Archive for April, 2009

Cosmetic Industry expert found that when the economy is down, people buy more lipstick. This can also be true for wines.


Back in 2001, Leonard Lauder, then the chairman of the cosmetic giant Estée Lauder, described the relationship between the state of the economy and the sale of cosmetics. After September 11, he noticed the sales of lipstick jumped higher and suggested that the sale of lipstick was a good measure of the health of the economy; when the economy was down, people bought more lipstick. He dubbed this phenomenon the “Lipstick Index”

Similarly, during the Great Depression, it had been found that cosmetic sales increased despite the enormous reduction in disposable income.  During World War II, lipstick sales were on the increase; whether that indicated difficult economic times or just the availability of non-rationed, desirable, and affordable products is difficult to determine.

Some fashion aficionados, on the other hand, suggest that it is the hemline of dresses, whether they are long or short, that indicate the state of the economy instead of lipstick sales. Sports enthusiasts suggest that which team wins the Super Bowl is a predictor of economic times.

The origin of the “Lipstick Index” – being observed and coined by a cosmetic company who would clearly derive marketing benefits from its acceptance and popularity – does incite skepticism and doubt about its reliability; yet, the concept of people enjoying an affordable product during difficult economic times does resonate as a logical conclusion.

Noted wine consultant, Jan Fredrikson, finds that people are trading down to less expensive wines that they consider of value.

When looking at the cost of dining out, consumers will make less risky choices and stick with grape varieties and regions they are familiar with. In South Africa Merlots and Cabernets  (or Boudreaux blends)  wines are easy to recommend since they offer consistent quality at a great price and pair well with a broad range of foods.

Source: corksavvy.com


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Moving into a new and larger home can often give the new occupants an empty feeling. The house literally feels empty. A housewarming party will fill the house with family and friends, as well as providing a few great gifts that will help fill the house after they are gone. Use this guide to throw a great housewarming party.



  1. Find a friend to host: Hunting, buying, and moving into your new home is a lot of work. It would be easier on you if a sibling, parent, or friend were to do the hosting.
  2. Invitations: Make postcard invitations using photos of the new house with the address showing in the picture. This will help your guests to find the home more easily. You can take the pictures yourself and print the cards on photo paper or postcard paper from your computer printer. Add printed address and return address labels to the back, and print the party details like date, time, and driving directions on larger stickers and add to the other side of the card.
  3. Place: A housewarming party should be held at the new home, of course! However, you can dictate whether the party will be outside or inside.
  4. Time and date: You can have an open house party where people come and go all day as available, or a party with a definite arrival and ending time. Unlike other parties, housewarming parties are effective on holidays and birthdays and can even be combined with the usual festivities (except perhaps Christmas or the birthdays of your in-laws).
  5. Party theme: Make the housewarming party activity-related. If there are rooms to be painted or a garden that badly needs planting, plan the party around getting that task done. You can have a painting party, where most of the guests show up early and help paint, or a garden party where each guest brings a plant, and actually plants it. (Yes, you can let them know which plants you prefer.)
  6. Gift registry: Chances are that although you probably have plenty of items for your new home, there will also be plenty of items you still need. It is OK to register in advance for housewarming gifts.
  7. Fundraiser: If you are more interested in presence, than presents, you can ask for donations toward your favorite charity in lieu of gifts.
  8. Food: Keep it simple. You are just getting oriented with your new home; this is not a good time to exercise cooking skills. It is also unlikely that you have money for catering after closing on a home. Ask everyone to bring a dish and you can provide beverages and dishes.
  9. Things to do: Besides the hard work of painting and gardening, there are plenty of fun things you can do at the party to add to the beauty of the home. You can have your guests make abstract paintings, which you can then hang around the house. (Supply a limited number of paints so they stay in your color palette.) Use disposable cameras or have your guest bring their digital cameras to take pictures of each other and interesting views of the home and its details. Have these pictures blown up and transferred to canvas.
  10. Remembering it later: Provide a guest/ prayer book for the guests to sign and write their good wishes. Add photos of each person next to their signatures so you will remember them and the occasion years later 

Source: howtodothings.com

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A recent Italian study found that red wine and dark chocolate increases female sexual desire.

I wonder if similar studies for American, British or South African women will have the same findings.

According to the study carried out by the Santa Maria Nuova Hospital in Florence, drinking one to two glasses of red wine a day increases female sexual desire.

