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Nov 17, 2022

Simple Tips To Host A Kid's Party On A Budget

Kids parties can be pretty pricey, and the costs will amplify even more if the guest list is extensive. But even so, there's no doubt you want to host a memorable birthday party for your little one; these occasions only come around once a year, and there's no better way to celebrate your child's birthday than by hosting a memorable party. 

Fortunately, you can host a memorable and fun kid's party even if your budget is tight. 

With these simple tips, you can plan the perfect party for your child without overspending. 

Buy Bulk Treats

Instead of shopping for certain items on the snack menu with a regular retailer, consider buying these items in bulk online. By buying bulk candy, you'll save substantially on the overall costs of the party.

Make It Yourself

When it comes to other food items on the menu, like cupcakes, finger foods, lunch, and birthday cake, it's a money-savvy choice to make it yourself. 

There are tons of snack preparation tutorials online that will teach you how to make delicious party snacks on a budget. 

DIY Decorations

Depending on your chosen theme for the party, you can make the decor yourself. Whether you need to create cardboard cutouts, balloon stands, or anything else, you'll also find informative tutorials online to guide you through these crafty projects. 

Making the decorations yourself will also shave a lot off the party's total cost.

Host The Party At Home

Instead of spending a small fortune on a venue, consider hosting the party at home. If your garden is large enough, you could host a magical outdoor party. 

On the other hand, suppose you don't have enough space at home to accommodate enough guests. In this case, consider asking a friend or family member if you could host the party at their home. If this is unsuccessful, consider looking into affordable venue options like the park, rental halls, town buildings, or even a movie theater. 

Rent, Don't Buy

Some party decorations and accessories can be purchased or rented. Items like a jumping castle, party decor, and even chairs for the guests can cost a lot. Instead of buying these things, it's wise to rent instead. 

There are tons of party rental suppliers to choose from as well. So, there's no doubt you'll find the perfect party rentals. By renting instead of buying, you'll save a significant amount.

Shorten The Guest List

In days gone by, parents would send birthday party invites to the whole class. These days, it's a bit too expensive to invite everyone and your loved ones. 

Instead, consider shortening the guest list as much as possible to only include your child's closest friends while also making space for family and loved ones. 

There are many ways to host a fun kid's party on a budget. Moreover, the more you manage to save on the total party cost, the more you can spend on picking out birthday gifts your child will love. 

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Oct 31, 2022

Google Data Reveals the Highest-rated Vegan Restaurants in the US

Healthy lifestyles have surged in popularity over the past decade along with larger public awareness of the impact livestock has on the environment. Logically, veganism also spread like wildfire and today, most people have at least one friend who is vegan. To commemorate World Vegan Day on November 1, millions of people will be opting for at least one plant-based meal on Tuesday.

As this day gives both vegans and non-vegans the opportunity to try out a new vegan restaurant or dish, the team at BonusInsider ventured into identifying the ten highest-rated vegan restaurants in the entire United States. We used Google Places API to collect data on all restaurants that offer vegan cuisine in the 200 largest cities by population in the US and after sifting through thousands of diners, we found the 10 places with the highest online rating on the map.

Methodology

To compile a list of the highest-rated vegan restaurants, the team at BonusInsider wanted to gather as much data as possible. This is why we put to use Google Places API, which let us access customer review data on Google Maps. We searched for the “vegan” keyword, filtering for the “restaurant” place type in the 200 largest cities by population in the entire US. This gave us a long list of 9845 locations, so we sorted those firstly by rating and secondly by number of reviews, including only places with a minimum of 100 reviews to end up with the 10 highest-rated vegan restaurants in the United States.

1. Green Green Trees Your Vegan Kitchen, West Covina

This is a casual vegan eatery in West Covina, California, offers a wide variety of plant-based Asian soups and noodles, sandwiches, fried rice, porridges, desserts, and more. The restaurant also has nice vegan “meats”, sushi, and all-organic dishes, all prepared with high-quality fresh ingredients. 

2. Frescura Vegan Kitchen, San Juan, Puerto Rico

This is a small eatery in San Juan and is considered one of the best vegan restaurants in Puerto Rico. Led by Chef Jessica, it serves a wide variety of vegan burgers (called vurgers), wraps and quesadillas, soups, salads, and main dishes, as well as delicious smoothies, acai bowls, and many more. Customers can also enjoy vegan cappuccinos and other coffees, or several types of superfood lattes.

