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Tips for Collecting and Storing Wine

vine vera banner presents Tips for Collecting and Storing Wine

There seems to be a historical connection between the production of musical masterpieces and large amounts of wine. Maybe, then, it wouldn’t be a stretch to speculate that Dave Matthews’ introspective lyrics may have been inspired largely by the contents of his 17th century Vineyards, or that Sting’s reflections on Jung had to be the results of many a wine soaked evening in his 16th century Tuscan estate, but would you think Mike D of the Beastie Boys (RIP) may have been drinking a fine Burgundy when he wrote, “You’ve Got to Fight For Your Right To Party?” And what about Duran Duran who actually once toured with a full wine cellar and included Sassicaia on its contract rider? Would you guess that rocker Pink’s inspiration came from reds and whites?

If you are an aspiring wine collector, it is safe to say that you are certainly in good (or at least glamorous) company. Whether you are looking for inspiration for your next great book or album, big bucks, or just for some real good wine at hand, here are tips you may want to keep in mind.

Budget Yourself
One of the first things you may want to do as a novice collector is to establish a reasonable budget. Alder Yarrow, creator of venography.co says, “Aspiring collectors may be surprised to know that as little as $300 or $400 can be enough to buy some excellent bottles that will last the next 20 years.” While you may want to spend a little more on collectible bottles, wine writer Leslie Sbrocco says that there are a lot of good values in the range of $25 to $35 and with a budget of $1000, “you can do some nice things.

Professional Refrigeration
If you’re not looking for long term investments, you don’t really need a storage locker or expensive refrigeration. However, if you plan to sell your bottles down the line or do some long term storing, you should keep your wine at a constant 55 degrees. Joe Padulo, owner of Portland wine Storage says, “fifty-five degrees allows a wine to develop and age gracefully.” If you are in it for the long haul, small storage lockers start at about $40 per month, but your wine cravings will have to keep business hours, depending on the storage facility.

vine vera banner presents Tips for Collecting and Storing Wine

When it comes to storage, it’s a good idea to estimate the number of wine bottles you want to collect and multiply it by three. Basements are generally the best places for maintaining the temperature your wine will require, but you should read the thermostat at different times of the day to ensure constant optimal temperature. The kiss of death for wine? Storing wine on top of the refrigerator or over the laundry area and stove. Humid areas are also bad news and dryness will make the cork dry out, ruining the wine.

You can buy relatively inexpensive racks to hold your wine and there are also kits available if you are handy. You may also consider purchasing a small refrigeration unit for the bottles you want to keep on hand for entertaining.

Finding Deals
Prior to bottling wines, wineries sometimes offer “futures,” and sell their upcoming vintages at 10 or 20 percent below final cost. Keep apprised of such events by joining winery clubs and signing up for mailing lists. You never know where and when you will find tomorrow’s superstar.

Be wary of the Internet and wine auctions. There is no guarantee that the wine was handled properly. Yarrow says, “It’s just too easy to get ripped off.” He suggests getting the wine from the wine make directly or establishing relationships with reputable retailers. Sbrocco recommends looking for deals at large retailers such as BevMo or Costco.

Buy Wines You Like
Although the best wine collections are varied, you are best advised to start by buying what you like. Know that new World Wines are usually best when drunk within three to seven years, whereas Old World Wines are meant to be aged.

Decide whether you lean more towards reds or if you prefer whites, With a few exceptions, whites don’t age as long as reds, which can be stored for decades before reaching their peak. Think about whites for drinking and reds for storage.

So for all you budding wine collectors, good luck, and good drinking, and let us know all about your adventures. Bottoms up!

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Athleisure Is Not Business Casual

Business women in workplace

It seemed to have begun with the movie “Flashdance” in the 80’s; the movement to combine workout clothes with streetwear. Remember the leg warmers? How about those off-the-shoulder sweats and headbands? At the time, it seemed like the optimal solution in combining the elements of comfort with fashion. At least we could feel good and look good at the same time. As the trend evolved, the clothing did as well with designers constantly coming up with ways to make their clothes even more flattering to the female body. The clothes began to feature built in support, and the patterns and materials became more attractive. More and more, this “athleisure” became a staple of the average woman’s wardrobe. It might even be safe to say that many women preferred these clothes to more formal wear, feeling they better complemented her body and enabled her to move more freely. The growing popularity of these clothes began to bring up questions about propriety. While they might be appropriate for the grocery store or picking the kids up from school, were women crossing a line by wearing these clothes to the office?

“Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman,” Coco Chanel
One can hardly deny that Coco Chanel may have the last word in fashion. Well, then that decides it right? If you want to give a professional look, no athleisure, right? But maybe we should define shabby before we draw any conclusions. A Bloomberg Business article described $400 couture yoga pants and another told of sweatpants going for upwards of $800. These clothes are constructed impeccably with strong seams and quality fabrics and, of course sport designer labels. Does this make them acceptable office wear?

Not Acceptable
Kara Martin Snyder, a lifestyle strategist from Massachusetts, reported wearing workout pants as a CPA for a New York tech startup. She reports, “Occasionally, people confused me for an intern….” Mae Demdam, a digital analyst from Sydney says, “leggings are slim fit and they hug thighs, which aren’t appropriate to the workplace…. I mean, imagine if guys wore that to work.” Demdam added that she preferred clingy pants, which while relaxed, were sexy and appropriate. Fashion publicist Samantha Slaven-Bick admits to wearing assessor pants to work, but says she would “want my employees to dress a little nicer” and “feels a little self-conscious when others around me are more dressed up.” Slaven-Bick also claims that dressing up makes her feel “more productive at work.”

