Tips For Negotiating Cost with Air Conditioning Contractors

Installing a new air conditioning unit is a large investment for homeowners. Projects typically range from $ 3,500 to $ 7,525, but homeowners can reduce air conditioning replacement costs by negotiating the contract price and terms with their contractor. If you’re looking for ways to save on your air conditioner replacement cost, consider the following tips to negotiate the best price without compromising the quality of the work.

Compare Multiple Contractor Quotes

Modernize recommends comparing three to four quotes for your air conditioning project. Competition tends to drive down air conditioner replacement costs, and many contractors are willing to lower their price or negotiate contract terms if they’re competing for the work. It is important to provide each contractor with as many project details as possible, and thoroughly read each estimate to make sure you are making proper comparisons.

Always verify a contractor’s experience and credentials before making a hiring decision. Vetting your contractors will ensure you find the most reliable air conditioning contractor for your project. Check their licensure and make sure they are accredited through the Better Business Bureau.

If you are comfortable working with a less experienced contractor with less time in the trade, you may be able to secure a lower price. But if something feels off about a contractor or business — go with your gut and be aware of scams. If a bid is too good to be true, it probably is.  

To help homeowners easily vet and find a trusted air conditioning contractors, Modernize has created a free contractor checklist.

Discuss Your Budget with Your Contractors

Simply asking your preferred contractor to lower their price to win your business is a difficult request, but you can seek their advice on how to rein in the cost. If their bid is higher than your air conditioning replacement budget, be honest and transparent. Ask your contractor if they can recommend any changes that could bring the cost in line. This creates an open conversation and shows you value their expertise. This also reinforces that your budget is tight, possibly leading them to make other money-saving suggestions elsewhere.

During this time, agree that any unexpected project expenses will be presented in writing to help you remain within your budget. Surprises, in other words, shouldn’t surprise you or your contractor, and they should definitely not surprise your investment.

Get Clarity on the Warranty, and Ensure It’s Part of the Price

Warranties will also impact your quoted cost. Most installers offer manufacturer’s warranties that protect you from faulty equipment. Some might offer additional guarantees for the installation, as well, covering potential damage to your house.

Be sure the quoted warranty is clear in what it covers—and what it doesn’t. Additionally, use the warranty as a bargaining chip. A lower price should elicit a short length warranty and a higher. The particulars of your AC unit and your installation needs dictate these numbers more than anything else. Discuss them thoroughly with your contractor.

Take Advantage of the Off Season

The cost of your home improvement project will depend partially on the season in which the project is executed. If your project is not urgent or an emergency, negotiate the timing to take advantage of “off-season” rates. Wait to have your new system installed in the fall or spring when AC contractors are typically less busy. Contractors may also offer additional discounts and savings during these slower seasons.

Roofing Contractors Get Second Opinions—You Should, Too

Since your contractor has (literally) been around the block and has the experience you might lack, be sure to consult close friends and family about the major steps of your home improvement journey. While we condone this type of support, homeowners have repeatedly told us through surveys and interviews that deciphering some of the deeper and more complex elements of their project left them seeking more professional support—which our homeowners found with Modernize.

Your biggest friend in an air conditioning replacement negotiation could be a service like Modernize. Get in touch with us today to find out how we can help you.

The post Tips For Negotiating Cost with Air Conditioning Contractors appeared first on Modernize.

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20 of the best pubs in Ireland: readers’ tips

To celebrate St Patrick’s Day, readers salute the idyllic locations, great music, bonhomie and creamy stout of the island’s brilliant pubs

On a good night, the Tin Pub on the Sheep’s Head peninsula is a dangerous place. The name comes from the sheets of corrugated iron holding it together around a concrete floor and a small wooden bar that serves Murphy’s and a cocktail called Cormac on the Beach, named after the red-headed barman. The garden runs down to the sea and a view to the hills of the Mizen. That good night can be a few men playing guitars and then some singing starts, and suddenly it is an early morning walk home.
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These 10 Tips Can Give You a Leg Up in Your Next Job Interview

Just the words “job interview” can strike fear into the hearts of the average job seeker.

What should you wear? How can you research the company? What should you say — and avoid saying?

But if you know how to prepare for a job interview, you’ll have the confidence you need to ace the process, and you’ll be more likely to hear the words, “You’re hired.”

How to Prepare for a Job Interview

It all starts with first impressions. You can make a good one before you ever walk in the door by researching the company you’re applying to.

1. Seek Information on the Company

A wealth of information is available online. Start with the business’s website and Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn pages.

You can also sign up for company newsletters and emails, and follow any influencers at the organization who can keep you up to date.

You should be ready with stories from your professional life that demonstrate the company’s core values, such as collaboration, leadership, teamwork and integrity, says Jill MacFadyen, a career coach and former recruiter who works with clients nationwide.

“You’re demonstrating that you care enough to have done the research,” she says. “You’re setting yourself apart from the other people who are interviewing.”

Search newspapers, magazines and specialty journals to see whether the company or the industry have been in the news recently. You’ll be a step above the competition if you know the latest trends and developments.

“In my opinion, you can never overprepare,” says Carlota Zimmerman, a New York City career coach with more than a decade of experience. “I cannot stress how much passion and preparation you should bring.”

2. Do Your Homework on the Interviewers

A woman looks at her laptop while relaxing at home in the dark.

Prior to your job interview, ask for the names of the people who will interview you, and search online to see whether you have any mutual friends or connections. You may also be able to get information about those who work in the department from the company’s website or LinkedIn.

Did you or one of your colleagues or friends previously work at the same organization? Go to the same school? Belong to any mutual clubs or groups? Check alumni networks, LinkedIn and community pages. You’re likely to score points if a current employee can recommend you.

“There’s a notion that this person has been vetted in some way,” says Mike Gellman, CEO and founder of High Five Career Coaching in Irvine, California. “There’s a level of trust there.”

Once you’ve done your research, study the job description and think about how your skills, knowledge and personality mesh with the duties the position requires. Have examples ready from your education and work experience that show you have what it takes to succeed.

Have you won any awards in the field? Did you attend seminars or read books that could help you stand out as well-informed and committed to the brand or industry?

It’s particularly important to explain how you helped your previous employers and clients turn a profit and attract new customers. Stress your achievements in concrete, measurable terms, such as, “I signed on 50 clients last year and brought in $ 250,000.”

Consider doing a mock interview with a friend to sharpen your responses.

3. Clean Up Your Social Media Profile

Most recruiters look at your LinkedIn profile, and some also comb Facebook and other social media. So make sure your pages reflect the image you want to convey.

“It’s about judgment,” Gellman says. “It’s about character for the company. Could this person be a good ambassador for us?”

More than two dozen states have laws prohibiting employers from asking for applicants’ social media usernames and passwords, while federal law prohibits employers from making hiring decisions based on factors such as religion, disability and pregnancy. Accordingly, some companies have stopped monitoring candidates’ social-media accounts to avoid potential discrimination lawsuits.

But many companies still do check. You can protect yourself by avoiding posting photos of anything you’d be embarrassed to have a recruiter discover — or at least adjusting your social media settings to private. And remember: Nothing is absolutely private on the internet.

4. Dress Professionally

A professionally dressed young woman looks in a mirror.

Even if you’re interviewing at a startup where the employees dress in flip-flops and shorts, you need to dress like, well, you’re on a job interview. That means professional and conservative relative to the industry. If you wear a jacket and find you’re overdressed, you can always remove it after you arrive.

“You have to convey a message that you’re serious about the job,” Gellman says. “And if you go in casually, you’re not going to convey that message.”

A good rule of thumb is to dress a level or two above the position you’re seeking, he says.  Make sure your clothes fit and are clean and wrinkle-free — no stains, rips or pet hair — and that your shoes are in good shape.

“Err on the side that your grandmother would look at your outfit and say, ‘You look so professional,’” Zimmerman says.

5. Turn Off Your Cell Phone

To prepare for a job interview adequately, you must turn off your cell phone — or, better yet, leave it in your car. It’s too easy to reflexively reach for a phone that pings or vibrates. When Gellman was interviewing applicants in his role at a previous employer, the ones who texted during the interview — yes, it really happened — were immediately disqualified.

If you have to wait before you’re called in, bring a magazine or a book to read that’s relevant to the industry.

“These kinds of things may seem kind of corny and stuck up,” Zimmerman says. “Well, that’s corporate America. That’s what they want.”

6. Treat Everyone With Respect

Two men at an office shake hands.

Smile and greet everyone you meet politely, from the receptionist to the CEO; your behavior very well may be reported to the hiring manager, especially if it’s disrespectful.

Never use profanity, even if your interviewer cusses a blue streak. Sit up straight and don’t fidget. If your interviewer takes or makes a phone call that interrupts the process, just wait patiently. If you complain or get angry, it will be game over.

“They’re trying to get a feel for how you’d be every day in [the] office,” Zimmerman says.

7. Show You’re Serious

Write down key points you want to get across so you don’t forget them, and store that piece of paper or notebook in a business-appropriate binder or folder so you can access it easily. Remove any extraneous items from your (clean) pocketbook or (polished) briefcase so you’re not rummaging around to find the essentials.

Bring at least half a dozen copies of your resume on quality paper (even if you sent it electronically) and, if applicable, a portfolio of your work. Not everyone may have had time to review your credentials. You’ll also want a functioning pen so you can jot down any questions you have for the interviewer.

Basic black-on-white business cards with a simple email address containing your name — and no cutesy monikers such as “iheartkittens” — are a nice touch.

“It’s a great way to symbolize, ‘I’m serious. I’m here to get this job. I’m ready to do business. I’m so excited for this opportunity,’” Zimmerman says.

8. Arrive Early

It’s a good idea to do a dry run of your trip to the interview site up to a week in advance, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the area or exact location. You’ll flub your chances if you’re late, so make sure you anticipate how much traffic you’ll encounter, where you’ll park and how long the door-to-door process will take.

Gellman says he made the mistake once of arriving only two minutes before the start of an interview on a windy day and didn’t notice that his hair was sticking up. It stayed that way for the entire interview, and nobody gave him a (drumroll) heads-up.

Allow enough time for unexpected glitches and for a stop in the restroom, where you should give your hair, face and clothes a final once-over. Be ready for show time 10 minutes before your appointment.

9. Write Thank-You Notes

Thank everyone who interviews you for their time. Then after the interview, hand write (or type) thank-you notes and send them out within 24 to 48 hours. Email is acceptable, but an old-fashioned mailed card will distinguish you.

Concentrate on the person who will be making the hiring decision, but if you interviewed with a panel or series of employees and want to send notes to more than one person, say something unique to each one, Gellman advises.

“It starts to build a relationship, demonstrates you’re making the extra effort, and you’re really interested,” he says. “It’s classy.”

Finally, line up references if you haven’t already provided them. You want to be ready if you’re asked for names.

10. Picture Yourself Succeeding

It’s the night before your moment of truth. You’ve done your research on how to prepare for a job interview. You’ve picked out the clothes you’ll wear. Your briefcase is packed. Now it’s time to relax.

Stand up straight and take some deep breaths. Envision yourself greeting your interviewer with confidence, warmth, good eye contact, a clear voice and a pleasantly firm handshake (no spraining the interviewer’s hand, please). Visualize yourself nailing the interview.

Then do something you enjoy to wind down. That may mean watching a fun movie, doing some light reading or taking a warm bath or shower.

Then, get to sleep early enough to feel rested in the morning.

“The fact that you got an interview means you’ve done something right,” Zimmerman says. “Relax. Eat a good breakfast and believe in yourself. And then it’s up to the universe.”

Susan Jacobson is an editor at The Penny Hoarder. Find her on Twitter @SusanJacobson44.

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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Carson Kressley’s Two Major Tips For Redecorating Your Home | PeopleTV

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Mid-Level Job Application Tips: Share Your Best Advice for Mid-Levels!

Ladies, what are your best mid-level job application tips — for when you’re not quite fresh out of school but you’re not so senior that they’re knocking on your door? Do you have different tips if you’re applying online for mid-level jobs vs. applying more directly for a mid-level position? What are the best things you’ve learned from mid-level recruiters?

Something that’s always interesting to me is how in college and grad school, there is this huge emphasis on job application skills — writing cover letters or requests for informational interviews, tweaking your resume to be elegantly phrased, impressive, yet concise — and a lot of guidance around following up for job applications, like when to check in, what to say in follow-up messages, and so forth. Then, the education kind of stops, unless you seek it out by working with your alumni career office, a career coach, or an executive recruiter. But that’s where the trouble is, I think — I don’t think mid-levels can necessarily use the same job application tips that they learned in college or grad school. 

So let’s talk, ladies — how do you think applying for a job changes as you rise in seniority? What tips and habits do you still use after the initial college/grad school career fair — and what have you adapted and changed as you’ve gotten older? Readers who are really senior and have seen it all, how do you think basic job application advice changes as you climb the corporate ladder? (Another interesting question — how many stages of your career/job application process do you expect to go through? If you’re 5 years out of school are you “mid-level” or would you call it something else? A lot of the “further reading” posts below seem to define “mid-level professional” as someone 45-50 or older, whereas I think the phrase “mid-career” might apply better there…)

Further Reading:

  • Here’s What a Mid-Level Professional’s Resume Should Look Like [The Ladders]
  • How to Job Search as a Mid Level Career Candidate [The Balance]
  • How to Make a Great Resume for a Mid-Level Professional [Top Resume]
  • 15 Tips For Finding a Job At Every Stage Of Your Career [Glassdoor]
  • 6 Tips for Midcareer Job Seekers [Bankrate]
  • Correcting the 5 Most Common Mistakes Mid-Level Job Seekers Make [Forbes]

We asked the readers: what are your best job application tips for mid-levels? After all there is a TON of advice out there with job application tips when you're graduating college, grad school or law school, and a ton of support services -- but once you've been out of school for 5-10 years that same advice doesn't totally apply. Fun discussion among the readers about when to move your education to the bottom of your resume, how many pages a mid-level's resume should have, and more.

The post Mid-Level Job Application Tips: Share Your Best Advice for Mid-Levels! appeared first on Corporette.com.

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The Penny Hoarder Insider Will Deliver Tips and Deals Straight to Your Phone

Last year, we launched our exclusive text message alert program, The Penny Hoarder Insider.

Since then, thousands of people have signed up to receive timely updates and tips on the latest and greatest ways to make, save and manage their money.

Each week, we send out 1-3 texts letting you know about money-making opportunities, work-from-home job openings, actionable tips that can help you fix your financial situation and timely information on topics like budgeting, banking or managing your 401(k).

To subscribe, simply click here or text PENNY to 98582.

We know life is busy and your phone is your private space, so we won’t inundate you with useless information; we find value in everything we share, and we think you will, too.

Thanks for signing up, Insider!

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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Scaramucci gives Trump tips for higher approval rating

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SPECIAL NEWS BULLETIN:

http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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Please help American Consultants Rx achieve it’s biggest goal yet of donating over 30 million discount prescription cards to over 50k organizations in an effort to assist millions of Americans in need. Please click here to donate today!

A local’s guide to Seville, Spain: 10 top tips

Cobbled alleys, ancient bars, flamenco and the world’s biggest gothic cathedral are just a few of the Andalucían capital’s attractions

Some of the best places in Seville are found by taking a wrong turn. Like when you stumble into a time-worn taverna peddling crisp local sherry or come across the rickety home of Seville-born painter Diego Velázquez. Which makes it all the more of a shame that many visitors to Spain’s fourth biggest city don’t venture much beyond the world’s largest Gothic cathedral. Although the cobbled streets and alleyways that surround it are worthy of close inspection, this enchanting city has much more to offer a little further afield.

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Travel | The Guardian

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5 Tips For Negotiating Cost with Roofing Contractors

When it comes to home improvement projects, a roof replacement tends to feel like one of the most overwhelming. Even if there are no major issues and it’s just time for a roof replacement, your roof is your first line of defense against the elements—and it’s also one of the more costly updates you can make to your home. To ensure you are paying the best price for your project, follow these tips to negotiate your final roof replacement cost with your preferred roofing contractor.

Roofing and Your Home

Your contractor is well versed in how your specific project is going to impact your house. They have visited your home and assessed the project’s potential, needs, and challenges. On this front, it is in the contractor’s interest to ensure the highest possible roofing installation. The initial, ongoing, and continued success of their installation is paramount to their near and future prospects.

Your contractor should be able to tell you whether you need to replace, repair, or remove insulation before the project begins. Likewise, they should be able to advise you on whether to tear off the old asphalt roofing and replace it or add new asphalt roofing over the existing material. Their recommendations should be tied to their predictions about your roof—so it’s okay to ask about guarantees. Your roofing is critical to protecting your home from the elements and protecting the integrity of your home. Be sure your roofing contractor has explained to you specifically how your upgraded roofing will protect your house now and into the future.

While it’s hard for a contractor to make exact promises, they can certainly help you understand what to expect in the future. The less deep that future is and the more susceptible to damage your roofing is, the less your installation should cost.

Your Roofing Contractor Should Assess Your Roofing Plans

Be sure to ask precisely what roofing material your contractor recommends and why.

