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  • Los Angeles provides no limit of things to do, some awesome and some not so awesome. Since time is precious in this fast paced city, we decided to curate a list of things to do in Los Angeles every week end thatll help you decide how you want to spend your limited supply of attention (not to mention dollars!).

    This weekend (Dec. 2 to Dec. 4) includes The Los Angeles International Tea Festival, a holiday marketplace at Grand Central Market, a Festival of Carols, Foodie Con, a Mac & Cheese Smackdown, and LOTS more to choose from.

    Enjoy!

    Grand Central Market. Photo by Neon Tommy via flickr cc

    Friday December 2nd, 2016

    1. Enchanted: Forest of Light at Descanso Gardenswill offer visitors a colorful one-mile path route through 10 distinct light displays at unique points within the garden. Happening nowthrough Jan. 8. Check forDiscount ticketsbefore making your purchase. DISCOUNTED(via Goldstar)

    2. The Griffith Observatory hosts a monthly forum where some of the most amazing phenomena in the known universe are explained and discussed. Its called All Space Considered and it takes place on the first Friday of every month.FREE

    3. The Contendersfilm series comes to The Hammer Museum this weekend. Curated by The Museum of Modern Art the films selected are new films believed to stand the test of time in influence.This weekend they will screen Nocturnal Animals followedbyaQ&A with Director Tom Ford.

    4. The Queen Marys signature winter attraction, CHILL, returns with a holiday theme ofAlice in Winterland,promising aninteractive and immersive experiences for the whole family to enjoy.Check for discounted ticketsall weekend before making your purchase.DISCOUNTED (via Goldstar)

    5. Sherman Oaks resident Mike Ziemkowski takes his Christmas decorating very seriously. ZiemkowskisLights on Displayis a beloved local tradition worth driving to. Startsnightly at 5 p.m.through the start of the new year. FREE

    6. L.A. Weekly Sips & Sweets will offer a bounty of the citys bestcocktails and desserts all under one roof at thePetersen Automotive Museum.Check for discounted ticketsall week before making your purchase.DISCOUNTED (via Goldstar)

    7. The folks at Quiet Clubbing are bringing their act to FIGat7th for a special holiday-inspired dance party this Friday. FREE

    8. Largest outdoor ice skating rink returns to Pershing Square for its 19th winter run. The 7,200 square-foot Holiday Ice Rink Pershing Square will be open every day of the holiday season through Jan. 16.

    9. LA Zoo Lights is back! Now in its third year, the after-hours event showcases animal-themed LEDs, lasers, 3D projections, and animated displays throughout the zoo. Happening all weekend.Check for discounted ticketsall week before making your purchase.DISCOUNT ED (via Goldstar)

    10. Harvest Festival Original Art & Craft Show comes to the Pomona Fairplex with a hugeselection of quality handmade arts and crafts just in time for the holiday shopping season.

    11. This Friday-Sunday you can get discount tickets toThrones!, a hilarious musical parody of Game of Thrones now playing at The Hudson Theatres in Hollywood. DISCOUNTED (via Goldstar)

    12. Theres a free classic Movie Screening Series at Union Stationthis Friday they will screen the noir classicToo Late for Tears. FREE

    13.Snow LosAngelesas arrived with L.A.s first-ever snow tubing park which also includes nine acres of winter wonderland featuring an hourly blizzard and a Giant Snowman Forest Light Show. Happening all weekend.

    14. Enjoy a little Christmas culture by grabbing discount tickets to the Westside Ballets production of The Nutcracker at The Broad Stage this Friday at 7 p.m. DISCOUNTED (via Goldstar)

    15. El Capitan Theatre will screen Disneys Moana. There will be a live concert of classic Disney music by The Side Street Strutters Jazz Band and a live appearance by Moana! Happening all week.DISCOUNTED (via Goldstar)

    16. The Groundlings Holiday Show pokes fun at the holidays with all-new sketches and some improvisation.

    17. Since it's the first Friday of the month check out all the cool events happening around townincluding block parties and art walks for First Fridays.

    18. Free admission daysthis Friday for:Norton Simon Museum (5 to 8 p.m.),Pasadena Museum of California Art (noon to 5 pm),Long Beach Museum of Art (3 8 p.m.)FREE

    19. Los Angeles International Tea Festival (Dec. 3-4) returns tothe Japanese American National Museum for a weekend of tea demos, classes, sample stations and retailers. Highlights include a Japanese tea ceremony, a panel on world tea origin, a tutorial on how to plan the perfect tea party, a tea and chocolate pairing, and much more.Check for discount ticketsbefore making your purchase. DISCOUNTED(via Goldstar)

    20. Take a step back in time during Heritage Square Museums 22nd Annual Lamplight Celebrationhappening Saturday and Sunday. Hosts will guide you through a1892 Victorian Thanksgiving to a 1915 Christmas celebration and end at a 1945 New Years Eve party.

    21. The 3rd Annual Holiday Marketplace at Grand Central Market (Dec. 3-4) is a culinary pop-up offering seasonal delicacies, live music, and of course a visit from Santa Claus himself. FREE

    22. On two special dates in December the Los Angeles Master Chorale will celebrate the 2016 holiday season with a Festival of Carols at The Walt Disney Concert Hall. This years program offers traditional favorites, new arrangements and rare gems, all curated by Artistic Director Grant Gershon.

    23. A Current Affair: Pop Up Vintage Marketplace returns to The Cooper Design House for a two-day shopping bonanza featuring some65 premier vintage retailers.

    24. The Los Angeles Harbor Holiday Afloat parade is back for its 54th edition with a special 2016 theme of Hollywood at the Harbor. FREE

    25. At Go Little Tokyo Holiday Marketplace you can shop for the holidays, enjoy live entertainment, workshops, demos, and special deals this Saturday and Sunday.

    26. Foodie Con posits itself as a sort of Comic-Con for foodies. In short, two full days of shopping, eating, drinking, sampling, and learning, all taking place at The Reef in DTLA. Make sure to check for discount tickets to the event while supplies last. DISCOUNTED (via Goldstar)

    27. Need a spot to find a few one-of-a-kind holiday gifts? Check out this weekends Unique LA Holiday Marketcoming to California Market Center. The $15 admission price includes unlimited re-entry all weekend long (both Saturday and Sunday.)

    28. Get a rare inside look into artist studios during Open Studios Art Studio Tours in Altadena. The self-guided tours are hosted by the Altadena Library this Saturday and Sunday. FREE

    29. Pasadena will host their annual Holidayfest featuring festive activities and promotions at 50+ local shops and restaurants along South Lake Avenue. FREE

    30. Check out over 60 independent makers, crafters, and chefs at this Saturdays Artisanal LA Holiday Market in Arcadia.

    31. The Electric Dusk Drive-In is back at a new location on Fletcher Street at the LACCD Van De Kamp college campus complete with an astroturf outdoor seating area. This weekend they will screen Home Alone.Check for discount tickets before making your purchase.DISCOUNTED(via Goldstar)

    32. A surprise special guestwill be doing stand-up at L.A.s legendary Comedy Store on the Sunset Strip this Saturday. DISCOUNTED(via Goldstar)

    33. Time Out LA is hosting a Mac &Cheese Smackdown featuring some of LAs best restaurants serving up everyones favorite comfort foodat Downtowns Bank of America Center Plazathis Sunday!

    34. Doing your holiday shopping on Sunday? The Mosaic Craft Fair in Alhambra will feature 80+ crafters and artists all on hand selling handmade unique goods.FREE

    35. Barnsdall Art Park in East Hollywood hosts their annual holiday salethis Sunday with sales of student and faculty work to benefit arts programming.

    36. The Great Rock and Roll Flea Market takes over The Regent Theater in DTLA on the first Sunday of every month with an impressive selection of vintage, music memorabilia, vinyl and much more.

    37. Ranger Ernie will lead an intermediate 5-mile hike to Cedar Grove in Griffith Park. FREE

    38. ICE at Santa Monicais back! Get into the winter spirit by going ice skating, sip on hot chocolate and listening to festive tunes. Happening now till Jan. 16, 2017.

    39. TheNASAs Pavilion sound experience is now of view at The Huntington Library. Asoundscape experience that represents the movement of the International Space Station and 19 Earth Science satellites the shell like sculpture emits sounds each interpreting one of the satellites missions.Open to the public till Feb. 27, 2017.

    40. Free admission daysthis Sunday for:Museum of Latin American Art and Craft and Folk Art Museum(pay what you can).

    Article by We Like LA.

    Search for your L.A. home now.

  • Inflatable, portable PhotonGrill cooks your food with nothing but the sun

    The barbecue of the future is here. Meet PhotonGrill, an inflatable 100 percent solar-powered grill that lets you ditch the charcoal for greener cooking. Perfect for camping and areas with fire bans, the lightweight, fire-free and fuel-free PhotonGrill is designed for portability and easily folds down to fit in a backpack. The best part? Its NASA-inspired technology is so efficient the grill reaches 500F in just five minutes.

    Recently launched on Kickstarter, the PhotonGrill is available at a discount for early bird backers and comes with a lightweight carrying case, solar-optimized pan, BBQ tongs, and an air pump. The portable and durable grill weighs only seven pounds and can easily be set up in just three minutes. A pot can also be attached for cooking. An optional add-on module will transform the PhotonGrill into a highly efficient power generator so you can charge your electronics with sun-powered electricity wherever you go.

    Heres how the PhotonGrill works: once fully inflated, the grill, made of lightweight plastic film, takes on the form of a reflective parabolic mirror that concentrates the energy contained in the rays of light into a small area, creating highly-localized energy thats powerful enough to cook with. The design team says the technology was based on experiments carried out by NASA in the 1960s

    By using heat to thermally deform the plastics polymers structure, the plastic is able to remember and transform into the desired parabolic shape when inflated, says the PhotonGrill team, who also claim the grill has 1,000 watts of power. Set atop a stable tripod, the parabolic mirror is made with highly robust polymer foils tested to ensure they can withstand all contingencies, even a large splash of boiling grease. PhotonGrill is looking to raise $111,964 on Kickstarter to bring the solar-powered grill to production.

    Courtesy of California Association of REALTORS. Click Here for Original article.

  • "The teachings on love given by the Buddha are clear, scientific, and applicable...Love, compassion, joy and equanimity are the very nature of an enlightened person. They are the four aspects of true love within ourselves and within everyone and everything." - Thich Nhat Hanh

    Happiness is only possible with true love. True love has the power to heal and transform the situation around us and bring a deep meaning to our lives. There are people who understand the nature of true love and how to generate and nurture it. The teachings on love given by the Buddha are clear, scientific, and applicable. Every one of us can benefit from these teachings.

    During the lifetime of the Buddha, those of the Brahmanic faith prayed that after death they would go to Heaven to dwell eternally with Brahma, the universal God. One day a Brahman man asked the Buddha, What can I do to be sure that I will be with Brahma after I die? and the Buddha replied, As Brahma is the source of Love, to dwell with him you must practice theBrahmaviharaslove, compassion, joy, and equanimity.

