals.

Wouldn’t it be great if there were more of these types of late-night talk shows that dealt with the positive nature of free markets, small business, and then perhaps we could get our economy moving again with or without the help of the podium pushing politicians. Indeed I hope you will please consider all this and think on it.

Source by Lance Winslow

The Coffee Culture in the USA

It wasn’t until I moved to the US that I started drinking coffee regularly and became what they call in the Netherlands a ‘koffieleut’, which translates literally into ‘coffee socialite.’ Although the average European drinks more coffee per year than the average American, the cultural importance and its effects on the average European seems to me smaller than that on the average American. After all, coffee is a cultural obsession in the United States.

Chains with thousands of branches like Dunkin’ Donuts or Starbucks dominate US daily street life. Especially in the morning (90% of coffee consumed in the US is in the morning), millions of white foamy cups with boldly imprinted pink and orange logos bob across the streets in morning rush hour and on the train. Coffee drive-ins are a saving grace for the rushing army of helmeted and tattooed construction workers. During lunch break, men and women in savvy business suits duck into coffee shops.

Students chill out from early afternoon till late evening on comfy couches at coffee lounges around campus. Police officers clutch coffee cups while guarding road construction sites on the highway. In short, coffee drinkers in the United States can be found just about anywhere you go.

This mass-psychotic ritual causes Americans to associate Europe above all with cars that oddly do not contain cup holders (to an American this is like selling a car without tires), or with the unbelievably petite cups of coffee European restaurants serve, so small that my father-in-law had to always order two cups of coffee. It is my strongest conviction that the easily agitated and obsessed nature of the ‘New Englander’ can be blamed on the monster-size cups of coffee they consume. Not without reason is the word ‘coffee’ derived from the Arab ‘qahwa’ meaning ‘that which prevents sleep.’ Arabs have cooked coffee beans in boiling water since as far back as the 9th century and drank the stimulating extract as an alternative to the Muslims’ forbidden alcohol.

These days coffee is second only to oil as the most valuable (legally) traded good in the world with a total trade value of $70 billion. Interestingly, only $6 billion reaches coffee producing countries. The remaining $64 billion is generated as surplus value in the consumption countries. Small farmers grow 70% of world coffee production. They mainly grow two kinds of coffee beans: Arabica and Robusta. About 20 million people in the world are directly dependent on coffee production for their subsistence.

Table 1: production in 2002/3

country % 70% Arabica

30% Robusta

Brasil 42.03% Arab/Rob

Colombia 8.88% Arabica

Vietnam 8.35% Robusta

Indonesia 4.89% Rob/Arab

India 3.74% Arab/Rob

Mexico 3.54% Arabica

Guatemala 3.1% Arab/Rob

Uganda 2.53% Rob/Arab

Ethiopia 2.44% Arabica

Peru 2.24% Arabica

Table 2: consumption in 2001/2world consumption % kg per capita (2001)

USA 30.82% Finland 11.01

Germany 15.07% Sweden 8.55

Japan 11.47% Denmark 9.71

France 8.89% Norway 9.46

Italy 8.59% Austria 7.79

Spain 4.90% Germany 6.90

Great-Brittain 3.63% Switzerland 6.80

the Netherlands 2.69% the Netherlands 6.48

Although the consumption of coffee per capita in the world is decreasing (in the US alone it decreased from 0.711 liter in 1960 to 0.237 liter presently), world consumption is still increasing due to the population explosion. Considering that coffee consists of either 1% (Arabica), 2% (Robusta) or 4.5%-5.1% (instant coffee) caffeine, the average American consumes at least 200 to 300mg (the recommended maximum daily amount) of caffeine a day through the consumption of coffee alone.

The place I frequent to down a cup of coffee is the Starbucks in Stamford, Connecticut. The entrance can be found on the corner of Broad Street and Summer Street, to the left to the main public library with its plain pediment and slim Ionic columns. The location right next to the library harmonizes with Starbuck’s marketing plan. At the entrance of the coffee shop a life-size glass window curves around to the left, providing superb voyeuristic views of pedestrians on the sidewalk. As you enter, you step directly into the living room area with stacked bookshelves against the back wall. Velvet armchairs face each other with small coffee tables in the middle, creating intimate seating areas. The velvet chairs near the window are the prime seats, which people unfortunate to score a wooden chair prey upon. At the back of the long rectangular room is the coffee bar and a small Starbuck’s gift shop. There is a dark wooden table with electrical outlets suited for spreading out laptops and spreadsheets, dividing the living room area from the coffee bar.