It’s okay to expect the contractor to handle the bulk of the work in research— after all, one of their value propositions is expertise in the field and local knowledge about the best roofing material to increase your home’s home value and longevity.

The type of roof you plan to have installed on your home makes a big difference in how it performs, what it looks like, and how long it will last. That’s why you should have a basic understanding of the different roof types and what you can expect from each of them. Your contractor should address all of these variables with you ahead of your final quote. You may have your own notions of what should occur, but check them against what the contractor recommends.

You want to be as best prepared as possible to ask about different materials during your negotiation. If you want, you can ask about material costs and even consider buying them yourself if there are cost savings involved. Options to explore include:

  • Asphalt shingles
  • Clay Tile
  • Architectural
  • Wood shingles
  • Concrete Tile
  • Slate
  • Copper
  • Metal
  • Tin
  • Corrugated
  • Standing seam
  • Steel roofing
  • Foam
  • Tar and gravel
  • Rubber Roofing

Whether you’re installing a new choice of roofing or upgrading your existing roofing, you should have a solid understanding of what it is and how it affects your home, now and in the future.

Get Clarity on the Warranty, and Ensure It’s Part of the Price

You can always negotiate with your contractor on the price of a successful project before signing a contract. Discuss your budget with your roofing contractor. Agree that any unexpected project expenses will be presented in writing to help you remain within your budget. Surprises, in other words, shouldn’t surprise you or your contractor, and they should definitely not surprise your investment.

For example, after beginning the work, there’s a chance your roofing contractor might find damaged underlayment, like one of the following conditions:

  • Rotten decking. The number one issue roofers uncover during a tear-off is rotten or soft roof decking.
  • Inadequate decking. If the roofer starts walking on your roof and finds that the decking is springy or bouncy, they’ll also recommend new sheathing.

Warranties will also impact your quoted cost. Most installers offer manufacturer’s warranties that protect you from faulty equipment. Some might offer additional guarantees for the installation, as well, covering potential damage to your house. Be sure the quoted warranty is clear in what it covers—and in what it doesn’t. Additionally, use the warranty as a bargaining chip.

A lower price should elicit a short length warranty and a higher price one that is longer. A 50-year warranty might be too long and a two-year warranty might be too short. The particulars of your system and your roofing installation needs dictate these numbers more than anything else. Discuss them thoroughly with your contractor.

Reputation is Everything: Does Your Roofing Installer Pass Muster?

Your business is their business—and while this roofing upgrade or replacement could stay with you (or at least your house) for decades, it will also build, or continue to build, their reputation into a prosperous business.

A veteran roofing contractor might be well endowed with repeat business and a booked schedule. Younger companies and contractors might be more willing to reduce their price and elongate their warranties for a solid project like yours.

Get to know local and trusted contractors through services like Modernize. The Modernize Contractor Checklist will help you vet a trusted contractor, so you can relax knowing your roofing installation project is in good hands. You can access the interactive checklist by visiting the Modernize Homeowner Portal or by downloading it here.

Roofing Contractors Get Second Opinions—You Should, Too

The entire process of a roofing installation is detail-heavy and involves a myriad of moving parts, from the fine print of your contract to the machinations of the installation itself—remember what we said about surprises?

Since your contractor has (literally) been around the block and has the experience you might lack, be sure to consult close friends and family about the major steps of your journey. While we condone this type of support, homeowners have repeatedly told us through surveys and interviews that deciphering some of the deeper and more complex elements of their project left them seeking more professional support—which our homeowners found with Modernize.

Your biggest friend in a roofing contract negotiation could be a service like Modernize. Get in touch with us today to find out how we can help you.

The post 5 Tips For Negotiating Cost with Roofing Contractors appeared first on Modernize.

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5 Tips For Negotiating Cost with Siding Contractors

Other than an all-out catastrophe in your region like a fire or major storm, there are various reasons it’s important to check your siding on a regular basis to avoid the need a homegrown emergency requiring siding work. While it’s normal to upgrade siding after an emergency, homeowners should prioritize being prepared for an emergency in the first place or simply increasing the value of their houses with proper and functional siding.

Either way, on your time or when speed is of the essence, follow these tips to best negotiate your final project price with your preferred siding contractor.

Siding and Your House

Your contractor is well versed in how your specific project is going to impact your house. They’ve visited your house and assessed its potential, its needs, and its challenges. On this front, it’s in their interest to ensure the highest possible siding installation. The initial, ongoing, and continued success of their installation is paramount to their near and future prospects.

It’s okay to ask about guarantees. Along with your roof, your siding is critical to protecting your home from the elements and protecting the integrity of your home. Be sure your siding contractor has explained to you specifically how your upgraded siding will both stand up and protect against:

  • Rotting
  • Warping
  • Cracking
  • Holes from insects or birds
  • Unexpectedly high energy bills
  • Interior moisture

While it’s hard for a contractor to make exact promises, they can certainly help you understand what to expect in the future. The less deep that future is and the more susceptible to damage your siding is, the less your installation should cost.

Your Siding Contractor Should Assess Your Siding Plans

Be sure to ask precisely what siding material your contractor recommends and why.

It’s okay to expect the contractor to handle the bulk of the work in research—after all, one of their value propositions is expertise in the field and local knowledge about the best siding material to increase your home’s curb appeal and resale value while protecting your home from the elements.

While the size of your home plays an important role in any home improvement project, it is a paramount factor in your siding project. The size of your home, number of stories, and terrain will impact your installation timeline. Your contractor should address all of these variables with you ahead of your final quote. You may have your own notions of what should occur, but check them against what the contractor recommends.

Get an idea of what’s out there so you’re better prepared to ask about different materials during your negotiation. If you want, you can ask about material costs and even consider buying them yourself if there are cost savings involved. Options to explore include:

  • Vinyl
  • Fiber cement
  • Wood
  • Clapboard
  • Cedar
  • Cedar shake
  • Hardie board
  • Aluminum
  • Stone
  • Brick
  • Faux stone
  • Engineered wood

Whether you’re installing a new choice of siding or upgrading your existing siding, you should have a solid understanding of what it is and how it affects your home, now and in the future.

Labor Is Expensive — If You Do Some, You Might Save Some

Before your siding installation, a lot of preparation needs to take place. While some contractors might offer to do so for a price or as part of the package, consider doing some of the work or preparation yourself in an effort to negotiate the final price of your home improvement project.

Work you should at least consider doing:

  • Trimming, or tying back, trees and shrubbery near your home.
  • Cutting your grass short. Shorter grass will make it easier for your contractors to use a magnetic nail finder to recover any nails or staples that go astray during your siding replacement.
  • Clearing all items away from your home’s exterior, including potted plants, patio furniture, and gardening equipment.
  • During your siding removal and installation, the interior walls of your home may shake. Consider Removing pictures, shelves, and valuables that may risk falling.

Get Clarity on the Warranty, and Ensure It’s Part of the Price

You can always negotiate with your contractor on the price of a successful project before signing a contract. Discuss your budget with your siding contractor. Agree that any unexpected project expenses will be presented in writing to help you remain within your budget. Surprises, in other words, shouldn’t surprise you or your contractor, and they should definitely not surprise your investment.

Warranties will also impact your quoted cost. Most installers offer manufacturer’s warranties that protect you from faulty equipment. Some might offer additional guarantees for the installation, as well, covering potential damage to your house. Be sure the quoted warranty is clear in what it covers—and in what it doesn’t. Additionally, use the warranty as a bargaining chip.

A lower price should elicit a short length warranty and a higher price one that is longer. A 50-year warranty might be too long and a two-year warranty might be too short. The particulars of your system and your siding installation needs dictate these numbers more than anything else. Discuss them thoroughly with your contractor.

Reputation is Everything: Does Your Siding Installer Pass Muster?

Your business is their business—and while this siding installation could stay with you (or at least your house) for decades, it will also build, or continue to build, their reputation into a prosperous business.

A veteran siding contractor might be well endowed with repeat business and a booked schedule. Younger companies and contractors might be more willing to reduce their price and elongate their warranties for a solid project like yours.

Get to know local and trusted contractors through services like Modernize. The Modernize Contractor Checklist will help you vet a trusted contractor, so you can relax knowing your siding installation project is in good hands. You can access the interactive checklist by visiting the Modernize Homeowner Portal or by downloading it here.

Siding Contractors Get Second Opinions—You Should, Too

The entire process of a siding installation is detail-heavy and involves a myriad of moving parts, from the fine print of your contract to the machinations of the installation itself—remember what we said about surprises?

Since your contractor has (literally) been around the block and has experience you might lack, be sure to consult close friends and family about the major steps of your journey. While we condone this type of support, homeowners have repeatedly told us through surveys and interviews that deciphering some of the deeper and more complex elements of their project left them seeking more professional support—which our homeowners found with Modernize.

Your biggest friend in a siding contract negotiation could be a service like Modernize. Get in touch with us today to find out how we can help you.

The post 5 Tips For Negotiating Cost with Siding Contractors appeared first on Modernize.

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Don Cheadle Has Some Top Notch Tips on Shooting Hoops with Barack Obama

Just in case your next visit to the court puts you up against Barack Obama, Don Cheadle has some inside intel on how to shoot some hoops with the former president. Hint: “He’s a leftie, so it’s tricky to get the timing right on the shot,” the actor shared with comedy pair Desus Nice and The Kid Mero in a segment from their evening talk show, Desus & Mero.

Cheadle recalled playing a game of basketball against Obama — and being underwhelmed by the weak defense one of his teammates was putting up, because apparently there was some hesitation to truly press the president. “I was like, listen: foul him. Foul him!” Cheadle insisted. Because even when you’re playing against the leader of the free world, all bets are off when you’re on the court in heated competition.

Cheadle, who’s been promoting his latest show on Showtime, Black Monday, has been making subtle political statements on his publicity circuit of late. While hosting Saturday Night Live in February, he made his feelings about President Donald Trump known by wearing a Soviet Union hockey jersey with Trump’s name on it.

Looks like his loyalty still lies with Obama, even if the former president was not the easiest basketball opponent to beat.

Sports – TIME

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These 17 Tips Will Help Turn Your Job Interview Into a Job Offer

The job hunt can be a long and arduous process.

Sometimes it takes hundreds of applications before you hear back from any employers. And when you do, your work isn’t over. That was stage one. Now, you have to prepare for the (sometimes) dreaded job interview.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. We’re here to help. With the right preparation, you can turn that interview anxiety into excitement.

17 Essential Job Interview Tips

We’ve compiled the top tips from industry experts. We’ll walk you through exactly what to do before, during and after the interview. It doesn’t matter if this is your first job interview or your 40th, following these steps help you leave a positive impression on your soon-to-be employer.

What to Do Before an Interview

Businessman Reading Resume On Office Desk

Great, your interview is set for Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. Congratulations!

Use the time before then wisely. Unfortunately, you can’t just cruise in and claim your job. You’ll have to do some legwork to distinguish yourself from other applicants. Here’s what you need to do before your big day.

1. Research the Company

Having a solid understanding of the company is crucial. You don’t want to be caught fumbling basic information during the job interview.

You should spend some time on the company’s website to acquaint yourself with its mission statement, top clients, leadership and history.

Adequate preparation can help you feel better, too, according to Michelle Armer, chief human resources officer at CareerBuilder.

“To help curb pre-interview jitters, interviewees should give themselves time in advance to prepare and build their confidence,” she says.

And if you’re still feeling anxious, Armer recommends giving yourself a pep talk, rehearsing your answers and listening to energetic music to keep your spirits high.

2. Reach Out to Alumni

To form a well-rounded opinion about an organization, it’s important to hear what its employees are saying. Yes, the company website is a good start, but that’s only one perspective.

Vipula Gandhi, managing partner at Gallup, says feedback from alumni is crucial to understanding a company’s culture before an interview. (Gandhi says her tips are based on more than a decade of experience interviewing candidates and not on Gallup’s research.)

One way to get unfiltered employee opinion is by checking the company’s Glassdoor reviews. Glassdoor is a job-search engine that aggregates anonymous employee opinions and rates companies from one to five stars based on the employees’ ratings. But don’t stop there.

Gandhi recommended using LinkedIn to get in direct contact with current and former employees. That way, you’ll have a clear understanding of the employee experience.

3. Clean Up Your Social Media

What you put on your LinkedIn profile is obviously fair game for HR.

But what about your Facebook and Instagram? Well, if you didn’t submit the social media accounts voluntarily, that could be a legal gray area. But some employers and recruiting agencies use them anyway to screen applicants.

Ben Brooks, CEO of Pilot, a career-coaching startup, says to make sure there aren’t any embarrassing photos of you that are publicly searchable.

“What does your social media say about you?” Brooks asks. “If someone looked at your profile for 10 seconds, what’s the interpretation? What are the three words they’re gonna say?”

Hopefully: You are hired.

4. Conduct a Dry Run and Mock Interview

Doing a complete dry run will make everything easier when the day of the interview comes.

And by dry run I mean driving to the site of the interview to figure out logistics like parking and traffic (or testing your webcam if it’s a virtual job interview) and enlisting a friend to do a mock interview with you.

Dana Sitar, an editor at The Penny Hoarder, compiled a list of the 20 most common interview questions, from the infamous “What are your weaknesses?” to softballs like “What are your hobbies?”

Having articulate responses to common questions will allow you to focus on being in the moment instead of feeling put on the spot.

5. Prepare Your Documents

Depending on your industry and the instructions of the application, documents you may need to prepare could include your resume, portfolio samples or any pre-tests the company may have assigned you.

Regardless of industry, you should bring a few extra resumes with you, just in case. You never know if all the people included in the interview had time to review your application thoroughly. Even if they did, having extra resumes on hand helps you look prepared.

It’s best to have these documents printed out and ready to go the night before. If you don’t have a printer or are having technical problems, stores like UPS, Office Depot and FedEx will allow you to print copies cheaply. There’s always your trusty local library, too.

6. Plan What to Wear

How you look in the interview is almost as important as your qualifications. Planning an outfit can be a delicate balancing act and yet another source of stress for some people.

You want to look sharp — but not pretentious or underdressed.

Richard South, corporate partnership program manager at Georgia Tech, coaches thousands of university students on best interview practices. He says to consider industry trends when choosing your outfit.

Interviewing at a business firm?

“Put on a suit,” South advises, noting that suits may be overkill for other industries.

Computer science or advertising fields might be more casual. The important part is not to guess.

Ideally, you’ve already reached out to alumni and talked about company culture. Asking them about attire is a great way to ensure your outfit is appropriate.

Once you’ve decided what to wear, set it out before you go to bed — pressed and wrinkle-free. It will save you the hassle in the morning.

7. Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Research? Check. Documents? Check. Outfit? Check.

Ticking all those boxes the night before will ease your mind and help you sleep. Try to get at least seven to nine hours of shut-eye to be on your A-game the next day.

And make sure that time frame is actual sleep time, not just time you spend lying in bed. It’s likely that you’ll be a little nervous, so give yourself an extra hour to fall asleep.

What to Do During an Interview

Close up of shaking hands after successful agreement.

Now is the time all that preparation and good sleep pays off. Try to stay mindful and relaxed. Don’t worry about rehearsing your answers. You’ve done that already. Be in the moment and you’ll come across more genuine and likeable.

8. Arrive Early — and Alone

General rule of thumb: 10 minutes early is considered on time, and on time is considered late.

Ten minutes is the sweet spot because you want to be early but not so early that they’re not yet expecting you.

And please, don’t bring your parent.

In a somewhat recent phenomenon, helicopter parents have started intervening in their kids’ job hunt.  

A recent survey from Robert Half showed that 69% of hiring managers either would not recommend or are annoyed at parental involvement during job interviews — from explicative phone calls that urge companies to hire their kid, to baked goods used to coax hiring managers.

9. Treat All Staff Respectfully

It doesn’t matter if you took the wrong exit off the interstate and then spilled coffee on your freshly pressed oxford that morning.

Do not get snarky or rude with anyone in or around the company — whether that’s the security guard in the lobby or someone you passed in the street.

For all you know, that could be Jen in accounting.

She doesn’t realize your stomach has possible second-degree burns; she just knows that you bumped into her and scoffed on your way into the office.

And guess who she’s going to tell after you leave? Your hiring manager.

10. Turn Your Job Experience into a Story

When the interviewer asks something along the lines of “So, tell me about yourself,” that’s your time to shine.

Nailing an interview isn’t about regurgitating your resume.

“It’s all about the stories and narrative you have,” Brooks says.

This is also a good opportunity to incorporate experience that wasn’t directly relevant to the job application but could pertain to your soft skills or personality.

Maybe you did an au pair program or studied abroad during college. If so, talk about your international experience.

Dr. Christine Farrugia was the deputy head of research for the Institute of International Education, where she led a study that examined the employability of alumni who studied abroad. She’s now the director of research initiatives at Columbia University’s School of Professional Studies.

According to Farrugia, the key is having an anecdote ready.

“The person interviewing you may not ask about it directly,” she says.

11. Ask the Right Questions

Interviews are two-way conversations, says Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer at Spins, a retail-industry consulting firm.

“You also want to learn from the company if it will be a good fit for you,” she says. “Come prepared with questions that help you determine if you will get all that you need to be successful, not just a paycheck.”

