Save On Pet Guinea Pig Supplies With DIY Know-How and Smart Shopping


I’ve had two guinea pigs, Chocolate and Vanilla, for almost five years, and they make wonderful pets. They’re low- maintenance and cute as anything.

But like any pet, a guinea pig has needs that can dent your bank account. Through trial and error, I figured out what to buy and what to skip.

Habitat

The first thing you need when you adopt a guinea pig is a cage. But not all small pet cages are suited for guinea pigs. Guinea pigs cannot live in a wire-bottom cage like rabbits can. They must have some kind of flooring to protect their feet, which are small and sensitive.

I found the cages at pet stores woefully lacking. They were too expensive and too small. The Humane Society of the United States recommends housing a maximum of two guinea pigs in a cage that’s at least 7.5 square feet. Most cages advertised for guinea pigs are much smaller.

I purchased an uncovered MidWest guinea pig cage for about $ 35 on Amazon. Not only was it cheaper than pet-store cages, it was roomy enough for my two guinea pigs to claim their own territory and get some exercise. (Males, especially, need room to avoid each other when they’re grouchy.)

Lots of guinea pig owners prefer to build their own cage. The supplies are available at most big-box and office-supply stores and allow owners to customize their cages at a low cost. Alexandria’s Animals on YouTube has a video on how to build a C & C (cubes and corrugated plastic) cage.

Bedding

Bedding is where I spend most of my guinea-pig dollars because we clean our cage at least once a week.

The easiest bedding option is natural paper bedding. You can buy it in pet stores, big-box stores and even some grocery stores.

However, I found that the cheapest place to get bedding is Amazon. I search for guinea-pig bedding, then I scroll through the list to see which one is the cheapest per liter. Generally, I can get a 60L package of paper bedding for approximately $ 15. Sometimes I score one on sale for about $ 13. One package of bedding lasts almost a week in our house.

The trick is not to become loyal to a particular kind. I’ve even ordered confetti-colored paper bedding because it was the cheapest choice.

An even cheaper option, in the long run, is to use fleece. Lots of guinea-pig owners prefer to use fleece to line their cages because it’s reusable and they feel it’s more comfortable for their guinea pigs.

However, you have to have the right kind of fleece, which wicks urine down to an absorbent layer underneath. Look for 100% polyester anti-pill fleece. Then prepare the fleece by washing and drying it three to five times in hot water with detergent, without fabric softener or dryer sheets. Washing the fleece over and over removes the protective barrier from the fleece and allows liquids to pass through.

Once the fleece is prepared, place it in the cage on top of an absorbent layer, like paper bedding, puppy pads or newspaper. Jessica’s Nerd Life has a YouTube video on how to prepare fleece for guinea pig cages.

I’ll be honest; I tried the fleece method and I couldn’t hack it. I didn’t like sweeping up poop and hay every day. Plus, you have to have at least two prepared fleeces: one to use and one to wash. On top of that, I couldn’t get it to work properly. The smell was awful. I decided to stick with paper bedding.

You may be thinking that newspaper would be a cheap alternative to paper bedding, but I don’t recommend it. Newspaper tends to soak up urine, leaving your poor piggy in sopping wet, smelly bedding after only a day.

Please do not use pine or cedar shavings for guinea-pig bedding. Although it’s still sold in stores, the oil and resin can be harmful to small pets. The aromatic oils from pine and cedar can irritate a guinea pig’s skin, eyes and respiratory tract.

Food

guinea pig eating a carrot
Vanilla chowing down on a carrot. Photo courtesy of Nancy Basile.

Guinea pigs need hay, preferably Timothy hay. Not only do they get nutrition from hay, it keeps their teeth from growing too long. Guinea pigs, like rabbits, have teeth that will continue to grow to unhealthy lengths if they don’t have something hard to chew on. Hay takes a lot of chewing.

Guinea pigs also need pellet food, preferably made from Timothy hay. Pellets that have alfalfa hay as a base are high in calcium, which may lead to bladder stones.

I buy pellet food and Timothy hay from Amazon. Again, I’m not loyal to a brand, so I’m able to buy the cheapest options. I generally buy a five-pound bag of Kaytee pellet food for about $ 6. It lasts for several months.

Don’t be tempted to buy guinea-pig pellet food with extras — those colorful nuggets of non-nutritious food that’s added to the pellets. According to VetBabble, it’s like adding candy to their healthy food.

Guinea pigs must also have fresh produce. They can’t produce vitamin C, so they need to get it from their food. I feed our guinea pigs carrots, kale and, for a treat, strawberries. I occasionally give them a bit of apple.

The good news is that they’re not super picky. Check your grocery store for a produce clearance section. My store has a shelf with bruised, broken and spotted fruit and vegetables that I can buy at about a third of the full price. My little guys don’t care if their carrots are starting to brown. (But I would never feed them rotten food.)

Chews

As mentioned above, guinea pigs need to chew on stuff to keep their teeth a healthy length. Stores sell all kinds of wooden blocks and hay cubes, but they’re expensive and unnecessary.

Guinea pigs can chew on cardboard, which is probably as plentiful in your house as it is in mine. Remember all my Amazon orders? I use the boxes to build “additions” to my guinea pigs’ cage. They usually chew on the cardboard flaps.

You can also give your guinea pig a paper towel or toilet-paper tube to chew on. Try shoving lettuce or other foods inside to give your guinea pig a boredom buster.

What Not to Buy

There are a lot of products out there for guinea pigs that are a waste of money. Here are things you don’t need to buy.

Litter. Guinea pigs are nearly impossible to litter train. Don’t bother.

Toys. Guinea pigs don’t play with toys. They’re happy with a cardboard box or tube. You can also create tunnels and mazes from cardboard to give them some exercise and fun.

Clear, plastic balls. Guinea pigs are not hamsters. They will not run around the house in a big, clear ball. They will just sit and wonder what’s happening.

Fancy houses. Guinea pigs like to have a cover over their heads, but they don’t need anything fancy. A plastic igloo or cardboard box works just fine.

Pillows. You might see videos of guinea pigs sleeping with their heads on pillows. It’s super cute, so I bought two on Etsy. My guinea pigs completely ignore them.

Nancy Basile is a freelance writer who didn’t expect to fall in love with her two guinea pigs, Chocolate and Vanilla. Follow her on Instagram @mediamedusa.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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6 Smart Ways Bookworks Can Pocket Extra Money (for More Books)


I’ve always loved books, even if I wasn’t the strongest reader.

I’d thumb through the Scholastic Book Club flyers and circle my most desired choices: “Britney Spears: The Story of Britney Spears” and the latest Magic Treehouse book. I’d buy big reference books from Sam’s Club because they were pretty, and I liked the weight of the pages.

This obsession became more intense after I was fitted with my first pair of glasses — and learned to actually read. I started making pricy trips to Barnes and Noble. I stockpiled books and magazines. I made long reading lists — lists I’ve not been able to conquer to this day.

My obsession continued in life, as I majored in English and became a full-time writer.

But this isn’t the only way I could have made — and can still make — money from my love for books and words.

6 Ways to Make Money From Your Love of Books

If you’re drowning in books, that totally makes my heart happy. It can make your bank account pretty darn happy, too.

Here are six ways you can get paid to read books:

1. Give Your Books a New Life

monels/Getty Images
monels/Getty Images

I have a closet full of stuff I just can’t part with. Luckily, this is my childhood room at my parents house and not in my 500-square-foot apartment. But I can tell you my mom would be very happy if I cleared these out.

Sites like Amazon and Letgo make selling your used books super simple.

Go ahead and let the internet know you’re a pack-rat book-lover and start watching those crusty pages regain life.

2. Hunt for Other People’s Used Books

encrier/Getty Images
encrier/Getty Images

This sounds weird, right? But The Penny Hoarder’s founder and CEO Kyle Taylor wrote about making money as a “used book hunter.”

Basically, his first step was to clean out the books in his house, then get a feel for the books’ going rates. Try using a site like Biblio to figure out a book’s value.

Once you get the hang of it, hit up garage sales, used book stores, flea markets — you name it. Find books on the cheap. Use your phone to look up what these books go for online. If the resale value is good, buy it.

Finding these gems is a thrill.

3. Become a Virtual English Teacher

SamuelBrownNG/Getty Images
SamuelBrownNG/Getty Images

If a classroom full of squealing kids isn’t your scene… we get it. You can still work as a teacher. Better yet: You work as a teacher, set your own hours and work from home.

Angela Brumbaugh is a QKids teacher. She teaches 36 half-hour sessions a week and makes up to $ 20 an hour.

“The students are hard-working, curious and light up the classroom with their smiles,” she says. “Class time actually goes by fast, and the only con I can see is sometimes I wish I had more time to spend with them!”

QKids is an online-learning platform that’s been around since 2015. It’s focused on teaching English as a second language to students between ages 5 and 12. Right now, it’s hiring.

Here are the basic qualifications:

  • You must be a native English speaker based in the U.S. or Canada.
  • You should have a bachelor’s degree or be currently enrolled in a university program.
  • You need to be available to teach a minimum of six hours a week. That’s 12 half-hour classes.
  • You must consider yourself digitally literate, have an outgoing personality and show passion in the classroom.
  • Prior teaching experience is preferred, but not required.

4. Publish Your Own Book

lechatnoir/GettyImages
lechatnoir/GettyImages

I’m not brave enough to do this yet, but it’s certainly on my bucket list: Write a book.

However, one of our contributors, Steve Gillman, took the leap. He wrote a book about ultralight backpacking. It only took him a few days (holy cow), and he had it published on Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing platform.

Over time, Gillman’s banked up to $ 350 a month from the ebook in a very passive manner with no promotion. He outlined how to get started self-publishing on Kindle.

5. Get Paid to Catch Mistakes

lechatnoir/GettyImages
lechatnoir/GettyImages

Meet Caitlin Pyle, the “proofreading powerhouse” behind Proofread Anywhere, a blog she started in 2014. Pyle’s been proofreading transcripts for years, and she wanted other people to get in on the action.

She offers a free introductory workshop to help you get started. She estimates you can make about 35 cents per proofread page. If you can get through about 50 pages an hour, you can bank $ 17.50 an hour.

6. Share Your Opinions on the Books You’ve Read

Have you ever tried online book reviewing? Basically, you read a book, then you’ll get paid to write a review.

We rounded up some websites and publishers that’ll pay you to read and review books.

Bonus: Reading list dried up? Dive into our favorite books about investing.

Carson Kohler (carson@thepennyhoarder.com) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She was never a strong reader… until she was fitted with her first pair of glasses in second grade.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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The 16 Best Black-Hosted, Smart, and Funny Podcasts

The podcast landscape is currently seeing an uptick in black-hosted and black-curated original podcasts—and we are all here for it.

As more black-hosted podcasts have been hitting the scene, from the ratings and reviews, they’re not going anywhere anytime soon. So now is your chance to catch up on these smart and insightful, and at times, hilarious episodes.

If you haven’t yet given podcasts a try, chances are you’re missing out on some valuable information presented in an efficient and entertaining way. In recent years, this medium of information intake has taken off.