    A vihara is an abode or a dwelling place. Love in Sanskrit ismaitri; in Pali it ismetta. Compassion iskarunain both languages. Joy ismudita. Equanimity isupekshain Sanskrit andupekkhain Pali. The Brahmaviharas are the four elements of true love. They are called immeasurable, because if you practice them, they will grow in you every day until they embrace the whole world. You will become happier, and everyone around you will become happier, also.

    The Buddha respected peoples desire to practice their own faith, so he answered the Brahmans question in a way that encouraged him to do so. If you enjoy sitting meditation, practice sitting meditation. If you enjoy walking meditation, practice walking meditation. But preserve your Jewish, Christian, or Muslim roots. That is the way to continue the Buddhas spirit. If you are cut off from your roots, you cannot be happy.

    If we learn ways to practice love, compassion, joy, and equanimity, we will know how to heal the illnesses of anger, sorrow, insecurity, sadness, hatred, loneliness, and unhealthy attachmentsLove, compassion, joy, and equanimity are the very nature of an enlightened person. They are the four aspects of true love within ourselves and within everyone and everything.

    LOVE (Maitri/Metta)

    The first aspect of true love ismaitri(metta,in Pali), the intention and capacity to offer joy and happiness. To develop that capacity, we have to practice looking and listening deeply so that we know what to do and what not to do to make others happy. If you offer your beloved something she does not need, that is not maitri. You have to see her real situation or what you offer might bring her unhappiness.

    Without understanding, your love is not true love. You must look deeply in order to see and understand the needs, aspirations, and suffering of the one you love. We all need love. Love brings us joy and well-being. It is as natural as the air. We are loved by the air; we need fresh air to be happy and well. We are loved by trees. We need trees to be healthy. In order to be loved, we have to love, which means we have to understand. For our love to continue, we have to take the appropriate action or non-action to protect the air, the trees, and our beloved.

    Maitri can be translated as love or loving kindness. Some Buddhist teachers prefer loving kindness, as they find the word love too dangerous. But I prefer the word love. Words sometimes get sick and we have to heal them. We have been using the word love to mean appetite or desire, as in I love hamburgers. We have to use language more carefully. Love is a beautiful word; we have to restore its meaning. The word maitri has roots in the word mitra which means friend. In Buddhism, the primary meaning of love is friendship.

    We all have the seeds of love in us. We can develop this wonderful source of energy, nurturing the unconditional love that does not expect anything in return. When we understand someone deeply, even someone who has done us harm, we cannot resist loving him or her. Shakyamuni Buddha declared that the Buddha of the next eon will be named Maitreya, the Buddha of Love.

    COMPASSION (Karuna)

    The second aspect of true love iskaruna, the intention and capacity to relieve and transform suffering and lighten sorrows. Karuna is usually translated as compassion, but that is not exactly correct. Compassion is composed of com (together with) and passion (to suffer). But we do not need to suffer to remove suffering from another person. Doctors, for instance, can relieve their patients suffering without experiencing the same disease in themselves. If we suffer too much, we may be crushed and unable to help. Still, until we find a better word, let us use compassion to translate karuna.

    To develop compassion in ourselves, we need to practice mindful breathing, deep listening, and deep looking. The Lotus Sutra describes Avalokiteshvara as the bodhisattva who practices looking with the eyes of compassion and listening deeply to the cries of the world. Compassion contains deep concern. You know the other person is suffering, so you sit close to her. You look and listen deeply to her to be able to touch her pain. You are in deep communication, deep communion with her, and that alone brings some relief.

    One compassionate word, action, or thought can reduce another persons suffering and bring him joy. One word can give comfort and confidence, destroy doubt, help someone avoid a mistake, reconcile a conflict, or open the door to liberation. One action can save a persons life or help him take advantage of a rare opportunity. One thought can do the same, because thoughts always lead to words and actions. With compassion in our heart, every thought, word, and deed can bring about a miracle.

    When I was a novice, I could not understand why, if the world is filled with suffering, the Buddha has such a beautiful smile. Why isnt he disturbed by all the suffering? Later I discovered that the Buddha has enough understanding, calm, and strength; that is why the suffering does not overwhelm him. He is able to smile to suffering because he knows how to take care of it and to help transform it. We need to be aware of the suffering, but retain our clarity, calmness, and strength so we can help transform the situation. The ocean of tears cannot drown us if karuna is there. That is why the Buddhas smile is possible.

    JOY (Mudita)

    The third element of true love ismudita, joy. True love always brings joy to ourselves and to the one we love. If our love does not bring joy to both of us, it is not true love.Commentators explain that happiness relates to both body and mind, whereas joy relates primarily to mind.

    This example is often given: Someone traveling in the desert sees a stream of cool water and experiences joy. On drinking the water, he experiences happiness. Ditthadhamma sukhavihari means dwelling happily in the present moment. We dont rush to the future; we know that everything is here in the present moment.

    Many small things can bring us tremendous joy, such as the awareness that we have eyes in good condition. We just have to open our eyes and we can see the blue sky, the violet flowers, the children, the trees, and so many other kinds of forms and colors. Dwelling in mindfulness, we can touch these wondrous and refreshing things, and our mind of joy arises naturally. Joy contains happiness and happiness contains joy.

    Some commentators have said that mudita means sympathetic joy or altruistic joy, the happiness we feel when others are happy. But that is too limited. It discriminates between self and others. A deeper definition of mudita is a joy that is filled with peace and contentment. We rejoice when we see others happy, but we rejoice in our own wellbeing as well. How can we feel joy for another person when we do not feel joy for ourselves? Joy is for everyone.

    EQUANIMITY (Upeksha)

    The fourth element of true love isupeksha, which means equanimity, nonattachment, nondiscrimination, even- mindedness, or letting go. Upa means over, and iksha means to look. You climb the mountain to be able to look over the whole situation, not bound by one side or the other. If your love has attachment, discrimination, prejudice, or clinging in it, it is not true love.

    People who do not understand Buddhism sometimes think upeksha means indifference, but true equanimity is neither cold nor indifferent. If you have more than one child, they are all your children. Upeksha does not mean that you dont love. You love in a way that all your children receive your love, without discrimination.

    Upeksha has the mark called samatajana, the wisdom of equality, the ability to see everyone as equal, not discriminating between ourselves and others. In a, conflict, even though we are deeply concerned, we remain impartial, able to love and to understand both sides. We shed all discrimination and prejudice, and remove all boundaries between ourselves and others.

    As long as we see ourselves as the one who loves and the other as the one who is loved, as long as we value ourselves more than others or see ourselves as different from others, we do not have true equanimity. We have to put ourselves into the other persons skin and become one with him if we want to understand and truly love him. When that happens, there is no self and no other.

    Without upeksha, your love may become possessive. A summer breeze can be very refreshing; but if we try to put it in a tin can so we can have it entirely for ourselves, the breeze will die. Our beloved is the same. He is like a cloud, a breeze, a flower. If you imprison him in a tin can, he will die. Yet many people do just that. They rob their loved one of his liberty, until he can no longer be himself. They live to satisfy themselves and use their loved one to help them fulfill that. That is not loving; it is destroying.

    You say you love him, but if you do not understand his aspirations, his needs, his difficulties, he is in a prison called love. True love allows you to preserve your freedom and the freedom of your beloved. That is upeksha.

    For love to be true love, it must contain compassion, joy, and equanimity. For compassion to be true compassion, it has to have love, joy, and equanimity in it. True joy has to contain love, compassion, and equanimity. And true equanimity has to have love, compassion, and joy in it.

    This is the interbeing nature of theFour Immeasurable Minds. When the Buddha told the Brahman man to practice the Four Immeasurable Minds, he was offering all of us a very important teaching. But we must look deeply and practice them for ourselves to bring these four aspects of love into our own lives and into the lives of those we love.

    ~FromTeachings on Loveby Thich Nhat Hanh~

  • Here are some tips for making your home more friendly for your pet, as well as information about how much Americans love their pooches!! click on link below for more.

    https://narnewsline.blogs.realtor.org/2016/02/12/infographic-make-your-house-a-dog-house/

  • BUYING YOUR FIRST HOME:DEALING WITH STUDENT LOANS

    It's different to be a first-timehome buyer as compared to an experienced one.

    First-time home buyers often skew younger then the general home-buying population which means less work experience, lower income levels, and usually, less money saved for down payment.

    It also can mean higher levels of federal student loans and debt.

    Concerns about student loan obligations are among the reasons why first-time home buyers account for a smaller percentage of the housing market as compared to recent years.

    http://themortgagereports.com/19172/first-time-home-buyers-guide-buying-with-student-loans-debt-gina-pogol?sf21321738=1

  • If yourhome has you down in the dumps but you lack the cashto fix it up, dont despair! Not every upgrade has to take a big bite out of your bank account.

    Here are seven foolproof ways to make your home feel like atotally differentplace through small changesand small expenses.

    1. New hardware

    Swapping out the boring chrome hardware the previous owners installed can go a long way toward making your home look likeyoursnot to mention give the entire space an easy, inexpensive refresh. Depending on your style, new pulls or handlescan costmere dollars.

    The first thing I do to give the home more of the look and style that I like is swap out the hardware, saysDoug Mahoney, who worked in construction for 10 years and now writes about tools and home improvement forThe Sweethome. All it takes is a screwdriver, and its surprising what a difference it can make.

    http://www.realtor.com/advice/home-improvement/cheap-upgrades-that-will-make-you-feel-like-youre-in-a-brand-new-home/?cid=soc_20160228_58727166&adbid=10154039438832871&adbpl=fb&adbpr=35368227870

  • Modern girls read about millions oftips onhow tochoose and apply cosmetic products. However, not all ofthis advice istruly useful and safe.

    Bright Side decided tobust the most well-known makeup myths that westill believein.

    Myth #1: Red lipstick isnot for everyone

    Myth #2: Weshould throw mascara away when itdries

    Myth #3: Ifyou dip amascara wand into the tube several times, you can get rid oflumps

    Myth #4: You dont really need toremove makeup before going tobed

    Myth #5: Cosmetics dont have anexpiration date and can beused until they run out

    Myth #6: You can avoid washing makeup brushes ifyoure the only person who uses them

    Myth #7: Cosmetic products dont gobad

    Myth #8: You can apply waterproof mascara every day

    Myth #9: Moisturizing cream can easily replace primer

    Myth #10: Concealer goes before foundation

    Myth #11: Foundation has abad effect onyour skin

    Myth #12: Eyebrows should be2tones darker than hair

    Myth #13: Tomake lips look fuller, you should over-line them

    Myth #14: Dark eyeliner makes eyes look bigger

    Myth #15: Foundation isnot allowed around the eyes

    Myth #16: Blue eye shadow isarelic ofthe past

    Preview photo credit makeupbymichaelfinch / , MELANlNAIRES

  • When abusiness has the most humble ofbeginnings, alow budget, and its headquarters islocated oh-so-proudly inagarage, wecall it a garage start-up. Surprisingly enough, many ofthe biggest multinational corporations, music bands, and other incredibly successful businesses were started just like that insomeones garage byagroup oftruly dedicated enthusiasts.

