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 it away with the Stress-Free Drive Home, starting weekday afternoons just before 5.
I never thought that there would be such a price difference between pharmacies when it comes to prescription medication. This article talks about the generic versions, which depending on where you get them filled, are priced quiet differently. By doing some homework you could save big!
The next time your doctor writes you a prescription for a new generic drug, channel your inner bargain hunter and shop around, as it could save you a lot of money, a new survey from Consumer Reports has found.
When secret shoppers called more than 200 pharmacies around the United States to check the total price for a month's supply of five top-selling prescription drugs that recently went generic, they discovered an overall 447 percent difference — or $749 — between the highest- and lowest-priced stores.
"When blockbuster drugs go generic, a lot of irrational pricing happens," said Lisa Gill, editor of prescription drugs at Consumer Reports.
For the survey, secret shoppers gathered pricing information for five blockbuster drugs that had recently gone off patent, which allowed generic versions to enter the marketplace: Actos (pioglitazone), prescribed for diabetes; Lexapro (escitalopram), an antidepressant; Lipitor (atorvastatin), prescribed for high cholesterol; Plavix (clopidogrel), a blood thinner; and Singulair (montelukast), an asthma medication.
Pharmacies surveyed included big-box stores, like Costco and Walmart; national chain pharmacies, such as CVS and Walgreens; online retailers HealthWarehouse.com and FamilyMeds.com; supermarket pharmacies; and smaller, independent pharmacies.
Overall, Costco had the lowest prices for each of the generic drugs checked. What's more, people didn't have to join the club to use the pharmacy, Gill said.
Some of the smaller, independent pharmacies also offered affordable prescriptions.
"That was the real shocker," Gill said. "Prices at independent pharmacies were all over the map for these drugs."
Among the national chain stores, CVS, Rite Aid and Target were the priciest, according to the survey.
For example, a month's supply of Actos (30 mg dose) was $101 at Costco, compared with $160 at Walmart and $295 at CVS. Prices at independent pharmacies and supermarkets ranged from $37 to $393. The cost was $141 and $140, respectively, at HealthWarehouse.com and FamilyMeds.com.
At Costco, a month's supply of Singulair (10 mg dose) was $27, compared with $57 at Walmart and $165 at CVS. Prices at independent pharmacies and supermarkets ranged from $10 to $193. Both HealthWarehouse.com and FamilyMeds.com charged $29.
Location also affected pricing, with urban pharmacies tending to have higher prices than rural ones. For instance, an independent pharmacy in Raleigh, N.C., charged $203 for a 30-day supply of Actos, while a rural North Carolina store charged just $37, Gill said.
Why Prices Vary
One reason for the lower costs at big-box stores is that their pharmacies are intended to "build traffic," said Stephen W. Schondelmeyer, professor of pharmacy economics at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, who was not involved in the survey. In those stores, pharmacy sales account for less than 5 percent of total revenues, he added.
By contrast, big chains like CVS and Walgreens, as well as independent pharmacies, rely on prescription sales to make up a bigger chunk of their revenues — in turn, bumping up prices at those stores, Schondelmeyer explained.
However, consumers may be willing to pay more at other stores because they offer convenience or other perks, Gill said. For example, Costco pharmacies are generally open from 10 a.m. until 7:00 or 8:30 p.m. and are often closed on Sundays, the survey found. By contrast, CVS has a 24-hour pharmacy service, automated prescription refills and drive-through windows. Also, stores like CVS and Rite Aid have more locations than Costco, allowing consumers to save time and gas.
The wide range of prices found in the survey is not the norm for generic drugs that have been on the market for more than a year, Schondelmeyer said. Therefore, the time to comparison-shop is when a popular drug first goes off patent. Typically, the prescription price will drop to about one-tenth of its name-brand price during the first year it is on the market, and then stabilize.
Gill gave the following tips for keeping prescription drug costs down:
Go generic, if possible. Generic drugs usually cost less than brand-name drugs.
Request the lowest price. Don’t assume the first price quoted is the lowest, Gill said.
Some of Gill's secret shoppers told pharmacy employees they were paying out of pocket and asked if a better price were available. In some cases, it was. Also, ask about student and senior discounts.
Visit smaller towns. Urban areas are generally pricier than rural areas.
Ask for a 90-day supply instead of a 30-day refill. Discounts on three-month supplies are common.
Consider paying the retail price. The survey found that Costco, drugstore websites and some independent pharmacies charged less than the co-pay of some insurance companies.
Check out additional discounts. Many chain pharmacies, big-box stores, club stores and large supermarkets have discount prescription programs, Gill said. For example, Walmart charges $4 for a 30-day supply of some generic medications, but $10 for a 90-day supply. She noted that the programs may not include every dosage of a drug, and many do not allow people to use insurance to pay for the drugs.
Schondelmeyer cautioned against pharmacy-hopping, no matter how tempting the deal is.
"I am all for consumers being wise shoppers, but it is important that people get all their medications from one pharmacy," he said. That way, the pharmacist can check for possible drug interactions and make sure one drug doesn't cancel out the benefits of another.
Dogs may have a reputation as man’s best friend, but at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, it’s the cats that are best buds with the dogs.
Since the 1980s, the zoo and its safari park have paired cheetahs with companion dogs to provide the cats with guidance and help them feel more comfortable. For endangered felines that don’t breed easily, a canine companion can make a world of difference.
“A dominant dog is very helpful because cheetahs are quite shy instinctively, and you can’t breed that out of them,” said Janet Rose-Hinostroza, animal training supervisor at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. “When you pair them, the cheetah looks to the dog for cues and learns to model their behavior. It’s about getting them to read that calm, happy-go-lucky vibe from the dog.”
This relationship relaxes the cheetahs and helps them better respond to each other, so they can reproduce and rebuild their endangered species.
The cats are difficult to breed because they’re not social animals. They live independently, and females don't go into heat like other cats — they have to be brought into estrus by a male cheetah.
A century ago, there were 100,000 cheetahs in the wild — fewer than 12,000 remain today. But thanks, in part, to its dog companion program, the San Diego Zoo leads the world in breeding the cats. In the past 40 years, 135 cheetahs have been born at its breeding facility.
We're taught not to judge a book by it's cover. But since books, along with most things in our lives, have been digitized that rule seems to be disappearing...at least accordign to this report.
People judge each other on what they drive, what they wear and where they live, so it’s not a surprise that people may also judge each other on what electronics they whip out to use in public.
“Identity is interwoven into those kinds of choices,” said Coye Cheshire, associate professor of sociology at the Berkeley School of Information.
iPhone vs Android
The iPhone seems to carry cachet for many users, said Cheshire, and Apple’s devices are often seen as the “highest-end consumer products” in the gadget world. The iPhone is also for those who don’t have time to “tinker in menus.” In essence, an iPhone doesn’t say a person isn’t tech-savvy, but rather advertises that, “I have far more important things to do with my time.”
There also seems to be a well-formed iPhone or iOS hipster identity, at least according to Hunch, a taste-predictor engine that uses Internet behavior research to predict what different people will like. Those with Apple products made up 32 percent of 15,818 users surveyed in 2011; they seemed to skew older than 35, and were more likely to be female and have a graduate degree than people using other products. Did we mention these users are also more likely to be liberal and make more than $200,000 a year? They’re extroverted, enjoy spending money and define themselves as “high-maintenance.”
“The iPhone became a status symbol because people equated smartphone with iPhone,” said Roslyn Layton, a Ph.D. candidate in Internet economics at the University of Copenhagen. “It actually helped the sales of many kinds of smartphones, because people finally understood what a smartphone meant.”
Android users, on the other hand, seem to skew more rural (86 percent more likely than iPhone users to live in a rural area), are more likely to vote conservatively (20 percent more than iPhone users) and are 10 percent more likely to be male. Google’s Admob agreed with that observation in 2010, noting that men made up 73 percent of Android users. People using Google phones are also more likely than iPhone users to have never left their home country (71 percent) and to use Yahoo email (50 percent). Interestingly, users of Google’s OS are proud pet owners (12 percent more likely than iPhone owners) and tend to like Comedy Central.
Android users may be making a statement against the iPhone. Most people have reference groups, or people they hang out with or aspire to be, said Brent McFerran, a marketing professor at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. “People either want to be like that group or disassociate themselves from another group by doing the opposite,” he said.
Blackberry Users, Windows Phone Fans
Some may make an even bigger statement by using other smartphone operating systems. The Hunch survey seemed to relegate BlackBerry and the Windows Phone to a footnote, with BlackBerry users labeled as introverted city folk (equally likely to be male or female) who like to travel; it summed up Windows Phone users as politically moderate, suburban soccer moms.
But to be honest, those using the Windows Phone may be considered singular or daring, but those using a last-generation BlackBerry are just as likely to be called dinosaurs. That huge keyboard? Few apps to choose from?
NBC New York reported in December of 2011 that robbers targeting the Columbia University campus were handing back other smartphones because they only wanted iPhones, particularly for their high resale value. “I wonder what (the BlackBerry owners) did and thought afterwards,” Cheshire said about the theft. BlackBerry certainly hopes its new Z10 and Q10 phones will be more valued by shoppers and thieves alike, thanks to a sleek new interface. However, while the new BlackBerry 10 software powers phones, BlackBerry hasn’t said whether it will be releasing a tablet.
These debates are more important now, because the battle isn’t for individual devices anymore, but for ecosystems, said Charles S. Golvin, with Forrester Research. “Amazon, Apple, Google and Microsoft all aim to translate customers’ investments — of money, information, personalization and social connections — into a gravitational field of loyalty so powerful that few customers will ever attain escape velocity,” he wrote. Apple and Samsung have the most pull right now in the mobile world.
Mac vs. PC Users
The Mac is another Apple product with a controversial identity. According to an April 2011 survey by Hunch, PC users tend to be suburban and rural, while Mac users are far more likely to be overeducated, vegetarian urbanites. PC users are more like to stop by the meme site I Can Haz Cheezburger, while Mac users want a peek at the Huffington Post.
But Hunch also reports that Mac users consider themselves early adopters, while PC users are “later adopters.” The Apple owners are also more likely to be ages 18 to 34, compared to the PC users’ 35-to-49 demographic. More than half of Hunch’s 388,315 respondents owned PCs, representing a much bigger chunk than the Mac users’ 25 percent. Also, 23 percent of those surveyed chose not to enter the Mac versus PC debate and declined either label. Who can blame them for not claiming either the neoliberal hipster or Joe Six-Pack identity?
Tablets for Young and Old
Tablets have all kinds of users. However, most are considered leisure users, according to Frank N. Magid Associates. Unlike the first wave of tablet owners, people in the second wave tend to use the device occasionally, are less tech savvy, and more likely to be female and older than 50.
Those numbers differ somewhat from comScore’s assertion in October 2011 that young, male early adopters are the ones using tablets. That said, comScore did report that tablet usage is nearing gender parity, so users are just as likely to be male as female. Still, tablet users are more likely to be college educated, employed and have a six-figure income, according to Vertic in 2011.
The new class warfare?
Some experts say that making judgments based on the technology people use says something about wealth and privilege. “A lot of what we are looking at are class distinctions and status expectations,” Cheshire said.
Kathy M. Newman, an English professor who specializes in media studies at Carnegie Mellon University, said that what most people forget is that electronics also signify class and income level. “When households make $150,000 or more, three-quarters of that group has a smartphone,” she said.” I think smartphones tell us more about how old you are and how much money you have, not about one’s personality.”
Still, others say that it’s not realistic to expect people to stop making judgments about electronic devices. “In the 1970s, didn’t they say, ‘You are what you drive?’” Layton asked. “Now, it’s the smartphone you have that says everything about you.”
