Quite possibly the best voice you will hear all day, that’s because when you hear Chris Malone weekdays from 3pm to 7pm, your workday should be about done. Chris keeps your favorite music going strong as you head down the home stretch. Keep 98.5 KTK with you in the car, as hitting the rush hour adds stress; Chris keeps you cool with an hour of commercial-free music starting just before 5pm!
One day closer to the weekend. Now I know, for me, I don't think Social Security will be around when it time to claim. I'm OK with that. It's simple math that there will not be enough people working when I retire to support the system. But if you are looking at retirement in the next few years, take a look at these tips on how to maximize your SS benefits.
1. Work At Least 35 Years
Social Security benefits are calculated based on your 35 highest-earning working years. If you work fewer years, you’ll have years with zero income averaged in — which will lower your payout.
2. Ask For A Raise
If you experience a jump in salary, you’ll likely boost your future earning potential and may see an increase in your Social Security payments down the road — since as we just explained, Social Security takes into account the 35 top-earning years of your career.
3. Take A Second Job
The same logic applies: If you earn more each year, you’ll likely increase the amount you get in Social Security when you retire.
4. Wait Until Full Retirement Age To Claim Social Security
You can begin collecting Social Security benefits as early as age 62, but you might not want to: Your benefit will be reduced by 25% for life. To get your full payment, wait until you reach full retirement age — currently 66 for anyone born between 1943 and 1954. For those born between 1955 and 1959, the age gradually rises toward 67. For those born in 1960, it’s 67.
5. Better Yet: Wait Until Age 70
If you can afford to wait until age 70 to claim Social Security benefits, it’ll pay off. Thanks to what the Social Security Administration calls “delayed retirement credits,” benefits increase 8% each year you delay tapping into Social Security — up till age 70. So waiting until you reach 70 means about a third more income for life.
When considering this strategy, it’s particularly beneficial for the higher-earning spouse in a marriage to hold out until age 70 to increase the total benefits the couple will get throughout their lifetime. In the event the spouse with the higher benefit passes away, the surviving spouse will get the higher payment.
If you took benefits early and regret the move, it might not be too late to fix it. You may be able to repay all the benefits you got so far and restart them at a higher level based on your age. But this policy isn’t as flexible as it used to be: For more details, check out this page on the SSA site.
6. Use Online Tools
If you’re unsure about the best time to claim benefits based on your individual budget, health, life expectancy or other factors, use online resources to help you decide. A good place to start is SocialSecurity.gov/MyStatement, where you’ll get your personalized statement. This estimates what your benefits will be at age 62, at full retirement age or at age 70.
Once you get estimates for you and, if applicable, your spouse, there are other online tools that compare your benefits under various scenarios to help you determine the best claiming strategy. Consider AARP’s Social Security Benefits Calculator or Analyze Now’s Strategic Social Security Planner.
7. Claim Spousal Benefits
If you’re married, you have a choice: You can either take the benefit based on your work history, or half your spouse’s benefit. So if your spouse earned a lot more than you did and has a higher benefit as a result, compare and see which will pay the most. You can also claim Social Security benefits based on an ex-spouse’s work record if you were married for at least 10 years. Doing so doesn’t reduce their check or otherwise affect them. In fact, they’ll never know you applied.
8. Taking Early Retirement? Beware Of Outside Income
If you start taking benefits before reaching your full retirement age, employment elsewhere can reduce your Social Security checks. For example, say you started taking Social Security in 2012 at age 62 and your full retirement age is 66. For 2012, your benefit would be reduced by $1 for every $2 you earned in gross wages or net self-employment income above $14,640.
If 2012 was the year you reached full retirement age, you could have earned up to $38,880 before the month you turned 66. More than that and your benefit would be reduced by $1 for every $3 you earned.
After you reach full retirement age, you get your full benefit no matter how much you earn.
9. Claim Twice
A dual-income retired couple may be able to claim spousal benefits, then later switch to payments based on their own work record. This could make sense if waiting until a later age would result in higher benefits.
For example, say the husband is 66 and the wife is 62. If the husband files for benefits, the wife could opt for half her husband’s benefit, while still earning money and letting her benefit grow. When she turns 70, she could drop the spousal benefit and file for benefits based on her own work record.
There are lots of strategies such as this to maximize Social Security. As you approach retirement age, be sure to do lots of reading. This article from Kiplinger is a good example.
10. Benefits For Your Kids
When you start collecting Social Security benefits, unmarried dependent children under age 18 may qualify to get benefits worth up to half of your full retirement benefit amount. This can include a biological child, adopted child, stepchild or dependent grandchild. They may also get benefits if they’re 18-19 years old and a full-time student (no higher than grade 12) or 18 or older with a disability that began before age 22.
11. Plan ahead for taxes
If the sum of your adjusted gross income, nontaxable interest and half your 2012 Social Security benefits exceeds $34,000 ($44,000 for couples), up to 85% of your benefits may be taxable. You can minimize this expense by using certain tax-saving moves such as investing in annuities that allow you to earn interest that isn’t taxed until you withdraw it.
12. Do your due diligence
Always read your Social Security statements (either received as paper statements in the mail or online at SocialSecurity.gov/MyStatement) to be sure everything has been reported correctly. Although inaccuracies are uncommon, some scenarios lend themselves to a greater chance of error — such as a name change your employer failed to update on company records.
13. Clear your debts
Your Social Security benefits are protected from most debt collections, but they can be taken to collect unpaid federal taxes, federal student loan balances and child support or alimony. Clearing these debts will leave your Social Security benefits untouched.
Sunday is the big game day and all you want to do is blend into the couch with a bag of chips and a cold beer and watch the game with you and your friends. But what about the kids who you know won’t want to watch this NFL showdown? Not to worry, the kids will have plenty of fun games of their own to play with some of these activity thought starters.
Designate a room in your house and fill it with tons of game options. From video games (think: Madden NFL) to pin the football on the field goal, the kids will be entertained for hours so you can be focused on how many touchdowns your team is scoring and take in all of the commercials without interruption.
Tweens: Set up the Xbox, the Wii, Nintendo or all of the above. Once the consoles are turned on, you won't hear from your child again for hours!
Little kids: Play football bingo. There are tons of free printables available online or you can make your own. Get the kids in on the action and let them help design the cards and think up the prizes. You can even make the bingo chips edible.
Toddlers: Play pin the football on the field goal. Make your own game using painter's tape and construction paper. Blindfold your child, spin her around and let her try to pin the football between the goal posts. Any football that makes it between the uprights earned a prize.
Call on your little performers to put on their own halftime show for you. Beyonce is the star of this year's Super Bowl halftime show, so challenge your children to come up with an act that is centered around her music. This activity is sure to keep them occupied during the first half of the game as they practice their performance and also during the second half when they prepare for their encore! Get your video camera ready as your children's rendition of "All The Single Ladies" is sure to be even more entertaining than Beyonce's!
Tweens: Your tween can be the manager, the choreographer, the lead singer or all of the above. From lip syncing to actual singing, you're sure to be entertained by any performance your children think up.
Little kids and toddlers: The little kids and toddlers can be your tween's back-up dancers, singers or musicians. They can also help design the set and decide on the costumes.
From easy to hard, think up a wide range of trivia questions so children of all ages can play. You can either focus the ideas around this year's Super Bowl, which will make it more of a guessing game (Who will win? How many points will the Super Bowl championship team win by? Which team will score first?) Or you can ask about past Super Bowls or football in general. Ideas for questions you can ask:
What is the number of this year's Super Bowl?
What are each team's colors?
Who are the quarterbacks for each team?
Who is performing during the halftime show?
How many points do you receive for a touchdown?
What is a two-point conversion?
How many yards is the length of the football field?
What is an interception?
True or false: (Insert name of your home team) has won a previous Super Bowl.
It's a given that we all liked to be liked right? We feel more comfortable, part of the team and it doesn't add to the stress levels of work. Sadly, we may be doing some things that are making our co-workers dislike us! Here are 5 ways that could be making you enemy number one at work.
#5. It's Not What You Said, It's What You Didn't Say
For those of us who aren't great with people, we figure that silence is always the safest bet. If you're an introvert, you spend so much of your time wishing that other people would just shut the hell up that you figure you're doing everyone a favor. So, you run into a co-worker at the mall and think it's better to pass by in silence than do an awkward stop-and-chat that you'd probably screw up anyway.
This is literally the most frequent social mistake you could make. You didn't respond to the party invitation. You didn't reply to their funny text with a smiley. You didn't wish them a happy birthday. Now they're bitter and you're confused because, well, who would ever assume that silence is an insult?
So make sure to interact with your co-workers Follow through with being social both on the clock and if you run into each other off the clock.
#4. You Accidentally Asserted Power Over Them
So you applied for a mortgage and got a super low interest rate and minimal closing costs. That's something worth talking about right? Or you just flew back from a weekend in Paris and the maid forgot to take your Mac Duggal dress or Dolce & Gabbana jacket to the cleaners.Perfectly innocent conversations that can instantly backfire as bragging. Look, you know you have it good and you've worked hard and sacrificed for what you have but tone it down. If you look at celebrities that are admired the most you can see they belittle themselves. For example, Tina Fey pretends to be ugly and Jennifer Lawrence makes constant jokes about how gross and ugly she is, even though they pose for yet another magazine cover just minutes after making such statements.
#3. They Think You Owe Them
Have you ever broken up with somebody and had them bafflingly claim, "I can't believe you would just leave me like that! After everything I've done for you!" Or did you once refuse to do a favor for somebody for what seemed like a good reason (say, you couldn't help them move because you had work that day), only to see them get really, really irritated? Almost to the point that they're acting like you were paid for the work in advance and then didn't follow through? Like they thought you owed it to them?
There's a really good chance that the last person who got annoyed with you for seemingly no reason at all did it because you failed to pay a debt you didn't even know you owed. There's this weird thing where in most relationships, and maybe in every relationship at one point or another, both parties think the other side is in debt to them. Your workplace is probably like this as well -- everybody in your department thinks they heroically keep the place afloat with their tireless labor, while the boss thinks you're a bunch of slackers for whom the company generously puts food on the table. You're shocked and insulted when the company heartlessly announces layoffs and the boss is shocked and insulted when any of you quit without notice.
#2. You Wasted Their Time
All you did was email your boss with a simple question or idle thought, and they jumped down your throat! Then, later that night, you popped into your buddy's house unannounced, and like one minute later he's all acting annoyed, opening the door and saying, "Well, good to see you!" like he's ushering you out! Or maybe you're on the other end of the situation in the first entry -- you messaged an acquaintance with a "happy birthday" and you got cold, dead silence in return. How rude!
If you've been paying attention up to this point, you're already trying to figure out how this ties in to the power thing. Well, in the first example, the boss was way too busy at the time to put up with your issue. In the second, your friend clearly was too busy to entertain you for a three hour visit. In the third, the dude got too many birthday wishes to reply to them all. But in each case, due to the complicated power dynamics at play, they weren't allowed to openly say so. So don't take it personal. The person who is being terse with you, or who is clearly screening your calls, is often in an impossible situation. They're coming off as flaunting their power to screen you, while from their point of view, they have no power at all -- they spend all of their time seeing to the needs of the crowd. So, the most good-hearted of busy people just try to deal with your thing, quickly answering your question while silently gritting their teeth and thinking, "It would have taken him five seconds to Google this instead of emailing me."
If that sounds like they're making you pay for someone else's behavior, well, they are. That's the way it works -- prior offenses count, even when it was someone else who committed them. The cashier at the store got annoyed when you for pointing out their name rhymes with rock because they've that joke six times a day. Remember: You are nothing more than one link in somebody else's chain of human interactions. A chain that occasionally rubs them raw.
#1. You Assumed That Because You Were OK With a Situation, Everybody Was
This is the one that is by far the most likely to sneak up on you. Also, it exists at all levels -- between roommates, friends, spouses, ethnic groups, nations. In the office, this usually turns up as some pointless new rule that seems to come out of the blue like a memo says from now on nobody can adjust the thermostat without asking a supervisor. Another announces that the Christmas party is now the "winter holiday" party. In a relationship, it's the partner suddenly deciding after several years that they no longer want Friday to be meatloaf night.
You get the idea -- everything was going along absolutely perfectly fine, the system was running as intended, and suddenly they're making these arbitrary demands. You then hear yourself saying things like: "Why do they have to rock the boat just when things were going good?" "Why complain now, when we've always done it this way?" "I don't have a problem, you're the one who's screaming!" For example, you like to stay in on weekends, your girlfriend/boyfriend likes to go out. After a year or so, they give up and stop trying to get you off the sofa every Saturday. You interpret this as the relationship settling in just how you like it; meanwhile, they're so miserable that they're rehearsing their breakup speech. "But, but ... everything was going great!"
Sure it was. For you. You didn't perceive yourself as being in a position of power because that is the main advantage of power -- that you don't have to think about it. You don't think about money when you're eating at a restaurant. But you sure think about it when you're too poor to eat. And out of all of the pitfalls on this list, this is by far the worst, because it means that you can absolutely make other people hate you without lifting a finger. And you can do it without even knowing it. Which means that, unfortunately, avoiding it requires constant vigilance.
