How to Choose the Right Tour Operator for a Student Performance Trip

Theres a saying that goes, “Its the little things that make a BIG difference.” Although its a clich, it is often very true, especially when choosing the right tour operator. When planning your trip, a detailed step-by-step process is needed. This process is outlined below and is systematic, thorough and will help you decide which tour operator best suits your needs, what destination to take your performance ensemble to, what festival, if any, you would like to participate in, what fun activities you would like to include on your tour and if you want your group to perform in public.

It Starts with a Conversation

First, the simple process starts with a conversation with multiple tour operators. You must first discuss approximate dates, destination possibilities, performance goals and venues, any festivals, fun activities, and more. Make sure you choose to speak with operators who are well versed in student performance trips and send bands, choirs, dance troupes and more to the top performance destinations throughout North America. For example, Orlando has some of the finest music performance festivals, workshops and public performance venues in the U.S. including Disney Performing Arts OnStage, Festival Disney, Disney Honors, Universal Stars, Sea Worlds SoundWaves and OrlandoFest. Washington DC provides a wonderful historical backdrop for performing groups including the Jefferson Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, the National Mall and more. New York City provides student performance ensembles with many exciting options including Broadway Workshops, performance venues such as the Statue of Liberty and more.

Build a Program Your Way

Upon review of your conversation with each operator, ask them to build a program based on your budgetary needs, curriculum, performance goals and more. Make sure they can provide economic solutions that fit your budgetary needs. Most of all though, make sure they place a priority on scheduling activities that appeal to you and your performance group. You may want to visit a museum, historical site, theme park, attraction(s), zoo, theatre, special event, sporting event, day trips to other destinations, etc. Also ask them if they can provide any high profit fundraising suggestions. Some operators actually work with third party fundraising companies that can produce high profits for your program that will ensure that you and your group travel.

Ask for a Proposal

Ask each operator to present a proposal to you outlining the itinerary and budget. From this point on, you can fine-tune your itinerary giving you a trip that satisfies all of your needs. Also, make sure that there is an emphasis on exceeding the level of educational and curriculum expectations that your school administration requires. With each itinerary, carefully look at all the details making sure that everything you asked for, including transportation, indoor corridor accommodations, amount of meals, attractions, museums, tour director, hotel security, etc. is included on the itinerary. Then compare each itinerary to see which one best fits your needs.

CATEGORIES : Tour and Adventure, Uncategorized/ AUTHOR : atravelplans/ 0 Comment

Healthy Snacks And Foods

Finding healthy snacks can seem like a chore. With so many deep-fried and unhealthy options available in vending machines, convenience stores and supermarkets, it may seem hard to resist the junk and go for healthy option. Eating real food that isn’t packed with sodium, fats, and chemicals shouldn’t be hard and with some preplanning, it’s simple to avoid. Thankfully, there are many delicious, tasty and wholesome options within arm’s reach.

Corn nuts may seem like a junk food snack but roasted corn nuts contain heart healthy fats, protein and fiber for a filling yet delicious snack. They contain less calories than traditional potato chips and more fiber to keep you fuller longer. Even better, they provide a crunchy snack food that rivals even the best potato chips. Corn nuts are available in many tasty flavors like barbecue and ranch.

Soy nuts are another filling and healthy snack. They contain 20% of the daily recommended fiber in just 1/3 of a cup. Soy nuts have unsaturated, or healthy, fats as well as protein. They also contain isoflavones which prevent heart disease and many types of cancer. Although the levels of isoflavones vary based on a variety of factor, most contain more than twice the recommended daily serving. Choose from exotic flavors like wasabi or traditional salted flavors. A serving of soy nuts is sure to keep you full in between meals.

Snacking on dried cranberries can be a healthy way to satisfy your sweet tooth in between meals. Most commercial products are loaded with sugar so look for a product with all natural sugars for the best nutrition. Cranberries have been shown to help treat UTIs and may help prevent strokes. Dried cranberries contain high levels of flavonoids which are antioxidants shown to reduce harmful free radicals in the body.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, especially in between meals, is often a challenge. The allure of easy to find, junk food options can often overwhelm even the most stringent dieter. Surrounding yourself with convenient, delicious options can curb your unhealthy temptations. Finding healthy snacks can be a challenge but with a little information and preplanning, it’s easy to eat wholesome, delicious snacks anywhere.