According to The Neiman Journalism Lab, podcasting has 57 million monthly U.S. listeners in 2017, up 23% year over year. And 85% of podcast listeners consume majority or entirety of an episode.

Data from the Pew Research Center shows that podcasting continued to grow in both audience and programming in 2015. About one-third of Americans now say they have listened to a podcast, according to Pew’s State of the News Media 2016 report. Podcast listening grew 23% between 2015 and 2016. And between 2008 and 2016, the percentage of people who listened to a podcast has more than doubled. So what are you waiting for if you haven’t given this form of media a go yet?

From Larry Wilmore and Jenna Wortham to comedians like Phoebe Robinson and Desus Nice, and our very own Black Enterprise staffers, many of the current black-hosted podcasts offer valuable insight on everything from personal finance, pop culture, and tech trends to politics, race, wellness, and more.

Whether you’re looking for a serious hour of learning money tips, seeking perspectives on politics, or a lighthearted escape offering good laughs or lifestyle tips, these podcasts are well worth lending an ear and subscribing to.

Read on to enrich your life and elevate your podcast-listening game.


via GIPHY

Personal Finance/Career:

 

1. Joblogues: Joymarie Parker and Cortney Cleveland

(Image: Instagram)

 

For the young professional seeking job advice and financial empowerment, Joblogues could be your go-to podcast. Co-hosts Joymarie Parker and Cortney Cleveland describe it as “candid, career conversations with young professionals around the globe.” According to their website, more than 20,000 multicultural women tune in monthly for career advice, inspiration, and lots of laughs.

 

2. The Ash Cash Show and Money Mondays with Ash Cash

Ash Cash

(Image: Selena Hill and Ash Cash)

 

You can find your financial motivation with personal finance expert and TV/radio personality, Ash Cash. The Ash Cash Show is focused on personal finance with an aim to empower people to achieve financial freedom. Cash and crew speak to everyday people about everything from money and business to even changing the world and everything in between. The Money Mondays with Ash Cash podcast provides actionable tips on how to budget, invest, and save yourself from debt, whether you’re a seasoned workforce vet or college student.

 

3. Chris Hogan’s Retire Inspired Podcast

Known as America’s voice on retirement, Chris Hogan tackles topics including how to find extra money for retirement, the ultimate 401(k) questions you should be asking, and how millennials can approach retirement planning. With each insightful episode, his aim is to help you create the retirement you have always dreamed of.

 

4. Two Black Guys with Good Credit: Shaun Lynda and Arlington Forbes

(Image: 2 Black Guys With Good Credit Podcast)

 

Hosts Shaun Lynda and Arlington Forbes “will educate, entertain, and inspire you to achieve your financial goals.” Both are financial experts—Forbes has a background in entrepreneurship while Lynda previously worked on Wall Street. The podcast is part of the Financially CLEAN network, launched in 2006 by Lynda because of his desire to pass on the knowledge he had gained over his career to the next generation.

 

Social Commentary/Culture:

 

5. Still Processing: Jenna Wortham and Wesley Morris

(Image: Instagram)

 

The New York Times‘ Jenna Wortham and Wesley Morris are both powerhouses when it comes to expertly dishing out thoughts from the black perspective. So naturally, their podcast, Still Processing, is one worth tuning into, especially when you want some intelligent journalistic insight on matters like black health, LeBron James, and the toxic racial climate in America.

 

6. Black On The Air: Larry Wilmore

(Image: wikimedia/Gage Skidmore)

 

The Emmy-award winning comedian is back on the air giving his sharp and pointed opinions on race and politics in America. For fans of The Nightly Show, this podcast is a refreshing respite to the missing black perspective on late night television after its untimely cancellation. From conversations like what it means to “sound black” and the current president’s lack of regard for the truth, Wilmore once again holds no reservations about his opinions.

 

7. 2 Dope Queens: Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams

2 Dope Queens podcast hosts, Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams. (Image: Instagram)

 

If you haven’t heard about the Lenny Kravitz debate by now, we can only implore you to immediately download and listen to Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams hilariously debate back and forth about Lenny Kravitz’s hotness—a topic they call the greatest mystery of our generation. Beyond Lenny, these comedy queens dish out commentary and laughs every week about a range of random topics with guests like Gabrielle Union and Nicole Byer.

 

8. Snap Judgment: Glynn Washington

Since its launch in 2010, Snap Judgment has become a titan of the podcast platform and remains a popular mainstay. Host and Executive Producer Glynn Washington curates intriguing and engaging stories each week that are guaranteed to make listeners question, cry, laugh, and come away more informed and well-rounded. Their slogan, “storytelling with a beat,” is indicative of the podcast’s successful attempts to overlay music that fits and flows with each narrative, expertly pulling the listener in more.

 

9. Bodega Boys: Desus Nice and The Kid Mero

Desus Nice and The Kid Mero host the podcast, Bodega Boys. (Image: Instagram)

 

If you want to tune in with some laughs on all things pop culture for the week, Desus Nice and The Kid Mero have you covered. From hilarious impersonations of Donald Trump using words like “lit” and “we out here” to a mashup of weekly pop culture references ranging from Rihanna to LeBron James and Whoopi Goldberg, these two Bronx comedians provide an unfiltered and funny take.

 

Tech/Science

 

10. BE the Code: Sequoia Blodgett

podcast

Sequoia Blodgett hosts BE the Code. (Image: Niranjan Deshpande/Sequoia Blodgett)

 

Offering insight on all things tech, BE the Code is hosted by Sequoia BlodgettBlack Enterprise’s tech editor in Silicon Valley, and it is a must-listen for anyone looking to venture into the tech entrepreneurial space or looking to learn more about the tech world. It explores matters related to technology that are important to African Americans and those within the African diaspora, and is filled with winning strategies and game-changing advice from top innovators out of Silicon Valley, celebrities, and rising stars. We recommend checking out her interviews with Monique Woodard, Venture Partner at 500 Startups and Mike Brown, the former NFL player turned tech entrepreneur.

 

 

11. StarTalk Radio: Neil deGrasse Tyson

(Image: wikimedia/Bruce F Press)

 

Everyone’s favorite astrophysicist puts together a highly informative, clever show each week on StarTalk Radio, “where science, pop culture and comedy collide.” DeGrasse Tyson’s comedic co-hosts, including Chuck Nice, lend a hilarious bent to the podcast. And deGrasse Tyson doesn’t disappoint when it comes to guests. Big names like Tesla Motors and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian, and journalists Baratunde Thurston and Fareed Zakaria have all shined their light and intelligence on listeners.

 

Politics

 

12. Let Your Voice Be Heard! Radio: Selena Hill

 

Selena Hill

Selena Hill, Black Enterprise’s digital editor. (Image: file)

 

Let Your Voice Be Heard! is an energetic, award-winning weekly show founded, executive produced, and co-hosted by Black Enterprise’s digital editor, Selena Hill. LYVBH is committed to informing, educating, and empowering millennials on political and social issues via discussion and in-depth interviews with influential leaders. Past guests include Sen. Cory Booker, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, former ACLU President Nadine Strossen, and Russell Simmons.

13. Intersection: Jamil Smith

Senior editor at The New Republic, Jamil Smith’s podcast is taking a clear look at identity politics in the U.S. Each episode delves into how race, gender, and all the ways we identify ourselves and one another intersect. From activists and politicians to journalists and everyday folks, each episode is packed with plenty of worthy conversation starters.

Wellness/Mental Health

 

Therapy for Black Girls: Dr. Joy Harden

 

Psychologist Dr. Joy Harden. (Image: therapyforblackgirls.com)

 

This podcast stems from Dr. Harden’s namesake online space that is dedicated to encouraging the mental wellness of black women and girls. Each week the Atlanta-based psychologist chats about “all things mental health, personal development, and all the small decisions we can make to become the best possible versions of ourselves.” She shares practical tips and strategies to improve your mental health, and also discusses the latest news and trends in the field.

 

14. The Friend Zone: Dustin Ross, Francheska Medina of HeyFranHey & Assanté

The Friend Zone podcast. (Image: Instagram)

 

Think of this health and wellness podcast as your friend and confidant for all things related to mental hygiene, because, “who wants their mind to be musty?” Whether it’s a discussion on relationships, race, or being true to yourself, this insightful and funny podcast will get you through a long week or help you start a Monday right.

Music

 

15.  The Combat Jack Show: Reggie Ossé

The Combat Jack Show calls itself the undisputed No. 1 hip-hop podcast. Hosted by Reggie Ossé, a former hip-hop music attorney, each episode features interviews with icons like Rza, Talib Kweli, and Chuck D who dish about their experiences, philosophies, and viewpoints in conversations that extend beyond music.

 

16. Afropop Worldwide: Georges Collinet

If you’re looking for a podcast that discusses music beyond the borders of North America, Afropop Worldwide is a good starting point. From the black music of Peru to Ghana’s regional pop and neo-traditional music, this podcast expertly curates stories of music from the African diaspora, adding in intriguing historical and cultural details.

Editor’s Note: This article originally published June 2017

The post The 16 Best Black-Hosted, Smart, and Funny Podcasts appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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Heart Smart: The Rise of Life-Changing Cath-Based Procedures

Frank Burns could no longer walk his beloved dogs along their favorite riverside trail. He couldn’t climb the stairs, or perform simple tasks without experiencing shortness of breath and fatigue. He chalked it up to “old age,” and put off seeing a doctor for as long as he could.

After several rounds of tests at Kaiser Permanente, the 65-year-old was diagnosed with what he calls “a laundry list of problems” — including aortic valve stenosis. This common, but serious, condition occurs when a narrowing of the aortic valve opening restricts blood flow from the left ventricle to the aorta.

Because of other health issues, however, Frank wasn’t a viable candidate for open-heart surgery to replace his worn-out valve. Abhimanyu Uberoi, MD, structural heart medical director at Kaiser Permanente Northwest, offered him an alternative treatment called TAVR (transcatheter aortic valve replacement).

Less-invasive, faster recovery

As with a growing number of heart procedures that are performed using a cath-based technique, Dr. Uberoi threaded a catheter (tube with a small opening) through the patient’s leg into the heart, and positioned the new valve.

Cath-based procedures mean smaller scars, less risk of infection, and quicker recovery, compared to open-heart surgeries. Hospital stays following cath-based procedures are usually just one or two days. Patients stay a week or more following open-heart surgery.

“My life has gone from a slow-degeneration toward certain death, to a full life with my physical ability restored,” said Frank. “I feel 20 years younger.” He jogs a couple of miles each day, walks his dogs, does pushups, and has discovered a fondness for yoga. He’s also become more introspective, vowing to make changes in his approach to life.

Frank attributes his new lease on life to his sister, who recommended that he join Kaiser Permanente for excellent care and coverage. He’s also grateful to the team of doctors, nurses and other professionals “who managed all my needs quickly, efficiently, professionally and often with a smile.”

Innovation and new technologies

Kaiser Permanente’s Center for Heart and Vascular Care was founded in 2009 and has grown into a regional leader and early adopter of cath-based heart procedures. To keep pace with these innovations, a state-of-the-art surgical room with advanced imaging capabilities is being added to Kaiser Permanente Sunnyside Medical Center. It will be available for patient care in October 2018.

