Category Archives: Uncategorized

Five Tips for Dealing with Stress at Work

We all have those days. The stressful ones where we’re sure our job is going to be the death of us (even if we spend most of the day comfortable lounging in a desk chair). So how do you push through it with your sanity intact? Try to remember these five tips:

1.       Don’t procrastinate. Easier said than done, right? Putting a project or assignment off until the last minute will cause you nothing but stress. Instead, try to prioritize everything you have going on, and make sure you always overestimate how much time you think it may take you to accomplish something.

2.       Take a deep breath. Or 10. This sounds simple, but focusing on deep breathing has a calming effect. Breathe in, and sigh all of the air out. Science has shown that a dramatic sigh can release tension, and the extra oxygen can help you focus.

3.       Make a list. It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you feel you have a million things to do, and writing it out will help you prioritize. (And it’s always a great feeling when you get to check something off.)

4.       Take a break. When you’re stuck, step away for a second. Go for a quick walk. Eat an ice cream sandwich. Check your Instagram feed. As long as it’s only for a short period of time, focusing on something that isn’t your work can actually help you gain insight.

5.       Ask for help. It’s not a bad thing to admit you don’t know everything. In this Millennial’s world where we Google the answers to our every question, we tend to forget that sometimes the best help is in the office right next to us.

Summer is Here

Warm weather. Long, sunny days. Perfectly temperate water. You know what this means: Summer is here, and it’s time to break out the swimsuit.

This year is different, though. With the movement to create acceptance for women to love their bodies, even if they don’t fit into the media prototype, it has opened many doors for what is trendy this season. It’s no longer all about bikinis.

Recently, high-waist garments have become an item of clothing that many women can’t imagine their closets without. Naturally, they are making their statement in swimwear. If you’re nervous about exposing too much, these suits give you the option to keep the “skin” minimal. It also takes away pressure from new moms who are still adjusting to their bodies.

Another alternative to the traditional bikini is the one-piece. That’s right, it’s back and with a vengeance. No longer only for aquatic athletes, older ladies and young girls, the one-pieces of this season are snatching hearts and dropping jaws. When garments with high waists started coming onto the scene, leotards and body suits started sneaking back into our closets with them. Even long sleeved one-pieces are becoming popular.

This summer’s swimwear trends offer relief to many that have anxiety about being in a swimsuit. These alternatives are still fashion forward, but finally offer something for everyone. It looks like this year’s “beach body,” is every body.

Food Trends of 2016

Keep your eyes peeled and stomachs full! Maybe it was the introduction of Instagram, but suddenly it seems everyone has become a foodie (or, at least, become addicted to taking beautiful pictures of artisan food). Luckily, however, now that folks are more open to expanding their palette, chefs are constantly exposing us to new and exciting food options.

Here are some of the trending foods of 2016. 

1.       Poké

It’s a traditional Hawaiian dish that is making its way into the stomach of many this year. Pronounced “poke-AY,” it is traditionally chunked raw fish marinated in soy and sesame. Often seen over bowls of rice, many restaurants are starting to offer it on anything. From poké tacos to poké sandwich wraps, it is carving out a spot in the culinary world.

 

2.      Seaweed

Say goodbye to your friend, kale, and make room for your new super friend, seaweed. Rich in fiber and vitamins, this new green is on its way to taking over the go-to-green scene. Not only is it super nutritious, it’s also plentiful and environmentally friendly! No rainforests in Brazil need to be destroyed for this crop, as its naturally-occurring all over the world.

 

3.       Jewish Cuisine

If you haven’t had the honor of an authentic Jewish meal, you are in luck! Lox, challah and latkes are taking the stage this year. As chefs dive more into their heritages for culinary inspiration, we get a see a lot of traditional food become more accessible and often even get an artisan twist! Move aside, late-night pizza. Hello, late-night latkes!

