August 26, 2019 // Archive

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26 Aug

What’s next for Australian fine wine in the US?

With many eyes in the Australian wine industry having turned toward opportunities in Asia over recent years, the huge American market may be seen to have lost the interest of exporters. But despite the allure of ‘greener fields’ closer to home, the US still offers rich rewards for producers willing to put in the time and investment to build a market presence. With American wine consumers focusing more on premium products, could smaller Australian winemakers find a stronger place in the US market? In this article from the August Grapegrower & Winemaker magazine, Hans Mick asked about the future of Australian fine wine as the country sheds its in-market reputation for low cost ‘cheap and cheerful’ wines.

For Australia’s small and medium sized exporting wine producers, the US market can seem to be a paradox. Its size, scale and affluence would appear to offer a golden opportunity for any winemaker with a quality product to tap into a stable, albeit highly competitive, marketplace. But, arguably, for all those without the deepest of pockets, the American market remains a somewhat daunting if beguiling export destination.

The well-known complexities of America’s three-tier distribution system and an intricate series of state-based regulations and restrictions covering the import, sale and delivery of alcoholic beverages across the country’s 50 states — in effect creating 50 separate markets rather than a cohesive national one — can be enough for all but the most committed of exporters to run away from in frustration.

With Asian markets — and China in particular — providing an ostensibly voracious appetite for Australia’s fine wine, has the appeal of targeting American consumers at all simply become unnecessary for Australian winemakers? Or, could it be that smaller producers could stand to benefit with the US market taking a renewed shine to Aussie wine? According to some, there are indeed rumblings of a potentially lucrative new demand for higher valued wines beyond the ‘cheap and cheerful’ stereotype epitomised by the so-called ‘critter brands’ that became popular there decades ago.

As a former CEO at McLaren Vale’s Chapel Hill Wine and a one-time executive at BRL Hardy which later merged with the US-based Constellation group, Marc Allgrove has known firsthand the workings of the American market. At one time he also represented Constellation Wines Australia’s interests in the UK and European markets.

Now a wine business consultant with the Adelaide advisory company Evans & Ayers, Allgrove said the US market is often “quite sensibly” held up as a great opportunity for Australian wine exporters due to its scope and economic performance.

“On a macro level it ticks a lot of the boxes as a destination culturally too,” he said.

 

Complexity, cost and commitment

“But once you scratch the surface there’s an enormous amount of complexity, cost and commitment that’s required to succeed in that market, and that’s only if a genuine demand for Australian wine exists.”

Allgrove said as a result local wine producers do tend to approach the market with a level of caution and trepidation.

One Victorian winemaker is also wellacquainted with both the opportunities and the challenges of doing business in the United States.

“You’ve got the massive population of affluent people obviously which is the prize,” said Matt Fowles (pictured above), from Fowles Wine, located in the Strathbogie Ranges of Central Victoria.

“It’s just immense, with regulation in every state; importers typically have a full book from all over the world, so you know you’re crowded,” he explained.

“If an importer is being sent a thousand emails [every day from other wine producers] how the hell do you stand out?

“It’s just an enormous beast and very competitive but if you can crack it, it’s a good place to play.”

The difficulties of “cracking” the American market are understood by many across the Australian industry.

“Although we’re not producing wine specifically for the overseas market, we’d like to have a consistent export market to underpin our overheads and the like, but as everyone knows it’s not that easy,” revealed New South Wales winemaker Mark Kirkby, who owns and runs Topper’s Mountain Wines in the New England region on the state’s northwestern slopes.

Kirkby said his products have found niche markets in Japan and Germany, but he said the process of finding and holding international markets in any part of the world can be difficult for a smaller wine producer.

As part of its overall sales, the small producer has for the past four years sent two to three pallets of its wines overseas. These include a mix of alternative varieties such as Gewurztraminer and Tempranillo as well as the more mainstream Pinot Noir and a sparkling Chardonnay, all of which retail locally for between $14 and $20 per bottle.

 

Barriers and obstacles for small wineries

On the prospect of tapping into the US, Kirkby said the barriers and obstacles to wider distribution there have simply placed it off the radar for many smaller Australian winemakers.