3. Yumz Vegan Bakery & Cafe, Salt Lake City

This vegan diner is located in South Salt Lake and along with the wide variety of plant-based meals, it offers customers to have a great time playing the vintage arcade games installed in the restaurant. The menu focuses mainly on Latin cuisine so you can enjoy a wide variety of tacos, quesadillas, fajitas, Chile Verde, and chimichanga. The abundance of heavenly desserts, however, is probably the best thing about Yumz – and as this is also a bakery, there are plenty of cakes and you can even order an all-vegan birthday cake here.

4. Get Together, El Paso

Get Together is a charming, little restaurant in Downtown El Paso that encourages people to get together for a nice, delicious meal. It’s just 10 minutes away from the Mexican border, so it’s hardly a surprise that the menu combines the best of both countries – there are burgers and tacos, Mac & Cheese, and nachos, as well as wonderful vegan alternatives to classics such as the Tuná Ceviche, made with watermelon. And for those bringing their non-vegan friends to the restaurant, Get Together has meat dishes, as well.

5. Cajou – A Plant-Based Creamery & Cafe, Baltimore

Located in Downtown Baltimore, Cajoy is a remarkable ice-cream shop that offers the most delicious plant-based ice cream you’ve ever tasted. It guarantees that everything is hand-crafted from the best superfoods available and has no dairy, no gluten or soy, and no artificial ingredients. So, how do you make ice cream without milk, you would ask – from house-made cashew milk, mixed with organic wild blueberries, green cardamom, Saigon cinnamon, pistachios, raw cacao, or sweet potatoes.

6. Channel Islands Juice Co., Loma Vista Restaurant, Oxnard

This is a fruit juice shop and restaurant on Loma Vista Road between Oxnard and Ventura, around 60 miles from Los Angeles. The company, Channel Islands Juice Co., has two locations – one on Loma Vista Road and the other on E. Thompson Blvd. It offers cold-pressed organic juices from locally sourced ingredients that “nourish the mind, body and soul”. Apart from the various juices, nut milks, and wellness shots, the restaurant a menu full of has tasty and healthy breakfast meals, acai and chia seed bowls, plant-based tortilla wraps, red lentil pasta, and more.

7. Eris Vegan Food, Oceanside

This is a relatively new vegan restaurant in Oceanside, a city on the South Coast of California that lies between Los Angeles and San Diego. The restaurant is close to the beach and has a wonderful patio where customers can enjoy a wide variety of plant-based meals and kombucha. And since it serves Mexican-American fusion cuisine, there are plenty of tacos, seitan, jackfruit or coconut “fysh”, flatbreads, burgers, buddha bowls, etc.

8. Rush Bowls, Charleston

Rush Bowls is a health food restaurant in West Side, a neighborhood in Charleston, South Carolina. As its name suggests, it focuses its menu on nutritious bowls with fruit, granola, and honey. The bowls are rich in healthy ingredients, protein, and vitamins, but most of all, they are always fresh and delicious. The restaurant also has a wide variety of smoothies, banana bread bites, and non-dairy or natural milk options.

9. Vegan and Vine, Phoenix

Vegan and Vine is a family-owned business located on the Northwest Corner of 7th Street and Thunderbird in Phoenix. It is a cafe, market, and wine shop that serves plant-based comfort food, brunch, shared plates and elevated vegan dishes along with cocktails, wine, and coffee. The restaurant has an extensive wine list, while the menu includes vegan and vegetarian food, as well as special kids’ meals.

10. Slutty Vegan, Ralph David Abernathy Blvd, Atlanta

Slutty Vegan is Pinky Cole’s plant-based burger restaurant chain in Atlanta, which has built a cult following not only among vegans but among everyone who loves modern fast food. The restaurant’s mission is to offer vegan junk food that is delicious and made with vegetables at the same time. The Westview location was the first Slutty Vegan restaurant and it is incredibly popular, which has led to long lines and, sometimes, hours-long wait times. All this is worth it, however, especially if you are craving some not-so-traditional junk food.

