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4 tips for serving and enjoying red wine this summer

(BPT) – With the summer season in full swing, entertaining heads outdoors, with leisurely BBQs and picnics forming the backdrop for gatherings of family and friends. Choosing a great wine to pair with the menu is a thoughtful touch, but white wines aren’t the only options during the warmer months. Even as temperatures rise, versatile red wine deserves a place on the table, and these quick tips can enhance your understanding and enjoyment of wines all summer long.

Here are a few tips about red wine:

Take a chill. Red wine should not be served warm.

One of the first things many people hear about wine is that white wines should be chilled, and red wines should be left at room temperature. However, the wine experts at CK Mondavi and Family explain that people typically over-chill white wines, while people usually serve red wines far too warm. Why does temperature matter? Serving wine at the right temperature allows all of the aromas and flavors to be enjoyed at their best.

Take white wines out of the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes, to bring the temperature to 49-55 degrees before serving. Red wines are at their best slightly cooler than room temperature, around 60-65 degrees. Place a bottle in the refrigerator or use a wine cooler to chill before serving, but not for too long. The bottle should not be cold, but cool to the touch. For BBQs and outdoor gatherings, nestle a bottle in an icy cooler for a few minutes before opening.

Once poured into a glass, any wine will warm up, so it’s always better to start serving at a cooler temperature to begin with.

Breathe. Red wines benefit from a little air.

Red wines typically benefit from some extended time to breathe or be exposed to air. This helps optimize its aromas and flavors. Swirling the wine a little in the glass is also a way to help release its aromas. Letting an open bottle sit for a few minutes will suffice for most wines. Pouring into a decanter not only looks fancy, but serves to further aerate wines, and will prevent pouring any sediment into a glass.

Sweeten up. Not all red wine is dry.

For a crowd-pleasing choice, choose a fruity wine. This season, CK Mondavi and Family is introducing a limited-time-offering of new Sunset Sweet Red Blend, a luscious, smooth wine that complements a wide variety of fare.”We’re having fun with this new wine,” says Randy Herron, head winemaker. “It’s juicy and full-bodied, with flavors of strawberry and dark plum.”

Go bold. Red wines pair well with strong flavors.

When pairing wine with food, choose flavors that complement each other – think lighter wines with more delicate flavors, and bolder wines with stronger, spicier foods. For this reason, many red wines pair well with sharp or smoked cheeses, red meat – including cured, salty or smoked meats – and grilled vegetables.That’s why red wine can be a great choice for your summer barbecue. Pairing a sweet wine like Sunset Sweet Red Blend with a tangy and spicy barbecue sauce can be a match made in heaven.Even newcomers to wine will appreciate the mouthwatering flavors and exciting pairings you offer your guests at your barbecue or soiree. Plan your summer parties with a good red wine in mind, and you can’t go wrong.

How to create a charcuterie board for your next party

How to create a charcuterie board for your next party

(BPT) – Planning a party doesn’t have to be difficult. Instead of agonizing over appetizers, opt for serving delicious wine with a charcuterie board – a variety of cured meats, cheeses and condiments that can range from simple to sophisticated. Even a fairly basic spread can look elegant, while providing your guests with inviting, impressive flavor combinations.

Todd Knoll, executive chef at Jordan Vineyard & Winery, offers expert tips on combining select cured meats and cheeses with balanced wines to bring out the best in a charcuterie board.

Choose great wines

To keep it simple, offer one red and one white. Choose wines to complement a range of flavors and seasonings in meats and cheeses, so you can offer an interesting variety to tempt your guests.

Chardonnay is popular with wine lovers, and for good reason, with its crisp, fruity notes and vibrant acidity. Many traditional unoaked Chardonnays are lighter and so may not pair well with charcuterie, since salted and cured meats and aromatic cheeses have strong tastes that may overwhelm and diminish their delicate flavors. But some French oak-aged Chardonnays, such as Jordan, are created in a fruit-forward, elegant, lower-alcohol style, making them more robust and versatile than other varietals. A young Jordan Chardonnay can even complement most mild blue cheeses, Knoll says.

Another great selection for charcuterie is Champagne, which has just the right acidity – and bubbles – to refresh the palate while sampling meats and cheeses with a higher fat and salt content.

