Avoid mental mistakes that could hurt your 401(k) savings when the market is near record highs

A heads-up to anyone with a 401(k): WA heads-up to anyone with a 401(k): With the stock market near record highs, the biggest threat to your hard-earned retirement savings could be you, according to USA Today. 
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Women who want to start businesses should steer clear of these six mistakes

Advice from successful CEOs on how women can win at starting their own business. 
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Fountain Pen Mistakes All Beginners Make & How To Avoid Them

Unlike a ballpoint pen, fountain pens can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars and they’re an accessory that enhances your handwriting and make it more unique. At the same time, they demand a certain amount of care and attention.

In the US, most people are rarely exposed to fountain pens unless they actively pursue them and if they do, however, most people fall in love with them and always prefer them over regular pens.

When you start out, you’re very prone to make those mistakes and all the people I’ve met who just started the fountain pen when they were an adult, made those as well. 

Fountain Pen Mistakes Beginners Make

Fountain pen paper and a Lamy Safari fountain pen

Fountain pen paper and a Lamy Safari fountain pen

1. Not Using A Fountain Pen At All

Even if you own it, you may just have it in your desk drawer and it never sees the light of day. In my opinion, a huge advantage of a fountain pen is your signature. Not only does it make it look more sophisticated but it’s actually much harder to fake because the lines vary in thickness depending on the pressure you put on to the nib. Of course, it’s easy to forget about handwriting in a digital world, you can take notes with your phone, you can use Google home assistant or Alexa but at the same time, it has been proven that writing down things by hand especially if you take notes, enhances your memory and you learn faster. As Murphy’s Law has it, you never have a pen when you need it so it really pays to make a fountain pen part of your everyday carry so you always have it handy when you need it.

Ink bleed

Ink bleed

2. Using The Wrong Paper

Because of the nib and the ink feed, you get more ink onto the paper. Now most regular paper is rather thin and sometimes flimsy and when you use a fountain pen, you encounter something called bleeding. Basically, it’s just ink bleeding into the paper leaving a very undefined line that doesn’t look as nice as if you write with the same fountain pen on a thicker paper that absorbs the ink better.

Fountain pen paper

Fountain pen paper

So instead, go with a slightly thicker cardstock or go with fountain pen paper which hardly costs more at all but it’s specifically made for fountain pen ink. If you don’t want to bother about the kind of paper you use, I suggest you get an extra fine or a fine nib because with those, you get less ink on the paper and it will look good no matter what paper you use. That being said, if you write a note to someone, they always feel extra special if it comes on a thicker cardstock or even a cotton paper because it’s just a wonderful experience.

The more pressure you add, the wider your pen stroke gets

The more pressure you add, the wider your pen stroke gets

3. Pushing Too Hard On The Nib

If you have a regular ballpoint pen or a rollerball, you can really push hard even push holes into your paper. Now with a fountain pen, you can also add pressure and the more pressure you add, the wider your pen stroke gets. That can be really nice for a signature or you want to get a calligraphy effect when you write. Now with nibs, you have to pay a little more attention because they’re split in the middle so the ink can get to the paper and if you push too hard, you may damage or break the nib and then you’ll have to exchange it.

Pushing too hard may damage the nib

Pushing too hard may damage the nib

Also if you push too hard, it scratches on the paper, it tires out your hand, and it’s just hard on the paper as well as the pen. In general, I say a softer touch is better. If you want to write long letters, it pays to have a pen that’s slightly heavier but not too heavy so you can just have it glide over the paper when you write something without having to push on it very forcefully.

Fountain pen ink comes in many colors

Fountain pen ink comes in many colors

4. Using The Wrong Ink

When you start out, you might think that all ink are alike and you can just buy the cheapest one out there and it’ll do a good job. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. If you have calligraphy pens, they use a different ink. If you have a fountain pen, you should always go with a specific fountain pen ink. Why? Basically, they have a different chemical composition that is best for fountain pens. If you get something that is too thick and it dries too quickly, it will clog up your fountain pen and you’ll have to constantly clean it. The great part about fountain pen ink is that it comes in hundreds of different colors and it’s a great way to express your personality through your ink.

Sven Raphael Schneider's signature green ink

Sven Raphael Schneider’s signature green ink

For example, I usually have a really dark green ink which is still contrasting on white paper, at the same time, it’s different than royal blue ink which is probably the number one sold color in the world today. So if you choose a special color, be it your favorite color or maybe the color of the logo of your company, you really underline the whole message, make it unique and special and even harder to fake.

If you have a fountain pen that you don’t use a lot, you leave it in the drawer, or you only use it for signatures, chances are that the ink on the inside of the fountain pen will dry in and then it won’t start when you want to write. If that sounds like you, I suggest to look for a specific ink that is supposed to not dry as quickly and that way, you don’t have to clean your pen and it’s more reliable at the few times you actually use it.

5. Not Cleaning Your Fountain Pen

Generally, if you keep writing a pen and you use high-quality fountain pen ink, chances are you hardly ever maybe never have to clean your fountain pen, over time, however, there may be dust or something gets clogged up and then it’s time to clean your pen.

Cleaning Your Fountain Pen

Submerge your pen in water to clean it up

Submerge your pen in water to clean it up

  1. Simply drop your entire pen in water. If it has several parts that you can take apart, take it apart, try to let it soak in so the dry spots can soak up and then put it all together and see if it writes again. If that’s not the case, you may want to use a little toothbrush, maybe you want to blow water from the bottom part through the ink feed throughout the nib just to make sure it’s not clogged up. Definitely only use water to clean your fountain pen and don’t use alcohol or acetone as they may damage the pen.
  2. Use an ultrasonic cleaner. It’s very gentle, it works with water and sound waves that make the parts vibrate and clean them. You can use it for jewelry or all kinds of other parts even for clothes if your cleaner is large enough. All you do is simply add cold water to your ultrasonic cleaner. You immerse the pen on the inside, maybe you make sure that you get the water into the inside chamber if it’s a piston filler or you just fill it up with water and take everything apart so the water can reach all the parts that are dry and dirty. Keep in mind that an ultrasonic will heat up the water and in combination with the vibrations can cause especially older pens that are made of materials like celluloid to actually expand. In fact, I once ruined and old Montblanc Meisterstuck fountain pen with the casing of a celluloid because it had metal parts on the inside that came up. I can still use the pen, however, for collectors, it lost basically all of its value. So keep that in mind and always take a look, shorter is always better. Let it run for five minutes rather than ten. Take a look, see where it’s at if it’s already clean, you can just take it out.
The best way to clean a fountain pen

The best way to clean a fountain pen

The anatomy of the nib

The anatomy of the nib

6. Dropping A Fountain Pen On The Nib

I know you don’t drop your pens intentionally but unlike with a ballpoint pen, if it falls right on the tip of the nib, it may break or it may deform and then it’s time to have the nib replaced. If you just have a steel nib, it’s actually quite inexpensive. If you have a more expensive fountain pen with a gold nib, just the nib alone can cost anywhere from $ 200-$ 500 which is quite costly. In any case, I’d always suggest going to professionals to have it replaced because you yourself will likely screw it up and the ink feed and the flow won’t work after you repaired it. To protect your pen, I suggest you always put on the cap when it is not in use and you can also have an extra pouch in leather where the pen is protected.