CATEGORIES : Chef and Recipes, Uncategorized/ AUTHOR : atravelplans/ 0 Comment

Healthy Benefits Drink Your Own Home Brew Beer

Beer is the new health drink? Binge drinking aside, in moderation beer actually has healthful effects. Studies reported below illustrate many benefits from consuming beer. Home brewed beer is even better than commercial beer because it has no artificial colors, additives, preservatives or flavors.

Benefits

Here are only a few of the ways that home brewed beer is good for you:

-The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center discovered (in May, 1999) that moderate beer drinking reduces the chances of getting coronary heart disease by over 30%. Impressive!

-“The New England Journal of Medicine” found (in November, 1999) that moderate beer drinkers decrease the chances of suffering a stroke by 20%.

-The TNO Nutrition and Food Research Institute discovered that homebrewed beer contains vitamin B6, which prevents the accumulation of the amino acid homocysteine (reputed to cause vascular and heart disease). Beer improves vitamin B6 absorption into the blood plasma by 30%.

-Home brewed beer is a stress reliever. Try a quick experiment, if you have any doubt. Even the process of making beer is relaxing.

-Studies have shown that beer increases good cholesterol and decreases blood clot production. Home brewed beer contains no bad cholesterol and no fat.

-Drinking home brewed beer aids blood vessel dilation, sleep, and eases urination in elderly people.

Equipment

If the above information has whetted your appetite, let’s next consider a typical MYTH: that it is prohibitively expensive to make your own beer. No way!

Forget those huge expensive vats that you have no doubt seen. Basically you only need 2 pieces of equipment: a small fermenter (to store the beer during the fermentation process) and a hydrometer (to know exactly when the beer has finished fermenting). That’s all for equipment.

The final thing you’ll need are consumable ingredients: a can of malt and hops mixture, and some brewing yeast. You can select from lots of basic flavors and styles, also you can customize your own brews with many additional ingredients for your own secret recipes.

It’s very simple to brew your own beer at home. Place a container of malt mix into the fermenter, add water, add yeast, and seal. A few days later use the hydrometer to know precisely when it is finished and ready to drink. Place it into bottles and get ready for your friends to be amazed at your new skill.

It’s simple to get started with home brewing kits readily available online. And it’s cheap — your beer only costs around $5 a GALLON!

Conclusion

Now you have even more reasons to start making your own delicious beer at home. It’s better and cheaper than store-bought beer, plus it’s better for you. So you can drink (responsibly) guilt-free.

CATEGORIES : Chef and Recipes, Uncategorized/ AUTHOR : atravelplans/ 0 Comment

Slip-Resistant Chef Shoes A Wide Variety of Styles

There are a number of careers that require a person to remain on their feet with little or no down-time. Those who work on their feet day-after-day understand the necessity of having a pair of shoes that can offer firm support throughout the day while helping keep them on their feet. One career that necessitates a specific type of shoe would be that of Chef or professional cook.

A brand name you may be surprised to see in the kitchen is Crocs. Crocs have become a popular brand for numerous reasons. The unusual design is both eye catching and unique while the croslite material these innovative shoes are made from is both comfortable and stylish. Many in the food industry do not realize that Crocs footwear is a convenient and smart choice as a slip resistant work shoe. Crocs can be found in a closed-toe design that can help prevent damage to the foot while offering a shoe that is both comfortable and slip resistant. However, Crocs shoes are not the only slip-resistant kitchen shoe available.

Many Chefs prefer the look or extra security offered from a tighter athletic shoe. Skechers is a well known shoe brand that produces a multitude of athletic style shoes that also function as slip-resistant, restaurant safety shoes. This athletic footwear can be found in either the slip-on loafer style or the more common lace-up design. These shoes are equipped with specific tread patterns that assist in the prevention of slips and falls. Slip-resistant athletic shoes make a great kitchen work shoes because of their added stability.

For those looking for comfort as well as a more professional aesthetic, a slip-resistant loafer or oxford may be the perfect chef shoe for you. A loafer or oxford shoe is a perfect kitchen work shoe because it has a versatile look and can be worn as either casual or professional footwear. A slip-resistant oxford is a great choice as a restaurant safety shoe because it can be dressed up as a more professional chef shoe, while still offering the support, comfort and safety of a slip-resistant, kitchen shoe. These shoes can be found in a number of materials and colors to compliment any uniform.