For a delicious red wine selection, Knoll recommends Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon. It pairs well with a wide range of meats and cheeses, due to its balance and elegance. Red wines containing a lot of alcohol and tannin pose a challenge to salty and/or spicy meats like salami and prosciutto. Salt accentuates alcohol, so combining salty food with high alcohol and tannin levels in a wine makes the wine taste hot and the meat even saltier. Because Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon has a fruit-forward flavor, good acidity, subtle tannins and lower alcohol, it works well with charcuterie, providing an unexpectedly delicious flavor to complement many meats and cheeses.

Select flavorful meats

For a charcuterie board that is as Instagrammable as it is edible, provide a variety of contrasting flavors and textures, Knoll advises. This means choosing harder, salty and spicy cured meats, such as salami. Then add softer salted meats, such as thinly sliced prosciutto, for textural and flavor contrast. Finally, provide a creamy pate, terrine or rillette that guests can spread on bread or crackers.

Choose delicious cheeses

Offer guests a choice of flavors and textures that also complement the wine. Sheep’s milk cheeses, such as Roquefort, Manchego and Pecorino Romano, pair well with Cabernet Sauvignon, particularly cheeses that have been aged at least six months for complexity and nutty flavor. Firmer, more aged cow’s milk cheeses, such as Gouda and cloth-bound Cheddar, will complement a variety of Cabernet Sauvignon styles. Knoll says that firmer cheeses that have been aged longer have a milder, nuttier texture and smooth taste that highlight the oak and berry notes in Cabernet Sauvignon.

A creamy Camembert is a good match with Chardonnay, as is Brie and other soft cheeses, according to Knoll. Chardonnay can also be paired successfully with creamy goat cheeses. Champagne complements washed rind cheeses such as Taleggio, Limburger and Epoisses, as its acidity cuts through the richness of these more pungent cheeses.

Add delectable condiments

A fabulous charcuterie board is not complete without an array of flavorful condiments. Source good mustard like whole grain Dijon, Knoll advises, plus quince paste or pear mostarda. Add olives, fresh or dried fruit, nuts or pickles to taste, plus fresh, warmed crusty bread or crackers.

Watch your temperature

The three essentials of a great charcuterie board – meat, cheese and wine – all shine when served at the proper temperature. Before guests arrive, chill white wines, which taste best when served at a temperature between 53 and 58 degrees. Serving Chardonnay too cold – a refrigerator is typically below 40 degrees – mutes the wine’s fruit flavors and aromas. Cabernet Sauvignon should be served between 60 and 65 degrees – below room temperature – and is best decanted to allow the wine to breathe, enhancing the wine’s aromas and flavors. Cheeses should warm to room temperature for best flavor, while meats should be cold.

Designing your platter

Slice different shapes and sizes of the cheeses and meats to provide visual interest, such as triangles, squares and rectangles for cheeses, and circles, rosettes and folded triangles for meats. Spend time arranging the elements in different areas, coupling colors and textures to create a fancy platter far superior to store-bought versions. Place condiments and nuts in small, colorful dishes atop the board for convenience and color contrast. Add fresh herbs or edible flowers for garnish. Get inspiration from Knoll’s How to Build a Charcuterie Board video on the Wine Country Table website.

Parties can be more relaxing – and delicious – with an easy-to-prepare, delightful charcuterie board and good wine. For more tips on wine, food and entertaining, visit winecountrytable.com.

5 advantages of traveling on a small cruise ship

(BPT) – Close your eyes and imagine your perfect ocean voyage. Are you peaceful and serene, gently floating toward exciting ports? Do you imagine a leisurely trip, with a delightful itinerary and plenty of time to explore your ideal destinations?

If that’s the picture of your dream cruise, chances are you’re imagining a small ship. While the typical cruise may conjure the image of a huge, noisy, floating party, there are better options — with travelers like you in mind.

Here are five advantages of traveling on a small ship:

1. Unique and unusual ports

A smaller ship can bring you to more under-the-radar spots around the world, whose ports can’t accommodate larger ships. Viking, for example, sails to remote Scandinavian ports including the stunning Lofoten Islands among jagged peaks of Norwegian mountains, or the picturesque fishing village of Skagen, Denmark’s northernmost town. Smaller ships can also take you closer to the heart of your dream destinations such as the Sydney Harbor or the Thames River in London.