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Oct 27, 2022

New HomeGoods Store Opening November 10th in Columbia, SC

HomeGoods, the leading off-price home décor store in the U.S and worldwide, will open a new store in Columbia, SC on November 10th, 2022. The new store is located in Trenholm Plaza at 4840 Forest Drive, 9A. 

HomeGoods provides an ever-changing selection of high-quality merchandise at excellent values. With prices generally 20%-60% below full-price retailers’ (including department, specialty, and major online retailers) regular prices on comparable merchandise, the HomeGoods shopping experience is fun and inviting. From top brands and designers to exciting finds from all over the world, HomeGoods offers an inspiring selection in countless styles for every room of the house. 

“Our amazing values, brand names, and vast assortment make HomeGoods an exciting destination for shoppers,” states John Ricciuti, President of HomeGoods. “With a large variety of merchandise from around the world, customers will always find thrilling values in our treasure hunt shopping experience. We are happy to provide Columbia, SC with a new HomeGoods.”

HomeGoods merchandise departments include furniture, rugs, lighting, decorative accessories, kitchen and dining, bedding, bath, pet accessories, storage, workspace, outdoor, gourmet, wellness and more. 

GRAND OPENING: November 10th, 2022 from 8am-10pm

Local shoppers can enjoy the newest HomeGoods store opening on November 10th, 2022 from 8am-10pm. All stores, including the newest openings, have updated health and wellness practices to help protect the health and well-being of customers and Associates. To learn more, visit https://www.homegoods.com/customer-info 


STORE FACTS & FEATURES

Location: Trenholm Plaza at 4840 Forest Drive, 9A, Columbia, SC, 29206.

Size: Approximately 23, 588 Sq. Ft., respectively

Regular hours: Monday-Sat 9:30 a.m. – 9:30 p.m. and Sun 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. Store hours may shift. For more up to date hours and additional HomeGoods locations, please visit HomeGoods.com/locator.

HomeGoods expects to fill approximately 65 full- and part-time positions.

COMMUNITY SUPPORT

In celebration of its new store location, HomeGoods will contribute to the Columbia, SC community by presenting a $10,000 donation to Harvest Hope Food Bank. Harvest Hope is South Carolina’s largest food bank, providing over 20 million meals on average to neighbors in need across the Midlands, Pee Dee and Upstate. 


ABOUT HOMEGOODS

HomeGoods operates more than 846 stores across the country and is a division of The TJX Companies, Inc., the leading off-price retailer of apparel and home fashions in the U.S. and worldwide. As of January 29, 2022, TJX operated a total of 4,689 stores in nine countries, the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, Poland, Austria, the Netherlands, and Australia, and five e-commerce sites. TJX's press releases and financial information are available at TJX.com. 

To shop HomeGoods online, visit HomeGoods.com and for more design tips, inspiration and more, visit us on Instagram at @homegoods, Facebook at facebook.com/homegoods, Pinterest at pinterest.com/homegoods and Twitter at @homegoods. Shoppers can also share their online and in-store finds on social with #HomeGoodsFinds. 

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Oct 26, 2022

The 3 Best Places To Raise A Family In California

California is the land of the American Dream. It’s so big and has so many opportunities that it is no wonder that people flock here from all over the world to live. There is a lot of work, salaries are generally very high and the weather is fantastic. It has everything in other words. If you have a family then it is an ideal state to want to live in. 

When looking for the ideal place to raise a family, you’ll want to narrow things down a little and find the right town and city. You will need to have access to good schools, good infrastructure, and low crime rates. Public spaces are a plus since kids need to get out of their own backyards and be around other people. Being close to nature is another perk that many parents will be looking for. In this article, we will go over some of the best places in California where you can raise a family.

1 - Glendale

Glendale is a town near Pasadena that is very popular with families. It has just about everything you would need as far as family-friendly infrastructure. For starters, Glendale is very safe and has a low crime rate. In fact, it is consistently ranked in the top ten safest cities in the US. 

The real estate in the town is very varied. There are more renters than owners in Glendale so you can find many condos available as well as single-family houses. Real estate investment companies such as TFS Properties invest in real estate to then put up for rent so if you are thinking of renting before buying to get a feel for the place then this is a good option here. 