Keep the nib of your pen up so you do not have to worry about ink stains

Keep the nib of your pen up so you do not have to worry about ink stains

7. Not Keeping The Nib Up When Traveling

Especially if you’re on a plane, the cabin pressure changes over time and if your nib faces down or if it’s horizontal, chances are ink is pushed outside of the pen and either you get a stain on your jacket or the next time you open your pen, all your fingers are going to be full of ink. Now a good ink is very colorfast so you can’t just go to the bathroom and wash it off. You’ll have ink stains on your fingers for a few days. What should you do? Always keep the pen with the nib up and you’ll be just fine and do not have to worry about any ink leaking or ink stains on your fingers.

CONCLUSION

Overall, you have to pay a little more attention to a fountain pen and you have to be a little more deliberate than with a ballpoint pen or a rollerball. On the other hand, a fountain pen enhances your handwriting and the look of it in a way that no rollerball and ballpoint can compete with. Are you guilty of these mistakes? 


Gentleman’s Gazette

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7 Summer Shoe Mistakes to Avoid

Summer changes our wardrobes and it’s fun to go along with the seasons but when it comes to shoes, summer shoes are really just for summer and so they’re inherently different to the shoes that you can wear during spring, fall, and winter.

Of course, people can wear absolutely anything today and trust me, they do. But as a gentleman, there are certain classic style rules that help make you look well put together even during the peak heat of summer.

Sandals and Suits obviously don't go well together

Sandals and Suits obviously don’t go well together

1. Wearing Sandals Or Flip-Flops For Other Than Very Specific Outdoor Occasions.

Sorry, gentlemen, but if you’re serious about your outward appearance, wearing sandals or flip-flops on a regular basis is simply not in the cards. Unless you’re rafting or walking on a rocky riverbed, you should never wear sandals. The same is true for flip-flops, they’re really best at the pool or by the beach but otherwise, don’t show up with them at a restaurant.

Ultimately, no one wants to see your hairy toes and calluses and that aside, I’ve never come across a really super high-quality pair of flip-flops or sandals that just had oodles of craftsmanship in them.

Not a great look for classic gentlemen

Not a great look for classic gentlemen

2. Wearing Sporty Trainers With Your Trousers & Elegant Summer Outfits.

It simply doesn’t go together. Trainers are fine if you ride your bike, or go to and from the gym, or workout in them, but outside of that, there’s really no place for them in your general wardrobe. Nothing makes you look like an old grandpa than white trainers with white tennis socks so just skip them and put on proper summer shoes.

3. Not Understanding The Difference Between Driving Mocs, Loafers, & Boat Shoes.

All three of these are great summer shoes because they are slip-ons where you don’t have to tie anything. So it’s not just convenient but usually, they also have deeper cutouts which expose your ankle more to the air which gives a nice flow that is cooler than wearing other regular lace-up shoes. Now, what’s the difference between those three shoe types?

Relaxed penny loafer in grey suede with washed out denim

Relaxed penny loafer in grey suede with washed out denim

Loafers are considered to be the most formal one out of the three; you can wear them with slacks, with seersuckers, even a seersucker suit, or even a regular suit except if it’s double-breasted, loafers are typically not appropriate but double-breasted is not advisable through hot summers anyways so you’re good here. Sometimes people even wear it barefoot, however, I don’t suggest that. If you want to go for the barefoot look, always go with no-show socks, it’s much better for your feet, for the hygiene, and it makes you more comfortable in your shoes all day.

U-shaped uppers on a soft sole moccasin

U-shaped uppers on a soft sole moccasin

Next step down in formality is driving mocs. If you want something a little more formal, go with a penny loafer; a little less casual, go with tassel. I like suede for summer shoes because they’re casual and you can even go in more exotic colors, maybe gray, navy blue, or dark green. Driving mocs are a step down in terms of formality, they’re usually worn inside the house or while driving, but during the summer, a lot of people wear them just on the street. Very soft, they’re comfortable, but with the typical sole that is not solid rubber, you probably wear them out prematurely if you wear them outside of the house or your car.

Hand sewn boat shoes by Eastland

Hand sewn boat shoes by Eastland

Finally, boat shoes are the least formal. A classic staple would be a medium chestnut brown. If you want to be a little brighter you can go with blues, or salmon reds, maybe green and blue combinations. It’s a fun shoe if you adhere to the kind of waspy northeastern American style.

Black "dress shoes" with blue soles

Black “dress shoes” with blue soles

4. Buying Somewhat Formal Shoes From The Uppers That Are Then Combined With Colorful Trainer Soles.

We get it, summer is more casual and it also reflects in your shoe wardrobe. That being said, it’s wiser to play with the colors and leather materials but keeping the leather sole than switching to a kind of rubber sole that is green, yellow, or red.

Yes, it makes you stand out in a way but it’s more clownish than tasteful. That being said, rubber soles wear much more quickly, you cannot just replace them very easily and so it’s not a really good long-term investment. Instead, buy a classic leather sole or a classic rubber sole and make a change of the uppers, it’s a much better investment.

While this is "leather" it is still not appropriate for formal wear

While this is “leather” it is still not appropriate for formal wear

5.  Buying Sneakers & Using Them To Masquerade Other Shoes.

By that, I mean people try to buy leather sneakers that are more expensive and nicer and so all of a sudden, they think they can wear it for business casual or with a suit and it just looks odd and
it’s not meant to be worn that way.

Light Brown & Blue Socks with Suede Shoes in Brown

Light Brown & Blue Socks with Suede Shoes in Brown

6. Packing Away All Your Shoes And Simply Using Specific Summer Shoes.

Now yes, you want specific summer shoes, at the same time, you can still get out your old brown loafers for example, that you can wear in spring and maybe in the fall or you’re suede desert boots. Those are all good shoes that you can utilize also during the summer so it pays to go through your shoe closet and yes you can set aside your black oxfords or the triple soled boots because that’s not something you wear during the summer but brown tones, maybe reddish tones, and suede leathers are great for summer combinations.