It's exhausting, I know. But hey, at least you'll have fewer people screaming at you.
A very special THANK YOU to David Wong of Cracked.com for this insight that may help you become the person you always wanted to be!
Well Sunday is the final day of football for the season as Baltimore and San Francisco play in the Big Game. Even if you are not a fan of football you must admit the championship game is an American tradition, just like Thanksgiving and Independence Day. It's something only an American can understand, appreciate and bonds us all together; even when you are stationed overseas.
Pizzas 4 Patriots will once again send 21,000 Chicago-style Deep Dish pizzas to our troops stationed in Camp Bastion, Bagram Airbase and Kandahar; all in Afghanistan,as well as Camp Arifjan in Kuwait and various Forward Operating Bases in both countries.
"Since 2008, we have had the pleasure of providing our brave U.S. servicemen and women overseas with the most delicious, authentic 'slices of home', letting them know we care and we are thinking of them," said Ret. Master Sergeant Mark Evans, founder of Pizzas 4 Patriots. "While our soldiers' presence in the Middle East continues to become smaller, they still need to know that we appreciate the sacrifices they make for us, our families and our country."
Every puppy and kitten comes from a shelter or rescue organization in the United States. A total of 63 puppies, 21 kittens and 9 hedgehogs, who are the cheerleaders this year dressed in tutus! "Animal Planet works in conjunction with Petfinder during the selection process for the puppies," an Animal Planet spokesman explains. "Petfinder reaches out to shelters and rescue organizations to see if they have puppies that meet the age and size requirements and if so, asks if they would be interested in having those animals be part of Puppy Bowl."
What happens to the pups after the Bowl? "In years past, all of the puppies and kittens have been adopted to loving families. As of now, only one puppy from this year's lineup is still up for adoption.
The hedgehogs were provided by loving families who originally adopted them," the spokesman says.
How do they get the puppies to behave so cutely on camera? Well the Puppy Bowl is actually filmed in November and any footage of pups acting less than fascinating is edited out before the show airs. So the show may be, technically, "fixed." Not that there's anything wrong with that, because: puppies, kittens and hedgehogs!
Puppy Bowl IX begins Sunday at 3pm on Animal Planet.
A while ago I switched my habits of grabbing a bag of chips or a candy bar in the middle of the afternoon to energy bars. Instead of that instant rush that sugar provided, energy bars give me more of a gradual increase and (most important) keeps my hunger at bay for a much longer period.
But have you seen the price of these bars? Not cheap in any manner. Not to mention you have to read the labels very closely as many are loaded with sugar and calories. You'd be amazed of now much garbage are in some energy bars.
It's pretty easy to re-create some of your favorite bars at home, using nothing more than a food processor. Tasty enough to challenge the likes of Clif and Larabars, these energy bar recipes can be whipped up in practically no time for a fraction of the price. Here are some DIY Energy bar recipes that are simple to make and easy on your wallet.
Raw Lemon-Coconut Bars
These tasty bars are similar to Lärabars, but contain no added sweetener and are gluten free.
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon almond meal OR 1 cup sliced or slivered almonds
1 1/2 cups pitted dates OR 1 1/4 cups chopped dates or raisins
1 cup unsweetened dried shredded coconut
Zest of 1 organic lemon
2 tablespoons lemon juice
If using chopped dates, cover them with warm water, let them soak for about 5 minutes, and drain. If using sliced or slivered almonds, put them in your food processor and whir them into meal.
Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of almond meal evenly over the bottom of an 8-inch-square baking pan.
Add the remaining ingredients to the food processor and whir until well mixed.
Press into prepared pan.
Chill for a couple of hours until firm, then cut into 12 squares, and wrap each in wax paper or store in an airtight container.
These will keep at room temperature for a month and makes 12 bars.
Don't like lemon? You can substitute any nut, seed, or dried fruit in this recipe and change the seasonings to reproduce just about any bar out there. Here are a few tasty alternatives.
Cherry Pie Bars: Substitute 1 cup of dried cherries or cranberries for the coconut.
Apple Pie Bars: Substitute 1 cup of diced, dried apples for the coconut, omit the lemon zest and juice, and add 1 teaspoon of powdered cinnamon.
Chocolate-Cashew Cookie Bars: Use 2 cups of cashews instead of the almonds and coconut, omit the lemon zest and juice, and add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Add ¼ cup of mini semisweet chocolate chips once everything else is well blended.
PB & J Bars: Use peanuts (or shelled sunflower seeds) instead of almonds, substitute 1 cup of dried cherries or cranberries for the coconut, and omit the lemon zest and juice.
Mostly Raw Oatmeal Energy Bars
The only cooking involved is heating the wet ingredients to make them smoother and easier to blend with the dry ingredients. The end result is similar to Clif Bars.
2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal, uncooked
1/4 cup flaxseed meal
1 cup total dried fruit (coarsely chopped), chopped nuts, and/or semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup natural nut or seed butter (peanut, sunflower, cashew, almond, tahini)
1/2 cup brown rice syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl. Put the nut or seed butter and the syrup in a saucepan and heat slowly, stirring until the mixture is hot and well blended; then add the vanilla.
Pour the mixture over the dry ingredients, and stir until well mixed (you may need to use your hand).
Pack firmly into a greased 9-x-9-inch baking pan.
Chill for a couple of hours until firm, then cut into 12 squares, and wrap each bar in wax paper.
Stored in an airtight container, these will keep at room temperature for a month.
Makes 12 bars
ChocoBean Power Bars
The cooked beans in this recipe add lots of protein and fiber without overpowering the banana and chocolate flavors. If you buy canned beans, there is no cooking involved.
1 1/2 cups cups cooked black beans, drained and rinsed (one 15-ounce can)
3/4 cup dried banana slices
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup (packed) raisins or dried cranberries
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup brown rice syrup
1/4 cup oatmeal whirred in the blender until very fine
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
1/2 cup semisweet mini chocolate chips (optional) 2 tablespoons almond mealfine
Whir the beans, banana, cocoa powder, raisins, vanilla, and syrup in a food processor until very smooth.
Add the oatmeal and flaxseed (and chocolate chips if using).
Pulse until mixture is well blended and forms a dough.
Sprinkle almond meal over the bottom of a 9-x-9-inch cake pan.
Press the mixture firmly into the prepared pan.
Chill for a couple hours until firm then cut into 12 squares.
Wrap each in wax paper and refrigerate in a closed container for up to four days, or freeze for up to a month.
Makes 12 bars
Add 2 tablespoons of dry instant coffee for chocolate-mocha bars, or add ½ teaspoon ground hot pepper to give bars a Mexican kick. These are also tasty with pureed overripe banana (or pumpkin puree, prune puree, or even apple butter) instead of the dry bananas; you just need to replace the brown rice syrup with a dry sweetener, such as raw sugar or powdered stevia, to add sweetness while keeping the dough dry enough to form into bars.
Think Outside the Bar
While bars suit the packaging needs of commercial manufacturers, there's no reason you have to get your energy boosts in slabs. Make "energy balls" from any of these recipes by sprinkling almond or other nut meal (or even shredded coconut or unsweetened cocoa powder) on a plate, dropping spoonfuls of dough onto it, and rolling them around with your fingers to shape and coat them. Balls one-inch or smaller are perfect for popping into your mouth whole and make a great substitute for candy if the kids (and that includes your inner one) clamor for it.
Special thanks to Rodale News for these energy bar recipe finds!
You must give JC Penney's CEO Ron Johnson some credit for trying something new to revive an ailing brand. It was a little over a year ago that it was announced JC Penney would do away with coupons and sales. It didn't ring well with customers (or in cash register sales) so the company has announced it’ll be marking all of its merchandise down by at least 40%. After the initial markdown, JCPenney will be rolling out a three-tiered approach to its pricing of items starting Feb. 1, to replace the hundreds of sales they used to have every year. There will be the “Every Day” low prices daily, the “Monthly Value” discounts and “Best Price” clearance deals twice a month on the first and third Fridays of each month, when many shoppers get paid.
Do you think this move will work and get you to shop? Or is JC Penney on it's way of becoming the next Woolworth's and Montgomery-Wards? Time will tell.
In other big brand news, you've seen the story and picture of a Subway customer measuring their footlong sandwich only to find it was an inch short. The story went viral as several Subway customers also found their sandwiches short. Subway is now telling the world that honest, guys, we never meant to make a sandwich 11 or 11.5 inches. In a statement released addressing the controversial less-than-one-foot Footlongs, Subway said it’s very sorry and this won’t happen again. Quote: “We regret any instance where we did not fully deliver on our promise to our customers. We freshly bake our bread throughout the day in our more than 38,000 restaurants in 100 countries worldwide, and we have redoubled our efforts to ensure consistency and correct length in every sandwich we serve. Our commitment remains steadfast to ensure that every Subway Footlong sandwich is 12 inches at each location worldwide.”
Kudos to Subway for owning up to the shortcomings without spinning the story around like a top. But to be honest, I will measure my next footlong just to make sure! :)
Calling in sick to work? Let's be honest, there's a good chance you really aren't sick. According to a 2012 study by business retailer Staples, about 80% of workers show up at the office even if they are sick. Additionally, 66% say they go to work even though they have an illness that’s contagious.
I can understand why. For me and the behind-the-scene duties I'm tasked with would fall behind and once you fall behind it's a big job (usually involving after hours and weekends) to catch back up.
However your co-workers will not take it kindly if you end up causing them to become sick too. So what to do? Experts weigh in with some advice.
Peter Handel, chief executive at Dale Carnegie Training, a New York City-based international business services outfit, says to be realistic. An employee should call in sick when their illness is still contagious and their productivity will decline significantly due to their illness. “If an employee knows the quality of their work will be negatively affected due to their illness, it is best for all parties involved to call in sick,” Handel says.
Cut yourself some slack. Staffers often feel like they're so vital the office can’t survive without them. That’s a mistake. “We encourage employees to take care of themselves when needed in order to ensure they continually perform their best,” he says. Rouse yourself on a “temporary” basis. Client meetings and high-profile calls scheduled far in advance are often legitimate reasons for employees to try to get into the office even if they are feeling under the weather. If it’s impossible to reschedule, employees can offer to call in from home to not miss an important meeting.
Get ahead of the problem. Employees should make the decision to call in sick as early as possible — even the night before if possible, Handel advises.
First, notify your immediate supervisors and managers via email and phone. This ensures the message is received in a timely fashion.
Be in contact with the people you work with and communicate your list of urgent to-dos to them. “If there is anything that needs immediate attention while you are out, your proactive communication will allow for speedy delegation and completion,” Handel says.
Remember that it is the responsibility of the sick employee to ensure that all daily responsibilities and tasks are completed. “It is not the manager’s responsibility to delegate tasks, nor is it a colleague’s responsibility to figure it out in a sick employee’s absence,” he adds.
Wash your hands regularly and avoid touching things such as elevator buttons, printer buttons, refrigerator handles, telephones and widely used computers.
Wipe down your desk space with anti-bacterial wipes.
Get plenty of sleep during the winter months. Being well-rested is a great defense to avoiding getting sick.
Use hand sanitizer, or if you are really concerned, get a flu shot and make sure you consult your doctor.
Happy Monday! Besides the haze of tree pollen in the air, love is also circulating with the arrival of Valentine's day. But if you want something more than the traditional box of chocolates and dozen roses for your sweetie, take a look at these 5 do it yourself Valentine's crafts. Click each link for pictures and directions. Enjoy!
DIY wine cork heart: I hope you've been saving your wine corks for DIY projects! This project is an artistic rendering of a heart shape, done in painted wine corks and framed. It was thought up and posted by Kristen, from My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia, who exercises her handyman skills near San Diego, and blogs about her projects.
Peppermint Valentine hearts: You know that bag of red and white peppermint hard candies that is sitting in your desk drawer getting stale? Now's the time to turn it into something cute. This project involves melting peppermint candies in heart-shaped molds.
Painted Valentine rocks: This project rocks! (I couldn't resist.) You know how your kid insisted on bringing home a bag of rocks from the beach last summer, which he has never once opened to play with? If you stamp them with letter stamps dipped in craft paint, they will look like something expensive and romantic, except they are only rocks.
Upcycled X-mas decor Valentine's wreath: You're about to be transported to glue gun heaven. Whatever decorations you have hanging around from Christmas can be artistically glued to a heart-shaped wreath. Are you feeling the love yet?
DIY metalwork Valentine: This involves all kinds of cutting metal and a lot of epoxy. It's time to get ready for some heavy metal love.
While Congress and the President publicly battled over the fiscal cliff, their delay in finding a compromise means your tax return (and potential refund) most likely will be delayed too. The result of the tax law changes for 2012 from the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, passed by Congress at the beginning of January 2013.. Now the IRS is scrambling to modify deductions, exemptions and formulas on its forms. Considering the tax code has significantly more pages than the Bible, its going to take some time and that pushes everything else behind.