2. An intimate, relaxed journey

Ships with fewer than 1,000 passengers allow every traveler a more leisurely, intimate experience. You’ll get to know your fellow passengers, the crew and the boat’s amenities much better than on a large cruise ship. You’ll spend less time just trying to find your way around a smaller vessel, allowing you to focus on what matters to you. Smaller ships also mean you’ll experience much quicker and easier embarkation and disembarkation, with no long lines for anything onboard.

On Viking Sky and her sister ships, there are no more than 930 passengers. Each stateroom offers a private veranda, with no interior cabins. Viking hosts no children under 18, has no casinos and offers free access to the spa, creating a relaxed, peaceful ambiance so you can enjoy the journey as much as the exceptional destinations.

3. Culturally enriching experiences

Smaller ships allow for more fascinating tours, and savvy travelers can find the perfect itinerary to suit their tastes. Excursions on smaller ships afford more flexibility, often including interesting experiences larger ships wouldn’t have time to offer. For example, Viking offers excursions that are designed to immerse guests in local cultures, including Local Life, Working World and Privileged Access experiences. Local Life excursions shine a light on everyday activities, such as a Viking Chef-hosted trip to a local farmers market, or tea at a home with local residents, while Working World excursions feature behind-the-scenes “making of” experiences like factory and farm visits highlighting local exports. Privileged Access excursions include unique experiences only available to Viking guests, such as an exclusive dinner in the Churchill War Rooms in London or a private cooking class in a Tuscan castle.

Travel experiences through Viking’s ocean cruises are unique, such as the “Viking Homelands” itinerary, which includes Scandinavia and the Baltic, with overnights in Stockholm and scenic Bergen, plus the historic cities of Tallinn, Estonia, and Gdansk, Poland. If warmer climes entice you, the “West Indies Explorer” itinerary sails round trip from San Juan avoiding the long sea days from South Florida associated with most Caribbean cruises and allowing you more time to spend discovering the rich cultures of nine Caribbean islands over the 11-day sailing. You’ll spend more time on shore, with at least one overnight stay on virtually every itinerary.

4. Unparalleled shipboard experiences

A smaller ship lets you choose the exact experiences you desire. Rather than aiming to please everyone, smaller cruise lines have the luxury of specializing in terms of not only itineraries, but the entire on-board experience. It’s wise to research what amenities are included — or not included — on any ship before signing on to the journey.

5. Compelling value

Smaller ships can offer a greater variety of choices in terms of voyage length, types of accommodations, a better crew-to-passenger ratio (which means better service) and an overall experience that suits each passenger in a way that larger, one-size-fits-all cruises cannot. Search for the right experience for your dream voyage by listing your must-have amenities and destinations first — then don’t settle for less.

Smaller cruise ships like Viking Sky and her sister ships offer luxurious amenities such as fine dining, complimentary beer and wine with lunch and dinner, free Wi-Fi and 24-hour room service. The onboard Spa draws on the holistic wellness philosophy of Nordic culture, so you can stimulate your circulatory system in the sauna, then be invigorated by the snow grotto, where snowflakes gently descend from the ceiling through chilled air. Viking even offers book collections thoughtfully curated by London’s Heywood Hill throughout the ships.

If you yearn to travel by sea, consider options offered by smaller cruise ship lines, and look for your ideal experience. Your dream ocean voyage will reflect your interests, your travel style and the best experiences to suit your taste — so you’ll enjoy the journey as much as the destinations.