One of the biggest benefits to living in Glendale is that it is within an easy commute of LA. If you work in LA then you can be home in time to enjoy time with the family and enjoy everything a small city has to offer after the hustle and bustle of the big city. 

The public schools are very highly rated and there are some good hospitals in the city as well. It has just about everything a family would need. There is also good access to nature just north of the city with hiking and mountain biking opportunities in the surrounding hills. 

The biggest downside to Glendale is the cost of living is very high. Those people making an LA salary will likely find it to be affordable, however. 

2 - Imperial

Imperial is a small city that is as far south as you can go in California and still be in the US. It is right above the border with Mexico. As a result, it has a very international feel. Families here enjoy a lot of diversity in the population and culture of the place which is a big advantage. 

It has another advantage of being a small city with just under 20,000 inhabitants. This makes it one of those places where everybody knows each other and is always looking out for each other. It’s still got a lot of city conveniences and is close to Chula Vista when you need a city fix. 

There is a huge winter festival that takes place every February that is very popular with people in the area and is a lot of fun for the kids. 

3 - Moorpark

Looking for a town with a sizable community of families is ideal. Moorpark has the greatest concentration of young families so it is perfect for other families looking to relocate. Schools are well funded and there is plenty for families to do there. In fact, there are 20 public parks that are used by these families all the time. 

It is a very safe community with a low crime rate and high quality of life. Being close to downtown LA is also a plus so you can commute if you work in the city. You may not need to commute to the city anyway since there are a number of high-paying jobs there which can keep you close to home and enjoy more time with your family. 

Conclusion

These cities have a lot going for them in terms of livability and amenities that you need to raise a family. Since your kids are only small for a short period, it makes sense to choose a place like these cities to take advantage of everything they offer to get the most out of the years while they are still little.

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Oct 19, 2022

Thanksgiving Cocktail Recipes from The Mixer

Thanksgiving is the perfect time to spend quality time with your loved ones, enjoying tasty food and family traditions. When you’ve gone to the trouble of cooking up a feast, you’ll want delicious drinks to match. 

The best thanksgiving cocktails are easy to serve when hosting a crowd. The kitchen gets busy, so choose drinks that suit your time frame. Also, serve cocktails that pair well with your Thanksgiving menu. Here is our ultimate pick of incredible drinks to serve this holiday season without going into a complete tailspin on Turkey Day!



Kir Royale


This French Champagne cocktail (aka Kir Royale) is a New York City favorite and an incredibly simple cocktail to master. You’ll wonder why you’ve waited all this time to try one! 


Ingredients (per person)


  • 0.5 Oz blackcurrant liqueur

  • 6 Oz Champagne


Method


  1. Pour creme de cassis in a champagne glass

  2. Top with Champagne and serve!



Apple Butter Old Fashioned

An Apple Butter Old Fashioned cocktail is packed with the inviting flavors of warm apple pie. Made with real apple butter (just like mama used to make), this fall Old Fashioned drink is perfect as an indulgent drink with your bourbon-loving friends. For this recipe, you’ll be making your own apple butter. Don’t worry, it’s super simple to make because YOLO! And it’s downright delicious. If you have leftovers, you can add it to cheese platters, use it as a glaze for that roast beef dinner or dollop it onto pancakes. Yum!


Hot tip: “Contrary to what the name suggests, apple butter does not contain any butter. It’s basically just a fancy name for apples that have been pureed, spiced and cooked down to give them a butter-like texture. It is easy to make and store in your fridge. Use it in cocktails, to spread on toast, as a glaze on meat or add it to your morning oats.” (Helena Lombard, The Mixer)


Ingredients (per person)


  • 0.5 Oz of Apple cider 

  • 0.5 Oz of Wild Turkey Bourbon

  • 2 tablespoon of apple butter 

  • Dash of orange bitters 

  • Juice of half a lemon 

  • Ginger beer (to top your glass) 

  • Coarse cinnamon sugar and simple syrup, for rimming 

  • Thinly sliced apples and a cinnamon stick, to garnish

 

Instructions


  1. Pour some simple syrup on a plate and some coarse cinnamon sugar on another

  2. Dip the rim of your cocktail glass into the syrup and then into the sugar, twisting to coat, before adding ice cubes to the glass 

  3. Combine the apple cider, apple butter, Wild Turkey, lemon juice and bitters in a cocktail shaker and give it a dry shake (in other words, a shake without ice) 

  4. Shake vigorously until properly combined then strain into your prepared cocktail glass

  5. Top up with ginger beer and garnish with a cinnamon stick and apple slice on the rim to serve


Hot Toddy


Looking for warming thanksgiving drinks that are easy to make? A Hot Toddy is an ideal drink as you can let the crockpot do all the work - another thing you can tick off the to-do list!