“The way their system works, you can talk to an importer in New York and he can bring it in there and he might be able to get it into a couple of other states but that’s about it.”

He said although his business had considered selling into America, the idea never progressed beyond that.

“We’ve never really had a proper go at it, partly because we’ve been of the opinion that it’s probably easier in Asia and Europe,” he said.

Paul van der Lee, a wine business development strategist and adjunct lecturer for the University of Adelaide’s Master of Wine Business degree, said the way the American distribution system is structured can also act to block smaller scale producers from reaching the consumer market.

“You need to have enough critical mass to potentially generate enough revenue for the distributor to actually motivate them to have a conversation with you.

“Whereas there are other markets around the world where you know there are niches where you can go in with 200 cases. In places like the UK you’ll find there are people who are more than happy to deal with you on the basis of having 200 cases.

“But those sort of small lots are, I think, very difficult to place in the US.”

For winemaker Fowles, the main difficulty faced by those Australian producers who have put their toes in the water in the American market over recent years has been uneven, “choppy” sales.

“I mean, you get a national retailer on board and you can sell 50,000 cases and then if they drop off well then you’re back at your baseline, so it is a bit like that. [The US market] is a beast but that will work for some people and for others it won’t.”

But it’s far from all ‘doom and gloom’ when it comes to finding success in market in the States, with many recognising that there are opportunities on offer — but these will require sustained commitment and investment.

Marc Allgrove is currently advising wine businesses in South Australia on general business strategies, including handling exports, and he said having a long-term approach is the key.

 

Marc Allgrove

 

Long-term approach key

“There’s no doubt that there are opportunities [in the US]. It’s the ability to find them and the ability to commit to finding them […] and once they are found the ability to commit to supporting them for an extended period of time.

“I know one producer who’s been successful in the market who’s said unless you’re prepared to commit to getting into the market and servicing the market for a period of 10 years or more without real return, then you’re not going to succeed in the US market.”

He said that commitment should be ongoing.

“As an individual operator, whether it’s five years or 10 years, I don’t think it ever stops. If you’re committed to a market, those investments and that presence need to continue to be made.

“You can’t think that over two to three years […] that you’ve set the wheels in motion and you can just continue to build on that.”

Marketing and sales strategies are two central components of Fowles Wine’s growing success in America. But Matt Fowles said there’s one other very important consideration.

“Arguably the most important one is time. The Yanks are so used to seeing people come in and then go, ‘it’s all too hard’; there’s a lot to be said for staying power.

“We’re now eight years into it and I thought we’d be further down the track by now, but I’m happy with where we are. [The distributors] know me by name; I take my two to three trips there a year, I’ve lived in the market; we’ve been able to elevate ourselves in their mind over time,” he said.

Fowles currently sells two brands into the US with what he describes as “effective national distribution”. The business initially targeted America back in 2011, with Fowles taking the unusual route of incorporating as an importer in the US.

“I felt we had got our affairs organised in Australia and I felt like we wanted to branch out into another part of the world to supercharge a territory,” he explained of the business’ direction.

Fowles moved with his family to the country for an extended stay to focus his efforts on developing relationships with in-market distributors — a strategy that’s resulted in continuing sales, with Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc leading the way.

“We are [now] principally selling Ladies Who Shoot their Lunch and Farm to Table.

“Farm to Table is about US$19.99 and Ladies Who Shoot their Lunch is $US35. “Even if we’re not active in every market, we’d be active in 35 [state] markets probably.

“To do that you’ve got to be 100 per cent committed to the market because it’s been tough at times; and you’ve got to love the market which I do.”

 

Australian fine wine not in mindset

Paul van der Lee said there’s one other major stumbling block for Australian wine as a whole that needs to be overcome: that being that the most interesting and differentiated Australian wine is not readily available on American retail shelves. He said the average US wine consumer doesn’t have Australian fine wine as part of their “choice mindset”.

“That comes out from the market research: that even if you can get consumers motivated to search out some of the more premium Australian wine, they find that difficult to obtain and that’s a bit of a dilemma,” van der Lee explained.

“Some of the wines they might be looking for probably are in relatively short supply and there are other markets that have perhaps gobbled those up before they have actually got to the US.”

Marc Allgrove agrees that the Australian market presence is not what it could be.

