Thursday, October 25, 2007

Think local. Buy local.

When you hear the expression "Think and Buy Local" what comes to mind? Is it important for you shop local, or do you usually shop online or go out of town? Do you know the many benefits of doing business locally? When you shop local, you support your neighbors, as well as make a difference in your community.

Do you know that buying local reduces environmental impact? When you buy local, it means less sprawl, less congestion, less habitat loss, and less pollution. It takes such a small amount of work to help the environment, and something as easy as buying your groceries or clothing from a local store can be one thing you can do to help save the earth.

We all want to live in a thriving town. When you buy local, you help support and promote the local economy. When you promote the local economy, you're creating a more prosperous living situation for yourself, as well as using your taxes to support public service and non-profit groups.

When you buy local, you not only help the business you're buying from, but you help all of the businesses in your town. Most local businesses employ other local businesses for good and services.

So think local, buy local, and take advantage of all of the great benefits of supporting the environment, and your neighborhood.

Laura Schutz

Friday, October 19, 2007

ACMoore review

If you are a scrap booker--avid or casual, advanced or beginner--a great place to go for anything you'd need is ACMoore. They have really re-vamped their scrap booking section (which was already fairly extensive). The hobby has come a long way and they have kept up with the times, bringing in new stuff and putting the old on clearance. They have 5+ aisles dedicated solely to stamping and scrap booking. They used to carry your standard lines (Making Memories, K & Co., Rebecca Sower) and they still do. But they also now carry a much wider array of companies and designers, such as Heidi Grace designs, Bazzill, and my personal favorite - Heidi Swapp. The best thing is the 40 or 50% off one-item coupons that are in each Sunday's ACMoore circular. There are a few restrictions, but for the most part you can use them on just about anything in the store. They also accept competitor coupons, like Michael's. It makes no sense to walk in the store without one of these coupons. You can also sign up for ACMoore e-mail and get them that way - just print off your computer. They are readily available so take advantage. Last year on the Friday after Thanksgiving they had one good for 60% off (one day only) I am really hoping they do that again this year. It's such a good deal. But, my biggest advice about visiting the store is to avoid lunchtime on weekdays. It seems logical to go on a lunch break but guess what-- the cashiers are also in need of lunch breaks. So it seems like there are always long lines and only a couple of cashiers. This is really frustrating if you were just going in for an adhesive refill and have to wait 10 or 15 minutes in line. So go at a less busy time, such as mid morning or evening when most people are home having dinner. You'll leave much happier after saving 40 or 50% with your coupon and getting in and out without the long wait.

Shannon Bristol
BBG&G Advertising

Panera Bread review

Panera Bread is one of my favorite places to go with my family for a quick bite to eat for dinner or with a group of friends to hang out and have coffee and dessert. It allows for the best of best of both worlds, enabling visitors to get in and out quickly or to sit around and talk and savor the tempting aromas of baked goods. If you haven't eaten at Panera Bread yet, you don't know what you are missing! Their menu is simply to die for... from scrumptious homemade bagels, cookies, and breads to yummy Panini sandwiches, homemade soups, and healthy salads, Panera certainly has what it takes to please even the pickiest eaters. My favorite is the You Pick Two meal that allows you to choose two items from their menu, either a 1/2 portion of soup, salad, or sandwich. If you are looking for a sure bet, try the Chicken Tomesto sandwich with the broccoli cheddar soup. They're fantastic!

The only draw back to Panera is the line out the door during lunch hour and figuring the lay out of the ordering lines the first time you visit the store. The lines do move pretty quickly, considering the number of people that they have to serve. You order at the main register, then have to pick up your drinks at the next counter, and then stand in line one more time to get your meal. It's not too difficult or time consuming, but I must admit I got a bit lost my first time there. Am I the only one that has trouble with the Take Out line? You have to search for the Take Out sign, which is kind of small and hangs from the ceiling, and then stand at the counter and wait for someone to notice you. The problem is that the counter is rather high and the width of the pick up counter area is rather narrow giving you a small glimpse of people behind the counter. I usually stand there and go, "Um, can somebody help me?"...."Um, does anyone see me here?" I usually take my debit card and tap it on the counter top every now and then hoping to send SOS signals to nearby employees. But sometimes you get lucky and catch someone right away.

Overall, Panera is still one of my favorite places to eat. We love their foods, especially their cookies. They are enough to make any grandma turn green with envy. And I don't mind my family eating at Panera as their food is pretty healthy. Their service is very good and you can get in and out quickly if you need to or you can hang out and enjoy the comfortable atmosphere if you prefer. They have a nice mixture of booths and tables, and even a fireplace to admire. They also have free wi-fi service, which is always a perk. So if you are looking for a new place to eat, I recommend Panera Bread. It may just become your new favorite place to eat too!

Barbara Joyce
BBG&G Advertising

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Time to step back... in time

Step inside and you step away from the modern world for a day. Pass through the gates and lords and ladies, peasants, pirates and wenches will greet you. You'll visit boutiques where tudor and peasant dresses, handmade crafts, jewelry and other treasures are sold.

After shopping for a while, satisfy your hunger with a giant turkey leg. Make sure you eat it the medieval way, with nothing but your hands. Then, for an after dinner snack, try a pickle from the talkative man walking around with the round pickle cart. Not hungry for turkey or pickles? You can try the wide variety of other foods and snacks sold there, such as succulent bangers, shepherds pie and sweet trifle.

After eating, you'll probably want to sit for a while, so relax at one of the many shows they have during the day. Want to watch people jump around in the mud? Go see the mud show. Want to watch pirates sing and dance and throw buckets of water all over each other? Go see the pirate show. Want to see jousting, Robin Hood and Queen Elizabeth? Go see the jousting show. There are also lone performers doing everything from juggling to belly dancing and more. Don't forget to grab a schedule of events, because there are over 125 performances throughout the day.

Feeling a bit energized after seeing the shows? Go throw a tomato! For a small fee, you can try to hit some guy with a tomato while he teases you without fail. If you're not into that sort of thing, you can play with old-fashioned toys, go on some human powered swing rides or play the dozen or so games they have to offer.

As you leave, and step back into reality, you'll realize just how much fun you had. The Renaissance Faire is a great place to spend a weekend with family and friends and get away from the stresses of everyday life. I'll bet you're already thinking... I can't wait until next year!

Laura Schutz