    Wehere atBright Side have compared the success stories ofsome ofthe most well-known companies, and wecame toaconclusion: they all once started with nothing, soitseems clear that success has nothing todowith the amount ofmoney that isinvested inabusiness. Its all about the idea, dedication, and courage.

    Amazon

    Atthe dawn ofthe Internet era, back in1994, Jeff Bezos founded his very own online bookstore. Atthe time, the main office was located inhis garage, and anold door served ashis desk. Today, Amazon isthe worlds largest online retailer. Its founder, Jeff Bezos, also owns aprivately funded aerospace manufacturing and spaceflight services company named Blue Origin. One ofthe launch sites ofBlue Origin isbased right onBezoss privately owned land inTexas.

    Apple SLIDE

    Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak assembled their very first computers byhand inthe garage ofthe Jobs family. In2017, Apple will finish the construction ofits new headquarters afuturistic four-story building will beset ina2.8 million-square-foot area accommodating 13,000employees.

    Disney SLIDE

    Roy and Walt Disney filmed their first animated movie intheir uncles one-car garage. Today, The Walt Disney Company isthe highest-grossing media conglomerate inthe world that produces movies and owns theme parks andTV channels.

    Hewlett-Packard

    The company was first designed asamanufacturer ofsome sort ofmeasuring equipment inPackards garage, with aninitial investment of$538. One ofthe first customers ofHewlett-Packard was the former garage start-up The Walt Disney Company. Currently, Hewlett-Packard isamong the best-known computer equipment manufacturers inthe world.

    Google SLIDE

    The worlds largest search engine was once aresearch project oftwo Stanford graduates. Today, Google isrepresented innumerous areas ofscientific work and emerging technologies, such asunmanned vehicles, augmented reality, early disease detection, and wireless Internet.

    Harley-Davidson SLIDE

    William S. Harley and his childhood friend Arthur Davidson used tocarry out experiments with their bicycle inawoodshed. The boys attempted toattach aminiature engine toanordinary bicycle. Thus, they came upwith their very first motor-bicycle. Little did the young enthusiasts know that their future product was going tobecome the worlds most iconic motorcycle ever.

    The Beatles

    The Quarrymen, the first rock band formed byJohn Lennon, was rehearsing inagarage and giving live performances atsmall public events. Soon after John Lennon was introduced toPaul McCartney, The Quarrymens leader invited McCartney tojoin the group. In1960, The Quarrymen evolved into The Beatles.

    Microsoft SLIDE

    There were times when the Microsoft team consisted ofonly three employees, including the co-founders Bill Gates and Paul Allen. Today more than 120,000 people work for the famous multinational company. Bill Gates topped theUS wealth list and has been named the worlds richest person byForbes several times.

    Patagonia SLIDE

    Yvon Chouinard has been crazy about climbing since hewas 14. His family couldnt afford the necessary equipment, sothe boy turned his parents garage into ablacksmith shop where hebegan tomake his own equipment, such asreusable pitons. Forty years later, his company, named Patagonia, still produces high-quality equipment for customers from all over the world.

    Yankee Candle SLIDE

    A14-year-old boy, whose name was Michael Kittredge, made his first scented candle out ofmelted crayons asagift for his parents. The neighbors took notice and expressed their interest inbuying his handmade candles. Today, the Yankee Candle Company sells scented candles and other souvenirs inmore than 50countries worldwide. The first Yankee Candle shop has been transformed into amini museum.

    Lotus Cars

    The founder ofLotus Cars had begun manufacturing his first racing cars inhis parents garage. Lateron, the production line was moved into old stables. Sofar, the Lotus Team has won the Formula One World Championship seven times.

    Mattel SLIDE

    In1945, acouple founded acompany that manufactured photo frames. Acouple ofyears later, the very same couple introduced anew doll, named after their daughter Barbie. Itmade Mattel one ofthe biggest toy-producing companies inthe world.

    Nike

    Anathletic student and his coach co-founded Blue Ribbon Sports, asmall company that initially operated asadistributor for aJapanese shoe brand. Blue Ribbon Sports officially became Nike Inc. in1971. Soitreally is Just doit, isnt it?

    Based on materials from econet , Preview credit: , wikimedia , www.cupertino.org

  • Aside from making coffee ...

    Coffee filters: You know them as the little paper cones that get you from uggggh to ready to face the day. But did you know you can also use them to clean your windows? Or degrease your pizza? Or buff your boots? Here, 11 totally brilliant ways to use them all day long.

    CLEAN YOUR WINDOWSSo streak-free, the birds will be fooled.

    MAKE AN AIR FRESHENER

    Fill 'em up with baking soda and tie 'em with a bow.

    PREVENT RUST ON A CAST-IRON SKILLET

    Whenever your skillet isnt in use, spread out a filter in the center to suck up harmful moisture

    LINE POTTED PLANTSItll prevent soil from escaping out through the drainage hole.

    SPREAD OIL IN A PANOr grease up a baking dish super fast.PROTECT STACKED CHINAPut a filter between each piece to guard against scratches.SERVE AS AN IMPROMPTU STRAINERWorks on food, old paint thinner, whatever.DEGREASE FRIED FOODSItll do a better job than a napkin.by: PureWow
  • If youve already come to terms with the fact that your kid isnt a genius, youve probably also already waved goodbye to that full ride to Harvard. But getting scholarship money isnt just about perfect GPAs or SAT scores. Here, 11 scholarships your graduating senior should definitely consider applying for--even if he or shes not valedictorian (or even close).

    RELATED: 7 MONEY TALKS ALL COUPLES SHOULD HAVE

    1. Unigo ScholarshipAmount: $10,000Deadline: December 31, 2016Ask your kid, Weighing the expected investment and return, is college worth it for you? Why?" OK, now have them casually write it down in 250 words or less. Bada bing, bada boom.

    Apply here.

    2. No Essay College ScholarshipAmount: $2,000Deadline: August 31, 2016Listen, we wouldnt say these were easy applications for nothing.

    Apply here.

    3. CollegeWeekLive Monthly ScholarshipsAmount: $1,000Deadline: MonthlyCreate an account (get ready for the emails), visit five college pages on the website and thatskindait.

    Apply here.

    4. CollegeXpress Scholarship ContestAmount: $10,000Deadline: April 30, 2017Accepted and entering one of these schools? Great. Youre eligible to enter this contest. As long as you know how to spell your own name, you should be golden.

    Apply here.

    5.You Deserve It ScholarshipAmount: $1,000Deadline: MonthlyBooks alone could cost $1,000. You 100 percent deserve this.

    Apply here.

    6.Coca-Cola Scholars ProgramAmount: $20,000Deadline: October 31, 2016The initial applicationrequires grades, school and community activities and employment, but no essays. We repeat: No essays. If youre a semifinalist, a few more materials will be required. Oh, and its not just one prize. There are 250 of them.

    Apply here.

    7.AFSA High School Senior College Scholarship ContestAmount: $2,000Deadline: April 7, 2017Thewording on the website is misleading (it says its a $20K prize), but 10 winners will be awarded $2,000 each. Still, not bad for no essays.

    Apply here.

    8.Second Chance College Scholarship ContestAmount: $1,000Deadline: August 26, 2016Hey, this one can even be for the parents! If you graduated and now youre going back to school, this easy scholarship can set you in the right direction.

    Apply here.

    9.Cappex Easy College Money ScholarshipAmount: $1,000Deadline: MonthlyTheres no crazy essay involved, but you do have to wax poetic about your extracurricular, leadership and volunteer activities.

    Apply here.

    10.CaptainU Student-Athlete ScholarshipAmount: $2,000Deadline: June 30, 2017If your kid is already considering competing collegiately, you might as well apply to this.

    Apply here.

    11.Atlas Shrugged Essay ScholarshipAmount: $2,000 to first placeDeadline: March 29, 2017You knew thered be an essay somewhere in this list. But with over 84 awards of different values given away, it cant hurt to put that summer Ayn Rand reading to use.

    Apply here.

  • Lose refined carbs, and you'll gain energy

    Simple carbs, such as those found in cookies, candy and chips, are The Bachelorette of the food world. Theyll give you a quick thrill but you know theyre bad for you, and youre guaranteed to feel a bit guilty afterwards.

    And yet we still cant break our addiction to them. (And it is an addiction, according to certainstudies.) Worse, even if you are careful about intake, you might be stunned to realize how much youre actually eating. There are almost as many carbs in a single chocolate chip cookie as there are in a bowl of oatmeal!

    With carbs so pervasiveand so hard to resistEat This, Not That!wondered what happens to your body if you give them up. Find out how much you have to gainand losein this exclusive special report.

    1. When You Give Up CarbsYou Start Burning Fat

    Immediately. Reducing your intake of calorie-dense carbs automatically reduces the amount of calories youre consuming on a daily basis, which forces your body to burn fat stored around your midsection for energy, rather than the sugars it takes from carbohydrates. Eat This! Tip: Exercise in the morning before you eat breakfast. This forces your body to burn stored fat, instead of the food youve eaten earlier in the day. To further blast fat, drink Pu-erh tea, which has been found to lower fat concentrations in the blood.

    2. When You Give Up CarbsYou Feel Less Hungry

    Its not calories that satiate your hunger, its nutrients: fiber, protein and healthy fats. Unfortunately, simple refined carbs are lacking in all three, even as they fill your body with fast, cheap calories. So no matter how much you eat, your body will go in search of more food. The result: a sluggish, hungrier youone whos more likely to dive into the snack drawer.Eat This! Tip: Start your day with a high-protein, high-fat food like Greek yogurt, eggs scrambled with vegetables, or chia pudding, and youll reduce your hunger.

    3. When You Give Up CarbsYour Belly Gets Flatter

    One of the first things you notice when you replace simple carbs with high-fiber foods is that your belly may flatten out. The reason: Most Americans only take in 15 of the recommended 25 to 38 grams per day, according to the Institute of Medicine. As a result, the healthy gut microbes that keep us lean have less to munch on, and the unhealthy microbeswhich feast on sugartake over. Those are the little buggers that cause bloating, and make your belly look bigger than it actually is. Bumping up fiber can help promote healthy regularity, says Isabel Smith, MS, RD, CDN, registered dietitian and founder of Isabel Smith Nutrition.Eat This! Tip: Start with simple swaps that feel natural to you. Trade the white bread for whole-grain or add some beans to tacos and stir-fry. And if youre hungry between meals, reach for raw nuts. Nuts are a great source of fiber and healthy fat, which can help fight inflammation in the body and also promote digestion, Smith adds.

    4. When You Give Up CarbsYou Slash Your Risk of Diabetes

    Simple carbs are made of simple sugars, and eating too many can wreak havoc in your body in both the short and long term. The more of these quickly digested carbs you consume, the more insulin your pancreas produces, which can eventually lead to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, according to Smith.Eat This! Tip: Fiber-rich complex carbs are harder for your body to digest, preventing the blood sugar spikes that cause insulin release. The lower and more steady we keep blood sugar, the less insulin is released on a consistent basis and the more insulin-sensitive our tissues remainwhich is a good thing, Smith explains. So, cutting back on the simple stuff means youll be able to maintain stable blood sugar levels and reduce your risk for diabetes.

