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Tips to pull off holiday hosting

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(Family Features) With stay-at-home holidays a thing of the past for many families, they’re now busy preparing for full-blown celebrations. The return of traditional festivities brings seemingly never-ending to-do lists and pressure to be the perfect host.

From mastering a mouthwatering menu and donning your home with decadent decor to ensuring guests enjoy the evening to the fullest, hosting duties bring plenty of responsibilities. This year, though, you can avoid those anxious feelings with some preparation ahead of the big day.

To help pull off a sensational seasonal soiree, consider these tips from the entertaining experts at Sun-Maid to make the holidays brighter and more manageable so you can navigate the stresses of hosting.

Invite Others to Share Favorite Traditions
Especially with stay-at-home holidays in recent years, some friends and family members may have developed their own special traditions from new recipes and foods to seasonal games and activities. Inviting your guests to bring or share something that represents their favorite part of the holidays can help everyone feel welcome.

Take Time for Yourself
Remember to make time for yourself so you can enjoy the fruits of your labor right alongside guests. The busyness of this time of year can add stress but reflecting on the true meaning of the season and reveling in your favorite parts of the holidays can help you avoid feeling overwhelmed.

Add New Ingredients to Your Menu
While pairing this year’s turkey or ham with the classics provides comfort and calls to mind holiday memories of the past, cooking with new ingredients and adding fresh recipes to the menu can put a fun spin on the season and maybe even create your own traditions to carry forward.  

For example, baking with an option like Sun-Maid Raisins provides a whole fruit option with zero grams of added sugars per 1/4-cup serving. They’re an easy, better-for-you substitution to reduce overall sugar intake without compromising flavor or texture when compared with dried cranberries, which contain 27 grams of added sugars per 1/4-cup serving. The natural sugars of raisins make them a versatile, useful addition to a wide variety of holiday-worthy dishes.

Hop On Hot Food Trends
One of this year’s most popular trends in the kitchen is food boards, a fun and easy way to elevate flavor while incorporating favorites like cured meats, cold cuts, cheese slices and cubes, dips, nuts and more. Plus, you can keep your board balanced with nutritious items like vegetables and fruit, such as raisins, which provide sweet flavor without the added sugars.

A Time for Truce
Gathering for the holidays is about coming together with loved ones, family, friends and neighbors – and pulling it off means catering to everyone’s needs and wants. It’s a time for compromises and truces. To help add a little extra spark this year, try incorporating a theme to the party or coordinate fun activities and games that can be enjoyed by all. For example, holiday-themed charades, a seasonal “name that tune” game and gift exchanges all give guests ways to get in on the excitement.

To find more holiday entertaining inspiration and recipe ideas, visit SunMaid.com/PullOffTheHolidays .

Photos courtesy of Getty Images


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Sun-Maid Raisins

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5 easy DIYs to display your love

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(Family Features) Handmade Valentine’s Day decor is a crafty way to put your love on display. Add a little TLC to your home or share your affection with loved ones by dedicating some time to simple DIY projects that come straight from the heart.

  1. Creative cutouts. Places and moments hold special places in the heart, so memorialize them with decorative wall hangings. Use a treasured photo or map of destinations you hold dear as the base layer. Next, choose a design, such as a heart or a romantic word like “love.” Print your design then trace it on a piece of foam core or matting. Cut out the design to create an opening and layer it over the photo or map. To finish the project, either affix the top layer to the bottom and display as-is or place it in a pretty frame.
     
  2. Sucker for succulents. Hardy and easy to care for, succulents are a stylish way to add some plant life to your home. Add a romantic twist by gathering a selection of small succulents in a variety of colors and textures then clustering them in a heart-shaped basket or planter. Succulents also make great gifts; just create a small planter and attach a card that conveys your heartfelt thoughts.
     
  3. Love is in the cards. Almost everyone has a deck or two of old playing cards laying around, or they’re an inexpensive investment. Using the red-hued cards from the heart suite, punch holes in the top of each card. String heart-themed ribbon through the holes to make a whimsical banner you can hang on a wall or across a doorway.
     
  4. Say it in string. Expressing yourself with string art is an easy project suitable for all ages. Start with a firm backing, such as a scrap of lightweight wood. Add a base coat of paint to make your design pop then sketch your design. Examples like a flower, heart, word or some combination of those are all good choices for a Valentine’s Day project. Add thin nails in 1/2-inch intervals along the border of your design. Select your string and tie an end to the nail of your choice. There’s no right or wrong way from there; just loop from one nail to another until your design is obvious. Tie off your string, trim any excess end pieces and you’re done.
     
  5. Collage of comrades. Paying tribute to those you hold near and dear is easy with a stylized cork board. Select snapshots of loved ones and attach them to a basic corkboard using push pins in classic Valentine’s colors like red, white and pink. Then add accents with tape, stickers, gemstones and other embellishments.