A Sweet Wedding Story

Jordan and Leslie got married on a beautiful Sunday in October 2016.  Early in the day, Leslie had a pain in his stomach that he chalked up to pre-ceremony nerves.  After the ceremony was over, the pain was only getting stronger and by the time the couple was done taking portraits during cocktail hour, the groom could hardly stand. While their guests enjoyed their reception dinner, Jordan helped Leslie into their car and drove him to the Emergency Room.  Thankfully, the doctors informed the newlyweds that Leslie had kidney stones –painful, but not life threatening. They did not make it back to their wedding reception, but their guests danced and had a great time in their honor.
A few weeks later, Leslie reached back out with the hopes of throwing a surprise reception for Jordan. He was so appreciative and grateful that his bride stood by his side, even when it meant missing the day they had looked forward to for so long, and he wanted to give her a chance to enjoy all the work she put in.  
Under the guise of returning to the venue to take sunset pictures in their wedding attire, he had her bouquet and their cake re-made and invited their closest friends and family back to celebrate with them. After they finished taking pictures on the lawn, he led Jordan back inside where all of their guests were waiting! She was so surprised! They got to share their first dance, cut their cake, and get the send-off they had been dreaming of.  
Silver Swan Bayside Venue & Caterer412 Congressional Drive, Stevensville443-249-0400www.silverswanbayside.com

DIY Eastern Shore Style Give Your Guests the Expected… In Unexpected Ways

It’s time to come up with your signature spin on the Eastern Shore’s delicious food. As you decide what culinary delight to focus on, it’s not long before your mouth is watering for crabs, oysters, Smith Island cakes and the herbs and spices of Old Bay seasoning.
Why not serve a late night snack bar featuring Old Bay in unexpected ways? When the dancing kicks into high gear, roll out an Old Bay snack bar and fantastic local craft beer. The two are a match made in heaven… just like you and your new groom.
Try seasoning the following with Old Bay:PopcornDeviled EggsCereal Snack MixFrench FriesRoasted Peanuts & PretzelsChicken WingsFried Pickles
Serve the snacks in rustic tin containers or unique glass bowls and on platters to match. Be sure to label each treat for guests and grab a variety of disposable containers for guests to fill with their favorite treats. Save the serving containers and convert them into serving dishes for parties you host as a married couple… making a life-long memory of your special day.
For an easy and fun ay to decorate your snack stand, buy a container of Old Bay for each guest and attach a label with your names, wedding date and sentiment.

The Perfect Pairing for Your Old Bay Snack BarBull and Goat Brewery204 Banjo Lane, Suite ECentreville MD, 21617www.bullandgoatbrewery.com
Bull and Goat Breweries is a cool, local hangout spot perfect for beer enthusiasts and casual drinkers alike. Located near the heart of Centerville, Bull and Goat brews a variety of unique beers. From the spicy, hoppy “Baba Yaga,” to fruity and lighter “Frank Amber Ale”, Bull and Goat Breweries has something for every beer drinker.      If you’re looking for a non-alcoholic, alternative, they even offer an in-house brewed root beer! The beers rotate month-to-month, leading to a wide degree of variety depending on when you happen to stop by. Bull and Goat Brewery is stocked with comfy couches, board games, and even a dart board, allowing you to have some fun with friends while you kick back and enjoy local brews. Plus, they are animal friendly!      Bull and Goat Breweries also supplies their beers to local restaurants and eateries, including Doc’s in Centerville. If you’re looking to try some cool craft beers and have some fun with friends, Bull and Goat Brewery is one of the best places in Centerville to do it! They are open from 3 PM to 9 PM Wednesday through Friday and from 2 PM to 9 PM on Saturdays. Come check out this local hot spot!

You answered the big question… now let our experts answer the rest.

Your wedding day might just be the biggest moment in your life. Brides often find themselves at the center of attention on their big day with hundreds of pictures being taken and all their friends and family there to see them. Because of this, it is important to look your best on your this special day and to feel confident in your own skin. Many women get a little help to look their best through aesthetics. To get answers for curious brides-to-be, we talked to the girls from Bella Rose Medispa to get your questions answered on how brides can benefit from their services to look their absolute best on their big day. 
What kinds of beauty services would you recommend for future brides?Because each bride is different, each of their needs is different.  Lasting memories are captured in their wedding photos and everyone wants their skin and face to be glowing. We evaluate each bride to see what their needs are starting from  establishing a skin care program,  injectable aesthetics, Latisse for long lashes,  coupled with body contouring, IPL, microneedling and/or  hair removal.  We have many options for brides to bring on that glow on their big day. Helping future brides get ready for the big day is very important to us and we value being a part of the most important day of their lives.  
What is your fondest memory of your own wedding day?Special memories from my wedding day include celebrating with each and every guest there to support us.  The biggest moments for me as a bride were stepping into the doorway in my gown, having my father walk me down the isle and raising my veil , and our vows.  
What kind of advice can you offer brides?My most important piece of advice is to not sweat the small stuff.  Sometimes things don’t go as planned…. Don’t let that ruin your special day. When it comes to aesthetics and getting ready, the sooner you begin the more prepared you will be for everything from engagement pictures to the big day. Bella Rose customizes a plan specifically for you to make sure you look and feel your best. 
Why should brides come to Bella Rose?Brides should come to Bella Rose because we truly care about them and their big day.  We want to make sure they look their best and they feel their best! Developing relationships with our clients, and celebrating in their journey is what it is all about.  Stop by and let us help you be the best you!
If you are interesting in learning more about  Bella Rose, visitbellarose1medispa.com or call (443) 249-3232