    5. When You Give Up CarbsYour Muscles Get StrongerAlmost every food in the world is healthier than simple carbsfrom burgers and steaks to yogurt and even ice cream. In part, thats because simple carbs lack protein, the building blocks of muscle (and a key contributor to healthy hair, nails and skin). By filling your body with protein and other nutrients, youre giving it what it needs to grow without having to find additional calories.Eat This! Tip: If you typically get hungry between meals, try replacing those vending-machine sweets with high-protein snacks that will fuel your body and give you stable energy for the afternoon ahead.

    6. When You Give Up CarbsYou Feel More Energized

    Not all carbs are bad, of course. Your body needs carbohydrates to function properly, and theyre especially important for adequate brain and muscle function. By switching from simple carbs to more long-running fuelfruits and vegetables, whole-wheat bread, oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa and other whole-grain optionsyoull ensure you have a steady flow of energy and avoid the ups and downs that simple carbs cause. Youll no longer need to make poor food choices as a way of getting quick energy, and you wont be dragging through those afternoon hours. Eat This! Tip: The lowest safe amount of carbohydrates is about 50 grams daily, according to Mayo Clinic; avoid dipping below that amount if you want to avoid major dips in energy. One cup of oatmeal and a half a banana is all it takes to reach that total.

    Time: This article originally appeared on Eat This, Not That!

  • Fall celebrations like Halloween and Harvest Day are fun times for children, who can dress up in costumes, enjoy parties, and eat yummy treats. These celebrations also provide a chance to give out healthy snacks, get physical activity, and focus on safety.

    Check out these tips to help make the festivities fun and safe for trick-or-treaters and party guests.

    Going trick-or-treating?

    Swords, knives, and other costume accessories should be short, soft, and flexible.

    Avoid trick-or-treating alone. Walk in groups or with a trusted adult.

    Fasten reflective tape to costumes and bags to help drivers see you.

    Examine all treats for choking hazards and tampering before eating them. Limit the amount of treats you eat.

    Hold a flashlight while trick-or-treating to help you see and others see you. WALK and don't run from house to house.

    Always test make-up in a small area first. Remove it before bedtime to prevent possible skin and eye irritation.

    Look both ways before crossing the street. Use crosswalks wherever possible.

    Lower your risk for serious eye injury by not wearing decorative contact lenses.

    Only walk on sidewalks whenever possible, or on the far edge of the road facing traffic to stay safe.

    Wear well-fitting masks, costumes, and shoes to avoid blocked vision, trips, and falls.

    Eat only factory-wrapped treats. Avoid eating homemade treats made by strangers.

    Enter homes only if you're with a trusted adult. Only visit well-lit houses. Never accept rides from strangers.

    Never walk near lit candles or luminaries. Be sure to wear flame-resistant costumes.

    Expecting trick-or-treaters or party guests?

    Follow these tips to help make the festivities fun and safe for everyone:

    Provide healthier treats for trick-or-treaters such as low-calorie treats and drinks. For guests, offer a variety of fruits and vegetables.Use party games and trick-or-treat time as an opportunity for kids to get their daily dose of 60 minutes of physical activity.Be sure walking areas and stairs are well-lit and free of obstacles that could cause someone to fall.Keep candle-lit jack o'lanterns and luminaries away from doorsteps, walkways, landings, and curtains. Place them on sturdy tables, keep them out of the reach of pets and small children, and never leave them unattended.Remind drivers to watch out for trick-or-treaters and to drive safely.
  • "This is the best french toast EVER. So sweet and rich! You prepare it the night before and just pop it in the oven in the morning."

    Prep Time: 15 minsTotal Time: 1 hrServes:4, Yield: 9 slicesINGREDIENTS

    1/2 cup butter2 cups brown sugar1/4 cup light Karo syrup9 slices Italian bread (sliced 1-inch thick) or 9 slices challah ( sliced 1-inch thick)1 dozen egg1 pint heavy cream1 teaspoon vanillacinnamon

    DIRECTIONS

    Cook butter, brown sugar and Karo syrup in small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then pour into a 9x13 pan.Pack bread slices into mix.Beat eggs, cream and vanilla. Pour over bread.Sprinkle with cinnamon.Cover and refrigerate overnight.Bake uncovered for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

    ENJOY!!

    http://www.food.com
  • First impressions really do count. In fact, there's a science to a good first impression.Known by psychologists as 'thin slicing', people tend to make up their mind about various things within a few seconds of meeting you.Research also suggests that those first judgments do tend to stick.These are some of the ways in which you'll be judged the fastest.

    1. Sexual orientationIt takes about a twentieth of a second to consciously recognize a face.According tothis 2008 study, It takes about the same amount of time to determine whether you judge a man to be gay or straight.While this may not represent as much of a problem in the UK, there are parts of the world where these snap judgments on sexuality could become extremely dangerous.2. Dominance (in men)Interestingly,one study showedthat men with shaved heads were rated more dominant than men with full heads of hair: stronger, taller, and more powerful.3. Promiscuity (in women)Unsurprisingly, one of the first things women were judged on was there promiscuity - in relation to their clothes, their appearance, but also interestingly, to any tattoos.This 2007 studyfound a correlation between visible tattoos on women, and perceptions of high alcohol consumption and sexual promiscuity.Results also showed that tattooed women were considered less attractive, while blonde women were generally rated more negatively than brunettes in terms of sexual behavior.4. TrustworthinessPrinceton researchersfound that judgments of competence, likeability, attractiveness and aggressiveness varied depending on how long the subject (person judging) looked at the object (person being judged).However, the one judgment that stayed consistent was trustworthiness.In other words, someone's already made up their mind as to whether they can trust youwithin a tenth of a second- and their judgment is unlikely to change.5. IntelligenceThis studydrew a parallel between good eye contact and perceptions of high intelligence.Looking while speaking was a key behavior.It significantly correlated with IQ, was successfully manipulated by impression-managing targets, and contributed to higher perceived intelligence ratings.6. Social statusThis from aDutch study,which found that those wearing branded or designer clothing were seen as having a higher social status.They based their hypothesis on "costly signalling theory" and found that evidence of luxury consumption benefit-ted social interactions.The present data suggest that luxury consumption can be a profitable social strategy because conspicuous displays of luxury qualify as a costly signalling trait that elicits status-dependent favorable treatment.7. SuccessSimilarly,a British-Turkish studyshowed that men in tailored, made-to-measuresuits were judged as being far more successful than men in ordinary, 'off-the-peg' suits.They were also considered to earn more money, have more confidence and be more trustworthy.This gave comparable results toone Canadian study, in which photos of men in business attire were judged as more financially successful than those in casual clothing.8. ConfidenceA 2008 employabilitystudyconcluded that people were more likely to get a job if they could impress with a handshake, because they came across more confident.Similarly, your tone of voice could project whether you see yourself as high or low-power: reseach suggests that a lower, more dynamic vocal range helps appear more self assured.Posture and good eye contact also contributed towards an impression of confidence.
  • Are you a Starbuck Lover?

    Mark your calendars Starbucks lovers!

    Starting Thursday, November 10th and running through November 14th, Starbucks will be offering up Buy 1 Get 1 FREE Holiday beverages (hot, iced or blended) from 2PM-5PM each day!

    Holiday beverages include: Chestnut Praline Latte, Peppermint Mocha and Skinny Peppermint Mocha, Caramel Brule Latte, Gingerbread Latte, Eggnog Latte, Teavana Joy Brewed Tea, and Spiced Sweet Cream Nario 70 Cold Brew. There is something for everyone!

    https://news.starbucks.com/news/starbucks-red-holiday-cups-2016-return

  • I want you to ponder the following question for a moment, because it's one of the most important questions you'll ever answer.

    How do you respond to feedback?

    Sheryl Sandberg recently visited Airbnb to share lessons learned from her years at Facebook and Google. (Special thanks to Thach Nguyen, HR business partner at Airbnb, for posting these on LinkedIn.)

    The question was posed to Sandberg: "What's the number one thing you look for in someone who can scale with a company?"

    Sandberg's reply:

    "Someone who takes feedback well. Because people who can take feedback well are people who can learn and grow quickly."

    Boom goes the dynamite.

    Why we need feedback.

    Nobody's right all the time. That's why criticism can help us to grow; unfortunately, emotions often prevent us from taking advantage of negative feedback. Simply put, it never feels good to hear we're wrong.

    Additionally, since there's an art to delivering negative feedback well, there's a good chance that much of the criticism you receive isn't as "constructive" as it could be.

    Nonetheless, most criticism is rooted in truth--even if it's not delivered in an ideal manner. Which means when you're on the receiving end of criticism, you're left with two choices:

    You can put your feelings aside and try to learn from the situation.You can get angry and let emotion get the best of you.

    One method is proactive, the other is reactive.

    Guess which will benefit you in the long run?

    To be clear, I'm not excusing criticism that's hurtful or poorly delivered. (Read this if you want to learn how to give negative feedback that's emotionally intelligent.) And the truth is, if you're in the habit of delivering sincere and specific commendation first, it's much easier for your people to take your criticism the way its intended--to help.

    But if you're on the receiving end of negative feedback, don't waste time rating how ideally it was delivered.

    Instead, ask yourself the following:

    How can I use this feedback to help me or my team improve?Putting my personal feelings aside, what can I learn from this alternate perspective?

    In the rare case the negative feedback is completely unfounded, it can still give you a chance to see how a sample of your audience will feel about things. (My forthcoming book, which serves as a practical guide to emotional intelligence, outlines more specific strategies for how you can make sure you benefit from criticism.)

    Remember, praise and commendation are necessary elements of a healthy culture. But anyone can benefit from those.

    If you really want to grow as a person, take Ms. Sandberg's advice and learn to make the most of negative feedback.

    Because it'll only make you better.

    http://www.inc.com/justin-bariso/it-took-sheryl-sandberg-exactly-2-sentences-to-give-the-best-career-advice-youll.html10:05Why You Should Ditch The "Praise Sandwich8:12

  • You know, when you think about it, we should be obsessing over fall cleaning instead of spring cleaning. After all, youre about to shut yourself inside for months with all the dust and dirt your home has collected during the hot, dusty, open-window days of summer. And who wants to inhale that?!

    The EPA even estimates that indoor air quality can be five times more polluted than outdoor air. So heres a checklist to help you breathe easy all winter long in your home.

    Wash and Disinfect Garbage Cans and WastebasketsYoure going to be shut in all winter with these germ havens, so nows a good time to clean them thoroughly. Take them outside where you can blast the insides with a garden hose, then add disinfectant.

    For an environmentally safe way to sterilize these nasty grime collectors, use undiluted hydrogen peroxide or vinegar mixed 50/50 with water. Caution! Dont mix hydrogen peroxide with vinegar the result is harmful peracetic acid. Regular bleach is an effective disinfectant (one part bleach to six parts water), but we much prefer environmentally safe.