“Of the 408 million 9L cases sold in the US in the last year, over 60% of them were produced in California. If you look at the numbers […] then Australia would be less than one percent of that.

“And if that’s scattered across 50 different states — or 50 different markets — the likelihood that there’s a cohesive and recognisable presence in any one of those markets is understandably low.”

“If you’re looking at the market broadly, Australian wines aren’t always on a wine list or aren’t always in a retail store,” said Matt Fowles.

It’s a predicament that Fowles says is a ‘hangover’ from what he calls the “Yellow Tail phenomenon”.

“I don’t say that Yellow Tail is a bad thing, I don’t think it was. The reality is it put Australian wine into the market in a volume that we’ve never seen before. There was a great opportunity for Australia to capitalise on the fact that people had been introduced to Australian wine and have them trade up; and in a sense some of that opportunity has been lost with the passing of time. We didn’t have the resources to tackle that opportunity as an industry.”

Van der Lee said that Australia’s “reputation barrier” remains an obstacle.

“We’re known for wines that are ‘everyday’ and less expensive and we haven’t got either the trade or consumers to shift perceptions to the fact that yes, we do make serious wines, sophisticated wines, luxury wines,” he said.

“All the market research testing that’s been done — and Wine Australia has been running market research for five years on this — looks at what people’s perceptions are of Australia: kangaroos, outback desert, ‘g’day mate’, all these sort of laid-back, relaxed, easy-going stereotypes; but they don’t correlate with high quality wine experiences.”

However, many observers agree that change is happening, with a so-called “premiumisation effect” underway in markets globally, including in the United States.

“If you look at the USA, the segment of the market which is going backwards is the under $10 retail per bottle segment, whereas the market which is showing the most growth potential is the $15-$25 retail price which Wine Australia has identified as the sweet spot,” said van der Lee.

“That lines up reasonably well with the sort of price points that some of the smaller wineries need to hit in order to be profitable. [Although] I would qualify that by saying that if you’re a really small winery you need to be aiming at prices even higher than that of course.”

 

Consumers and distributors trading up

With several years of expanding US sales under his belt, Matt Fowles said in his experience US consumers and distributors are indeed “trading up” in terms of wine quality.

“One very clear anecdote I have [was] in Texas where I walked into a distributor there and it was my first meeting with the guy. He said, ‘Matt, we’re not doing this sub-$10 s**t are we?’ and I said, ‘no sir, we are not’.

“So it’s the case that even in their minds playing sub-$10 is just not where they want to be. I think that’s a dying price point. Even if I could I literally wouldn’t play in that space.”

Fowles said another significant factor at play is generational change.

“A lot of the older or more experienced wine buyers who have been in their seats for a longer time, are perhaps tainted by us being victims of our own success. We got known for producing affordable wine in a favourable exchange rate at around 50 cents, so they were able to get extreme value.

“But […] the gatekeepers we’re now seeing are typically younger; they didn’t experience the Yellow Tail phenomenon and the ‘sunshine in a bottle’ kind of stories that you had.

“They come to it with fresh eyes and I think that’s a generation also that are interested in spending more on wine and understanding more about wine.

“I think that there is a great opportunity for Australia at the moment.

“I feel like there’s a bit of a vacuum at those higher price points and so if you can figure out your path to market, there is opportunity there without a doubt.”

Fowles said more Australian players entering the US market with premium quality wine products can only enhance Australia’s position.

“I’ve been doing my best to encourage people to get over there. I’ve shown that it’s a market worth supporting.

Paul van der Lee

 

A market worth supporting

“The whole of France is over there, the whole of Spain is over there and for whatever reason, it’s something like 250 wineries from Australia. That’s extraordinarily low; if you look at how many wineries export to the UK, I bet you it would be at least three or possibly four times that.

“And that’s part of the problem we need to be collectively telling our story [in the US] all the time.”

In overcoming any lingering reluctance on the part of Australian producers to engage with the perceived complexities of the US, Paul van der Lee sees “disruptive” or unconventional paths to market as potentially favourable options for smaller producers.

“The conventional Australian export model of an importer and a wholesaler working through the three-tier system, you really need to go outside of that and find some other way into the market. There are some new USA distribution players with more innovative business models that offer alternatives worth exploring.”