White buckskin oxford shoes with Fort Belvedere Colored Shoelaces

White buckskin oxford shoes with Fort Belvedere Colored Shoelaces

7. Not Owning A Fun Pair Of Distinct Summer Shoes.

There are really lots of ways to have fun even with a classic man’s shoe wardrobe and that can include a white pair of buckskin shoes with colorful shoelaces for example, and in general, if you want to spice things up and you can’t quite afford to invest a lot in summer shoes, just going with colorful shoelaces really change the whole feel and the look of the shoes and you will immediately look summery with a very small investment.

 

 

Alternatively, if you’re looking for shoes, look for a woven leather shoe or maybe something with a perforated leather because that will allow more air to get to your foot so you sweat less and you’re more comfortable. If you like softer shoes, maybe a pair of colorful boat shoes or driving mocs are something to invest in. Apart from lighter desert boots that are unlined and actually very low, I suggest you invest in a pair of green shoes because green is really underrated especially for summer.

Madras Boat Shoes

Madras Boat Shoes

Lately, I’ve seen it much more come up in suits and sport coats and even shirts but for shoes, it’s still not really popular and it’s particularly good in a darker shade such as forest green or maybe olive green and with a suede texture. Apart from that, classic spectators can work as well although the black and white spectators work, I think brown and white are better suited for summer because it’s a less stark contrast and it just goes well with the warmth outside.

What are your favorite summer shoes? Let us know in the comments below!


Gentleman’s Gazette

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Ready for the C-Suite? 6 Mistakes That Can Damage Your Executive Presence

If you have your eyes on an executive position or the “C-suite,” take note: Competency is not enough to claim the corner office. Climbing the corporate ladder of success requires a combination of skill, emotional intelligence, and unshakable self-confidence. So, are you really prepared to take the lead? It all boils down to how you carry yourself at work and connect with the people around you.

 6 mistakes that can damage your executive presence and C-suite potential 

  • Not keeping cool under pressure –A big part of executive presence is understanding how people view you as a leader. So take note, rarely will employees respect the authority or vision of an unhinged leader. Staying calm under stressful situations builds trust, credibility, and a positive team culture in the workplace.

 

  • Not polishing your soft skills – As you advance in your career, soft skills like negotiation and presentation skills become increasingly more important than functional skills. For instance, if you’re standing up in front of staff or executives and presenting a status update, be prepared to clearly articulate your challenges and ideas for improvement, ask questions, listen, and accept constructive feedback.

 

  • Not inspiring people to take action – Whether you work at a small organization or large company, change and conflict is inevitable. Beyond maintaining your composure during uncertain times, you’ll need to find the good in a negative situation and empower people to take action.

 

  • Not understanding how your work fits into the bigger picture – Oftentimes, tough decisions are made at work that affects the daily routine of staff, as a leader you’ll be expected to focus on the big picture while rallying employees around the positive and keeping them on track. Also, if you’re looking to get ahead at work, keep track of your numbers. For instance, how has your work impacted the company’s bottom line? That way, during talks of promotion, you can clearly articulate your performance metrics and the value you’ve delivered to the company.

 

  • Not making decisions – One of the quickest ways to fail as a leader is to not make a decision. Indecision is a decision that could affect your ability to reach company goals and inspire your team. Plus, it can kill your opportunity for career advancement.

 

  • Not understanding office politics – Regardless of your industry, there’s a game called “office politics” that’s played in every organization. Office politics include navigating informal social networks and systems of power and influence. When it comes to office politics ask yourself: How are decisions made at this company (take note, it’s not about how you think they should be made)? Who are the key people who influence change at work and filter ideas to the decision makers? How can I build relationships with these people and get them on board with my ideas? Asking for stretch assignments is one way to understand office politics.

The post Ready for the C-Suite? 6 Mistakes That Can Damage Your Executive Presence appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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EMPLOYMENT UPDATE:

Whoops! Jared Kushner made even more mistakes in his federal filings

Jared Kushner keeps filing the wrong information about two of his loans borrowed from Bank of Internet, which is under federal investigation. The disclosure form has been updated at least 40 times in regards to his properties in Brooklyn, ProPublica reports.
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Pope Francis admits ‘grave mistakes’

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6 Common Cover Letter Mistakes

When companies put out a new job position, they can receive hundreds (sometimes thousands) of resumes. This means that a hiring manager needs to find a way to filter out weaker candidates and trim down the stack of applications.

In many instances, employers reviewing applications will ignore cover letters altogether (especially for positions that don’t require a high level of written or verbal skills), but as an applicant, you have no way of knowing how much the person reviewing your application will care about your Cover Letter.

Unless the job you’re applying for indicates that no Cover Letter is required, it’s best to have your bases covered and submit one—it might be the thing that bumps you ahead of other equally qualified applicants for an interview.

To give you an advantage over other applicants, we’ll discuss the six most common mistakes people make in cover letters that can cause employers to disqualify candidates.

1. Typos and Other Errors in Your Application

Typos and other grammatical errors may not seem like much of a problem, but they continue to be one of the top Resume and Cover Letter mistakes employers use to disqualify candidates and cut down the stack of resumes they’re reviewing.

The easiest way to avoid grammatical errors is to have someone else look over your work after your own self-editing efforts.

You should also double-check:

  • That your contact information is correct (e.g. you included your preferred email address and spelled it correctly and you didn’t make any mistakes in your phone number)
  • You’re addressing the proper person in the right department and company (when people are sending out multiple applications, it can be quite simple to mix up which company you’re contacting)
  • You have the correct version of your Resume and Cover Letter sent to the proper job posting (many people accidentally send an application tailored to a specific position to the wrong posting)

2. Focusing Too Much on Yourself in Your Cover Letter

When an employer puts out a call for resumes, what’s really happening is they have a problem that needs solving. The problem, in this case, is that there’s a hole in their ranks that they need filled to keep the company running smoothly.

The point of a Cover Letter is to demonstrate to an employer how you are the answer to that problem. It can be tempting to spend the whole time talking about how great you are as a worker, multi-tasker, and team player, but you need to make sure you’re always relating back to the company. What can you do for them? How does your previous experience speak to your ability to deliver on the promise to solve all of their problems? These are the things you need to focus on.

3. Discussing Your Entire Work History

Odds are you’ve had dozens of jobs—probably since you were a teenager—but that doesn’t mean all of that work experience is necessary in your Cover Letter. Sure, it’s great that you got a steady job flipping burgers at McDonald’s when you were 14, but it’s probably not terribly relevant when you’re applying to be a Financial Analyst at AT&T.

Discuss your related training and be sure to illustrate how those experiences show you can tackle any challenges you may face in this new position.

4. Discussing Too Little Work History

Although disclosing too much job history is problematic because it can dilute your relevant work experience, the opposite (i.e. not discussing enough of your work history) can also be an issue.