It is easy to overlook the precarious working conditions that surround this challenging career. Slip-resistant chef shoes can help aid in the comfort of those employed in this profession while helping to decrease the risk of accidents. There are various types of restaurant shoes and slip-resistant safety shoes that can meet the many requirements for those who work as a chef.

SR Max specializes in providing high quality slip resistant for chefs and servers. Visit our site today to browse our selection of and .

CATEGORIES : Chef and Recipes, Uncategorized/ AUTHOR : atravelplans/ 0 Comment

Emerald Bay Laguna Beach Homes For Sale Over $20 Million

With a $20 million budget, you are poised to get the crme de la crme of the finest beach homes in Laguna Beach. The main destination for those who are looking for the most expensive homes in Laguna Beach is Emerald Bay. Considered to be the most breathtaking and one of the finest communities in Southern California, it is the best place for the moneyed home buyers and savvy property investors who are looking for homes that offer the best value. Think of exclusive residential community if you are that kind of person who would nonchalantly part away with $20 million for the best beach mansion along Laguna Beach.

High end homes for sale in this Laguna Beach gated community evoke distinctive Mediterranean charm and creates a feel that you are living along the bay of Southern France where you can enjoy yachters drop anchor during the summer months. This exclusive gated community is off-limits to the general public and access of non-residents is controlled. This exclusive gated community has its own private beach which covers a vast area of the northern section of Laguna Beach.

Emerald Bay consists of two upscale gated communities, one is located on the west side of the Pacific Coast Highway and the other is situated on the eastern side of the PCH. The beach side of this residential enclave is accessed from the east gate of this residential enclave along PCH and then through the access tunnel that traverses the highway. The most expensive homes are priced around $20 million and the highest priced Emerald Bay home was sold for more than $30 million.

Most Expensive Homes for Sale in Laguna Beach

Emerald Bay is known for having the most number of expensive homes for sale with prices easily topping $20 million. This is definitely the top destination for the moneyed souls. If you are searching for some of the most expensive and most opulent homes in Southern California, then it should be included in your itinerary.

Emerald Bay falls under the price point for high-end beach mansions and ocean-view homes, and the price can go as high as $32 million. You can also consider several oceanfront homes in Emerald Bay that is literally a few steps away from the best spots of Laguna Beach. There are also several estate homes priced at $20 million or more that provides the best views of the Pacific Ocean.

Upscale Beach Living in Emerald Bay

If you want to live like a king in an exclusive gated community, then Emerald Bay is the best pick. This high-end residential community in the northern section of Laguna Beach boasts of a vast private beach, azure waters, mild surf and breathtaking terrain that feature jagged cliffs. The private beach of this gated community features fire pits for evening parties. Emerald Bay also has its own exclusive children’s playground and a park where weekend concerts are normally held.

CATEGORIES : Island and Beach, Uncategorized/ AUTHOR : atravelplans/ 0 Comment

Next Iron Chef Super Chefs Finale – Is There A Fix

Last night I watched Next Iron Chef on Food Network, and with the final 4 chefs battling it out for that coveted spot in the finale things got very intense. I didnt think it could top last weeks episode where Chef Anne Burrell was forced to be one of the judges against her peers (which backfired when she was faced to go up against probably the most experienced chef in the group, Chef Zakarian), and was beaten out and forced to exit the competition. What surprised me the most was that the episode she was eliminated from was identified by which chef was willing to take the most risk, and she clearly identified her willingness to do so by selecting sardines as her ingredient to work with while the other chefs had much easier ingredients (with the exception of Chef Falkner who had tuna jerky).

Last night the final 4 chefs which consisted of Chef Falkner, Chef Zakarian, Chef Guarnaschelli, and Chef Chiarello were pitted against each other in a bout of which chef could exhibit the most passion using seafood to feed 20 guests in the Hamptons (Could you pass me the lobster Muffy? Why certainly Biff!). After the smoke cleared (literally and figuratively), Chef Zakarian and Chef Falkner were the only 2 chefs left to go against each other in next weeks finale.

Whats very interesting is that the Food Network blogs are buzzing with gossip that this competition has been fixed from the beginning to pave a way to replace Iron Chef Cat Cora since shes left the show with another female chef, presumably Chef Falkner. While Chef Falkner is a decent chef, I find it very bizarre that she is still in the competition while legendary chefs like Chef Burrell and Chef Irvine have been eliminated who have over the years proven to be far more superior in their skills as chefs. I can clearly see why Chef Zakarian has made it to the final round, but if he gets beaten by Falkner who doesnt even have a fraction of his knowledge, experience, or passion, then the buzz of this being a fixed competition will have proven itself.