“As a means of tackling the profitability challenge of small volume export offers to US trade partners, there have been a few attempts of people to do some aggregation, so if you were a brand owner who had a good wine which had proven itself successful in the US, you might then try and get a couple of other producers who have got complementary wines not in competition which will give an obviously stronger offering and a more relevant offering to a distribution partner.”

Although van der Lee admits that such a grouping of wineries has its own management challenges in making it work to the advantage of all of the participants involved.

In the long run, many believe that quality, higher-priced wines produced by Australia’s smaller winemakers can and will find a stronger place in the American market, helped in part by their relatively lower shelf price compared to similar wines produced domestically or imported from Europe.

On the question of changing perceptions, it’s also widely agreed that Wine Australia’s marketing and sales initiatives in the US, funded under the Federal Government’s $50 million Export and Regional Wine Support Package, have made a real and positive difference.

With that funding due to run out in mid2020, some believe the industry must step forward to ensure such beneficial programs can keep going.

“I think the dilemma is going to be that we’ve geared up for some quite serious marketing which we’ve always needed to have done, but never in the past did we have the resources,” said van der Lee.

“And you can only hope that the industry says, ‘well, we see the value of such investment [and] we need to continue to have significant investment.

“We are going to have to look at ways in which we can fund it from our own resources.”

 

Australian wineries must keep up the good work

Matt Fowles said it will be up to individual operators to keep up the good work of lifting the exposure of Australian wine in America which according to him is having a definite effect.

“I think the mood has definitely shifted. I’m getting way less resistance than I did in 2013-14 when I was living over there… way less resistance.

“We’re sticking to our guns. Every year we get better brand health which is what I typically measure our business on, which is we get more distribution in the market and so as long as that’s improving I’m happy.

“We have flirted with the idea of perhaps taking other [Australian] wineries over there with us because we’ve navigated all this now. We have something of value so it’s something we’re flirting with, but I have to make sure I keep the team focused as well.”

 

This article was originally published in the August issue of Grapegrower & Winemaker magazine. 


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26 Aug

Rant:
* Finding the perfect one. There are many blush brushes out there and finding the perfect one seems very hard sometimes. It doesn’t need to be too small to work with, but not too big since my face and cheeks are rather small. It has to have either a tapered dome or a slanted/angle cut that perfectly matches my face size and structure. It has to be stiff and dense enough to pick up and deposit color, but soft enough to be able to build color rather than apply a full pigmentation from the first swipe. It should make blending easy and diffusing an option (if I make a mistake).
* Duo fiber blush brushes. Don’t understand them, never worked for me.
* Discontinued brushes. The is my absolute favorite,

Rave:
* Versatility. In the end, a good blush brush can be used for applying any powder. Lately, I’m actually using a brush a day, to set my face with powder, than to either contour, bronze or apply blush. I find that using a clean brush each day (not reusing my face powder multiple times) actually reduced slightly any breakouts I rarely had.

Side note, the Sephora Collection Classic Must Have Angled Blush Brush #50 is on sale now for $9 in the US (not considering that it’s sale time). If you like this kind of brushes, grab one and run, I’m afraid it will be discontinued. 😆
I bought one 4-5 years ago when I was living in Europe and it’s still going strong. Perfect shape, never shed (and I do wash mine quite often), the metal part didn’t rusted, the handle didn’t peeled. I just hope it’s not one of those things were US vs. Europe products differ, or they changed the brush in the latest years.

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26 Aug

AUGUSTA, Wis. (WEAU) — After receiving a mental health grant earlier this month, the Augusta area school district is now training their faculty on mental health first aid.

Superintendent, Ryan Nelson, says the training is vital to student education.

“The purpose of today’s training is to ensure that all of our teachers, and then our support staff will receive training later this fall, are equipped to recognize initial signs of mental health matters,” Nelson said.

Two staff members of the school district led the training, including school counselor, Becky Larson.

“The most important part is that we are listening to our students and we’re letting them know that we are here for them and that we’re responding to them,” Larson said. “Then just making sure that we are getting them the necessary help they might need”

The training provides teachers with the resources to assist their student and helps them to recognize when a student may need help.