Since I have been cranky for weeks I hesitate to order a regular black coffee. It is very easy to get cloyed with a favorite food or drink in the US because of the super-sized portions served. The smallest cup of coffee is a size ‘tall’ (12oz.=0.35l.), after which one can choose between a ‘grande’ (16oz.=0.5l.) and a ‘venti’ (20oz.=0.6l.). Half a liter of coffee seems a bit over the top, and it sounds absolutely absurd to my European mind. I finally end up choosing a ‘solo’ espresso.

Sitting in one of the booth-like seats against the back wall, unable to obtain a prime seat, I feign to read my book while eavesdropping on conversations around to me. Three middle-aged men sit in three ash gray velvet chairs and converse loudly. A vivid dialogue develops, exchanged with half roaring, half shrieking, laughter. They mock a colleague in his absence and then clench their brows in concern while discussing the teeth of one of the men’s daughter. Two African-American women sit at a small table opposite the reading-table in the murky light, one of them with a yellow headscarf with black African motifs. Close to the entrance, in the seating area next to the animated conversation, a vagabond is playing solitaire. One by one he places the creased cards with rounded backs over one another, as if he attempts to stick them together. He rendered a couple of dollars in exchange for a small coffee to feel, in the warmth of the front room, nostalgia for a cozy living room and relives a sense of intimacy of having your own house.

It’s a bright, sunny, early autumn day, a typical New England Indian summer. Sunbeams radiate through the coloring, flickering foliage, and throw a puzzle-shaped shadow into Starbuck’s window. Autumn’s hand turns her colorful kaleidoscopic lens. The green ash tree near the sidewalk resembles, with its polychrome colors, somewhat a bronze statue: its stem sulphur bronze, its foliage intermittently copper green and ferric-nitrate golden. On the other side of the cross walk the top of a young red oak turns fiery red. These are the budding impressions of the autumn foliage for which Connecticut is ‘world famous’ in the US.

In the world of marketing and entrepreneurship, Starbucks is a success story. It is one of those stories of ‘excellence’ taught as a case study at business school. Founded in 1971, it really began its incredible growth under Howard Schultz in 1985, and presently has 6,294 coffee shops. But what does its success really consists of? A large cup of coffee at Starbucks is much more expensive than at Dunkin’ Donuts: $2.69 compared to $3.40 for a Starbucks’ ‘venti’. But while Dunkin’ Donuts offers only a limited assortment of flavors like mocha, hazelnut, vanilla, caramel and cinnamon, you will find exotic quality beans at Starbucks like Bella Vista F.W. Tres Rios Costa Rica, Brazil Ipanema Bourbon Mellow, Colombia Nariño Supremo, Organic Shade Grown Mexico, Panama La Florentina, Arabian Mocha Java, Caffè Verona, Guatemala Antigua Elegant, New Guinea Peaberry, Zimbabwe, Aged Sumatra, Special Reserve Estate 2003 – Sumatra Lintong Lake Tawar, Italian Roast, Kenya, Ethiopia Harrar, Ethiopia Sidamo, Ethiopia Yergacheffe and French Roast. So Starbucks offers luxury coffees and high quality coffee dining, reminiscent almost of the chic coffee houses I visited in Vienna.

Every now and then, I grin shamefully and think back at my endless hesitation choosing between the only two types of coffee available in most Dutch stores: red brand and gold brand. Even up to this day I have no clue what the actual difference is between the two, apart from the color of the wrapping: red or gold. Not surprisingly, Starbucks appeals to the laptop genre of people: consultants, students, intellectuals, the middle class, and a Starbucks coffee is a white-collar coffee, while a Dunkin’ Donuts coffee is a blue-collar coffee. In Dunkin’ Donuts you will run into Joe the Plumber, Bob the barber, and Mac the truck driver. But what is it exactly, that attracts the white collared workers in the US to fall back into the purple velvet chairs?

I imagine their working days filled with repetitive actions and decisions within a playing field of precisely defined responsibilities. How many of the players in these fields get through the day with its routines for simply no other reason than being able to enjoy their daily 30 minutes-escape into the Starbucks intimacy where, for a brief moment in the day, you regain the illusion of human warmth and exotic associations of resisting the coldness of high finance?

For 15 minutes you fall back into the deep, soft pillow of a velvet chair and randomly, and alas how important is that moment of utter randomness, pull a book from the shelves. While, in the background, soothing tones resound of country blues, with its recognition of deep human suffering, a blaze of folk with the primary connection with nature and tradition, or of merengue reviving the passionate memories of adventure and love, you gaze out the window and ponder about that simple, volatile reflection in the moment, strengthened by the physical effect of half a liter of watery coffee that starts to kick in and the satisfaction of chewing your muffin, bagel, cake, brownie, croissant or donut.