Besides TAVR, Dr. Uberoi and interventional cardiologists Robert Crawford, MD, Tim Hudson, MD, and Arun Kuchela, MD, are helping patients with heart conditions by using new technologies and less invasive surgical techniques to close holes in hearts, remove blockages and open arteries.

Atrial fibrillation is another condition that can be treated minimally invasively. Dr. Uberoi implants Watchman, a tiny umbrella-like device that blocks the left atrial appendage to prevent blood from pooling.

“This is important because Watchman prevents clots from breaking loose, entering the blood stream, and potentially causing a stroke,” explains Dr. Uberoi.

Life-changing devices

He also says that Kaiser Permanente heart specialists are using “amazing minimally invasive technology” to repair mitral valves. The device, called a MitraClip, can be used to clip the two leaflets of the mitral valve together, to prevent blood from leaking backward and causing serious breathing problems for the patient. Like many cath-based procedures, the MitraClip procedure is a good option for patients who are high-risk for surgery.

Another important new cath-based procedure is helping patients whose hearts need a little extra help to survive coronary stenting and other high-risk procedures. Dr. Uberoi inserts Impella, a temporary internal heart pump, through a catheter in the femoral artery and advances it into position in the left ventricle.

An 80-year-old patient who received the heart pump says it enabled him to have a life-saving stent procedure. “I was close to dying,” he says. “Because of the great care I received, I’m able to enjoy my wife, kids and grandkids.”

That sort of testimonial is music to Dr. Uberoi’s ears. He’s gratified when he sees patients who struggled to initially walk in the door emerge from cath-based, minimally invasive procedures transformed and thriving.

“If I can help people to improve their quality of life and enjoy their time on this earth, then that’s what I want to do.”

Learn more about cardiac care at Kaiser Permanente at kp.org/cardiac/northwest.

The post Heart Smart: The Rise of Life-Changing Cath-Based Procedures appeared first on Kaiser Permanente Share.

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Money Smart Week Helps Keep You in the Black

During Money Smart Week, April 21–April 28, more than 1,000 libraries across the country will host educational events that focus on financial issues such as the following:

  • first-time home buying
  • home renovation loans
  • personal spending plan (otherwise known as a budget!)
  • the property tax appeal process
  • financial aid packages and how to evaluate them
  • the right Medicare plan
  • the basics of wills and trusts
  • options for tax-free savings
  • charitable tax strategies, and more

“During Money Smart Week, libraries in rural, suburban, and urban communities are helping people examine their personal finances, whether that involves estate planning or budgeting for groceries,” says Felton Thomas Jr., executive director and CEO of the Cleveland Public Library.

“Libraries will use fliers and books and displays, and provide programming that will help their specific community, by connecting patrons with experts and advisers,” he continued.

Library patrons—and you don’t need a library card unless you’re checking out materials—will meet with money experts, not librarians.

Partnering with the Federal Reserve Bank in Cleveland and the Veterans Administration, the Cleveland Public Library has designed its Money Smart Week to work with veterans.

“It will be like a fair,” says Thomas, who is also a past president of the Public Library Association. “We want to get them signed up for their VA benefits. There will be different educational institutions, reps from the VA, and OhioMeansJobs [an employment initiative in Ohio].”

In Chicago, the public library is focusing on those in the sharing economy, such as Uber, Lyft, or Airbnb, who are now figuring out tax questions.

“IRS Taxpayer Advocates will be on hand to help patrons in the sharing economy,” Thomas said. “Other libraries are focusing specifically on children 5–8 years of age learning money management.”

In Pickerington, Ohio, a library will have a grocery store providing tips on how to manage the food budget.

“Every library is doing what it thinks is important for their community,” Thomas says, noting that no one socioeconomic group is targeted. “Everyone can learn to budget their funds better.”

“Money Smart Week shines a light on what libraries do,” says Thomas. “Libraries do this kind of programming all the time.”

To learn about activities at your local library, visit the Money Smart Week website.

The post Money Smart Week Helps Keep You in the Black appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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Smart Casual Dress Code Explained

Even 20 years ago, dress codes were much more defined and people clearly understood what they meant, however, in recent years, fashion and clothes have become more casualized and because of that, new dress codes have evolved.

The term casual today can be anything from gym clothes or athleisure, all the way up to something that’s office appropriate such as a dress shirt and chinos. Now obviously, there is a big disconnect and just having the casual dress code is no longer enough. So if you get an invitation with a dress code smart casual, I hear your pain.

What Exactly Is Smart Casual?

Historically, the term was coined because people showed up overly casual and the smart implied that you can’t show up with joggers and trainers. If you look at the urban dictionary, it defines smart casual as a nonsensical dress code that people slap on to events, parties, and workplaces. Completely down to interpretation, this always causes confusion and often spectacular results. The mixture between smart and casual should not be taken literally. So while it’s hilarious, sadly, it’s not very helpful.

First, the urban dictionary got it right by saying don’t take it literally. That means, don’t wear tennis shoes with a dress shirt, or combine sweatpants with a blazer. So in a nutshell, smart casual is not about mixing different pieces of clothing from different degrees of formality but rather to pick something that is in between a very casual outfit and a formal or businesslike outfit. A hoodie would be too casual and pleated wool dress pants would be too formal, instead, if you go with chinos, they are less formal, as well as a polo shirt, you hit that perfect sweet spot of smart casual.

Personally, I like the idea of a smart casual dress code because it allows you to use lots of colors and to combine different things that you may not have combined otherwise. Ideally, you always want to avoid looks at the extreme end of the spectrum, that means no jeans, no trainers, no hoodies, or no sweatpants. At the same time, it also means no neckwear, no suits, no pleated pants, and no black dress shoes.

Where Do You Encounter Smart Casual Dress Code?

It’s not at the office because there are different terms such as business casual. You can usually find smart casual dress codes in a social environment such as cruise ships, restaurants, or resorts. The whole idea is to look neat and presentable without being overly stuffy.

So let’s say you work in a white-collar office and you have an invitation to a smart casual event afterward and you usually wear dress shirts, ties, and pinstripe suits, you definitely want to bring a change of clothes. If you’re a bit more flexible at the office, you can get away with wearing a blazer and chinos for example, as well as a tie, but when you go to the smart casual party, I suggest to take off the tie, add a bold pocket square, maybe a boutonniere, have some bolder socks and shoes and brown tones or more colors such as dark red, dark green, or navy, and it just creates a more fun outfit that is not as boring or stuffy formal as you would usually know from an office environment.

Should You Dress Up Or Down?

So if you’re unsure whether you should dress up a little more or dress down, I suggest you always dress up because that way, you don’t embarrass yourself. Of course, always stay within that smart casual range which means below business wear.

Smart Casual Clothing Items

A tweed blazer with chinos for a dapper yet modern take on a classic

A tweed blazer with chinos for a dapper yet modern take on a classic

A Stand Out Blazer Or Odd Jacket

On the formal side would be an odd jacket or a blazer. Odd jacket meaning it has a bolder pattern, another color, and it doesn’t match the pants. You don’t want to wear a suit, a combination at most. Also, that means, don’t wear orphaned suit jackets from your pinstripe suit with a Nantucket red pair of pants because it’s simply odd and doesn’t work together.

Harrington Jacket Racing Green Baracuta

Harrington Jacket in Racing Green from Baracuta

Of course, if you want to be more casual with your jacket choice, you can absolutely do that. You could go with a Harrington jacket in cotton, maybe a linen jacket such as this green one, I would even argue you could wear a bomber jacket or maybe a leather jacket if that suits the overall outfit.

Checked Collared Shirts

When it comes to shirts, you should definitely stay clear of t-shirts but you can wear dress shirts. That being said, I suggest not to wear plain white or solid light blue dress shirts because they’re true business formal. Instead, go with checked shirts in a collar. You can also go with bolder checks, smaller checks may be a small houndstooth or a bolder stripe. It all works, just make sure there’s some contrast, there’s some color, and it’s not too stiff. If you live in a warmer climate, linen shirts are perfectly fine. Personally, I would always stay clear of short-sleeved dress shirts and instead go with polo shirts because it’s more natural and works better.

Corduroy pants are an exceptional way to add sophistication to a casual outfit

Corduroy pants are an exceptional way to add sophistication to a casual outfit

Cuffed chinos offer a casual balance when paired with a jacket and tie

Cuffed chinos offer a casual balance when paired with a jacket and tie

Chinos, Corduroys, Seersucker, & Linen Pants

When it comes to pants or slacks, don’t wear jeans and don’t wear pleated pants made out of worsted wool because that’s office wear and both of them are too extreme. Instead, go with chinos, maybe corduroys in the winter, seersucker or linen in the summer or something with a bit more texture that’s interesting and it could also have a pattern such as a small houndstooth for example.

Colorful Accessories

When it comes to accessories, color is your friend. You can be much bolder than at the office and you can experiment and simply have fun. I suggest you skip bowties and regular neckties. if you want to have something around your neck, maybe an ascot can be the perfect item.

If you decide to wear a blazer or an odd jacket, I strongly recommend you wear a bold pocket square or maybe a boutonniere that is just contrasting, it’s a pop of color, it’s different, and it’s fun. Definitely, avoid the white linen pocket square in TV fold, that’s fine for a job interview or the office but not for smart casual.

Another way I like to spice up smart casual outfits is to use colorful socks. You could be bolder, you can experiment, you can go really out there, or you can be a little more subdued. Personally, I want a subdued side.

If it’s cold outside and you need some gloves, I suggest to go with fun colors such as dark green, maybe a light tan, blue, or red, and stay clear of the traditional black gloves, or just boring brown gloves. That being said, if you want to stick with those colors, make sure you get two-toned gloves such as the black and red gloves by Fort Belvedere or the brown and blue gloves which are definitely not your Grandpa’s gloves.

Stick With Leather Shoes

When it comes to shoes, I suggest you stay with leather shoes. They can have a leather sole or a rubber sole but they must not be black because that’s too formal. Instead, go with brown tones or tans but you can also venture into green, maybe off-white, or dark burgundy red. All these colors are acceptable but I urge you to choose a style that is more casual with more casual details. As such, spectators work. You can go with woven leather, or maybe a linen insert, suede is also good.

Brown Derby Shoes with Light Blue Shoelaces by Fort Belvedere - Before & After

Brown Derby Shoes with Light Blue Shoelaces by Fort Belvedere – Before & After

Just get something that’s more casual than a traditional business shoe. That being said, derbies are more appropriate than oxfords but there are oxfords that would be just fine for smart casual as long as they are not too dark and they have maybe a full brogue pattern.

Fringed two tone tassel loafer

Fringed two tone tassel loafer

Apart from that, I think two tone tassel loafers are great or maybe just regular penny loafers, some people even like driving moccs even though I think they wear very quickly if you wear them on a daily basis but they work from a concept point of view.