Tossing and turning when you should be sleeping is not fun. Did you know that certain foods are conducive to sound slumber? Include more of these healthy foods in your diet for a good night's sleep.
"Turkey is rich in the amino acid tryptophan which helps promote a restful, deep sleep. Tryptophan itself doesn't make you sleepy," says Horn. It helps the brain make serotonin, a neurotransmitter that is necessary for sleep and relaxation, and melatonin, a neurohormone that has recently become popular as a supplemental sleep aid.
Despite being maligned by the low-carb movement, potatoes rank low on the Glycemic Index, a ranking of carbohydrates and their effect on blood glucose levels. Sweet potatoes and potatoes are a root vegetables that won't spike your blood sugar too high and can even help eliminate acids that block tryptophan. Make mashed potatoes with low-fat milk or buttermilk for a healthy sleep-inducing meal.
Bananas are a natural sleeping aid in that they contain melatonin and tryptophan (which converts to serotonin) to help you fall asleep. "Melatonin is a hormone that signals the brain that it's time for the body to shut down for the night," explains Horn. Plus, these creamy-fleshed fruits also contain magnesium, which is a known muscle relaxer to help you ease away physical tension and stress.
Mothers have been giving kids warm milk before bed for years. "Warm milk is another rich source of tryptophan, which is soothing and will help your body relax," says Horn. Be warned, however, "The combination of turkey and milk together can turn you into a bit of a gassy lassie," says Horn. "Do not try this out if you're in a new relationship!"
Oatmeal not only warms your belly, it's full of fiber, which can make you feel satisfied before heading to bed. A steamy bowl of cooked oats is also a good source of melatonin. Drizzle your bowl of oatmeal with warm milk for an extra dose of sleep-inducing nutrition.
Supplements to help you sleep
If all else fails, you can take mineral supplements that will help ease you to sleep without the negative side effects of prescription sleeping aids.
Horn recommends these supplements as a natural way to get your Z's:
"Or taking an Epsom salt bath before bed is another wonderful source of magnesium -- some of which gets absorbed via the skin," says Horn. "Dump two cups of salts into a warm bath and soak for 15 minutes. Gorgeous you!"
Changing your diet, taking supplements and soaking in a bath are easy and natural ways to ensure you get the sleep you need.
My plan is set. A milestone birthday is les than a year away and me and my best friend (who has the same milestone just 6 days ahead of me) are planning a trip to London to celebrate. So now I'm looking into flights and hotel and it's not cheap to travel overseas! A new study from the GBTA Foundation suggests the price for flights domestically will rise 4.6% and 8.3% for international tickets in 2013. To offset the jump in prices, here are ten ways to cut the cost of airfare. So I found these 10 tips on getting the best price on plane tickets.
1. Save when the flight is oversold
Airlines often overbook flights in the event a passenger doesn’t show up for the flight, this way flights are always flying at full capacity. But in the event everyone is at the gate and no one canceled their flight, the airline will ask a few passengers to volunteer to fly on another flight later that day, since the original one was oversold. If no one volunteers, usually the last person to check-in will be bumped to the next flight.
If you volunteer, expect to receive some form of compensation – whether it’s cash or a free flight voucher. Depending on what the airline is offering you, it may be worth hoping on the next flight, as the compensation may cover the costs of the ticket price.
2. Talk to the airline
You may resort to online sites to compare prices of fares across various airlines, but don’t forget to contact the airlines directly.
“Airlines like Southwest don't allow their airfare to be posted to third-party sites, so you could overlook a better deal," says consumer savings expert Andrea Woroch. "Also, buying directly from the airline will reduce the hassle associated with dealing with a third party in cases of flight changes or cancellations.”
3. Book airfare and hotels
Booking a flight and hotel at the same time can result in significant savings. “A Travelocity study found that you can save up to $525," says Courtney Scott senior editor at Travelocity. "Plus, these packages are dynamic so you can choose any flight and hotel combination – they are not pre-packaged – it just means booking at the same time.”
4. Fly out of a smaller airport
The lower cost carriers will typically fly out of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, instead of the busier hub in Miami, even though both cities are relatively close to one another. If you’re always flying into a city’s main airport, you could find yourself paying top dollar. Other examples include flying into Burbank, California instead of Los Angeles and Oakland, California instead of San Francisco.
5. Choose the days you fly wisely
Airline prices fluctuate – constantly.
“It's usually cheaper to fly during the week than on the weekends," says Melisse Hinkle, travel expert and editor of Cheapflights.com. "The middle of the week is golden for travelers. Airlines and hotels know that Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday are the easiest times to travel, so prices are higher.”
6. Time matters
The most cost effective flights are the ones during odd hours of the day – including the first flights of the day at 6 a.m. and the red eyes overnight. “I recently researched a flight from Denver to Orlando, and the cost for a 8:15 a.m. departure is $298," says blogger Kendal Perez of HassleFreeSavings.com. "The 12:42 p.m. departure cost $70 more at $368. Similarly, a return flight at 8:32 p.m. from New York (JFK) to Los Angeles (LAX) on JetBlue cost $129 -- whereas the 11 a.m. flight cost $198.”
7. Book well in advance
While this is tough for business travelers who need to fly for an unexpected meeting, aim to book flights several weeks in advance when the prices are lower.
“For domestic flights, if a consumer books 12-35 days before departure, they can save up to 6%,” says Kayak.com spokesperson Maria Katime.
8. Coupon Codes
When you see a space to enter in a coupon code on an airline’s website, don’t skip over it – you’re missing out on savings.
“Treat this process like shopping for clothing," says Jon Lal, founder of BeFrugal.com. "Some airline providers like JetBlue have sales. You can also find coupon codes online and earn cash back (a portion of your online purchase that is deposited into an account for you) when you buy online.”
9. Airport Parking
If you’re traveling for over a week, paying the daily parking fee at the airport is bound to add-up, especially since these parking fees cost upwards of $20 per day.
A cheaper alternative is to check some of the parking lots near the airport. “These lots sometimes offer direct shuttle service to the airport with rates are as low as $3.99 per day," says Woroch. "Check AirportReservationsParking.com for a list of places to park on the cheap."
10. Special fares
For students and young people, it never hurts to ask the airline if there is a special discount.
“There are plenty of organizations that cater to student travelers," Hinkle adds. "Search online for student-only airfares or try last-minute stand-by tickets for reduced fares. There are also youth fares -- discounted tickets for ages 18-22 and you don't have to be a student to use them.”
Ladies, are you getting enough of these 8 essential nutrients? Do you need to take a multivitamin? Take a look at these 8 nutrients and see if you are getting enough or not.
If you’re drinking your milk and eating other calcium-rich foods, it’s a good start. The National Osteoporosis Foundation says enough calcium can reduce bone loss later in life, and most ladies do not get enough of this nutrient. Your daily 8-ounce latte doesn’t cut it, gals. Leafy greens, seafood and legumes are good sources. Make sure to get: 1,000 mg a day if you’re of childbearing age, 1,200 mg a day after menopause.
Our bodies convert CoQ10 into ubiquinol, which gets harder after the age of 40. Normal portions of food do not provide the adequate amounts of CoQ10 needed to convert into an ample daily supply of ubiquinol, says Keri Glassman, a nutrition expert and author of The New You (and Improved!) Diet: 8 Rules to Lose Weight and Change Your Life Forever. “Optimal ubiquinol levels are important for anyone looking to support cardiovascular, neurological and liver health,” says Glassman.
She says it is also the strongest known lipid-soluble antioxidant that’s beneficial for anti-aging; plus, it may also help to counter the side effects of cholesterol-lowering statin drugs. Make sure you get: Foods rich in CoQ10 such as oily fish, meat, whole grains, certain veggies, and olive and sesame oils.
This is quite the super-nutrient these days, as more studies tout the benefits of getting adequate vitamin D. It helps your body maintain the right amount of calcium and phosphorus in the blood, and helps form and maintain strong bones, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements.
Other perks: It can help your immune system and may improve muscle strength. Get out in the sun but wear sunscreen, and make sure to eat eggs and salmon during winter months if you don’t get enough sun. Make sure to get: 600 IU a day for women up to age 70; 800 IU if you are over 71; 600 IU daily if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
These can soothe inflammation in the body, boost heart health and help to prevent cancer. “Since our bodies cannot make omega-3s on their own, we need supplementation from our diet,” Glassman notes. Make sure you get: Fatty fish, ground flaxseed, canola oil, chia seeds or a supplement.
Many women have developed anemia as a result of not getting enough iron, but be warned that too much can be harmful. Iron helps your body distribute oxygen in the blood. Make sure to get: 18 mg a day if you are menstruating; 27 mg a day for pregnant women; 9 mg a day if you are breastfeeding; and 8 mg day if you are post-menopause.
Folate is a B vitamin that helps your body make red blood cells, can prevent birth defects and lowers levels of the amino acid homocysteine. Make sure to get: 400 mcg a day; 500 mcg a day for pregnant women; 600 mcg a day for breastfeeding women.
Don’t miss out on magnesium, girls: It can helps produce energy in your cells, maintain muscles and nerves, steady your heart rhythm, boost your immunity, build bones, and regulate blood sugar and blood pressure. Good sources of magnesium include spinach and other fresh vegetables; stick to unprocessed foods, including whole grains and fruits, to get the most .
Make sure you get: 310 to 320 mg daily; 350 to 360 mg if pregnant.
Vitamin C is another nutrient that you may think you’ve got cornered, but if you’re not eating citrus fruits you may be missing out; dark veggies are also a good source. Make sure you get: 75 mg per day; 85 mg a day if you are pregnant; 120 mg a day if breastfeeding; and an additional 35 mg if you smoke.
So, could a multivitamin give you all of these nutrients?
“Sometimes you may not need a multivitamin at all, sometimes you may need a multivitamin with no need for anything else and sometimes you may just need particular nutrients,” says Glassman, noting that it depends on an individual’s needs and other factors.
Talking to your doctor is a good idea to see which nutrients you need, and working in some of these healthy foods can be a good idea as well. Together, a healthy diet and supplements can help make sure you get the right nutrients for your individual needs.
Not all disinfectants are created equally. That's a shock to me and in fact some disinfectants can be harmful to both your health and the environment.
To help you choose the right disinfectant for each situation, here are some of the pros and cons of a variety of germ-busting agents.
Bleach is a relatively inexpensive and highly effective disinfectant. It not only cleans up dirt and mold, but also kills some of the most dangerous bacteria, including staphylococcus, streptococcus, E. coli and salmonella – as well as viruses like the flu and the common cold.
However, bleach is also one of the most harmful disinfectants to human health and has been linked to respiratory problems and birth defects. Bleach may also be hazardous to wildlife and the environment. There are greener alternatives in disinfecting wipes and cleaning sprays, however, these eco-friendly choices may not be as effective in killing bacteria and viruses. Also note that both bleach and greener bleach alternatives are intended to disinfect surfaces in the home and are should not be used on the skin.
Soap and Water
Store shelves are filled with products that boast antimicrobial properties. There is a common misconception that antibacterial soap, in particular, is effective in eradicating all germs. Although antibacterial soap may kill some bacteria, it is no more effective in doing so than regular soap, and does nothing to fight viruses like colds or the flu.
In fact, many health experts advise against using antibacterial products, as most contain a potentially harmful ingredient called triclosan, which some researchers say is an endocrine disrupter. Moreover, overuse of these products has led to antibiotic resistance and the rise of so-called superbugs.
Although it may be a more eco-friendly cleaning solution than chemical-based products, ammonia is not registered as a disinfectant by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Although ammonia might kill salmonella and E. coli, it is not an effective defense against dangerous staphylococcus bacteria.