Fourth grade teachers Teri Hoff and Jodi Kardin, say they are happy to have another resource to use to help the students.

“I’ve taught for many years and I think every year it’s kind of gotten to be a bigger importance that kids come in with a lot of extra things going on in their life and how we respond to that is important so these tools will really help us,” Hoff said.

“It’s wonderful because mental health is something that is coming up more in our society, definitely more with our students,” said Kardin.

The training was given to elementary teachers on Monday, and on Thursday, middle and high school teachers will receive the training as well.

Larson says the rest of the school staff will receive the training later this fall.

There will also be an opportunity for the community to get involved so that they can get to know the warning signs of mental health issues.

Nelson says it’s important to address the issues associated with mental health as it is becoming a part of our culture.

People at the training said they were excited that the school was addressing the issue of mental health of students.


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26 Aug

Skip the Chinese takeout and make this Cashew Chicken at home! Marinate the chicken in peanut oil, chili powder, honey, and tamari, and then cook with onions and mushrooms.

Photography Credit:
Elise Bauer

This cashew chicken recipe is one of my favorites on the site, and not just because it hails from my friend Marc.

Marc loves sharing stories of his famous cashew chicken, his trademark dish, tested and perfected over decades of crashing at the homes of old and new friends in exchange for his cooking.

What is Cashew Chicken?

Cashew Chicken is a takeout standby that you can easily make at home. The chicken is marinated in a sauce with peanut oil, tamari (or soy sauce, if you can’t find tamari), honey, and chili powder. It’s cooked with mushrooms, onions, and, of course, cashews.

How to Make Cashew Chicken

The chicken marinates for at least a half hour while you toast cashews in a skillet. Then, the cashews cool and you cook the chicken, remove it from the pan, and then cook the onions and mushrooms together. Then, everything gets combined in the pan. It’s great served with rice.

Ways to Adapt this Cashew Chicken

One of the things I like so much about this cashew chicken is that it is a good base recipe from which one can easily expand. Several people suggested the addition of some ginger and onion greens, which I agree works well and I’ve added in this updated version as an option.

I’ve also enjoyed it with some fresh chopped pineapple thrown in, giving it some sweetness. Others have added vegetables such as broccoli or snow peas.

Note that the amounts specified in the recipe are all approximate. But with these ingredients, in approximately the right proportions, it’s hard to go wrong.

Steps to Make this Cashew Chicken Ahead

You can marinate the chicken the night before you are going to make it if you would like, or at least a few hours ahead of time. The minimum it needs is a half an hour.

MORE TAKEOUT FAVES TO MAKE AT HOME!

Updated August 26, 2019 : We spiffed up this post to make it sparkle. No changes to the original recipe.

Easy Cashew Chicken Recipe

You can whip this up pretty quickly if you first start with the marinade, then chop the vegetables and cook the cashews while the chicken is marinating.

Ingredients

For the chicken:

For garnish, optional:

Method

1 Marinate the chicken: Place the cubed chicken in a medium bowl. Add the oil. Add the tamari until the marinade turns dark brown (about 2 tablespoons per breast). Sprinkle the chili powder over the chicken pieces while stirring, so that each piece of chicken gets well coated with the chili powder and marinade.

Stir in the honey, about 2 tablespoons for each breast. Add chopped ginger if using. Marinate for 1/2 hour to several hours, the longer the better.

2 Toast the cashews: Heat a skillet on medium high heat. Spread the cashews in a single layer over the bottom of the pan. Stir until lightly browned, remove from heat.

3 Sauté the chicken: Heat a large skillet on medium high heat. Working in batches if needed so you don’t crowd the pan, use tongs to remove the chicken pieces from the marinade and place them in the pan, reserving the extra marinade.

Sauté the chicken pieces until just cooked through, remove from the pan and set aside.

Place any extra marinade back in the pan and simmer for several minutes (to kill any bacteria). Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the marinade into a separate bowl and reserve.

4 Sauté onions and mushrooms: In the same pan, sauté the onions on medium high to high heat for several minutes.

Add mushrooms and continue to sauté until onions are translucent and mushrooms are cooked, several minutes more. Add some reserved marinade to the pan if necessary.

5 Combine all the ingredients. Add the chicken and cashews back to the pan with the mushrooms and onions. Stir to combine.