Classic boat shoes

Classic boat shoes

On a very casual end, I suggest shoes go with boat shoes because they are still leather and they’re still relaxed and you can even wear them barefoot. While it’s clear that tennis shoes and trainers are too casual, a lot of people like designer sneakers or leather sneakers and in my opinion, they’re in a gray area. Personally, I wouldn’t wear it because I find it too casual but I know other people who would probably find a sneaker still appropriate.

CONCLUSION

At the end of the day, it’s your call. Personally, I’d always urge you to get a little bit more formal within the smart casual dress code because that way, you always look dapper and properly attired. No one will turn you down, everyone will respect you, and they will know that you understood the smart casual dress code.

What do you usually wear when the dress code says smart casual? Share your favorite

looks below!


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Hackers exploit casino’s smart thermometer to steal database info

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Having a whole bunch of smart objects like lights, appliances, and thermometers can make life a little more convenient for businesses, but buying into the internet of things can also make those same businesses more vulnerable to hackers.

Nicole Eagan, CEO of cybersecurity company Darktrace, revealed Thursday that a casino fell victim to hackers thanks to a smart thermometer it was using to monitor the water of an aquarium they had installed in the lobby, Business Insider reported. The hackers managed to find and steal information from the casino’s high-roller database through the thermometer. Read more…

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10 Easy Ways to Make Your Home Smart

Thanks to home automation, you can now have complete and personalized control of your appliances, lighting, temperature, and even entertainment—all through internet-enabled applications. By automating your home and being able to control it from anywhere in the world, home automation will help you save time, money, and energy. Here are ten easy ways to make your home a smart home.

smart-home-security

Secure Your Home

As a homeowner, safety and security is a top priority, and smart homes offer this peace of mind so that you always know what’s going on at home—even when you’re not there.  Safety reviewed 50 home security systems available for smart homes. These systems provide views of the home through cameras in and around the home. Some even offer a keyless entry feature so you can unlock doors from the safety of your car.

Control Your Solar Energy System

Tracking your energy use is particularly important with solar, especially if you net meter. Net metering allows homeowners to sell unused energy back to the utility company. Green Tech Media mentions Sky, a solar power control center that tracks usage to help you investigate peaks and patterns in use. It’s like having a personal utilities assistant.

Ease Landscaping with Automated Sprinklers

Say goodbye to flooded yards and wilted flowers thanks to automatic landscape watering from Rachio. The application connects to wifi and allows users to schedule watering periods based on climate and landscaping needs.

smart thermostat

Set Your Thermostat and Enjoy Off-Peak Hours

Heating and cooling our homes garnishes a large percentage of home budgets. Smart home thermostat applications tap into off-peak times  set by utility companies in order to save consumers money and ease use of power grids. CNET reviews the price and features of some of the most popular smart thermostat systems.

Let Smart Homes Light Your Way

Need to raid the fridge but dread feeling your way down a dark hallway? Homes with smart lighting allow occupants to control lighting from computers and even phone applications. Now you can turn on the kitchen light from your bed. CNET’s review of wifi-enabled home control systems include connections to Echo and Google.

Increase Safety from Gases and Smoke

Rest easy with the best smoke and carbon monoxide detectors of 2018. Applications provide notifications of increased levels while also detecting smoke. Tired of the incessant beeping after burning the popcorn? You’ll also be able to enjoy turning off the smoke detector with a phone app rather than the end of a broomstick.

smart-home-for-elderly

Keep Track of Loved One’s Movements

Medical Guardian provides a motion detecting system for tracking movements in the home. These systems can alert users of falls of loved ones. The program is popular for adult children caring for aging parents, as well as the parents of children with disabilities who are at risk for leaving home.

Monitor Your Home’s Health

To help protect your home from water leaks and damage (including frozen pipes and flooding), check out some of these smart water leak detectors. These systems are prime for occupants on vacation or otherwise away from home. The system quickly alerts occupants of problems allowing water lines to be turned off sooner, saving money and potential home damage.

Entertaining with the Smart Home

Binging through Netflix and Hulu just got even easier. Now you can watch all your favorites without even leaving the couch, thanks to smart home automation through products that use voice control on entertainment devices including smart TVs, gaming, and music systems. One product, Singlecue, leaves voice control behind, requiring a mere wave of the hand or similar gesturing.

Smart Pools Save Time and Money

Save time and energy with smart pool technology. These systems monitor a pool’s water level and even the chemistry of the water. The system allows scheduling pool pump usage during off-peak hours for savings. This also helps maintain a healthy pool environment by avoiding premature evaporation and escalated chemical levels.

What’s your personal experience with smart home technology? Share with us in the comments below!

This guest article was provided by Kyle Pennell of Power Scout.

The post 10 Easy Ways to Make Your Home Smart appeared first on Modernize.

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Ember is a smart mug that keeps your coffee at the exact temperature you want

Heated Coffee Mug

It might’ve taken centuries, but someone finally managed to improve upon the design of the mug. How can something so simple be improved, you ask? Well we’ll answer your question with a question of our own: what’s the most annoying thing about drinking coffee, tea, or any other hot drink? That’s right, it cools down over time. The brilliant Ember Temperature Control Ceramic Mug has a built-in heating system that ensures your last sip is the same temperature as your first sip. You can even configure different preset temperatures for different drinks! Trust us, your life will never be the same.

Here’s what you need to know from the product page:

  • Remotely adjust to your ideal temperature
  • Select your personalized LED color
  • Choose and save your presets for different drinks
  • Switch between Celsius and Fahrenheit

Ember Temperature Control Ceramic Mug: $ 79.95

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Ember is a smart mug that keeps your coffee at the exact temperature you want originally appeared on BGR.com on Sat, 24 Feb 2018 at 10:58:31 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


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Spotify might be next in line to build its own smart speaker

Spotify smart speaker

Apple may be the new kid on the block in the smart speaker market, but one of its competitors might soon attempt to steal its thunder with hardware of its own. This week, MusicAlly spotted several new job listings on Spotify’s website which suggest that the streaming service is ramping up efforts to launch its own devices in the near future.

“Spotify is on its way to creating its first physical products,” reads the description for an Operations Manager position, “and setting up an operational organisation for manufacturing, supply chain, sales & marketing.”

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Spotify might be next in line to build its own smart speaker originally appeared on BGR.com on Tue, 20 Feb 2018 at 23:01:35 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


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Smart Money Moves: Tax Reform Bill Brings Bigger Paycheck and Uncertainty

One of the most significant promises of the recent tax reform bill was to cut taxes for most Americans. According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), about 90% can expect to see bigger paychecks this February! And of course how much will depend on your situation.

Just recently, the IRS released its new withholding tax tables. These tables are used by employers and payroll companies to determine the correct amount of taxes based on an individual’s income and filing status. The new withholding tax tables are expected to assist with the latest updates in the recent tax reform bill. As such, the IRS encourages all employers to start using the tables as soon as possible, but no later than Feb. 15.

But while the tables are updated, employees are reminded to review their withholdings.

When individuals file their tax returns in 2019, having too much withheld can allow Uncle Sam to use your money interest-free throughout the year, whereas having too little withheld can create additional taxes due. As such, the IRS encourages users to utilize the new withholding calculator to determine whether or not you should update your tax withholdings.

The new tax withholding calculator would allow individuals to enter their tax deductions, expected income, and other vital information to determine the correct amount to withhold. It is expected to be available by the end of February.

If an employee discovers he or she is withholding too little or too much, a new W-4 form should be submitted to the human resources department. A W-4 form allows employers to determine the correct amount of taxes to be withheld from an employee’s paycheck. Employees can adjust withholdings based on dependents, deductions, and other relevant information. But keep in mind, the IRS has not issued the W-4 form that reflects the changes to the tax law, so for now, employees should hold tight and monitor their withholdings throughout the year.

The post Smart Money Moves: Tax Reform Bill Brings Bigger Paycheck and Uncertainty appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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Inside Amazon’s Smart, Cashier-Less Store

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Smith Optics Introduce Smart Ski Goggles Through Rental Program

SMITH SKIS SMART: Snowboarders and skiers bound for Ski amadé resorts can measure their speed and check the latest slope conditions thanks to new smart ski goggles from Smith Optics.
With the help of Evolaris, an app has been developed to help winter enthusiasts navigate the 760 trails at what is Austria’s largest skiing resource. Ski amadé has five ski resorts stretching across 25 villages which visitors traverse with the help of 270 lifts. By activating the smart ski goggles, athletes will see live data in the lower right-hand corner of their goggles that can direct them to their preferred mountain lodges, lifts, fun parks or restaurants. They can also keep an eye on speed, trail conditions and weather forecasts.
Visitors can rent the Smith I/O Recon at all 25 Intersport shops in Ski amadé for 19 euros a day. The goggles also indicate the distance and directions to destinations at the various resorts. There are plans to allow visitors to test the technologically advanced eyewear at demo events in the months ahead.
The mini-computer with the integrated WLAN connection and Recon-developed GPS can be integrated into various makes of ski goggles. The data from the “Ski amadé Guide” app is displayed on

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Some smart speakers can be hijacked to play creepy sounds

Sonos vs Bose speakers: Smart speaker security

Smart wireless speakers, like those from Sonos or Bose, have totally changed how I listen to music. Forget sacrificing your phone to the 3.5mm jack, or *shiver* putting a CD into the stereo — just fire up Spotify, find your Wi-Fi connected device, and hit play.

But to twist Uncle Ben’s words just a little: with great connectivity comes great responsibility. Specifically, the responsibility to make sure that hackers can’t hijack your smart speakers to play creepy sound files or control your voice-activated assistant. Unfortunately, it seems that Sonos and Bose have been slipping up a little in that regard.

Continue reading…

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  2. The wireless headphones that beat Beats are under $ 50 for the first time

Trending Right Now:

  1. Cord-cutters are about to get cable’s last big exclusive
  2. This iPhone slowdown lawsuit wants Apple to pay $ 999 billion
  3. This is going to be Samsung’s biggest problem next year

Some smart speakers can be hijacked to play creepy sounds originally appeared on BGR.com on Wed, 27 Dec 2017 at 22:30:33 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


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Books that will make you smart during a single flight

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How do you pass the time on a flight these days? Well, a lot of people spend time listening to music or playing on their Nintendo DS. Some people will watch the inflight movie, or enjoy a drink or two. Many of us sleep if it’s a long-haul flight, but, the activity we would recommend the most is reading. These days, especially if you have a Kindle, you can take so many different books with you on vacation.

Yes, we prefer having the real thing as well, but a Kindle means you can pack numerous books without taking up any space. Now, whether you’ve decided to bring an e-reader or an actual paperback you might want suggestions for something to read during the flight. Personally, we love a good crime thriller, but we know some people like to educate themselves. So, here are a few books you can read that will make you smarter during a single flight.

Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words

This book is the perfect choice for anyone who doesn’t have the time to look into and try to figure out complicated issues. The book, written by Randall Munroe, uses simplistic words and pictures to help readers understand and figure out explanations for complicated and difficult subjects. You could look at this book like an idiots guide to all the things you ever wanted to know about but found the jargon too complicated. This 64-page book is the perfect choice and can be absorbed over the course of a single flight.

