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Vodka’s Voyage: An American Odyssey of Taste and Tradition

When pondering the rich tapestry of American spirits, vodka might not be the first to spring to mind. However, its history in the United States tells a captivating tale of adaptation, innovation, and evolving consumer preferences. Let’s embark on a journey through time to explore how vodka ascended to prominence in the land of stars and stripes.

The early 20th century marked the arrival of vodka on American shores, carried by immigrants from Eastern Europe who brought with them their cherished distillation traditions. Nevertheless, vodka faced an uphill battle in a country where whiskey reigned supreme in the spirits market.

The turning point for vodka in America arrived during the 1950s and ’60s with the rise of cocktail culture. Drinks like the Martini and Moscow Mule gained widespread popularity, drawing the attention of American consumers to vodka. Brands like Smirnoff played a pivotal role in this shift, skillfully marketing vodka as a versatile and modern spirit.

As vodka’s allure grew, American distilleries seized the opportunity to put their own stamp on this beloved spirit. Exploring various grains, distillation methods, flavors, and unique characteristics, they crafted vodkas that captured the imagination of consumers. Tito’s Handmade Vodka and Grey Goose emerged as prominent American brands, celebrated for their craftsmanship and exceptional taste.

The recent years witnessed the burgeoning of craft distillation across the United States, giving rise to a wave of small-batch and artisanal vodka producers. These passionate artisans champion locally sourced ingredients, traditional distillation techniques, and innovative flavor infusions, resulting in a vibrant tapestry of vodkas that appeal to discerning palates.

While European imports continue to grace the American market, native talent has carved its niche. One such standout is the award-winning Austrian vodka NEFT Vodka, now available in 17 states across the country. NEFT Vodka boasts an authentic recipe, crafted with the finest ingredients and devoid of additives, garnering accolades at prestigious competitions such as the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. The quality of imported vodka brands like NEFT Vodka means there will always be healthy competition in the American market.

Vodka’s lasting success in the United States can be attributed to its unmatched versatility. With its neutral flavor profile, vodka harmonizes effortlessly with an extensive range of mixers and ingredients, making it a preferred choice for mixologists and cocktail aficionados alike. Iconic vodka-based cocktails like the Cosmopolitan and Vodka Soda have become staples of American bar culture, solidifying vodka’s place in the hearts of many.

As we raise our glasses to celebrate vodka’s American odyssey, we toast to its journey of triumph, adaptation, and growth. From its humble beginnings as an immigrant’s legacy to its current status as a cherished and versatile spirit, vodka continues to voyage, weaving its story into the fabric of the American beverage industry.

What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?

Article provided by Zhang Xinyue of Create Abundance

As children, we all had fantasies and dreams of being a big movie star, a popular singer or a beloved sports figure. Though most of those dreams died away over the years, some of them stayed with us. Many veterinarians say that they had a childhood love of animals. Many actors started out doing high school plays. Athletes usually play everything from baseball to tennis in school.

Often, when you look at the lives of people in various professions, you find that they chose a particular career path because of a childhood interest. Some become doctors because of intense admiration for a father or grandfather who was a successful doctor.

But what about those who never did fulfill their dreams? There are so many adults walking around today who never became the veterinarian, actor, soccer player or doctor they wanted to be when they were just kids.

Susan Boyle became a popular singer at age 48. Even today, she doesn’t look like your typical singer, but everyone loves her voice … and her story. Her song on the show, Britain’s Got Talent, “I Dreamed a Dream” was very appropriate. She had dreamed all her life of becoming a popular singer. Often, we pass certain birthdays and just tell ourselves that it’s over … it’s too late … we will never accomplish our dreams.

Each day, remind yourself of how possible it is to realize those older dreams you have buried deep in your heart. Look at your old notes about goals you made years ago. What dreams are still residing in your heart that have not been fulfilled?

You might be 30 or 80 but it’s never too late. Don’t give up on your dreams just because of your age or your circumstances of life. It may take some extra ingenuity; it may take a lot of courage, sweat and hard work, but you can do it if you want it badly enough.

With many years as a well-known spiritualist leader and teacher in her field, Zhang Xinyue is known for a variety of achievements. Her creation of the Abundance system aims to promote a meaningful and straight forward approach to life’s philosophical issues. In 2012, she finished one of her best-selling books, Create Abundance. The book is a collection of quotes containing words of wisdom on how to develop body-mind-spirit cultivation.

Her book was initially released in Chinese, but it is also available in English and other languages now. A second version of the book has also recently been released.


Can Athletes Benefit from Meditating?

Article provided by Zhang Xinyue of Create Abundance

Meditation has been around for centuries. This ancient Chinese practice has been used for everything imaginable. Today, athletes are learning to meditate. Just like everyone else, the life of an athlete can be stressful. There are new problems to deal with each day and we can all find ourselves consumed with thoughts about so many important issues.

For athletes, this can really affect their game. You may be training hard so your body is in excellent shape. But what about your mind? Are your thoughts consumed with relationship problems or pressing family matters? That’s why meditation can be so helpful for athletes. It teaches them to clear their thoughts and just relax.