So will your tax return be delayed? The IRS will not be able to start processing returns that include depreciation deductions, passive activity losses, residential energy credits and general business credits until late February or early March because of the need for more extensive form and processing systems changes. This includes taxpayers whose Form 1040 includes a Schedule C for self-employment income and Schedule E for rental income and income from “pass-through” business entities.
Ask 5 people how they lost weight and you'll get 5 different answers on what works and what doesn't. So here is a look at 13 of the most popular weight loss programs. Research what might work for you...and if it doesn't try another one!
Atkins Nutritional Plan
When the Atkins Nutritional Plan, commonly known as the Atkins Diet, first took the dieting set by storm, healthy oatmeal-eating breakfasters were suddenly sharing meals with friends living on bacon and eggs ... and who were dropping weight like crazy. Steak-lovers could finally give up on futile efforts to lose weight through the tedious consumption of low-calorie foods thanks to Robert Atkins' book, Dr. Atkins' Diet Revolution, which climbed the bestseller list and settled in for an extended stay at the top.
Simply put, the plan is based on the idea that carbohydrates are diet enemy number one, and that by drastically reducing carbs and eating more protein and fat, we burn stored body fat more efficiently and lose weight thanks to the biological process known as ketosis. The Atkins Diet promises not only hunger-free weight loss, but also better heart health and memory function, as well as other wellness benefits. Some otherwise healthy foods are restricted or limited, while meat and fat are acceptable.
For example, since blood type O is humanity's oldest bloodline, D'Adamo contends that the digestive tract retains the memory of ancient times and thus these metabolisms will benefit from lean meats, poultry and fish, with restricted grains, breads, and legumes, and that O-types will benefit from vigorous exercise. Likewise, the "modern" blood type AB set is said by D’Adamo to have a sensitive digestive tract and should steer clear of chicken, beef and pork and instead indulge on seafood, tofu, dairy and most produce — as well as engaging in calming exercises.
The consensus among many experts is that the theory is unsupported by scientific evidence; that said, the diet may suit people looking for a plan that doesn't require the tracking of calories or fat grams.
Developed by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to help prevent and control blood pressure, the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, has landed in first place in the annual rankings released by U.S. News & World Report three years in a row.
The beauty of this diet is that is goes above and beyond lowering hypertension and has proven to be a great weight-loss diet as well. The diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy foods and also includes meat, fish, poultry, nuts and beans. In addition to its effect on blood pressure, it is designed to be a well-balanced approach to eating for the general public. Unlike many other diet plans, there are no restricted food groups, although sugar-sweetened foods and beverages, red meat, and added fats are limited. The DASH Diet is now recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) as an overall ideal eating plan.
Another of the protein-based diets, the Dukan Diet is the brainchild of French doctor Pierre Dukan. Although Dukan has been promoting his eat-like-the French diet for more than 30 years, it wasn’t until the publication of his book in 2000, "The Dukan Diet," that the diet became all the rage. The book was released in the United States in April 2011, and has sold more than 10 million copies globally. When Kate Middleton's mom mentioned her success with the plan, the diet's "craze" status was sealed.
The diet works as a four-phase, high-protein, low-calorie diet plan that includes 100 sanctioned foods. There are no pre-set meals, weighing foods or counting calories. The first phase includes mostly protein, and in fact, protein is the basis in all four phases, along with oat bran and copious amounts of water.
Vegetables are allowed in the second phase, followed by small amounts of fruit and whole grains. Phase four is designed to maintain the weight loss, and is the most flexible of the stages. The Dukan Diet is similar to the Atkins Diet, but with limited fats and oils, relatively lower calorie counts, and the addition of daily oat bran.
Over the past decade, going gluten-free has become the trendy fast-track to boosting health and losing weight; it has also been touted as a way to better cope with ADHD, autism, headaches and other conditions.
A gluten-free diet is one that excludes gluten, a protein found in grains such as wheat, barley and rye. Avoiding gluten is required for those with celiac disease, for whom gluten causes inflammation in the small intestines and often leads to other health issues. About 1 percent of the U.S. population has celiac disease, while another 10 percent have non-celiac gluten intolerance. For these people, avoiding gluten isn’t about losing weight, it’s about not suffering the ill effects that gluten causes for them.
Many people who don’t have any problems with gluten believe that going gluten-free is intrinsically healthy anyway. For some this may be true, but experts warn that the diet is hard to follow and can be nutritionally problematic for people who have no medical reason to be on it. Many gluten-free products on the market can be unhealthy because of the added sugar and fat that stands in for gluten. In addition, gluten-free products are less often fortified with the iron and essential hard-to-get vitamins than regular bread products can contain.
Mayo Clinic Diet
There once was a Mayo Clinic Diet that wasn’t really from the highly-regarded Mayo Clinic; it was an imposter. The bogus diet is a low-carb, high-fat plan that ascribes miraculous powers to grapefruit ... and comes with the promise of an astounding 50- to 55-pound weight loss.
What was the Mayo Clinic to do? Create a legitimate Mayo Clinic Diet, of course. This one, based on expert research and sound science, is designed to help people lose weight in a healthful way, while developing good lifetime habits.
Based on the clinic's Healthy Weight Pyramid, which is similar to the U.S. government's food pyramid, the plan leads the dieter through two phases. The first phase focuses on 15 key habits, doesn’t require calories counting, and allows the dieter to snack to her heart’s content on fruits and vegetables. In the second part, the plan describes how many calories the dieter should eat either to lose or to maintain weight and where those calories should come from. No food group is completely off-limits, however artificial sweeteners, alcohol and sweets are not permitted during the initial, quick-start portion of the plan. (After that, they are limited to an average of 75 calories per day.)
The Mediterranean diet is not a meal and exercise plan laid out in a book, rather, it is an overall nutritional approach and lifestyle inspired by the traditional dietary patterns of Italy, Greece, Spain and Morocco. For millennia, inhabitants of the Mediterranean coast have led healthy lives with decreased chance of chronic disease, thanks to a reliance on plant foods like vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grains, nuts, olives and olive oil along with some cheese, yogurt, fish, poultry, eggs and wine. These foods form the basis of the plan and provide an abundance of micronutrients, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fiber.
This diet was first introduced in the 1940s by an American doctor, Ancel Keys. But it wasn’t until the 1990s that the diet was widely popularized. Although there is no single, official Mediterranean diet, there are countless books by different authors promoting the concept. Most of the foods involved are fresh, seasonal whole foods — with few processed food options. Preparation methods tend to be simple; foods are rarely deep-fried, and only small amounts of saturated fat, sodium, sweets and meat are included.
The paleolithic diet, also known as the paleo diet, caveman diet, Stone Age diet or hunter-gatherer diet, was first popularized in the 1970s by gastroenterologist Walter L. Voegtlin, and has since been adapted by a number of others, including Loren Cordain. The diet plan puts the eater in their best Fred and Wilma mode, allowing them to dine on fresh meats, fish, seafood, fresh fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts and healthful oils. Basically, if our ancestors ate it during the Paleolithic era, before the development of agriculture and grain-based diets, you can too. That means, no grains, legumes, dairy products, potatoes, refined salt, refined sugar and processed oils.
The idea is based on research that hunter-gatherers typically were free from the chronic illnesses and diseases that are epidemic in Western populations. Although on paper it seems pretty sensible, the latest U.S. News & World Report ranking of diets placed it at the bottom of the list, rating it low for weight loss, heart health and ease of use.
Raw Food Diet
The premise behind the raw food lifestyle is that heating food above 115 degrees Fahrenheit destroys important living enzymes and other nutrients. Proponents of raw food believe that by preserving the living elements of the food that we eat, degenerative disease is prevented, aging is slowed, energy enhanced and emotional well-being is boosted.
There is no strict meal plan; you just eat raw food, typically, about 75 to 80 percent of what you eat should be uncooked plant-based foods. Staples include fruit and vegetables, sprouts, seeds, nuts and nut butters, cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil, raw virgin coconut oil, raw coconut butter, and freshly squeezed juices. Dehydrated foods are acceptable, and the use of a home food dehydrator can help alleviate the tedium of raw food textures. Many health and specialty stores also sell raw products, such as dehydrated crackers and chips. Although the reliance on nuts, coconut oil, and avocado can be caloric, people generally lose weight on a raw food diet since calorie intake usually is reduced
South Beach Diet
Created by cardiologist Arthur Agatston and dietician Marie Almon, the South Beach Diet is the happy medium between low-fat diets and high-protein diets — although it ultimately leans more toward the protein-happy side of things. It is based on the premise of replacing "bad carbs" (like refined ones) and "bad fats" (like trans fats) with "good carbs" (like whole grains) and "good fats" (like omega-3). That said, carbs such as potatoes, fruit, bread, cereal, rice, pasta, beets, carrots and corn are forbidden at first, and some are discouraged forever.
Like many diets, the South Beach Diet comes in phases, this time three of them. The first phase bans all sugars, processed carbohydrates, fruits and some higher-glycemic vegetables as well. By the third phase, the dieter will have mastered the foundation and be able to maintain the diet changes and weight loss indefinitely.
While a vegetarian diet often includes animal products that aren’t flesh (eggs and milk, for example), a vegan diet excludes anything that ever had anything to do with an animal (although many simulated animal products, like soy cheese and vegetable protein meat, are available). Many people who choose a vegan diet are animal lovers who reject eating animal products for ethical reasons. A vegan diet can lower one's carbon footprint as well.
Studies confirm that vegans tend to eat fewer calories, weigh less, and have a lower body mass index than their omnivorous counterparts. Eating a lot of produce and whole grains leads to the feeling of fullness with fewer calories. But there are plenty of processed foods that fall into the vegan category, which can be a problem if protein and fiber are being replaced with, say, French fries. Also, eliminating animal-based food products may leave vegans vulnerable to deficiencies in calcium, vitamins B-12 and D — however, with a little planning, these are easily added back to the diet.
In the early '60s, Weight Watchers founder Jean Nidetch began inviting friends into her Queens home every week to discuss how best to lose weight. Fast-forward half a century, and the diet club has blossomed into 50,000 meetings each week in countries all over the world.
As much support group as eating plan, Weight Watchers owes its success not only to its points-based system, but to the motivation and empowerment it provides. The old points system worked on a straight per-calorie basis, with members allowed a certain amount of points for which they could spend eating in whatever way they chose. A revamped points system, Points Plus, now assigns higher point values for calorie-dense foods with more fat and simple carbs, while protein- and fiber-rich foods get fewer. Fresh fruits and non-starchy vegetables are allowed in unlimited quantities. The plan encourages people to eat a wide variety of healthy foods — split between three meals plus snacks, within an individualized calorie level.
And according to the experts, the plan has a lot going for it. Just look at this story: Weight Watchers works, study finds
Happy Friday! A disturbing piece of legislation was being introduced to Congress this week that would lift the ban on unsolicited phone sales calls. Yet another reason why Lobbyists should be banned, two phone companies with the help of a former Congressman-turned-Lobbyist say a 2000 law to end cold calls to customers and create a "Do Not Call" list hampers their ability to market new services to new customers. The House State Affairs Committee introduced the bill Thursday and sent it to the Business Committee for review. Lobbyist and former Idaho Rep. Jim Clark says the bill gives customers the ability to opt-out from solicitation calls. But isn't that what the Do Not Call list already does? So what's the push to revoke the list just to make another one?!?!? Sounds like a waste of time and tax dollars to me. -Chris Malone
As students focus their attention to the upcoming spring break, many juniors and seniors are preparing to take the mother of all tests the infamous SAT! There is so much pressure to do the best job so doors to the best colleges and universities (and scholarships) open wide. Here are some great tips and guidance for scoring the highest number you can.
Studying for the SAT's 1. Read. The truth is that much of the groundwork for conquering the verbal section of the SAT's was laid long before you started studying for this test. Kids who are strong readers are much more likely to do better on the verbal portion of the test then those who aren't. But even if you prefer your iPod to a book, that doesn't mean you're doomed to bomb the verbals. Practice by reading short, non-fiction magazine articles and focusing on the topic at hand. Look up words that you don't know and keep a running list of new words to learn.
2. Know your math. The math section of the SAT is comprised almost entirely of the principles covered in Algebra I and Geometry, so make sure you focus on the material in these classes. If math is not your strongest subject, you can still do well on the test by practicing the key concepts of arithmetic, algebra, and geometry and sharpening you critical thinking skills so that you don't waste time trying to figure out what a particular word problem is asking.
3. Practice, practice, practice. It goes without saying that the best way to prepare for the SAT test is to take practice tests and lots of them. These tests not only introduce you to the types of questions you will be asked, but they also help you get a feel for the time that will be allotted for each section. Check out a used, unmarked test prep book from your local library, check online for practice tests, or talk to your school's guidance counselor for SAT practice test resources.
Prepping your body 4. Eat, drink, and sleep. While it's tempting to spend the final hours before your SAT's cramming vocabulary words while feasting on energy drinks and French fries, you will actually perform much better on test day if you focus on eating well, staying hydrated, and getting a solid night's rest before the test. If possible, go for a short walk or do some yoga stretches the morning of your test to clear your mind and sharpen your focus for the rest of the day. Also, it's worth noting that while you want to stay hydrated, don't drink so much that you wind up wasting valuable test time running back and forth to the bathroom!