This guide walks you through exactly what questions to ask during a job interview and why they’re useful.

Pro-tip: Ask, “Beyond the core job duties, what are the things you really want to accomplish and achieve with this role?”

Questions like that will not only impress the hiring manager, but will also give you a better understanding of how you’ll have an impact at the company.

There are plenty of areas to avoid asking about, too — like vacation time or basic information about the company.

“How smart your question is would define how the interviewer sees you,” Gandhi says.

12. Mind Your Body Language

Hiring managers pay keen attention to body language.

According to research from Robert Half, unspoken signals, such as eye contact, facial expressions, posture, handshake and fidgeting play an extremely important role into how you’re perceived during an interview.

Many of these cues aren’t intentional. They’re physical responses to how you’re feeling. So internally obsessing about your posture and facial expressions isn’t going to help much, either.

The point is, you should feel confident and relaxed — and those things stem from adequate preparation.

13. Vet Your Potential Manager

When you go into your interview, treat it like a date.

See if you are clicking with your manager. Think to yourself, “If I get this job, I’m going to spend much of my waking life with this person.”

Are they funny? Laid back? Knowledgeable? It’s crucial to understand what makes a good manager because a bad one can ruin a great job, and vice versa.

So don’t let the deciding factor be the salary or the prestige of the company.

“It’s all about the manager,” Gandhi says.

14. Don’t Speak Negatively About Past Employers

Inevitably, you will get a question along the lines of, “Why did you leave your past job?”

Your mind might flash back to all the times you were wronged, and you might be tempted to air some of those grievances. Just don’t.

It comes across as unprofessional. And the new company might think that if they hire you, it will someday be in one of your negative stories.

Instead, focus on talking about the challenges and opportunities of a new job — not the time your old boss took credit for the data you pulled at 2 a.m. to make deadline.

What to Do After an Interview

Graphic designer in the office

Before you bust out of the office to celebrate for a job well done, there are a few other things you should do to increase your chances of getting hired.

15. Ask to Tour the Office

Touring the office works in your favor for a couple of reasons.

First, it increases face time with your hiring manager and allows for some less formal banter as you make your rounds and introduce yourself to potential colleagues.

Beyond that, it allows you to see what’s really happening on the ground floor. As you walk through different pods or workspaces, take note of the office morale. Does everyone look stressed or excited?

If it’s around lunchtime, see if a lot of employees are eating at their desks. That could be a sign of being overworked.

If they say no to the tour, it’s not a deal-breaker. It’s possible that there isn’t enough time built into the interview to accommodate an office tour, but it never hurts to ask.

16. Establish Next Steps

Before you say your goodbyes, make sure to have a clear time frame of when you will hear back.

Nothing can be more frustrating than completing an interview and then feeling everything goes silent,” Haefner says.  “Ask the company where they are in the recruiting process… and who is best for you to follow up with for status updates.”

Asking about this outright saves you some guesswork, and you won’t be left pacing back and forth in your living room thinking, “It’s been one day. Why haven’t I heard anything? Shouldn’t they have sent an email? I’m going to call them. They probably hired someone else!”

When in reality, they likely have internal processes that you’re unaware of.

17. Send a Thank-You Note

Thank-you notes are a surefire way to distinguish yourself from other candidates. Hiring managers love them, and applicants often forget to send them.

In our Jobs Hunting 101 ecourse, we recommend sending them regardless of how the interview goes.

An email should suffice. Try to send it out within 24 hours of your interview, and make sure to separately thank everyone who interviewed you.

In your messages you should include:

  • A recap of the value you bring to the role.
  • Any small clarifications or points you didn’t mention during the interview.
  • Sincere gratitude and enthusiasm.

Avoid the temptation to copy and paste the same scripted message to everyone. That could backfire. Where possible, personalize it as best you can. Give it a little flair.

And if you really want brownie points, don’t send an email. Send a handwritten thank-you note.

Adam Hardy is a staff writer on the Make Money team at The Penny Hoarder. He lives off a diet of stale puns and iced coffee. Read his full bio here, or say hi on Twitter @hardyjournalism.

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.

The Penny Hoarder Promise: We provide accurate, reliable information. Here’s why you can trust us and how we make money.

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15 Tips for Buying a Home Out of State

Successfully buying a home in a different state is doable—it happens all the time—but because you must take care of many details from afar, it’s a bit trickier than buying a home in your current town. Choosing a house, making an offer, and then closing, all while you’re living in another state, requires care and savvy. The following tips will help ensure that the deal goes smoothly and that you end up with a home you’re proud to own.
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Beyoncé’s make-up artist gave me SUCH brilliant tips, I’m basically now a pro

Luckily, I wrote them all down for you…

Sir John, Beyoncé’s make-up artist and L’Oréal Paris ambassador, started work at 18 on the make-up counter with Mac. Later he was on Pat McGrath’s team working backstage at various fashion weeks, before assisting Charlotte Tilbury, who then introduced him to Queen B. From there it’s all gone a bit crazy. One of his career highlights was when Beyoncé was performing at Coachella and the crowd oogled at the fact that when she wiped her face on a white towel, not a speck of make-up transferred: ‘I call that Teflon make-up’ he says.
When I met him recently, he gave me such amazing tips that I barely had time to breathe, because I was ferociously taking notes. So here they are – Sir John’s tips on how to nail your base, choose the right shades and basically smash your make-up routine…

Base – skin is aspirational

‘For truly beautiful skin increase your heart rate for at least 30 mins a day as it helps with skin turnover. Put your moisturiser on just before you start your base, because you want to put foundation on damp skin. Only apply primer to your t-zone, because that’s the area your foundation lifts from. Always have two foundations – a darker one for summer and a lighter shade for the winter. Take a look at where you do your makeup. Natural light is always better, so if you do it in a bathroom with no light, it’s going to look so different in the real world. Step into the light to see exactly how much coverage you need. You really don’t need to lacquer and conceal everything; embrace you dark circles and veins. And definitely don’t cover freckles – they are hot. You also need two concealers – one for spots, one for dark circles. When you’re doing you’re concealer, beware of the deep V that YouTubers tell you to create under your eyes. It’s way too much product. Don’t use powder. Normal skin is not matte. If you have healthy skin, you don’t need powder. However, if you want to use a bit of powder under your eyes, never use pressed powder. It’s too heavy and dry and will age you. Always go with loose.’

Cheeks – highlighter should stay on your cheekbones

‘Always go for a cool tone bronzer; it’ll stop you looking orange. Highlighters should only be applied to the side of your face. Tap it into your cheekbones, but stop when you get to the eye. You don’t want to see your highlighter from the front – you want that to be a matte blush. Use your lipstick as blusher. Dab a bit on the back of your hand and use a fluffy brush to apply. We don’t contour, we sculpt.’

Eyes & Lips – add a Pritt stick to your make-up bag

‘No matter what your skin tone is, you can wear any colour on your eyes. Don’t use a tinted eyeshadow primer, use a sheer, invisible one so that you can see your natural eyelid colour. The best brow gel in the world is Pritt stick and a toothbrush. It lasts all day and you can still draw on top. A perfectly modern look is to just pop a bit of foundation on and then a red lip. A blue based red lipstick makes your teeth look whiter.’

Tools – don’t hold your brush like a pencil

‘Don’t use foundation brushes, they don’t create a seamless look. Use a Beauty Blender. If you make mistakes with your bronzer or blush, your Beauty Blender that you used to apply your foundation is like your magic eraser. Use a fluffy eye shadow brush to buff in your concealer. A stiff brush won’t blend properly. Fluffier and bigger brushes are more diffused natural look. The tighter the brush the fuller the application. Don’t hold your brush like a pencil hold it at the base for a lighter touch.’

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The post Beyoncé’s make-up artist gave me SUCH brilliant tips, I’m basically now a pro appeared first on Marie Claire.

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5 Tips For Negotiating Cost with Solar Contractors

Congratulations: You have done the research, determined that solar paneling is a good choice for your home, and have chosen a solar contractor after sifting through three or four estimates. Now it’s time to make your choice official and sign a contract with that solar installer, meaning it’s time to negotiate for a price.

If you walk away with only one thing after reading this, let it be this: This is your project and the contractor is working for you to install solar panels for your house. If at any moment during the negotiation or ensuing conversations, you feel unappreciated, disrespected, or otherwise neglected, it’s okay to walk away. A solar paneling installation is a worthy, and costly, investment—nothing and no one should push you to do anything you’re not completely comfortable with.

Knowing that, your goal now is achieving the best quality solar panel installation for your home and subsequently increasing its value in the long term. The first step is getting a good deal, both on the money you’re putting into the project and the quality you’re going to get out of it. Follow our tips to negotiate with your solar contractor and ensure the highest return on your investment.

Push for Details About Solar Energy and Your Utility Bill

Your contractor is well versed in how your specific project is going to impact your electric bill, even if only in broad strokes. They’ve visited your house and assessed its potential, its needs, and its challenges. On this front, it’s in their interest to increase your solar energy output and maximize your home’s value in the process. The initial, ongoing, and continued success of their installation is paramount to their near and future prospects.

Why? The cost of solar installation has dropped more than 70 percent since 2010, according to data from Solar Energy Industries Association. In response, therefore, contractors have stepped up their game to compete in an increasingly saturated arena. It’s okay to ask about guarantees.

While it’s hard for a contractor to make exact promises, they can certainly settle on ranges and they can certainly explain the minimum outputs you can expect from your solar panel systems. If they can’t, remember the one thing we emphasized in the beginning—a solar installer unsure of their work should not be the contractor you choose for the job.

Ask Your Solar Contractor to Handle the Bureaucracy

Paperwork is a drag—your contractor might attempt to offload some of that labor onto you to keep their overhead low.

Be sure to ask precisely what forms, permits, and other filings are required and who is expected to handle them during your home improvement project. It’s okay to expect the contractor to handle the bulk of the work—after all, one of their value propositions is expertise in the field and local knowledge about getting the most out of local, state, and federal rebates and incentives.

When it comes to powering your home with solar energy, there’s a lot to keep track of. The Department of Energy’s Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (or DSIRE), for instance, lists hundreds and hundreds of policies and incentives across the country, numbering anywhere from West Virginia’s 14 to Oregon’s 147. While we recommend you research and get acquainted with local policies, you are not the one who’s a professional, nor are such responsibilities yours. You’re paying good and hard earned money to a company to handle the solar installation—so ensure they do so.

Get Clarity on the Warranty, and Ensure It’s Part of the Price

You can always negotiate with your contractor on the price of a successful project before signing a contract. Discuss your budget with your solar contractor. Agree that any unexpected project expenses will be presented in writing to help you remain within your budget. Surprises, in other words, shouldn’t surprise you or your contractor, and they should definitely not surprise your investment.

Warranties will also impact your quoted cost. Most installers offer manufacturer’s warranties that protect you from faulty equipment. Some might offer additional guarantees for the installation, as well, covering potential damage to your house. Be sure the quoted warranty is clear in what it covers—and in what it doesn’t. Additionally, use the warranty as a bargaining chip.

A lower price should elicit a short length warranty and a higher price one that is longer. A 50-year warranty might be too long and a two-year warranty might be too short. The particulars of your system and your solar energy needs dictate these numbers more than anything else. Discuss them thoroughly with your contractor.

Reputation is Everything: Does Your Solar Installer Pass Muster?

Your business is their business—and while this solar installation could stay with you (or at least your house) for decades, it will also build, or continue to build, their reputation into a prosperous business.

A veteran solar panel contractor might be well endowed with repeat business and a booked schedule. Younger companies and contractors might be more willing to reduce their price and elongate their warranties for a solid project like yours.

Get to know local and trusted contractors through services like Modernize. The Modernize Contractor Checklist will help you vet a trusted contractor, so you can relax knowing your solar panel project is in good hands. You can access the interactive checklist by visiting the Modernize Homeowner Portal or by downloading it here.

Solar Panel Contractors Get Second Opinions—You Should, Too

The entire process of a solar panel installation is detail-heavy and involves a myriad of moving parts, from the fine print of your contract to the machinations of the installation itself—remember what we said about surprises?

Since your contractor has (literally) been around the block and has experience you might lack, be sure to consult close friends and family about the major steps of your journey. While we condone this type of support, homeowners have repeatedly told us through surveys and interviews that deciphering some of the deeper and more complex elements of their project left them seeking more professional support—which our homeowners found with Modernize.

If you walk away from reading this with just one more thing, let it be this: Your biggest friend in a solar contract negotiation could be a service like Modernize. Get in touch with us today to find out how we can help you.

The post 5 Tips For Negotiating Cost with Solar Contractors appeared first on Modernize.

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Going bare-faced is scary, unless you follow these tips and tricks

Promotional feature with Oral-B

Pictured above: Beauty vlogger Estée Lalonde is the face of Oral-B’s #nofiltersmile campaign

In a world of FaceTune, Snapchat filters and over-contoured complexions, it’s time to start celebrating the au naturel. Let’s put barefaced beauty back in the spotlight and encourage more people to #nofiltersmile their selfies.

We know that showing the world a completely bare face can be daunting to some people; perhaps you’re struggling with blemishes, you wouldn’t be caught dead without concealer over your dark circles or maybe you just wish your teeth were a little bit whiter. We totally get it. However, there are some simple tricks that you can follow to help make you feel more confident in front of the camera.

1. GET THE FULL EIGHT

We know you’ve heard it before. But getting a good night’s sleep allows your body, mind and skin to rest, recuperate and repair. Avoid looking at your phone for an hour before bed, spritz your pillows and duvet with a lavender pillow mist and pop on an eye mask. You’ll wake up feeling a lot fresher, more revitalised and it will show on your face.

2. NAIL YOUR ROUTINE

If you want healthy looking skin you need to look after it properly. What does properly mean? It means cleansing every single day, then using a toner that’s suited to your skin type. If you don’t use a serum – introduce one now, it’ll supercharge your routine and help make your skin look lit from within. Once that’s done, follow with an SPF moisturiser for daytime protection. Repeat in the evening, but switch to a night cream that boosts the skin’s repair mode, like retinol.

3. DRINK, THEN DRINK SOME MORE

Another obvious step, but one that so often gets overlooked despite the benefits to your skin and health: drinking water. The NHS EatWell Guide recommends drinking between six and eight glasses a day, which is easy when it becomes a habit. Here’s a little tip: aim to drink two glasses when you’re having your breakfast, keep a glass on your desk and try to get through around four during the working day, then when you sit down to dinner try and drink two more, before finally ending with one before bed. Easy peasy. Your skin will thank you.

4. BE PICKY ABOUT WHAT YOU PUT IN YOUR MOUTH

Don’t just use any old toothpaste, use one that you’re actually going to benefit from. Oral-B’s 3D White Whitening Therapy Enamel Care Toothpaste is designed to remove surface stains and strengthen and nourish your enamel. The loss and weakening of enamel is what causes yellowing and stops you having a brighter, whiter smile.

5. WORK WITH WHAT YOU’VE GOT

They say the eyes are the window to the soul, so treat them with kindness and care and accentuate them. Get your eyebrows shaped at a brow bar and you’ll notice that your face is instantly framed. Curling your lashes opens up your eyes and makes them pop. Take down any puffiness with a cool flannel over your eyes for 15 minutes.

The post Going bare-faced is scary, unless you follow these tips and tricks appeared first on Marie Claire.

Marie Claire

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Business Travel Survival Guide: Do more and stress less with these tips from a successful millennial CEO

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“Behind every great woman, are great women.” As founder and CEO of the wildly popular networking platform Create & Cultivate, Jacyln Johnson practices what she preaches. With two successful businesses and recognition from Adweek, Forbes, Fast Company and Entrepreneur under her belt by the age of 30, Johnson doesn’t just have a career—she creates them

Recognizing a missing resource for accomplished millennial women, Johnson launched Create & Cultivate to empower women to achieve their career goals and become their own bosses. She started small, with a gathering of 50 entrepreneurs in Palm Springs. In response, Johnson received hundreds of emails from women eager for the next conference.“That’s when I realized there was real momentum around this idea,” said Johnson. “It feels like a dream job.” Read more…

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10 of the best activity holidays worldwide: readers’ travel tips

Kayaking, cycling, running and hiking from the Andes to Iran … Our tipsters aren’t content with a book and deckchair

For climbing and scrambling with a twist head to Le Bourg-d’Oisans in the French Alps south-east of Grenoble. Stay in one of the many campsites (Le Château de Rochetaillée is excellent) before finding La Montagne Sports shop in town who will kit you out for €10 per day with everything you need for the area’s seven spectacular via ferrata routes. On another day, head an hour’s drive west to Alpes du Grand Serre and experience the thrill of scrambling, climbing and traversing along rock, over a raging river and coming out at the top into a beautiful alpine meadow with rosy cheeks and a spring in your tired step. If you enjoyed this, head next to Cascade de la Fare in Vaujany, just half an hour north of Le Bourg. This is a step up and includes two long bridges over a ravine and an ascent to a waterfall with sensational views.
Karen Abell

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12 Essential Tips to Get the Best Shoe Fit

As the old adage goes, if the shoe fits, wear it. Even though that idiom isn’t really about footwear, it begs the question: is shoe fit really that straightforward?