Alcohol-based Hand Sanitizers
Claims that hand sanitizers kill 99.9 percent of germs have recently been addressed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The agency advises consumers to wash their hands often, especially before handling food, and cautions against buying over-the-counter hand sanitizers that claim to prevent infection from MRSA, salmonella, E. coli, the flu, or other bacteria and viruses, as the claims aren’t supported by the FDA. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also warns that these products are largely ineffective against the norovirus. Some hand sanitizers may also contain triclosan.
Vinegar can be used as a safer bleach alternative for some applications, like cleaning. It is also biodegradable. However, vinegar is not a registered disinfectant and does not kill dangerous bacteria like staphylococcus.
Hydrogen peroxide has antimicrobial ingredients and can be an effective household cleaner. It is also highly biodegradable. However, concentrated hydrogen peroxide is extremely dangerous and should only be used as a disinfectant at concentrations lower than 3 percent.
Although baking soda is often used a household cleaner, it is ineffective against most bacteria, including salmonella, E. coli. and staphylococcus. If you suspect there has been a contamination of any of these bacteria, ditch the baking soda in favor of a product registered as a disinfectant by the EPA.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is a natural, biodegradable antiseptic that can be useful for treating minor cuts and wounds. However, it may not be strong enough to kill viruses and more powerful bacteria.
It's easy to find out the baby names people like, but figuring out what they dislike is much harder. It turns out there really is a thin line between love and hate. Many of the names that are most popular on the list supplied annually by the Social Security Administration are also the same names that are the most disliked. Call it a backlash against trendy. LiveScience.com says it succinctly: "A quick track to baby-name fame seems to also trigger hate for that name." The number one name that people dislike the most is Nevaeh, which is "heaven" spelled backward. This made-up name for girls didn't even exist until the 1990s, but skyrocketed in popularity from 2003 to 2007 when it shot up from the 150th most common baby name to the 31st.
The top 10 most hated boys' names:
The top 10 most hated girls' names:
What is it exactly that people hate about these names?
People really hate gender-bending names, especially when a masculine name becomes feminine. Example: Addison.
People dislike names they can't spell or names with made-up spellings, such as Kaitlyn. Mind you, Caitlin is fine because that spelling is traditional.
People spurn names that confer a virtue onto a child, such as Destiny.
Ugly names, such as Gertrude or Bertha, are also disliked.
Violent names, such as Hunter, are detested by some.
Brand names, such as Bentley, are considered trashy.
Some people hate ordinary names, which they consider boring. That's why Michael is on the top 10 list of most disliked names.
Meanwhile, imagine a schoolroom filled with children named Abner, Milton, Clementine and Susannah. This isn't something from the late 1800s. It could be coming to school near you in the next decade or so. These and other old-fashioned names are poised to make a comeback, displacing Aiden, Michael, Chloe and Sophia, according to Nameberry.com. The following classic names were all popular in the past -- sometimes the quite distant past -- but all may be making a second act soon.
This could be a game changer in the battle against breast cancer. A new “smart” sports-bra styled brassiere can detect cell mutations in the breasts up to six years before they might be picked up by a traditional mammogram, says the company behind the bra.
Dubbed the “First Warning System,” the device contains 16 small sensors that monitor heat patterns and the shape of the breast to track minute changes in temperature caused by the growth of blood vessels. The bra’s computer then compares deep tissue abnormalities picked up with its sensors to bioinformatic profiles of cancerous tissues, which the company says allows them to deliver a detection alert with up to 90 percent accuracy.
Remarkably, the bra is so sensitive that it can detect tumors that have only been developing for a few years. Mammograms are unable to detect tumors that young.
The company, First Warning Systems, has yet to release clinical trial data for the device that has been in the works for decades, but it is currently in its fourth and final clinical trial. They hope to have FDA approval and get the bra on the market within a year.
Tired of the same old hunt? Easter egg hunts can be fun for all ages, especially when you put a new twist on the festivities. Here are a few new ways to outsmart the Easter rabbit this year.
Why not send your kids hunting for Easter treasures at twilight instead of first thing in the morning? Even though it won't yet be dark, hand them flashlights, and send them on their way. They'll be sure to love this new twist on the traditional egg hunt. If it's highly unlikely your child will be able to wait all day to search, either set up the hunt the night before or give your children a little something from the Easter bunny in the morning with a note that explains they can't search for their loot until dark.
Treasure Egg Hunt
Aye, aye mateys! A fun spin on an egg hunt is to send your kids searching for "buried" treasure. Give your children eye patches and maps to follow to find their hidden treasure eggs. Leave clues along the way from the Easter bunny ("fur," paw prints or even carrots) to let them know they're on the right trail. You can hide fun-filled eggs along the way and when they reach the end of the hunt, they will find their treasure. Burying the treasure is optional.
To make sure each child gets the same number of eggs, assign them their own color. But to instill a little friendly competition, tell the kids there is one color they can all search for: Gold. Hide one golden egg in the bunch. Whoever finds that egg gets an extra special prize. Just don't forget where you hid the eggs or how many eggs the kids are supposed to find. Make sure the eggs for younger hunters are easier to find.
Tell your children the Easter bunny left them a puzzle, and they have to locate all of the puzzle pieces to find out what the grand finale prize is. To set up the puzzle, on a large sheet of paper, write a message to your children. Then, divide up the paper to look like puzzle pieces and cut out the individual pieces. Hide each piece in an egg. Once the kids have found all of the puzzle pieces, they can lay them out on the floor to read their special message and find the big prize the Easter bunny left for them.
Creative (and sugar-free) Egg Stuffers
Mix it up this year and take the candy out of Easter. Yes, you read that right — ditch the sugar. The kids are already "hopped" up enough on their natural energy anyway. Fill the eggs with fun surprises the children will never expect.
-IOU notes (Example: One large banana split to make up for all the sugar lost on Easter!)
I won't pretend to know a lot about basketball but every year I get sucked into chipping in $20 to pick college basketball teams bracket pool. I found the less I know about the teams the better I do!
College basketball brackets have become an American tradition. You know how it works, everyone fills out a bracket, each correct pick is worth a pre-determined number of points, and whoever ends up with the highest total at the end of the tourney wins.
But if you find yourself bored with the current set up, look into spicing things up and make it more interesting, look into these tournament bracket alternatives as reported by The Slate'sAlan Siegel:
The Every-Game-Counts Method
In the typical pool, the point totals increase incrementally by round: You get one point for each game you pick correctly in the Round of 64, two points for the Round of 32, four for the Sweet 16, eight for the Elite Eight, 16 for the Final Four, and 32 for the championship game. The easiest way to switch things up: Make everything—from the 1-16 matchups in the first round to the title game—worth a single point.
Pros: You’ll care about every game. Cons: If someone picks a huge amount of early winners, the pool could be locked up before the Final Four. And some lucky yokel could win the whole thing without picking any of the Final Four teams correctly.
The Round-Times-Seed Method
This is a close relative of the standard bracket challenge, in which the point totals increase as we get deeper into the tournament. In this version, you multiply the points you get for picking a winner by the winning team’s seed. For example, if you correctly predict that Oklahoma, a No. 10 seed, wins in the Round of 32, you get 20 points—the standard two points for a victory multiplied by 10. Cha-ching!
Pros: The joy of the NCAA Tournament comes in watching underdogs take down traditional powers. With this system, those big upsets are even more exciting (and more remunerative). Cons: This system heavily penalizes incorrect underdog picks. Since each successive round is worth twice as much as the previous round, knocking off 1 and 2 and 3 seeds is an extremely dangerous strategy as, after all, they are by far the most likely to actually advance to the valuable late rounds. Live by the underdog, die by the underdog.
The Blind-Draw Method
Put the names of every tournament team in a hat (or in one of those spinning lottery drums, if one is available) and have each participant draw one at a time. After everybody has picked once, repeat the process until there are no teams left. Blind-draw pools are scored like traditional pools—each win notched is worth a pre-determined number of points. At the end of the tourney, the spoils go to the person with the most points.
Pros: It’s a stress-free selection process. This method frees you from worrying about the potentially disastrous picks you would’ve otherwise spent hours contemplating. Cons: It takes zero thought or skill.
The Square Method
The tried-and-true Super Bowl method comes to March Madness. Print out a grid, like this one. Fill each of 100 squares with a participant’s name. Here’s how the website Squares Madness explains the next step: After all the squares are taken, “randomly assign numbers 0 through 9 to each column, followed by doing the same for each row. Now each square represents a specific score in the game based on the column and row numbers.” Then, for every game, assign one team to the y-axis and the other to the x-axis. If you match the last digits of the winning and losing team’s final scores, you’re the big winner.
Pros: You have 60-plus chances to win. Cons: You’re rooting for scores, not teams.
The Auction Method
Every team is up for grabs, and you can bid on whom you want in your stable. In some variations, each participant has a maximum budget, and you can blow that allotment on a couple of the best teams or diversify with a large group of Cinderellas. In the version that Grinnell College professor Erik Simpson helped come up with, “teams are bought in a standard auction format, with rising bids in 10-cent increments.” Then, each game that one of your teams wins is worth a certain percentage of the total pot. (For example, in Simpson’s pool, each victory in the round of 64 is worth 1.25 percent of the kitty.)
Pros: In an email, Daniel Lauve, who developed his own auction format, said: “It’s a good way to personalize the tournament. Each team is tied to exactly one person, and the ‘portfolios’ that people put together usually reflect their personalities. There’s a certain machismo that always results in No. 1 seeds being overbid, and people who don't follow basketball can pick schools they like and participate for a buck or two.” Cons: Organizing a live auction is a pain. Then again, live auctions are really fun. And somebody gets to bang a gavel.
The Team Draft Method
After drawing for draft order, each member of your group selects a handful of teams, presumably starting with the highly ranked squads, then moving on to the lower seeds. The draft continues until all the teams in the tournament are divvied up. Each participant must have the same number of teams. (If there are leftovers, those teams sit on the sidelines, irrelevant to everyone.) You earn points for each game your teams win.
Pros: You get a varied menu of teams to cheer on—a couple of powerhouses, a few mid-tier squads, and a group of sleepers.
Cons: Since you’re working with a limited subset of the tournament participants, there will be some games that you don’t care about (at least for gambling purposes).
The Compulsive Gambler’s Method
This one is based on a World Cup pool. Before each game, everybody in the pool puts a dollar (or any fixed amount) on the team they think is going to win. The winning group then splits the pot. For example, if there are 25 participants and 23 pick Kansas to beat Western Kentucky, a Jayhawks win will net the Kansas backers $1.09 each. (25 divided by 23 equals 1.09.)
Pros: What’s better than wagering money on a bajillion college basketball games? Cons: Somebody’s got to keep track of a whole lot of bankrolls.
The Survivor Pool Method
This system works like an NFL suicide pool, where you can only pick each team once. First, you pick two winners for Day 1 (the first Thursday) and two winners for Day 2 (the first Friday). To stay alive, all your teams have to win. If you make it to Day 3 (Saturday) unscathed, you only have to pick a single winner. One loss is fatal, but like in Super Mario Bros., you actually have three lives. During the tourney’s first weekend, you can buy back in up to three times by paying another entry fee. However, every time you buy back in, it gets harder to advance.
Buy back after Thursday’s games and you have to pick four winners on Friday; buy back after Friday’s games and you need to pick five winners on Saturday; buy back during Saturday’s games and you need six winners on Day 4 (Sunday). On Sunday, and every day of the tournament thereafter, you need only pick a single winner per day. The last survivor wins the whole pot.
Pros: The buy-back process may be a bit fraught and complex, but otherwise this is pretty simple. At most, you’re only picking a handful of games at a time. Cons: You may suffer a quick, painful death.