For many in the sports world, there’s a constant struggle with thoughts that you may not be good enough. You can conquer these negative emotions by meditating regularly. This can be done daily or several times a week depending on your schedule.

In order to be successful, you must focus your mind on quiet, peaceful thoughts. As you begin, close your eyes. Shut out everything. Start at the top of your head and move downward, breathing deeply as you concentrate on peace, wholeness and joy. Try not to let any worrisome thoughts enter at this time. If you have an area of the body that is painful, focus your mind on this one area and send warm waves to it.

In the beginning, you’ll have more troubling trying clear away unsettling thoughts but as you get more experienced, you’ll find that you learn how to control your mind.

Dr. Zhang Xinyue is a world-renowned body-mind-spirit tutor. With a simple style, her book, Create Abundance, published in 2012, works her way into the depths of people’s hearts and has ever since remained a best seller for body-mind-spirit cultivation. Living abroad, Teacher Xinyue is currently conducting a field of social research as she has traveled all over the world.

Teacher Zhang Xinyue of Create Abundance encourages every individual to grow through self-help. She hopes that every reader starts to practice being their own mentor and learns to transform awareness into wisdom autonomously.


Create Abundance in Your Soccer Career

Article provided by Zhang Xinyue of Create Abundance.

You can create abundance in your soccer career. And why should it be any different than the rest of your life? Each area of our lives can benefit from the abundance mindset. In case you need a refresher, this philosophy maintains that as we are open to it, we can experience abundance in our lives.

Many athletes, actors, musicians and famous people have proven that we can create abundance in our lives by changing how we think. The first step is to determine the way you currently think about certain things. This may take a few weeks of your time where you keep a Journal of all your thoughts throughout the day.

At first, this may seem awkward or difficult, but as you continue on, it will become more natural and easier to do. Keep your Journal handy wherever you go and get in the habit of making notes about what you are thinking.

Once you have about two weeks’ worth of notes on this, look it over and see whether you are worrying too much or perhaps dwelling on negative things. If we are honest, most of us do worry each day. We wonder if our paycheck will be big enough to cover all the bills. And we often think about family problems.

The next step is to change the conversation in your head. Write down some positive things that you should be focusing on. For instance, you might include:

My game is good enough.

I’m an excellent soccer player.

I’m a winner.

I enjoy the game.

People like me. They enjoy watching me play.

Teacher Zhang Xinyue is an internationally renowned body-mind-spirit tutor. With a simple style, her book, Create Abundancev, published in 2012, reaches into the depths of people’s hearts and has ever since remained a best seller for body-mind-spirit cultivation. Living abroad, Teacher Zhang Xinyue of Create Abundance is currently conducting a field of social research as she has done research worldwide.

Teacher Zhang Xinyue encourages every individual to grow through self-help. She hopes that every reader starts to practice being their own mentor and learns to transform awareness into wisdom autonomously.


The checklist for a youth soccer player

The new soccer season is fast approaching. Have you got everything your child needs to start the season off strong? Make sure they have the right gear for every practice session, game, and tournament with this comprehensive checklist of items from Soccer Garage:


You will need all the basics like t-shirts, soccer shorts, socks. If you can, spend the extra and buy sports-specific t-shirts with moisture-wicking fabric. Young players sweat a lot, and this will keep them dry and cool for longer. They will play better more often. Also, proper soccer t-shirts will last longer.

As a backup, put a set of socks, a t-shirt, and shorts in a Ziploc bag for rainy and damp days.


Your child will need a comfortable pair of flip-flops to wear between games, and while traveling. Discourage them from wearing their soccer shoes anywhere but on the pitch. The shoes will last longer and take on less damage. Also, use surface specific soccer shows.


There are other items that go into your soccer bags. First, there is the water bottle. Get an insulated water bottle that will keep the water cool for longer and one that has indicators so that your child can follow water drinking targets to remain hydrated. You will also need small sticks to get the mud out of shoes, trash bags, extra elbow and knee bandages, and a small first aid kit.

When traveling for an away game, the team will provide a list of items for you, so match that with what you already have.

Soccer Nutrition: What to eat before your big game

Nutrition is important for everyone but is even more important for a soccer player before a game. Please note that although this article talks about what to eat the night before and the morning before a game, ideally you want to eat like this most of the time. Also, the following are examples that you need to tailor for your individual needs as a player.

The night before

The meal planning for the big game starts the night before. First off, avoid any junk food or food that you have not eaten before. The last thing you need is a distressed tummy before a game. With a lot of practice and training, you need to refill your glycogen stores, so look to eat whole complex carbohydrates like potatoes, rice, pasta, or darker bread. Also, start your hydration program the day before the game.

In the morning

Avoid eating large meals before your game. In the morning, about two to four hours before a match, eat a breakfast high in carbohydrates. Cereals and fruits are a good example of an appropriate breakfast before a match. If there is a lot of time between breakfast and a match, stick to small snacks like fruit and simple carbs leading up to the game.

The key here is to prioritize carbohydrates and hydration over protein and fats. The carbs fill your energy stores, keeping your energy levels stable throughout a game. After a game, you need lean protein and carbs to maintain and rebuild muscle.

