Click through the slideshow to learn what you should buy at a dollar store, and what you should avoid . Great buy: Party supplies : Hosting a party. Head to a dollar store first, where you'll find disposable pans, platters and a colorful array of plates, napkins, cutlery, streamers, balloons and so much more for much less. (Shannon Fromma / Times Union) Great buy: Most cleaning products : Sure there are strange labels, but there are familiar names too, like Comet and Air Wick. Why spend $4 on a bottle of cleaner when you can buy one with essentially the same key ingredients for one dollar. And, if you've never tried it, we recommend LA's Totally Awesome all-purpose cleaner. (Dollartree. com) Great buy: Coloring books and crafts : Coloring books can cost $3 or $4, even more, at stores like Target and Wal-Mart. Not at a dollar store. Your kids won't be shading in Fred Flintstone, Captain Cave Man or other "has been" faces. The characters and themes are current. Items like Popsicle sticks, glue, sparkles, beads, paint and more are also a steal. (Vladimir Godnik, Getty) Here are some things to watch out for. Avoid: Foil and plastic wrap : You'll get what you pay for with these off-brand products – thin foil, weak plastic wrap. If you find a familiar brand, be sure the quantity justifies the cost. For example, recently a six-pack of Hefty gallon-size storage bags cost a buck. That's 16 cents a bag. A 30-count box costs $3. 42 at Wal-Mart, or 11 cents a bag. (Ross Anania, Getty Images) Avoid: Electronics : Anything with a chord for a dollar is questionable. In fact, Consumer Reports found in 2012 that some dollar-store electronics and extension cords did not have UL labels vouching for their safety. UL, Underwriters Laboratories, sets standards for different products and tests products to make sure they meet the standards. () Have you shopped at a dollar store lately. If not, you might be missing out on some real bargains. Dollar stores no longer represent a shopping refuge for the unrefined, nor do they merely render only low-quality items and off-brands. Frugal shoppers from a wide range of income brackets flock to these variety stores to shop aisles lined with everything from dishes and tools to dog bones and socks. According to a 2012 Consumer Reports survey, 68 percent of respondents who earned $75,000 or more said they shopped at dollar stores, and for good reason. Source: www.timesunion.com
Even before we read the menu, we warm to the place. A fan of booths, I’m nestled in one, opposite the bar, where a flat-screen TV rotates photographs of Venetian canals and women competing in a spaghetti-eating contest. Thick napkins wrap around substantial cutlery on the table, and a pressed-tin ceiling puts faux age on the setting. Cheddar rolls aren’t very Italian, but there’s no denying the impression made by warm bread at the start of a meal. Several visits (and an inferior Caesar salad) have taught me to head directly to the list of entrees. Alphonse is the uncommon restaurant where mains trump appetizers. The exceptions are craggy fried oysters alternating with singed lemon pinwheels and a salad of lemony baby artichoke hearts garnished with pungent anchovies, tender baby arugula and a sprinkle of espelette. The pizza oven is stoked by bakers brought over from Naples. Their handiwork is marked by yeasty crusts and some relatively imaginative toppings, including soppressata, grilled eggplant and tangy goat cheese. Go for happy hour (3 p. m. to 7 p. m. daily) when the round of the day is yours for $10. Red-and-white checkered tablecloths forecast homey flavors. Sure enough, meaty roast chicken arrives on a bed of fregola (beady Sardinian pasta, a ringer for Israeli couscous) and roasted red peppers to break up the sepia tones. Branzino scattered with toasted almonds should audition for an engagement upstairs, in Nonna’s Kitchen. Poached pears impart a delicate sweetness to the fish. pickled beets counter with a gentle sting. The pasta that calls to me most when the thermometer goes south is pappardelle treated to a quilt of smoked bison bolognese and folds of pink speck. Fresh oregano and rosemary in the seasoning lighten the (carbo) load. The “market” part of Alphonse, which takes its name from Alphonse “Al” Capone, finds a skimpy selection of meats, cheeses, pastas and desserts on display behind glass. New York’s Eataly this is not. But you’d be hard-pressed to find a better cannoli in the area. this one fills crisp shells with ricotta cheese interspersed with orange zest. A drizzle of warm Valrhona chocolate sauce gilds the lily. Open wide (wider. ) for a hot sandwich at lunch. Meatballs draped in a tangy tomato sauce and dusted with grainy grana padano get packed into what looks like a loaf of bread. As I’m wondering whether to eat the second half of the monster sub, Sammy Davis Jr. lets loose with “Something’s. Source: www.washingtonpost.com
Potlucks can strengthen bonds in an existing group and attract potential new members. Because everyone brings something to share, they will have at least one thing to eat that they like. You'll have the right amount of food no matter how many people show up. And even if using a green approach takes a little coaching, you may find that your example inspires others to party greener too. I hosted one of the spring potlucks for the Edible Earthscapes CSA (community supported agriculture) members. The other one will be on the farm, with an optional work session before lunch. These shared meals let the farmers and members get to know each other. We also get to try different ways of cooking the marvelous vegetables from the farm. Use Double-Duty Name Tags for Less Stress and Better Conversations Save your guests and yourself the awkwardness of stumbling for names by using name tags. Ask people to name a hobby or hot topic below their names. Now everyone has a reason to look at the name tags. This trick also lets you skip the small talk or same old topics, creating more opportunities for connection. At our party, I found an improv enthusiast who teaches the sort of classes I've been looking for. She was looking for more students. Go green by saving the name-tag holders that you couldn't turn it at conferences and events. Cut scrap paper to name-tag size. Provide markers instead of ball-point pens for easy reading at a distance. Label the Food Right next to the name tags, I put a stack of index cards so people can label their dishes. The food labels let people choose what to eat without making a fuss. Before the party, I label my own contribution so people can see an example. I list the dish's name and ingredients, then add any special features such as vegan or gluten-free. You can also ask people to bring labels with them. Some people will forget to bring labels, though, so have the index cards or scrap paper on hand. Make it Easy to Find the Greenest Drinks Many years ago, I threw a wine-and-cheese fundraiser with nothing to drink but wine—and decent wine at that. I learned that many of the attendees preferred something non-alcoholic. Now I put the healthiest and thriftiest drinks first, including pitchers of water, iced tea, or lemonade. The CSA potluck was on a chilly day, so people enjoyed having hot tea too. Source: www.motherearthnews.com
As a Libyan-American growing up in southern Maryland, Noor Tagouri says that she often felt "ashamed" to be a Muslim outsider in her local community. Though Tagouri struggled with her identity as a child, today the 21-year-old journalist fully embraces
(Reuters) - Facing a recovering economy and a tumbling jobless rate, Republican presidential candidates honing their economic message are trying tap into a lingering sense of insecurity among Americans seven years after the global financial crisis.
In August, the owners of Russia House in Dupont Circle and Biergarten Haus on H Street NE added to their portfolio another accent and a third Zip code: Alphonse Italian Market and Osteria on U Street. “Italian is my favorite cuisine, by far,” says
Go green by saving the name-tag holders that you couldn't turn it at conferences and events. Cut scrap paper to name-tag size. Provide markers instead of ball-point pens for easy reading at a distance Instead, choose plates, glasses, and cutlery