The study investigated 789 Italian women aged between 18 and 50.

Drinking red wine not only helps to release inhibitions, but also has a direct effect on sexual activity

Women who drink one to two glasses of wine a day were found to be more sexually active than those who abstain.

Dark chocolate, which is rich in antioxidants, has a similarly positive effect on the female libido.

Source: Decanter

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The Platter’s Wine Guide is not opposed to blind tasting as a wine evaluating method. This is according to the Philip van Zyl the editor of the popular South African Platter’s Wine Guide.


Van Zyl made these remarks at the Platter’s Open Discussion Forum which was held in Somerset West on Thursday 16 April. This forum was initiated by the editor and publishers of the Platter guide after its tasting methods, objectiveness and transparency came under public scrutiny by wine writers, especially from Neil Pendock. The public interests were immense as more than 220 delegates from the SA wine industry attended the forum.

 Van Zyl said that the guide will publish its 30th edition next year and with more than 1.25 million copies sold the guide has definitely become part and parcel of the South African wine industry.

Van Zyl indicated that transparency, openness and honesty are very important to the Platter guide and that the forum was initiated to inform and to get the response from the public.

With reference to the blind versus sighted tasting aspects, Van Zyl differentiated between sighted, blind and double blind tasting methods. Van Zyl elaborated on their Multi-Stage tasting process and that continuity and consistency play a very important role in their evaluating and reporting process. The guide will continue be of a consumer advisory publication and sighted tasting will remain the main tasting method for future publications.

The Platter guide will taste close to 6500 wines for the next edition. This vast amount of wines causes practical and logistical constrains and that is one of the reasons why blind tasting methods can not be exclusively used to evaluate the wines. 

 Van Zyl added that the guide is not against blind tasting as an evaluation method. He indicated that the guide uses blind and double blind tasting in certain cases to confirm their results. The potential Five-star and Super-quaffer wines are all tasted blind and this implies that hundreds of wines are annually tasted blind.

 I think that the huge turnout confirmed the importance and popularity of this guide and their mythologies. This guide will remain the benchmark of SA wine evaluations and consumer will still trust and act on the recommendations.

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When it comes to wine it seems that women are calling the shots. Women wine consumers are dominating wine purchases and they have become knowledgeable and self-confident wine consumers.


A new UK survey shows that wine is mostly drunk at the dinner table (85%) or in front of the television (84%). And stemware and decanters are considered important for the occasion.

The research overturns perceptions of women’s role in wine buying and reveals that in many cases they are more influential in the choice of wines for the home than men.

Six out of 10 women said they drank wine at least once a week, while the same number said they preferred red wine to white. Fewer than one in 10 women preferred rosé.

For most women drinking wine is associated with specific moments of the day: with meals (91 %), with friends (89 %), at the end of the day (52 %) or as an aperitif (38%). For one-third of women the end of the day wine is drunk in the bath.

Source: housewareslive.net

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When a rushed lunch break, or snacking on junk food from “the chip lady” is often all the nutrition we get at the office, it’s no wonder many feel fat, tired and lethargic.

Try these smart-snacking solutions


Cape Town based dietetics consultant Megan Pentz-Kluyts recent said that there are many more benefits to eating small nutritious snacks throughout the day as apposed to big meals to help maintain your blood sugar levels.  Maintaining high energy levels is vital in facilitating high workplace performance and rests largely on your eating habits.

Recommended snacking
The importance of differentiating between snacks and treats must be stressed . A snack must offer some nutritional benefit to your body and includes fruit, vegetables or yoghurt, while treats include chocolates, sweets and cakes .She recommends creating a snack drawer in your desk with healthy snacks and lunch ingredients. These could include peanut butter, fruit bars, Provitas, or tuna (in spring water). A fully stacked snacks drawer guarantees constant access to healthy food.

Maintain energy
“To prevent big hunger pangs between meals and overindulging at main meal times, spread your food intake over five smaller nutritious meals or snacks, rather than eating three large main meals a day,” advises Pentz-Kluyts. This means that in addition to breakfast, lunch and supper, you must also have a mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack.

Eating low Glycaemic Index (GI) foods, that are digested slowly thereby increasing energy, is also recommended. These include citrus fruits, yoghurt and low GI bread. Conversely, when you eat high GI foods, high in refined carbohydrates, your blood sugar spikes, giving you a short burst of energy, followed by a crash.. This can ultimately lead to fatigue, weight gain and possible health problems in the form of Type-2 Diabetes.