    Let the garbage cans sit for an hour, then pour out the contents and scrub the insides with a stiff bristle brush to remove any residue. Rinse and, if possible, let the wastebasket dry in direct sunlight, which helps eliminate bacteria.

    Wash and Disinfect Toilet Brush HoldersTake the holder and the brush outside, and spray wash thoroughly with a garden hose. Immerse the holder and brush in a bucket of hot water mixed with one of these solutions:

    1 part bleach to 6 parts water2 to 3 cups of environmentally friendly washing soda crystalsA 50/50 mixture of vinegar and water

    Let everything sit in the solution for a couple of hours, then rinse the holder and brush with a hose and place in direct sunlight to dry.

    Turn Over Furniture and Vacuum the BottomsYou might shift furniture around so you can vacuum the floor, but theres another side to the story the underside.

    Tilt upholstered chairs and couches all the way back (much easier with two people) to expose the bottoms. The dustcovers tacked underneath furniture can catch dreck and dust bunnies, so vacuum them off, being careful not to press too hard on the fabric.

    Clean the Tops of Doors, Trim, and ArtworkTables and countertops arent the only household items with horizontal surfaces. In fact, just about everything in your house except Rovers tennis ball has some kind of horizontal surface where dust and dirt will nestle, often unnoticed. Youll want to clean the top horizontal edges of:

    Interior doorsTrim, including baseboards and chair railsArtwork and mirrorsElectrical wall platesWall-mounted smoke detectors, CO detectors, and thermostatsUpper kitchen cabinetsLight bulbs and light fixturesComputer monitorsBooks on shelves

    Vacuum Behind the FridgeYour fridge needs to be cleaned periodically so that it operates at peak efficiency. Ignore this chore and face another $5 to $10 per month in utility costs. Worst case: a visit from an appliance repair pro wholl charge $75 to $150 per hour!

    The object is to clean the condenser coils. Heres how:

    If the condenser coils are on the back of the refrigerator, then pull the unit out completely, and unplug it while you work on it. Brush or vacuum the coils to clean them, and clean up any dirt and dust on the floor.

    Also, check to make sure your freezer vents are clear. Freezers circulate air to reduce frost, but piling up too much stuff in front of the little grill-like vents inside your freezer blocks their business.

    If the condenser coils are on the bottom of the fridge, then youll need to clean them from the front of the unit.

    Take off the bottom faceplate to expose the coils.

    Clean dust using a condenser-cleaning brush ($8) or a long, thin vacuum attachment made for cleaning under refrigerators ($14).

    You should still pull your refrigerator all the way out and vacuum up dirt and dust that accumulates in back of the unit. Unplug it while you work on it.

    Put down a piece of cardboard so that grit under the wheels doesnt scratch your flooring.

    Winterize Your EntryKeep winters slush and gunk at bay by making your entryway a dirt guardian.

    Get a boot scraper ($19 to $35).Add a chair or bench for taking off boots, and have a boot rack for wet footwear.Put down a tough coir outdoor doormat ($30 to $190) for cleaning footwear.

    Clean WindowsBy some estimates, dirty window glass cuts daylight by 20%. Thats a lot less light coming in at a time of year when you really need it to help chase away winter blues.

    Clean windows inside and out with a homemade non-toxic solution:

    1/4 cup white vinegar1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon eco-friendly dish detergent2 cups water

    Wipe clean and polish using microfiber cloths.

    Clean Ceiling Fan BladesThose big blades on your ceiling fan are great at moving air, but when theyre idle theyre big dust magnets dust settles on the top surfaces where you cant see it.

    Out of sight maybe, but not out of mind. Heres an easy way to clean them: Take an old pillowcase and gently cover a blade. Pull it back slowly to remove the dust. The dust stays inside the pillowcase, instead of all over the floor, the furniture, your hair (ugh!).

    Change Furnace FiltersYeah, this is a no-brainer, which is why its last on this list. But everything else you do could be moot if youre not changing your filters at least once every 60 days (more if youre sensitive to allergies).

    Air filters for furnaces are rated by level of efficiency. The higher the rating, the better the filter is at removing dirt, mold spores, and pet dander.

    Filters are rated one of two ways (youll see the ratings on the packaging); higher numbers mean better efficiency, but theres a point of diminishing returns some filters with extremely high ratings also restrict air flow, making your HVAC work so hard that the system heats and cools inefficiently.

    Minimum efficiency rating values (MERV) for filters range from 1 to 16, but 7 to 13 is typical for households (14 and up are used in hospitals).Microparticle performance rating (MPR) range from 300 to 2,400.

    Cheap filters cost about $2, but wont do you much good. Youre better off paying $12 to $17 for a pleated filter with a 1250 MPR, or $20 to $25 for a filter rated 2,400.

    Happy cleaning (and breathing!) this winter.

  • Artificial trees may have increased in popularity, but for the purist, only a real tree will do. No matter how realistic it looks, an artificial tree cant compete with the scent and feel of a real evergreen. Its a living part of nature that, for a short time, we give a place of honor in our homes.And no matter which kind of tree it is spruce, fir, pine or cypress once its indoors, the goal is to keep the tree fresh and green. This means keeping the needles pliable and on the tree until the holidays are over. And the only thing that does that is water, lots of it. Think of it like a big, green pet: Just as a dog or cat needs fresh water every day, so does a fresh Christmas tree.Laura Collins DesignGet the tree in water immediately. Once you get your tree home, put it into water as soon as possible, within eight hours. If the trunk wasnt freshly cut at the place where you bought the tree, then saw an inch or two off the bottom of the trunk and put it in a tree stand filled with fresh water. If youre not ready to set it up, put it in a bucket of water in a cool place. The water temperature doesnt matter.Holly MarderUse the right stand. It should comfortably fit the diameter of the trunk. Whittling the trunk down will only dry the tree out faster. The National Christmas Tree Association recommends that a tree stand should provide 1 quart of water per inch of stem diameter. Be sure the tree stand you choose has a large water reservoir. A tree can take up a gallon of water in its first few hours in the stand.Lord DesignWater, water, water. Big trees mean lots of agua. Watch that the cut part of the trunk stays below the waterline. Adding aspirin, lemon soda or other concoctions to the water wont extend the trees life, but it might sicken pets or children if they drink out of the water reservoir.Once indoors, a live trees branches will relax and open. Allow enough space when siting the tree for the lowest branches to fall open and not get in the way of foot traffic.Whitney LyonsKeep the tree cool. To an evergreen that spent years growing in a field, your house is as dry as the Sahara Desert. And where do Christmas trees often look best? Centered in front of windows, where the sun streams in, or tucked into a corner near air vents or baseboard heaters.Dillard-Jones Builders, LLCPosition the tree out of the sun and away from heat sources. Keep the temperature in the room as low as is practical.Elite Staging and Redesign, LLCAs magical as it seems to come home to a sparkling tree, dont leave the trees lights on overnight or when no ones in the house.Regina Gust DesignsEven with daily watering, cut trees will eventually dry out. When needles drop when you touch them, and branches droop so low that ornaments are hitting the floor, its time to take off the lights and decorations, wrap the tree in an old sheet, and take it outside. You can saw off some of the trees branches and cover garden beds with them to protect plants, or turn them into mulch with a chipper or shredder. If you have the acreage, drag the tree to an out-of-the-way spot for birds and animals to use as cover. Most communities now collect spent Christmas trees and make mulch or compost from them, which they offer back to residents. The saddest end for a tree is for it to be hauled off to a landfill, instead of being turned back into soil allowed to decompose and feed living creatures, the way nature intended.By: December 4, 2016Tell us: How do you keep your tree looking fresh?More: How to Light Your Christmas Tree Like a Pro
  • When we were younger, we were most likely warned by our parents to be careful of whom we choose to spend our time with. They said this in reference to the way others would judge us in accordance to our friends, in addition to the influence our friends would have upon us.

    We have all heard the saying that birds of a feather flock together, meaning that the company you keep reflects your personality. A smart person surrounds himself with other smart people. If you hang out with trash, you will be perceived as trash.

    Surround yourself with the dreamers and the doers, the believers and thinkers, but most all, surround yourself with those who see greatness within you, even when you don't see it yourself.

    You really are only as good as the company you keep. As you go through life, you begin to realize how important having true friends really is. Navigating your 20s is a difficult and confusing time and one better traveled with wholesome, close friends by your side. Unfortunately as we go through this time, we realize the people we once counted on are no longer the people we once thought they were.

    The type of people you surround yourself with speaks of your values and what you stand for. We have all heard of the concept of being guilty by association, the act of people associating your behaviors and thoughts with the people you hang out with. If one of your friends acts in a negative way, you will be lumped in with him or her. Despite if this is true or not, it is all based on perception. Regardless if you believe yourself to be an altruistic person, a time may come when your bad company starts to influence your good behavior.

    It is better to be alone than in the wrong company. Tell me who your best friends are and I will tell you who you are. If you run with wolves, you will learn how to howl but if you associate with eagles you will learn how to soar to great heights.

    People perceive you based on the actions the people closest to you display. They make the assumption that people who are similar will spend time together. While you may be better than the company you keep, it does send a signal to those who do not know you well enough to make their our judgments. If you spend time with people who treat you poorly, this gives off the impression that you lack self-respect. Whether you like it or not, you will be judged for the people you associate with.

    People are quick to judge and therefore it is a warning to choose your friends and companions carefully. If a person has a bad company of bad friends, the people around him or her will avoid them because of the image that is portrayed by the bad company. Our personalities become molded by different situations and environment. Our company, whether it is our parents, friends or colleagues, all influence our minds and us. This is why your friends and associates are a reflection of you.

    A mirror reflects a mans face but what he is really like is shown by the kind of friends he chooses. The simple but true fact of life is that you become like those with whom you closely associate for the good and the bad.

    Your beliefs and goals are constantly changing in your 20s and you need people around you that will help you and not detract from your life. We must associate with others that bring out the best in us.

    When you surround yourself with other people on a constant basis, you are exposed to their personal values and ideals so it should come as no surprise that you may end up taking on some of their mentality as well. This is why it is so important to remain aware of the people you surround yourself with.

    Photo via WENN Subscribe to Elite Daily's official newsletter, The Edge, for more stories you don't want to miss.

    By: Ashley FernRead more: http://elitedaily.com/life/why-you-are-the-company-you-keep/

    Find Out What Your Home Value Is Today!

  • Went to the expert, Ben Soleimani, world-renowned designer, for his best advice. Plus, take a look at his vintage rug collection for Restoration Hardware.

    Ben Soleimani: The first thing I would ask is 'What makes this rug special, unique, and one-of-a-kind?' Beyond that, you may want to ask about the time period and what region it's from. It will require some research if you aren't familiar, but it's really the texture, the weave, the motifs, the yarn, and colors that tell you about the origin of a rug. Knowing what is common for specific time periods and places will give you more insight.

    How can you tell if a rug is valuable? And high quality? What should you look for?