Is a “Jack and Jill” Shower Right for You?

Today’s bridal shower, rather than the traditional all-girls bridal shower or the men-only bachelor party, now centers around couples combining the their interests into one event and calling them “Jack and Jill” showers. After all, men have become more involved with planning weddings, and the mixed shower lends itself nicely to couples who share the same friends or brides who have lots of male friends.       The traditional bridal shower was hosted by a relative and for the bride’s female family and friends. Games and food took a more feminine approach where special pastries or cakes were served and the bride “sat” in the seat of honor and opened gifts. Today, that bridal shower often is replaced with invitations to both male and female family and friends and usually hosted by a friend. The venue and food have changed to include barbeques, picnics, house parties and restaurant reservations with food and drinks that appeal to everyone.      The venue can help set the tone for the shower. Many are held in someone’s home; however, there are many more options. For a more upscale party, consider reservations for brunch at a nice restaurant or a wine and cheese party. If looking for something more low-key, how about a sports bar or grill. Venues for the combined showers may even take place as weekend excursions. How about a weekend winery tour, particularly appealing if there are multiple wineries in your area. When planning for the co-ed shower, consider the likes, lifestyle, personality and incomes of the couple as well as their family and friends to make for a truly enjoyable event.       The Jack and Jill showers are casual events meant to be both fun and creative. If there is a theme to the wedding or the honeymoon destination is known (beach wedding, a honeymoon in sunny Italy or Caribbean holiday, a cruise to Hawaii), consider using that same theme for the shower. Here are just a few ideas to consider:•Yard and garden party – If the couple has a house, how about lawn, garden, outdoor tools, lawn-mowing service and outdoor entertainment items.•Fitness Theme – Great for the couple who is health conscious or maybe who met during a 5K or other sports event… home gym equipment or a gift certificate for a local gym. •Potluck Theme – Everyone brings a dish to share and also a copy of their favorite recipe along with a kitchen item needed to create the dish.•Karaoke Theme – Guests participate in karaoke and gifts can focus on entertainment-related needs for a home.•Wine Theme – Suggest wines the couple enjoys for guests who also can bring wine-related gifts such as wine glasses and wine books. Consider hiring a sommelier to teach the guests about wine.     The types of gifts also vary for the Jack and Jill showers. Gifts can be meant for the happy couple, gifts that might appeal to both, or as gifts for either the bride-to-be or the groom. The variations on the Jack and Jill shower offer many more options and ways of focusing on the happy couple rather than on each as an individual.       Recently, the Jack and Jill party also has been used as an event to raise money for the couple’s wedding expenses. Traditionally, the bride’s parents paid for the wedding. With couples getting married at a later age, today many couples pay for their own weddings. All proceeds from the event go towards the wedding or honeymoon budget. These fundraisers are intended to raise money for the couple, but also to provide an evening of fun for attendees. For example… a casino night with different card games or a packaged outing to a concert or game.      The idea is to keep the shower light-hearted and fun. You want people to get to know each other, renew friendships, and anticipate the upcoming wedding. Through all of this, the bride-to-be, the groom and the host/hostess should keep in mind that attending a wedding can be quite expensive for guests who often have to pay travel and lodging expenses, purchase a wedding gift, and other expenses to attend the wedding.     For more ideas about Jack and Jill showers, be sure to attend The Eastern Shore Bridal Show on April 7 from 1 to 4pm at the Waterfront Silver Swan Bayside in Stevensville. We will have a bridal suite at the show with lots of ideas for you to consider.   