Packed lunches
Bringing packed lunches to the office is healthy and can save both time and money. Look for healthy but delicious lunches during your grocery shopping trips to prepare for the week ahead. You can also prepare extra dinner for the next day’s office lunch. Use the office fridge to store sweet chilli sauce or light dressings to add flavour to boring dishes.

Take away options
When takeaways are your only choice, some of these options from nearby quickshops, grocery shops or restaurants:


  • A whole-wheat roll or wrap with lean protein fillings like tuna and egg, lean ham or skinless chicken.
  • A sushi pack and a fruit.
  • A small portion of rice, bean or pasta salad followed by fat-free yoghurt.
  • Wraps or sandwiches from healthy establishments like Kauai.
  • If you crave a burger, order it plain, lose the chips and rather add a salad with olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing.
  •  An individually-sized pizza from Debonairs, etc is healthier when you order it topped with veggies.


Dos and don’ts

  • Sit somewhere other than your desk.
  • Try to go outside.

• Drink water.



  • Skip lunch.
  • Eat and talk on the telephone or drive.

• Have butter or margarine if your food contains mayo.


Source: destinyconnect.com

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When trying to lose weight and to live a healthier lifestyle certain principles can be followed.


It is important to note that the remedy for eating better isn’t deprivation, blandness, or a rigid diet – it’s incorporating good habits into your life.

In a recent Real Simple Magazine article Seven Principles of Health Eating were indicated.

These principles are as follows:


1. Know yourself. Some people revel in the art of food preparation. For others, the microwave is a lifesaver. What matters is that you find a healthy way to cook and eat that works for you.
2. Give peas (and peaches) a chance. It’s easy to say “Eat more vegetables,” but what about people who don’t like spinach and broccoli? With a little attention to food prep, even vegephobes should be able to find greens (and oranges and reds) that are appealing.
Another benefit of piling on the vegetables is that you can pump up the volume of a meal, even as you trim calories

3. Eat less meat. The mainstays of a healthy diet should be grains, nuts, and seeds, as well as nonstarchy vegetables and fruits, rather than meat. Whole grains (oatmeal, brown rice, whole-wheat bread) provide fiber, which aids the digestive system and makes you feel fuller, and B vitamins, which can boost energy and aid metabolism. Replacing meat with legumes as a protein source is a good strategy for reducing saturated-fat intake.

It’s easier than you think to work these foods into your day. Open up a can of kidney beans or chickpeas and add them to soup, chili, or pasta.
4. Separate your fats. When it comes to fats, there’s perhaps no other area of nutrition in which researchers have learned so much and confused so many consumers in the process. What you need to know is this: Fat has more calories per gram than carbohydrates or protein, so if you’re trying to maintain or lose weight, limit the amount of fat you eat.

That said, not all fats affect the body equally. Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats are the “good” fats; they’re found in nut and vegetable oils and oily fish, such as salmon, trout, and herring. They don’t raise blood cholesterol levels and may even reduce the risk of cardiovascular problems.


5. Watch those portions. Even as you try to eat foods that are loaded with nutrients, pay attention to the overall amount you consume.
6. Eat, don’t drink, your calories. Beverages don’t fill you up in the same way that foods do: Studies have shown that people eat the same amount whether or not they wash down their food with a 150-calorie drink. And most beverages don’t contribute many nutrients.
7. Limit packaged foods and read labels. Many nutritionists recommend shopping the perimeter of a supermarket, where fresh foods, such as fruits and vegetables, are usually sold, and avoiding highly processed foods, which tend to be found in boxes in the center aisles. But you may find it hard to resist the core of the store, with its convenient treats and processed foods.
The trick is to turn a blind eye to all the enticing claims on the fronts of packages-low-fat, low-net-carbs, zero trans fats!-as some are empty, some are unregulated, and some are misleading. Instead, cast a critical eye over the nutrition-facts box.

Look first at calories, saturated fat, trans fat, and sodium. Saturated fat and sodium are presented in grams and milligrams, respectively, and as a percentage of the recommended limit of what we should eat in a day; calories and trans fats are listed simply as amounts. If the numbers seem high, check out a few competing products to see if you can do better.


For more info visit: realsimple.com

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