CATEGORIES : Chef and Recipes, Uncategorized/ AUTHOR : atravelplans/ 0 Comment

Madonna Concert Sticky and Sweet Tour

Sticky and Sweet is the latest ongoing tour of Madonna its her eight tour. Madonna has extended her Sticky and Sweet tour and performing in UK and Europe, Madonna has never extend her tour before. The tour comprises of 85 Madonna shows – 44 in Europe, 30 in North America and 11 in South America. Started in August 2008, the tour is planned to end in August, 2009. Around 24-25 European Madonna Concerts are decided in this summer. This tour also includes those cities in which she has not performed from more than fifteen years . -Sticky and Sweet tour- was a great hit in North and South America 2008; the tour has record-breaking Madonna ticket sales, including 650,000 tickets sold in her series of South American. And 60,364 Madonna Concert tickets are sold in New York’s Madison Square Garden, the largest fans ever come together for a her concert in Switzerland. The tour happened in 58 cities 2008, seen by 2.35 million fans and grossed around $282 million. The shows are structured very well in 4 different acts – Pimp, Old school, Gypsy and Rave. Each act has different theme and choreography on stage which is very well performed by the queen of pop with her terrific singing. Songs have incredibly creative and witty presentation on stage to give audience real feel of the situation. Supporting dancers along with visuals and objects used on the stage make every song alive and add up to an extraordinary show. The updated Sticky & Sweet 2009 Tour schedule is as follows: 04-July The 02 London , UK 05-July The 02 London , UK 07July MEN Arean Manchester, UK- continue till Aug 2009, Europe

Madonna is promoting her 11th Studio album Hard Candy during the concert, Hard Candy released in 2008. -4 Minutes-, -Give It 2 Me-, – Miles Away- , -Incredible- are the top tracks on Hard Candy . Sticky and Sweet tour broke the record of last tour called -Confession on the floor- 2006. Her powerful start and brilliant ending with incredible voice make the show completely remarkable. She played her hits -Candy Shop-, -Beat Goes On-, -Human Nature-, -Vogue-, -Die another Day-, -Into the Groove-, -She’s Not Me- and many more in her 2008 tour. The tour grabbed many achievements in 2008, including becoming the highest grossing tour by a solo artist, the also tour ranked in third in Billboard’s “Top 25 Tours”. None fan of Madonna wants to miss her show. Buy as soon as you get it and enjoy the remarkable Madonna live performance.

Alexa Kari : in UK are 4th, 5th, 7th July 09 and from 9th July till August 2009 in Europe. Buy cheap online.

CATEGORIES : Tour and Adventure, Uncategorized/ AUTHOR : atravelplans/ 0 Comment

Italian Gelato Recipe With Or Without Milk

Fruits based gelato or sorbets can be made simply by using sugar, fruit and water. A creamy gelato recipe on the other hand, will call for milk as one of it ingredients to add to the creaminess of the Italian gelatos bold flavor. However, not every gelato recipe is created the same. In order to produce gelato commercially, shop owners need to find gelato suppliers who can produce rich creamy gelato that dont have a gritty texture, but one thats smooth in appearance. Gelato suppliers usually either use mixes or a liquid base to make great tasting gelato. How do you choose the suppliers who can provide the best-tasting authentic Italian gelato recipe though? Youll have to do some taste-testing yourself!
Unlike ice cream, this low-calorie dessert has fewer calories than regular ice cream. It is also made with less water, giving it a matte finish instead of a shiny appearance.
Slowly whipped, not churned true gelato from gelato suppliers is denser

Because this great tasting dessert is churned at a slower speed, its not filled with air (as ice cream is). This Italian dessert has only roughly 35 percent air, compared to ice creams 55-90 percent air content. This means gelato also has a bolder taste and doesnt leave a sugary aftertaste on the tongue. Due to the differences in making this creamy dessert, an ice cream maker should not be substituted to make any authentic gelato recipe. A professional gelato shop will use an authentic gelato maker, which will make the gelato using the same recipes and techniques that are being used overseas, in Italy. This will produce a great tasting Italian gelato recipe which tastes fresh and delicious.