Many people make the mistake of simply repeating their Resume in their Cover Letter, but that doesn’t provide the hiring manager with any other details about your skills—they’ve already looked over your Resume, they don’t need to see it twice. An employer will want to see your accomplishments from previous jobs and they’ll want to know how they relate to the position you’re applying for now.

5. Clichés in Your Cover Letter

As we’ve already mentioned, someone sifting through applications is probably glazing over hundreds of resumes and cover letters. The last thing you want to do is sound like everyone else. Everyone believes they are “the perfect candidate for this position” because they are a “team player” with “exceptional customer service skills” who “takes pride in their work.”

Although it’s important to use some of these buzzwords (especially if an employer is using an electronic system to sort resumes), you need to make sure you don’t just blend into the herd.

If you really want to make your Cover Letter stand out, be sure to include some concrete examples of your accomplishments (i.e. facts and figures). Something like “In my last position, I was an expert salesman” is fine, but “I had the top sales average on my team, which amounted to $ 10,000 per month in revenue for the company” is better.

6. Being the Company’s “Super Fan”

Applying for jobs can be a stressful experience—especially in turbulent economic climates—and it often results in people applying for and accepting positions they don’t want at companies they don’t know, want to work for, or care about.

A common tactic people use in situations like this is pretending to be the company’s biggest fan, so their cover letter reads more like fan mail than a professional summary of skills. The end product comes off as very disingenuous.

Put yourself in the hiring person’s shoes. If you read that type of Cover Letter, would you fall for the ploy? What would you rather read about? It’s likely that writing about what you can do for the company (how your experience and expertise can solve their problems) will resonate better than random praise.

You can tailor your letter so it aligns with the company’s values and culture to show you’ve done your research, but you don’t need to pump up their ego.

Crafting the Strongest Cover Letter

Although cover letters don’t carry the weight they used to in the hiring process, you don’t want to waste anyone’s time by submitting a poor one. You need to give yourself any advantage you can in a competitive job market, and you only have about half a page to prove to a hiring manager that you’re worth pursuing as a contender for the open job position. By avoiding these six common mistakes, you can get ahead of the competition.

Be clear about your skills, provide concrete examples, and convince the reader that you are the answer to their problem.

What do you do to ensure your Cover Letter stands out? Let us know in the comments!

The post 6 Common Cover Letter Mistakes appeared first on LawDepot Blog.

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Khloe’s “Revenge Body” Trainers Reveal 7 Mistakes That Keep You From Losing Weight

Avoid these pitfalls, and you’ll be well on your way to making the progress you’d hoped.

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11 Holiday Mistakes That Bring Burglars to Your Home

While you’re busy shopping, decorating, and getting ready for holiday festivities, burglars are preparing for one of their busiest times of the year as well. According to some sources, residential break-ins increase during the holiday season. Yet many of these incidents could have been prevented had the homeowners taken some simple precautions. Don’t let burglars steal your holiday cheer! Keep reading to find out if you’re making vital security mistakes—then hurry up and correct them.
Bob Vila : Trusted Home Renovation & Repair Expert

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11 Mistakes Homeowners Make Every Winter

As the days grow shorter, colder, and darker, it’s tempting to just hunker down inside and forget all about home and garden chores until the spring. But winter is no time for conscientious homeowners to take it easy—there is a lot of maintenance to deal with during the “off” season. Here are some crucial seasonal mistakes that trip up many homeowners during the winter months.
Bob Vila : Trusted Home Renovation & Repair Expert

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What Netflix’s ‘Sabrina the Teenage Witch’ Can Learn from ‘Riverdale’s’ Mistakes

Even more Archie comics characters are coming to your television screen soon—but not on The CW. Though The CW was once developing a television version of comic series The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, the series has since landed at Netflix with a two season, 20 episode order. The comic series, written by Riverdale creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, is a darker adaptation of the plucky Sabrina character who is also a teenage witch. The series was adapted once in the ’90s starring Melissa Joan Hart, but this new series will likely be more like Riverdale than anything resembling Hart’s version.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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How to Wash Sheets — And the Mistakes You Might Be Making

That shrunken set might not be your dryer’s fault.

Home Ideas – Good Housekeeping

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How to Clean Windows — And the Big Mistakes You Might Be Making

Like asking your kids to help (just kidding … kind of).

Home Ideas – Good Housekeeping

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The Best Car Cleaning Advice — Plus, 11 Mistakes You Might Be Making

Find out where you should pay extra close attention when disinfecting.

Home Ideas – Good Housekeeping

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How to Wash a Bra the Right Way — And Mistakes You Might Be Making

Here’s the (not-so) dirty truth.

Home Ideas – Good Housekeeping

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Janet Yellen has made a lot of mistakes

Dear John: Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen misses more than you said in a recent column. She overestimates the strength of the job market, and is underestimating the amount of inflation in part of the economy — housing — while underestimating the weakness in prices and wages in a ton of the economy. And she radically…
Business | New York Post

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Fed’s Rosengren warned ‘large policy mistakes’ could come from setting a specific rule for setting policy

Forcing the Fed to hew to a specific rule for setting monetary policy could lead to "large policy mistakes," a U.S. central banker argued.
Economy

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Harvey Weinstein Speaks: ‘We All Make Mistakes’

Film producer Harvey Weinstein said he is hoping for a second chance after several women came forward with accusations of sexual assault and harassment over the past three decades, ABC News reported Thursday. “Guys, I’m not doing OK but I’m trying. I got to get help. You know what, we all make mistakes. … A second chance, I hope,” Weinstein said in a video shot outside his daughter’s Los Angeles home—his first public statement since the scandal escalated. Weinstein reportedly left Los Angeles to check himself into a rehabilitation clinic for behavioral issues, including sex addiction. “Mr. Weinstein obviously can’t speak to anonymous allegations, but with respect to any women who have made allegations on the record, Mr. Weinstein believes that all of these relationships were consensual,” a representative for Weinstein said in a statement. “Mr. Weinstein has begun counseling, has listened to the community and is pursuing a better path. Mr. Weinstein is hoping that, if he makes enough progress, he will be given a second chance.”

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Asks ‘Forgiveness for Our Mistakes’

In a Yom Kippur message, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg asked for “forgiveness for our mistakes” and pledged to “be better.” The message, written on Facebook, comes as the social media giant is coming under increased scrutiny over Russia’s efforts to wage a disinformation campaign and sow discord in the United States through the use of Facebook. “For those I hurt this year, I ask forgiveness and I will try to be better. For the ways my work was used to divide people rather than bring us together, I ask forgiveness and I will work to do better,” Zuckerberg said.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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3 Monumental Financial Mistakes People Make Before They Turn 50

financial mistakes

“Too many people wait way too long to start thinking about how much they will need to finance their retirement,” says Chris Heerlein, partner at REAP Financial LLC and author of Money Won’t Buy Happiness – But Time to Find It.