The Fantasy Draft Method
As if you’re not in enough fantasy leagues. In this case, forget secondary offensive stats and defense—just draft a bunch of players and tally up how many points they score. “You aren’t necessarily looking for the best player, but rather the guy who is going to play the most number of games and score the most total points,” Evan Pfaff wrote on his website, Big 12 Hoops. He calls this system a “gunner draft.” Whoever gets the best gunners wins.
Pros:Risk can be rewarded, handsomely. Imagine if you gambled on Stephen Curry in 2008. During that year’s tournament, the skinny sharpshooter averaged 32 points over four games for No. 10 seed Davidson.
Cons: A low-seeded gem like Curry is rare. The most valuable players are the ones on teams likely to go deep in the tournament. That means you’ll be rooting against upsets and picking the starting lineups of Duke, Indiana, and Kansas. D’oh.
The Ted Gooley Method
In March 2011, the Wall Street Journal’s Carl Bialik profiled biostatistician Ted Gooley, a researcher at Seattle’s Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. In 2007, he unveiled an NCAA pool designed to reward upset picks.
“Each correct pick was worth one point divided by the probability that the pick would be correct,” Bialik wrote. “If a team has a 50 percent chance of winning its first game, picking that team would be worth two points. A team with a 20 percent chance would be worth five points—if it won. The goal is to set a fair price for each pick; the favored teams are likely to win but aren't worth many points, while underdogs pay off more if they pull off the upset.”
As Bialik explains, Gooley “gathered the results from every tournament since 1985 to see how often teams with a given seed advanced in each round. Then he used the raw numbers to create a statistical model that calculates probabilities even for events that never have happened.”
In an email, Gooley told me his system remains sound, although in some cases the point totals have changed. For example, he said, “in 2013, a 15 seed … beating a 2 seed is worth 24.0 points as opposed to in 2011, where this outcome netted you 27.2 points. This is because a 15 seed beating a 2 seed is ‘more likely’ in 2013 than it was in 2011 (and hence worth fewer points), due mainly to the fact that two 15-seeds won games in the first round last year.” (If you’re intrigued by Gooley’s method, check out the Simple Bracket iPhone app, a Kickstarter-funded project that uses the researcher’s NCAA tournament scoring system. At the moment, this is the only way to get the Gooley scoring system.)
Pros: Because upsets are worth so much more, it forces timid participants to go out on a limb. “I think mine is the fairest and most equitable way of assigning points,” Gooley told the Journal.
Cons: The scoring system may be fair, but it’s quite complex. Good luck keeping track of everyone’s point total.
The Bill James Method
Bialik’s 2011 exploration of NCAA tournament pool methodology also included a pool developed by stats guru Bill James. The James approach requires each participant to pick one No. 1 seed, one No. 2 seed, one No. 3 seed, and so on down the line. Everyone is allowed to pick whomever they want—there’s no draft or auction. You get points every time one of your teams wins, with victories by underdogs and wins later in the tournament counting extra.
Pros:As James told Bialik, “Since it was virtually impossible to have duplicate entries, every ballot was unique, and you could choose whoever you wanted.” And as opposed to draft and auction methods, this system allows for tournament pools of any size.
Cons: You don’t get to fill out a bracket. Where’s the fun in that?
Spring is just around the corner and those walking down the aisle will be putting together the final touches. One trend I think is awesome is the Bride wearing eco-friendly wedding dresses. Most wedding dresses are made in China by workers paid minimally (and sometimes less) from low-quality materials, yet they command high price tags and are sold as a luxury, with the average cost about $1,050, according to "One Perfect Day: The Selling of the American Wedding" by Rebecca Mead.
Save that cash for the honeymoon and buy domestically made dresses created from lower-impact fabrics. Just click on the link for a picture and ordering information:
The Athena hemp wedding dress by Tara Lynn is made from silk and hemp, by hand in Vermont (and still clocks in at only $1,100); available in sizes 2-14, it can be special-ordered to your exact measurements for an additional fee.
Eco-Bridal gowns includes consignment of used gowns as well as new ones made from upcycled materials and made-to-order gowns.
Threadhead Creations specializes in unique gowns made with low-impact materials, like this dress, which is fashioned from hemp silk and made by hand.
Leanne Marshall was a Project Runway winner who designs bridal gowns as well as collections in the spring and autumn. Her dresses run the gamut from short and sweet cocktail-type dresses, and more traditional lace versions like the one above.
Pure Magnolia dresses come in classic styles, couture, and vintage designs. Made with silk and lined in organic cotton, each dress is made to order.
A wedding dress that good for the environment, good for American workers and good for your wallet? Sounds like a winner to me!
If you've yet to have kids,here are some suggestions on what to appreciate before you welcome a child, according to current moms everywhere:
1. Enjoy sleep. Nap.
It's a luxury that becomes a necessity you never seem to have enough of. Buy nice sheets. Roll around in them. Spend a whole day in bed. The next time you do it, you'll be comforting a feverish, puking child and that's not nearly as enjoyable.
2. Appreciate your body now.
As flawed as it may be, after children, it will be worse. Droopier, stretched out, and mushy. Even your feet will be bigger. Get a pedicure and flaunt them.
3. Drive a fun car.
A convertible or a Beetle. Blast music that you love. Soon you'll be driving a minivan and singing along to the Laurie Berkner Band. Even when you're alone in the car.
4. Travel with your spouse.
Family vacations are wonderful, but not the same. And finding someone to watch three kids under 5? Impossible.
Alone, without faces peeking through the glass critiquing your body.
6. Do things spur of the moment.
Jet off somewhere at the last minute, with nothing but the clothes on your back. Have an impromptu adventure. Once you have kids, you'll need to plan everything.
7. Call in sick to work and use the day for yourself.
Moms never get the day off, and you'll make up for that sick day tenfold by caring for sick children when you are indeed sick yourself.
8. Spend money on yourself.
Invest in some really great forever items, because once you have kids, the trade-off will not seem worth it. You'll calculate the number of diapers you could buy for the cost of those designer sunglasses. Buy them now and wear them later.
9. Pee with the door shut.
It will be years before you get to do that again.
10. Under-appreciate your parents.
Roll your eyes at them. Question their actions and judgment. Tell them they don't know everything. Once you have kids, you'll have a new-found appreciation for them and discover that they know a lot more than you gave them credit for. Ignorance is bliss.
Come to find out you can enjoy the healthy, nutritional and relaxing benefits of gardening even when space is at a premium or non existent. Check out these 5 gardening ideas for people who have limited space (including upstairs apartment dwellers).
Balcony Or Container Gardens
We've all had potted plants and perhaps a container of herbs on the windowsill, but container gardens can actually be a great way to grow food without actually putting roots in the ground. If you've got a porch or balcony with a little extra room, why not transform that idle space into a food factory? Just make sure it gets enough sun, and that you can water the plants without drowning your downstairs neighbors.Urban Organic Gardener is an amazing resource for wanna-be balcony gardeners.
Raised Bed On Lawn
So maybe you're lucky enough to have a "yard" or small outside space. In that case, there are some fun options for outdoor gardening that still won't suck up all your space. Repurposed wood pallets, cinder blocks, graduated shelving and raised beds are all great ways to make the most of your yard space with minimal impact on the actual turf. And since they're all semi-portable, you can use your own soil and not worry about the chemicals that may have been used in the past. Check out these easy raised garden beds for beginners.
Just like buildings in big cities have to build up rather than out, gardens too are going vertical. Hanging and stacking is a good rule of thumb for tiny house dwellers with limited floor space. The same principle can make it possible to grow a significant amount of herbs, vegetables and flowers using walls and windows that might otherwise only hold a picture or two. There are many different vertical gardening solutions, including those made from stacked containers, repurposed shoe organizers, recycled plastic bottles or even tin cans!
Feel like a bunch of hanging water bottles might ruin your tiny apartment feng shui? Never fear, Woolly Pockets are here! These stylish wall hangers are lightweight, flexible, breathable, modular gardening containers. The breathable portion is made of 100 percent recycled plastic bottles that have been industrially felted. The military-grade moisture barrier is made from 60 percent recycled plastic bottles. Each pocket is stitched together by hand in the USA, and only takes a few minutes to install.
Finding yourself short on time and know-how, as well as space? Set-it-and-forget-it systems that tell you when to water, feed, and harvest so that you're sure to get the most from your tiny garden. Automated garden alternatives range from very sophisticated to very simple. Pictured above is the AeroGarden Ultra, a top of the line indoor garden that eliminates dirt as well as worry. Simpler alternatives include the EasyBloom Plant Sensor which allows your plant to tell you when it needs water or fertilizer, and the Patch collapsible windowsill planter. Check out this Treehugger guide to self-watering planters.
Today is your lucky day! Being that it's Friday you have all weekend to review this article, use it to your advangtage and get that job you seek! With competition for new jobs at an all-time high, employees must have the skills employers are targeting. From the ability to communicate effectively to the willingness to wear multiple hats around the office, employers today seek workers with a variety of the skills. Here are 10 skills employers look for most in today's fast-paced, technologically advanced workplace:
Commitment to both their job and their employer is something Dennis Boone, former president and CEO of Verizon New Jersey and the current director of Montclair State University's Feliciano Center for Entrepreneurship at the School of Business, has always looked for in workers. "An employee committed to â¨achieving their goals and objectives is a marvel to witness," Bone told BusinessNewsDaily. "I especially value the employee that, when times are tough, continues to strive for solutions and refrains from the 'blaming others' behavior that, unfortunately, we see too often."
The Extra Mile
In order to gain a boss' confidence, employees must be willing to go above and beyond what is typically required of them on the job, said Brett Good, a senior district president for Robert Half International. "Employees who take on projects that fall outside their normal responsibilities can expand their skill set and explore new avenues for professional growth," Good said. "While you may not always have the time to volunteer for an extra assignment, passing on every opportunity will prevent you from being viewed by your manager as a go-to person in the department."
Wear Multiple Hats
Kevin Watson, CEO and co-founder of jobdreaming, said small businesses don't have room for people who just want to do their job, and their job only. "Employees that will get hired more easily and ultimately succeed are those that show an eager willingness to do whatever needs to get done, not just what's in their job description," Watson said.
Having anything but a positive attitude is non-negotiable for Brian Goodman, managing director of Experis.
"Attitude drives success, and people want to be around positive people. It is contagious, and others will notice," Goodman said. "Naysayers are a drag on business."
Executive coach and leadership consultant Dave Gambrill believes the one skill that every employee must have is the ability to thinkâ¨critically and make appropriate decisions. "Leaders don't want toâ¨ micromanage their employees, but often they are forced to because theâ¨ employees lack critical thinking skills," Gambrill said. "Ideally, you'd like to say, 'Iâ¨trust you to make decisions that are good for the business,' and let peopleâ¨come up with their own solutions."
Elle Kaplan, CEO and founding partner of â¨Lexion Capital Management LLC, said it is important for entrepreneurs to find employees who are just as passionate about their job as the boss is. "When an employee believes strongly in the company's mission, their job is no longer a job. It's a calling," Kaplan said. "I've learned firsthandâ¨ that people work harder when they feel connected to and believe in yourâ¨mission as a leader and the mission of the company."
In today's fast-moving business world, the worst thingâ¨an employee can be is a drain on their boss' time, said Nick Gidwani, founder of Skilledup.com. "Employees shouldâ¨be always adding value, and the easiest way to destroy value, so to speak, is to not have your own work organized," Gidwani said. "That could mean simple ideas likeâ¨naming files or folders properly, or more substantial tasks like writingâ¨high-quality meeting recaps."
Wendy Pike, president of Twist office products, said she searches for employees who can be depended on consistently to get the job done. "As an employer, we need to be able to count on our employees toâ¨show up on time and do the work we are paying them to do," Pike said.
In today's workplace, communication is the skill of utmost importance, said Charley Polachi, co-founder and partner at Polachi Access Executive Search. "You must have communication skills that allow you to succinctly and effectively contribute your thoughts," Polachi said. "An effective communicator leaves no room for error and can exhibit thoughts in a direct manner."