This Italian dessert is best eaten fresh, within two days of being made. What flavors should a gelato shop have? Some gelato makers prefer milk-based base for their creamy gelato recipe used to make blueberry tart, cheesecake classico and double chocolate gelato. During the hot summer months, this creamy dessert which does not contain as much sugar as ice cream melts at much higher temperatures. It also is commercially made with gum guar, which allows the Italian gelato used in any Italian gelato recipe to be softer and easier to spread or scoop.

CATEGORIES : Chef and Recipes, Uncategorized/ AUTHOR : atravelplans/ 0 Comment

The Role Of A Sous Chef

Working within a kitchen of a restaurant can be very busy and stressful. Depending on the size of the restaurant or how popular the restaurant is, the food orders can be consistent from the opening of the restaurant to the end of the restaurant.

There are several different levels of chefs within all restaurant kitchens and the one which has the best chance of being a head chef when the head chef leaves the business either by retirement or by being sacked, would be the sous chef.

Within the kitchen, a sous chef is the second in command. Whenever the head chef is absent, the sous chef will take his/her place and direct the kitchen staff. As with all chefs, the duty of the role is to prepare and cook food, working with the rest of the kitchen team to produce food within the best standard as possible. The sous chefs responsibility is no different, however they are also required to manage and lead the team as well as assisting chef de parties as and when necessary.

In the head chefs absence, the sous chef will also be responsible for the ordering of stock and fresh produce, reporting all stock and the maintaining within budget. Staff rota would also be the responsibility during the head chefs absence, so is the health and safety and food and hygiene regulations.

The sous chef will have come from the chef de partie level, after a few years or more experience, the chances of promotion to become the future head chef would be working from the bottom up. Not all chefs stay within the same restaurant, depending on the competition of the workers, opportunities elsewhere will always be available.

In order to become a sous chef, it is important to have passed and achieved certain chef qualifications, have a food and hygiene certificate, have previous experience within a similar role and be able to lead and motivate others. Being able to create menus and creativity within foods would be essential for the role as well. Within the job market, there are plenty of different chef roles available; however the numbers of chefs applying for jobs online are much less.

CATEGORIES : Chef and Recipes, Uncategorized/ AUTHOR : atravelplans/ 0 Comment

Mexican Food Becoming the Norm in the Fast Food World

Mexican food has actually become an increasingly popular destination for many looking for a quick meal at a reasonable cost. The typical fast food burger chains are facing increased competition from large chains and local Mexican food restaraunts. As the trend continues towards a healthier diet, many mexican food locations offer a variety of different meal options that the fast food giants cannot. More than likely you will find healthier dining options at one of these mexican food locations than you would if you compared to a traditional fast food venue. The trend is obviously becoming more popular for a reason, and the business seems to be booming.

Restaraunts offer a variety of different options to choose from, and every place will have a different menu. Despite differences by location and particuarly restaraunts and chains, many of the items are consistent throughout the different locations and restaraunts. .

Many restaraunts use only the finest quality ingredients, and make everything fresh to order. Options typically include over twenty different seafood and Latin American dishes. Some of the most popular items include fajitas, quesadillas, tacos, and burritos.

Many will also makes the drink ordering fun! Pair your favorite meal with homemade drink options such as Margaritas, ice cold Mexican beer, or a delicious Sangria.

Some will have a menu that features breakfast foods, salads, sandwiches and soups, quesadillas, burritos, seafood, appetizers, combination plates, as well as a variety of different desserts and side orders. There is even a menu for “Little Amigos”. at some locations.

Drink options typically include wine, beer, specialty alcoholic drinks. Non alcoholic drinks are also available, including soda, coffee and tea, etc

What is probably most popular among patrons are specialty combination plates. Samples include steak, grilled chicken, and beef fajitas. Dishes are then served with sides of rice, beans, salad, and specialty sides specially designed for that particular entree.

If you are interested in checking out a local mexican fast food restaraunt near you, you can check out some online, your local classifieds, or look for recommendations in news articles, from your friends, and more. This trend is doing well, and the demand has shown that this is where people are moving towards in their casual fast dining options. Be sure to check out the location nearest you and focus on one that has a line out the door. Popular food locations are always popular for a reason, so try and pick one that looks busy.

John Stone recommends: Taco Mex Restaurante in Boston:

CATEGORIES : Food and Culinary, Uncategorized/ AUTHOR : atravelplans/ 0 Comment

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