It is, above all, that bodily ecstasy caused by a combination of caffeine, sugar and the salivating Pavlov effect. You remember the struggling musician behind the counter taking your order, the amateur poet as you pay her for the coffee and give a full dollar tip, feeling a transcendental bound in your flight from reality. You stare with a fastened throbbing of the first gulps of coffee at the advertisements and poems on the bulletin board, and dauntlessly you think: They are right, they are so right! and what do I care? Why should I care?

But then you look at your watch and notice you really have to run again. ‘Well, too bad, gotta go!’, or people will start gossiping for being so long away from your desk. And while you open the door, an autumn breeze blows in your face, the last tunes of the blues solo die out as the Hammond organ whispers: ‘I throw my troubles out the door, I don’t need them anymore’.

Coffee in the US is a subculture that massively floated to the surface of the consumer’s society. Starbucks is more than coffee, it’s more than just another brand on the market, it is a social-political statement, a way of perceiving how you would like to live, in other words it is a culture. Starbucks is the alternative to Coca-Cola and so much more than just coffee: it’s chocolate, ice-cream, frappuccino, travel mugs with exotic prints, cups and live music, CD’s, discounts on exhibitions and even support for volunteer work.

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App – Rehension Contention

“Mum, I don’t know why you don’t just get the app on your phone,” my daughter Heather, said to me, as I handed the Starbucks Barista my gold card.

“Because I like human interaction much better,” I said. “I don’t like that they keep trying to shove more and more technology down our throats.”

“Suit yourself. But I’m telling you, it’s so much more convenient, and you don’t even have to wait in line anymore!”

That conversation rang in my ears one morning as I was running late to my writing class. I’d been anticipating treating myself to a chai latte with soy for days, knowing I was coming back to my old stomping grounds in Boston. I missed the days when Heather worked at the Starbucks on Berkeley and Boylston Streets–when they would start making my drink as soon as they saw me walk through the door. I missed the days when I would get my drink comped, and written on the side of the cup would be, “Mom, have a nice day!” Even if Heather wasn’t there. That was the day I heard Heather’s voice in my head, and I broke down and got the stupid app.

I parked my car, and hurriedly walked down the street. I winced as I saw the long line at the counter, since I was not sure how the app thing worked. Just as I poked my head over the counter to ask, I spotted a sign that said “Mobile Order Pick-ups” and sitting right beneath it was a drink with my name. That was easy! I thought, as I headed to class. But when I took the first sip, I knew it wasn’t made with soy milk. I frowned, but kept on walking, irritated that they screwed up my order.

The next time I was in town for a class, I tried it again, with the same result. Why do they keep leaving out my soy? I hate real milk!

I used the exercise we were given in class, as an excuse to kill two birds with one stone. We were told to go out and interview someone and observe our surroundings. But I had an agenda, and I knew what I had to do.

“Excuse me,” I said to the Starbucks Barista who was stocking the cold shelf with fruity pre-made drinks, her blonde hair pulled tightly back into a neat bun. “Can you help me with my app? I keep ordering my chai drink with soy, but I never seem to get soy.”

“Well it’s a good thing you aren’t lactose intolerant!” she said with a laugh. “Let me take a look,” she said, reaching for my phone. I watched as she quickly navigated around my favorites in the app. An unfamiliar tune played in the background and made me want to tap my foot, as another man approached.

“Oh, I’m not in line,” I said, as I stepped aside to let him pass.

“Oh no, I’m waiting for her,” he said, waving his hand toward the Barista, who was nose deep in my phone. I noticed the man was holding a black plastic disk about the size of a quarter, and I wondered what it was.

Another man approached carrying a cardboard tray with two drinks and an empty cracked plastic Starbucks mug. Again, I indicated that I was not in line.

“Oh, I need her,” he said. Apparently I’ve started something here.

“Wow, everyone needs you today,” I laughed.

After some time, the Barista was able to delete my old “favorite” and loaded up a new one that clearly said soy.

“That’s so weird, I know I selected soy when I ordered it,” I said, and then graciously thanked her for her help. I stepped away, and noticed the man with the disk quickly handed it to her and started for the door.

“That’s all you had to do?” I asked, amazed at his patience and feeling bad that I’d taken so long with this suddenly sought after Barista.

“Yup” he replied with a smile, and walked out.

Since I didn’t use my app this time, I stood in line and decided to try the new Pink Drink.

I sat drinking the bright fuchsia drink at the bar, observing the customers, and taking notes, when an attractive Asian woman approached and asked me what my drink was.

“Despite the fact that it looks like Pepto-Bismol, it’s actually quite tasty,” I said.

Hmm, I wonder if I’ll start another trend today, and soon there will be a trail of Pink Drinks leaving the store. I noticed the long line as people waited for their drink orders, and I wondered, What’s wrong with these people? Don’t they have the app?

Life’s Journey; Berkshires to Boston and everywhere in between…

Source by Dorothy Preston