    As a general rule, probably the number one thing that makes a rug special to me is how unique and different it is. Particularly a rug with a nave design meaning one where the craftsperson has created the design as they go, infusing the piece with passion and artistry, and underscoring the human element. It's not made by machine and it isn't perfect, it's a work of art. And for me, this makes it more valuable.

    Meanwhile, how can you tell if a rug is not vintage, but produced to look like it is?

    Quality, handcrafted rugs that are made to look old can also be fantastic. But if you are looking to acquire a vintage rug, there's a certain patina that typically comes only with age. This includes the wear, colors, and the way the yarns have opened up over time. Good wool gets more of a luster with age. And the colors often appear more subtle and natural.

    What imperfections are okay to look past?

    Reasonable wear and imperfections are good even desirable. Especially the oxidation of colors.

    Why would someone want to buy a vintage rug over a brand new one?

    It's really more about the quality and the uniqueness of the rug, as opposed to whether or not it's old or new. But of course, if you are looking for a one-of-a-kind piece, then you buy a vintage rug.

    Mixing new and vintage rugs in a thoughtful way. For instance, you might pair one of my new, warm-colored rugs that has an old, gently-distressed texture it's just a striate, very clean with a vintage rug from the same color family. The new, solid rug could go in the dining room and the patterned vintage rug could be used in the living room. The juxtaposition would make each of the rugs appear even more beautiful.

    BY

  • Legal

    UBER COMMUNITY GUIDELINES

    We want Uber to be enjoyable and safe for everyone. These ground rules are designed to ensure that riders and drivers have a five star ride when using Uber. Please take a moment to read them. Because whether youre a rider trying to get from A to B or a partner wanting to earn money as a driver your behavior matters.

    Respect each other

    Treat your fellow riders and drivers as you would like to be treated yourself: with respect. Always try to be on time for your ride because nobody likes to wait. Its common courtesy not to shout, swear or slam the car door. And by tidying up after yourself whether its taking your trash home or cleaning up a spilled drink youll keep the car in good condition and ensure the next person has a pleasant ride, too. Most important of all, remember that when you use Uber you will meet people who may look different or think differently from you. Please respect those differences. We want everyone to feel welcome when they use Uber.

    Give riders and drivers some personal space

    We all value our personal space and privacy. Its OK to chat with other people in the car. But please dont comment on someones appearance or ask whether they are single. As a passenger, if you need to make a phone call, keep your voice down to avoid disturbing your driver or other riders. And dont touch or flirt with other people in the car. As a reminder, Uber has a no sex rule. Thats no sexual conduct between drivers and riders, no matter what.

    Safety first

    Everyone wants to get from A to B safely. So please ensure that you follow the local law. Check out our rider safety tips. Whether youre in the front or the back seat, buckle up when you get into the car and please leave your guns at home. Of course, drivers have a particular responsibility when it comes to safety at Uber. That means keeping to the speed limit; not texting while driving; always using a phone mount; and never driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. And if youre driving and feel tired, take a break. As the experts say, sleep is the only true preventative measure against the risks of drowsy driving.

    Children must be supervised

    Only adults can have an Uber rider account. If your child is using your account, a parent or guardian must be with them at all times.

    Feedback makes us all better

    Whether you are a rider or driver, please rate your journey at the end of the trip. Honest feedback helps ensure that everyone is accountable for their behavior. This accountability creates a respectful, safe environment for both riders and drivers. And if something happens during a ride whether its a traffic accident or an argument make sure to report it by tapping Help in the app so that our customer support team can follow up.

    The guidelines below help explain some of the specific kinds of behavior that may cause you to lose access to Uber as a rider or driver.

    WHY RIDERS CAN LOSE ACCESS TO UBER - US ONLY

    This policy helps explain the kinds of behavior that may lead riders to lose access to Uber. Please remember that if youre traveling in a group, or you allow other people to take trips with your account, you are responsible for their behavior in the car.

    Ensuring a respectful, safe environment for all drivers and riders

    The way you behave while using Uber can have a big impact on the safety and comfort of drivers, as well as your fellow passengers. Courtesy matters. Thats why you are expected to exercise good judgment and behave decently towards other people in the car when riding with Uber just as you would in any public place.

    Here are some reasons you could lose access to Uber as a rider:

    Damaging drivers or other passengers property. For example, damaging the car, breaking or vandalizing a phone, intentionally spilling food or drink, smoking, or vomiting due to excessive alcohol consumption.

    Physical contact with the driver or fellow riders. As our community guidelines make clear, you shouldnt touch or flirt with other people in the car. As a reminder, Uber has a no sex rule. Thats no sexual conduct with drivers or fellow riders, no matter what. And you should never hit or otherwise hurt a driver or fellow passenger.

    Use of inappropriate and abusive language or gestures. For example, asking overly personal questions, using verbal threats, and making comments or gestures that are aggressive, sexual, discriminatory, or disrespectful.

    Unwanted contact with the driver or fellow passenger after the trip is over. For example, texting, calling, or visiting someone in person after a ride has been completed. Remember, in most countries you can call and text your driver directly from the Uber app without ever having to share your personal phone number. This means that your phone number stays anonymous and is never given to the driver.

    Breaking the local law while using Uber. For example, bringing open containers of alcohol or drugs into the car; traveling in large groups that exceed the number of seat belts in the car; asking drivers to break local traffic laws such as speed limits; or using Uber to commit a crime, including drug and human trafficking or the sexual exploitation of children.

    If we are made aware of these kinds of problematic behavior, we will contact you so we can investigate them. Depending on the nature of the concern, we may put a hold on your account during our investigation. If the issues raised are serious or a repeat offense, or you refuse to cooperate, you may lose access to Uber. Any behavior involving violence, sexual misconduct, harassment, discrimination, or illegal activity while using Uber can result in the immediate loss of your account.

    Terms of Use

    As a rider, you agree to our Terms of Use when you sign up for your account. We may take action against you for violating these terms, including permanently closing your account. For example the failure to maintain accurate, complete, and up-to-date account information, including having an invalid or expired payment method on file; allowing a person who does not meet the minimum age requirement to use your account while unaccompanied, or if you dont meet that age requirement yourself.

    Firearms Ban

    Uber prohibits riders and drivers from carrying firearms in a vehicle while using our app. You can learn more about our firearms prohibition policy here. [1] If you violate Ubers firearms prohibition policy, you may lose access to Uber.

    Discrimination

    Uber has a zero tolerance policy towards discrimination of any kind. This means you will lose access to your account if you are found to have discriminated against drivers or other riders based on their race, religion, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, sex, marital status, gender identity, age or any other characteristic protected under applicable law.

    Fraud or Illegitimate Behavior

    Fraudulent or illegitimate behavior undermines the trust on which Uber is built. We may deactivate any account(s) associated with this type of activity, including: abusing promotions; collusion between rider and driver; disputing fares for fraudulent or illegitimate reasons; or duplicate accounts.

    WHY DRIVERS CAN LOSE ACCESS TO UBER - US ONLY

    If you are a driver, and your account is temporarily blocked or deactivated, it limits your ability to earn income. Thats why we believe it is important to have clear policies that explain the circumstances in which you may be denied access to Uber; how (if at all) you can use the app again; and if you can appeal these decisions. [2]

    There will always be unforeseen events that may ultimately lead to you losing access to your driver account and well update this policy regularly but the following are sufficient cause for Uber to take action: quality; safety; fraud; and discrimination.

    Quality

    Riders who use Uber expect their drivers to drive safely, and also to be courteous and professional. The higher the quality of the service, the more riders want to take trips, which in turn means more opportunities for drivers to earn money. Poor service has the opposite effect over time. There are several ways we measure driver quality, with the most important being Star Ratings and Cancellation Rate.

    Star Ratings

    After every trip, drivers and riders are able to rate each other on a scale of one to five stars, as well as give feedback on how the trip went. This two-way system holds everyone accountable for their behavior. Accountability helps create a respectful, safe environment for both drivers and riders. Drivers can see their current rating in the Ratings tab of the Uber Partner app.

    How is my rating as a driver calculated? Your rating is based on an average of the number of post-trip stars riders gave you (from 1 to 5 stars), up to your last 500 rated trips or the total number of rated trips youve taken, if less than 500.

    The easiest way to keep your average rating high is to provide good service on every trip. Drivers using Uber typically provide excellent service, so most trips run smoothly. But we know that sometimes a trip doesnt go wellthats why we only look at your average rating over your most recent 500 trips (or your total rated trip count, if under 500). This gives you the chance to improve over time.

    What leads to you losing access to your account? There is a minimum average rating in each city. This is because there are cultural differences in the way people in different cities rate each other. We will alert you over time if your rating is approaching this limit, and youll also get information about quality improvement courses that may help you improve. However, if your average rating still falls below the minimum after multiple notifications, you will lose access to your account. We may allow you to regain access to your account if you can provide proof that you completed one of these quality improvement courses.

    Cancellation Rate

    A driver cancellation is when you accept a trip request and then cancel the trip. Cancellations create a poor rider experience and negatively affect other drivers. We understand that there may be times when something comes up and you have to cancel an accepted trip. But minimizing cancellations is critical for the reliability of the system.

    How is my cancellation rate calculated? Your cancellation rate is based on the number of trips canceled out of the total number of trips you accept. (For example, if youve accepted 100 trips and 4 of them are canceled, your cancellation rate would be 4%.) High-quality drivers typically have a cancellation rate lower than 5%.

    What leads to you losing access to your account? Each city has a maximum cancellation rate, based on the average cancellation rate of drivers in that area. We will alert you multiple times if your cancellation rate is much higher or if you are consistently canceling more often than other drivers in your city, after which you may be logged out of the app. If your cancellation rate continues to exceed the maximum limit, you may lose access to your account.

    Acceptance Rates

    High acceptance rates are a critical part of reliable, high-quality service, but not accepting trip requests does not lead to permanent loss of your account.

    Consistently accepting trip requests helps maximize earnings for drivers and keeps the system running smoothly. We know that sometimes things come up that prevent you from accepting every trip request, or you may want to take a break. But not accepting dispatches causes delays and degrades the reliability of the system. If you dont want to accept trips, just log off.

    If you consistently decline trip requests, we will assume you do not want to accept more trips and you may be logged out of the app.

    Safety

    Uber uses technology to keep drivers and riders safe, for instance by GPS-tracking every ride and allowing riders to share their journeys in real time with families or friends. This is all backed up by a robust system of pre-screenings of drivers. We also have a dedicated incident response team on call 24/7 to investigate safety incidents.

    Actions that threaten the safety of drivers and riders will be investigated and, if confirmed, lead to permanent deactivation of your account. For example:

    Physical contact with riders. As our community guidelines make clear, you shouldnt touch or flirt with other people in the car. As a reminder, Uber has a no sex rule. Thats no sexual conduct with riders, no matter what. And you should never hit or otherwise hurt a rider.

    Use of inappropriate and abusive language or gestures. For example, asking overly personal questions, using verbal threats, and making comments or gestures that are aggressive, sexual, discriminatory, or disrespectful.