Nailing the test 5. Don't be late. If you are notorious for hitting the snooze button and getting to school in the nick of time, make a plan to avoid this habit on test day. Remember that you not only have to get to the testing center, you have to check in, find your seat, and maybe even hit the restroom one last time. Make sure you have your ID and your SAT admission ticket ready to go in the morning and set as many alarms as necessary to get your buns out of bed on time.
6. Don't be afraid to guess. (Sometimes.) The common advice is that you should not guess blindly on the SATs because incorrect answers take away from your overall score. But if you can narrow down your selection to one or two answers, the odds are in your favor for guessing.
7. Show your work. If you are having a hard time puzzling out a math or logic problem, take notes or draw a diagram in the side margin of your test. Sometimes, just seeing the information visually is all you need to unlock the secret to figuring out the answer.
Hello once again! Know those bad habits you have? I remember it took me forever to quit biting my nails and to be honest I don't remember how or when I stopped. If you need some help in riding yourself of a bad habit, take a look at these tips from the experts.
Why you do it: It's another oral fixation that serves as a security blanket when you're nervous or anxious. How to stop: The fastest and most effective solution? Switch to hard candy. But if you really don't want to give up gum, have a friend stop you every time they hear you doing it. Then keep smacking long enough to hear yourself and recognize what an irritating sound it is. You might be embarrassed enough to stop.
Why you do it: The nice reason? You're a pleaser and an overdoer, packing too much in. Not so nice? Deep down, you may think your time is more important than the time of those waiting. Either way, you lack some essential time-management skills. How to stop: When someone asks you to do something, don't accept right away. Say you'll get back to him, then decide whether you have the time. Also, figure out which tasks always seem to make you late. Maybe it's drying your hair in the morning: Time yourself to see how long it takes, then allot enough time in your routine. Tricks: Set your watch five minutes fast and build in time for unexpected delays. And always call ahead if you're running late. Not only is it gracious but the shame of making repeated calls might also be the incentive you need to be punctual.
Why you do it: It's a strategy for managing the anxiety of having to complete a task. How to stop: Recognize that when you procrastinate, others may think you don't care about the job, and that's worse than completing something less than perfectly. One trick to get you started: Make a check out to an organization you despise and give it to a friend to hold. If you don't finish the self-assigned task by a certain date, have them mail the check. If you make yourself accountable for the consequences, it will motivate you to wrap up the task.
Why you do it: You may have slouched when growing up because you were self-conscious or taller than others and the posture stuck. Or you might just be tired. How to stop: Take dance lessons, Pilates, or yoga to strengthen the abdominals and upper-back muscles. A simple shoulder-shrug exercise--think of touching your shoulders to your earlobes--is an even easier way to combat slouching. Do 10 rotations forward and 10 rotations back, says Phil Haberstro, executive director of the National Association for Health and Fitness, in Buffalo. "This will raise consciousness of posture and help remind you to stand and sit tall," he says. "Regular physical activity helps combat the mental and physical fatigue that can contribute to slouching."
Why you do it: You may be a visual processor. You like to be surrounded by a mess because it's stimulating--and it reminds you to do your work. But it backfires, since you waste time searching for things. How to stop: Separate papers into a pile you need to do and a pile you can think about doing. Use folders or boxes in different colors. "One of my clients has 12 clipboards hung up in her office: six for current projects and six for those she may get to later," says Lynn Cutts, a Colorado-based certified life coach. "She's still being visually stimulated, but her stuff is organized." Set up a system that works for you, and start with basic steps, like putting your keys in the same place every day.
Why you do it: You feel insignificant and want to be perceived as more special than others around you. You think people will be impressed with you if you're associated with a particular person. In addition to that, name-dropping can serve as a form of intimidation. "It's a kind of one-upmanship," says life Cutts. How to stop: Listen to yourself! Would you want to stick around and hear all this? Remind yourself that you don't need to resort to mentioning names as a way of increasing your value. If you can't resist dropping a name or two, do so in a non-self-promoting way or with humor. Do it to share information, as opposed to putting someone down or making yourself look more important. And make sure to tell the full story, even if it's "Oh, I passed Harrison Ford on the street. He didn't actually speak to me, but he did glance in my direction."
Why you do it: You use it to derive comfort and relieve stress. "Nail biting could be the adult version of thumb sucking," says Alan Strathman, associate professor of social psychology at the University of Missouri, Columbia. How to stop: First, note when you bite your nails, and then substitute another action. Keep a stress ball on your desk, or even play with Silly Putty the next time your fingers start tickling your teeth. You can also try wearing synthetic nails or painting your natural nails with a polish that has a foul taste. Or get a manicure. You'll look good, and after paying for the service, you'll think twice about ruining the results.
Why you do it: You don't feel confident that you have the power to request something. As a kid, you probably whined when you didn't get what you wanted, and it paid off-then. How to stop: As an adult, you're in for a big surprise if you think you'll get the same results. If your husband or friends say you're a whiner, take note. Simply state what you want by making a direct request. For example, instead of ruining an evening out by complaining that you got stuck at a table next to the kitchen, politely ask the waiter to reseat you. Remember: Most people will develop a resistance to whiners. "We rebel against the behavior because we recognize that giving in will only reinforce it," says Strathman. Bizarre Divorce Products
There are certain subjects that should be avoided when talking to your friends, like politics, religion and sugar. Like politics and religion nearly everybody has an opinion on the sweet stuff and whether substitute are good or bad. So here is the skinny on natural sugar and it's substitutes:
“We were all on low-fat diets — and now sugar is what’s spiking our blood sugar and really making us fat,” says Julie Daniluk, RHN, co-author of "Sweet Health: How Natural, Unrefined Sweeteners Can Satisfy Cravings and Help you Prevent Inflammatory Diseases" (2013). Daniluk cautions, a calorie is not a calorie. A calorie from sugar directly causes insulin spikes that cause inflammation and will make you gain weight faster than calories from other foods.
The white stuff (table sugar/sucrose) is derived from natural sources such as sugar cane and sugar beets, and then processed and added to our food supply. It’s in everything from salad dressings and condiments, to most packaged foods, even savory ones. Tomato sauces, canned goods and most prepackaged foods are loaded with it.
One teaspoon contains 20 calories. The latest data says men shouldn’t consume more than 120 calories of sugar; women no more than 100. (That’s six teaspoons for the men, and five for women.) The average can of soda contains nine to 11 teaspoons of sugar. Now you see why sugar substitutes are a billion-dollar business.
Other Natural Sugars
Stevia: An herb from Latin America, Stevia only recently became popular in the U.S. It tastes 30 times sweeter than table sugar. When it’s refined into a white substance, Stevia loses its back note of licorice, and most of its aftertaste. "It’s calorie-free and it is the safest sugar substitute because all the others are chemicals that can have serious health side effects,” says Daniluk. The aftertaste can be a problem for some, but can be completely hidden behind lemon. Not recommended in coffee, since coffee won’t mask the flavor. Try it in lemon ginger tea.
Honey: A natural sweetener from bees, honey heals. “When unrefined and unpasteurized it contains B vitamins, minerals like manganese and iron, but the coolest part is it contains antibiotic properties,” says Daniluk. It’s antimicrobial and is high in peroxide, which helps to kill any microbe that it comes in contact with. Cooked honey however, removes the peroxide, and the health benefits drop. “It is also considered to better promote blood sugar control,” says Begun. Aim for use in teas and smoothies. It contains about 32 calories per teaspoon and is 20 percent sweeter than other sweeteners — so you’ll use less.
Agave: An extract from a cactus in Mexico, this delicious sweetener has gained a following, but the sudden interest in the sweet substance has created issues for bats, which eat agave. Seems we’re harvesting food that bats need to survive and as a result, we are destroying bat populations, which pollinate food. What’s more, if you eat too much agave, it can be hard on the liver because it must metabolize fructose into glucose. There is concern that cheap agave may be cut with corn syrup, so look for organic sustainable brands. Calorie-wise, it’s the same as honey and it’s sweeter, so you don’t need as much. “It’s seen as the vegan substitute to honey but we may be hurting bats,” says Daniluk. Agave contains 30 calories per teaspoon.
Coconut Or Palm Sugar: A delicious natural sugar to bake with, coconut sugar is harvested by collecting the nectar or sap from flowers of the coconut palm tree. It’s a decent source of minerals and vitamins. You can substitute tablespoon for tablespoon in baking and it doesn’t cause environmental devastation, though it’s pricey because of the collection process. It contains about the same calories per teaspoon as sugar (20).
Artificial Sugar Substitutes
Aspartame: About 200 times sweeter than sugar, aspartame is a low-calorie chemically created sugar substitute. It contains an enzyme that can be problematic to sensitive people who don’t metabolize it properly, explains Begun. Many people also report headaches. It shouldn’t be used in baking because it loses sweetness at high temperatures. It’s found in diet products and low-calorie pre-packaged foods and drinks and is marketed by brand names Equal and NutraSweet.
Sucralose: A chemically created sugar substitute that is 600 times sweeter than sugar, Sucralose is calorie-free and is a combination of sucrose attached to chlorine. Since your body can’t break down chlorine, it can’t absorb the calories. “Problem is, it kills the bacteria in your bowels just like it kills the bacteria in your swimming pool,” says Daniluk. It’s a weight loss product, but Daniluk cautions it may be doing damage to your bowels at the same time. Diet foods may contain sucralose, especially those marketed to diabetics. Read labels carefully. Splenda is the marketed brand name.
Saccharin: The oldest sugar substitute still available, saccharin is more than 100 years old. It is a synthetic sweetener 300 times sweeter than sugar, and some studies show it may cause cancer. It is calorie-free and has a bitter diet-like aftertaste. Because it passes through the body without raising blood sugar, it has been marketed to diabetics for many years. Daniluk equates saccharin as the bottom-of-the-barrel sweeteners. The brand name is Sweet’N Low. “There are so many other great-tasting alternatives out there; you don’t have to rely on chemicals anymore,” says Daniluk.
It's looks like the days of only being able to get a $20 bill out of an ATM may be over. Chase and PNC banks say they have begun putting $5 and $1 bills in certain ATM's aimed at their customers (those out-of-network fees are ridiculous!).
Chase has put somewhere between 350 and 400 such machines in place over the past 18 months, and that number is expected to double by the end of 2013. PNC has upgraded more than 3,500 of its ATMs to dispense the smaller bills and intends to upgrade the rest of its 7,200 machines over the summer.
The changes, according to the banks, are meant to move away from the traditional teller model so transactions can be streamlined and customers can get what they need from ATMs.
Perhaps more banks will adopt this practice. I only wish it was a few years ago in my leaner fiscal days when I had less than $20 in the ATM and could access a penny!
I'll admit this isn't a horrible idea. Alphyn Industries, based in San Francisco, is launching a line of Jeggings that have a pouch on the thigh for you to place your smartphone in and use. The Valencia Jeggings are made of stretch denim with a protective pocket sewn on one leg that can fit all but the biggest smartphones , or "phablets," the extra-large phone-tablet hybrids. The pocket's protective, transparent cover allows the wearer to use a phone without taking it out of her pocket.
The company says the design was inspired by fighter pilots' G-suits, which have straps and pockets on the thighs to provide easy access to maps and notes while in the air. Alphyn line of clothing for men includes jeans and jackets with similar pockets, as well as a hoodie with a drop-down chest pocket for an iPad.
Look for the jeggings to be sold at the company's website soon. In case you were wondering, they already offer a smartphone thigh pouch for men called the Delta415 Wearcom which will set you back around $160.
Just make sure to check your pockets before throwing them in the wash, it could be a costly mistake!
"Remember: Unless you work in a very creative field or in fashion/beauty, anything overly trendy or young — glitter, sparkle, of-the-moment shades, false eyelashes, super shiny lip gloss, etc. — can be distracting and perceived as too junior." – Melissa Silver, Maybelline New York makeup artist
"If you wear trendy, wild makeup colors you won’t be taken seriously. As we age — especially — sparkles, shine and shimmer settle into our wrinkles more. You are smart and beautiful — let that show inside and out." – Lucy Segal, health, beauty and lifestyle expert.
"Your eyebrows are one of the most expressive features on your face and can speak volumes about you. For example, well-groomed, full eyebrows give off a more polished, confident look, while a slightly angular brow shape makes you appear more commanding and in charge. A rounder brow signifies a soft, approachable nature." – Pamela Jeschonek, licensed esthetician, makeup artist and founder of EyebrowMBA.
A 2011 study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology found that people with facial lesions, including scars and birthmarks, fared worse in job interviews. “Candidates’ facial disfigurements were distracting to interviewers, who subsequently could not recall as much information on the candidate and gave them poorer ratings. Thus, wearing makeup to cover imperfections could significantly impact evaluation of your performance in the workplace,” states Dr. Joshua Zeichner, director of cosmetic and clinical research in the department of dermatology at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City.
What Your Color Choices Say About You
Seasoned hair and makeup artist Sherri Jessee shares her thoughts on three popular hues.