When buying items for your wardrobe, it’s not usually the case that your purchase will cause you physical pain; nor is it likely that you wouldn’t know how well your item fits until weeks or months after you start wearing it. However, both of these things can happen when you buy a pair of dress shoes. You’ll know if a shirt is too tight or if a suit jacket is too short almost immediately. But you may not be sure that you’ll be able to wear your shoes comfortably until they break in, after which you can no longer return them. To avoid mishaps and wasted money, it’s best to do things right at the beginning of the process by learning how to get the best shoe fit.

Crockett & Jones shoe fitting
Professional sizing at Crockett & Jones in London

1. Get Professionally Sized

The first recommendation to get properly fitting dress shoes is to go to a shoe store and have your feet professionally measured. Some online stores will enable you to print out a paper template to measure your feet at home, but the accuracy can be iffy depending on whether you’ve printed it right, and sometimes you need to tape two sheets of paper together.

Brannock Device
A Brannock device for measuring foot length and width as well as arch length

Better to go to a reliable men’s shoe seller and get sized there with the equivalent of a Brannock device, named for Charles Brannock of Syracuse, NY, who invented it during the early 20th century. It measures foot length and width as well as arch length, which is the distance between the heel and the ball of your foot.  Even if you know your size, your feet actually can change shape and size over time, with feet generally getting bigger as you age. So, it never hurts to verify your size once in a while. Even more important is verifying that your arch length is appropriate to your shoe size.

Shadow Stripe Ribbed Socks Dark Navy Blue & Royal Blue with Burgundy Derby Dress Shoe
Shoes flex at the ball of your foot, making the arch length an important measurement to know for comfort

Since shoes flex at the ball of your foot, this dimension is critical for comfort. It’s possible for two different people to have feet with the same total length but different distances between their heels and the balls of their feet, depending on whether their toes are longer.  Professional sizing will determine this.

2. Listen to Expert Advice

Guys can be stubborn. It’s why we don’t ask for directions even when we’re lost and why we obstinately insist we know what size we wear even when measurements say otherwise. In reality, the number stamped on the shoe means less than how it actually fits on your foot. If the expert staff at a shoe store tell you that you’re a size 9 rather than a 9.5 like you thought there’s no reason not to heed their wisdom, right?

Business casual with shirt tie, brown shoes and leather canvas bag
Get measured or try new shoes on at the end of your workday

3. Try Shoes on in the Afternoon

Feet not only change over the long term but also fluctuate in size each day. After you’ve stood and walked on them for hours, they’re at their biggest, so it’s best to get measured and try shoes on in the late afternoon. If the shoe fits then when your feet are at their maximum size, they’ll definitely fit when your feet are at their smallest in the morning. 

Your feet might not be the same size

4. Size for Your Bigger Foot

One of the revelations of an interest in menswear is that your body is not totally symmetrical. Your right shoulder may be slightly lower than your left or your left arm slightly longer than your right, something you accommodate when you get your shirts made or your jacket sleeves adjusted. Similarly, 60% of people have one foot larger than the other, usually the left one. If this is up to a half size difference, you’re better served by buying a larger size rather than cramping your bigger foot. If the difference is larger, you may be forced to buy two pairs of shoes or go bespoke.

Striped shirt with wrinkly sleeve because they were not rotated - collar tips do not touch the body of the shirt
Just as your shoulders may not be exactly even, your feet will also be different sizes

5. Learn What Sort of Last Fits You Best

Round-toed Shoes
Round-toed loafers can make your feet look smaller and accommodate a wide toe box more comfortably than a long last

As explained in our article on toe, the last is the form that determines the overall shape of a shoe when it is made, from the toe to the entire upper. Some lasts can be long with a narrow fit and pointed toe. Others can be rounder and more spacious.

refined lasts
Various shoe lasts with different shapes

Based on knowing the shape of your own feet, choose those lasts that are most accommodating. If you know you have broad feet, for example, avoid choosing shoe styles based on narrow lasts. Even if you like the way they look. you’ll pay for it in terms of discomfort.

6. Pay Attention to the Width Alphabet

There are a number of width sizes, each denoted by a letter A-E

Take note of which brands have shoes in various widths if your feet are wider or narrower than average. In men’s dress shoes, the letter D indicates an average width. Wider feet are indicated by E, EE or EEE lettering. Conversely, C, B, and A indicate narrow to extra narrow sizing. If you’re new to buying dress shoes, you may just buy based on your size number and ignore the width options, but once you get your width (again, by being professionally measured), you should use your width letter too. Unfortunately, many brands will stock shoes in only a limited range, perhaps C, D and E, if you are lucky since they need to target the majority of buyers. If you fall outside the range look for another brand.

7. Realize that Sizing isn’t Consistent Among Brands.

As Sven Raphael Schneider has previously pointed out,  the width alphabet offered by brands may or may not be standardized; this is true of shoe sizing in general. Men’s dress shoes are subject to the same inconsistency even though shoe sizes are supposed to match particular measurements. For example, if your foot measures 10 inches, it’s supposed to fit well into a size 8. However, you probably have had the experience where a 10 from SuitSupply isn’t the same length as a 10 from Meermin or another company. While they’re not dress shoes, L.L. Bean’s waterproof gum boots are notorious for difficult sizing that runs up to several sizes bigger than one would normally wear.

Hand burnished captoe half brogue Oxford by Ace Marks
Hand burnished captoe half brogue Oxford by Ace Marks

So what do you do? The solution is to try the sizing from companies you are interested in and determine how they fit you in a way that avoids unnecessary expense. Either do this in person if they have a physical location or make use of a good exchange or return policy. This can be particularly tricky if you are ordering overseas, as you will lose a decent amount of money mailing shoes back internationally: shoes weigh a lot, which means higher postage. Ace Marks is a high-quality, afforable Italian brand that offers free shipping and returns to the United States, so they’re a great option. The good thing is that once you determine sizing for a brand, you should be good to go with future orders.

Ace Marks size conversion chart
Ace Marks size conversion chart

International orders pose another issue with getting a proper fit because of the conversion from one country’s sizing system to another’s. A European or Italian 43 could convert to a US 10, or it could be a half size different. For instance, the usual conversion between British and North American shoe sizes is to add one size, so a British 9.5 is an American 10.5, but this can also vary by a half size. As an example, a Crockett & Jones size 10 is not equal to a US 11 but to a 10.5.  Rather than relying on pure trial and error (and wasted shipping), you can either try the shoes on directly or contact the shoemaker to ask them for the correct conversion. Of course, this may also be provided on the company’s own website, so read carefully before ordering. The ideal approach is an in-person sizing, perhaps as part of a sartorial vacation. That way, you will be completely sure and get the full sizing experience of tip #1.

8. Buy the Best Quality You Can Afford

tan derby shoes with Mid Brown Socks with Green and Cream Clocks by fort belvedere with glen plaid trousers
This pair of tan derby shoes was one of Sven Raphael Schneider’s first high-quality shoe purchases; he bought them as new old stock at a secondhand shop. He’s still wearing them 15 years later

As a rule, more expensive shoes will fit better due to the higher quality materials and designs. Those that are mass produced or cheaper will experience manufacturing variations even within the same size. More expensive brands will have better quality control and therefore more consistent sizing. One example is the Spanish brand Meermin, which though inexpensive ($ 195+), is notorious for being made of a stiff leather that takes a long time to break in. Its sister brand, Carmina, is more expensive ($ 450+) and more immediately comfortable, sometimes from the first wear. So, if you’re on a budget, the fact is that you may have to sacrifice some comfort and consistency. That’s why it’s wise to skimp and save for better shoes. In the long-term, you will get a shoe to wear for decades with proper care and replacement of the sole.

Meermin boots
Though offering good quality at a low cost, Meermin leather tends to be quite thick and stiff

9. Consider the Type of Shoe

Ace Marks Penny Loafer Cognac Antique
Loafers will fit differently than laced shoes

As a general rule, you’ll need to size down when wearing loafers as opposed to oxfords and derby shoes because loafers are thinner and fit more closely to your foot. The absence of laces also means that you are dependent on a close fit to keep them from falling off.  An additional factor is the material they’re made of. Calf leather is a bit thicker and firmer than suede, so your suede loafer may be the smallest size footwear you own, a half size lower than a lace-up. On the other hand, with dress boots, like balmorals, half a size larger usually isn’t a problem because the leather around your ankle keeps your foot from slipping out (and you may want to wear thicker socks).

Lastly, if you have wide feet or a high arch, derby shoes may be a better option for you than oxfords because derbies have an open lacing system. The closed lacing of oxfords means the top of your foot is more constricted. A sure sign that a derby may be a better shoe for you is if the leather at the top of your oxfords spreads open even when they’re laced up.

10. Make Sure New Shoes “Hug” Your Feet

More leather fringes - note the shoe sock combination
A unique take on the Monk Strap that hugs the wearer’s foot

Staff at Crockett & Jones inform me that men frequently buy shoes that are too loose for them because they initially feel spacious and comfortable when they first put them on while a properly fitting shoe will be snug (but not tight). When you try them on in the store, they can feel like they’re too small in comparison to shoes you own that have already been well broken in, but this is a mistaken impression. The fact is that new shoes will stretch: they’ll get softer and more supple, as well as slightly larger, with use. If they’re already big to begin with, they will get too loose in a month when you’ve worn them for a while. Professionals refer to the proper fit of a new shoe as feeling like your foot is being hugged; it shouldn’t pinch or hurt, especially at the toes, but it should not feel roomy either. Again, it’s worth listening to the advice of staff.

11. Don’t Rely on Shoe Stretching

Mechanical shoe stretcher
A DIY shoe stretcher is not a cure for undersized shoes

On the other hand, avoid the opposite mistake of buying shoes that are too tight just because you like them or they’re a steal, with the expectation that you’ll be able to stretch them out. The fact is if they hurt at the start, it’s not likely they’ll ever be truly comfortable when you break them in. Sure, you can get a shoe stretching contraption on Amazon that looks like a medieval torture device, with a large adjustable screw mechanism and various attachments. You can also bring tight shoes to a cobbler for stretching, and they will use a similar machine and put them on it for a week. Another DIY trick is walking around in the shoes while wearing two pairs (or a thick pair) of socks. All of these have limited results–they may help to speed up the breaking-in period of a shoe that already fits, but they’re just desperate measures for a pair that is too tight. There is a very small gain in size possible with stretching, and it’ll ultimately be a waste of time, money and effort. There really is no substitute for proper fit from the start.

12. Try Shoes on for a Decent Length of Time

Andrew Lock Goodyear Welted Shoes
A broken in pair of Andrew Lock Goodyear Welted Shoes will feel much different than when they are new

A lot of times people will try shoes on for just a few minutes before purchasing them. It’s hard to get a true sense of fit in such a short time, so keep them on for as long as you can manage in the store. A brand with good customer service will allow and even encourage you to do so whereas a big brand in a mall will likely want you to take the shoes off and get out. So, you need to schedule the proper time and find an appropriate boutique to do this. Granted, you’ll still be walking on soft carpets and not running for the subway on hard pavement, but this is usually enough to feel the fit. If you order online, do the same in your house, but be careful not to scuff the bottoms. Stick to carpets or slip a gym sock or overshoe on the outside while you’re walking around.

Conclusion

Our feet spend most of every day in shoes, and many of us walk around for hours in them, so it’s paramount to get the best fit you can. Life is too short to suffer unnecessarily for something that can be solved by applying any of these twelve tips. The advice here addresses men’s dress shoes, but most are relevant to casual shoes and women’s shoes as well. Each foot is different, but these tips will help you find the most comfort you can while wearing leather footwear. What other tips do you have for getting a good fit? Share them in the comments below.

If the shoe fits, wear it.


Gentleman’s Gazette

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Lady Gaga’s Colorist Patti Song Shares Platinum Hair Care Tips

If you’re considering going platinum blonde sometime soon, it’s crucial that you know what you’re getting into and go in armed with the right knowledge, like how to properly use purple shampoos. In a recent interview, Lady Gaga’s longtime colorist Patti Song revealed about how she keeps the singer’s strands healthy and vibrant, despite dyeing it so often. Check out her advice and more platinum hair-care tips, here.
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13 Pro Budgeting Tips for People Who Wonder Where Every Paycheck Goes

A monthly budget is like Google Maps for your finances: You follow it because you don’t know where you’re going without it.

If you’re new to budgeting, don’t be discouraged by a few — or many —  wrong turns and closed roads along the way. The longer you stick with it, the better you get.

And with a few simple tips, you can be well on your way before you know it.

13 Budgeting Tips Anyone Can Follow

Whether you’re trying to pay off credit card debt or just boost your savings, here are some budgeting tips that will help you make (and stick to) your budget.

1. Set Your Goals Before You Make Your Budget

Without a goal, a budget is just a spreadsheet that tells you to have less fun.

Think about what you want in the next five to 10 years, and figure out what financial situation you need to get there. Whatever your goals are, know that any sound financial foundation starts with an emergency fund.

You might then want to pay off debt, save for a down payment on a home, or increase your savings.

Decide where you want to be financially next year and the year after. Knowing what you want to do with your money will guide you as you make your budget, and it will greatly increase the likelihood that you’ll stick to it.

2. There’s No One Size-Fits-All Budget. Find a Plan That Works for You

There are so many budgeting methods out there, and every guru says theirs is the best. But ultimately you have to chose the one that works for you.

If you’ve got an ambitious goal, we recommend trying a zero-based budget first.

To make a zero-based budget, start by prioritizing your expenses from essential to nonessential. Then, assign every dollar in your paycheck a “job” on the list until you run out.

The most important things — housing, food, minimum debt payments — get taken care of first, and you can disburse the remaining money for your goals and fun in their order of importance to you.

Zero-based budgeting is great for Type A planners. If you prefer to be a little more loosey-goosey, a 50/20/30 budget is a great option. With this approach, you don’t have to think too much about your expenses. You just allocate 50% of your income to your needs, 20% to savings and 30% to wants.

3. Use a Budgeting App or the Envelope System to Track Your Spending on the Go

A woman creates three different envelopes to control her spending. The envelopes say expenses, savings and fun.

It’s hard to lug around your laptop or binder to keep up with each budget category, so a budgeting app is a great tool for updating your budget on the go. There are many out there, whether you like to enter each transaction manually or see everything updated automatically.

If your goal is to take an intense look at your spending, manually tracking your transactions is going to work best. Once you’ve been budgeting for a while and you’ve got a grasp on your spending, syncing transactions automatically works fine.

If you still can’t stick to your budget, the envelope system can help you succeed without so much emphasis on constant tracking.

After you decide how much money goes toward each of your expenses, put the money you’ll spend for each expense in a given week into separate envelopes and carry them with you. Once an envelope is empty, you’re done spending in that category. You can keep receipts in the envelope and examine your purchases later.

Envelopes are best for categories you’re prone to overspending on. You probably don’t need envelopes for things like gas and utilities, because you’re not likely to go on a gas-buying spree.

Popular categories for envelopes are restaurants, groceries, clothes and entertainment.

4. Use the Past to Predict Your Future Income and Expenses

Whether you choose a zero-based budget, 50/20/30 budget or some other method, you’re going to have to calculate your income and the amount of money you want to put toward every category or individual expense.

Salaried employees will get off easy when they calculate their incomes. If you have a variable income or side hustles, you’ll need to do some digging.

Look back at your income from the past six months, or as far back as you can if you’ve been at your current job for less time. Then find your average monthly income and the average amount of each paycheck.

Expenses like utilities can also be unpredictable. Check your online statements to see which months were higher versus which were lower so you can make future budgets. You may not be able to take that impromptu weekend getaway the month your electric bill will be $ 300, but it might be totally feasible during a month it’s going to be $ 75.

5. Make a Monthly Budget AND a Budget for Each Paycheck

A woman draws a budget in a bullet journal.

Since most bills are monthly, it’s important to make a budget for the entire month to get a clear picture of everything due. But by breaking that down further into paycheck-by-paycheck budgets, you can pace your spending so you don’t end up penniless by the 20th.

You can make categories as vague or as specific as you want, but put as many barriers in place to prevent yourself from overspending in the first half of the month.

This is another time when the envelope system helps you, but you could do the same thing with reloadable gift cards for specific stores.

6. Don’t Confuse Infrequent Expenses With Emergencies

These aren’t the unexpected expenses that you’d cover with your miscellaneous or emergency categories. Infrequent expenses are the charges that come up once or twice a year — but we always seem to forget will happen.

Like when it’s Dec. 23 and you’re still not done with your holiday shopping. Who could’ve predicted Christmas would be on Dec. 25 AGAIN?!

Examples include things like auto insurance, car registration, license renewal, vet visits, car repairs and membership fees.

Keep a chart that includes your semiannual and annual expenses to determine what you need to save every month to cover them. Open a separate checking account or savings account where you put money every month to cover these expenses.

7. Remember the Obvious: You Need to Spend Less

Once the planning is done, it’s time for the hardest part: sticking to your plan.

If you’re in the habit of spending more than you make, your first priority is to find ways to save money.

We don’t mean you need to find better sales and clip more coupons. As much as we love a good coupon stack, the most important thing you can do is buy and spend less.