Written by Soccer Garage.

Why Holding a Parents Meeting For Your Youth Soccer Team Can Improve Team Atmosphere

Summary: Youth soccer teams require an immense amount of organization and cooperation from the parents.

As a youth soccer coach, your immediate focus might on preparing for the preseason through a series of intense conditioning, long stretching sessions, and developing new plays and strategies. While all of these factors will pay huge dividends in the long run, one of the most underestimated areas are team meetings – not just ordinary team meetings, but parents meetings.

Improved Organization

One of the best ways to let your team know your expectations and goals for the season is to hold a mandatory parents meeting prior to the season. Doing so will allow you to communicate with the entire team and also let them know how you plan on running your practices.

Maintaining organization throughout the season can quickly spiral out of control if you’re not fully prepared. Feel free to let parents lend a hand when it comes to specific events. Most of the time, they’ll gladly volunteer, due to the fact that it’ll help them get closer to their children. Throw out a variety of options. For instance, you might want to treat the team to some juice boxes or snacks after every practice. Or, some of the members may need adequate transportation to away games – a van would work perfectly. These are only a few of the things that you’ll face throughout the season. And, when it comes to preparation, there’s no such thing as being “over prepared”, because when it’s all said and done, you know things won’t be all fine and dandy.

Discussing Costs and Fees

While everything should be self-explanatory within the contract (depending on the league) it’s important that the parents understand the costs of having their child on a youth soccer team – it’s definitely not free. Feel free to explain the total amount that each family will have to invest in items such as: soccer clothes, soccer cleats, accessories, and other supplies that they’ll need throughout the year.

Furthermore, if the league requires a specific fee for joining, be sure to communicate this among the families. The last thing you’ll want is an angry parent getting on your case for not discussing the costs of a soccer shinguard – from experience, it’s not pretty. Be realistic with all costs. You must also be strict with your policies as well. Leniency may come natural for young players, but they also need to learn that there are rules that must be followed in order to succeed. And, this can potentially translate into the real world as well – allowing them to uncover valuable life skills that will make them into a more mature individual.


How to Develop a Child’s Soccer Skill Set to Maximize their In-Game Performance

Summary: By utilizing specific training techniques and focusing on certain segments of one’s game, you can substantially improve your child’s overall playmaking skills.

Developing soccer skills at an early age is crucial for improving one’s game to a higher level. Now, there are numerous skills that players like to focus on like passing, dribbling, and shooting. These all work in tandem to improve one’s overall game. Here is a breakdown of some of the most important skills that you can help your child with, even in the comforts of your own backyard.

Don’t Limit Your Skills to One Foot

The utilization of both feet in soccer is a crucial component, just like it is in the sport of basketball. For example, if you’re always dribbling to the right just because that’s your dominant foot, you’re essentially predictable every time you have the ball. But, if you train your child to be equally skilled with both feet, he or she can maneuver around defenders and stay on the offense while maintaining balance. It’s an important, and underrated, skill that most children do not learn when they’re young. Be sure that you purchase the right types of kids soccer cleats to maximize their performance as well.

Maintain Balance and Strength

As stated above, paying attention to training both feet is an important aspect of soccer. Additionally, you’ll want to be sure that your child has equal strength in both legs as well. Do some exercises where he or she dribbles the ball at full speed with both feet zigzagging in opposite directions. This helps promote balance and comfort when it comes to running with the ball. Most players need to stop and settle the ball to get their bodies turned to the right position before they kick it. If one foot is weaker than the other, the opposing defender will most likely block it, or the goalie will easily defend it due to the lack of velocity behind the kick. On the other hand, if your child is a goalkeeper, he or she will want the right kids goalkeeper gloves that are both sturdy and comfortable. Pertinent vision is a crucial component.

Beyond this, accuracy is also an important factor as well. While this takes years of practice to develop, by training your child at a young age, he or she will get an idea of where the ball will generally fly according to the type of kick that he or she performs. The more practice that they get, the better they will become at knowing their strengths and weaknesses.

Youth Soccer Shopping List for Parents

If you’re thinking about enrolling your son or daughter in your local youth soccer league this season, then you probably want to know what you’ll need to buy. One of the great concepts about soccer the world over is its affordability. The sport has expensive products and gadgets to use, but you don’t need a lot to play the game. Your league will probably cover youth soccer jerseys as they order for the whole team, but you’ll need to supply all the other equipment. Here’s a good list to go buy. [READ MORE] (more…)

Q&A with Soccer Tactician Adin Osmanbasic Part 2

What was the impact on Barcelona if the opposition were pressing them high during their 15-pass preparation?

The opponent risks being combined through as Barcelona use the goalkeeper – meaning a natural 11 vs. 10 advantage as you press them. Even if they aren’t near their own goal they are still very talented in tight spaces, so pressing high and leaving space in behind your defense is risky vs. such players who can break presses. Of course they might not be able to position themselves perfectly to begin the positional attack but if they can break the high press then they can progress into the attack in a very advantageous situation. If you are able to press them successfully then you can win the ball high up the field and quickly attack their disorganized positioning in transition!  [READ MORE]