Traveling Cashless

Why world travelers are going cashless

(BPT) – What’s your dream vacation?

Whether you live to travel or only manage to get away for a couple of long weekends every year, you probably have a bucket list of places to go and sites to see.

Sometimes it feels like there might be too many options. For some people, it’s adventure travel in Basque Country, exploring the caves of Urkiola, paddle boarding around the Urdaibai Estuary and indulging in world-renowned cuisine; for others, it’s a relaxing vacation in Thailand, including a meditation course, spa day and island hopping through the Phi Phi Islands. Either trip would rejuvenate travelers, yet they are quite different from one another. But no matter where you go in the world, there’s one thing that’s the same: People are going cash-free.

Going cash-free saves money. Part of traveling to a foreign country is exchanging money. With new coins and bills in your pocket, you can spend freely, buy souvenirs, meals, whatever you like. Research shows that 87 percent of travelers have leftover cash after their trips, so most of us have experienced the mad dash to spend your foreign cash before you board your flight home. But that doesn’t always happen.

Only 29 percent of travelers convert their foreign cash back to U.S. dollars. On average, this leaves $123 on the table. That’s a costly souvenir. Not to mention that getting foreign currency before your trip is just one more thing to do in the pre-planning process. And while 72 percent of respondents in the study said they get cash, many of them also admitted that, with the ease of traveling without cash, it was a waste of time. Skip the cash to save time and money by using your Visa credit card internationally. Plus, you can use your Visa card to pay in local currency, you are ensuring you get a competitive exchange rate and aren’t stuck with hidden currency conversion fees.

Peace of mind. Even if you’re diligent and always exchange your cash at the end of every trip, one of the biggest perks to traveling without cash is security. Virtually every traveler worries about leaving their money in the hotel room or losing it in some way or another. There’s no easy way around it: Traveling with cash is stressful, and can impact an otherwise great trip.

Why go through the hassle? Accepted nearly everywhere in the world, travelers can use Visa to make purchases with confidence anytime, virtually anywhere in the world. Unlike cash, your Visa card can be replaced if lost or stolen to provide greater freedom for people to enjoy their travel experiences.

Explore the world differently. For travel enthusiasts looking to explore the world cash-free, The Visa Cashless Challenge: International Travel Edition Search will send one lucky winner on a cash-free adventure across the globe. Visa has partnered with Arden Cho (@arden_cho) and brothers Alex and Marko Ayling (@TheVagaBrothers) to create two unique trips that will show the winner what it’s like to travel the world cash free.

The winner of the challenge will choose between a relaxing trip to Thailand or an adventurous journey through Spain’s Basque Country. The winner will have the opportunity to decide between destinations, but once they do, will experience firsthand the ease of traveling cashless in the 21st century, and receive pro-tips on how best to document their journey along the way.

For more information visit: www.visa.com/cashlesstravel

Combining Households

Marrying households: 7 savvy moving tips for newlyweds

(BPT) – If you’re planning a wedding or you’ve just tied the knot, congratulations! Getting ready to start the next chapter of your life with the one you love can be an exciting time, filled with anticipation about your future together.

That said, combining two households can take considerable planning and preparation, especially if both parties own troves of treasured possessions. As you are getting ready to make the transition into a single house or apartment, consider how the following suggestions may make your move easier.

* Pare down possessions. After unwrapping your wedding gifts, take an objective look at your collective furniture, household goods, clothing and other items. Where do you see duplicates? Whose décor are you more likely to use? Are those old clothes you’ve had since high school really worth keeping? Now is the time to be generous in donating unneeded items to a local charity (or selling them on Craigslist).

* Nix the shopping blitz. Although those wedding checks and gift cards are burning a hole in your pocket, postpone your purchases until after you move so you don’t end up needlessly hauling them to your next locale.