The War of Independence

Written by John Fiske, and published in 1890, this is one of the most important and interesting books you will ever read. The 115-page book explores the American Revolution and the War of Independence that helped shape America into the country she is today. The book is interesting, absorbing, and not too daunting like many of those gigantic historical tomes can sometimes be. Fiske takes a look at some aspects of the war that are often glossed over and allows readers a fresh perspective on an old topic. And, the best thing about it is that you can pick it up for free as an eBook.

Real Artists Don’t Starve

If you are a creative person who has ever doubted going down the creative career route, this book is an absolute must-read for you. It’s the ideal companion piece for anyone who loves to get creative, and it explores the competitive benefits of creativity. It’s a fascinating read and will be useful for helping you change your approach to business and your career. Jeff Goins shares his wisdom and views on the creative world and suggests that creative individuals need to harness their talents for the future.

Prisoners of Geography

Ever wish you were a little more au fait with modern politics? Well, this is the perfect book to look at if you want to broaden your knowledge of the political landscape. This Sunday Times bestseller by Tim Marshall uses maps to show you how geography and ideology have combined to give us the current political climate. Everything you ever wanted to know about global politics is neatly presented in this accessible book – it’s a must read!

This represents just a small selection of some of the coolest books you can read on a plane journey. We like books that can be finished in one go, or that we can pick up and put down, and dip into whenever we want to. We also feel the subject matter of these books makes them ideal if you want to expand your horizons and broaden your knowledge in a single flight.

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The post Books that will make you smart during a single flight appeared first on Worldation.

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Amy Smart Defends Husband Carter Oosterhouse After Sexual Misconduct Accusations

Carter Oosterhouse, Amy SmartAfter HGTV star Carter Oosterhouse was accused of sexual misconduct on Thursday, his wife actress Amy Smart is speaking out in a lengthy Instagram post.
On Saturday, the 41-year-old took…

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The best smart home gadgets for apartment dwellers

Best Smart Home products 2017

2017 has seen plenty of trends, but one that seems to actually be sticking is the smart home. I’m not talking about Wi-Fi-connected kettles or Bluetooth water bottles; those are dumb, but believe it or not, there’s a handful of smart home devices that are actually good.

Unfortunately for avocado-eating millenials, the bulk of smart home devices still require some kind of modification your landlord won’t be wild about. A door lock with no key might jazz up your walk-up, but it probably violates about 20 rules in your lease. The same thing goes for doorbells that need wiring, showerheads that require holes in the wall, or speaker systems with miles of wire running everywhere.

Continue reading…

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  2. This portable home theater is like nothing you’ve seen before, and it’s never been cheaper

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  2. Black Friday is over, but that won’t stop Sam’s Club from having another sale
  3. If Samsung’s foldable Galaxy X phone looks like this, it’s doomed

The best smart home gadgets for apartment dwellers originally appeared on BGR.com on Sun, 10 Dec 2017 at 13:32:16 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


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Bill Gates firm buys $80 million plot of land to create ‘smart city’

A real estate investment firm owned by Bill Gates recently bought a giant plot of land in Arizona for $ 80 million to be developed into a “smart city.” Arizona-based Belmont Partners, one of Gates’ investment firms, purchased close to 25,000 acres of land in Tonopah, around 50 miles west of Phoenix, to create a “smart…
Tech | New York Post

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7 smart home gifts that make your life easier

by

Joyce Slaton

posted in Products

Here it is, that time of year when everyone is putting new things on their Amazon wish lists so early-gift-buying relatives don’t waste their money on something you won’t like or won’t need. If making your home function more smoothly and easily is something you’re planning for this year, these 7 cool futuristic devices can help.

1. Nest Learning Thermostat 3rd Generation

You’ve been considering one of these for years, right? Maybe now’s the time. After about a week, the Nest learns your schedule and turns down air conditioning or heat when you’re not at home to save you money. This version has a brighter display and a technology called Farsight — if the thermostat sees you walking towards it, it lights up to display the time or temperature. If you have Alexa, the Nest’s functionality is even cooler: “Alexa: turn the temperature up two degrees!”

Buy it: $ 247

2. Lutron Caseta Wireless Smart Lighting Dimmer Switch

Seize control of your lights — you’re no longer a slave to the little plastic flicky thing on the wall, and you don’t have to go into a dark and creepy house with a bunch of scared kids, either. The Caseta Wireless kit comes with everything you need to control your lights with your smart phone, with Lutron’s Pico remote (which comes with the Caseta), or by voice — you can use Alexa or Siri to dim the lights for your just-about-to-fall-asleep toddler, or turn the lights off at bedtime to let your dawdling tween know it’s really, truly time to go to sleep.

Buy it: $ 159

3. iRobot Roomba 690 Robot Vacuum

Oh, you don’t think you need a robot vacuum. That’s because you’ve never left the house and returned to find your floors swept squeaky-clean. Let me paint a picture for you: Your inquisitive toddler breaks into the rice. You hear the telltale shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh sound of a million pieces of rice going everywhere from the other room. As you carry your now-sobbing toddler off for the nap she so richly deserves, you bark to Alexa or Google assistant to start up the Roomba. When you return, your floors are tidy once more. You can also program the Roomba to make its rounds whenever you like (every other day?) to keep dust or pet hair under control.

Buy it: $ 324.99

4. Hestan Cue Smart Cooking System

We live in the future, my friends! This astonishing system is like a culinary class in a box. It comes with a smart induction burner (that you plug in) and a pan; you download the app, and your phone guides you through recipes, as the burner turns itself up and down automatically while you’re cooking (no need to keep an eye on it!) and cooking times count down. You’ll be turning out restaurant-quality dishes in no time.

Buy it: $ 499.95

5. ChefSteps Joule Sous Vide

If you haven’t tried sous vide (pronounced sue veed) cooking yet, you’re in for some cheffy fun. This gadget, which is roughly the size of an immersion blender, goes inside pots and heats water up to whatever temperature you specify. Your food, cooked in vaccuum-packed plastic in the water, will cook to the perfect temperature hands-off — no need to poke it with a probe, or carefully time the cooking, or even do much of anything besides turning the Joule on. You do that by using an app on your phone — or, even better, with Alexa, which allows you to hands-free command the Joule to do stuff like “Cook the steak like last time” or “Alert me when the chicken is done.”

Buy it: $ 199

6. Ring Video Doorbell 2

Ding dong, someone’s at the door. And you’re pinned under a baby. Is it worth potentially waking the baby up to see who’s there? Wouldn’t it be nice to reach out for that phone at your elbow, find out who it is, talk to them (“Do you have my package?”), and let them in, right from where you are? Oh, you’re not home? And one of your kids forgot their keys? And they’re locked out on the doorstep? Button press, button press, button press. Now they’re not.
Buy it: $ 199

7. Ooma Telo Free Home Phone Service

Ready to break your landline? Connect the Ooma Telo to your high-speed Internet and activate online. BOOM. You’re making static-free phone calls for free, and the only bill you’ll get from the phone company is a teeny tiny one for the taxes and fees required by law. You’ll be able to make local calls, nationwide calls, international calls (for low additional rates) call 911, and use voicemail, call waiting, and caller ID. Even cooler, if you’re an Amazon Echo user, you can use Alexa to yell out a contact name or number to dial hands-free.

Buy it: $ 79.99

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5 Smart Hustles to Take Your Business to the Next Level

It’s time to get your “smart hustle” on.

Self-described “small business evangelist” Ramon Ray has helped scores of entrepreneurs achieve that goal with his 12th Annual Smart Hustle Small Business Conference. Held in the heart of Times Square at the New York offices of Microsoft, the event provided actionable business-building advice, ranging from leveraging a firm’s “smallness” as a competitive advantage to boosting revenues by “tapping into the passions” of customers.

 

(Ramon Ray, speaking at the 12th Annual Smart Hustle Small Business Conference. Image: File)

 

Ray, who has served as a popular speaker spreading the gospel of entrepreneurial growth at BLACK ENTERPRISE’s Entrepreneurs and TechConneXt summits, produced an event that offered the same attributes as his presentations: infectious energy, full engagement, and accessible strategic gems. Among his speakers: renowned tech entrepreneur and author Seth Godin; highly acclaimed business coach Carl Gould; and innovative CEO of online bulk shopping service Boxed, Chieh Huang, just to name a few on this week’s program.

 

(Image: smarthustle.com)

 

 

In past conversations about Smart Hustle, which is also a magazine, Ray told me it was  designed for entrepreneurs who have owned and operated their business for five years or less, found their niche in the marketplace, and are “willing to grind to get their company to the next level.” He’s had firsthand experience: The tech-savvy author and global motivational speaker has launched four ventures and sold one.

Here are just four simple but powerful nuggets that can help you hustle:

 

Profit from knowing every detail about your customer

 

In a live podcast with Avanti Entrepreneur Group founder and CEO David Mammano, business coach Carl Gould (who says he’s mentored over 5,000 companies and helped motivational guru Tony Robbins develop the famous 18-second, fear-facing  “firewalk”) discussed the value of making unshakable connections with customers.

Asserts Gould: “There’s a market for everything. Your challenge is whether you can bring your product or service to the market profitably and sustainably. [To do that], you must know your ideal client pretty well.” 

Gould offers three specific guidelines to figure out “what makes your client tick and what they will pay a premium for.” He encourages entrepreneurs to find out answers to the following questions:

  1. What keeps your customers worrying at night? “When they’re up at 2 a.m. and wide awake, what is on their mind?”
  2. What makes your intended prospects “feel guilty or do they get grief for [something] at the end of the workday.” If you have the answer then you’ll know what issues dominate their daily conversations.
  3. What’s going on in your prospect’s world right now that makes calling you or hiring you an absolute urgency? Identify a given customer’s trigger point and market directly to it at a premium level.

 

Use competitors’ weaknesses to promote your company’s strengths

 

To better position your business, Gould advises, identify the top five complaints about your competitors and then be able “to make the promise in your niche that now one has the guts to make.”

Gould illustrated his point by using Netflix as an example. The company used the numerous shortcomings of the business model of Blockbuster to unwind the one-time video rental king. Consumers’ biggest complaints: Having to go back and forth to video stores; parking problems; fees for late returns; fines for not rewinding returned videos; and lack of available titles. Before adopting its current digital model, Netflix was a mail-order business that provided home delivery with a money-back guarantee that their customers would not suffer past inconveniences.

In communicating your “unique selling proposition,” Gould argues that entrepreneurs should spend less time sharing their core values or mission statements on websites, marketing materials, and business plans but clearly emphasize their promise to solve client’s problems and frustrations.

 

Boost sales through likability

 

Michael Katz, founder of Boston-based Blue Penguin Development, says he helps professional service firms distinguish their companies from the pack by positioning them as “likable experts.” He asserts that tact represents one of the best ways “to leverage smallness [and] do things that large businesses can’t do.” Moreover, he maintains the likability factor can give your company an edge-especially when battling rivals with similar competitive strengths and capabilities.