6 Serve: Stir in onion greens (if using) right before serving. Serve over rice. This will keep for about 5 days in the refrigerator, covered.

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26 Aug

Chalk Hill and chardonnay go so iconically hand in hand that many drinkers probably don’t realize the Sonoma-based operation makes other types of wine. And yes, it does, but… er, here’s a review of two current release chardonnays all the same.

2017 Chalk Hill Chardonnay Sonoma Coast – A straightforward but sweeter version of chardonnay, with lots of honey, apple, and lemon tea notes on the nose. Barrel-driven notes of coconut and vanilla are heavier on the creamy palate, though the wine doesn’t go very much further from there, ending on a slightly green conclusion that’s more coconut husk than milk. Solid price for a wine that works well as a by-the-glass offering. B+ / $15

2016 Chalk Hill Chardonnay Estate – This is the upscale expression of Chalk Hill, made from estate fruit grown in the eponymous Chalk Hill AVA. Surprisingly tight, this bold and buttery chardonnay offers a healthy slug of vanilla and coconut, much like its little brother, before abruptly pulling back, revealing a layer of green vegetables and wet earth underneath. Chewy and a bit tough — though there’s a depth here that may reveal itself with a few more years in bottle. B / $39

chalkhill.com

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2016 Chalk Hill Chardonnay Estate

$39

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26 Aug

President Donald Trump will hike tariff rates on most imports from China in response to the latest shots in the trade war between the world’s two largest economies, he said Friday.

The White House will raise existing duties on $250 billion in Chinese products to 30% from 25% on Oct. 1, the president tweeted. The tariffs on another $300 billion in Chinese goods, which start to take effect on Sept. 1, will now be 15% instead of 10%, he added.

In a series of tweets, the president said he would increase the pressure on Beijing as part of his long-held goal to force China to change what he calls unfair trade practices. Trump has fired more shots in the trade war as he seeks a sweeping trade deal with Beijing — even as the tariffs threaten global economic growth.

“Sadly, past Administrations have allowed China to get so far ahead of Fair and Balanced Trade that it has become a great burden to the American Taxpayer,” he tweeted Friday. “As President, I can no longer allow this to happen!”

In a statement Friday announcing the tariffs, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative called Beijing’s planned tariffs on U.S. goods “unjustified.” It said it would publish in the Federal Register “as soon as possible any additional details” on the new duties Trump announced.

Trump’s tweets about China earlier Friday helped to send major U.S. stock indexes spiraling more than 2% for the day. The trade war intensified in the morning when China announced new tariffs on $75 billion in U.S. goods in retaliation for the U.S. duties on $300 billion in Chinese products.

Trump then tweeted that American companies “are hereby ordered to immediately start looking for an alternative to China, including bringing your companies HOME and making your products in the USA.” He did not immediately detail the authority he thought he could use to compel firms to leave China.

U.S. business groups roundly denounced the president’s statement, saying it jeopardized their operations. In a statement Friday, the National Retail Federation’s senior vice president of government affairs, David French, said, “It’s impossible for businesses to plan for the future in this type of environment.”

“The administration’s approach clearly isn’t working, and the answer isn’t more taxes on American businesses and consumers. Where does this end?” French said.

Some critics questioned whether it was realistic to cut off relationships with China, which sends more goods to the U.S. than any other country.

Trump’s tweet, a detonation in the trade war, sent major U.S. stock indexes tumbling Friday. Even before Trump raised the prospect of U.S. companies leaving China, investors had worried about sagging global economic growth and trade conflicts.

Trump met with his trade policy team at the White House during the day before announcing the tariff increases. At least one trade advisor — China hawk Peter Navarro — has generally supported the trade war escalations.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican and chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said in a statement that Trump is “right to fight back” against China, though the conflict has caused damage to U.S. consumers and Iowa farmers.

“The only way to end this trade war is for China to come to the table and negotiate seriously on an enforceable deal that ends its bad behavior and unfair trade practices. In the meantime, tariffs cannot be the only negotiating tool. Tariffs are not a long-term solution,” Grassley said.

Earlier Friday, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell boosted markets by saying the central bank would take the steps necessary to sustain economic growth. He said the U.S. economy is in good shape despite trade concerns dragging on the global economy.