“In a way, that’s not surprising. Retirement seems so far away when you’re in your 20s and 30s, and it’s easy to think you’ll have plenty of time to worry about saving later. Then before you know it you pass 50, and you realize you missed a great opportunity to take advantage of compound interest.”

Heerlein says many young people are making at least three financial mistakes that they likely will rue when it comes time to retire. Those are:

 

1. Not participating in a 401(k)

 

Many employers don’t offer a 401(k) or similar retirement plan, but if yours does you need to participate, Heerlein says. An alarming number of people ignore this savings opportunity that can reap great rewards, especially if you start when you’re in your 20s and faithfully contribute for decades, he says. “And if you’re employer is offering matching funds, that’s free money,” Heerlein says. “You need to jump on it.”

 

2. Saving ONLY in a 401(k)

 

While contributing to a 401(k) is great, that shouldn’t be your only vehicle for saving, Heerlein says. “If you are a younger saver, you are putting all your money into a bucket you can’t touch for 20 or 30 years,” he says. And when you do withdraw it in retirement, you’ll pay taxes because the taxes were deferred. That’s why it’s important to put some balance in your portfolio. A good way to do that is with a Roth IRA, a Roth 401(k) or a health savings account. Withdrawing from those Roth funds in retirement won’t result in taxes because the taxes were already paid when the money went in the account. HSA money isn’t taxed if you withdraw it for qualified medical expenses. After you turn 65, you can withdraw it for any purpose, though you will pay taxes on that withdrawal if not used for qualified expenses.

 

3. Failing to embrace risk

 

When the 2008 financial crisis hit, plenty of investors lost a substantial portion of their savings. The memory of what happened to them – or to their parents – is still having repercussions. Some people younger than 50 are too conservative with their investments, Heerlein says, so their money doesn’t grow like it could if they took more risks. “I’m not faulting people for that, but what I want to get across is if you are between the ages of 20 and 50, there is no need to panic,” Heerlein says. “Time is on your side. If you suffer a loss, you more than likely have plenty of years to recover before you retire.”

 

Many people nearing retirement probably look back to when they were in their 20s and 30s and wish they could go back in time and make some financial decisions over again.

“Most people eventually learn that true financial success requires a lifetime of work, responsibility, and attention,” Heerlein says. “The younger you are when you come to that realization, the better.”

 

 


Chris Heerlein, author of Money Won’t Buy Happiness – But Time to Find It, is an Investment Adviser Representative and partner at REAP Financial LLC. He hosts the “Retire Ready” TV and radio shows in Austin, Texas, and has been featured in national media outlets such as Fortune, Bloomberg Businessweek, and Money magazines. Heerlein also is an ongoing contributor to the financial publication Kiplinger.

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8 Common Selfie Mistakes You’re Definitely Making

Nailing the perfect selfie isn’t easy—it’s about the right combination of light, angle, setting, and photo filters. But by avoiding these common mistakes, you can get a selfie that is, to use a horrible cliché, picture perfect.
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Straight from the runway, celebrities, and their makeup artists’ and hairstylists’ repertoires, 14 hair, makeup, and skin-care tips you can’t miss.
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7 Grooming Mistakes to Never, Ever Make During Your Morning Commute

The morning struggle is real. We get it. But whipping out a full makeup kit, complete with an eyelash curler and pencil sharpener, isn’t just distracting to people around you—it’s also pretty unsanitary and maybe even a little dangerous (moving train, vulnerable eyeballs…need we go on?). Don’t be that person. Here, the must-know rules for primping and grooming on the go.
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Risqué necklines at Céline and Nina Ricci, glimmering sequins at Sonia Rykiel and Lanvin, ruffles at Miu Miu, and Kenzo: The best looks that went down the runway during Paris fashion week were anything but quaint. Ahead, 24 of our favorite fashion moments from the runways of Paris fashion week.
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7 Wedding Gown Shopping Mistakes That Every Bride-to-Be Makes

Shopping for a wedding gown is one of the most exciting experiences you’ll likely have in your life. But, like any crucial task, it’s rife with the possibility of error.

The blunders I’m talking about, however, have little to do with the type of dress you buy (the shape, the style, and so on) and more to do with the overall process, which can be quite overwhelming. (This shopping excursion will be unlike any you’ve had before!)

While some of the following mistakes may sound like they could be avoided simply by having some common sense, I have often found common sense to be in fact the least common of the senses. Especially when you’re in the midst of wedding planning.

Since you already have so much on your mind by the time you’re ready to try on some gowns, here’s my advice for making your shopping experience as smooth as possible–and some insider tips on how to avoid the biggest mistakes brides make while trying to find their dream dresses.

1. Not wearing great undergarments. Certainly, you won’t purchase your wedding undergarments before you’ve chosen a gown, but you do need excellent support for the gowns you’re trying on to look great. (And if you are not sample size, as most women are not, an ill-fit will be exacerbated without them.) A well-fitting strapless bra is often key.

You also will be in and out of the gowns for at least 30 to 60 minutes and in-between you may stand there in nothing but your skivvies. So your undergarments should at least be clean and without tears.

2. Not wearing deodorant. I’m going to be perfectly frank: The excitement of the salon experience could likely cause more “shvitzing” than you typically experience. You don’t want to be nervous about sweating all over the gorgeous gowns. Plus, imagine the person before you trying on the same merchandise and stinking up the dresses you’re trying on. You don’t want to be that person.

3. Not having clean hair. This is another case of courtesy. Typically, you will try on veils with the gowns, but you may even just run into a salon on your lunch break and without a shopping buddy. Remember that every veil you try has been put on by many others and all you can hope for is that they were courteous and had clean hair, too. Pay it forward.

4. Ordering a gown in a projected size. Today, you may be five, ten or even twenty pounds bigger than your “ideal” wedding day weight. Your professional stylist, however, will try to dissuade you from ordering any size other than the size you would fit into today–and you should listen to him or her. A gown can always be altered to fit perfectly. But it will be a disaster if the gown arrives too small.

5. Buying a gown without knowing your anticipated heel height. It is always best to shop with a heel that’s the approximate height of what you will wear on your wedding day–and not just to see the general way a gown falls but for the sake of alterations. You want to make sure that if there is any intricate lace on the hemline, it won’t be compromised.

Often, a lace hem is separate from the actual lace on the skirt and you can request to send “hem lace separately” to avoid costly removal and adjustment in alterations. And, if the designer’s standard “hollow to hem” is too short for you to begin with, it is best to have the heel height right so that even the most experienced stylist doesn’t overlook this extremely critical detail. Human error can happen and it can really be a nightmare to fix later on.