Red Means Energy
In color psychology, red means energy, passion, action, strength and excitement. Choose red lips when you want to show power and passion for your position. A great trick is to blot several times on a tissue to remove excess color. This will diffuse the brightness of the shade and prevent the dreaded lipstick on the teeth situation.
Blue Relates To Trust
Blue is the most universally favored color. It relates to trust, honesty and dependability, therefore helping to build customer loyalty. Blue can be a terrific accent shade for all colors of eyes. Use a flat brush, and smudge in close to your lash line on the top and bottom for a flash of color. Don’t do a frosty, blue shadow all over, though.
Pink Conveys Youth
Pink is feminine and youthful in its softer shades, with more passion and energy in its deeper shades. This is one color to avoid, as the impression of youth and innocence may take away from your power. It is important to not look ghostly, so opt for more neutral shades when choosing your blush color so as to not over-do the pink.
One time I received a letter from a company that just said my first name. Intrigued I opened it up to find out it was a collection notice for a loan I never took out. I guess the worst thing ever did with that letter was to call the number and advise them this wasn't mine and even though I may be the only Christopher in the entire state of Florida (since they didn't have my last name) it wasn't my debt.
Well that was a mistake because they began to call me over and over again trying to collect on a loan I never took out! Every time they called and asked for "Christopher" I replied "Christopher who?". Eventually I got them to stop calling (actually a legal threat) me as I'm sure they began to harass another Christopher somewhere in Florida.
1. Contact you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m., unless you’ve asked them to.
2. Contact you at work once you’ve told them not to.
3. Use threats of violence or harm.
4. Publish a list of names of people who refuse to pay their debts (though this information can be provided to credit bureaus).
5. Use obscene or profane language.
6. Repeatedly use the phone to annoy someone.
7. Falsely claim that they are attorneys or government representatives.
8. Falsely claim that you have committed a crime.
9. Falsely represent that they operate or work for a credit reporting company.
10. Misrepresent the amount you owe.
11. Indicate that papers they send you are legal forms if they aren’t, or indicate that papers they send to you aren’t legal forms if they are.
12. Claim you can be arrested if you don’t pay your debt.
13. Threaten to seize, garnish, attach, or sell your property or wages unless they are permitted by law to take the action and intend to do so.
14. Threaten legal action in cases where doing so would be illegal or if they don’t intend to take the action.
15. Provide false credit information about you to anyone, including a credit reporting company.
16. Send you anything that looks like an official document from a court or government agency if it isn’t.
17. Use a false company name.
18. Try to collect any interest, fee, or other charge on top of the amount you owe unless the contract that created your debt – or your state law – allows the charge.
19. Deposit a post-dated check early.
20. Take or threaten to take your property unless it can be done legally.
21. Contact you by postcard.
22. Garnish any of the following, even after proving their case against you in a lawsuit:
Social Security Benefits
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Benefits
Civil Service and Federal Retirement and Disability Benefits
Service Members’ Pay
Military Annuities and Survivors’ Benefits
Railroad Retirement Benefits
Merchant Seamen Wages
Longshoremen’s and Harbor Workers’ Death and Disability Benefits
Foreign Service Retirement and Disability Benefits
Compensation for Injury, Death, or Detention of Employees of U.S. Contractors Outside the U.S.
Federal Emergency Management Agency Federal Disaster Assistance
23. Contact you after they have received a letter from you saying you do not wish to be contacted any further about the debt. The collector can still contact you to confirm there will be no further contact or to advise you of additional actions being taken against you, such as lawsuit.
You've heard of Angie's List right? It's the web site that customers can post reviews of contractors to doctors, roofers to plumbers, dog walkers to cake decorators. Some of the reviews are positive but there are many more negative comments. Well now contractors, doctors, roofers, plumbers and service staff have their own website to review customers! It's called NastyClient.com and for $16 a month, you can read reviews of good and bad (probably mostly bad) customers and even share you own story.
There might be a bright spot when it comes to getting older.
A new study suggests people who have passed the 75-year mark that diet doesn't really matter. A diet high in sugar and fat doesn’t make a difference and overly restrictive diets may not improve health at all.
The study, which appears in the Journal of Nutrition Health and Aging, followed a group of 449 people for five years. Participants were on average 76.5 years old at the beginning of the study; and were categorized as eating according to one of three different dietary patterns: “More healthful” which had relatively higher intakes of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, eggs, nuts, legumes and dairy; “Westernlike” which was characterized by an intake of starchy vegetables, refined grains, meats, fried poultry and fish, oils and fats; and “low produce, high sweets” which was defined by high saturated fat, and low dietary fiber and vitamin C intakes.
During the course of the study, researchers identified whether the participants developed cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, hypertension (high blood pressure), and metabolic syndrome. The results revealed no connection between dietary pattern and prevalence of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, or mortality in the participants. Even though there was evidence of increased risk of hypertension in people who followed the “low produce, high sweets” pattern, the conclusion was nonetheless surprising.
And not only that, but recent reports "suggest that there may be survival benefits associated with overweight and mild obesity status among the elderly,” Jensen noted.
So if you make it past 75, have fun and eat whatever you want! You've earn it! :)
So have you given up and are looking for someone to prepare your taxes this year? be careful of who you find. Here are some Don'ts to avoid when choosing a tax preparer.
Do not choose a person who isn’t registered with the Internal Revenue Service. Make sure the preparer has a Preparer Tax Identification Number. Only those individuals who have registered with the IRS and received a PTIN are permitted to prepare returns for compensation.
Do not choose a preparer who guarantees you a bigger refund, or who guarantees a refund, period. No tax preparer can guarantee you a refund if your individual facts and circumstances do not warrant a refund, unless he makes up deductions or exemptions or purposely does not report all your income. The only claim or guarantee any legitimate tax preparers can make is that by using their services you will pay the absolute least amount of federal and state income taxes possible.
Do not choose a preparer who charges a percentage of your refund. Chances are the person will inflate your refund improperly to increase the fee. The fee for preparing a tax return should be based solely on the amount of time involved and/or the number of forms and schedules required.
Do not choose a preparer who advertises you can walk out of the office with a check in your hand. That person or firm is not selling competent and accurate tax preparation — they are selling usurious Refund Anticipation Loans. You want to use a tax preparer that is experienced and knowledgeable in tax law and not a loan shark.
Do not choose a preparer who won’t sign your finished returns. All tax preparers are required by the IRS to sign all tax returns that they are paid to prepare.
So what has Gator Alum & Olympic medalist Ryan Lochte been up to lately? Been busy starring in a six-episode reality series called "What Would Ryan Lochte Do?," which will follow the 28-year-old swimmer preparing for the 2016 Rio Olympics. Look for the show on the E Network this April. Guess what? It was filmed in Gainesville!
Apparently wearing denim jeans is tough on your skin, or say Wrangler Jeans, who are launching the first pair of moisturizing jeans later this month. The skinny fit jeans, modeled by Lizzie Jagger in ads, come in three finishes: Aloe Vera, Olive Extract and Smooth Legs, which aims to prevent cellulite. Hydrating properties include of natural oils and butters, such as apricot kernel oil, passion fruit oil, rosehip oil, shea butter and monoi de Tahiti - a Polynesian ingredient made using Tiare flower buds soaked in refined coconut oil.
The Denim Spa Jeans line launch on asos.com on January 28, priced at $125. The effects of the ingredients last up to 15 days, but a reload spray will also available to buy - meaning that the formula lasts between 67 and 95 wears.
Many offices already know of it and many have already placed their orders. It's Girl Scout cookie time. New for 2013? Mango Cremes with NutriFusion. I get the Mango Creme part but what is NutriFusion? Simply put, these particular cookies are pumped up with vitamins.
These cookies, which will make you “feel like you’re on a tropical island,” are packed with “great taste AND vitamins!”
According to the NutriFusion website, it’s an “all-natural, nutritional additive that is 100 percent from fruits and vegetables.” It’s made from whole foods, including the peels, skins, and other parts of the fruits and vegetables. It’s most often found in dietary supplements.
Here is the 411 on Mango Cremes with NutriFusion:
• 15 percent RDI (reference daily intake or recommended daily intake) of vitamin B1 per serving
• 5 percent RDI of vitamins A, C, D, E, and B6 per serving
• Zero grams trans fats per serving
• No hydrogenated oils
• No preservatives
In addition to a little B1, A, C, D, E, and B6, three cookies (and we all know how small Girl Scout cookies have become) have 180 calories and 8 grams of fat. Adding those vitamins seems more like a marketing ploy than an actual health benefit. They may contain a tiny bit more nutrition than some of the other Girl Scout cookies, but don’t be fooled. Mango Cremes are not a health food; they are cookies.
There is room for cookies in a well-balanced, healthy diet. Most of those cookies should be homemade or made with ingredients that you trust. Packaged cookies should be a once-in-a-while treat, even when they have added vitamins in them.
This year's Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas was a first for Tim Tebow and it was the right time and place to launched a line of his own signature line headphones with audio accessories company Soul Electronics. The new model is, ironically, called The Jet and according to Tebow himself, "... it's the executive line for people who fly across the country ... and are flying in jets" as the high-endurance models are designed for athletes, as well as a traveling business people.
Despite it being an already saturated market with a big increase in celebrity-branded headphone lines — including one from reality TV star Snook that also launched this week — Tebow said his collection is appealing for all types of people.
Seems like everyone is getting over or just starting to feel sick! With all these sick people there are more germs out than ever! An average adult can touch as many as 30 objects within a minute, including germ-harboring, high-traffic surfaces such as light switches, doorknobs, phone receivers, and remote controls. At home, you do all that you can to keep the germs at bay. But what happens when you step out the door to go to dinner, do some grocery shopping, or visit the doctor's office? Here are some of the germiest places:
Have you ever seen anyone wash off a menu? Probably not. A recent study in the Journal of Medical Virology reported that cold and flu viruses can survive for 18 hours on hard surfaces. If it's a popular restaurant, hundreds of people could be handling the menus--and passing their germs on to you. Never let a menu touch your plate or silverware, and wash your hands after you place your order.
According to a 2007 study in the Journal of Environmental Health, nearly 70% of the lemon wedges perched on the rims of restaurant glasses contain disease-causing microbes. When the researchers ordered drinks at 21 different restaurants, they found 25 different microorganisms lingering on the 76 lemons that they secured, including E. coli and other fecal bacteria. Tell your server that you'd prefer your beverage sans fruit. Why risk it?
It's the rare eatery that regularly bleaches its condiment containers. And the reality is that many people don't wash their hands before eating. So while you may be diligent, the guy who poured the ketchup before you may not have been, which means his germs are now on your fries. Squirt hand sanitizer on the outside of the condiment bottle or use a disinfectant wipe before you grab it. Holding the bottle with a napkin won't help; napkins are porous, so microorganisms can pass right through.
Restroom Door Handles
Don't think you can escape the restroom without touching the door handle? Palm a spare paper towel after you wash up and use it to grasp the handle. Yes, other patrons may think you're a germ-phobe--but you'll never see them again, and you're the one who won't get sick.
About 25% of public restroom dispensers are contaminated with fecal bacteria. Soap that harbors bacteria may seem ironic, but that's exactly what a recent study found. "Most of these containers are never cleaned, so bacteria grow as the soap scum builds up," says Charles Gerba, PhD. "And the bottoms are touched by dirty hands, so there's a continuous culture feeding millions of bacteria." Be sure to scrub hands thoroughly with plenty of hot water for 15 to 20 seconds--and if you happen to have an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, use that, too.
The handles of almost two-thirds of the shopping carts tested in a 2007 study at the University of Arizona were contaminated with fecal bacteria. In fact, the bacterial counts of the carts exceeded those of the average public restroom. Swab the handle with a disinfectant wipe before grabbing hold (stores are starting to provide them, so look around for a dispenser). And while you're wheeling around the supermarket, skip the free food samples, which are nothing more than communal hand-to-germ-to-mouth zones.
A doctor's office is not the place to be if you're trying to avoid germs. These tips can help limit your exposure.
Here are signs that you may be or know of someone that may be a hoarder.
1. The “stuff” in your house is more than clutter. According to psychologist Gail Steketee of Boston University, “A lot of people have a catchall drawer or closet or even an entire room for extra stuff. It’s when you let it take over two, three, or more rooms that you run into problems.”
2. You are unable to throw away possessions. You experience severe anxiety when faced with throwing away possessions, even if friends and family consider them to be garbage.
3. Your possessions have taken over your living space. Maybe you have only a path through your living area available for walking through. Maybe your couch, table, or bed are covered in stuff, and there is just nowhere to put all of it. Perhaps you no longer can reach your bed, so you’re stuck sleeping on the couch.
4. You can’t use your appliances or plumbing fixtures anymore. The refrigerator, perhaps, is full of mold. The sink is full of dishes that you just cannot manage. The cat has made the bathroom sink its new litter box. Daily functions, like cooking and bathing, are almost impossible in your house, so you’re relying on takeout and microwave meals.
5. You feel embarrassed by your possessions. You feel uncomfortable when other people see your possessions. You dread having friends or family enter your house. Unlike collectors, who are proud of their collections, you are ashamed of yours.