Here are Katz’s strategies to increase your appeal:

  1. Tell stories. Customers become more engaged when you can provide historical, humorous, and engaging facts about your company and its products and services.
  2. In dealing with clients, Katz says, apply the world’s greatest (and most underutilized) relationship-building tool: handwritten notes. He maintains that even in today’s tech-driven environment, personalized correspondence continues to be far more effective than emails in that they “get a 100% open rate” and customers are more likely to treat them as valuable keepsakes. “I have visited clients who have received my notes and I’ve seen them tacked to a wall in their office,” he says. “It’s not about penmanship but making a connection.”
  3. Help people that can’t help you. By doing so, you can build a reputation for putting people first.

“You should do what you do in your personal life when you’re trying to make friends,” he says. “You want people to see you as a three-dimensional person and not like every other businessperson.”

 

Put yourself in your customer’s “house” to gain more influence

 

Leadership development expert Mitch Fairrais told the Smart Hustle audience that most people “tend to be wired for self-interest.” He maintained, however, that entrepreneurs can reap greater benefits, gaining “the ability to deal with others from their vantage point. Helping people get want they want is the best way to get what you want.”

He advised attendees to adopt the philosophy: “Tu casa es mi casa” or “Your house is my house.”

It starts, he says, with what he calls “airline emergency listening,” citing that if a pilot told passengers about a mid-air malfunction they would focus on instructions of flight attendants unlike the crew’s reception before take-off. “Don’t spend too much time strategizing at the door and be present to what the other person is saying. You can then better understand what you can do for them.”

Lastly, Fairrais says the most important parting question to ask a client or prospect: “Is there anything I should have asked that I haven’t? Usually, the response offers greater insight on how to best personalize service or the need for an urgent remedy.

Fairrais cautions business owners against canned presentations and salesman spin. He told conference attendees that the direct approach builds trust-the core component of influence.

 

Scaling your business through the grind

 

Boxed CEO Huang shared how he scaled up his online and mobile membership-free wholesale retailer for “urban consumers who didn’t have the physical means to buy products from Costco and other warehouse clubs from a garage startup in 2013 to a multimillion-dollar national enterprise today.

 

(Boxed CEO, Chieh Huang. Image: File)

 

As his business grew (by the end of 2014 it had customers coast to coast and grew to its number of strategically located fulfillment centers) Huang discovered that “in solving the problem of those that [were unable] to access warehouse clubs, we had stumbled upon the fact that providing time to people who didn’t have the patience to go to warehouse clubs was a much bigger business. We couldn’t have done it by planning the business a year ahead and waiting for it to be perfect before we launched. It’s by walking that path and grinding and hustling every day that all these different paths emerged in front of us. You can’t see what’s around the corner until you work it.”

In scaling the business, they discovered three elements that drove Boxed’s value: pricing, convenience, and branding. As such, Boxed is now positioned to take a larger chunk of the online/mobile segment, or 2% of the $ 200 billion retail market. Asserts Huang: “There’s room for a bunch of different players. So many businesses have grown incredibly well in the shadow of Wal-Mart in the offline world. So much money is being spent online now that you have multi-hundred-million-dollar businesses like ours growing in the online world as well.”

Boxed has grown into a sophisticated operation in a short time. Its fulfillment centers are huge four-story, robotic structures that handle the flood of orders. Selfie-cams follow and tape each order, and each video is sent to the customer. “Millennials love it,” Huang says of this customized feature.

In recounting his entrepreneurial journey, Huang offered his philosophy of scale: “In the beginning, it was about living the dream, starting a business in a garage. Now, as our business has scaled, it’s no longer about the money or the glory. We are now building our brand based on how we do good for people. So as you scale your business, there are different ways to think about it. There’s scale of people. There’s scale of revenue. There’s scale of systems. But, I hope you do a gut check of yourself and ask are your motivations scaling.”

Small Business – Black Enterprise

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Tim Cook loves AR but says the technology to support Smart Glasses isn’t ready

Apple Smart Glasses

Amid reports that Apple has been busy developing a pair of advanced smart glasses, Tim Cook went on record during a recent interview with The Independent and essentially put to bed any hopes that such a product might see the light of day anytime soon. Though Cook didn’t deny Apple’s interest in such a product, he flat-out said that the technology needed to make such a product feasible simply isn’t mature enough right now.

“But today I can tell you the technology itself doesn’t exist to do [smart glasses] in a quality way,” Cook said. “The display technology required, as well as putting enough stuff around your face – there’s huge challenges with that. The field of view, the quality of the display itself, it’s not there yet.”

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10 historical Halloween costumes for smart girls and boys

by

Joyce Slaton

posted in Products

You can’t go wrong with a Halloween costume based on history. Portraying a historical figure helps kids understand history in a new way — not as dusty old-timey events that existed only in the pages of a book, but real things that happened to real people.

Most historical figures are also easily recognizable — kids HATE people asking what they’re supposed to be — and lend even the smallest trick-or-treaters an air of dignity. So whether it’s Cleopatra or Alexander Hamilton who makes your kids’ eyes light up, here’s what you need, or can easily whip up at home.

1. Joan of Arc

She changed history in France — and was a badass with a really cool outfit. This version in particular has a great hood that’s made of mesh that looks a bit like chain mail, yet is still light and soft, and the dress is comfy and warm (though you may want to add a flesh-colored bodysuit underneath or a cloak on top). Though the costume is pictured with the sword, it doesn’t come with — pick up this good-looking California Costumes Crusader Sword & Shield Costume Accessory for $ 17.53 extra if your child wants the accessories. This version of the costume is only available for youth sizes 8-14; if you want the costume for a smaller child, look for “knight” or “warrior” costumes, particularly if they have “chain mail” head accessories and a fleur de lis on the front.

Buy it: sizes 8-16 $ 30.31-$ 36.95

2. Alexander Hamilton

Kids crazy over the musical will be eager to slide into colonial wear. We love this costume because it comes with the tricorn hat, which kids love playing with. It doesn’t come with the wig — a Hamilton costume may not need it, if your child does or if you want to turn your Hamilton costume into a George Washington, wigs can be had for $ 12.31 — or the shoes. You can fashion your own colonial look at home with white or black socks, and buckles made out of cardboard and tinfoil.

Buy it: sizes 6-12 $ 23.25-$ 28.99

3. Lady Liberty

A costume with great pomp, circumstance, and dignity, Lady Liberty’s green robes have the added bonus of being super comfortable. Carrying a book and a torch adds to the realism — but kids tire quickly of carrying things, so add that fact into your consideration. This costume comes with the headpiece, but not a torch. You can fashion something torch-like with an empty paper towel roll and some tissue paper, or buy a pre-made beauty for an extra $ 10.

Buy it: sizes 6-12 $ 10.06-$ 15.99

4. Blackbeard

No child can resist a pirate costume with its swagger, skulls, and crossbones. Why not allow your child to be the most notorious pirate of them all? Read up a little on pirates and what they did (and do!) — Blackbeard was a surprisingly gentlemanly pirate, despite his fearsome image, yet still a thief and a strongman. We like the fanciness of this particular pirate’s costume for toddlers through age 4, but if your child is older or doesn’t care for this costume, all a Blackbeard getup really requires is ragged pants, a white flouncy shirt, a vest, and a bandanna. This costume doesn’t come with a sword, which could be a good or bad thing for you.

Buy it: sizes 3-6 $ 18-$ 29.99

5. Cleopatra

The Egyptian ruler has an absolutely beautiful costume that can make even the silliest child glide along with royal dignity. You can make your own Cleopatra out of any tube of fabric (a pillowcase will do!) with a jeweled collar, and a headdress and a belt. But when a Halloween costume is this beautiful (and comfortable!) it’s hard to resist buying a ready-made costume.

Buy it: sizes 4-14 $ 19.75 to $ 24.17

6. Uncle Sam

Warning: Donning Uncle Sam’s trademark red-white-and-blue threads may lead to uncontrollable anthem-singing and razzle-dazzle. Teach your child a little about who Uncle Sam is — a drawing used for patriotic posters and graphics who’s supposed to be a little like the spirit of America personified — and you’ll be knee-deep in patriotism in no time. This costume for kids age 4-12 comes with the jacket, hat, pants, and bow-tie; you’ll have to supply your own white shirt, shoes, and goatee. You can buy a goatee for $ 12.60, but kids are notably non-fond of things they have to wear on their faces, so you may just want to leave it out altogether.

Buy it: sizes 6-12 $ 10.99-$ 13.97

7. Amelia Earhart

Any child in an Amelia Earhart hat and goggles looks so cool and walks so tough. This costume has the added bonus of making kids feel brave and adventurous. With its jacket and hat, it’s warm for chilly Halloween nights, and comfortable, too. You can fashion your own Earhart duds with the aviator cap, goggles, a brown jacket (preferably a bomber), and light pants tucked into boots. But these costumes come with all the pieces except the boots.

Buy it: For toddlers age 2T-4T, $ 39.99; for sizes 4-10, $ 54.99; and for sizes 10-16, $ 28.81

8. Robin Hood

He wasn’t a real person — but his place in English folklore is so old and firmly established that he’s a real historical figure now. Read your child a few thrilling Robin Hood tales, or show them a movie — Men in Tights, perhaps? Or the Disney version? — and you’ll soon have a green-clad child leaping heroically around your living room. If you’re short on funds, fashion your own easy Robin Hood costume by cutting jagged sleeves and bottoms on a green shirt and pants. The hat and bow and arrow are a little harder to DIY. Both of these costumes come with the hat but not the bow and arrows. If you want to let your child have a bow and arrow, we like this toy version for $ 10.99 for very little kids, or this one for just $ 4.79. Warning: If you let your children have a bow and arrow, they might break it before Halloween night is over, and they will definitely try to hit you in the butt with the arrows.

Buy it: sizes 4-12, $ 9.38-$ 13.95; and for sizes 8-14, $ 23.56-$ 25.30

9. Abraham Lincoln

Lincoln is a classic because of that killer stovepipe hat. What kid can resist a Lincoln hat? Hey! That’s the guy on the penny! You can make your own Lincoln costume with any dark suit-like clothing plus the hat. We’ve seen stovepipe hats fashioned out of cardboard tubes, but they’re not comfy and will be quickly discarded. Better to buy a costume version, or better still, this costume that comes with the hat, jacket, a vest with a dickie so it looks like there’s a shirt under it, and the bow tie. It also doesn’t come with the facial hair. Fake beards are very uncomfortable — you can make comfy and serviceable-looking whiskers with any black/brown makeup, like mascara or Halloween paint.

Buy it: sizes 6-12, $ 12.52-$ 21.93

10. Rosie the Riveter

Her costume is iconic, cool, recognizable, comfortable, and warm — and she makes anyone who wears it feel like they can do it! Fashion your own with a chambray or denim shirt, jeans, a red-and-white bandanna, red lipstick, a strong bicep and a tough expression. Or buy this cool denim jumpsuit, which has a nametag and zips up the front like a real mechanic’s, and give your child something to fix, quick!

Buy it: sizes 3-14 $ 37.65-$ 56.25

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program which allows us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

The post 10 historical Halloween costumes for smart girls and boys appeared first on BabyCenter Blog.

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How to activate Smart Invert in iOS 11

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The new “Smart Invert” feature in iOS 11 is a dark mode, but smarter. 