6. Not having a budget in mind. This typically happens because the majority of brides have no idea what things cost, so it’s important to look at gown shopping as a perfect opportunity to educate yourself and ask questions. If you can add to your budget once you’re in the salon, great! But to try on gowns that are over-budget and risk falling in love–only to have to severely compromise later–will leave you feeling dissatisfied.

7. Not knowing the religious standards of the officiant marrying you. Often, we know that if a wedding is to be held in a church or synagogue there may be a dress code to follow. But if the ceremony is to be off-site, it is best to clarify any requirements with your officiant well in advance of the buying trip. This way, you can ask the stylist what ideas he or she might have if the neckline or sleeves on a gown you love are not quite right for your clergy.

— 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.

Weddings – The Huffington Post
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11 Party Mistakes That Almost Every Host Makes

Maybe it’s your birthday. Maybe your godson is graduating from college. Maybe it’s a Saturday night and your name is Emily Gilmore. Maybe it’s a Thursday night and you’re the Entertainment Chair of your fraternity. But for whatever reason, you’re throwing a party. The invitations have gone out, and you’ve figured out the lighting, decor and music.

But you also need to figure out the food and beverage situation. You’re entering perilous waters, full of rocky shoals and hungry sea monsters. But don’t worry: HuffPost is here. We’ve identified 11 common food-and-drink mistakes that party hosts make all the time. As long as you avoid these snafus, you’ll be just fine. You’ll throw a great party, and all your friends will love you forever, and all your enemies will rue the day they crossed you.

Mistake #1: Not Having Enough Ice

This is the most common mistake party hosts make, which is frustrating because it’s really cheap and easy to rectify and ice is SUPER IMPORTANT. If you have ice, you can make pretty much any simple mixed drink taste good: cold and dilution can make even straight whiskey or tequila palatable. But without ice, you can’t really make any mixed drink taste good. (Except, I suppose, a hot toddy?) The dozen ice cubes that have been collecting dust in your ice trays for a week won’t cut it. When you throw a party, buy some bags of ice. More than you think you’ll need. It’s better to have leftovers — which keep pretty much forever — than to run out halfway through the night.

Mistake #2: Not Having Enough Cups

This is almost as bad as, and even easier to fix than, not having enough ice. But I also understand it: You might think you should buy as many cups as there will be guests, plus maybe 20 percent for people who lose theirs. But the truth is that a good party will be so chaotic that many guests are likely to go through not one or two, but easily three or four cups. So buy a ton! Just be sure to recycle them the next day, or, better yet, wash and reuse them.

Mistake #3: Having Too Low A Ratio Of Mixers-To-Liquor

Here’s a common sight: You walk into a party, you go to the makeshift bar the host has set up on some credenza in their living room, and you see exactly as many bottles of juice or soda as there are bottles of liquor. This is wrong. Those mixers will run out. You should always provide at least three times as much mixer as liquor. Especially because there are bound to be some people who won’t want to drink alcohol, or much alcohol, and will want cups of plain Diet Coke or cranberry juice.

Mistake #4: Serving Drinks That Are Too Fussy

mixologist

This is, in some sense, the inverse of the first three mistakes. It comes from a noble place in the heart of a party host — the desire to serve delicious beverages. But it, too, is a mistake. Fussy drinks take a long time to make, which can create bottlenecks of sobriety at the party, especially if a bunch of guests arrive at the same time. And it forces the host to focus on mixology rather than talking to their guests and having fun. If you’re insistent on serving a fantastic, elaborate drink, make it a punch that you can mix one huge batch of in advance: My favorite is the Original Chatham Artillery Punch. It’s never been anything less than a smash hit when I’ve made it for a group.

Mistake #5: Not Serving Food

You don’t have to feed everyone at your party a full dinner. Certainly not. You don’t have to serve delicious food. (Though it helps.) But if you are serving alcohol, you must provide something to eat. Chips and salsa, olives or a bowl of nuts, at least. Otherwise, people will get wasted far more quickly than you want them to — or, just as bad, they’ll leave when they get peckish.

Mistake #6: Serving Messy Food
messy food

On balance, serving messy food may actually be worse than serving no food. Nothing ruins a party like getting sloppy joe meat all over your nice shirt.

Mistake #7: Serving Clichéd Party Food

You wanna see someone’s eyes roll back all the way into their head? Invite me to a party and serve one of two kinds of food: a grape-and-cheese plate or a crudité platter, the pre-fab kind that comes from Costco. It’s lazy, boring and totally basic. I’d prefer a bowl of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. This is, I admit, better than no food at all — but only by a hair.

Mistake #8: Putting All The Food And Drink In One Place

A subtle mistake that has consigned countless parties to failure. Here’s why: If you put the beer, the liquor, the Cheetos and the cake all on one table, or, God forbid, in your narrow kitchen, all your guests are going to congregate there. That’s a recipe for heat, discomfort, accidental pushing and early departures. Instead, if you have any space at all, spread the different types of comestibles throughout your home. That way, your guests will be forced to move around the party all night, and thereby be thrust into all sorts of the random encounters that are the lifeblood of a proper party.

Mistake #9: Not Accounting For Dietary Restrictions

gwyneth paltrow

If you have no dietary restrictions whatsoever, it’s easy to be annoyed by them, or even to forget that they exist. But when you’re throwing a party, you have to think about them. Because if you don’t, you run the risk of having multiple people feel uncomfortable, hungry and sad at your party. You should be safe as long as you have options for people who are vegetarian, vegan and/or gluten-free. That’s not particularly difficult: get some wine for the gluten-free people to drink instead of beer, and serve some pita and hummus, or other meatless snack, alongside your platter of prosciutto and foie gras terrine. Easy peasy.

Mistake #10: Not Making The Menu Personal

This one’s a little nebulous, and related to the injunction against clichéd party foods. But the idea is that if you’re throwing a party, it should feel like your party. Not your mom’s party or your friend’s party or a party you saw on Pinterest. Some of this work can and should be done through decor, but food and drink with personal significance can be great too. So if you just moved back to Chicago after spending four years in San Diego, get some craft beer from that great San Diego brewery you toured! Or if you’re known as an obsessive “Breaking Bad” fan, serve some meth-inspired blue drinks! Bake some of your trademark blondies!

Mistake #11: Not Serving Jell-O Shots

jello shots

I’ve saved the most important rule of party-throwing for last: Always serve Jell-O Shots. Preferably in a piñata .

— 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.

Style – The Huffington Post
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5 Common Mistakes to Avoid While Planning Your Wedding

There is nothing more frustrating to me as a wedding planner than a client not taking my advice. As the expert, when giving a suggestion or advice, I back everything up with stories from previous clients who didn’t listen. I’m not saying that I know everything. I am saying that I know more about planning weddings than your sister’s friend’s mother’s aunt’s cousin who “does events” in her spare time. I know this seems harsh but it needs to be said.