6. You’re suspicious of other people touching your possessions. After visits from family or friends, you check the trash for discarded possessions of yours. Even if you find your possessions to be unmanageable, you feel anxious when others offer to help you to clean up. Sometimes you even check the trash when you’ve taken it out, just in case you threw something out that you consider to be a possession.
7. You can’t pass up a bargain. It hurts you to pass up a good bargain, so your house (and maybe your garage, and yard) is full of items that you’ve purchased. Even if you don’t really have enough money to shop, you just can’t stop yourself from buying something if it is a bargain.
8. You are sure that there is a treasure buried under the piles of stuff in your house. People keep telling you to just take a garbage bag and get rid of all your stuff. They don’t understand that you feel like you can’t, because you think that buried in the piles are objects that have either sentimental or monetary value.
9. You move stuff from pile to pile, but you don’t throw it away. In order to find your possessions, you have to sort through piles of stuff. Instead of throwing away things that have no monetary value, like old newspapers, you just move them from pile to pile. According to the Mayo Clinic, this is a symptom of a hoarding disorder.
10. Your house smells bad and is dirty, but you cannot clean it up. You’ve gotten used to things like animal feces on the floor, and you can’t manage to clean up the mess. There is a bad smell in the house, but you can’t find its source due to the piles of stuff that have accumulated. Surfaces in your house are covered in dust, but there is so much stuff around that you can’t reach the surfaces to clean them. Although squalor is not necessarily a symptom of hoarding, it can be a red flag.
Remember the band The Gin Blossoms? Besides being a pretty good rock band from the 1990's, it's also slang for the capillaries in your nose and face that burst because of excessive drinking. But can any alcohol cause you to look bad?
A public campaign called Healthier Scotland has unveiled a photo tool that simulates the aging effects of drinking on a person’s face over 10 years. It's called the drinking mirror, which is available as a web app or an iPhone and Android smartphone app and it allows you to upload a current photo and then plug in their weekly alcohol intake.
The photo calculates what that person’s face would like 10 years later based on their consumption of booze.
Heavy drinkers see “deeper wrinkles, red cheeks and weight gain,” the sight explains. Those who stay clear of alcohol see far fewer changes in their face over time, the simulation tool suggests.
The campaign urges people to “drop a glass size” or cut back on their drinking.
This is by no means a pair of beer goggles! Now if they would only make an app like this to show the effects of smoking!
There isn't a day that goes by that I don't see some picture posted online of a cat. I would think if there was a study of Internet traffic that a good chunk of it is devoted to sending and receiving pictures of cats! I admit these adorable animals are super cute and if you agree then these web sites are for you.
If you're seeking a cat-loving soulmate, there's no better place to meet the cat man or cat lady of your dreams than on Purrsonals.com. Launched in 2007, the website offers free membership and users can create profiles, post photos, video chat with members and tune in to PURRsonals TV.
Designed specifically for cat lovers, this social network lets you personalize a profile, post photos and interact with other cat lovers across the globe. Users earn badges as they interact on the site, and each week a very special feline is featured as UnitedCat.com's Cat of the Week.
This feline-friendly social network is a place for cat people to come together to chat about cats, blog about cats, post videos of cats and connect with other cat lovers across the globe. Register for an account at Meow-book.com.
Have you tried to create a Facebook profile for your feline, but the social network wouldn't allow it? Don't worry. There's Catbook, an app that enables you to build and maintain a social media profile just for your beloved pet. The app even creates a timeline for your four-legged companion just like your own profile.
Founded in 2004, Catster, bills itself as "a resource for real cat owners who passionately argue the merits of catnip at dinner." In addition to a wealth of information on caring for your cat, the website also features adorable photo galleries and an adoption page.
All kittens are adorable, but if you believe that some are cuter than others, check out KittenWar.com, a website where cat photos battle it out for cuteness and your vote helps pick the winner.
Over the weekend I did what I do most Saturdays and went grocery shopping. Nothing spectacular at all but I've always wondered about the different type of bottled water. Spring? Distilled? Drinking? Purified? It all looks like water to me and I've often wondered what the difference between the bottles mean. After a quick search online I think I've found the differences:
Drinking water — Drinking water is just that: water that is intended for drinking. It is safe for human consumption and comes from a municipal source. There are no added ingredients besides what is considered usual and safe for any tap water, such as fluoride. (Incidentally, my tap water in New Jersey didn’t even contain fluoride — a necessary mineral for a child’s growing teeth and gums. We had to give our kids fluoride supplements.)
Distilled water — Distilled water is a type of purified water. It’s water that has gone through a rigorous filtration process to strip it not only of contaminants, but any natural minerals as well. This water is best for use in small appliances — like hot water urns, or steam irons, because if you use it, you won’t have that mineral buildup that you often get when you use tap water. Though it may seem counterintuitive, this water is not necessarily the best for human consumption, since all of the water’s natural, and often beneficial, minerals are absent.
Purified water — Purified water is water that comes from any source, but has been purified to remove any chemicals or contaminants. Types of purification include distillation, deionization, reverse osmosis, and carbon filtration. Like distilled water, it has its advantages and disadvantages, the advantages being that potentially harmful chemicals may be taken out and the disadvantage being that beneficial minerals may be taken out as well.
Spring water — This is what you often find in bottled water. It’s from an underground source and may or may not have been treated and purified. Though spring water sounds more appealing, it’s not necessarily the best water for drinking if you have other options. Studies done by the NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) have found contaminants in bottled water such as coliform, arsenic and phthalates. Much of bottled water is labeled as spring water, when in fact it is coming from a municipal source and is nothing more than glorified tap water. This topic has been a popular one in recent years, sparking much controversy.
In the world of helping your fellow motorist, flashing your headlights to oncoming traffic to alert them of a speed trap used to put yourself at risk of getting a ticket . For years, Florida law enforcement have use various laws from interfering with a police investigation to improper use of vehicle equipment to tag those warning others to slow down. Starting in 2013, flashing your headlights to alert oncoming drivers that police are lurking on the roadside ahead will no longer be illegal in Florida.
This all came about because of a law suit filed against the Florida Highway Patrol, who issued a ticket for high-beam flashing to Erich Campbell of Land O' Lakes. FHP says he was was cited for violating an existing law that says "flashing lights are prohibited on vehicles" except for turn signals.
The lawsuit contends the Highway Patrol had been misinterpreting that provision in Florida's traffic code because it was meant only to ban drivers from having strobes or official-looking emergency vehicle lights on their cars and trucks.
To clear up any ambiguity, the new law amends that provision to specifically allow motorists to flash their headlights at an oncoming vehicle regardless of intent.
But before you flash your high beams in celebration, know there are still plenty of laws on the books that could cost you a ticket. Attorney J. Marcus Jones says police still can use other sections of Florida's traffic code to ticket motorists for flashing their headlights. Those provisions include prohibitions against using high beams within 500 feet of an oncoming vehicle or within 300 feet of a vehicle ahead. The new exception for flashing headlights doesn't apply to those parts of the traffic code, Jones said.
Speaking of driving, want to show even more pride in your Alma Mater, sport team or service to our country? Pick up a specialty driver licenses and/or ID cards honoring public and private universities, professional sports teams and all branches of the military. There will be an additional fee of $25, with half going to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and the other half to designated public or private organizations.
Being that it's Friday why not pamper yourself? Going to the spa is a fabulous indulgence but knowing exactly what type of treatment to go for can be tricky. Here are some tips on how to figure out what kind of facial is best for your skin type.
A dry skin type needs many different treatments and can be tricky to deal with. It lacks natural lipids or oils making it prone to dehydration, especially in the winter. Because of this lack of water, the skin's natural exfoliating cycle slows down.
Facials that include gentle exfoliation (with enzymes) are a great way to take your skin from flaky to fabulous. Dry skin also needs both oil and water to balance it out, so look for facials that include masks that will help products to penetrate the skin.
One example is a mask that will harden slightly or rubberize. It may sound a little strange, but any product you put under this type of mask (a serum for instance) will be pushed into the skin as the mask hardens, leaving your skin feeling hydrated and refreshed.
An oily skin type produces more oil than it needs. This oil is a magnet for debris such as skin cells, makeup and pollution, which can then cause congestion inside the pores. Over time, the congestion becomes hardened, just like plaque on your teeth.
To combat complexion congestion, look for facials that include a chemical exfoliant (glycolic acid or salicylic acid). This will penetrate into the pores and melt the congestion. Oily skin also needs extractions to remove any hardened debris within the pores (so long, blackheads!), but don't try this at home. Extractions are something your esthetician is trained to do safely as part of your facial.
A combination skin type has both oily and dry areas, so these areas need to be treated separately. Look for a spa facial treatment that offers enzyme, chemical or even microdermabrasion exfoliants, which work very well to boost your glow and create a more balanced complexion. Extractions are also needed (usually in the T-zone) to remove congestion, and a professional treatment mask should be added to replenish lost water and soothe the skin.
A mature skin type can be challenging. It can be many things -- oily/acne prone, dry/dehydrated or a multitude of skin type combinations. Mature skin also slows down (cell production, circulation), so there are many issues to address. Your esthetician will first treat the type of skin (oily, dry, combination, normal). Then she will have to focus on the aforementioned slowing process. Look for treatments said to increase circulation and saturate the skin with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals for healthier, younger looking skin.
The first award show of 2013 is this Sunday with the 70th annual Golden Globe Awards. Two of my favorite actresses will be hosting, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler and in true comical style they have come up with drinking game for the show. So break out the soft drinks or the adult ones, here are the rules:
Drink any time an actress cries in a speech.
Drink any time you see a person actively not listening to someone onstage.
Drink any time someone says, “I didn’t prepare anything!”
Eat a meatball sub any time someone thanks Harvey Weinstein.
Take off an article of clothing any time they show Judi Dench.
Take off an article of clothing any time Maggie Smith wins.
Here's basically how it works: first scientists collect carbon, hydrogen and oxygen from the CO2 and water that are readily present in the air. These raw materials are all that are needed to generate methanol, and methanol can be converted into gasoline. Here's the really draw-dropping fact, this concept has been around for decades, ever since the oil crisis of the 1970s!
So why nearly 40 years later are we paying more of gasoline than ever? Because the process of turning air into gasoline uses more energy than it makes; therefore not profitable...until now says one British company Air Fuel Synthesis. The company has successfully demonstrated in the lab that the technique works, that it produces a viable fuel, and that it can be made energy-efficient. The fuel is not only viable; the company believes it will be suitable for high-performance vehicles. But the biggest benefit of the fuel is its sustainability. Since burning the fuel only releases the same carbon dioxide that was already in the air to begin with, it is carbon neutral. The company is looking to move into a bigger facility and by 2015 hopefully producing fuel out of thin air on a large enough and energy-efficient enough process to possibly revolutionize energy sources forever and cap the generation of any additional greenhouse gases. Keep an eye on this company!
I know the title of this post seems strange but this isn't the first time I've been told that washing your hair everyday is actually bad. Huh? Here's why:
It’ll Be Easier To Style
If you’ve ever washed your hair prior to going to the salon to get an updo or another more formal look, you likely got a talking-to from the stylist. Freshly washed and dried hair isn’t nearly as easy to work with as hair that was washed a day or two ago. Squeaky clean hair can slip out of pins and is notorious for not cooperating. Even creating a braided or more intricate look at home will be a lot easier to manage if you do it on a day you haven’t washed your hair.
Your Color Will Last Longer
If you color your hair, whether it’s your whole head or just regular highlights, washing daily can dull your color and lead to more frequent trips to the salon. Keep your locks looking bright and freshly dyed by only washing every other day (or less if you can swing it). When you do wash your hair, do so with a shampoo formulated for color-treated hair so you ensure color doesn’t fade.
It’ll Be Healthier
The more you wash your hair, the more you’re stripping your strands of their natural oils. That’s right — too much time with the shampoo bottle can actually mean less-than-lustrous locks. Over-washing can actually dry hair out, which isn’t ideal. Keep your tresses healthy and looking their best by avoiding daily shampoo sessions.
You’ll Save Time
Washing and drying hair takes time — for those of us with long hair, a wash and blow dry session take a lot of time. By cutting back on styling time, you end up with more time to get ready, sleep in or even fit in a quick jog or trip to the gym (or just to linger over breakfast).
When I first read this it gave me a good laugh, but a lot of what it covers is true. Some of these sound like nothing more than a grumpy old man or woman who fear change, but some of them I'll admit to doing :)
Taking About How Good Bacon Is
Oh man, you love bacon and bacon wrapped/flavored/covered foods? ME TOO. And so does fucking everyone else. It’s tasty, smoky meat fat. Saying that you like bacon, as though this is some character-defining trait, specific to you, is like saying that your favorite band is the Beatles. Liking these things isn’t even a matter of opinion. It’s just a given. So move on.
Responding "Maybe" To A Facebook Event Invitation
If you answer “maybe” to an event invitation you’re saying either, “I might attend your party if there is absolutely nothing better to do on the planet and I’m bored,” or, “I know I’m not going, but I fear that outright rejection would irreparably damage your fragile psyche and ruin the party for everyone.” And only a real egotistical dick would say that stuff. So, this year, when you receive a Facebook event invitation, instead of being a wishy-washy jerk, do the decent thing: don’t respond.