For a while, Apple has been trying features to ease the nighttime burden on our eyes when they’re staring at screens, with greyscale mode in iOS 8 and Night Shift in iOS 9. Smart Invert, iOS 11’s go at eye relief, inverts some colors, but leaves images, videos, and some apps untouched, aiming to dampen your screen’s glow without leading to the really weird image contortions that we saw with previous iterations of the feature. 

Photos inverted with Classic Invert

Photos inverted with Classic Invert

Image: monica chin/mashable

Utilities folder inverted with Smart Invert

Utilities folder inverted with Smart Invert

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Fancy smart locks marketed to Airbnb hosts permanently broken by software update

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The Internet of Things continues to amaze, but unfortunately for all the techno-utopians of the world, it’s for exactly the wrong reasons. 

The latest case study in why connecting every little thing to the internet might not be such a good idea is brought to us by Lockstate — a company that manufactures, among other things, a Wi-Fi enabled smart lock marketed to Airbnb hosts around the world. The device allows for keyless entry and remote monitoring, along with the charming ability to be remotely bricked.

And, surprise, that’s exactly what happened on Aug. 7 when Lockstate pushed an errant firmware update that left a number of its locks permanently busted. Whoops. Read more…

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Smart Money Moves Every Woman Needs to Master

smart money

This year’s Women of Power Summit included a session titled “CFO of You: Smart Money Moves Every Woman Needs to Master,” which empowered women with the knowledge, resources, and confidence they need in order to overcome their financial fears and make good financial decisions.

Hosted by Bank of America and Merrill Lynch, three different financial experts shared their personal testimonies, struggles, and helpful nuggets about financial success. In addition to moderating the panel, Ashley Fox, a Black Enterprise contributor and the founder and CEO of Empify, also offered insight on how to make your money last while she was moderating the panel. “Our responsibilities and our money is our job,” she said stressing the importance of taking responsibility when it comes to self-educating oneself about money.

Here are a few of the gems that the speakers shared.

 

Jacquette Timmons, President and CEO of Sterling Investment Management Inc.:

 

  • “You don’t manage money, you manage your choices around money.”
  • Purchasing life insurance is important because it gives your family the ability to grieve without interruption. “Passing on wealth is not about death, it’s about love.”
  • Get a prenup: You work really hard for what you build and you need to protect it.
  • It’s important to recognize and understand the “sheconomy” or “the local spending power of women,” which is estimated to reach $ 18-20 trillion by 2020. This gives women the financial power to use [and] flex their collective dollars as a form of activism and support films, products, companies, and causes that support them.

 

(From left to right: Ashley Fox, Michelle Fisher, Jacquette Timmons, and Vania Laguerre)

 

Michelle Fisher, Founder & CEO of Blaze Mobile:

 

  • You don’t spend what you don’t know that you have, which is important to “take advantage of your company’s 401(k).”
  • Invest in your own products. “Become divas of your own products.” We have, historically, been able to do more with less. So, “if there is a trail, go ahead and blaze it.”
  • Fisher, who currently owns 42 patents, emphasized the importance of protecting your ideas with copyrights and getting your inventions patented. Plus, patents can help you attract investors and make money if you license your patent. You “can’t underestimate the value of protecting your ideas.”

 

Vania Laguerre, Vice President and Sr. Resident Director, Global Wealth and Investment Management at Merrill Lynch:

 

  • When facing a difficult situation, like a divorce or a major career change, it is important to “know yourself.” You have to find your strength within yourself.
  • After sharing the tough lessons that she learned following her divorce, Laguerre advised the women to “become a little bit more selfish” when it comes to protecting your assets and interests.

 

After the panel, Fox shared tips for millennials looking to build wealth. Watch below.

 

 

Money – Black Enterprise

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5 Smart Saving Tips for Single Women to Build Wealth

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All my single ladies, hands up—don’t be shy! It’s your time to not only to enjoy adventures and the freedom of being unattached but to also get your finances in order for your future—whether it includes a beau not.

In fact, the numbers are in your favor: more women are outliving men, snubbing social stigmas by buying homes without a spouse. Likewise, more women are waiting longer to marry, especially in the higher-earning groups. Being single is a great time to make investments and tap into the extra income you may have, before it’s time to buy diapers, pay school fees, or split extra bills with a mate. Or, if you are a single mother, it’s a great time to think about ways to enhance your financial outlook to ensure the future of your family.

“When you’re single, you have to fend for yourself financially at all times, versus having a spouse that can help contribute to the household bills. So, for single women, it’s even more critical to ensure that you have a healthy savings account, in the event of an emergency,” says Dominique Broadway, personal finance expert and founder of Finances De•mys•ti•fied.

Below, Broadway offers five more savings tips for single women to take charge of their financial freedom, one step at a time:

 

1. Determine a realistic savings goal based on your current financial picture.

 

“You want to sit down, look at all of your income and expenses, and determine how much you can actually afford to save every month,” Broadway says. “You can start with saving 10% of your income as an initial goal, however, once you do your budget, you will be able to determine if you can save more or less than that.”

 

2. Be clear on exactly why you’re saving and draft a plan.

 

“For example, if you want to create an emergency fund, you can set a goal of saving three to six months of your monthly expenses,” Broadway says. “Set the date of when you want to reach this goal, break the goal down into monthly or even bi-weekly amounts, start saving the amount automatically, and watch your savings grow. You can do this same strategy if you are saving for a house, trip, or whatever your heart desires.”

 

3. Find something or someone to keep you accountable.

 

“Apps like Dobot are a great tools that help you set a goal and plan to save toward it,” Broadway says. “Digit is great as well for enhancing your monthly savings by automatically saving small amounts for you, so you won’t even miss it. If you need more accountability, working one-on-one with a financial coach can ensure you don’t stray away from your goals.”

 

4. Create balance in terms of your savings goals and your social or dating life.

 

“Dating and your social life can hurt your finances if you let it,” she says. “It’s great to hang out and have a good time, just make sure that fancy brunch on Saturday doesn’t have you eating Ramen noodles for the next two weeks. Set a ‘Going Out’ budget that can keep you happy and entertained.”

 

5. If you get off track with your savings or hit a financial road bump, take action to change course immediately. 

 

“It’s important to identify what threw you off track so you can be alert if that issue rises again,” Broadway says. “Don’t beat yourself up about it, but make a conscious effort to get back in the game and reach your goals.”

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Ikea’s smart bulbs are finally compatible with Siri, Alexa, and Google Home

Ikea Trådfri HomeKit

Installing Ikea’s Trådfri was a breeze. I just followed the handy instructions, and a few minutes later my home was slightly smarter. But as soon as I finished, I realized there’s one critical piece missing. Ikea’s intelligent home products were not compatible with Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, and Google’s Home. Thankfully, that all changes today.

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Elizabeth Smart finally ready for movie to tell her story

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — Elizabeth Smart said it required years for her to participate in a movie about her kidnapping ordeal. Smart said Friday that she couldn’t have done so immediately after her abduction from her Salt Lake City home in 2002 at age 14. She was rescued nine months later, and said Friday she…
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Financial Writer and Expert Jennifer Streaks on Smart Money Moves

Financial writer and expert Jennifer Streaks lends her insight into the smartest personal finance moves you can make. For instance, do you know the basic foundations of money management? According to Streaks, it’s budget, savings, credit, and taxes. She touches on them all and offers fantastic tips on how to finally get ahead financially.



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The 16 Best Black-Hosted, Smart, and Funny Podcasts of 2017

The podcast landscape is currently seeing an uptick in black-hosted and black-curated original podcasts—and we are all here for it.

As more black-hosted podcasts have been hitting the scene, from the ratings and reviews, they’re not going anywhere anytime soon. So now is your chance to catch up on these smart and insightful, and at times, hilarious episodes.

If you haven’t yet given podcasts a try, chances are you’re missing out on some valuable information presented in an efficient and entertaining way. In recent years, this medium of information intake has taken off.

According to The Neiman Journalism Lab, podcasting has 57 million monthly U.S. listeners in 2017, up 23% year over year. And 85% of podcast listeners consume majority or entirety of an episode.

Data from the Pew Research Center shows that podcasting continued to grow in both audience and programming in 2015. About one-third of Americans now say they have listened to a podcast, according to Pew’s State of the News Media 2016 report. Podcast listening grew 23% between 2015 and 2016. And between 2008 and 2016, the percentage of people who listened to a podcast has more than doubled. So what are you waiting for if you haven’t given this form of media a go yet?

From Larry Wilmore and Jenna Wortham to comedians like Phoebe Robinson and Desus Nice, and our very own Black Enterprise staffers, many of the current black-hosted podcasts offer valuable insight on everything from personal finance, pop culture, and tech trends to politics, race, wellness, and more.

Whether you’re looking for a serious hour of learning money tips, seeking perspectives on politics, or a lighthearted escape offering good laughs or lifestyle tips, these podcasts are well worth lending an ear and subscribing to.

Read on to enrich your life and elevate your podcast-listening game.


via GIPHY

 

Personal Finance/Career:

 

1. Joblogues: Joymarie Parker and Cortney Cleveland

(Image: Instagram/Joblogues)

 

For the young professional seeking job advice and financial empowerment, Joblogues could be your go-to podcast. Co-hosts Joymarie Parker and Cortney Cleveland describe it as “candid, career conversations with young professionals around the globe.” According to their website, more than 20,000 multicultural women tune in monthly for career advice, inspiration, and lots of laughs.

 

2. The Ash Cash Show and Money Mondays with Ash Cash

Ash Cash (Image: Selena Hill and Ash Cash)

 

You can find your financial motivation with personal finance expert and TV/radio personality, Ash Cash. The Ash Cash Show is focused on personal finance with an aim to empower people to achieve financial freedom. Cash and crew speak to everyday people about everything from money and business to even changing the world and everything in between. The Money Mondays with Ash Cash podcast provides actionable tips on how to budget, invest, and save yourself from debt, whether you’re a seasoned workforce vet or college student.

 

3. Chris Hogan’s Retire Inspired Podcast

Known as America’s voice on retirement, Chris Hogan tackles topics including how to find extra money for retirement, the ultimate 401(k) questions you should be asking, and how millennials can approach retirement planning. With each insightful episode, his aim is to help you create the retirement you have always dreamed of.

 

4. Two Black Guys with Good Credit: Shaun Lynda and Arlington Forbes

(Image: 2 Black Guys With Good Credit Podcast)

 

Hosts Shaun Lynda and Arlington Forbes “will educate, entertain, and inspire you to achieve your financial goals.” Both are financial experts—Forbes has a background in entrepreneurship while Lynda previously worked on Wall Street. The podcast is part of the Financially CLEAN network, launched in 2006 by Lynda because of his desire to pass on the knowledge he had gained over his career to the next generation.

 

Social Commentary/Culture:

 

5. Still Processing: Jenna Wortham and Wesley Morris

(Image: Instagram)

 

The New York Times‘ Jenna Wortham and Wesley Morris are both powerhouses when it comes to expertly dishing out thoughts from the black perspective. So naturally, their podcast, Still Processing, is one worth tuning into, especially when you want some intelligent journalistic insight on matters like black health, LeBron James, and the toxic racial climate in America.