 

4.      Artisan Ice Cream

I couldn’t end this hunger-inducing post without desert! Artisan ice cream is making many turn their noses up to the classics. No one wants to be vanilla, so don’t let your ice cream be it! Check out some of the interesting flavors below:

 

·         Pistachio Honey Ricotta from High Road Craft Ice Cream and Sorbet

·         Carrot Habanero Pepper from Steve’s Ice Cream

·         Chorizo Caramel Swirl from Odd Fellows Ice Cream Co.

Gardening with a Brown Thumb

Everyone always has that friend or family member who raves about the benefits of gardening. It could be improving the quality of air in your home or it could provide you with ever-fresh herbs and vegetables.

The only problem with your gardening, however: You can’t seem to be able to keep a plant alive. You are a serial killer of plants.

Unlike the perps on Law & Order: SVU, you can be reformed. Below are a few tricks and tips to help with the transition from plant murdered to plant nurturer. 

·        Not many things like to be pinched, but it turns out your herbs do! If you have decided to grow herbs indoors or out, lightly pinch the tip before the bundle of leaves to promote healthy leaves.

·        For those who want to grow flowers on their balcony, patio or in their yards, be sure to put a coffee filter at the bottom of the pot. This will help soil stay put. Also if it’s a large pot, put packing peanuts at the bottom to minimize how much it weighs. This way if you do let your flowers die, moving the pot won’t make you want to.

·        If you have a four-legged friend that loves to destroy all of the nice leafy things you bring home, simply sprinkle a bit of cayenne pepper on your plants to keep your plant-murdering partner away. (And, FYI, cayenne is harmless to pets.)

·        Set a reminder on your phone to water the plants or move them outside or close to a window. These are the most likely reasons your plants have been having funerals at an alarming rate – water, and sunlight.

If these simple tips don’t help your problem, I have one more suggestion: Get a succulent. They require lots of light and minimal water. I’m sure you can keep cactus and the like alive. If not, your local craft store is bound to have many fake plants to give others the illusion that you are not a plague to plants even though we both know you are.

No More Morning Joe?

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In the United States, about 50 percent of the population (150 million people) drink at least one cup of coffee daily. Many have (much) more than tha
t every morning. In a society where we are always on the run and barely have time to spend with our loved ones, coffee is the fuel that keeps us running. It might not be for long, though.

Brazil is currently the largest producer of coffee, but it has recently experienced a drought causing fields to yield less, combined with a high rate of deforestation. Thankfully for coffee drinkers, Indonesia and Honduras are expected have bountiful crops this year. But this situation may not last long enough for the conditions in Brazil to improve. With more coffee consumers coming out of traditional tea drinking countries, like China, India and the United Kingdom, coffee is projected to skyrocket in price in as little as three years.

Unfortunately, there’s not much any of us can do about the price of our beloved Joe. As for the future of the beans, however, experts believe that coffee varietals will continue to evolve as temperatures change, just as they’ve observed with wine grapes and even bananas. That prediction could be good news for regions not typically known for growing coffee – and is definitely good news for America’s caffeine addicts!

No Dogs Allowed? Alternative Pets

A lot of times people get hung up on the misconception that only cats, dogs  and gerbils can be pets. If you’re looking to go against the status quo, I have some top alternative picks for you!

1.       Fancy rats

Turns out rats aren’t just for causing a ruckus or helping with science experiments! Fancy rats are domesticated brown rats that are super smart and affectionate. Due to its intellect, you can teach this fuzzy friend how to do some pretty cool tricks – like hang out on your shoulder or ride along in your bag!

2.      Hedgehogs

Hedgies are adorable, playful quilled friends. These little guys are known to become very attached to their owners if they are socialized with often. Thought to be quiet creatures, these tiny buddies are known to grunt, snort and purr when exploring their environments.

3.      Skunks

Once their glands are removed, you can stop holding your nose. Be careful, though: A number of states have these fuzzy guys listed as illegal to keep as pets. Contrary to popular belief, skunks require a ton of attention and are likely to turn into “lap skunks” to ensure they are getting the attention they deserve. These highly intelligent creatures can also be potty-trained in multiple ways. You can train them to go outside, use a puppy pad or even a litter box.  