Stylist, Monaco believes it is all in the delivery. He believes that pairing the right pants with office appropriate wear such as a blazer and heels would convey, “a certain air of cool confidence,” but adds the best rule of thumb for determining whether or not athletic pants are ok for work is to, “simply look around. Is everyone else in suits and day dresses? Probably not a good idea. Jeans and t-shirts? Might be ok.”

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What To Wear For A Video Conference


Business womens having video conferencing
Video conferencing humor: The caption says, “My friend had a video interview for college, she dressed appropriately.” The accompanying picture shows an attractive young girl dressed in a work shirt and blazer with nothing covering her from the waist down. In recent years, video conferencing has grown in popularity and little wonder. A video conference saves time and travel expenses. In fact, in the last two years the number of people who use video conferencing has grown by 87%. And, although it may be tempting to skip the pants, what you wear to a video conference should take careful consideration. Here are some tips.

What to Avoid

If you wear colors that are too close to your skin tone or blend into the background, you may end up looking like a detached head. Unless this is the effect you are going for, avoid these colors. Also, Very dark or very bright colors may look blurry on the screen and cause poor image quality. Blues, pastels, and neutrals are good bets and it is always a good idea to wear colors that flatter you.

Have you ever seen chunky black and white checks on camera? Not the best idea. Busy patterns, like plaids and prints are distracting and dizzying and don’t work well on camera.

Part of the attraction of jewelry is its ability to sparkle and catch the light. However, this may not work that well in a video conference. Overly shiny accessories can split the light, creating an effect much like that of a disco ball. Leave the sparklers on the night table. Also, be aware of jewelry with sound effects such as stacked bracelets and dangling earrings. They can be very distracting.

What to Aim For

Proper Fit and Comfort
You don’t want to spend the interview adjusting your clothing and you should make sure everything you wear has been tested for the possibility of a wardrobe malfunction. You wouldn’t want a button popping off while you were explaining what an asset you would be to the company. Also, avoid anything that might make you sweat. You don’t want them to see you literally lose your cool!

Unless you are doing an interview for an escort service, you may be best advised to avoid crop tops, low cut tops or anything vaguely sees through.

Look Professional
If the meeting is business formal, wear dress, a skirt, dress clothes, button down shirt or blazer and even a tie. For a more casual meeting, cardigans and pullover are both good options and you can swap the dress pants for some nice jeans or khakis. Also, Remember to check for stains and wrinkles. You don’t want to make the conference with last night’s dinner on your shirt.

And last but not least:
Keep covered from the waist down. You never know what might happen.

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Make Them Say,”She’s The Boss”

Woman addressing a meeting
The early to mid 1980’s were a time of role reversal, celebrating the influx of women in the workplace. Pop Princess Donna Summer released the album, ” She Works Hard for the Money,” featuring Summer on the album cover and in the video as a hassled waitress and working class heroine. Mick Jagger released, “She’s the Boss,” in 1985, which showed Mick relaxes on a bed, presumably, the “morning after,” while his significant other straps on her heels in the corner to face the workday. ABC aired the popular sitcom, “Who’s the Boss?” in which the female lead is shown as having an active sexual and social life while her hubby stayed home and took care of the kids. Indeed, some 30 odd years later, women have definitely claimed their right as valuable members in the workplace with many females climbing roles as CEOs and office managers. Jagger may have pictured the lady boss in her undies and sporting high heels, but this may not be everyone’s ideal version of what the leading lady looks like at work. Perhaps we should look at some more advanced concepts.

Grooming is something that takes time. In fact, a study, determined that women spend about one week per year preparing to go out. Of course, if you are a busy CEO, you may not even have the luxury of that much time. So, logically it would follow that you have a license to look like a complete slob. That way everyone will think you are so concerned with work that you have no time to worry about lesser matters like the way you look. Unfortunately, this is not the way the world works, In order to command respect and attention, you must create the right image, and slob is not it. When it comes to grooming for the busy woman, try to choose a hairstyle that falls into place easily and keep your nails clean and simple. Aim for looking clean and neat to signal that you’ve got it together.
 Businesswoman standing in office showing professionalism look

Create A Signature Look
Although one should adhere to certain codes of propriety, breaking rules also show power. Princess Diana was a great example of someone who developed her own fashion identity. Try using a particular color with one signature item, or dresses with belts.

Make Up
When it comes to makeup, less is more. Stick with a natural look, using some neutral tone shadow and light mascara. Avoid false eyelashes and overly Bronzing Bronzers. Light lipstick or gloss is the way to go with your lips and keep it on hand for reapplication. Remember to do last minute makeup retouches before meetings.

Buy One Good Thing
Well, maybe more than one, but perhaps you’ve heard that, when it comes to fashion, quality is more important that quantity. When you buy, pay attention to getting quality material and construction. Well -tailored leather and cashmere are both good bets for the long haul. You will also find that having less clothes means that it is easier to keep them in good condition. Instead of cramming your clothes half- folded in a drawer, you can hang each piece on a single hanger and make sure they stay neatly pressed. Also, try to keep an inventory of your clothing, making sure to inspect them for moths and mildew and make sure to follow any special care instructor.
As a last piece of advice, keep in mind that the most important accessory is confidence. Know how to look your best and keep yourself in optimum health. You’ve got a lot riding on those shoulders!

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