Trump responded by questioning whether Powell or Chinese President Xi Jinping is the “bigger enemy” of the United States. Trump’s implication that Xi is an enemy of the U.S. is potentially a bad omen for trade talks, as the U.S. president previously touted his friendship with the Chinese leader.

As stocks rolled lower during the afternoon, Trump appeared to make a joke about the market drop. A president who spent recent days deflecting any concerns about a slowing economy suggested Democratic Rep. Seth Moulton’s exit from the 2020 presidential race hit markets.

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26 Aug

There have been a few new (both new and new-to-me) shades of OFRA Highlighters ($29.00 for 0.35 oz.) released, so here’s a sneak peek of swatches! Retrograde is exclusive to Ulta and contains Star Island/Neptune as split pans. MarchBeautyWord is a mix of Pillow Talk and Star Island, though they’re in quarters, so it’s easiest to use swirled (though a smaller, tapered brush and precise movements could pick up mostly one shade).

OFRA Highlighters

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26 Aug

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JOPLIN, Mo. – A man ordered to stand trial in a Joplin murder case will first be committed to a mental health facility.

Michael Osborne is accused of fatally stabbing Shawn Rockers of Joplin in January 2019. The Prosecutor’s Office filed charges of first degree murder and armed criminal action against Osborne. The court ordered him to stand trial.

After Osborne’s court appearance in July, a mental evaluation was conducted. Today, Circuit Court Judge Dean Dankelson reviewed the findings and ordered Osborne be committed to the Department of Mental Health. After six months at the mental health facility, court officials will meet again to track Osborne’s progress. 

On January 11th, authorities say Osborne stabbed Shawn Rockers in the chest with a knife. EMS took Rockers to Freeman Hospital where he died due to the extent of the injury from the knife wound. A witness on scene saw the incident, according to court documents. 

According to authorities, a witness said Osborne and Rockers had an altercation about a week before the stabbing, and that she heard Osborne state that he was going to kill Rockers.

The Joplin Police Department issued an arrest warrant for Osborne, who had fled and was later arrested in Washington.

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26 Aug

While cognitive behavioral therapy is the first line of treatment for chronic insomnia, mindfulness-based treatments are on the rise, Shelby Harris, PsyD, a licensed clinical psychologist who specializes in behavioral sleep medicine, tells Shape.

“I find that when my clients use mindfulness, it also helps them with stress and anxiety—two of the biggest reasons that people have trouble sleeping at night,” she says. It’s backed by science, too—a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found 20 minutes of mindfulness meditation a day significantly improved sleep quality in adults with moderate sleep disturbances. Even if you don’t suffer from insomnia, meditation before bed (and throughout the day) can help with both sleep quantity and quality, says Harris.

So how does it work? If you’ve never heard of sleep meditation before, it’s important to know that it’s not a way to “put you to sleep,” says Harris. Rather, meditation helps give your brain the space to quiet down so that sleep can come naturally, she explains. “Sleep comes in waves and will happen when it wants to—you just have to set the stage for it.”

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26 Aug

Few things bomb your calm like juggling a yoga mat, blocks, towel, water bottle, and other paraphernalia into the yoga studio. There’s a certain calm that comes from having your yoga gear organized, with everything easy to transport and to find. Enter yoga bags, designed to accommodate yoga accessories, including mats, which typically don’t fit in ordinary gym bags. We’ve sussed out the most durable, comfortable, and convenient bags on Amazon to make getting to class a breeze.

The YogiiiTotePRO 

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The YogiiiTotePRO 

The YogiiiTotePRO is a roomier version of the original YogiiiTote, fitting two mats instead of one. (Caveat: With thicker mats, you might still get only one to fit.) And while many yoga bags are limited to mats 24 inches wide or less, the YogiiiTotePRO stows mats up to 28 inches wide. You’ll even have space left over for a towel, change of clothes, and water bottle. A large outside pocket stores wallet, phone, and keys, and the durable, lightweight canvas tote is easy to wash (make sure to hang dry!). Another plus: There are no buckles or zippers, so you can just toss in your things and go. On the flipside, things can (and will) fall out if you overfill or capsize the bag. BUY NOW


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