    Unwanted contact with riders after a trip is over. For example, texting, calling, or visiting someone in person after a ride has been completed.

    Breaking the local law while using Uber. For example, texting while driving; speeding or otherwise breaking local traffic laws; and using Uber to commit a crime, including drug and human trafficking or the sexual exploitation of children.

    Safe Driving. Uber expects drivers using the app to drive safely at all times.

    What leads to you losing access to your account? If we are made aware of these kinds of problematic behavior, we will contact you so we can investigate them. Depending on the nature of the concern, we may put a hold on your account during our investigation. If the issues raised are serious or a repeat offense, or you refuse to cooperate, you may lose access to Uber. Any behavior involving violence, sexual misconduct, harassment, discrimination, or illegal activity while using Uber can result in the immediate loss of your account. Uber will also deactivate the account of any driver who receives several or serious complaints of poor, unsafe, or distracted driving while using the Uber app.

    Zero Tolerance for Drugs and Alcohol

    Uber does not tolerate the use of drugs or alcohol by partners while driving.

    What leads to you losing access to your account? The account of any driver found to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol while using the Uber app will be permanently deactivated. Uber may also deactivate the account of any driver who receives several unconfirmed complaints of drug or alcohol use.

    Compliance with the Law

    We expect drivers using the Uber app to act in compliance with all relevant state, federal and local laws and the rules of the road at all times. This includes meeting the regulatory requirements for rideshare or for-hire drivers in your area.

    What leads to you losing access to your account? Uber may permanently deactivate your account for activities such as: engaging in serious illegal activity while using the Uber app; not maintaining valid vehicle registration or drivers license; and receiving serious traffic citations, or several traffic citations that indicate unsafe driving, while using the Uber app.

    Firearms Ban

    Uber prohibits riders and drivers from carrying firearms in a vehicle while using our app. You can learn more about our firearms prohibition policy here. [1] If you violate Ubers firearms prohibition policy, you may lose access to Uber.

    Background Checks

    All drivers wanting to use the Uber app are required to undergo a screening process, like motor vehicle record and background checks, to ensure safety and compliance with our criteria.

    What leads to you losing access to your account? We will permanently deactivate a drivers account if a routine motor vehicle record or background check uncovers a violation of Ubers safety standards or of other criteria required by local regulators.

    Unacceptable Activities

    To maintain the transparency and safety of each trip for all users, activities conducted outside of Ubers system like anonymous pickups are prohibited.

    What leads to you losing access to your account? We will take action against a driver for activities such as: accepting illegal street hails while using the Uber app; harming the business or brand, like unauthorized use of Ubers trademark or intellectual property, or otherwise violating the drivers agreement with Uber; and soliciting payment of fares outside the Uber system.

    Fraud

    Fraudulent activity undermines the trust on which Uber is built. Thats why we are constantly on the lookout for fraud by riders and drivers who are gaming our systems.

    What leads to you losing access to your account? We will deactivate any account or accounts associated with fraudulent activity, which may include: deliberately increasing the time or distance of a trip; accepting trips without the intention to complete, including provoking riders to cancel; creating dummy rider or driver accounts for fraudulent purposes; claiming fraudulent fees or charges, like false cleaning fees; and intentionally accepting or completing fraudulent or falsified trips.

    Accurate Personal Information

    The Uber app is designed to give riders identifying information about drivers and their vehicles, like their name, profile picture, vehicle model and license plate number, before the trip begins. Inaccurate or outdated information creates confusion among riders and can diminish their experience with Uber.

    What leads to you losing access to your account? We will deactivate your account for activities such as: providing Uber with inaccurate information; allowing someone else to use your account; and taking a trip using an unapproved vehicle.

    In addition, we will take action to prevent any driver whose required documentation becomes invalid like a drivers license that expires from going online until the driver provides Uber with updated information.

    Discrimination

    Ubers mission is to connect riders to reliable transportation, everywhere for everyone. We have a zero tolerance policy towards discrimination of any kind at Uber.

    What leads to you losing access to your account? It is unacceptable to refuse to provide services based on where someone is going, or characteristics like a persons race, religion, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, sex, marital status, gender identity, age or any other characteristic protected under relevant federal, state or local law. Actions like these will result in permanent deactivation of your account.

    We want to help increase the transportation options for riders with disabilities. Thats why we have information available for drivers on this topic. See here for more on Ubers commitment to accessibility. We expect drivers using the Uber app to comply with all relevant state, federal and local laws governing the transportation of riders with disabilities, including transporting service animals.

    Getting Back on the Road After Deactivation

    If your account has been deactivated for quality reasons like low star ratings, you may have the opportunity to get back on the road if you provide proof that youve successfully taken a quality improvement course offered by third party experts, available in most U.S. cities today. Check with your local Uber team or help.uber.comto find out more. We are also exploring whether these experts provide the option of an equivalent online course, so that this is available to drivers everywhere in the United States at a low cost. In addition, we are exploring ways to create an appeals process for the most contentious cases. We will update this document as and when we have that process in place.

    Last updated: December 8, 2016

    https://www.uber.com/legal/community-guidelines/us-en/

    [1] To the extent permitted by applicable law.

    [2] This policy does not apply to drivers using the Uber app for UberRUSH and UberEATS.

    Check What Your Home Value Is Now!

  • Dr Travis Bradberry looks at the benefits of being a 'nice' boss - and how you can become one.

    Many bosses assume that a leader needs to be aloof and tough on employees in order to be effective. They fear that looking soft will erode their employees motivation and respect for them. To prove their case, they cite examples of brilliant leaders who modeled a tough leadership style, such as Steve Jobs, who berated his employees.

    When it comes to success as a leader, radically tough leadership styles are exceptions to the rule, not the rule. Recent research has shown that overly tough bosses create significant health and motivation problems in their employees, which will make you think twice about taking the tough-as-nails approach.

    Overly tough bosses create stress, and lots of it, as the research shows: A University of London study found an especially strong link between heart disease and boss-inflicted stress, while a University of Concordia study found that employees who rate themselves as highly stressed added 46% to their employers health care costs. Research from the Institute of Naval Medicine found that overly tough bosses cause people to seek jobs elsewhere, to perform at a lower level, to decline promotions, and even to quit. Finally, a survey from Randstad Consulting showed that most employees would trade in their bosses for better ones rather than receive a $5,000 pay raise. People dont leave jobs; they leave bad bosses.

    The thing is, nice bosses dont just prevent health and motivational problems among their employees; they create massive benefits that hard-nosed bosses cant. A California State Long Beach study found that leaders who treat their teams fairly have far more cohesive and productive teams and that the individuals in those teams perform better. Research from the University of Virginia found that leaders who were considered self-sacrificing and helpful were viewed as especially inspirational and motivational and their employees were more helpful to their colleagues and more committed to their teams.

    So, what exactly does a nice boss look like, and how does one pull this off without being a push over? Lets find out.

    They'rekind without being weak. One of the toughest things for leaders to master is kindness. Its a balancing act, and the key to finding balance is to recognize that true kindness is inherently strongits direct and straightforward. Telling people the difficult truth they need to hear is much kinder than protecting them (or yourself) from a difficult conversation. This is weak. Also, true kindness doesnt come with expectations. Kindness is thin when you use it in a self-serving mannerpeople can see right through kindness when a kind leader has an agenda.

    They'restrong without being harsh. Strength is an important quality in a leader. People will wait to see if a leader is strong before they decide to follow his or her lead or not. People need courage in their leaders. They need someone who can make difficult decisions and watch over the good of the group. They need a leader who will stay the course when things get tough. People are far more likely to show strength themselves when their leader does the same.

    A lot of leaders mistake domineering, controlling, and otherwise harsh behavior for strength. They think that taking control and pushing people around will somehow inspire a loyal following. Strength isnt something you can force on people; its something you earn by demonstrating it time and again in the face of adversity. Only then will people trust that they should follow you.

    They'reconfident, without being cocky. We gravitate to confident leaders because confidence is contagious, and it helps us to believe that there are great things in store. The trick, as a leader, is to make certain your confidence doesnt slip into arrogance and cockiness. Confidence is about passion and belief in your ability to make things happen, but when your confidence loses touch with reality, you begin to think you can do things you cant and have done things you havent. Suddenly its all about you. This arrogance makes you lose credibility.

    Great, confident leaders are still humble. They dont allow their accomplishments and position of authority to make them feel that theyre better than anyone else. As such, they dont hesitate to jump in and do the dirty work when needed, and they dont ask their followers to do anything they arent willing to do themselves.

    They stay positive, but remain realistic. Another major challenge that leaders face is finding the balance between keeping things positive and still being realistic. Think of a sailboat with three people aboard: a pessimist, an optimist, and a great leader. Everything is going smoothly until the wind suddenly sours. The pessimist throws his hands up and complains about the wind; the optimist sits back, saying that things will improve; but the great leaders says, We can do this! and he adjusts the sails and keeps the ship moving forward. The right combination of positivity and realism is what keeps things moving forward.

    They'rerole models, not preachers. Great leaders inspire trust and admiration through their actions, not just their words. Many leaders say that integrity is important to them, but great leaders walk their talk by demonstrating integrity every day. Harping on people all day long about the behavior you want to see has a tiny fraction of the impact you achieve by demonstrating that behavior yourself.

    They'rewilling to take a bullet for their people. The best leaders will do anything for their teams, and they have their peoples backs no matter what. They dont try to shift blame, and they dont avoid shame when they fail. Theyre never afraid to say, The buck stops here, and they earn peoples trust by backing them up. Great leaders also make it clear that they welcome challenges, criticism, and viewpoints other than their own. They know that an environment where people are afraid to speak up, offer insights, and ask good questions is destined for failure.

    They balance work and fun. There are plenty of bosses out there who know how to have fun. Unfortunately, this is often at the expense of results. And for every boss out there who has a bit too much fun, theres one who doesnt know how to have any fun at all. It takes a kind, but balanced leader to know how to motivate and push employees to be their best but to also have the wherewithal to slow it down at the appropriate time in order to celebrate results and have fun. This balance prevents burnout, builds a great culture, and gets results.

    They form personal connections. Even in a crowded room, kind leaders make people feel like theyre having a one-on-one conversation, as if theyre the only person in the room that matters. And, for that moment, they are. Kind leaders communicate on a very personal, emotional level. They never forget that theres a flesh-and-blood human being standing in front of them.

    They deliver feedback flawlessly. It takes a tactful leader to deliver feedback that is accurate and objective but also considerate and inspirational. Leaders who are kind know how to take into account the feelings and perspectives of their employees while still delivering the message they need to hear in order to improve.

    Theyre generous.Great leaders are generous. They share credit and offer enthusiastic praise and theyre as committed to their followers success as they are to their own. They want to inspire all their employees to achieve their personal best not just because it will make the team more successful, but because they care about each person as an individual.

    A good leader is a person who takes a little more than his share of the blame and a little less than his share of the credit. John Maxwell

    Bringing It All Together

    Kind leaders are dynamic; they meld a variety of unique skills into an integrated whole. Incorporate the behaviors above into your repertoire, and youll see immediate improvement in your leadership skills.