Caring About Lindsay Lohan
We can all agree that seeing a car crash is captivating. The inability to look away makes sense. But once the crash is over and all that remains is a heap of broken garbage, continuing to stare is weird. Therefore continuing to pay attention when Lindsay Lohan does some new sad, screwed up thing that’s remarkably similar to the last sad, screwed up thing she did just makes us look pathetic. This year, let’s look away for a bit, give her a chance to repair.
Responding "Oh Dear, I Hear That Going Around", When Someone Says They're Sick
The world in which we live is nothing more than a big pit full of smaller, grosser pits full of constantly cycling germs. So, yes, you have heard that stomach bug Leslie at work got is going around. Because it has been going around since the dawn of human civilization. Language was invented so that people could complain about their ailments and then have other people minimize and dismiss those ailments in one sweeping, “Oh, I hear that’s going around.” This year, say what you really mean instead: stop whining, you pathetic baby.
Referring To Yourself As The "Mom" or "Dad" Of Your Pet
If you do this and you actually have children, it’s insulting to your kids. If you do this and you don’t have children, it's insulting to children you may one day have, and it just seems really sad. You should definitely love your pet, but you can do that without evoking the image of you birthing a dog. Also, while we’re at it, you don’t need to try to constantly convey how much you care about your pet. No one is paying attention. Just take a picture of your dog adorably acting like he’s people, and post it on Instagram. That is the extent of your pet’s value to anyone else.
Complaining About Hipsters
Remember all those 80s movies about hulking jock bullies who were constantly seething and shaking their fists at disgusting, weirdo nerds? Complaining about hipsters makes you sound like that. There are only two types of people who complain about hipsters: people who don’t realize that they themselves are hipsters, and fuddie-duddies. You’re probably not aiming to be either of those things, so you should just stop. Take a cue from the real hipsters and spend this year working hard not to care.
Trying To Get Reddit Karma, Upvotes, Facebook Likes, ReTweets Or Any Other Kind Of Quantified Internet Validation
Reminder: none of this stuff translates to anything of actual value in real life. The game of these numbers is designed to make you interact with the respective sites in a repetitive way that the owners of these sites can then monetize. Posting a picture of “karma machine” kitten on your “cake day” in order to up your karma level is just a waste of time. Unless it translates into money, what are you doing? If it does translate into money, go for it. You gotta do what you gotta do. But it will probably have a negative effect on your karma.
Acting Like It's Quirky To Like Pop Music
You do know that “pop” music is short for popular music, right? It is specifically engineered to be liked by the majority of humans. You cannot spend more than 4 hours listening to popular radio in a car without liking that One Direction song or that other Katy Perry song. This is not a quirky opinion. The only reason you think it is is because you think of yourself as a cool, unique, snowflake of a human. Don’t do that. You’re just like everyone else. Start a private session on Spotify and embrace it.
Inviting People To Connect On Linkedln
What are you doing? Come on. Sending a LinkedIn request is a clear declaration that you are unemployed, desperate, and woefully behind on Internet trends. It is a warning to all your college friends with better jobs and ex-internship supervisors that you’re going to ask for a favor soon. Luckily, ignoring your LinkedIn request will be good practice for when they ignore the inevitable late-night email containing your resume and a pathetic excuse for a cover letter that you will send a few weeks later.
Being Surprised By Fox News
Fox News is a conservative news network. You know this. It’s what it’s known for. If you’re watching Fox News, you’re probably watching it in order to see conservative commentary. Being surprised by it is like being surprised that the Daily Show’s commentary skews liberal or that comments on all news websites skew insane. Welcome to the world of [what has become journalism] news. It’s been like this for a while.*
* I will add this is the same for those surprised by CNN and MSNBC. (Chris Malone)
#Hashtagging Everything Outside Twitter
Hashtagging things serves an actual organizational purpose on Twitter. It doesn’t do anything when you do it for random words in your Facebook status except make you look like some kind of tween turd.
Syncing Your Twitter Feed With Facebook
If I follow you on Twitter, I don’t want to read your Tweets in two places. If I don’t follow you on Twitter, it’s because I don’t want to read your Tweets at all. Even if you decided to sync your two social networks in order to draw followers from Facebook to Twitter, dumping a random selection of disjointed sentence fragment replies to unknown Twitter handles on your friends’ news feeds is not the way to do it. #stopit
Saying Something Is Offensive When t actually Doesn't Offend You
The Internet is full of people getting worked up about things that they deem “offensive” because they might offend other people, but don’t actually offend the person claiming offense in the first place. It sounds confusing, but it’s not. It’s just dumb. Being offended by something is already a pointless response, so getting fake offended is doubly pointless. If you think my opinion on bacon is wrong, argue the facts and leave your hypothetical feelings out. And for fuck’s sake, stop trying to start serious discussions in comment sections.
So how close have you ever gotten to buying one of those knives on TV that cuts through tin cans and never needs sharpening? As tempting as they sound, experts says your kitchen only needs 6 types of knives for cooking.
What To Look For
The best quality knives are forged from high-carbon, no-stain steel. Knives stamped from a single sheet of steel are generally more affordable and also work well. Regardless of the construction the blade should not bend easily, there should be some weight to it and the handle should fit your hand well. Buy the best quality knives you can afford, focusing on a few key choices that will perform many different tasks.
Skip The Block
So many people have large knife blocks on their countertops, but how many of the dozen or so knives are really used? Most cooks rely on a tried-and-true few to perform the bulk of their kitchen duties. Buying your knives separately enables you to choose your favorites, regardless of whether they make a nice matched set.
Knife #1-Chef's Knife — 8 to 10 inches
If there is only room for one knife in your kitchen tool budget, this is the one. Heavy enough to mince garlic or onions quickly — yet long enough to slice a pork roast — this is one tool no cook should be without. Choose the best you can afford, since this is the knife that will see the most game time in your kitchen.
Knife #2-Paring Knife
Choose a paring knife with a blade slightly longer than the traditional 3-inch blade, and this quickly becomes one of the most versatile items in your kitchen. Paring knives are commonly used for mincing garlic or shallots and peeling apples or pears, but a longer blade makes it useful for cutting cheese or fruit, even deboning chicken breasts.
Knife #3-Serrated Bread Knife
Who doesn't love a loaf of crusty bread? Using your chef's knife to slice bread quickly dulls the blade, making your other cutting duties more difficult. A good bread knife is sharp enough to slice through the toughest sourdough, yet still ready to slice a tomato for your BLT.
Think there isn't anything new on the knife scene? Think again. The Santoku is like a cross between a classic French chef's knife and a Japanese cleaver — and rapidly becoming a kitchen favorite. Good for a wide range of applications, this knife would be a welcome addition to any kitchen.
Knife #5-Carving Knife
While you won't be carving the Thanksgiving turkey often, a nice addition to your knife collection is a carving set. Think roast chicken, spiral-sliced ham at Easter or prime rib on New Year's Eve — this isn't just a turkey tool. Look for a carving set with 8-inch carver blade and a meat fork.
OK, it technically isn't a knife, but quickly becomes your kitchen's best friend. Also known as a Honing Steel, a high-quality sharpening steel will help keep your blades sharp and ready for action and will allow you to care for your own knives efficiently. Just a couple brushes on each side is all you need before each use.
I consider myself a fact-checker and will find the truth to something that just doesn't sound right. I mean isn't that the reason we have the Internet available in our smart phones? Check out these 10 common false facts that many of us thought were true!
1. Going Out In The Cold With A Wet Head Will Make You Sick "Put a hat on or you’ll catch your death of a cold," screeches every micromanaging momma as her charges march off into the winter wonderland. But in numerous studies addressing the topic, people who are chilled are no more likely to get sick than those who were not. And a wet or dry head makes no difference.
2. Vikings Wore Horned Helmets
Is there anything more "Viking warrior" than a helmet fitted with horns? Nary a portrayal shows the seafaring Norse pirates without the iconic headgear. Alas, horned hats were not worn by the warriors. Although the style did exist in the region, they were only used for early ceremonial purposes and had largely faded out by the time of the Vikings. Several major misidentifications got the myth rolling, and by the time costume designers for Wagner’s "Der Ring des Nibelungen" put horned helmets on the singers in the late 19th century, there was no going back.
3. Sugar Makes Kids Go Bonkers
The Journal of the American Medical Association published a review of 23 studies on the subject of kids and sugar, the conclusion: Sugar doesn’t affect behavior. And it's possible that it is the idea itself that is so ingrained as fact that it affects our perception. Case in point: In one study mothers were told that their sons had consumed a drink with a high sugar content. Although the boys had actually consumed sugar-free drinks, the mothers reported significantly higher levels of hyperactive behavior. That said, some scientists warn that sugar can make you dumb.
4. You Lose Most Of Your Body Heat Through Your Head
Everyone knows that you lose somewhere around 98 percent of your body heat through your head, which is why you have to wear a hat in the cold. Except that you don’t. As reported in The New York Times and elsewhere, the amount of heat released by any part of the body depends mostly on the surface area — on a cold day you would lose more heat through an exposed leg or arm than a bare head.
5. You Will Get Arthritis From Cracking Your Knuckles
It seems reasonable, but it's not true either. You will not get arthritis from cracking your knuckles. There is no evidence of such an association, and in limited studies performed there was no change in occurrence of arthritis between "habitual knuckle crackers" and "non crackers." There have been several reports in medical literature that have linked knuckle cracking with injury of the ligaments surrounding the joint or dislocation of the tendons, but not arthritis.
6. Napoleon Was Short
Napoleon's height was once commonly given as 5 feet 2 inches, but many historians have now given him extra height. He was 5 feet 2 inches using French units, but when converted into Imperial units, the kind we are accustomed to, he measured almost 5 feet 7 inches inches tall — which was actually slightly taller than average for a man in France at the time.
7. You Have To Stretch Before Exercise
Stretching before exercise is the main way to improve performance and avoid injury, everyone stretches … but researchers have been finding that it actually slows you down. Experts reveal that stretching before a run can result in a 5 percent reduction of efficiency; meanwhile, Italian researchers studying cyclists confirmed that stretching is counterproductive. Furthermore, there has never been sufficient scientific evidence that pre-exercise stretching reduces injury risk.
8. Cholesterol In Eggs Is Bad For The Heart
The perceived association between dietary cholesterol and risk for coronary heart disease stems from dietary recommendations proposed in the 1960s that had little scientific evidence, other than the known association between saturated fat and cholesterol and animal studies where cholesterol was fed in amounts far exceeding normal intakes. Since then, study after study has found that dietary cholesterol (the cholesterol found in food) does not negatively raise your body’s cholesterol. It is the consumption of saturated fat that is the demon here. So eat eggs, don’t eat steak.
9. Dogs Age At Seven Years Per One Human Year
Your 3-year-old dog is 21 years old in human years, right? Not according to experts. The general consensus is that dogs mature faster than humans, reaching the equivalent of 21 years in only two, and then aging slows down to more like four human years per year. "Dog Whisperer" Cesar Millan’s site recommends this way to calculate your dog’s human-age equivalent: Subtract two from the age, multiply that by four and add 21.
10. George Washington had wooden teeth
Our first president starting loosing his teeth in his 20s, but contrary to popular belief, his dentures were not made of wood. Although built-in toothpicks would have been handy, Washington had four sets of dentures that were made from gold, hippopotamus ivory, lead, and human and animal teeth (horse and donkey teeth were common components in the day). Also of note: The dentures had bolts to hold them together and springs to help them open, all the better to eat one of his favorite treats, Mary Washington's seriously delicious gingerbread.
Any day now you'll receive "the bill" that made Christmas so wonderful. So what is the best way to tackle this feat? Here are two ways to look at paying off the plastic.
Method #1: The Snowball Method
The idea is to take baby steps, paying the lowest balances first to get some momentum and motivation. By focusing all of your extra money toward your lowest balance and paying just the minimum on your other accounts, you can hopefully pay at least one balance off in a short time. Then you can parlay the amount you were paying on that account onto the next lowest balance.
Pros: The feeling of accomplishment is similar to the one you get from checking tasks off of a “to-do” list. Paying off a small balance gives you a boost and can encourage you to continue working toward a debt-free life.
Cons: Paying off your lowest balances first likely won’t help your credit score. Here’s why: If improving your credit score is important to you, it’s in your best interest to work on reducing the balance owed on the card that has the higher debt utilization. For example, if you owe $500 on a card with a $2,000 limit (25% of your available credit), and you have another card with $4,000 balance and a $5,000 limit (which is 80% of your credit limit on that card), the wiser move to improve your credit rating would be to reduce your debt-to-credit ratio on the latter.
Is it right for you? If you thrive on breaking down challenges into smaller tasks, the snowball method could be effective in helping you inch toward your ultimate goal.
Method #2: Highest Interest First
A more traditional school of thought is to pay your highest interest account first, regardless of balance. This approach is strictly about the math. It means tackling the account that's costing you the most to carry a balance.