* DIY on the moving. Rather than shelling out a small fortune hiring a moving company, simply rent a truck that you can drive without a commercial license. As a rule of thumb, seek 150 cubic feet of space for the furnishings of each room in your present house; that means a 12- or 16-foot Penske rental truck should accommodate the contents of a small apartment or condo. Remember to reserve your truck at least two weeks ahead, and ask for the discounts provided to AAA members and military personnel.

* Invest in packing supplies. This is not the time to skimp by using flimsy containers, newspapers and cheap tape to pack up your treasured belongings. Save yourself time and frustration later by picking up sturdy boxes, labels, tape and bubble wrap from your truck rental store so you can ensure everything arrives at its destination safe, unbroken and easy to unpack.

* Party on. Inviting friends and family to help you with your move can be a win-win for all; many hands make light work when it comes to loading and unloading your truck, and you can offer incentives by springing for pizza and beverages at your new home afterward.

* Learn how to load. Apply logistical strategy to filling up your moving truck, perhaps by following the guidelines offered by Penske’s Truck Wizard. In general, heavier items should go in the back of the truck, with lighter items in front and on top.

* Practice makes perfect. Driving a moving truck isn’t difficult, but it’s definitely different from driving a car or pick-up. Take time to familiarize yourself with those differences; for example, you must use your mirrors to navigate turns, you should avoid sudden stops or lane changes and give yourself extra time.

Need more information about the advantages of renting your own moving truck? Check out PenskeTruckRental.com for details.

Tips for Changing Addresses

Changing addresses? 10 tips for busy baby boomers

(BPT) – For many Americans, moving households represents a fresh start and a chance to improve quality of life. Last year, some 39.4 million Americans changed residences, thanks in part to better affordability in the housing market.

That doesn’t mean, however, that everyone’s moving process was friction-free. The logistical coordination and the physical work involved with DIY packing and loading can be a major chore in the best of circumstances. And that’s doubly true for baby boomers who are downsizing or moving to new communities, yet challenged by the physically grueling aspects of a DIY move.

Fortunately, forming a plan that troubleshoots the most common challenges can help enormously. Consider how these tips could keep your next move smooth and free of unnecessary stress.

1. Protect your treasures: Avoid the heartbreak of damaged belongings by stocking up on bubble wrap and other efficient packing materials. You also could optimize household items such as towels, blankets and coats.

2. Stagger your packing: Pack too early and you may need items you’ve stashed away; pack too late and you may be crunched for time. Start with non-essentials and out-of-season belongings a few weeks before moving day, sorting discards as you go. Save necessities for the last 48 hours.

3. Label, label, label: This may seem unnecessary while you’re packing, but will save you time and frustration upon arrival when you’re desperately looking for your essentials. It also allows you to immediately sort boxes by room and store items that are infrequently needed.

4. Secure transportation early: Instead of procrastinating and missing out on the truck you need, hop on your smartphone at least two weeks ahead to easily reserve a vehicle at PenskeTruckRental.com.

5. Right-size your truck: Rather than guessing what size moving vehicle you’ll need, plan on about 150 cubic feet of truck space for each fully furnished room in your home. That means a move from an apartment might necessitate a 12-foot truck offering 450 cubic feet, while a move from a house might require a 26-foot truck offering 1,400 feet.

6. Recruit help: The packing and transporting may sound easy until you try to do it all yourself. This is the time to call in favors or perhaps pay some teens to help with the lifting and hauling.

7. Pack your truck strategically: Optimize your space by positioning your furniture and other large, heavy items in the back of your vehicle before proceeding with lighter items. That optimizes the vehicle’s power and allows you to fit smaller items into smaller spaces.

8. Follow ergonomics: The last thing you need is to injure your back through haphazard movement during the loading process. Stretch beforehand, avoid twisting your torso as you load and remember to lift with your legs by crouching rather than bending from the waist.

9. Strategize your route: Map out the way ahead of time, review weather forecasts, avoid rush hour and leave yourself plenty of time for breaks, refueling and unloading.

10. Drive like a pro: Many people are unfamiliar with the difference between driving a car and a big truck. Read all instructions provided and understand how to drive differently to remain safe (and legal).

Regardless of your age, a DIY moving process can be efficient and pain-free when you organize the details ahead of time. Talk to Penske Truck Rental for more suggestions on making that happen.

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