 

6. Black On The Air: Larry Wilmore

(Image: wikimedia/Gage Skidmore)

 

The Emmy-award winning comedian is back on the air giving his sharp and pointed opinions on race and politics in America. For fans of The Nightly Show, this podcast is a refreshing respite to the missing black perspective on late night television after its untimely cancellation. From conversations like what it means to “sound black” and the current president’s lack of regard for the truth, Wilmore once again holds no reservations about his opinions.

 

7. 2 Dope Queens: Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams

2 Dope Queens podcast hosts, Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams. (Image: Instagram)

 

If you haven’t heard about the Lenny Kravitz debate by now, we can only implore you to immediately download and listen to Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams hilariously debate back and forth about Lenny Kravitz’s hotness—a topic they call the greatest mystery of our generation. Beyond Lenny, these comedy queens dish out commentary and laughs every week about a range of random topics with guests like Gabrielle Union and Nicole Byer.

 

8. Snap Judgment: Glynn Washington

Since its launch in 2010, Snap Judgment has become a titan of the podcast platform and remains a popular mainstay. Host and Executive Producer Glynn Washington curates intriguing and engaging stories each week that are guaranteed to make listeners question, cry, laugh, and come away more informed and well-rounded. Their slogan, “storytelling with a beat,” is indicative of the podcast’s successful attempts to overlay music that fits and flows with each narrative, expertly pulling the listener in more.

 

9. Bodega Boys: Desus Nice and The Kid Mero

Desus Nice and The Kid Mero host the podcast, Bodega Boys. (Image: Instagram)

 

If you want to tune in with some laughs on all things pop culture for the week, Desus Nice and The Kid Mero have you covered. From hilarious impersonations of Donald Trump using words like “lit” and “we out here” to a mashup of weekly pop culture references ranging from Rihanna to LeBron James and Whoopi Goldberg, these two Bronx comedians provide an unfiltered and funny take.

 

Tech/Science

 

10. BE the Code: Sequoia Blodgett

podcast Sequoia Blodgett hosts BE the Code. (Image: Niranjan Deshpande/Sequoia Blodgett)

 

Offering insight on all things tech, BE the Code is hosted by Sequoia BlodgettBlack Enterprise’s tech editor in Silicon Valley, and it is a must-listen for anyone looking to venture into the tech entrepreneurial space or looking to learn more about the tech world. It explores matters related to technology that are important to African Americans and those within the African diaspora, and is filled with winning strategies and game-changing advice from top innovators out of Silicon Valley, celebrities, and rising stars. We recommend checking out her interviews with Monique Woodard, Venture Partner at 500 Startups and Mike Brown, the former NFL player turned tech entrepreneur.

 

 

11. StarTalk Radio: Neil deGrasse Tyson

(Image: wikimedia/Bruce F Press)

 

Everyone’s favorite astrophysicist puts together a highly informative, clever show each week on StarTalk Radio, “where science, pop culture and comedy collide.” DeGrasse Tyson’s comedic co-hosts, including Chuck Nice, lend a hilarious bent to the podcast. And deGrasse Tyson doesn’t disappoint when it comes to guests. Big names like Tesla Motors and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian, and journalists Baratunde Thurston and Fareed Zakaria have all shined their light and intelligence on listeners.

 

Politics

 

12. Let Your Voice Be Heard! Radio: Selena Hill

 

Selena Hill Selena Hill, Black Enterprise’s digital editor. (Image: file)

 

Let Your Voice Be Heard! is an energetic, award-winning weekly show founded, executive produced, and co-hosted by Black Enterprise’s digital editor, Selena Hill. LYVBH is committed to informing, educating, and empowering millennials on political and social issues via discussion and in-depth interviews with influential leaders. Past guests include Sen. Cory Booker, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, former ACLU President Nadine Strossen, and Russell Simmons.

13. Intersection: Jamil Smith

Senior editor at The New Republic, Jamil Smith’s podcast is taking a clear look at identity politics in the U.S. Each episode delves into how race, gender, and all the ways we identify ourselves and one another intersect. From activists and politicians to journalists and everyday folks, each episode is packed with plenty of worthy conversation starters.

Wellness/Mental Health

 

Therapy for Black Girls: Dr. Joy Harden

 

Psychologist Dr. Joy Harden. (Image: therapyforblackgirls.com)

 

This podcast stems from Dr. Harden’s namesake online space that is dedicated to encouraging the mental wellness of black women and girls. Each week the Atlanta-based psychologist chats about “all things mental health, personal development, and all the small decisions we can make to become the best possible versions of ourselves.” She shares practical tips and strategies to improve your mental health, and also discusses the latest news and trends in the field.

 

14. The Friend Zone: Dustin Ross, Francheska Medina of HeyFranHey & Assanté

The Friend Zone podcast. (Image: Instagram)

 

Think of this health and wellness podcast as your friend and confidant for all things related to mental hygiene, because, “who wants their mind to be musty?” Whether it’s a discussion on relationships, race, or being true to yourself, this insightful and funny podcast will get you through a long week or help you start a Monday right.

Music

 

15.  The Combat Jack Show: Reggie Ossé

The Combat Jack Show calls itself the undisputed No. 1 hip-hop podcast. Hosted by Reggie Ossé, a former hip-hop music attorney, each episode features interviews with icons like Rza, Talib Kweli, and Chuck D who dish about their experiences, philosophies, and viewpoints in conversations that extend beyond music.

 

16. Afropop Worldwide: Georges Collinet

If you’re looking for a podcast that discusses music beyond the borders of North America, Afropop Worldwide is a good starting point. From the black music of Peru to Ghana’s regional pop and neo-traditional music, this podcast expertly curates stories of music from the African diaspora, adding in intriguing historical and cultural details.

 

Lifestyle – Black Enterprise

BEAUTY DEAL UPDATE:

Chris Pine Says Wonder Woman Is Good Because ‘Men Are Not All That Smart’

This is promising.

Lifestyle – Esquire

SHOPPING DEALS UPDATE:


Having a Dark Sense of Humor Might Just Mean You’re Really Smart

Joke’s on everyone else.

Lifestyle – Esquire

SHOPPING DEALS UPDATE:


Dick Gautier, Best Known as Hymie the Robot in Get Smart, Dies at 85

Tony-nominated actor Dick Gautier, known for his role in Bye, Bye Birdie and the hit TV sitcom Get Smart, has reportedly died. He was 85.

Gautier’s daughter Denise told The Hollywood Reporter that her father died Friday night at an assisted living facility in Arcadia, California, after suffering from a longtime illness.

Gautier started his career working as a stand-up comic and he went on to star as Conrad Birdie in the hit 1960 musical Bye, Bye Birdie. His Elvis-inspired role scored him a Tony nomination for Best Featured Actor in a Musical.

Another beloved role of Gautier’s was his portrayal of Hymie the robot on the hit 1960s sitcom Get Smart. Portraying Hymie, Gautier quickly became a fan-favorite, despite his few appearances on the show.

In 1989, Gautier returned as Hymie for the TV movie Get Smart Again!, and he lent his voice to several animated shows, including Tom and Jerry and The Addams Family. His latest role was a cameo on Nip/Tuck in 2010.


PEOPLE.com

Fashion Deals Update:

Why Smart Phones Are Driving Everyone Insane

2017-01-05-1483643814-5784134-SmartPhonesAreDrivingEveryoneInsaneHP.jpeg

There’s nothing worse than whipping out your smartphone during a meeting, and few things will turn someone off to you quite like a mid-conversation text message or even a quick glance at your phone.

Using your phone at inappropriate times annoys your boss and colleagues according to research from USC’s Marshall School of Business, and if you work with women and people over forty they’re even more perturbed by it than everyone else.

The researchers conducted a nationwide survey of 554 full-time working professionals earning above $ 30K and working in companies with at least 50 employees. They asked a variety of questions about smartphone use during meetings and found:

  • 86% think it’s inappropriate to answer phone calls during meetings
  • 84% think it’s inappropriate to write texts or emails during meetings
  • 66% think it’s inappropriate to write texts or emails even during lunches offsite
  • The more money people make the less they approve of smartphone use.

The study also found that Millennials are three times more likely than those over 40 to think that smartphone use during meetings is okay, which is ironic considering Millennials are highly dependent upon the opinions of their older colleagues for career advancement.

TalentSmart has tested the emotional intelligence (EQ) of more than a million people worldwide and found that Millennials have the lowest self-awareness in the workplace, making them unlikely to see that their smartphone use in meetings is harming their careers.

Why do so many people find smartphone use in meetings to be inappropriate? When you take out your phone it shows a:

  • Lack of respect: You consider the information on your phone to be more important than the conversation at hand, and you view people outside of the meeting to be more important than those sitting right in front of you.
  • Lack of attention: You are unable to stay focused on one thing at a time.
  • Lack of listening: You aren’t practicing active listening, so no one around you feels heard.
  • Lack of power: You are like a modern-day Pavlovian dog who responds to the whims of others through the buzz of your phone.
  • Lack of self-awareness: You don’t understand how ridiculous your behavior looks to other people.
  • Lack of social awareness: You don’t understand how your behavior affects those around you.

I can’t say I’m surprised by the USC study’s findings. My company coaches leaders using 360° assessments that compare their self-perception to how everyone else sees them. Smartphone use in meetings is one of the most common coworker complaints.

Bringing It All Together

It’s important to be clear with what you expect of others. If sharing this article with your team doesn’t end smartphone use in meetings, take a page out of the Old West and put a basket by the conference room door with an image of a smart phone and the message, “Leave your guns at the door.”

What do you think of smartphone use during meetings? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below, as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

GPS for the Soul – The Huffington Post
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Cateye Padrone Smart Triple Wireless Computer. Smart technology meets Cateye’s most popular display unit in their groundbreaking Cateye Padrone Smart Triple Wireless Computer. For the ultimate in convenience and versatility, this Padrone Smart triple bundle provides two means to measure a world of data about your rides: Mirror Mode and Direct Mode. In Mirror Mode, ride data is measured via the combination of your smartphone and the Padrone Smart head unit. Via the CatEye Cycling app loaded to your smartphone and your smartphone’s GPS capability, ride data is collected and mirrored in real time on the Padrone Smart head unit through Bluetooth. All this takes place as your phone is in sleep mode, safely tucked away in your pocket and preserving battery power. And the Padrone Smart doesn’t only display ride data, but as your smartphone receives email, texts, or calls, alert icons are also displayed in real time. For additional data, the included speed/cadence sensor and heart rate sensor can also be added to the mix for an incredibly rich, potent feedback on your riding performance. Cateye realized that you might not want to utilize your smartphone on every ride — such as a race situation or inclement weather — and for that there is Direct Mode. This mode is your classic wireless set-up, with all your ride data measured by the included speed/cadence sensor and heart rate sensor and sent to the Padrone Smart head unit. For both modes, data is collected on your smartphone and once a ride is complete all of the data is uploaded from the app with a simple touch of a button to CatEye Atlas, Strava, and TrainingPeaks.
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