Time and time again, conscientiousness proves itself to be among the top indicators of job performance, said Lynda Zugec, managing directorâ¨of The Workforce Consultants. "Make sure you pay attentionâ¨to the details," Zugec said. "Spelling and grammatical errors, lost and misplaced files, orâ¨general disorganization have the potential to make or break you."
Don't cheat! Before you read on, choose your favorite marshmallow bit from Lucky Charms from the list below:
Those oat bits
Okay. Have you got one in mind? Now you can read on. And don't change it! Amazing new study shows that your favorite Lucky Charms marshmallow bit shape determines what you're like in bed! Yes, it's true -- just take this simple test to determine your true bedroom personality:
If your favorite Lucky Charms marshmallow shape is the green clover, you're a happy-go-lucky type in bed. You don't take anything too seriously in the bedroom or elsewhere and always manage to have a good time, even if you have someone else with you. You don't have any patience with depressed people and tend to sit on them until they cheer up.
If your favorite marshmallow shape is the blue diamond, your thoughts in bed are mostly about what you'll get later. "If he really enjoys this, will he buy me that mink coat?" is probably what's going through your mind. People who like blue diamonds have a notebook of preprinted fill-in-the-blank palimony suit forms and are the people most likely to file their nails while in bed.
If your favorite shape is the orange star, you expect to be the center of attention in bed. You expect your partner to spend most of his time pleasing you and when you do something for them, you expect an enthusiastic response if not applause. People who like orange stars often have mirrors over their beds. They often call out their own names.
If you like pink hearts, you're the romantic type. You like your partner to whisper romantic phrases into your ear and, if they're too distracted to form coherent phrases, you'll settle for romantic syllables. People who like pink hearts read most of the romance novels published and are turned on by people wearing armor.
If purple horseshoes are your thing, your tastes are modern, uninhibited, and somewhat warped. You like variety in the bedroom, especially when you can include props. Be careful when going out on a picnic with anyone who likes purple horseshoes--she's/he's likely to pin you down with croquet hoops when you're not looking and who knows what could happen next?
If you're the yellow moon type, you're more interested in satisfying your partner's needs than your own. You prefer to lie back and wait for your partner to jump on you and express her/his needs verbally or nonverbally. People who like yellow moons usually own several pairs of props just in case someone should ever want to use on them. Keep your eyes open for anyone who eats all the yellow moons out of her cereal as soon as they opens the box.
Those little oat bits that aren't marshmallows at all.
If you prefer the little oat bits, you probably not romantic anyway. People who prefer the oat bits usually become accountants, librarians who work at the reference desk, or government employees; these people like to chow down on a big bowl brimming with oat bits before a tough day of protesting suggestive lyrics in rock music. People who like oat bits have more time to spend writing letters to the editor than any other type.
You don’t have to be a teenager to experience the angst-inducing effects of acne. Thankfully there are several at-home remedies you can easily put together to help soothe your skin and combat a dreaded breakout.
Dr. Agnes is the founder of AcnEase, a unique provider of alternative and complementary health care solutions in the U.S and global marketplace. According to Dr. Agnes, scientists have found that cocoa can contain more antioxidants per cup than red wine or green tea.
There is also data suggesting that regular eating (or drinking) of dark chocolate without sugar (or strong dark chocolate-based cocoa [without sugar]) can calm skin that’s been irritated by sun exposure, and in general, improve skin texture, hydration and appearance. Cocoa butter is actually a familiar additive to many cosmetic products such as body butters, creams or scrubs.
She notes that, in general, chocolate and chocolate-based products are good natural choices to improve your skin. It will act as a moisturizer (makes skin smoother and more supple); calm irritated, dry skin; promote rejuvenation from inside out and help detoxification.
Dr. Agnes' Chocolate Skin Wrap
Keep in mind that the Chocolate Skin Wrap is not recommended for people with active severe acne. It is, however, recommended for people with acne scars and marks or who have dry and irritated or tired skin.
Dr. Agnes says that chocolate has highly firming and nourishing qualities, so if you want to firm your neck and chest, here is a simple (and a bit messy) way to do it. Make sure your skin is clean before applying this wrap.
Unsweetened dark or semi-dark chocolate (the amount depends on the size of the area to cover)
2 teaspoons light cream
Melt the chocolate on the stove over low heat, and continue to stir until completely melted. The amount to use depends on the size of the area to cover.
Add a teaspoon or two of light cream to the chocolate, until you reach a smooth consistency (think ketchup and not mayo).
Allow the mixture to cool so that it is just warm and no longer hot.
Smear the mixture on your neck and chest, and leave it on for about 20 minutes. As you wait, relax, and maybe put a chamomile compress over your eyes.
Rinse the wrap off in the shower, or wash it off with tepid water and a soft cloth.
Aspirin-Lemon Juice Acne Paste
Much less expensive than over-the-counter or high-end salon treatments, this DIY aspirin acne paste can be effective in clearing up a blemish. This treatment comes from Dr. Oz and is easy to make with a few ingredients you have at home.
Aspirin contains salicylic acid, also included in many acne treatments where it acts as a chemical peel to reduce acne and scarring. The lemon juice in this paste can work as an exfoliant to get rid of dry or dead skin, and the baking soda acts as a neutralizer to the acid. Simple to make, give this one a try.
Keep in mind that if you are allergic to aspirin, you should not use this treatment. Also, before applying the paste to your face, first test it on your inner arm where you skin is more sensitive, to help ensure you can tolerate the ingredients. Don’t forget to first wash your face to remove any dirt or makeup.
If you feel any discomfort after applying the paste, immediately rinse it off with the baking soda and water solution. After using the paste, you may find your skin becomes a bit dry. Use an SPF moisturizer in your skin care routine to help eliminate any dryness.
6-12 non-coated aspirin
1/8-1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Combine six to 12 non-coated aspirin with just enough lemon juice to cover them (about 1/8 of a teaspoon juice for six aspirin).
Combine the water and baking powder in a small bowl, and set aside.
Let the aspirin dissolve in the juice, and then mix it to form a thin paste.
Apply the paste to the area where your blemish is, and allow it to sit for a few minutes.
Remove the paste with a cotton ball dipped in a solution of baking soda and water.
Soothing Oatmeal Paste
Talk about a simple solution! This DIY soothing oatmeal paste couldn’t be easier to make, and it can do wonders for your skin. Not only is oatmeal good to eat, but it’s good for your skin, too. Oatmeal can reduce the redness from acne and help soothe inflammation on your skin. You’ll find many over-the-counter skin care treatments that include oatmeal in the ingredients. It’s been used for years to treat irritated skin, dry skin and even as a natural remedy for acne.
Before you apply the paste, pull your hair back away from your face and wash your face to remove any dirt or makeup.
1/4 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup boiling water
Grind the rolled oats in a food processor or grinder.
Boil the water.
Mix the rolled oats and the hot water in a small bowl to form a thick paste.
Important: Allow the mixture to cool completely before applying it to your skin. When cool, apply the mixture to your face. Leave it on for about 10 minutes, and then rinse it off with warm water and a soft washcloth.
In yet another sign of the times searching for your car keys may be as foreign as a pager; ironically thanks to the same invention that ended the pager's reign...the cell phone. Actually your smart phone.
The American Automobile Association predicts smartphone apps will replace traditional car keys and it may be sooner than you think. Some cars already use electronic keys and fobs and the AAA thinks this technology is simply paving the way for phones to take over, reports the Los Angeles Times.
Already in the technology club are Chevrolet and Nissan, both which already have mobile apps that can be used to monitor and control certain car functions. Hyundai also unveiled plans for a smartphone that can work with a vehicle to perform some functions as well.
“Traditional car keys will likely become obsolete and be replaced by technologies offering even greater security and convenience,” John Nielsen, AAA director of automotive engineering and repair told the L.A. Times. “Motorists will need to adapt with the technology to avoid the hassle and expense of smart key replacements.”
Voicemail is such a handy feature of cell phones, but not all messages are welcome. Here is a list of the 10 most annoying type of voicemails.
1. The Marathon Message
The extremely long voicemail that never ends
2. The Death March
Leaving a phone number at the end of a long voicemail. If you missed it, you now have to listen through the entire message just to get the phone number.
3. The Screaming Eagle
The voicemail left in a noisy bar or as a fire truck is passing by
4. The Drunken Dispatch
The classic drunk-dial voicemail
5. Voicemail Interrupted
As the person is leaving the voicemail, they stop in the middle to have a conversation with someone else, or answer another call before they return to finish the message
6. The Misguided Message
A person or telemarketer leaves a message for you that was actually intended for someone else
7. Voicemail Incognito
The anonymous voicemail, where the caller assumes you can identify their voice
8. The Dehydrated Dispatch
Any voicemail left by someone with a bad hangover
9. One Way Wonder
When a person thinks they are speaking to you, but actually talking to your voicemail
10. The Pocket Dialer
The person that accidentally calls you because the phone is in their pocket or purse and isn't key-locked, leading to an endless soundtrack of them walking down the street, driving, or having a conversation with someone else
Think that you aren't sophisticated enough or don't fit in the right income bracket to enjoy wine-tasting? Think again. These tips will help you fake your way through a wine-tasting session -- or develop a lifelong hobby. Supplies? All you really need is a good wine glass, some wine, and preferably some good company.
Glasses - Obviously if you are at a wine-tasting party or tasting the wares at a winery you won't be bringing your own glass, but when you decide that it is time to get your own wine glasses, first look for a clear glass -- you definitely want to be able to see the color, especially as a beginner. Your glass should curve in a bit at the top so you can swirl it without spilling. Some companies try to sell glasses that are supposedly matched to certain wine types, but taste tests have shown that people rarely prefer wine from its matching glass. Instead, a good hand-blown crystal glass is often preferred.
Wines - The two main types of wine are red and white. Red wines are made from black grapes fermented with skins and pips. Red wine can be dry or sweet. Some of the more well-known reds are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, and Sangiovese. These names refer to the types of grapes which the wines are made from, and there are about 40 major types of grapes used for red wine. Wine regions have standards as to what percentage of a wine must be a single sort of grape to be classified by that grape used for its creation - in California it must be 75 percent, while in Alsace, France, it must be 100 percent. Many wines, however, are a combination of different varietals, the term that refers to a single grape wine. White wines can be made from either white or black grapes.
There are more than 50 major white grapes grown round the world -- the three most prevalent are Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chardonnay. White wine is usually considered to be more refreshing than red wine because most are best served chilled. There are a number of other wine types. Pink wines include Blush types and Rose (pronounced row-zay). Blush originated in California and is usually made using Zinfandel grapes with the peels left in for a time and then removed. Rose is processed as an unfinished red, but tastes refreshing like a white, with some of the flavors of a red.
Sparkling wines and Champagne are sometimes produced by the same method, but only those made in the north of France are allowed to be called Champagne. Sparkling wines are created by adding yeast and sugar to table wine. The so called Methode Champenoise, also known as the Classic Method, is painstaking, and cheaper bubbly is usually mass-produced using a slightly different method.
There are a few types of "dessert wines." Port starts as a wine fermented from 40 or so types of grapes. The must - byproducts of fermentation -- is poured off after a short period of fermentation, and then the young wine is re-barreled for a year or two before being bottled. Port usually requires 15-20 years of bottle aging, and then it is a sweet, fortified wine often taken with cheese and nuts. Madeira is fortified with alcohol and then heated, either artificially or by storing in a hot attic. Originally, Madeira was created by being shipped -- back when shipping meant in the hull of a ship -- through the tropics, where it was heated.