Some of our favorite tips to cut spending are:

  • Make a meal plan, and stick to your grocery list.
  • Prep meals on Sundays so you’re less likely to eat out during the week.
  • Opt for free events in your area instead of pricy activities or bars.
  • Try running and body-weight workouts instead of paying for a gym membership.

There are countless ways to save money. Our best tip: Start by slashing expenses that are making a big dent in your budget instead of shaving pennies off already manageable ones.

Do everything you can to resist the temptation to make impulse purchases or spend beyond your budget. An easy way to do this: Leave your credit card at home, and use cash envelopes or a debit card.

8. Use the 30-Day Rule to Stop Impulse Buys

If you still need to curb impulse buying, follow the 30-day rule: When you want to buy something that’s not in your budget, make note of the item in question for next month’s budget and revisit it in 30 days. If you still want it, you can consider buying it if you can afford it.

Online shoppers can use the Icebox Chrome extension that allows you to choose a 30-day “cool off” period before you can buy something.

9. Negotiate Your Bills to Save Money

People often take for granted that what they’re paying for their phone, internet and insurance is what they have to pay. By contacting your providers to negotiate your bills, you could lower your bills once or twice every year.

You can do this yourself by calling all your companies or using a negotiation app like Trim or Empower.

If you’re trying it yourself, be friendly, ask for more than you want, and back down from there. Stop when you feel you’ve reached a good deal. Oh, and be prepared to be on the phone for a while.

10. Remember That Things Will Go Wrong

Student loans and credit cards aren’t paid off overnight. And the perfect budget isn’t made in a day.

Things will change and go wrong. Impulse purchases will be made, and budgets will get obliterated by life’s little surprises. The most important tip for budgeting is to not give up.

When things go wrong, alter your budget to compensate. Move money from one category to another, put less in savings, or try a side hustle to add some wiggle room. And know that sometimes you’ll find yourself ripping up the entire budget and starting again from scratch in the middle of the month.

If budgeting continues to be difficult, try adding a small miscellaneous category somewhere to cover surprise expenses. These expenses come up often and derail the best budgeters. Make a category to cover them, and figure out where to put them later.

Eventually, you’ll get this whole budgeting thing down. But it’s going to start with a lot of bumps in the road.

How to Budget on an Inconsistent Income

A man places money in a tip jar.

Living off tips, sales commissions or freelance work can make for a flexible lifestyle, but it also makes it hard to budget.

When you have an inconsistent income, you can follow all the budgeting tips above. But there’s one thing you should add to your budget to make it easier for yourself during low-income months.

11. Have an Income-Sinking Fund for When Your Income Is Less

When you calculate your income and get your monthly average, compare it with your income each month throughout the year. In months you expect to make more than average, take the difference and transfer it to your income-sinking fund. It’s a separate account where you put money you plan to take out in the near future for a specific purpose, such as supplementing your income on low-earning months.

During months when you expect to make less, you can withdraw up to your monthly average to help with expenses.

Tips for Budgeting With a Partner

Another challenge is budgeting with a partner. It can feel like too many cooks in the kitchen are ruining the budget soup, but when there are two incomes, lives and futures at stake, everyone involved needs to have a stake in the budget.

12. Hold a Monthly Budget Meeting

The first tip is to have a monthly budget meeting that both of you are required to attend.

Whoever enjoys budgeting more can make the budget, but the other partner still has to contribute something. Whether they change one line or many, we repeat: They must contribute.

The budget can still be flexible and change as needed during the month, but both partners should be consulted about big changes. Feeling included is important to working as a team on your finances.

13. ‘Subtle’ Hints Can Help if Your Partner Hates to Budget

If your partner isn’t on board with budgets, they’ll need a little convincing.

Ashley Patrick of Budgets Made Easy tried having budget meetings with her husband, but he wasn’t interested.

Patrick desperately wanted her husband to be part of their financial planning, but he wanted her to handle everything. So she turned to money-saving guru Dave Ramsey’s podcast.

“The biggest thing that fully got him on board was playing Dave Ramsey podcasts in the car, especially when I did it on a long road trip,” she said. “Hours of Dave Ramsey helped change his mindset.”

Both people need to be flexible with the other’s priorities and supportive of their goals.

Budgeting together won’t be easy at first — but it’ll lead to a lifetime of financial strength and happiness.

Jen Smith is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She and her husband paid off $ 78,000 of debt in less than two years on two less-than-average salaries. She gives money-saving and debt-payoff tips on Instagram at @modernfrugality.

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.

The Penny Hoarder Promise: We provide accurate, reliable information. Here’s why you can trust us and how we make money.

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Sam's Club Membership Offer

Career Tips for the Shutdown: How To Make the Most of a Furlough

shutdown career tips

I’ve seen a few reader threads about the government shutdown that keeps dragging on… and on… and on… and I thought we might have a little thread with career tips for the shutdown, as well as a general open thread for everyone dealing with the shutdown in general.

I’m obviously not a government worker, so take these with a grain of salt — but here are some quick career tips to help you make the most of the shutdown: 

  • Update your resume.
  • Network! Grab breakfast, lunch, or coffee with former and current coworkers. Now might be a great time to throw a party at your home (potluck/BYOB?) and invite a LOT of former coworkers since everyone might have a lot of time. 
  • Committee it up. If you’re on any professional committees that are “extracurriculars” for you, see what you can get done — plan a conference or speech, write a speaker’s bio, update the committee/organization website, interview a thought leader for your committee newsletter, or more. Here’s our last post with tips for finding and joining professional organizations.
  • Write an article or read an industry-specific book or magazine you’ve been meaning to read but haven’t had a chance to. 
  • Get those CLEs in. If you’re a lawyer or in another profession with continuing education requirements, get those CLEs in. (There are a ton of free ones on PLI’s website, and the ABA just started offering free CLEs during the shutdown.)
  • Resistbot the @#$ @#$ out of your representatives.

For those of us who are not government employees, how is the shutdown affecting you? Are you avoiding travel because of TSA agent absences, or avoiding salad purchases because food inspectors aren’t working? Are you doing anything to help workers directly affected by the shutdown, like working with any of the excellent nonprofits mentioned in this CNN article?

The post Career Tips for the Shutdown: How To Make the Most of a Furlough appeared first on Corporette.com.

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Furniture Staging Tips

When staging your home, your goal is to appeal to a wide range of buyers to ensure you receive numerous offers, sell your home at top value and sell quickly. Your first step should be to engage the services of a professional home stager to ensure nothing is missed but here are a few more tips you can use:

Photo Source: Lux Furniture Rentals

AVOID USING PERSONALIZED STYLES I have heard many stories of homeowners disagreeing with their home stager because they “don’t like it.” Remember, you’re trying to sell your home. It’s not about what you like but what will appeal to the widest range of potential buyers so keep an open mind! As a general rule, stick with neutral colors and add pops of color here and there that work with your current space.

FIND THE RIGHT AUDIENCE Trying to nail the right look can be difficult. Think about the neighborhood, demographics and the features and limitations of the space you’re trying to stage. Is it mostly families living and/or moving into the area? Young professionals? Upscale area? Condo vs. detached home? Knowing the type of buyer interested in your neighborhood can help you create a style that matches that audience.

BRING IN FRESH PIECES Most of the time you’ll need to bring in rental furniture to freshen up and update the look of your home. A reputable furniture rental company offers you the chance to replace or supplement your existing furniture with pieces that will appeal to your target buyer. At Luxe, we offer a variety of vignettes showcasing different colors, trends and sizes to fit any space and we constantly update our inventory to ensure we have plenty of options available. Home stagers and homeowners can choose to use an entire vignette or you can mix and match pieces in order to tie together the overall look and give your home that WOW! factor that buyers are looking for! – Andre Janveaux, Lux Furniture Rentals, www.luxfurniturerentals.com

The post Furniture Staging Tips appeared first on Home Trends Magazine.

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5 Tips To Hire the Best Window Replacement Contractor

Replacing windows in your home is a worthwhile, but costly, investment. Because your windows keep you safe from the outside elements, they are one of the most important features of your home—not to mention an indicator of upkeep and maintenance to anyone considering whether to buy it. A trustworthy window replacement contractor is your safest and highest quality option if you want the project done correctly, both in the short and long term.

At Modernize, we frequently speak to homeowners about their home improvement projects. In our recent interviews, half of the homeowners who undertook a window replacement home improvement project did so to increase the value of their home, and 80 percent of them found a contractor for the job through referrals. But it’s important to properly vet and research contractors before choosing your perfect fit, even if a friend or a family member personally vouched for them.

Here are some tips to keep in mind while you make the pick.

1. Get to Know Your Window Replacement Needs

A trusted contractor will be able to assess, identify, and explain potential improvements or upgrades to your home’s windows. Still, it’s best to approach your search for a contractor with some idea in mind of what you need—and even what you don’t need. This will ensure your project is focused and lessen the opportunity for unnecessary and costly improvements you didn’t want in the first place.

If your windows are shattered or broken during a storm, for example, they need to be replaced or repaired immediately to restore your privacy, safety, and comfort—not to mention your property value. But not all window damage is easy to distinguish. And if it goes undetected, it can cause bigger issues—like structural or foundational damage—down the road. Damage to your windows from seasons past might have gone unnoticed, or prior homeowners may have neglected problems you have now inherited like mold or poor insulation.

It’s always good policy to triple check for new—and old—indicators. Hail damage, for example, could result in damage that is not as apparent as broken glass, from torn screens to cracked glazing and dented flashing. Wind damage could leave behind dents in the glass, damaged frames, or cracked siding.

If you do find some damage, carefully document it and safe proof your house against hazards it might cause. A reliable contractor should still double check your work. But seeking estimates with specific information in your hand will make the vetting process that much more easy and, ultimately, successful.

2. Aim for the Most Reliable Window Replacement Contractor

To ensure a long-term and sustained increase to home value, a reliable contractor is key. There’s a lot to consider under the umbrella of reliability. In recent interviews, 90 percent of homeowners requested a checklist to help them find and vet contractors. Modernize now offers homeowners a free, digital Contractor Checklist as a simple, step-by-step guide to assist with your windows project.

Here are some things you can do to ensure you find the best possible window installation contractor.

Ask for Referrals

A strong majority of homeowners approach all home improvement projects by first gathering referrals. Some of the most common approaches are:

“Call them. Pick up the phone, ask them a lot of questions, and if possible go and see [the completed work],” recommends Skip Bedell, who stars in HGTV’s Catch a Contractor. “I’ve found that if people are really proud of the job that was done on their house, most of the time they don’t mind letting other people come by and see it.”

Vet Your Options

One of the most important parts of your search is vetting different contractors and comparing their work.

  • Request quotes from three to four contractors in your area.
  • Visit the website of each contractor.
    • Is it updated and professional looking?
  • Explore the customer reviews for each contractor.
    • Are they mostly positive? Consider negative reviews and responses.

Talk to Your Favorites

Once you have a short list of your top choices, get them on the phone. A trustworthy contractor will appreciate an opportunity to discuss your project further, and a conversation allows you to get to know them. While you know best what you want to learn in the conversation, here are some questions we recommend you ask:

  • How long have you been in business?
  • How much experience do you have with window repair or installation?
  • What is your project estimate?
  • Can you provide a list of references?
  • Can you provide proof of insurance for personal liability, worker’s compensation, and property damage coverage?

“If they’re not licensed and not insured, you don’t want them in your house. Period. End of story,” Bedell advises. “The license is a huge help in that if you have a problem later on, you can go to the licensing agency and get assistance in filing any complaints.”

Meet the Finalists

Meet in-person with your top contractors to review project-specific details and expectations. You can use Modernize’s free worksheet for homeowners to compare contractors. Be sure to bring up the following with each contractor:

  • Ask to see proof of insurance, which should provide their insurance company name, policy number, and policy limits.
  • Discuss who will manage warranty details and responsibility.
  • Make sure to get a fixed price before signing a contract.

3. Don’t Wait Until Your Windows Need Replacement

If a recent storm blew out a window or caused peripheral damage requiring a window replacement, you will want to get the project done as quickly as possible. But you certainly don’t need to wait for a storm to blast through before creating a meaningful relationship with your local windows contractor.

If you have a trusted contractor who has perhaps offered you an assessment of your house’s windows, shown you options for new windows, or helped you learn the needs of your home, you will have less work to do when an emergency does arrive. You could stop by showrooms to take a look at windows or use Modernize to find local window replacement contractors. Whatever tool you choose, we recommend you do so on your own time instead of under the stress of an emergency.

The right time to find a reliable contractor is now.

4. Be Aware of Warning Signs and Avoid Hidden Costs

As with contractors for any home improvement, some are not honest professionals. Before choosing your contractor for an affordable window replacement, be sure you can trust them and that their estimate is transparent and complete.

Door-to-door contractors, for example, flock to areas impacted by storms, and scam unsuspecting homeowners with offers that boast pre-payment or covered deductibles. The best way to avoid scams is to choose a local, trusted contractor—someone who has been around and stuck around, and whose reputation and reliability are central to their success. You can confirm this by checking their physical business address and validating their licensing.

Here are additional warning signs that can protect your window replacement budget:

  • Avoid contractors who request the entire project cost, or large cash deposit, up front. A down payment shouldn’t exceed 10 percent or $ 1,000. “If someone is asking you for a huge chunk of money before they’ve done any work at all, that can raise a red flag,” Bedell explains.
  • Avoid anyone who pressures you to sign a contract immediately.
  • Be wary of any outliers in your quotes. All estimates should be relatively similar unless the material type is significantly different.

When it comes to window replacement projects, there are some hidden costs homeowners could be surprised with down the line. The best way to avoid these is to ask the contractor about them.

A great example of a hidden cost for window replacement projects is complications with lead. If your home was built before 1978, your walls are likely coated in lead-based paint. In recent interviews with Modernize, all homeowners with older units were surprised about this possibility. Windows carry a higher lead exposure risk due to their exposure to outside elements and paint friction—renovations and repairs can create toxic lead dust. Testing for toxic lead typically costs between $ 200 and $ 400. If you have an older home, talk with your contractor about a lead paint test, and how it could impact the cost of your window replacement project.

Other examples include old window disposal and framing changes. Here is Modernize’s full review of the possible hidden costs in window replacements.

5. Evaluate Window Replacement Contractor Quotes the Right Way

The best contractor is not always the cheapest contractor. And the best window replacement quote isn’t always the lowest.

A recent Modernize survey revealed 63 percent of homeowners compare three to four contractor estimates ahead of a home improvement project. Evaluating multiple quotes helps homeowners scope their budget and encourages contractors to be competitive with their pricing. It’s important to understand your window estimates and why quotes may vary from each other. Before comparing your own set of estimates, see our guide Evaluating Contractors’ Window Replacement Quotes.

Here are some musts in any estimate you find:

  • Lots of details
    • The more description the better, what Bedell calls “every aspect of the work.”
  • Clear start and end dates
    • An experienced contractor should be able to know when your windows will be replaced and good to go. “This is hugely important,” Bedell says, “because another big problem that people run into is when a contractor says it’s going to take two weeks to do your job and six months later he’s still there because he only came one day a week.”

Comparing contractors is easy and effective with our free worksheet to help homeowners find the best window replacement contractor. No matter what you use to determine who will replace your windows, it’s important you keep in mind that saving money today could cost you much more money later if the windows don’t hold up or, more realistically, the process to replace them is shoddy. Quality, especially when it comes to your windows, is a lifelong investment.

The post 5 Tips To Hire the Best Window Replacement Contractor appeared first on Modernize.

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10 life-changing retreats worldwide: readers’ travel tips

In havens from Inverness to India, readers have discovered their better selves through yoga, meditation and writing courses

Dhanakosa, on the banks of beautiful Loch Voil, near Balquhidder in central Scotland, is truly a place to stop, breathe, unwind and take stock. Amid the glorious scenery, you eat delicious, healthy vegetarian meals (and can even take a recipe book home), do yoga, hill walk, learn to meditate or reinvigorate your practice and your life. It’s the perfect place to come if you just want some time out to reset yourself. I’ve come here for the weekend and for a week. They operate on the Buddhist principle of Dana or generosity. You pay the deposit of £75 (for a week) or £50 (weekend) and then from a suggested scale (from £285 to £445 for a week). It’s a magical place.
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Carolann

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Top 5 Marketing Tips to Get Ahead in 2019

Marketing is changing. Traditional promotional methods are not as successful as they used to be. How can you make sure that your content marketing strategy is not staying behind?

It’s the perfect time to start thinking ahead to adjust your plans for the next 12 months. Here are five tips to get you thinking of what you need to improve in 2019.

Ready to grow your business?

The post Top 5 Marketing Tips to Get Ahead in 2019 appeared first on Modernize.

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Want to Start a Side Hustle? These 10 Tips Will Help Set You Up for Success

Side hustles can be a great way to supplement your income or satisfy your entrepreneurial spirit. Who knows — having one might someday lead to a more fulfilling job opportunity.

Experienced side hustlers will tell you there’s a lot you can do in the beginning to build a solid foundation for your gig. So if you’re thinking about taking on a new venture, here are 10 tips on how to start a side hustle that will help you avoid future headaches.