4.      Bearded Dragons

Beardies are great reptiles for beginners. Each one has a unique personality all its own. They typically enjoy being handled; however, if your bearded friend ever starts getting aggressive, be sure to get a pair of garden gloves and continue interacting with it to correct the negative behavior. Once a bond has been formed, they are likely to use their endearing wave to greet you!

5.      Tarantula

I know, I know. Spider. Scary. Biting. But these guys are very cool, unique pets! They are low maintenance, but they do need their cages cleaned occasionally. These fuzzy eight-legged pals are also odorless. Biting is a concern, but most don’t bite and oftentimes medical attention isn’t necessary when bitten. Plus, they can show signs of affection and comfort! When they shoot webs in your presence, which means they are comfortable with you (which, in turn, probably means they won’t bite you).

 

Paw-fect buddies for cuddling and lounging

It’s easy to feel alone when you’re always on the go. Perhaps that’s why so many have opted for furry friends to cuddle after a long day at work! If you’re considering a fuzzy buddy, it’s important keep your ideal activity level in mind.

High-energy dogs are more likely to become destructive when they don’t have the proper outlets and are therefore often deemed “bad dogs.” To avoid that dilemma, I’ve found five of the laziest (or, the more preferred term, “low energy”) breeds that might be ideal if you’re interested in long days, hanging out on the couch with your wet-nosed friend.

  1. Greyhounds

I know what you’re thinking: “How is a dog that is bred for racing a low-energy dog?” Turns out these quick sprinters would typically rather be hanging out on the couch. A great thing about Greyhounds is that many are available to be adopted after their racing careers, so it would be easy to create an entire clan of these lovable couch potatoes!

  1. Pugs

These piles of dough are fantastic loungers. With their squished faces and wiggly corkscrew tails, these guys are stoked to hang out on the couch after a long day at the office. Be careful not to over exercise your round friend, however. That squished face can make breathing more difficult.

  1. Bulldogs

Another squishy-faced friend means more light walks, but it also means more cuddles! You have to deal with some drool, but this pal with a wiggly butt will be excited to “Netflix and Chill” any night of the week.

  1. Basset Hounds

These flappy skinned love muffins are technically medium energy dogs, but that just means you should probably visit a dog park with them during the weekends. Other than that, these floppy eared comrades are happy to spend their days in bed curled up next to you. The only down fall is that you might accidentally use up all your sick days because it is hard to say goodbye those eyes!

  1. Glen of Imaal Terriers

Technically another medium energy dog, these gentle friends just need a bit more time on walks to burn away the energy. Once the walk is out of the way, this scraggly character is ready to bond in bed with a movie and ice cream.

Though these pups are known for their laid-back behavior, that doesn’t mean other “higher energy” dogs can’t possess the same character. Purebred dogs are cute and more predictable, but that certainly doesn’t mean your perfect match isn’t at your local shelter.

 

No Dogs Allowed? Alternative Pet Ideas

A lot of times people get hung up on the misconception that only cats, dogs and gerbils can be pets. If you’re looking to go against the status quo, I have some top alternative picks for you!

1.       Fancy rats

Turns out rats aren’t just for causing a ruckus or helping with science experiments! Fancy rats are domesticated brown rats that are super smart and affectionate. Due to its intellect, you can teach this fuzzy friend how to do some pretty cool tricks – like hang out on your shoulder or ride along in your bag!

2.      Hedgehogs

Hedgies are adorable, playful quilled friends. These little guys are known to become very attached to their owners if they are socialized with often. Thought to be quiet creatures, these tiny buddies are known to grunt, snort and purr when exploring their environments. 

3.      Skunks

Once their glands are removed, you can stop holding your nose. Be careful, though: A number of states have these fuzzy guys listed as illegal to keep as pets. Contrary to popular belief, skunks require a ton of attention and are likely to turn into “lap skunks” to ensure they are getting the attention they deserve. These highly intelligent creatures can also be potty-trained in multiple ways. You can train them to go outside, use a puppy pad or even a litter box.