    Have you worked for a nice boss? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below, as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

    Dr. Travis Bradberryis the award-winning co-author of the #1 bestselling book,Emotional Intelligence 2.0, and the cofounder ofTalentSmart, the world's leading provider ofemotional intelligence testsandtraining, serving more than 75% of Fortune 500 companies. His bestselling books have been translated into 25 languages and are available in more than 150 countries. Dr. Bradberry has written for, or been covered by, Newsweek, TIME, BusinessWeek, Fortune, Forbes, Fast Company, Inc., USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and The Harvard Business Review.

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  • Get quick tips for time-saving cleanup on your most-used kitchen tools.A Blender Cleaning Secret

    1. Family physician and author Jill Grimes has a great tip to clean the blender. 'After you pour your drink, take the pitcher straight to the sink. Put in a little water and a drop of dish soap, put it back on the blender, and turn it on for 20 seconds. Rinse it out and youre done.' From Best You2 Microwave Cleaning Shortcuts

    2. The quickest way to clean a microwave oven is to place a handful of wet paper towels inside and run it on High for 3-5 minutes. You don't need a science lesson to know that the steam from the towels will soften the grime. Once the paper towels cool down, use them to wipe the oven's interior. -- Amazing Home Problem Solver 3. To deodorize, combine 1 cup of water with cup of lemon juice in a measuring cup or bowl and heat it on high for 35 minutes. Let it stand in the microwave for 510 minutes before removing. -- How to Clean Just About EverythingA Quick Coffee Pot Tip

    4. The glass jug that comes with a coffeemaker can quickly develop a brown, blotchy haze especially when you leave it on for long periods of time. For the quickest cure, you will need some ice, salt and a lemon. Fill the empty jug a quarter full of ice. Cut the lemon into quarters and squeeze two of the quarters into the jug. Add 2 tablespoons of salt. Swirl the mixture in the jug for 2 minutes and the inside surface will quickly come clean. Rinse under the tap. -- Five Minute Fixes

    Clean a Cast-Iron Pan

    5. Most cooks know that you should never use liquid soap on a cast-iron pan and never scrub it with anything abrasive if you want to maintain its well-oiled nonstick surface. So how do you clean it? Use salt. If the pan will not rinse clean with water and a soft dishcloth, rub it with a few tablespoons of salt and a paper towel, and rinse. Then replenish the oil film by coating the inside surface with a dab of cooking oil. -- Five Minute FixesA Coffee Grinder Trick

    6. Run a small handful of uncooked white rice through the coffee grinder, especially if you use it for grinding anything other than coffee beans. Most coffee experts advise against using your machine for grinding dry spices since the smells from grinding ingredients, such as cinnamon sticks and dried basil, are nearly always impossible to get out. -- How to Clean Just About EverythingCheese Grater Tip

    7. Keep a clean pastry brush handy for removing every last remnant of grated food left behind in the tiny grates. It works like a charm on both sides of the grater. -- How to Clean Just About Everything

    Disinfect the Garbage Disposal

    8. Deep clean and deodorize a waste disposal unit by grinding ice cubes made with half vinegar, half water. -- Amazing Home Problem SolverCoffee Cup Saver

    9. Remove coffee stains from china cups by scrubbing them with equal parts vinegar and salt.By:READER'S DIGEST EDITORS
  • By Sage Singleton

    When disasters strike, they come without warning. This is why you need to prepare for emergencies ahead of time. These 10 tips will help safeguardyour home and family, and save you time, money, and stress should an emergency occur.

    Protect your home from break-ins.A home invasion occurs every thirteen seconds in the United States. This alarmingly high rate means its essential to safeguard your home from burglars by investing in a home security system.

    Know potential threats and emergencies relevant to your location.If you live in the Midwest, tornados are a bigger threat than floods. If you live in California, earthquakes are a real danger. Teach your family about the natural threats common to your location and what to do should one occur. Having a plan and instinctively knowing what to do can save your life in the event of a disaster.

    Inspect your outdoor lighting. Make sure to check your outdoor lights to see if any need to be added or replaced. Well-lit homes help deter burglars and prevent accidents.

    Perform regular home safety checks. Every month, inspect your home for signs of broken or damaged items. Make sure your roof, basement, attic, pipes, and foundation are in good condition. Check your door locks, garage door, and windows for any broken parts. Regularly fixing up your home will help maintain its value and keep it in great condition.

    Test your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors. An average of $12 billion in personal property is lost in fires each year. Protect your home and personal items by routinely testing your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors. Not only will this protect your home and property, but it can also save your life.

    Inspect your fire extinguisher. Check the pressure gauge to see if the needle is in the green, and replace or service it if it isnt. Also examine the hose and nozzle for cracks, and youll need to replace your fire extinguisher if the handle is missing the locking pin or is broken. Should a home fire occur, you will be prepared to handle the situation because your fire extinguisher will be in great working condition.

    Create an emergency communication plan. Discuss what everyone in your home will do in case of a disaster. Talk with each family member about their responsibilities, where you will meet, and how to communicate with one another. If communication lines are down, it's important to have a central meeting location established so everyone can meet and regroup. Discuss different disaster scenarios and come up with a communication and action plan that everyone knows and can enact if necessary.

    List relevant contact information and make it easily accessible to everyone. Keep contact information on hand in case of an emergency. While you may keep numbers in your cellphone, it's smart to keep a hard copy of key contacts in your home. This list can include your primary care physician, poison control, and a trusted neighbor.

    Keep 72-hour emergency kits in your home and car. The CDC recommends putting together an emergency kit that includes the following.

    One gallon of water per person, per dayNon-perishable food that is easy to prepA can openerImportant medicationA radioFlashlightsBatteriesToilet paper

    Compile and regularly update your home inventory. If you need to file an insurance claim after a blizzard or burglary, itll help to have an itemized inventory for your valuable home goods. Store instruction manuals, serial numbers, and important receipts in files that you can access easily when needed.

    Incorporate these ten safety hacks into your to-do list and youll be able to safeguard your home, property, and family should a disaster or emergency occur.

    Posted on Jan 24 2017 - 4:29pm by Housecall

  • Everybody pees. Humans pee in toilets (or diapers), dogs pee on grass and cats pee in litter boxes.

    But sometimes, for reasons known only to them, cats choose to bypass the litter box and pee wherever they damn well feel like peeing. Because they're cats and cats do what they want.

    And dogs? Well, they're often just as guilty.

    But fear not: Where there's pee, there's a solution literally and figuratively.

    First things first. Get some towels (and maybe a gas mask, because pee is no joke) and blot up as much urine as you can. Don't rub: It'll push urine deeper into the carpet, and that will only make life harder.

    "If it's a large spot and you don't want to waste paper towels, use a cloth towel or old clothes that can be thrown away," Animal Planet suggests. "If the spot is on the carpet, stand on the wet spot (remember to wear shoes)."

    Here are 5 methods that work when cleaning up a pee stain, whether it's wet or already set in.

    1. White vinegarShutterstock

    White vinegar neutralizes odors and works well for wet stains, and can help with those that have been there a while, too.

    "Start by blotting the area," Vetstreet suggests. "Then mix equal parts white vinegar and cold water, and pour the mixture generously over the soiled section. Blot well, and then let it dry. (A fan can speed up the process.) Once dry, run a vacuum over the area."

    2. Baking sodaShutterstock

    If the urine stain has been there for a while, Petfinder recommends sprinkling a bunch of baking soda on it, letting it sit for an hour or longer, then vacuuming it up.

    3. Club sodaShutterstock

    "When it comes to pre-treating a soiled carpet, club soda works great for nearly any type of pet stain. Since it's only effective while the soda is effervescing, the treatment may need to be applied several times," Vetstreet says.

    Make sure to blot the area before pouring on club soda. "Once the solution has stopped fizzing, immediately blot the spot again, repeating as necessary. If the stain isn't fresh, you'll likely need to follow up with the above baking soda treatment."

    4. A quick homemade concoctionShutterstock

    "Mix 3/4 cup of three percent hydrogen peroxide (you know you have some under your bathroom sink) with 1 teaspoon of dish detergent," Animal Planet suggests. "Sprinkle this solution over the baking soda and test a small spot. You need to do this because sometimes peroxide can discolor or bleach fabrics. Work the baking soda into the fabric or carpet."

    5. Citrus-enzyme cleanerShutterstock

    Stain removal products usually include enzymes to digest and break down stains and odors on a molecular level, and Everyday Roots recommends making your own at home to save money. But this takes THREE MONTHS to set, so it's something you'll want to have on hand for the future.

    You'll need 7 tablespoons of brown sugar, 1 cups of lemon and orange peels, 1 liter of water and a large clear container that can hold the liquid and peels.

    "Funnel 7 tablespoons of brown sugar into your container, and add the fruit," the website suggests. "Next, add the water, and tightly screw on the cap, giving everything a good shake to mix it around. Loosen the cap and leave it on halfway to release the gases and ensure your bottle doesn't explode due to the build-up."

    It's important to clean the urine as soon as you spot it or step in it. Dogs and cats are likely to mark their territory over and over again if the urine isn't cleaned thoroughly.

    6. Keeping the house pee-free"In areas where your dog has urinated try to keep him from it or take away the attraction," Dogtime suggests. "For example, if he has urine-marked a house plant, move the plant to another spot he can't get to."

    If your cat refuses to use his litter box, the problem could be the litter box. According to Pet Place, a cat might avoid her litter box because of her natural desire for cleanliness.

    "If you think the box smells bad, just imagine how it smells to your cat, since she has 200 million odor-sensitive cells in her nose compared to your 5 million," Pet Place says.

    In that case, scoop out the box at least once or twice a day. Change the litter often, and scrub the box with warm, soapy water every week.

    And if your pet still pees in the house after you've cleaned every pee spot over and over again, you may want to just, you know, move.

  • The most recent Pending Homes Sales Index from the National Association of Realtors revealed a slight bump in contracts with an increase of 1.6% in December. This news comes as existing home sales are also forecasted to be on pace for 5.54 million in 2017, a 1.7% increase over 2016, which was the best year for sales in a decade.

    The Pending Home Sales Index is a leading indicator for the housing sector, based on pending sales of existing homes. A sale is listed as pending when the contract has been signed but the transaction has not closed.

    According to NARs Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun,

    Pending sales bounded last month as enough buyers fended off rising mortgage rates and alarmingly low inventory levels to sign a contract.

    So, whats the problem?

    Buyers are searching for existing homes, but supply is not keeping up with their demand!

    Yun went on to explain,

    The main storyline in the early months of 2017 will be if supply can meaningfully increase to keep price growth at a moderate enough level for households to absorb higher borrowing cost. Sales will struggle to build on last years strong pace if inventory conditions dont improve. (emphasis added)

    Bottom Line

    Buyers are out in force right now! If you are considering selling your home this year, the early months of 2017 will be your best option. Contact a local professional today to capitalize on current market conditions.