Find Out How Much Side Hustle Time You Have Available

McKinzie Bean, creator of the

When juggling a day job and starting a side hustle, time is precious. McKinzie Bean is the operator of Moms Make Cents, a website aimed at helping moms build their own businesses.

She advises people to document their normal routines for one week before starting their side gig so they can see how much time during the evenings and weekends they spend doing things like cooking dinner, watching Netflix, doing chores, etc. Bean recommends using time tracking smartphone apps like Toggl when offline and Google Chrome extensions to monitor time spent on the internet.

You can see how much time you really have for a side hustle once you cut unproductive activities from your schedule.

“In your first year, you do have to dedicate a lot of time to your side hustle,” Bean says. “Just see which pieces you’re willing to give up because it is going to take some sacrifice to get to that point where your business is growing.”

Research if the Side Gig Is Worth Doing

Now that you know how much free time you have available, consider whether it’s feasible to add a side gig on top of a regular job.

Alex Tran is a full-time digital marketing strategist who operates five separate side hustles, including teaching yoga and reviewing activewear.  She recommends searching Google and YouTube to see if there’s a need for your side hustle and to determine how time-consuming it can be. During your research, see if other people are doing something similar and ask if they are willing to offer their advice.

“Say, ‘Hey, I work full time right now, but is it possible that I could just do this maybe six hours a week?’” she advises. If they respond, they may tell you how much of a financial and time commitment it will be to get your business off the ground.

Find Out Whether You Need to Inform Your Current Employer

One thing to consider before starting a side hustle is determining whether the gig will interfere with your day job. Every company is different, and some may have strict guidelines on what employees can do outside of work, Bean warns.

Do yourself a favor and dust off the employee handbook to see if there are any rules against side jobs. The last thing you need is to lose your primary source of income because you forgot to tell your boss about your budding side gig.

Set Some Office Hours

When Bean and her husband started working on their website 2 1/2 years ago, they set a schedule to keep them on track during the evenings. For example, she’d work for an hour on the site after her husband got home, then he’d take over after dinner. She says having a schedule in place was critical for them.

Also included in their schedule was at least one social or family activity per week to avoid burnout. “There was always one piece in the week that we could look forward to,” Bean says. “A few hours where we could recharge and be rejuvenated.”

Open Separate Business Accounts

Trish McDermott poses with baby gear in front of the trunk of her car

It’s never too early to start thinking about tax season. Trish McDermott is a longtime side hustler and co-founder of BabyQuip, a baby gear rental service for traveling parents. She tells people to open a bank account and credit card dedicated solely for their business.

Doing this provides you with a true-to-life snapshot of the financial results of your side hustle. “That snapshot is really difficult to see if you’re commingling your personal transactions with your side hustle,” she says.

By having all your side hustle income and expenses in one place, you can see trends and other relevant information to improve your business. Plus, she says, your accountant will appreciate it when it’s tax time.

Develop an Organization System for Your Paperwork

Instead of throwing all your receipts into a shoebox, consider setting up a digital filing system. “As a side hustler, you have to maximize your time,” Bean says.

Most of her receipts and invoices are sent via email because she runs an online business. To save time, Bean uses free basic automation software, such as If This Then That (IFTTT), to automatically save her receipts into a Google Drive folder.

For physical receipts, she takes photo backups using the smartphone app CamScanner. That way everything is saved on her phone or computer, ready to go for tax season.

Design Templates to Work Smarter

Tran encourages people to set up a task workflow in the early days of their side gig. For example, if your side business is in copywriting or involves creating a lot of documents, she encourages people to design templates.

“Have a system down so you can streamline it when you start to scale your business.” These templates can have the basic format laid out so all you need to do is change out the unique details. That way, you’re not starting from scratch on every project.  

Find Industry-Specific Groups

McDermott says there are many industry-specific groups and communities available on social media for side hustlers. In these LinkedIn and Facebook groups, you can learn from other professionals working in your field as they share advice. McDermott recently discovered a Facebook group for freelance social media managers and was blown away by the information and resources they were sharing among themselves.

“Those kind of connections nowadays are so easy to find, and so fruitful,” she says.

Create a Productive Home Environment

Your home office needs to have minimal distractions. Two ways to ensure this include following a set work schedule and having everything you need in the office, McDermott says.

By following the same work schedule, your family, neighbors and others know not to bother you during designated times. Plus, if you have everything you need at your disposal, you don’t need to leave the room.

“Having the tools you need to do your work available in the space you’re doing it prevents you from wandering around the house and deciding that you should start the dishwasher,” she says.

Don’t Wait for Perfection — Just Go For It!

Whether it’s posting on social media, launching a website or starting a company, McDermott encourages aspiring side hustlers and entrepreneurs not to get paralyzed by perfection, which can get in the way of execution. Her outlook is to do it the best you can and fix what doesn’t work as you progress.

“There’s no company on the face of the planet that has gotten it all right all the time,” she says.

In her opinion, the rewards are more significant for entrepreneurs who take risks and are willing to bring their energy and passion to whatever they do.

“You just can’t wait around to be perfect,” she says. “Someone else will take the idea and run [with it]. Just go!”

Matt Reinstetle is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. He covers side hustles and the gig economy. If you have a side gig story idea, message him on Twitter @MattReinstetle.

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.

The Penny Hoarder Promise: We provide accurate, reliable information. Here’s why you can trust us and how we make money.

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Great tips for visiting Las Vegas

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Las Vegas is one of the coolest places in the world. Whether you want to see Elton John in concert, go on a crazy shopping spree, stand at the top of a half-sized replica of the Eiffel Tower or gamble your life savings on red, there is so much to do, see and explore in Vegas. Here are some top insider tips on how to make the most of your fantastic trip!

Never pay full price for a hotel room!

One of the biggest attractions in Vegas is the hotels, and because there are so many, the competition is hot, and so there is never any reason to pay the full amount for a room. Do some research on the best deals you can get for when you go, and remember that part of the fun of Vegas is nosing around other hotels so it’s not like you will miss out!

Get that room upgrade

So, you’ve found yourself a great price for a hotel room, but why not be a little cheeky and ask for an upgrade too? When you check in, handover a twenty and ask if there are any upgrades available. If there are, fantastic, they will keep the tip and upgrade your room. If there aren’t any upgrades, they will usually give you your twenty dollars back, and you won’t have lost anything. Also, if you are celebrating a special occasion such as a wedding, anniversary or birthday, make sure you let them know, and often you will get a little treat such as a bottle of champagne!

Escape the strip

The strip is the main stretch of Vegas and is where most of the action is happening, however, if you want to buy a bottle of water, for example, just walk one block away from the strip, and you will be able to get it for much cheaper! Locals will often avoid the strip due to the tourist markups, so look for discounts (and quite often better offerings regarding food, drink and even casinos!) just off the strip where the locals tend to go.

Catch the Deuce

Although the strip looks walkable, it’s a lot longer than it looks and in the desert heat, it can be a real struggle. The Deuce bus goes all the way along the strip, and even downtown so get one of the passes that allow you unlimited journeys over several days and hop on and off as you please. It’s also a great way to see all the sights and different hotels without shelling out for a pricey cab!

Choose the slow season

Vegas is always going to be busy; however, July, August, and mid-December are known as the slow season when things are a little quieter. This means prices should be a bit lower at least and queues for attractions will be somewhat shorter. You’ll have a much better time if you go during a quieter period, but unlike a lot of other places with off-season periods, the atmosphere will still be there!

Full doesn’t always mean full

If you are driving around Vegas and looking for a parking space, do not be disheartened by a “full” valet parking sign. If you slip the valet 20 bucks, they will usually manage to find a spot for you. Money talks in Vegas!

The most important tip for visiting Vegas is to enjoy every second! There is so much more to explore than just the casinos, so make sure you pack in everything you can and have an amazing trip!

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A Neuroscientist’s Tips For A New Year Tuneup For Your Brain

An image of the brain's neural network against a black background

Unlike the effervescent bubbles that stream to the top of champagne flutes on New Year’s Eve, what I call brain bubbles are far from celebratory. These bubbles are metaphorical rather than physical, and they distort the stream of reality processed by our brains. Like a real estate bubble that reflects an inflated perception of home values, a brain bubble twists your perception of the world around you. And when either of these bubbles bursts, the results can be devastating.

Problems arise when distorted information results in flawed decisions that negatively affect our lives. As a neuroscientist who’s worked closely with laboratory rats for over three decades, I’ve gleaned from them a few good strategies people can use to burst brain bubbles and enhance well-being in the year ahead. Rat brains are small but have the same general areas and neurochemicals we have, so these rodents are valuable laboratory models for human behavior.

Getting back down to Earth

Psychoactive drug use, aspects of privilege and poverty, psychiatric illness and, in some cases, religious and political beliefs can all create brain bubbles. Even daily excursions to the virtual world of apps, social media and cybergames sever our connections to concrete aspects of the real world and let distorting brain bubbles develop.

This is especially problematic for children’s brains that are still developing. An ongoing National Institutes of Health study suggests that two hours of screen time each day distorts language and thinking abilities in these junior digital users.

As our attention is hijacked by the closest screen while a Roomba cleans the floor and Alexa orders pizza to be delivered to the front door, what’s left for our brains to do? Sure, we likely face cognitive challenges at work each day, but human brains are built for sophisticated and complex activity – even though we’re often lulled into mindlessly scrolling through a virtual feed. In fact, a brain area often associated with reward and pleasure, the nucleus accumbens, is smaller in people who spend more time checking Facebook posts on their smartphones.

Obviously, some of these distortion-generating circumstances are out of our control. But a heightened awareness of our authentic world can move us toward a more reality-based, well-grounded brain – free of those brain bubbles.

The rats that my students and I train in our studies to physically work for coveted treats (Froot Loops cereal is a favorite) develop healthier emotional responses than the animals we call “trust-fund rats” because they’re merely given their sweet rewards. The harder-working rats have healthier stress hormone levels and engage in more sophisticated search strategies when they encounter a surprise challenge – such as when we move their expected Froot Loop rewards. They’re more persistent as they spend time trying to solve the problem, rather than quickly giving up and walking away.

So whereas one popular New Year’s resolution involves saving up to build financial capital, we can keep our brains in peak condition for the year ahead by building up experiential capital. Real-world experiences represent the best currency for our brain circuits, providing neural security for our future decisions in the coming year. Spending time engaged in hobbiessuch as knitting or gardening, for example, with complex movements and rich sensory experiences, provides a valuable yield for our brains.

Savor the anticipation

When the calendar flips to a new year, it’s common to reflect on the past and look to the future. According to the neuroscience literature, this anticipation could be one of the most pleasurable – and healthy – tasks our brains engage in all year long.

Dopamine is the poster neurotransmitter for the cognitive endeavor of anticipating. Traditionally known for its role in pleasure, this neurochemical system can be hijacked by psychoactive drugs such as cocaine that serve as potent creators of reality-distorting brain bubbles.

Rodent research provides fascinating insights here, however. Researchers use sophisticated techniques to measure dopamine activity as rats press laboratory levers that reward them with drugs. Surprisingly, this neurochemical system surges when the animal merely anticipates taking the drug as it approaches the drug lever, as well as when the drug is actually infused into the brain.

Anticipating a new start and a new year may be a scaled-down version of approaching the experimental lever for a hit of cocaine – a legal and healthy dopamine dose in this case. You can try to keep this emotional high going through the year by amping up the anticipation in your daily life: Focus more on delayed than immediate gratification. Buying and planning for experiences is more satisfying than material purchases. Mapping out a menu, shopping for ingredients and cooking a meal provides more dopamine time – and brain-engaging behaviors – than nuking a frozen meal and eating it three minutes later.

Seize the reins of your stress

Another way to enhance our well-being through the year is to gain some sense of control over the stress in our lives. Real-time and authentic interactions with the environment can help us gain a sense of control over the inevitable uncertainty and unpredictability we face each day.

I see evidence of this in the lab. When I furnish my rats’ housing with natural elements such as dirt, hollowed-out logs and rocks, they’re busier and less likely to sit around the edge of the cage than animals in boring empty cages. After building their experiential capital, these enriched rats have healthier stress and resilience hormone profiles and engage in bolder behaviors, such as diving to the bottom of swim tanks instead of staying on the top doing their best impression of a dog paddle. As I watch these animals in various tasks, they appear to be gaining control over the challenges they encounter.

Perhaps this is why retired U.S. four-star admiral William McRaven emphasized simple life strategies in his 2014 University of Texas commencement speech, declaring that “if you want to change your life and maybe the world, start off by making your bed.” Then, even if you have a terrible day, you will come home to a made bed, evidence that you had a positive impact in at least one area of your life that day.

And, considering that over 70 percent of the brain’s nerve cells are in the cerebellum, which is involved in movement coordination, any activity that gets us up and moving – whether household chores or hitting the gym – engages the brain in healthy ways.

Starting your brain’s year off right

Lessons from the laboratory rats also provide potential explanations for some of my own personal favorite New Year’s Day traditions – including the mundane tasks of cooking a familiar southern meal, cleaning my closet and watching HGTV’s Dream House giveaway with my family while we all declare what we would do if we won the beautiful house. Move in? Sell it? Make it an Airbnb rental?

Thinking like a neuroscientist, I know that cooking and cleaning are active endeavors with clear outcomes that allow me to gain a small sense of control, decreasing stress hormones. Playfully anticipating winning a new home taps into that feel-good dopamine system as we contemplate more serious options for the new year. And, perhaps the best neurochemical hit of all is the spike in oxytocin, the neurochemical involved in positive social connections, as I spend time with loved ones.

Although it’s common to turn to pharmaceuticals to lift our emotions and improve our mental health, the emotional benefits of many New Year’s traditions remind me that basic responses can serve as what I call “behaviorceuticals” that enhance well-being. New Year’s resolutions may take the form of New Year’s Rx’s as we consider healthy lifestyle choices for the coming year: Shrink those distorting brain bubbles and build realistic connections to enrich life’s simple pleasures.

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10 Tips For Decluttering Your Personal Space Before 2019

Source: Delmaine Donson / Getty

The coming of a new year is a great time to reprogram your personal space. But if you’re known to be a bit of a hoarder and have a hard time letting go of things you no longer need, it might be time to declutter before we head into 2019. Here’s some tips on how to do just that before the clock strikes 12 on New Year’s Eve:

1. Adopt the 1 Year Rule

If you haven’t used it in the last year, chances are you probably won’t use it again. Round up the gadgets in your home that haven’t been touched since last January and donate those unused items instead. If you find it hard to part with anything, put the “hard to part with” items in a separate bin and see if you find use for them over the next six months. If not, it’s time to let it go.

2. Use the “3 Bin” Method

The 3-bin method will help you find a place for every knick-knack item in your home. Label the bins; keep, toss and donate and then decide what item goes where. Stick to your gut and make quick decisions to easily scale your items down.

3. Declutter Your Mind

Decluttering doesn’t necessarily have to just mean purging physical items. It can also mean making small changes to rid your mind from negative thoughts and emotions that may have been holding you back all year long. Re-evaluate your mental space, friendships, relationships and even your daily activity and decide what might need a change, an upgrade or an elimination. Peace and positivity is the goal for all 2019!

4. Turn Clutter into Cash

Turn your old fashions into a profit by selling items on Ebay, Etsy or Craigslist. It’s a great way to get rid of things you no longer wear and bring in extra cash as you go into the new year.

5. Get Rid of Worn Out Bedding and Towels

Are you still holding on to sheets and towels from your teenage years? If so, it’s time to part ways no matter how many memories they might hold. Give them an “afterlife” by donating these items to an animal shelter or a vet’s office. Animals need towels and sheets to bathe in and sleep on and I’m sure they’ll find comfort in your donated items.

6. Toss the Unwanted Hangers

I’ll admit, I can be a bit of a hanger hoarder myself. But those unwanted hangers take up a TON of space in closets. If your closet is overflowing, consider giving those unused hangers to the dry cleaners as they might need them more than you do.

7. Take The 12-12 Challenge

Walk through your home every few months and locate 12 items to throw away and 12 items to donate. While this may seem brutal, it can actually be a fun and exciting way to quickly organize items in your home.

8. Fill Up One Trash Bag Every Few Months

If you’re having trouble purging a ton of household items before midnight, you can use this tactic throughout all of 2019 and slowly get rid of items you no longer need. Grab a large trash bag and see how quickly you can fill it with things you no longer use. Once you’ve filled your trash bag, decide which items are worth donating and which items need to be tossed altogether. Do this every few months and at the end of 2019, you’ll find yourself feeling a lot less cluttered.

9. Take One Room at A Time

Your entire house didn’t become cluttered overnight, so you don’t have to declutter in one full sweep. Take it one space at a time and get rid of unwanted items in one room before moving over to the next.

10. Remember, The Less Clutter, The Less Cleaning

This is a no brainer but it goes without saying that the more stuff you have, the more time you’ll spend cleaning. If you have a ton of clothes, that means the more time you’ll spend finding a place to keep everything, making less space available for those outfits you really care about. Paring down what you don’t need is a sure way to keep your space a lot cleaner.