These are the five most common mistakes that couples make during the planning process and how to avoid them:

1. The on-site coordinator at your venue is not a wedding planner/coordinator. Often times a venue will add in a “wedding coordinator” as an incentive for you to book your wedding. What they don’t tell you is that they don’t do the same things that an independent wedding planner/coordinator does. They won’t call your vendors to finalize payments and when you realize that you forgot to get a garter two hours before you walk down the aisle, they aren’t hopping in their car to buy one for you. It’s a huge pet peeve because it is incredibly misleading. Brides normally find out how different the on-site coordinator is from an actual wedding planner when it’s too late.

I had a client a few years ago who called in hysterics because the on-site coordinator told her two days before the wedding that she wasn’t going to be at her wedding. She told the bride as if it was obvious that she wouldn’t be there. They had worked together for over a year. I stepped in two days before the wedding because of this very reason.

2. DIY doesn’t always mean cheaper. Pinterest has fooled brides into thinking that they can do anything just by looking at a pretty picture. If you weren’t crafty before your wedding, you’re probably not crafty now. There is nothing worse than seeing a bunch of DIY projects strewn throughout your reception that look like your 5 year old neighbor put them together for a pack of gum. If you can’t afford exactly what you want, find another alternative.

3. Stop trying to replicate someone else’s wedding. Make your wedding YOUR wedding. A few years ago I had a client whose wedding everyone dreamed of having. From the bridesmaid’s gowns to the centerpieces, this wedding was in high demand. I don’t discuss client’s budgets with anyone so they didn’t know how expensive everything was. One of my clients printed out pictures from my Instagram account and brought them to our design meetings. I gently would tell her that those particular centerpieces were extremely expensive and I’d present a few alternatives. Determined to have those exact centerpieces, she and her family put them together themselves. Once she saw them in the room, she had me remove them from each table and asked me to put the flowers directly on the table. I’m not an “I told you so” person but…

4. Just because someone has a “nice” camera, doesn’t make them a photographer. This is one of the biggest challenges that I face when it comes to my client’s booking a photographer. I cringe every time I hear, “my cousin has a nice camera so she’ll be taking our pictures.” Why would you spend thousands of dollars on the most important day of your life but not invest in the photos that will last forever? I’m not saying that you have to break the bank but if you’re spending more money on your invitations than your photographer, there is a problem.

5. Don’t lie about your budget. If your budget is $ 60,000 but you’d like to stick to around $ 50,000, tell your planner that. Whenever a client gives me their initial budget, I ask them if that’s the actual budget or if that’s the number that they want to stay close to. Believe it or not, knowing how much we have to work with in the beginning will possibly save you money in the end. Weddings are expensive and most people don’t know exactly how costly they are.

— 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.

Weddings – The Huffington Post
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Real Talk: 10 Brides Share Their Biggest Wedding Day Mistakes

No woman ever wants to make a beauty mistake, but never is the fear of a beauty blunder greater than on her wedding day. With so much planning, effort, and love that goes into the big day, it’s just a bummer to look back and feel anything less than amazing. So we spoke to ten real brides about the beauty lessons they learned the hard way, so you don’t have to.

— 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.

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10 First-Date Beauty Mistakes He Will Definitely Notice

First dates can be both a blessing and curse. When things go right, that first night out can be an awesome opportunity to impress a new beau, but a first date gone wrong can potentially ruin your chances with your man crush forever.

To help you keep him coming back for more, we’ve partnered with P&G to bring you the only guide you’ll ever need to prepare for a first date. Here are 10 of the most common first date blunders and how to avoid them using award-winning beauty favorites. Go get ‘em, Tiger!


Style – The Huffington Post
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As a Wife, I’m Guilty of These 5 Mistakes (And You Probably Are, Too)

After writing “I’m Guilty of These 5 Parenting Mistakes (And You Probably Are, Too),” I knew that I needed to write a post that pays homage to the major muck-ups that I make as a wife. Maybe I’ll also blog about the mistakes that I make as a rainbow loom maker, Turbo Tax user and fitted sheet folder. Seriously, when it comes to mistakes, I’m experienced on how to make them in all areas.

My husband and I have been together for 12 years. It’s sometimes hard to believe that if our relationship were a person it would be in the seventh grade, donning shiny braces and saying asinine things like “cray cray” and “totes.”

Like all relationships, we’ve had our ups and downs. We’ve had arguments that ended with slamming doors and Michelin tires screeching down the driveway. We’ve declared our love and apologies over the phone once our tempers and transmissions cooled down. We’ve talked out our problems until the sun came up or one of husband’s farts lightened the mood. We’ve prayed together, cried together, laughed together and gotten food poisoning together after eating disgusting undercooked burgers doused in Heinz 57.

Most importantly, we have prevailed. We have persevered. We are raising two unbelievable children (despite our parenting mistakes), and we both have the same vision of someday pointing our rocking chairs towards the west, watching our grandchildren score major grass stains on the lawn and sharing Glucosamine and Chondroitin supplements.

However, as a wife, I make mistakes. And I make them often. I don’t need other wives telling me what mistakes I make, because I’m aware of them. You don’t need me telling you what mistakes you make, either, but you probably make these.

1. R-E-S-P-E-C-T

I sometimes forget that my husband is my husband. He’s been around for so long that it seems like he’s just some dude leaving crumbs of Wavy Lays on the couch and dirty boxers on the floor right next to the hamper. I forget that he’s a hard worker, a wonderful provider and a loving father. I forget that sometimes my sarcasm and jokes hit below the belt. I forget that my job as his wife is to encourage him, compliment him, value him and support him. I often forget that he deserves my utmost respect.

2. Let’s Get It On

I’m tired. I’m tired a lot. By 9 p.m., the only things on my mind are folding the laundry, putting the kids’ snacks in their backpacks, locking the doors, feeding the malnourished fish, setting the clocks, brushing my teeth, lotioning my ashy elbows and getting into the bed to watch a show that does NOT involve animated pirates, sappy music while Danny Tanner resolves an issue, restoring cars or selling rare finds at a Las Vegas pawn shop. I want to relax and heave a collected sigh of relief that the day is done. I have no desire to play birds and bees. But, by God, men need it. They might just implode if they don’t get it. My husband is just as in need as the hungry Beta Fish. I often forget that I’m the one that must meet the need, whether or not I’m in the need-meeting mood.

3. Nothing Compares 2 U

Since the day my first child was born in 2006, she has been my reason for living. When her brother came along in 2010, he ranked right next to her on my priorities list. My children’s happiness and well-being far trumps anything in my life. Sometimes their needs trump my husband’s happiness and well-being. Date night shouldn’t solely be about my SAHM batteries recharging and how many margaritas I can consume before it’s time to go home. It should be about refreshing our relationship. I often forget that my husband needs my attention, my encouragement and my admiration as much as, if not more than, my children.