Pros: You can’t argue with numbers. If one card has a 15.99% interest rate while another has a 9.99% rate, aiming your payments toward the higher-rate account will save you money in the long run. As your principal goes down, your monthly interest payment will too, and eventually you’ll start to see some progress.
Cons: Depending on how high the interest rate and balance are, it could feel like an uphill battle. Just paying the minimum definitely won’t cut it. Be prepared to make sacrifices so you can put a substantial amount
Is it right for you? If you don’t mind sitting down with a calculator and following a budget plan to the letter, putting your energies toward your highest-interest account first makes sense. But make no mistake: It will take discipline to keep your game plan going.
No matter which method works for you, the key is to find a way to pay as much as you can each month. You definitely need to make more than the minimum payment — and not add to the balance with new purchases. (So put that plastic away. If you get unexpected money such as casino winnings or expected ones such as tax returns, put them toward those outstanding balances.) Remember: Stick to your plan, keep your eye on the prize and watch those balances disappear.
With all the pomp and circumstance of fireworks, the champagne bottle cork pop and a ball drop in NYC, we almost let a milestone slip by. Happy 30th birthday to the Internet. Jan. 1 marked the 30th anniversary of the switchover of all computers on ARPANET, the Internet’s predecessor, to a technology called TCP/IP. TCP is short for “Transmission Control Protocol," and IP “Internet Protocol.” Together these two technologies work together to route Internet data traffic, or “packets”, from one Internet-connected computer to another. In simpler terms, TCP/IP is how the Internet works efficiently and it revolutionized the world. A pretty big feat for only being 30!
January 1, 2013 also begins the second phase of the Energy and Independence Security Act passed in 2007. That means we say goodbye to an old friend, the 75 watt bulb. Under federal law, 75 watt bulbs will no longer be produced or imported just like 100 watt bulbs were banned in 2012. However, stores can continue to sell the stock on hand. The act stipulates that most screw-in bulbs must use at least 27% less energy by 2014.
So is it really faster to use the express (10 items or less) line at grocery and department stores? Lifehacker editor Adam Dachis asked math whiz Dan Meyer to crunch some numbers to see if the express line is truly an express. Let's say you’re in the express line with five people in front of you, each with 10 items apiece for a total of 50 items. The regular line might have five people as well but each with 20 items to purchase. According to Mr. Meyers calculations, it takes 2.8 seconds to scan an item and every person in line adds 48 seconds to the total time. Even with equal lines, the express checkout will take 4:28 and the normal will be 4:56. Despite the larger number of items, the difference is pretty minimal right?
But let's take out the mathematical equations (I was never good at math anyway) and look at other indicators that may slow up the express line. If you have 1 item or 100 items you still run the risk of the line stopping. The shopper in front of you begins to write a dreaded check just as the last item is scanned, the register runs out of receipt paper, the cashier has to go pick up a couple packs of cigarettes from the customer service counter, the list goes on and on and these all add up to longer wait times. Because the express line generally gets used more often than not, your chances of waiting longer increase in the express line!
Now just because the express checkout lane doesn't work as designed doesn't mean it won't be useful in some situations. When the number of people in every line is equal, or the express checkout lane is shorter, you're often more likely to save time by choosing it. When the decision isn't so clear, however, your best bet is to pick the shortest line with a lot of items. Meyer's math suggests that each person is worth about 17 items, so it's often better to get behind a few large shopping carts than a bunch of small baskets.
Other tricks work, too. People tend to avoid lane 13, so it's often a good place to look first when you're in a hurry. The Wall Street Journal also notes that single lines are most efficient, so if you can shop somewhere doesn't let you pick a line but simply funnels you into one you're going to benefit. They also mention an interesting statistic about us guys: we're more likely to give up on a line than women. If you find two long lines and one is predominantly male, choose that one. By the time you get to checkout, it might have fewer people than you originally counted.
Ultimately, it's just a line. Bring something to do while you wait and factor ten minutes into your trip for checkout. Hopefully it won't take that long, but then you'll be pleasantly surprised—especially if you avoid the express lane under most circumstances and take these tips into account.
As we say goodbye to buzzwords like fiscal cliff, spoiler alert, double down and guru, the new predictions are in for the overuse of buzzwords in 2013! BusinessNewsDaily interviewed small business owners, PR people, entrepreneurs and others to give workers a heads up on which buzzwords they may see in the coming year. Time will tell if these fit the mold but they are a good start. The list includes:
Advertainment— Advertising is no longer about interrupting what people are interested in, it's about being what people are interested in.
Phablets— A mixture of a smartphone and tablet.
Growth hacker— A role that replaces traditional marketing roles in fast-growing businesses.
Social learning— An individual's learning a skill through observation, without necessarily changing their behaviors or on-the-job performance.
Alphanista— Successful women in powerful positions having it all.
Acqui-hire— A blend of acquired and hired.
Return on involvement— A brand that gets involved with their community will garner better return on their investment by getting involved hosting fundraisers, partnering with schools and giving the local residents a gathering spot.
Inventreprenuers— An entrepreneur-inventor hybrid that markets and/or manufactures their own creation.
Twinternship— An internship where the student’s mission is to promote the company and its brands using social media such as Twitter and Facebook.
Wantrepreneur— Someone who hasn’t taken all the steps necessary to take the leap into entrepreneurship.
Minergy— Someone who uses minimal energy to get the task accomplished.
It's a terrible feeling. Days after making a purchase, the item goes on sale! Well never again! Check out these ways to never miss a sale again.
1. Arrange For An Alert When The Price Drops
When shopping online, it’s difficult to predict when that $70 pair of jeans will go on sale. By installing the “Hukk It” button from price comparison website Hukkster.com, you’ll get an alert when an item drops in price.
The next time you’re on a retailer’s website, look for the button and enter the price you’d like to pay for the item. For that $70 pair of jeans, enter in $60, for example, and Hukkster will let you know when those jeans drop below $60.
2. Use A Smartphone App To Guide Your Shopping
It’s frustrating when an item goes on sale a few days after you paid full price. This is where the free Decide app comes in handy. The app uses an algorithm to track billions of price movements, especially on electronics and appliances. Simply enter the name of the item you’re trying to buy (or scan the barcode) and the app will tell you whether you should buy now or wait a few days or weeks in anticipation of a sale.
The app claims to be accurate in predicting prices 77% of the time, and in the event it guides you in the wrong direction, pays the difference.
3. Use This Website To Find Sales
Before you hit the stores, check out PriceGrabber.com, which sends out a weekly list of store sales via email. If you’re in the market for an LED television, for instance, you can see which stores and models are on sale that week and plan your purchase according to what’s on sale.
4. Get Credit Card Company Price Protection
Did you know you might be able to track sales from your credit card company? Citi unveiled its Citi Price Rewind program for card members this holiday season. After you make a purchase with a Citi card, the service searches hundreds of retailers for 30 days and if an item you bought drops at least $25, you’re eligible to get that difference refunded.
5. Keep An Eye Out For Price Adjustments
Become familiar with the retailer’s price adjustment policy. If an item goes on sale after you buy it, many retailers will honor that price, assuming the sale took place within 15 days after your original purchase. It’s another reason to keep your receipts, since you’ll need to present a receipt to get the adjustment.
Congratulations to Congress for doing your job! With all the stalled talks the two political parties did what they were suppose to be doing all along...COMPROMISE and get the job done! So now we will not go over the fiscal cliff and much of middle class America will not see their taxes increase. Here is a rundown of some of the agreement’s key specifics, as reported by the Washington Post and others:
For couples earning more than $450,000 (or individuals earning more than $400,000), Bush-era tax cuts will expire, and the top income tax rate will rise from 35 percent to 39.6 percent
For couples earning less than $250,000 (or individuals earning less than $200,000), Bush-era tax cuts will be made permanent
For households earning between those two figures, some exemptions and deductions will expire.
Investment taxes and estate taxes will rise, though with big exemptions.
Stimulus tax credits for college tuition and the working poor will be extended for five years.
Benefits for the long-term unemployed will be extended for one year.
The alternative minimum tax will not go into effect for some 30 million taxpayers, but the payroll tax cut will expire, hitting most taxpayers.
Some stimulus tax credits for businesses, including in the renewable energy sector, will be extended for one year.
The deal will raise about $600 billion over the next decade compared to a pre-fiscal cliff baseline, less than the $1.6 trillion Obama first sought.
Compared to a post-fiscal cliff baseline, meanwhile, the deal is a huge tax cut that will slash revenue by some $3.7 trillion.
Sequestered cuts to defense and other budgets will be delayed two months, with a plan to replace them with equal measures of targeted cuts and revenue increases.
Doctors who provide Medicare won’t face scheduled pay cuts.
A nine-month farm bill fix will avoid the “dairy cliff”.
Congress will have its pay frozen again.
So both President Obama and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell both made concessions and in the end came together to do what's best for the country. It's a shame that the House of Representatives could not put party politics aside and do what the Senate did.
September 1, 2007 is a date which I will never forget. It was the day that I finally quit smoking...and for good. Yes me, Mister healthy and active was once a pack a day smoker for more years than I like to remember. Quitting was one of the hardest and proudest accomplishments in my life. For those who vowed to quit in 2013, it isn't going to be a cake walk. In fact researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health says that 70% of U.S. smokers want to kick the habit, but not many get the job done. In fact, smokers who vow to kick their nicotine habits on New Years Day will be “puffing away” by Groundhog Day, Hopkins researchers report.
Study researchers say that instead of targeting “big event” days such as your birthday or New Year’s Day, smokers should commit to quit on Monday, then reaffirm that commitment every Monday of the year.
“Research shows that Monday is the day people are open to starting healthy behaviors, so it’s a good day to quit, celebrate success and recover from relapses,” explains Joanna Cohen, director of the Institute for Global Tobacco Control at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “Smoking is the No. 1 cause of preventable death, so encouraging additional quit attempts has the potential to save lives.”
Hopkins researchers call Monday the “January” of the weekly calendar. It’s also a day where smokers are more likely to focus on their nicotine habits and more amenable to take healthy steps to stop puffing on those coffin nails. The data also show Monday as the day most call quit-smoking phone lines looking for help and the day Google searches for “stop smoking” information spikes.
Johns Hopkins has launched an initiative called “Quit & Stay Quit Monday” under its Monday Campaigns, a nonprofit initiative created with Columbia and Syracuse University that dedicates the first weekday of every week to good health.
The initiative is the brainchild of Sid Lerner, who says he adheres to the adage, “Inch by inch, life’s a cinch, but yard by yard, life is hard.”
“Smoke cessation shouldn’t be an annual all-or-nothing,” Lerner says. “When quitters check in once a week, they get 52 chances a year to celebrate success or quickly try again.”
Keep this in mind my friend, it takes anywhere from eight to 11 tries to quit smoking successfully. The key is to keep trying to quit. You didn't pick up the habit on the first day right? For me, it was the 7th real attempt to quit. And for the weight gain. My experience was about 20 extra pounds...BUT YOU CAN LOSE THE WEIGHT. So no more excuses, use this information to finally quit smoking and make a specific date in 2013 one that you'll never forget!
So the new year is off and running and I'm sure with at least one resolution. So to help you keep that promise, check out these iPhone apps.
Calorie Counter & Diet Tracker
If you're committed to eating right in 2013, then perhaps an iPhone app can help you track your calories and take control of your diet. There are dozens of diet and food apps out there. One of the best free iPhone apps is the Calorie Counter & Diet Tracker by MyFitnessPal. With more than 2 million items in its database, you can keep track of everything you consume and curb your bad eating habits.
Cozi Family Organizer
If your resolution is to get more organized in 2013, there's an app for that. Manage your busy life with the Cozi Family Organizer. This powerful app features a shared family calendar, shopping lists, to-do lists, reminders and so much more. Get your whole family more organized and free up some more time for family fun in the new year.
If it's quality sleep that's been missing from your life, turn over a new leaf in the new year and start to get some much needed shut-eye. This free iPhone app from Zeo actually tracks your sleep patterns and gives you expert advice. With Sleep101, you set your iPhone on your bedside before you go to sleep and when you wake up, you'll get a report of your sleep stats. This app is said to be 86 percent as accurate as those expensive wrist-based sleep monitors. It also features a smart alarm that wakes you up at the perfect time in your sleep cycle, so you feel more refreshed and energized.
If it's money matters that have been an issue, get your personal finances back on track in 2013. You can choose from a wide selection of personal finance apps, budgeting apps and money saving apps to help you get a handle on your financial situation. Whether your resolution is to pay off credit card debt, start saving for retirement or plan a cool family vacation, you can do it with a little help from your smartphone. A comprehensive money management app that you'll love is Mint. With a free account, you can track all your expenditures, maintain your budget and stay on top of money matters easily and efficiently.
Quit Smoking Now with Max Kristen
Every January, many people around the country resolve to quit smoking — only to start lighting up again within a few weeks or months. If you want to truly kick the habit this year, maybe an app can help. You can find find a number of apps to quit smoking out there, including Quit Smoking Now with Max Kristen. Created by renowned clinical hypnotherapist and self-help expert Max Kirsten, this iPhone app features audio recordings, videos, an ebook and other tools for smokers to quit for good.