No matter what decluttering method you choose, remember; there’s something freeing about getting rid of items that no longer serve you. Make it a mission to declutter your house (and mind) this holiday season and start fresh in 2019!

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Readers’ best travel discoveries of 2018: your top tips

What an adventurous lot you are! Your 2018 highlights include mountain treks, centuries-old communities and exotic wildlife. Read on for 2019 inspiration …

The highlight of our fabulous week in Mull in June was our accommodation. A mile along a coastal path, Rubha nan Gall lighthouse cottage is off grid, but apart from not being able to use a hair dryer, you wouldn’t know it. The four en suite double bedrooms were furnished to a high standard and the kitchen well-equipped. The views past the lighthouse to the Ardnamurchan peninsula, not to mention the dolphin we saw just offshore, made this one of our favourite places ever.
Sleeps six, £158 a night, airbnb.co.uk
Mary Bythell

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Travel | The Guardian

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Nintendo Switch Setup Guide, Helpful How Tos, Troubleshooting Tips, and More

If you’re just setting up a new Nintendo Switch or trying to transfer your data over to a new one, these helpful Nintendo Switch guides should make that process much easier. In this article, you’ll find quick links to popular Switch setup guides (as determined by traffic, user questions, and popular searches) and troubleshooting wiki pages.

IGN’s Nintendo Switch guide has plenty of great hardware information, but if you’re looking for more guides on Nintendo Switch games, be sure to check out these popular game wikis:

These 6 Tips Can Help You Move From From Part-Time to Full-Time Employee

Wishing for more from your part-time or seasonal gig?

For workers who’d prefer to be full-time, the difference goes beyond a bigger paycheck.

Depending on the company, full-time employment can mean a benefits package that includes health insurance and paid time off along with the stability of a reliable schedule.

As of November 2018, more than 4.8 million part-time workers in the U.S. said they’d rather be working full time, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s 2.9% of the labor force.

Although that group was nearly twice as large (9,233,000) in March 2010, the most recent figure is still larger than the pre-recession lows of 3,900,000 back in March 2006.

And that number doesn’t count “voluntary” part-time workers, which includes those who might otherwise want to be full time but have to cut back on work hours due to rising child care expenses or family caregiving costs.

But making the leap to full-time employee demands more than wishing. Read on for tips to turn your part-time gig into a more, ahem, full-filling career.

Going From Part-Time to Full-Time Work

 Emily Kapit poses for a portrait

Before rushing into your boss’s office to demand an increase in hours, consider what your goals are, advises career strategist Emily Kapit with ReFreshYourStep.com.

“Are you looking for a 40-hour-per-week job? Are you looking for simply more hours?” she asks. “Or are you looking for the full shebang, including benefits and everything?”

Preparation is essential, since asking for full-time status should be no different than negotiating a job offer or salary increase, Kapit says.

Here are six tips to arm you for the ask.

Know What Is the Difference Between Part Time and Full Time

Researching your company’s policies should be your first step, since the definition of part time and full time can vary by employer.

Although the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics identifies part-time employees as individuals working one to 34 hours per week, the Fair Labor Standards Act, the federal wage and hour law, doesn’t define full- or part-time employment.

That means one company’s full-time employee could work 40 hours, while another might consider anyone working more than 32 hours full time. And benefits associated with those classifications can vary, too.

Consult your human resources department, hiring manager or employee manual to help you understand your organization’s policy.

List Your Accomplishments

Now is not the time to be humble.

If you’re going to make the case to your boss that the company needs you more, you’ll need to present measurable accomplishments from your part-time tenure, according to Kapit.

“What have you done that has made a difference, that has been impactful, that would not have happened without you?” Kapit asks.

To simplify the process for identifying your achievements, she suggests answering three questions: What did you do? How did you do it? What was the outcome?

This method also applies to seasonal workers even if you’ve only been at the job for a few weeks.

“You have less time to prove yourself,” Kapit says. “But it’s also the nature of the job to have done a lot in a short amount of time.”

Make Your Boss’s Job Easier

Building a good relationship with your boss can help solidify your place on the team. One good way to do that is by volunteering to take on tasks that make your supervisor’s job easier, Kapit advises.

“If your manager knows they can depend on you and that you are being proactive and have foresight into what’s happening, that’s how you build a really strong relationship,” she says.

By changing your mindset so you no longer view the job as temporary, you’ll demonstrate why you deserve to be there full time, according to Scott Waletzke, head of enterprise recruitment strategy at Adecco Staffing USA.

“Set yourself apart and be that individual who is going to have that positive outlook or that positive attitude every single day when you come into work,” he says. “View that job as just an extended interview.”

Network With Those Who’ve Made the Leap

If you haven’t already, introduce yourself to other employees who have successfully made the leap from part time to full time, Kapit advises.

“Ask them for their insight, ask them for their support — especially if they had to have that same conversation with the same [supervisor],” she says.

Networking is a great way to garner support, but Kapit cautions that it only works as part of a bigger strategy.

“If you have built all the great relationships but have really not done anything, that’s really not going to be helpful,” she says. “The main game plan is do a great job because it’s all going to boil down to: How have you been impactful?”

Prepare to Negotiate

So when’s the best time to talk to your boss about your desire for full-time employment?

“There’s no time like the present,” Waletzke says. “No one’s going to know what you want out of that job unless you tell them what you’re looking for.”

And by going in prepared with your list of needs and accomplishments, you’ll be ready to confidently approach the negotiation as a discussion rather than a plea, Kapit says.

“That question, ‘What can we do?’ is very strategic,” she says. “It’s opening it up as a true dialogue between two people, as opposed to ‘I want this’ or ‘I’ll defer to you.’”

And don’t forget to think outside the box — or your current job at the company.

“If it’s not in your current role, perhaps there is another full-time position available in another department,” Kapit says. “This is particularly true for seasonal employees looking to make a post-holiday leap.”

Always Be Looking

Even armed with a list of accomplishments and an armada of advocates, your boss might say no to your request to become a full-time employee.

“Unfortunately, as an employee, you don’t necessarily always see behind the scenes,” says Waletzke, who notes there are any number of reasons a boss may decline, including budgetary reasons or hiring criteria restrictions.

If you’re a seasonal or temporary worker, Waletzke strongly recommends finishing the assignment, since your manager might provide a reference — or possibly a job in the future.

“Definitely stick it out and stay for the long haul, because you might even pick up some skills along the way,” he says.

By developing a professional, well-researched approach, you’re creating a guide for your ongoing career journey, Kapit stresses.

“Know that’s it’s not personal, and it’s just a matter of continuing your job search,” says Kapit. She adds that until you find a job that offers you the hours and pay you want, “You should always be looking.”

Tiffany Wendeln Connors is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. Data journalist Alex Mahadevan contributed to this article.

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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Same Job for Many Years? These 5 Tips Will Help You Reinvent Yourself

After 10 years in human resources at a nonprofit, Laura Niebauer Palmer figured she wouldn’t have any problem finding a new HR job when she and her husband moved from Chicago to Austin, Texas.

Then she started reading the job postings — which asked for advanced training and experience with programs she didn’t use — and realized her old skills weren’t marketable for a new position.

“My heart sank,” the 38-year-old says. “I was like, “What am I going to do? How am I going to bridge this gap?’”

So how is it that 10 years of experience could become a detriment rather than a strength for a job candidate?

Many longtime workers are falling behind on the skills required in rapidly changing industries, according to Alvin Nesbot, the New York City market manager for Manpower.

“People who are just joining the job market — maybe within the past three to five years or so — are making moves a lot faster than people who have been working for 10-plus years,” Nesbot says. “There are those people who have worked a lot longer who have stayed in a lull and gotten stagnant.”

And it’s not just another co-worker who’ll offer the skills you’re lacking — at least, not a human one. It’s estimated that half of the work activities companies pay people to do could be automated by 2055, according to a study by the McKinsey Global Institute.

If you’re worried your field is going the way of the dinosaur, here are some alternative jobs for dying industries. But what if you like your industry and just want to change jobs? Read on for strategies for making a change after years in the same gig.

How to Make a Career Change

Laura Niebauer works on her laptop while holding her infant son at home.

If you’re a bit unsure about what’s happening outside your cubicle walls, here are five strategies for avoiding — or escaping — a dead-end job.

1. Network for a Job

Leaving your comfort zone to network may seem intimidating, but it’s a great way to find out what is going on in your industry. It’s part of the reason it’s so important to maintain networking relationships even after you have found a job.

Being around your peers is not only helpful for finding contacts for the next job but also for discovering what credentials and terminology are becoming more prominent within your field, according to Palmer.

“You have like-minded people to bounce ideas off,” he says. “Also, it’s very eye-opening when you’re around a bunch of people and they’re having conversations about topics you don’t really know about or are using acronyms that you’re like, ‘Wait, what does that mean?’”

And if the thought of a networking event makes you break out in hives, try one-on-one networking with former colleagues, Palmer suggests.

“What I would have done differently is definitely caught up with people who had left the company,” he says. She adds that by asking about the transition to new roles, you’ll get a better idea of what technology and skills are in demand outside your office.

2. Update Your Resume

If your resume touts WordPerfect expertise and includes your AOL address, it’s probably time for a resume makeover. (Also, stop wearing that sundress over a T-shirt.)

Reading your resume with a critical eye is essential for identifying skills or programs that are no longer relevant for your position, according to Nesbot.

“What you were doing seven to 10 years ago is not going to be relevant or as important as what is going on today,” Nesbot says. “Are there things making [your resume] look dated?”

If it’s been a couple of presidential administrations since you last updated your resume, you may want to start fresh. (Here’s a guide to writing a professional-looking resume.)

But starting over doesn’t mean you have to forget your past experiences. Instead, take some time to compile a comprehensive list of training and accomplishments, Nesbot suggests.

“Sometimes we don’t look at our resumes in a while, and we realize there are things we’ve been doing that we haven’t highlighted,” Nesbot says. “Include any certifications or training that you’ve done to help set you apart from any other candidate.”

Once you have your list, compare it to current job postings and craft your resume so it includes recent credentials and popular terms within your industry.

“Make sure you have buzz words that are going to stand out to whoever is reading your resume,” Nesbot says.

3. Find a Mentor

Palmer holds her son in his nursery.

Once she got to Austin, Palmer ended up at a staffing agency looking for work. The agency placed her in a temporary three-month position to fill in for a woman on maternity leave.

Palmer used those months to take advantage of the in-house training department to connect with someone who could provide long-term career advice.

“The biggest part that helped me develop was the mentorship that I had with my boss,” she says. “I learned so much from her; my confidence rose 100%.

You can’t replicate that with a course.”

At the end of her temporary gig, the company offered Palmer a full-time position in the HR department.

4. Volunteer for Experience

Rather than repeating past mistakes, Palmer says, she took the opportunity at her new job to question what she really wanted in the next five or 10 years — and it turns out, it wasn’t HR.

After spending some time figuring out what she really wanted to do, Palmer decided than rather than pouring money into additional education, she’d offer to work for free in exchange for the experience she was lacking.

“I volunteered at two organizations, and one of them specifically was something that I wouldn’t have been able to land a job at because I had no experience,” Palmer says. “But when you say, ‘Hey, I can volunteer for this,’ then they’re like, ‘Great, we have somebody who has a lot of time and is really excited about this. We’ll put some training into them.’”

Thanks to that experience, Palmer was able to snag a part-time job at a small company, which allows her to spend time with her infant son as well as write articles sharing her expertise — including some for The Penny Hoarder.

5. Apply for Jobs Before You Need One

Even if you’re happy in your job right now, it doesn’t hurt to start investigating what’s out there.

After all, the best way to discover if you’re growing or stagnating in your career is to find out if someone will hire you — and there’s always a chance you’ll find your dream job in the process, Palmer points out.

Look at the jobs right now and actually apply to them and go through interviewing,” Palmer says. “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that to see where your skills are — if they’re lining up with what is currently needed in the market.

“But you also might land a job that you didn’t even know you wanted.”

Why You’re Not Job Hunting

Laura Neibauer plays with her infant son in his nursery in Austin, TX.

Reevaluating your skills every few years takes some work, but the rewards are a more fulfilling career with greater chances for growth. Admittedly, that can be hard to do when you’re happy — or at least satisfied — with your current position.

Your salary and benefits might tempt you to stay put, but you’ll suffer in the long run if you’re too scared to change, according to Palmer. She notes part of the reason she stayed at her first job for so long was the generous paid time off and health care coverage.

“It’s hard because you’re trying to balance furthering yourself but also realizing if you further yourself, you’re taking a risk,” Palmer says. “ But if you’re looking to grow in your career… you need to challenge yourself.”

Tiffany Wendeln Connors is a staff writer with The Penny Hoarder. She likes all kinds of change, but pennies are her favorite.

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.

The Penny Hoarder Promise: We provide accurate, reliable information. Here’s why you can trust us and how we make money.

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5 tips for camping with a baby

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To some parents, the very idea of taking their baby on a camping trip might sound like the scariest, most unrealistic thing in the world. However, for others, who are usually more outdoorsy in their nature, this adventure (and yes it’s an adventure in every sense of the word) may sound like the best idea. For those who might be a bit more insecure about the whole concept of camping with a baby, you should probably keep in mind that babies are more adaptable than you’d think, even to less sterilized environments. However, it does take a bit more planning and reorganization.

Taking your baby camping is for sure challenging, but you’ll be surprised how much the rewards are worth the experience. The idea might sound pretty far-fetched, but you really have to give it a try. In fact, the earlier you would take your babies camping, the easier it would be for you. Summer time is also the perfect time to do so, so pack your sleeping bag and a couple of diapers (and lots of baby wipes) and just go. Before you go, here are a few helpful tips that will help you survive camping with your baby:

Daylight is key

If it’s possible, try to make it to your site when the sun is still out and there’s plenty of natural light to set everything up. The things you will take along will probably double now that you have an infant, so it’s really for your own good to try and make it before the sun goes down

There is no such thing as too many diapers

If you always thought what it would be like to go all organic with your baby’s diapers, meaning, choosing the non-disposable option instead, now is not the time. When they haven’t been used, diapers don’t weigh so much so take as many as you think you will need + an extra ten. The last thing you want to happen is to be left without them.

Stay stress-free

Any activity that is done with a baby can be quite stressful. It’s understandable, after all you pull them out of their comfort zone and let them adapt to a new and unfamiliar situation. Or perhaps it’s you that is being pulled out of your comfort zone? In any case, if you’re feeling more stressful than usual, try not to act that way in front of your baby, as he will pick up on that and will act accordingly.

Keep it simple

Camping is already about going on a vacation light in its nature, so you should probably pack accordingly. Sure, traveling with babies sounds like you can’t not go overboard with your packing, but there’s a fine line between getting yourself prepared for the worst case and really over packing. In a nutshell, take a few extras just to be sure you’re not stuck, but there’s really no point in packing your baby’s entire closet.

Fit your daily schedule in your vacay schedule

When you have a newborn at home, it’s really important to try and stick to a somewhat ‘strict’ schedule with their naps and feeding times. It makes their day better and they know what to anticipate for, and it makes your day (and night) much more pleasant. Now, we know that when you’re on vacation, the whole schedule thing gets a little confused. However, try to stick to your baby’s schedule naps as much as you can to avoid any major meltdowns or over-tiredness.

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The post 5 tips for camping with a baby appeared first on Worldation.

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A local’s guide to Jamaica: 10 top tips

The Caribbean’s third-largest island is rich in history and natural highs, from Noël Coward’s clifftop hideaway to ganja (now legal), coffee and vegan Rasta food

The Firefly Estate was the home, and is now the burial place, of Sir Noël Coward. The land was once owned by the infamous pirate Sir Henry Morgan, and it commands one of the most amazing coastal and mountain views in Jamaica, overlooking the town of Port Maria. It was a haunt of the early jet-set crowd – everyone from the Queen to Ian Fleming was entertained at Coward’s modest villa.

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5 Tips for Managing Diabetes during National Diabetes Month

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the global prevalence of diabetes among adults over 18 years of age rose from 4.7 percent in 1980 to 8.5 percent in 2014. A 2016 Harris Poll conducted for the Calorie Control Council revealed 20 percent of U.S. consumers reported having been diagnosed with diabetes or prediabetes by a medical professional.

With November being National Diabetes Month, Karima Kendall, Ph.D., RDN, LDN of the Calorie Control Council (CCC), has outlined five tips for managing this disease impacting an increasing number of people.

1. Manage stress

Too much stress is unhealthy for anyone, especially for those living with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. In addition to stress causing people to forget or not have time to check blood sugar levels or plan healthy meals, stress hormones can directly alter blood sugar levels. Making an effort to reduce stress by implementing tactics such as fitness classes, breathing exercises, and other relaxing hobbies will only help in diabetes management.

2. Get up and move at least 30 minutes a day

Exercise helps increase insulin sensitivity. This means the cells in your muscles are better able to use any available insulin to take up glucose during and after physical activity. In addition to helping lower blood glucose in the short term, exercise on a consistent, regular basis can lower your A1C. Aim for a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise a day. Be mindful, however, that low blood sugars can occur during and up to 24 hours after physical activity, and are more likely to occur if you take insulin, skip meals, or exercise intensely or for a long period of time.