Explore more DIY ideas to enhance your home at eLivingtoday.com.

Photo courtesy of Unsplash


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Family Features

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Gift decadence during the season of love

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(Family Features) Valentine’s Day may traditionally be a lovers’ holiday, but it’s also an opportunity to connect with those who make your heart happiest, whether it’s family, friends or anyone who enriches your life. Celebrate all types of love this Valentine’s Day with thoughtful gifts that show how much you care.

As the old adage says, the fastest way to one’s heart is the stomach. Sweet treats are a sure sign of your affection, and for centuries, chocolate has been revered as the flavor of love.

From gifting to hosting and all the other moments throughout the season of love, you can delight your nearest and dearest with gourmet chocolates from Ethel M Chocolates.

Treat those closest to your heart to a delicious experience and visit EthelM.com to explore more unique gifts this Valentine’s Day.

Handcrafted with Care
Topped with a red bow for a final touch, the Ethel M Chocolates 5-piece Love Collection features a series of heart-shaped, premium chocolates nestled in an elegant box. The sampler features popular selections including Milk Chocolate, Lemon Satin Crème, Dark Chocolate, Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter and White Chocolate. This sweet collection of handcrafted chocolate is a decadent way to show how much you care. It’s ideal as a thoughtful gesture of appreciation for friends and family, or for a more romantic connection, it’s the perfect item to pair with jewelry or flowers to surprise your loved one.

Heartfelt Appreciation
If your gift list includes chocolate aficionados, there’s no better way to speak straight to their heart than the Ethel M Chocolates 28-piece Large Heart Gift Box. This popular seasonal assortment showcases an expanded selection of mouthwatering, handcrafted, premium chocolates. The collection includes an array of flavors, from Dark Chocolate Sea-Salt Caramel and Milk Chocolate Raspberry Satin Crème to Milk Chocolate Almond Butter Krisp and Milk Chocolate Pecan Toffee Crisp. The gourmet variety is sure to delight, and the large satin-wrapped, heart-shaped box makes your affection deliciously clear.

 


SOURCE:
Ethel M Chocolates

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Conquer campus life with top tech

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(Family Features) Make each day in the classroom or lecture hall an educational success with technology that makes learning more enjoyable and managing all of life’s little details easier. From wearables that keep you connected to gadgets that encourage creativity, get educated about this season’s top technology to take to school.

Discover more options for tech-driven learning at qualcomm.com/education-laptops.

Lightweight, Powerful Computing

Designed to move with you throughout your day, the Galaxy Book Go 5G combines the best features of your smartphone with personal computer performance and productivity. You can answer emails over a latte before school, take notes during class, browse social media during lunch or video call a loved one before dinner with always on, always connected flexibility. Powered by the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2 5G Compute Platform, the device delivers instant boot speeds that allow you to turn on and immediately use your laptop, and lightning-fast 5G connectivity speeds to complete assignments and submit work quickly from nearly anywhere.

Creative Expression

Any of today’s smartphones support more than basic call functions, but the Samsung Galaxy S22 powers creativity and self-expression all at once. Built on the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 Mobile Platform, this smartphone also inspires a creator’s mind with a high-end camera, intelligent personal assistant and elite gaming experience. It delivers groundbreaking innovations in artificial intelligence, photography, gaming and connectivity, and is built with a bold, environmentally conscious design that makes it as aesthetically pleasing as it is high performing.

Time for a Watch that Does More

A powerful smartwatch won’t just help you make it to class on time; it’s a handy way to stay connected, keep tabs on your health and more. For example, theFossil Gen 6 Touchscreen Smartwatch runs WearOS by Google and is powered by the Snapdragon Wear 4100+ Platform, providing users faster application load times, highly responsive user experiences and more efficient power consumption. Key features include increased battery charging speed, upgraded health and wellness sensors, a swim-proof speaker and microphone, improved connectivity with Bluetooth 5 and more.

Sensational Sound

There are wireless earbuds then there are Noble Audio’s Falcon ANC equipped with Snapdragon Sound, enabling these earphones to deliver robust connectivity with high-resolution music streaming, low latency for immersive gaming and super wideband voice for crystal-clear calls. With hybrid noise canceling and multi-pairing, multipoint connection capability, these earbuds offer a high level of versatility for downtime entertainment. You can further customize your experience with the app that allows you to finetune a wide selection of settings.

Headset Hero

Designed from the ground up to drive advanced features, Snapdragon XR2 is the force behind the Meta Quest 2 headset’s freedom of movement and high-resolution display. This headset allows you to become completely immersed in the virtual reality applications and games you play for maximum adventure experiences. Even better, hundreds of hit games, one-of-a-kind experiences and a growing community await users of this next-level hardware that’s both easy to set up and safe to use.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images (students)


SOURCE:
Qualcomm

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