Ingredients (per person)


  • 2 Oz Wild Turkey Bourbon Whiskey

  • 0.25 Oz Fresh lemon juice

  • 2 Teaspoons brown sugar

  • 5 Cloves

  • Sliced lemon

  • Boiling water  


Method


  1. Take a slice of lemon, press the cloves into the lemon round and set aside 

  2. Boil water and fill a mug to the three-quarter mark

  3. Pour in the whiskey and lemon juice and stir in the sugar until dissolved

  4. Add the clove-studded lemon wheel and allow to infuse

  5. Serve in a warmed mug



Mexican Coffee Cocktail


Also known as a Carajillo, this is a classic coffee cocktail that you can make with just a few ingredients. The tequila gives this coffee a decent kick, and the coffee liqueur balances out the flavor and adds sweetness.  


Ingredients (per person)


  • 1.5 Oz Espolòn Tequila Reposado

  • 1 Oz coffee liqueur

  • 5 Oz freshly brewed coffee

  • 2 tablespoons whipping cream (optional)

  • a dusting of cocoa powder, cinnamon or cayenne pepper (optional)


Method


  1. Pour the tequila and coffee liqueur into a mug

  2. Top up with freshly brewed coffee

  3. Garnish with whipped cream and dusting of your choice, if you want



Bourbon Apple Cider


This spiced cocktail is exactly what you need to warm up your guests on a cold night. This is a full-flavor cocktail, and the sourness of the lemon balances beautifully with the sweet notes of caramel, vanilla and apple.


Ingredients (per person)


  • 0.5 Oz of Wild Turkey Bourbon Whiskey 

  • 0.5 Oz of apple cider 

  • 0.5 Oz of Cinzano Vermouth Rosso 

  • 0.5 Oz of lemon juice 

  • 0.5 Oz of orange bitters 

  • Apple slices to garnish 

  • A sprig of thyme to garnish 

  • Ice

 

Method


  1. Add ice to a large mixing glass or cocktail shaker

  2. Pour in the bourbon, cider, sweet vermouth, lemon juice and bitters

  3. Stir until chilled (about 30 seconds)

  4. Strain into any cocktail glass of your choice

  5. Garnish with a few apple slices and a sprig of thyme

 

Hot Pumpkin Pie Cocktail


If you love the taste of a pumpkin spice latte, then choose this cocktail as the star of your Thanksgiving feast this year. Serve your Hot Pumpkin Pie cocktails in warmed mugs, topped with whipped cream and a sprinkling of cinnamon. As an extra treat, you can serve baked pumpkin pie crusts on the side for some decadent dipping.


Hot tip: “Make pumpkin-infused vodka by mixing together pumpkin puree and spice, with ½ cup of vodka in a large jar. Seal and keep in the fridge for three days before using, shaking it a few times a day.” (Helena Lombard, The Mixer)


Ingredients (for 6 people)


  • 2 cups of Irish cream 

  • ½ a cup vanilla or pumpkin pie vodka 

  • 4 cups of milk 

  • 0.67

  • 1 can of pumpkin puree 

  • 1.5 teaspoons of pumpkin spice 

  • Whipped cream 

  • Cinnamon 

  • Strips of baked pumpkin pie crust to garnish, optional

 

Method


  1. Add the Irish cream, vodka, and milk to a pot  

  2. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat to a slow simmer

  3. Stir through pumpkin puree and spices until mixed through 

  4. Ladle into warmed glass mugs

  5. Dollop over some whipped cream

  6. Dust with cinnamon

  7. Serve with baked pumpkin pie crusts for dipping

 

Visit www.themixer.com for more cocktail inspiration.


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