3. Take advantage of low- and no-calorie sweeteners

Dealing with diabetes on a daily basis is hard enough without having to give up the sweet treats you enjoy. There are several low- and no-calorie sweeteners available that are safe to consume and provide the same sweetness as sugar, but without impacting blood glucose levels. In addition to being found in packaged foods and beverages, many of these sweeteners can be purchased at the grocery store and serve as stand-alone sweeteners for use in your own recipes. Given the holiday treats enjoyed this time of year at seasonal gatherings, these sweeteners can help you have your sweet frozen hot chocolate – and drink it too! For more information on low- and no-calorie sweeteners and diabetes, including carb-smart recipes, visit here.

4. Ward off sickness

Physical stress, such as illness or injury, causes higher blood glucose levels in people living with diabetes. With cold and flu season upon us, make sure to get your flu shot, eat well, and wash your hands frequently. In addition, talk to your doctor about adjustments you may need to make to your personal diabetes management routine and insulin dosing (if appropriate) in the event you get sick.

5. Remember, don’t let ‘perfect’ be the enemy of ‘good’

Although there are differences in the management of type 1 versus type 2 diabetes, maintaining a perfect blood sugar 100 percent of the time is simply not possible, no matter how closely you monitor and manage your diabetes. Even those without diabetes experience moderate spikes and lows in their blood sugar levels. Instead, focus on living a balanced lifestyle full of things that motivate you, instead of letting occasional bad blood sugar levels discourage you. You control your diabetes – not the other way around!

 


This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of Calorie Control Council from November 16-18, 2016 among 2,074 U.S. adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Stan Samples at the Calorie Control Council, ssamples@caloriecontrol.org and 678-303-2996.

The post 5 Tips for Managing Diabetes during National Diabetes Month appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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5 Tips for Managing Diabetes during National Diabetes Month

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the global prevalence of diabetes among adults over 18 years of age rose from 4.7 percent in 1980 to 8.5 percent in 2014. A 2016 Harris Poll conducted for the Calorie Control Council revealed 20 percent of U.S. consumers reported having been diagnosed with diabetes or prediabetes by a medical professional.

With November being National Diabetes Month, Karima Kendall, Ph.D., RDN, LDN of the Calorie Control Council (CCC), has outlined five tips for managing this disease impacting an increasing number of people.

1. Manage stress

Too much stress is unhealthy for anyone, especially for those living with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. In addition to stress causing people to forget or not have time to check blood sugar levels or plan healthy meals, stress hormones can directly alter blood sugar levels. Making an effort to reduce stress by implementing tactics such as fitness classes, breathing exercises, and other relaxing hobbies will only help in diabetes management.

2. Get up and move at least 30 minutes a day

Exercise helps increase insulin sensitivity. This means the cells in your muscles are better able to use any available insulin to take up glucose during and after physical activity. In addition to helping lower blood glucose in the short term, exercise on a consistent, regular basis can lower your A1C. Aim for a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise a day. Be mindful, however, that low blood sugars can occur during and up to 24 hours after physical activity, and are more likely to occur if you take insulin, skip meals, or exercise intensely or for a long period of time.

3. Take advantage of low- and no-calorie sweeteners

Dealing with diabetes on a daily basis is hard enough without having to give up the sweet treats you enjoy. There are several low- and no-calorie sweeteners available that are safe to consume and provide the same sweetness as sugar, but without impacting blood glucose levels. In addition to being found in packaged foods and beverages, many of these sweeteners can be purchased at the grocery store and serve as stand-alone sweeteners for use in your own recipes. Given the holiday treats enjoyed this time of year at seasonal gatherings, these sweeteners can help you have your sweet frozen hot chocolate – and drink it too! For more information on low- and no-calorie sweeteners and diabetes, including carb-smart recipes, visit here.

4. Ward off sickness

Physical stress, such as illness or injury, causes higher blood glucose levels in people living with diabetes. With cold and flu season upon us, make sure to get your flu shot, eat well, and wash your hands frequently. In addition, talk to your doctor about adjustments you may need to make to your personal diabetes management routine and insulin dosing (if appropriate) in the event you get sick.

5. Remember, don’t let ‘perfect’ be the enemy of ‘good’

Although there are differences in the management of type 1 versus type 2 diabetes, maintaining a perfect blood sugar 100 percent of the time is simply not possible, no matter how closely you monitor and manage your diabetes. Even those without diabetes experience moderate spikes and lows in their blood sugar levels. Instead, focus on living a balanced lifestyle full of things that motivate you, instead of letting occasional bad blood sugar levels discourage you. You control your diabetes – not the other way around!

 


This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of Calorie Control Council from November 16-18, 2016 among 2,074 U.S. adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Stan Samples at the Calorie Control Council, ssamples@caloriecontrol.org and 678-303-2996.

The post 5 Tips for Managing Diabetes during National Diabetes Month appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Lifestyle | Black Enterprise

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A local’s guide to Marseille: 10 top tips

Transformed but not gentrified since its year as Capital of Culture in 2013, France’s second city remains a vibrant cultural, ethnic and gastronomic melting pot

Alexandre is a modernist chef who I admire a lot, and his restaurant is worth a gourmet splash out, especially at lunchtime (midday tasting menus from €39-92). He opened AM four years ago and was awarded a Michelin star in 2016. A meal here is very much a surprise: no written menu, just tasting selections that can run to 10 servings, but actually include 20-30 tiny dishes. Alexandre was born in the Congo, and incorporates surprising global ingredients in his cuisine – tapioca from Africa, kumbawa fruits, satay and sake from Asia – but also the wonderful fish and seafood we have in the Mediterranean.

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Travel | The Guardian

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Best vegan restaurants in the UK: readers’ travel tips

With influences ranging from Van Gogh to Asia, these vegan venues serve up arty as well as delicious food – on beaches, buses … and in an underpass

Bundobust is fast becoming a Leeds institution for food lovers of all persuasions. Everything is veggie, and a large proportion of the menu is vegan, with an easy vegan sharing menu for two a great way in. From the okra fries dusted in black salt and mango powder (genius) to the chole dal and masala dosa, its south Indian street food, craft beer and Asian-inspired cocktails are a winning combo. With dishes from £4-6.50 it’s also easy on the wallet, so you can try a bit of everything.
bundobust.com
Laura King

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Independent cinemas in the UK: readers’ travel tips

Over 1,500 of you recommended indie picture houses. Here are the top 10 – in stations, warehouses and rural villages

Campbeltown Picture House on the Kintyre peninsula is amazing. Recently refurbished, it has retained all of its original charm (it has been a functioning cinema since 1913) but is now a welcoming, contemporary space offering two screens and a cafe. Screen 1 will blow you away with its atmospheric ceiling and half-timbered “wee house” features. It shows all the latest releases, great classics and streamed live theatre. It is a fantastic cultural hub in a remote, rural area and testament to the relentless hard work of the volunteers who fund-raised to get the refurbishment project off the ground.
Adult from £7, campbeltownpicturehouse.co.uk
Emma Macalister Hall

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Travel | The Guardian

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Daylight saving time: How it affects your sleep, and tips to adjust to the extra hour

It’s time to turn back the clocks. Here are some ways to manage your sleep.
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7 Tips for Taming the Undead in ‘Call of Duty: Black Ops 4’ Zombies

Treyarch’s take on its ever-popular Zombies mode is back in Call of Duty: Black Ops 4. It may feel familiar, but a lot has changed. Arm yourself with these seven tips to stay on the right side of dead in your never-ending battle against the zombie hordes.


Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 - Zombies IX screenshot

ORIENTEERING ORIENTATION

There are a handful of maps to choose from at launch. New to Zombies? Start with IX. It’s the smallest of the bunch and easiest to learn the ropes.

If it’s been a long time between dead-head drinks, try Blood of the Dead. This one’s a remake of the incredibly popular Mob of the Dead map from Black Ops 2.

Got the Black Ops Pass? Sink your teeth into Classified, which is a 2.0 take on the classic confined Five map.

Seasoned undead slayers should dive straight into Voyage of Despair. It’s the trickiest and most involved with a mountainous iceberg of challenges across the board.


Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 - Zombies IX screenshot

NEW ZOMBIES, OLD TRICKS

Some of the old Zombies strategies are alive and well in Black Ops 4. Grab green pick-ups when they’re flashing unless you desperately need them immediately. The light in the sky points to the Mystery Box. And the Mystery Box has the best chance of gifting the best weapons.

When playing with a squad, split the cost of opening new pathways. It’s worth spending the first round or few in the starting area to stack easy points. On the topic of points, knife kills reap bonus points. So do headshots. You’ll need to master headshots to survive the later levels.


Black Ops 4 Zombies - IX screenshot

STRINGING ZOMBIE KITES

Lining up biters (aka “kiting them”) biters is a smidge trickier in Black Ops 4 because of the stacks of chokepoints, corridors, and solid objects.

Doing this is best saved for open areas. Use the “Now You See Me Elixir” to instantly get their attention.

For breathing space, kite the last surviving zombie. This requires communication but lets the rest of your team hunt for parts, solve Easter eggs and tool up. Let the last-remaining zombie hit you once or twice to keep them alive for longer.


Black Ops 4 - Zombies - Voyage of Despair screenshot

BULLET SPEWING

Some guns are personal preference in Zombies. For everyone else, the higher the fire rate, the better. Snag an SMG like the Spitfire or MX9. The Maddox RFB and Hitchcock M9 assault rifles offer the fast-food equivalents of lead sandwiches. And the Hades LMG brings hellfire to the hellish undead.

Make it deep into the roamer rounds and these bullet spewers turn absolutely epic after you put them through the Pack-a-Punch machine. Remember, max ammo automagically reloads all empty weapons, so mag dump your arsenal before snagging it.


Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 - Zombies Blood of the Dead screenshot

BUILD-A-CLASS

In Call of Duty, classes are generally made after you’ve stacked on some levels. Not in Zombies. All-new Elixirs are your best friends. “Anywhere But Here!” is a get-out-of-death-free card that teleports you to a random location. Get downed a lot? Chug “Aftertaste” beforehand to keep all your hard-earned Perks.

Speaking of Perks, you can personalise where they’re accessible on each map. This means you can frontload your fave ones to the earliest collection points. Save the one with the biggest modifier for the final slot.


Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Zombies IX screenshot

NEW RES-OLUTION

Reviving players isn’t as speedy as it used to be. That’s why it’s worth investing in the “Quick Revive” Perk. For the maps where it’s available, the Scepter of Ra special weapon is as good at resurrecting fallen friendlies as it is frying foes.

The other trick is to lure the bulk of the horde away from your incapacitated comrades, then chug the “Nowhere But There” Elixir. This will teleport you to your downed teammate to get them back in the fight.


Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Zombies - Blood of the Dead screenshot

AGENTS OF SHIELD

Every map has hidden Easter eggs. Some are powerful, map-specific weapons. The common one is a shield that works well on defence and offence. You’ll have to find the parts scattered randomly around each map, then build it at a specific bench.

Thankfully, collected parts are shared between players. And there are only three of them to sniff out. Unequipped, the shield protects your back. Equipped, it blocks hits up front. It also has an insanely powerful melee attack and strong ranged attack. Rebuild it once it’s smashed.

Apply these tips to your next Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Zombies session, which is available right now on PS4, Xbox One, and PC.

The post 7 Tips for Taming the Undead in ‘Call of Duty: Black Ops 4’ Zombies appeared first on FANDOM.

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Spooky places to visit in the UK this Halloween: readers’ travel tips

Serious history collides with fond imaginings in our tipsters’ tales of the unexplained, from a Spanish Armada wreck to a snuffling ghost pooch

Windhouse, on Yell, is probably Shetland’s most haunted house. Last year, two 13th-century skeletons were uncovered at this 18th-century ruin, which is reputedly haunted by a lady in silk, a man in a top hat, a servant girl and a dog. There are reports of skeletal remains of a woman, man and child found in separate incidents between the 1880s and 1900s, as well as the story of the shipwrecked sailor who spent a night in the house one Christmas and had to fight off a monster with an axe. The house can be visited for free anytime – and if you’re feeling brave, the gatehouse is now run as a camping pod by Shetland Amenity Trust (£12pp, sleeps 8, Mar-Oct).
Charlotte

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Travel | The Guardian

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14 Crazy Cleaning Tips That Actually Work

You may have your allegiances to certain brands of cleaning products, but are they really getting the job done? If you have an especially tough cleaning problem to solve and the supermarket supplies just aren’t cutting it, maybe it’s time for a slightly more unconventional approach, one that involves grabbing a few items from the pantry or trying a wacky, off-the-wall cleaning trick. Ready for a little adventure? Here are 14 crazy cleaning tips that actually work.
Bob Vila : Trusted Home Renovation & Repair Expert

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The Weekend Reset – Product Wars, disguise tips and a Halloween party playlist.

It’s Friday. Looking for something to switch up your weekend, or to give you an excuse to relax a little? That’s what the Weekend Reset is for. Each week contributor Tim Johnstone pulls together five things to get your weekend started. Could be something to read or watch, something to eat or listen to, or even something to do. Enjoy the weekend fellas.

 

ADJUST:…your perspective.

This is a story about the Mercator projection. It is a story about maps and how they are mostly wrong. It is a story about distortion and the poles. And, it is a reminder that there are some things which we learned and thought we understood that might need another look.

 

PARTY: A playlist made for your Halloween bash.

The Saturday night before Halloween (especially when the holiday is in the middle of the week) is THE night for big adult parties. For those of you hosting or going to a party, we’ve created the perfect soundtrack for a night of fun. Like the old Ronco adds would say, “set it and forget it!”

 

READ: Yes, you can work yourself to death.

It happens. If you find yourself being tasked with more and more projects and obligations at work, make sure you keep yourself healthy and aware of your health. We’d very much like to have you hanging around with us. Obligatory.

 

WATCH: Product Wars (a short)

For those of us who wonder about the future of marketing and branding, this is a surrealistic take on what could be coming our way. Satire and social commentary with a dose of humor all combine for a bit of fun. I’m hoping for my own Gritty.

 

LEARN: Pick up some pointers for your Halloween costume?

When I was a kid there was a movie called F/X and it was a pretty big pop culture hit. It hasn’t aged well but it was fun at the time and it left an impression. This story is about how the CIA protects its agents via disguises. In other words, this is the real life version of the movie and it is really interesting.

Tim Johnstone is Dappered’s music correspondent as well as our resident gatherer of all things interwebs related. He’s currently undergoing a Tim Improvement Project™ (Version 4.0). It’s not pretty.


Dappered Style Mail

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6 strangely effective sleep tips you haven’t tried before

Experts share quick tips to help set you up to catch some primo z’s. Chill out A cold room — between 60 and 67 degrees — is best for sleep, says Dr. Alex Dimitriu, a psychiatrist and sleep doctor based in California. When your body temperature drops, he says, it signals that it’s time to…
Living | New York Post

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5 Tips for Power Rapport Building for Networking

Networking is all the rage, but if you’re introverted, the idea of meeting someone cold is not appealing. So how do you optimize a brief meeting with a prospect, an industry colleague, or potential employer? In these popular speed-networking events, 5 minutes may be all the face time you get to establish a rapport — which, let’s face it, is the very beginnings of a relationship. However, it is the very foundation of strong ones.

In many ways, networking is like dating — the relationship will only take off, if there is mutual interest: #swiperight

How do you spark that interest? Here are five ways to establish a solid rapport, and they can even help a die-hard extrovert:

Set your rapport-building agenda.

As with anything, you need to have an agenda — sounds cynical, but you should know exactly what your goal is for your meeting. Ask yourself, “What do I want to get out of making this new contact?” Answer that, and crystalize it in your mind. You need no more than 2-3 items on your agenda.

Keep reading. I provide 3 proven agenda items for effective communications below.

Raise a question.

Consider a leading question that will show your new contact that you are familiar with and have an interest in what they do. But that question should also lead you down a path that makes your next step seem natural.

Example: “I read your last thought leadership piece on XYZ. I loved that you took a position on ZYX. What do you think about [insert something organic to the topic that will tee up your mission/interests/value]?”

A Harvard study has found that there is a link between asking a question and likeability. Be sure to genuinely listen to the answer and ask a follow up question or engage with the answer in some way.

Share your mission.

Some of you have been coached on how to deliver a great elevator pitch. Think of this as your mission. This is the one or two sentences that sum up who you are and the value you bring. For instance, mine is:

“I help businesses and people make money and thrive at the intersection of business, culture, and technology.”

That is bigger than a title or a job description, and it allows your contact to see your potential. When you share this value proposition, be certain to project confidence.

Call them to action.

Invite them to visit your blog, your LinkedIn page, or to look over your resume. This is your time to lead them on a path to get to know you after your brief meeting ends.

Follow up!

Your meetings are only as good as the follow up you give it. Whether it’s a phone call, an e-mail, or a LinkedIn connection, you want to ensure that your follow up is meaningful to your connection and not simply self-serving.

Now that you’ve established a rapport, it’s time to network.  Here are 5 things you can do, if you absolutely don’t like the idea of it.

The post 5 Tips for Power Rapport Building for Networking appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Career | Black Enterprise

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