Sherry is a blended wine that is also fortified. Extra room is left in the barrel and special yeast is added. Fruit wines are fermented from other fruit besides grapes. Common fruits used include raspberries, blackberries, cranberries, blueberries, or cherries. Fruit wines have a monster-sized taste, partly due to the large amount of fruit used to create them. They are usually fermented in cold conditions, which helps preserve the natural fruit flavors. Fruit wines are especially good with dessert and are sometimes used in sauteacute;ing or other cooking.
If you are hosting a wine-tasting party, there are more supplies that you will need to have. Be sure to have water available for people who get thirsty and those who want to cleanse their palates. Snacks are important. Provide snacks that either complement the wines or cleanse the palate. Snacks also help ensure that people won't become too intoxicated. There are a number of different types of tasting parties, some of which are quite expensive, but which could also be as cheap as $15 per person. If you're going to serve dinner, wait until after the tasting session.
Tasting Technique -- Some of you out there might be asking, "What technique can there be to tasting something? Put it in your mouth and taste it!" First of all, you're right. There are some wine snobs who will say that there isn't much point in drinking some wines, and they'll point to rating guides saying that you should drink wine with a certain rating to cultivate your taste for fine wines" Drink wine that you like, not what other people tell you that you ought to like.
There are three stages to wine-tasting: Look, smell, and taste.
Look. Pour yourself a small amount of wine, perhaps an inch or so. Hold your glass up to the light or against a white background and observe the color. Red wines can be lighter or pale reds, but they also range to brownish red and purple. White wines are usually greenish or brownish and typically gain color with age. The tint observed at the "rim" allows expert tasters to judge the age of the wine - a purplish rim might be a younger wine while older wine usually has an orange or brown rim tint. Swirl the wine and see what sort of body the wine has. Also called the "legs," body refers to the viscosity. A more mature wine will have more body.
Smell. Swirl the wine and hold your glass to your nose. Some tasters prefer taking on deep whiff while others will take a small whiff for the impression followed by a deeper impression. Either way, pause to get a good impression of the smell before moving on to the actual tasting stage. The aroma, also called the "nose" or "bouquet," should remind you of things that you might smell in nature.
The smell usually correlates with the taste, and wines might smell fruity, earthy, woodsy, or spicy, or any number of combination of things. Try closing your eyes and imagining yourself someplace else -- perhaps in the middle of an outdoor market. What is it that this wine's smell makes you think you might be standing near? Most good wines have a pleasant flavor in both smell and taste, though some wines -- even some good ones -- don't really have a nose at all.
Taste. Take a sip and swish it around your mouth -- front to back and side to side, and you might even want to breathe in a bit. While your taste buds aren't really separated out on different areas of your tongue, swishing helps you utilize all of your taste buds. The initial taste may be a bit different than the overall impression you get after swishing, and another important aspect of taste is the aftertaste. In France they even have a rating system for aftertaste -- if the aftertaste lasts for 1 second, it is given 1 caudalie; 2 seconds is given 2 caudalie, and so on. Highly rated wines often leave the strongest and longest aftertaste. Balance is the key to the taste of a wine. The four main components to the taste of a wine are sweetness, acidity, tannin, and alcohol content. If the wine is unbalanced in one of these areas, then it will be noticeable.
The sweetness will probably be the first thing that you notice about the taste -- especially if it is particularly sweet or particularly bitter. To think about acidity, consider the difference between drinking milk, water, orange juice, and grapefruit juice. Acidity makes the wine taste crisp, but if it is overly acidic it will have a bit too much of a punch. Tannin can also be a bitter sort of a flavor, and it comes from stalks and skins of red grapes. Tannin is present in strong black tea and are most notable in young wines. The tannin flavor tends to mellow as wine ages. Alcohol content will make the wine range from a sweet flavor to the fiery taste that accompanies higher alcohol content.
Another characteristic to consider when tasting a wine are to feel the body of the wine in your mouth. Is it more or less viscous? Think about the fruitiness of the wine and try to compare different wine flavors to different fruits. What is the overall impression of the wine? Do you like it initially or not? There are times when tasters will spit out the wine that they are tasting instead of swallowing. Typically this is only done when tasting a very large number wines, or if you happen to be a professional tester or are participating in a wine review of some sort, in which case, keeping a clear and level head may be important.
Note taking - I know none of us want to go back to high school, but taking notes is beneficial to all wine-lovers, not just professional tasters. Having a collection of notes on different types of wines can help you select a good wine at a restaurant, or bring a good wine home to have when you invite the boss over for dinner. There are some particular methods of note-taking for wine-tasting, and some websites or books offer questionnaires that can be used to evaluate wines. There are special terms that some wine-tasters use, but especially at first, simply writing down things that the wine flavor or aroma remind you of might be the best that you can do. Write down your reactions to the various stages of testing - look, smell, and taste.
Recording your overall impression is important - if you don't like a wine, you can try a different one the next time. Perhaps write down some foods that you think that particular wine would be good with, and then you can check back in your notes when deciding what to serve with a particular dinner.
Wine Etiquette - There are a few things that you ought to know before serving wine, and likewise there are also a few bits of etiquette that you would do well to know before attending a wine-tasting event.
Serving wine - The right temperature for serving wine varies from wine to wine, and different people prefer different wines at different temperatures. Generally, folks prefer red wines around 65 degrees F, white or Rose wines closer to 55 degrees, and Champagne or sparkling wines are generally preferred around a chill 45 degrees F. Each variety of wine tastes a little different at different temperatures. You might want to include in your notes at what temperature you taste wines. To chill the wine, fill a bucket with ice and cover the ice with water. Submerge the bottle in the bucket.
To go from room temperature to the proper temperature, put red wine in for about 5 minutes, white wine for 10 minutes, and Champagne for 15 minutes. Some people (not wine snobs, usually) even toss an ice cube or two in a glass of wine to chill it quickly. Spend a minute learning how to pop the cork properly. Don't bend it. Pour the cork out with about an ounce of wine to remove any debris from the cork and to check the wine out. Some folks prefer to decant the wine to remove any other particles that have settled out of the wine.
Keep in mind also that it is usually recommended to allow red wines to "breathe" for an hour or so before serving. Breathing the wine for two long, however, will cause the wine to taste dull and flat.
When pouring, don't touch the bottle neck to the glass and hold the bottle around the body instead of the neck. You can hold a napkin below the neck to catch dripping if you prefer. Fill the glass no more than two-thirds full, though preferably to only about half full. If there is leftover wine and you can't convince anyone to finish it off, you can save what wine is left, but don't just re-cork the bottle.
Find a small container - small to the point where the wine might be overflowing from it (perhaps a small, 375 mL wine bottle). In fact, when you close the container, whether with a cork or a plug or a lid of some sort, there should be a little bit of spillover. Because the main issue with saving wine is keeping it away from oxygen, doing this will prevent oxidation from happening. Store this container in the refrigerator, and it should keep for about a week without becoming too stale.
If you’re tired of the same old dog toys and other run-of-the-mill dog products, you’re in for a treat. Here are some of the most innovative dog products around that are exciting for your dog and for you.
Hear Doggy Toy
Have you ever wanted to throw your dog’s annoying squeaker toy out the window after hearing it squeak one too many times? There’s no need with a Hear Doggy toy because its squeaker is silent for humans, that is. Only dogs can hear the squeaker that’s tuned to an ultrasonic range in the 24-28 KHz frequency, making it fun for your pup and perfect for when you don’t want to hear a thing. Oh, and they’re cute? (republicofpaws.com, $12)
Dog treat maker
If your dog loves to eat just as much as you like to cook, then the Sunbeam Dog Treat Maker is going to be your dog’s new best friend (well, after you, of course). Four soft dog bone-shaped treats are just minutes away with this treat maker that functions like a waffle iron for dogs. The best part is that you can whip up delicious dog treats with ingredients you have around the house. Treat your dog daily or on special occasions. He’ll love you more for it! (sunbeampets.com, $30)
Dog Water Bottle
How many times have you wasted water when out walking your dog on a hot day? Cupping your hands to make a bowl for your dog to drink from isn’t easy! Or what about watering the grass as you try to give your dog water from your own water bottle? The Dog is Good water bottle has come to the rescue! Designed with a stainless steel roller ball to help control the flow of water, this is one water bottle that will become a summer walk must-have. And what else? You can also unscrew the top and flip it over — it turns into a cup! (dogisgood.com, $20)
Tagg Pet Tracker
If your pet has a habit of getting lost, a Tagg Pet Tracker is just the thing to keep tabs on your wandering furry family member. Just put the tracker on your pet’s collar and track his whereabouts from your computer or mobile device at any time. And not only does it track your pet’s movements, but it also keeps an eye on his well being. With a built in activity tracker, this inventive product is one that will help you be proactive when it comes to your pet’s health. (pettracker.com, $99)
Every dog owner knows nothing is worse than carrying around a plastic bag of smelly dog poop, and it’s even worse when you run into someone you know and are standing there with your dog’s waste in your hand! But fear not, because PoopPac has come to the rescue with a stylish, lightweight case for those pesky plastic bags. Aside from concealing your dog’s waste, it also neutralizes the odor with an activated charcoal filter — and it’s machine washable. Grab one in your pup’s favorite color, and trust us, no one will know what’s inside! (pooppac.com, $30)
Subscription boxes are hugely popular right now — from beauty to fitness to men’s items and more. So why should your pup miss out? Let him join in the monthly fun with BarkBox, a box of carefully selected dog goodies such as toys, bones, hygiene products and more delivered right to your door. And really, who doesn’t love receiving mail? Something that sets BarkBox apart from the rest is that a portion of the proceeds from each box goes to dogs in need. We give that two paws up! (barkbox.com, $18/month and up)
It's always been a topic of debate. You eat a meal and suddenly feel woosy afterwards. Is it something you ate or are you getting sick?
One way many people try to figure out if it was food poisoning or a tummy bug is to look back and remember if they ate something six to 12 hours before that was a likely culprit, such as cream-based foods, mayonnaise-based salads, meat items that weren’t cooked thoroughly, or sprouts or vegetables from a salad bar. If other family members are sick but did not eat the same foods, however, you’re likely looking at a bout of gastroenteritis.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 76 million Americans get food poisoning every year, while viral gastroenteritis is a leading cause of severe diarrhea in both adults and children.
Many types of viruses can be the culprit, including norovirus and rotavirus, most common in children and elderly adults living in nursing homes.
About 12 hours after coming in contact with the virus
4-6 hours after eating tainted food. Serious strains like E. coli can crop up 24 hours later, though.
Duration of symptoms
Drink clear liquids—Pedialyte, Gatorade or fruit juice with a pinch of salt to help replace lost electrolytes and prevent dehydration. Try an anti-nausea/ anti-diarrhea medication like Imodium.
After 24-48 hours start the BRAT diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, toast), which can help bind you up.
Drink plenty of fluids to help flush out your system and expel the toxins. Skip anti-diarrhea medication unless you have to leave the house, and then take the lowest possible dose. You want the body to expel the toxins, not stop them up.
Arsenicum alb is a popular homeopathic remedy to reduce symptoms in both cases.
Colocynth, known as bitter apple helps with cramps, nausea and accompanying symptoms, and wind flower can be used to relieve vomiting associated with gastroenteritis.
Drink ginger tea as ginger is loaded with anti-inflammatory compounds that quell nausea.
Try 300-500 mg. of Andrographics twice a day, a Chinese herb that can eliminate symptoms. Or try a few drops of the South American herb Dragon’s Bloodto help restore intestinal balance.
When to see the doctor or head to the ER
After 3 days with no improvement, or if you have a high fever over 102 F, if you’re dehydrated, are passing blood or having seizures.
If you’re still sick after 48 hours or passing blood, you should see the doctor right away.