4.      Bearded Dragons

Beardies are great reptiles for beginners. Each one has a unique personality all its own. They typically enjoy being handled; however, if your bearded friend ever starts getting aggressive, be sure to get a pair of garden gloves and continue interacting with it to correct the negative behavior. Once a bond has been formed, they are likely to use their endearing wave to greet you!

5.      Tarantula

I know, I know. Spider. Scary. Biting. But these guys are very cool, unique pets! They are low maintenance, but they do need their cages cleaned occasionally. These fuzzy eight-legged pals are also odorless. Biting is a concern, but most don’t bite and oftentimes medical attention isn’t necessary when bitten. Plus, they can show signs of affection and comfort! When they shoot webs in your presence, which means they are comfortable with you (which, in turn, probably means they won’t bite you).

Staying Warm in New York

As a lifelong New Yorker, I can confirm the Big Apple is a wonderful place to visit any time of year. But staying warm in these winter months can be difficult. Luckily, for tourists who have been in town in recent weeks, the city has been unseasonably temperate. (We set an all-time record by hitting 68 degrees last weekend! In the middle of December!)

When the weather outside is a little more frightful, however, some people find their time in NYC a little less pleasant. With some preparation, however, conquering the elements is entirely possible. The blog New York Stay has provided “Top Ten Tips for Surviving the Big Freeze” in New York City, and the points cover some absolutely essential points, such as:

  1. Decent shoes or boots that will remain watertight. I must admit, I’ve had a chuckle or two at the expense of out-of-towners who thought they would explore the city in high heels or some other unwise shoe decision. You don’t want to be stuck in that situation.
  2. Thick socks. With all the walking that doing NYC right requires, I typically tell friends to bring thick socks anyway. But in the winter, these will be your best friend.
  3. Gloves. I recommend “tech touch” gloves, with forefingers and thumbs that will allow you to access to crucially important Google Maps on the go.
  4. A nice, soft scarf. New York is the scarf capital of the world. In addition to keeping you warm, this item will also help you blend in.
  5. Long johns or thermal underwear. Nothing can salvage your body temp like a good set of long johns. The best part – nobody can tell you’re wearing them!

If you should arrive in New York and realize you forgot to pack any of the above, I have no doubt the stores on 5th Avenue (which are so beautiful at Christmastime) will be happy to supply you with whatever you need!

Stay Safe on Vacation Rentals

In recent years, vacation rental sites such as Airbnb or TripAdvisor Vacation Rentals have grown in popularity among travelers seeking a budget-friendly, unique place to stay. While these sites do offer amazing deals and experiences, it is important to remember that there are some people out there simply looking to scam you (crazy, right?).

Fortunately, U.S. News & World Report has highlighted ways that you can stay safe when booking with vacation rental sites.

Firstly, never conduct business through an unsecure service. Make sure you are booking through the company’s official site, staying away from any hosts who suggest doing business off of the vacation rental site. If you’re asked to use an instant wire service or to send money through your bank, a red flag should definitely be raised!

If the host also has few to no reviews, you have another reason to be wary. This is when you need to do additional research. You should cross-search on other sites to ensure you are not being scammed. Some sites even offer “verified” accounts that have been checked for authenticity, offering you piece-of-mind.

In addition, it is important to review the listing’s contract agreements to identify the important terms – payment, security deposit, cancellation rules, and amenities. If contracts lack these terms, you may find yourself in a rental scam.

Lastly, if a listing has odd rules or regulations, you may want to pass. Different cities have different rental policies – some don’t even allow overnight rentals! It is up to you to do your homework to ensure the listing you are about to book is legal.

Don’t be one of the many with nightmarish tales about your unconventional vacation rental experience – instead, just be on high alert and take precautionary measures when booking. Prove to that unconvinced friend that these “sketchy” rental sites can actually offer awesome and unforgettable vacation experiences!