4. Control

I may make a ton of mistakes, but I know how to properly load a dishwasher. I also know how to hang a picture where it will be the most aesthetically pleasing in our home. I can discipline a kid and cook a meatloaf and I can pick out window treatments. I don’t need help in any of these areas, but my husband sometimes thinks that he should deposit two pennies into those accounts. Before I even hear his suggestion on how to cram more dishes into the dishwasher or where to hang the portrait or how to spice up dinner, I shoot him down (see no. 1, R-E-S-P-E-C-T). Sometimes I make him think that his idea is the worst idea since Miley Cyrus squatted on a wrecking ball. I often forget that my husband has pretty good ideas and although I’ll never admit it to him, that picture would look better over the mantle.

5. Pretty Woman

I once sent my husband the most brutally honest text message: “Let me know what time you’ll be home so I can get out of my pajamas and appear to have been productive today.” Some days the extent of my beauty regimen is brushing my teeth and popping the zit on my chin. If it’s a particularly cold day, I refuse to wear anything that didn’t come from the Gap Athletic Wear Collection. (FYI — you don’t have to actually be athletic to wear athletic wear). But, I know my husband appreciates it when I look nice. He never fails to tell me that I look beautiful when I’ve cleaned up and accessorized with scarves and dangly earrings. Some women like to believe that “inner beauty” is all a man needs. Newsflash — it’s not. Inner beauty is a wonderful, pure, lovely, noble thing. But a man also appreciates a nice-looking woman. I’m not saying that all women should morph into June Cleaver and mop Kool-Aid from the floor while wearing stilettos, but I often forget that removing eye boogers, washing the Crisco from my hair and trading the yoga pants for regular clothes once in a while is a step in the right direction.

Some days I feel as if I’ve really mucked up the whole wife-y thing. I rudely rolled my eyes at my husband, I didn’t pat him on the back when he really needed it, I put my own needs and my children’s needs before his. And the guilt sets in because I’ve got a really good man — he’s faithful, he’s hard-working, he’s kind, he’s easy-going. Watching him interact with our children still melts my heart and makes me smile.

I often forget to do the right thing in our marriage, but I’ll never forget how much I love my husband. That love is what fuels my desire to be better. That love is what makes me better today than yesterday. That love is the same love that will be in my heart when we rock on our back porch and watch our children and grandchildren. That love will be there when I forget to buy him Miralax or put tennis balls on his walker. I’ll always make mistakes, but that love will always remain.

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Weddings – The Huffington Post
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New Year’s Resolutions: The 5 Mistakes to Avoid to Create Resolutions That Stick

Yes, I know. You likely loathe New Year’s Resolutions because you never keep them and usually just end up regretting ever uttering any declaration on New Year’s Eve. I know how it feels. How many times have I told myself I’m going to rid myself of my love handles, get up at 5 a.m. each day to meditate, cook a new recipe every week for my family, curse less, drink more (water, that is), and on it goes?

But, as much as you may not like to hear this, research has found that people who make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t explicitly make resolutions.

The problem lies in both what we resolve to do and how we go about doing it. Often with too little thought and too much bravado to be able to stick with it until Valentines day… if that. Indeed there’s a hard science to success when it comes to achieving goals, making life changes, and cultivating new habits — whether on January 1st or any other time of the year.

So rather than give you a long list of TO DO’s, here are the top five ‘NOT TO DO’s’ (aka mistakes) that people make. Avoiding them will help you set yourself up to move beyond the default course of least resistance in 2014 and make those changes you know, deep down, you want to make.

1. Not Meaningful Enough. For a resolution to stick, it has to be aligned with your core values. Most people want to look better or be wealthier, but your resolutions have to go beyond superficial desires and connect with what truly matters most to you. If they don’t connect to something you care about deeply, you will be hard-pressed to hold your resolve at the first temptation to ditch it.

2. Too vague. Resolutions like ‘be happier,’ ‘have more life balance,’ or ‘get fitter’ are doomed to fail because they lack specificity. If you’re currently a couch potato who eats a tub of ice cream each night after your take-out dinner, then simply eating half a tub of ice cream and walking an extra 10 paces a day won’t do the trick.

The more specific you are, the more likely you will be able to succeed. Describe your goals and resolutions in ways that allow you to track your progress and measure your success. For instance, if you want to build a better relationship with your partner, schedule at least one date night per month, or, as I’ve done with my husband, one weekend away — sans kids — per year.

Likewise, if you’re committed to a better health and exercise regime, schedule how many workouts you’ll fit into each week and how long they’ll be. If you want more balance, decide exactly what would need to be added or subtracted to/from your life to bring it into greater balance.

3. Insufficient Accountability. Never underestimate the power of your environment to support or sabotage your success. As much as you might want to make a change, the environment you live in — from the state of your closet to the people you hang out with — can pull you back into your old default habits of thinking and acting in no time flat. It’s therefore essential to create an environment of accountability that makes it hard for you NOT to do what you’re committed to.

Design a progress chart, recruit a cheer squad from your family and friends, post your goal to Facebook, ask a friend to hold you accountable, hire a coach or trainer (and pay for 3 months upfront!), join a group of likeminded people, create a blog. Likewise, if there are people or things in your life that pull you down or off track, address them directly and set whatever boundaries you know you will need up front.

4. Overly Ambitious. Trying to do too many things at once can make you so unfocused that you just bounce around like Tigger on Red Bull, not quite sure in which direction you are going. Set yourself up for success and start with JUST ONE major undertaking come January one. Then break that goal down into small bite-size steps. Small steps, strong start!

5. Unrealistic Expectations. It’s easy to get caught up in an initial wave of enthusiasm as you imagine yourself looking svelte in a bikini on the beach next summer, only to come crashing down when your initial efforts don’t produce immediate and spectacular results. So focus on the process itself, and develop greater competence of the actual activity, habit, or skill you want to acquire. For instance, if you want to become more fit, focus on being able to jog a little bit farther every time you go for a walk, rather than being able to run 5 miles within a week.

Likewise, expect hiccups, ‘bad days,’ and setbacks as you start out. If you happen to mess up, lose your resolve, press the snooze button, or revert to a familiar well-practiced behavior, don’t beat up on yourself. Okay, so you didn’t get to the gym like you’d planned. How about 5 minutes of stretching? When it comes to slipping up and tripping up, you are in very good company (yes, including my own).

Don’t make your failings mean more than they do. Reflect on the lessons they hold, make adjustments accordingly, then tap your inner John Wayne and get back in the saddle. Life rewards those who work at it.
GPS for the Soul – The Huffington Post
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