The most important thing with both is to stay hydrated. The instinct is to not bother drinking because things are coming up both ends, but you must force down fluids regardless, stresses Dr. Patricia Raymond, fellow of the American College of Gastroenterology and associate professor of clinical internal medicine at Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, Va. Most people come to the ER totally dehydrated and at that point you’ll need IV fluids.
“For both of them you should also practice stringent hand washing,” Raymond says. You can spread germs whether your illness is bacterial or viral. Plus, if you suspect food poisoning and you think the trigger food was eaten at a restaurant, you should notify your physician because it may affect other patrons.
Of course, if you're taking prescription medicines or have a chronic health condition, check with your doctor before self-treating with over-the-counter or natural remedies.
And it doesn’t hurt to use a good probiotic once you’ve recovered, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, which can help restore your digestive tract to normal more quickly after a bout of either of these tummy troubles.
Some days are better than others when it comes to saving money. Here is SmartMoney's advice on what to buy on which days:
Appliances: Prices for washers, dryers, ovens and refrigerators are about 1 percent to 2 percent cheaper on Sundays, which works out to about $10 saved on a mid-range model.
Groceries: While most grocery stores publish their weekly sales circular on Wednesdays, Sunday is the best day to shop. Clip coupons from Sunday's newspaper for more savings.
Personal Care Items: You'll find the best deals on toothpaste and deodorant at the drugstore chains on Sundays. You must go early to get the best deals.
Skirts and Dresses: Skirts sell, on average, for 77 percent off the retail price, while dresses are discounted, on average, 54 percent.
Cars: Cars are cheapest on Mondays as dealerships are more willing to negotiate. This holds true whether weekend sales were lackluster and they want to makeup for that or whether weekend sales were robust and they want to continue it.
Electronics: Computers, televisions, digital cameras and even video games are between 2 percent and 4 percent cheaper on Mondays.
Airfares: Since most domestic fares are posted on Monday evening, there is a scramble Tuesday morning to match prices. The number of cheap seats peaks at about 3 p.m. on Tuesday.
Clothing: Both brick-and-mortar stores and online retailers tend to begin their weekend sales on Thursday. You'll find the best deals and the most in-stock items. However, there are exceptions. See Monday.
Books: Books are 11 percent cheaper on Saturdays; they are priced at their highest on Fridays.
Spring it just around the corner; actually 12 days from the official start (March 20) and that's when I'm bitten by the spring clean bug. Although we don't have long dreary winters we can still use spring as a timetable for a deep clean of your home. But it's a hard sell considering cleaning isn't a fun chore. So how about breaking it into a week and only spend 10 minutes a day! Now you're talkin'! Here's a guide from SheKnows.com on how to spring clean your home in steps (while getting the weekend off).
We can probably all agree that cleaning bathrooms is the worst, so let's get it over with first thing. Spend 10 minutes clearing off the countertops, cleaning the mirrors, scrubbing the toilets and polishing the sinks. We understand that if you have more than one bathroom it could be difficult to complete all this times three, so don't stress. If time runs out and you want to clean them all, go for it. If not, clean a different bathroom next week.
Assuming you keep up with dishes on a semi-daily basis this should be a cinch! So for this 10-minute cleanup, we're going to go a little deeper. Scrub the countertops, sweep and mop the floor, clean the outside of the refrigerator, and scrub the sink and oven top.
Wednesday: Living room
This is most likely going to be the messiest and most-used room in the house, so organization is key! Anything that doesn't belong in the living room should be placed in a box for later. If you go from room to room putting things away, your 10 minutes will be up before you even begin. Next, dust the blinds, television, end tables, coffee table and bookshelves, including photo frames and miscellaneous knickknacks. Brush off the couch, fluff all cushions and straighten any pillows or blankets. Finally, do a quick vacuum of the room.
Thursday: Master bedroom
Your bedroom is your sanctuary, so we want to do a good job of keeping this room clean. Start by throwing the sheets and pillowcases in the washer. Spend the next few minutes hanging up or folding any clothing that's out of place. Quickly vacuum the carpet (three minutes) and dust furniture and bookshelves (two minutes). Once the sheets have been washed and dried, make the bed as neatly as possible, including fluffing the throw pillows and placing them on their appropriate spots on the bed. There's nothing like crawling into a freshly made and washed bed at the end of a long day.
Friday: Kids' rooms
Since these rooms are consistently a mess, we saved them for last. Now, since it's Friday, we recommend having the kids do this so you can relax with your sweetie in peace for a few moments. Make it fun for them by setting the timer and having them clean their rooms as best as they can in 10 minutes. Celebrate by having their favorite dinner or watching their favorite movie that night. Kids are more inclined to clean if it's a race against the clock (and if there's a reward at the end)!
Here's a checklist:
Clear off countertops
Sweep and mop floors
Clean outside of refrigerator
Scrub sink and oven top
Wednesday: Living room
Place items that don't belong in the room in a box
Dust blinds, end tables, coffee table, television and bookshelves
Starting April 1, 2013, health care provider Orlando Health will implement a tobacco-free hiring rule that requires testing of all job applicants for nicotine use. And no, it is not an April Fool's prank.
The company will rescind job offers to applicants who test positive for cotinine, a byproduct of nicotine, though the workers can reapply in 180 days. Orlando Health will study applicants' levels of cotinine to determine if they are smokers or if they have simply been exposed to secondhand smoke.
Orlando Health says the policy will not apply to volunteers, students or contractors offered a job before April 1 or existing employees being grandfathered in under a tobacco-free policy. The health care provider operates Orlando Regional Medical Center, MD Anderson Cancer Center Orlando, Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies, the Howard Phillips Centers, Dr. P. Phillips Hospital, South Seminole Hospital and Health Central Hospital.
The policy will also ban workers from using tobacco products during their shifts, even if they leave the office, and will prevent tobacco use in company vehicles and on company grounds. Additionally, the move will encourage current tobacco users at the company to quit, providing tools and incentives such as access to classes, programs and monetary support for quitting.
"Our new tobacco-free hiring rule reinforces our culture of prevention and wellness for team members, patients and the central Florida community," said Christy Pearson, COO of human resources at Orlando Health. "It is our way of leading by example and serving as a community role model for good health behaviors."
Pearson said the company considers it a responsibility to improve public health by encouraging smoking cessation. "Our goal with both these efforts is not to exclude anyone who is qualified and interested in pursuing a career with Orlando Health," she said. "It is to promote and encourage the cessation of all tobacco use."
The move may help keep workers healthy, and employment lawyers say it may also become a trend in the hiring process.
"This is the first I’ve heard of an employer testing applicants or employees for by-products of tobacco use," said Rodney Bean, a leader of the Labor and Employment Practice Group at Steptoe and Johnson. "But it is the natural consequence of the anti-tobacco movement across the country, and I imagine many employers are considering this."
Maya Risman, a lawyer with the law offices of Maya Risman, says that many employers around the country already use the policy.
"I would say that this trend is occurring and is likely to become more commonplace than rare, seeing that legislatures have taken an antagonistic approach toward smoking and smokers in general," said Risman.
Though the practice may be increasing, employers should check twice before implementing such policies in order to avoid doing something illegal in the hiring process.
"The legality of the act of hiring and/or firing a prospective employee or current employee depends on the jurisdiction [in which] the employee is employed," said Risman. "According to the American Lung Association, 29 states have laws protecting employees from discrimination simply based on their smoking habits.
"In general, smoking isn't a protected right and does not provide the same safeguards as being an individual in a protected class such as age, gender, race, national origin, religion, etc. In my opinion, anytime a company attempts to regulate an employee's private life, that in no way has an impact on their employment, per se [regulating non-criminal activity], it invites a slippery-slope argument."
Dating ain't what it used to be. There are all kinds of cliche dating "rules" that get tossed around in conversation, but are they really worth following? Thanks to books, TV shows, and movies like He's Just Not That Into You, it's easy to get caught up in the supposed dos and don'ts of communication, emotions, and timing. But before you convince yourself that there's a template for every relationship, take a look at these common dating myths, debunked:
1. Wait To Respond
There's something to be said for playing hard to get every once in a while, but that doesn't mean you need to let hours pass before you text him/her back. Instead, communicate with the people you date in the same way you'd communicate with friends to avoid any unnecessary games.
2. Never Mention Your Ex
While exes don't need to come up in every conversation, it's OK to talk about past relationships as a way to get to know each other's dating history. Steer clear of awkward or uncomfortable specifics, but feel free to be honest about who you are, who you've been with, and what you've learned from past loves.
3. Don't Be Emotional
Putting up a few walls can be necessary sometimes, but it's not healthy to regularly hide your feelings in a relationship. Aim for open, honest conversation, and know that it's OK to experience negative emotions, too.
4. Always Offer To Split The Bill
Every situation is different, so know when to pitch in and when to let yourself be treated. If your date insists on paying, then it's polite to offer to help, but you don't always need to reach for your wallet.
5. Make It About Them
It's true that people like to talk about themselves, but try not to be so selfless that your own needs or interests are ignored. To build a relationship that's based on equal footing, strive for balance and compromise when it comes to conversation, dates, and responsibilities.
6. Downplay Your Interest
If you're worried about caring "too much," don't be. There's nothing wrong with falling for someone, and when it feels right, chances are caring "too much" will feel like just enough.
7. Take It Slow
Every relationship moves at its own pace, so don't feel like you have to force a specific timeline. When it comes to love, follow your instincts, and stay true to what feels right to you.
Whether it's a co-worker, neighbor, or best friend, each of us occasionally encounters someone who talks too much. If you feel like cringing or feel the need to escape when you are with someone, you may need to set boundaries to help preserve the relationship.
It could be the long-time friend you meet for lunch who speaks continuously without allowing you to get a word in edgewise. Or it could be a chatty colleague who always seems to "over-share" too much personal information (TMI) — stuff you really would prefer not to hear or know about.
If it's someone that you can't easily delete from your address book — or your life — it can be pretty awkward figuring out what to say and how to say it.
Short of avoiding the individual entirely or blowing him/her off in a moment of frustration or anger, here are five strategies for handling someone who talks too much with as much grace as possible while maintaining your own sense of self-respect and dignity:
We are all taught to be polite and not interrupt. But if someone is delivering a soliloquy, it's perfectly appropriate to interrupt. You can change the subject, ask a question, or suggest that you pause to look at the menu.
2) Have A Heart-To-Heart
If it's a really close friend whose friendship you treasure — and this seems to be the individual's persistent style — you may need to bite the bullet and simply say what's on your mind: "I'm frustrated that I never get a chance to speak." The individual may feel so pressured to speak that he/she is not even aware that the conversation is always totally one-sided. Don't be surprised: Some individuals may even need multiple or periodic reminders.
3) Don't Inadvertently Feign Too Much Interest
If you're bored, show some signs of discomfort, whether it's squirming in your seat or yawning. Don't encourage the individual by asking too many questions, maintaining a plastic smile, or uttering too many uh-huh's — any of these might suggest you are interested, pleased, or agreeing with what is being said. Don't be afraid to seize control of the situation and change the course of the conversation.
4) Dilute The Contact
Limit the amount of time you spend together. If it's a friendship you don't want to lose entirely, you may need to set boundaries regarding how often you see the person and/or for what length of time. For example, the next time you get together, you may want to come prepared with an exit strategy, like: I'm glad we could meet for lunch but I have an appointment I need to keep at 2PM.
You can to arrange to see the individual in a group, with other common friends, or arrange to participate in some activity together, like a movie, where there is built-in downtime from constant conversation.
5) Accept What You Can't Change
Remember that every person, including you, is a package of good traits and some not-so-good ones. If the other person is unwilling or unable to change, you may come to realize that he/she isn't a completely bad egg and there are reasons why you are willing to put up with this one negative aspect of his/her personality. In some small proportion of situations like this, neurobiological disorders may be at the root of incessant talking; in that case, you may want to cut your friend some slack and suggest that the person seek professional help.
Everyone experiences a bit of stress but when you maxed out your limit it can have serious consequences. Many of us are over stressed and out bodies have tall tale signs of being over the limit.
In his recent book, "On the Brink" (Business Plus, 2010), former Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson admits to getting so stressed out during the height of the 2008 financial meltdown that he would start to dry heave, sometimes in private and other times in front of Congressmen and staffers. He's not alone. Dry-heaving (or retching, in medical terminology) is one way that stress can rear its ugly head, more often as a sign of anxiety. Stress and anxiety can also trigger vomiting and a condition called "cyclic vomiting syndrome," a condition in which people experience nausea and vomiting over an extended period of time — often, starting at the same time every day. Dealing with anxiety-induced dry heaves or vomiting starts with getting plenty of rest and drinking water (vomiting can cause a loss of electrolytes), and then finding ways to calm down or eliminate the source of your stress, such as practicing walking meditation.
2. Hair loss.
There are multiple reasons that your hair could be falling out, from genetics to medications. But stress is one of them. Among the conditions associated with stress-induced hair loss is alopecia areata, an autoimmune disorder in which white blood cells attack hair follicles, causing hair to fall out. Another condition triggered by stress that has even more extreme results is called telogen effluvium, which is basically characterized by a sudden loss (up to 70 percent) of hair. This condition can be difficult to link to stress because the hair loss can occur months after a stressful event, for instance, a death in the family or childbirth, according to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology. However, the organization notes, it's usually a problem that corrects itself once the stressful event is over.
There is some debate as to whether nosebleeds are triggered by stress, but studies have shown that, in some cases, patients who experience nosebleeds get them after finding themselves in stressful situations. A 2001 article in the British Medical Journal suggests that this could have something to do with the spikes in blood pressure that are very common when you're stressed out. Keep your blood pressure in check by drinking hibiscus tea. Simply escaping the daily hubbub for a while to brew it could be enough to lower your stress levels a bit.
4. Memory loss.
If you notice you can't seem to remember the details you just discussed during a stressful meeting, it could be an effect of your shrunken hippocampus, says Jeffrey Rossman, PhD, psychologist and director of life management at Canyon Ranch in Lenox, Mass., and Rodale.com advisor. Chronic stress can expose the hippocampus, the area of the brain that controls your short-term memory, to excessive levels of the stress hormone cortisol. And that can inhibit your brain's ability to remember things. Dealing with the root cause of your stress is the best way to get your memory back, but until that happens, write down important bits of information and find other ways to supercharge your memory.
5. Weakened immunity.
Perhaps the most noticeable effect that stress has on your body is a weakened immune system, and that happens for a couple of reasons. First, stress triggers the release of catecholemines, hormones that help regulate your immune system; prolonged release of these hormones can interfere with their ability to do that. Second, says Rossman, stress shrinks your thymus gland, the gland that produces your infection-fighting white blood cells, and it damages telomeres, which are genes that help those immune cells reproduce. A good way to deal with stress and boost your immune system is to exercise; if you're so stressed out that you can't fit in those 30 minutes a day, try these other tricks for boosting immunity.
6. Excessive sweating.
Everyone knows that you sweat more when you're stressed out, but some people suffer from hyperhidrosis, excessive sweating, particularly of the palms and feet, says Rossman. Yoga and meditation can help reduce stress-related sweating, and if you think you might be suffering from hyperhidrosis, find a physician who specializes in the disorder. You may be helping more than just yourself. A study published last fall in the journal PLoS One found that stress sweat can give off certain signals that people around you can detect, possibly causing them to be stressed out as well, as a result.
If you have any of these symptoms please see your Doctor. No matter what the stress is caused from, your health isn't worth it!
Who would have though you needed a study guide on recycling! But you really do need some guidance in decoding those those triangle symbols with numbers. So consider this your bible of recycling plastics, paper, glass and metals. Here are what the numbers and symbols mean:
The recycling symbols for plastics are divided into seven categories. Generally, the higher the number, the more difficult it is for the material to be recycled. However, just because the product has a number on it doesn’t necessarily mean it can be recycled, nor that it’s eco-friendly. In fact, some elements of plastics — such as bisphenol-A, polystyrene and polyvinyl chloride — have been shown to have harmful effects on health and the environment.
1. Polyethylene terephthalate (PET)
Common products: Single-use plastic water bottles, soft-drink bottles
Recyclability: Widely accepted
2. High-density polyethylene (PE-HD)
Common products: Some retail plastic bags, some yogurt containers
Recyclability: Widely accepted
3. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)
Common products: Toys, some food containers/wraps, pipe
4. Low-density polyethylene (PE-LD)
Common products: Thin plastic bags, some plastic containers (e.g., soap dispensers)
Recyclability: Can be recycled, but check to make sure it’s accepted locally.
5. Polypropylene (PP)
Common products: Straws, soft-drink cups, some food containers
Recyclability: Can be recycled, but check to make sure it’s accepted locally.
6. Polystyrene (PS)
Common products: Styrofoam containers and cups
Recyclability: Sometimes accepted, but low demand for recycled Styrofoam has limited its acceptance.
Includes plastics not included in the previous six categories, including BPA, polycarbonate and bio-based plastics. Common products: Water bottles, food containers
Recyclability: Generally not recyclable, but bio-based plastics can sometimes be composted.
Most paper and cardboard products can be recycled. However, there are a few recycling exceptions, including paper towels, napkins and plastic-coated boxes. If a paper product can be recycled, it may or may not have one of the following symbols:
20 PAP: Cardboard
21 PAP: Mixed paper (often found in magazines, mail)
22 PAP: Paper (letter/printer paper, etc.)
Most commonly used glass products (e.g., jars and beverage containers) can be recycled, but for other items containing glass (e.g., electronics), check to see what’s accepted locally. Alternatively, reuse glass containers.
70 GL: Mixed glass
71 GL: Clear glass
72 GL: Green glass
Aluminum beverage cans are widely recycled. However, for other metal items, check to see what is accepted locally.
40 FE: Steel
41 ALU: Aluminum
When recycling isn’t eco-friendly
Recycling may always seem like a good idea, but the reality is that throwing certain items into the recycle bin will likely do more harm than good. When disposed of improperly, batteries, electronics and other materials can be hazardous to the environment and human health.
Here are a few symbols that indicate an item should never be tossed into the recycle bin (or the trash):
Keep in mind that many items, such as batteries and electronics, may not contain any of these symbols, but they should never be thrown away or recycled. Instead, check with your local sanitation department to see how hazardous waste should be disposed of in your area.
Recyclable vs. Recycled
The “three chasing arrows” icon is probably the most well-recognized recycling symbol. But just because a product has the universal recycling symbol on it doesn’t necessarily mean you should toss it in the recycle bin.
Some products feature the recycling symbol to denote that they are made from recycled content, and they can’t necessarily be recycled again. For instance, according to the EPA, paper can only be recycled five to seven times before it begins to degrade.
It is also important to distinguish between pre-consumer recycled content, which is made from manufacturer waste and hasn’t yet made it to the consumer, and post-consumer recycled content, which has been used, disposed of, and made into something else. If the product doesn’t say it was made from post-consumer recycled content, it probably wasn’t.
Although recyclable products aren’t necessarily compostable (and vice versa), more items may be compostable than you think. In fact, it is preferable to compost biodegradable plastic, because it may not degrade properly in oxygen-deprived landfills.
The symbol above is often used to mark products certified as compostable by the Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI). (Other symbols may be used to indicate compostability, especially outside the U.S.) But even if a product doesn’t have a symbol, it might still be compostable, so check BPI’s list of certified compostable products.
These guidelines are intended to be a starting point. When in doubt about whether to recycle, reuse or compost a particular item, be sure to contact your local sanitation department or visit Earth911.com for more information on what products can be recycled, and how to recycle them, in your area.
If you want your workday to be the most productive possible, carefully plan what you will do during the first hour at your desk. Fast Company reports that this is your best opportunity to do these three things: See everything clearly. Get one real task accomplished. Focus on the human side of work instead of your to-do list. If you're shaking your head, knowing your schedule is too hectic for such a productive first hour, you need to schedule an adult homeroom on your calendar --just like you had in high school. This is what you do in your grown-up homeroom period:
1. Do not check e-mail.
After all, if someone needs your attention urgently, you'll get a phone call or text. This frees up your time for the next two tasks below.
2. Be aware and be grateful.
Spend the first 10 minutes of your workday thinking about everything for which you are grateful. This includes gratitude for yourself, family, friends, your career, your life passions and more. Then visualize everything you want in your life--as if you already had it today.
3. Do the worst first.
Before you open your email, buckle down and get one task accomplished. It's even better if that one task can be something difficult or something you have dreaded doing. Just jump in and do it. (Think how great you'll feel when you leave work at the end of the day knowing that it's done!)
I can remember as a child how I despised nap time. I would whine and throw a fit when the kindergarten nap mats were pull out to the floor and the blinds were closed.
As I am older, I reminisce about a simpler time of life and what a fool I was in fighting the nap. There are many afternoons when a quick siesta would do a world of good. Now there is more science, research and employers who agree napping on the clock increases productivity. According to reports of a Harvard Medical School research project, people who completed a task and then slept on it were likely to complete the task more quickly when asked to try again.
Since Americans are logging longer hours at work than ever before, companies are becoming more lenient, even encouraging workers toward at-work napping. According to an employee benefits survey of 600 American companies conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management, 6% of workplaces had nap rooms in 2011, a slight increase from 5% the previous year. Even more suggestive, a 2011 poll of 1,508 adults by the National Sleep Foundation found that 34% of respondents say their employers allow them to nap at work, and 16% said their employers also have designated napping areas.
Most of these employer-sponsored nap programs are in the tech field, where worldwide customer demands mean long and odd hours. But if productivity is improved, why shouldn't the practice be expanded to more companies in more sectors?
"Over the last few years, there's been a lot of focus on exercise and nutrition, but adequate sleep is arguably the most important element of productivity," says Christopher Lindholst, co-founder of MetroNaps, which markets a napping chair called the EnergyPod to such companies as Google, Procter & Gamble, and Cisco Systems. The EnergyPod, which looks like Pacman with a really long tongue, boasts ergonomic support and a built-in music system with a headphone jack to eliminate background noise. "The EnergyPod is designed to provide some privacy, but it's typically installed in a common area so you create an environment of awareness and acceptance," says Lindholst. MetroNaps rents its EnergyPod for $795 per month.
So let's say your boss is on board for an afternoon nap at the office, what do you do next? How can you stop your mind from keeping you up? Use these tips from Mother Earth Network on how to power nap:
1. Early afternoon is the recommended time for a power nap.
Napping too late in the day can interfere with night time sleeping, which serves to defeat the purpose of giving your body what it needs to function optimally.
2. Keep it brief.
Napping beyond 40 minutes can result in a prolonged groggy feeling and undermine the reviving effects a 20-30 minute nap provides. See what works for you. For some people, anything beyond 10 minutes leaves them in too much of a haze.
3. A quiet setting with low light is optimum for a solid nap.
Although some businesses have EnergyPods, cocoon-like chairs with headphone jacks, where employees can crash and get revived mid-workday, most do not. However finding a space and a way to decompress for a few is a worthwhile endeavor. An unused office (or your own). Perhaps you will be the one to get a quiet/meditation-type space created in your office.
4. As counterintuitive as this may seem, having a cup of coffee just prior to napping can help bolster alertness.
It takes about 20 minutes for the caffeine effect to kick in, so it shouldn’t interfere with your sleep.
So here's to sleeping (only briefly) on the job! Have a great rest of the day and a wonderful weekend!