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(NewsUSA) - NewsusaInfographic - Santa didn't bring that new car you wanted? Apparently you're not alone. The week after Christmas is the biggest shopping time of the year, according to car shopping site Edmunds.com, with lots of money-saving rebates and incentives. To learn more, visit www.edmunds.com.
(NewsUSA) - Santa quizás este desempolvando sus botas para la nieve y preparándose para la entrega de regalos en Navidad pero los niños hispanos saben que la celebración no termina allí. Ellos esperaran otra visita y otra ronda de regalos después de Navidad, durante la celebración de El Día de los Reyes (Kings Day). El Día de los Tres Reyes, celebrado el 6 de enero, también conocido como La Fiesta de la Epifanía del Señor, para las familias hispanas es un momento muy especial del año. La fecha marca la culminación de los doce días de Navidad y conmemora a los tres reyes magos que viajaron desde lejos, llevándole regalos al niño Jesús.
El Día de los Tres Reyes Magos se ha convertido en una gran tradición para las familias hispanas y es celebrado en toda América Latina. Si bien cada país tiene sus propias costumbres especiales para honrar el día, la mayoría lo celebran dando regalos y comiendo platos tradicionales. Los festines a menudo incluyen flan, tres leches, pernil, pasteles y mucho más. Y ninguna fiesta está completa sin el famoso "coquito", la versión latina del ponche de huevo. Este es un momento para que se reúnan las familias numerosas, continuando así con una tradición llena de alegría, risas, canciones y bailes como es la de los Tres Reyes, o Tres Reyes Magos.
En Puerto Rico, por ejemplo, al igual que los niños les dejan galletas y leche a Santa y zanahorias para los renos en la víspera de Navidad, la costumbre exige que los niños recojan hierba para los camellos y pongan agua para los Reyes. Cuando los niños se van a dormir, los padres esparcen la hierba en el suelo para que se vea como si se la han comido y les dejan regalos a los niños, al igual que los Reyes Magos lo hicieron con el niño Jesús. Los regalos son generalmente más pequeños y sencillos que los que reciben en Navidad.
Los minoristas estadounidenses, como JCPenney, han observado el aumento de las celebraciones del Día de Reyes. A lo largo de la temporada de vacaciones, JCPenney ha apoyado y celebra las tradiciones culturales de las familias latinas a través de su serie de videos en línea "The Gift of New Traditions" en AOL - www.on.aol.com/giftofnewtraditions. Con familias hispanas reales, los videos destacan cómo estas familias multiculturales incorporan sus tradiciones culturales a los días festivos de Estados Unidos. El episodio final de la www.on.aol.com/giftofnewtraditions parte de la serie se centra en la celebración del Día de Reyes. JCPenney también celebra el Día de Reyes en su página de Facebook de JCPenney Latino en facebook.com/JCPenneyLatino.
Para aquellos que están celebrando el Día de Reyes, JCPenney es un destino de compras ideal con su surtido de regalos que se ajustan a cada estilo de vida edad y presupuesto. Los clientes pueden encontrar una gran variedad de regalos emocionantes para los niños y adolescentes que lo tienen todo, desde atractivos dispositivos electrónicos como auriculares, estaciones de conexión y auriculares inalámbricos hasta altavoces para una selección de juguetes de las mejores marcas de hoy. También son grandes regalos los artículos de ropa como abrigos y chalecos suéteres Puffer, y más, así como accesorios de moda desde bufandas hasta joyería. Este año, JCPenney incluso está ofreciendo una tarjeta de regalo con un diseño especial del Día de Reyes. La selección de pequeños artículos eléctricos de cocina, vajillas, sobremesa, decoración y más, también le dan un aire entretenido al Día de Reyes.
(NewsUSA) - They can outperform boys in school, will probably live longer than their male counterparts and, according to the Financial Times, are forecast to outnumber men as millionaires by 2020 in the UK So, why are there still so few women entrepreneurs around the world?
Oh, there are a handful: Marrisa Mayer, president and CEO of Yahoo. Lynn Good, CEO of Duke Energy, and Mary Barra, CEO of GM, to name a few. Yet, it appears these notable women are still the exception rather than the rule.
Still, one woman is betting that America is on the cusp of change, at the same time acknowledging that, "while the Mad Men days may be over, we're also not quite there yet."
"As a young female entrepreneur, this is a tremendous advantage as the world shifts its mindset to how they view women in the workplace," says Solis.
Solis, a millennial, whose first job out of college was for a startup company that is now publicly traded and has over 200 employees, should know. Her father has been in the fin-tech (financial-technology) field for the last 15 years, and she has seen first-hand the amount of hard work, agility and confidence it takes to be an entrepreneur. This experience made the decision to go work for her father, Eric Solis, an easy one.
Together, the father-daughter team created MovoCash, a payment platform that allows consumers to link their bank accounts to their MovoCash account for mobile payments with no limitation on the number of supported banks. Unlike Apple Pay or PayPal, MovoCash eliminates the direct link required by conventional near-field communication (NFC), which has been lauded for its security and convenience, but is being criticized by both analysts and merchants, who say that consumers are not yet comfortable paying with their phone, and that the NFC technology is more expensive to implement than traditional card systems.
"I think the environment for women is exciting," says Laurie Itkin, financial advisor and author of the book "Every Woman Should Know Her Options." "Starting your own business gives a woman the opportunity to be a leader, an opportunity that she might not have in a corporation."
"I feel very fortunate to be in a country that encourages women to take risks, and be innovative and bold. This is a major advantage every American female entrepreneur has today," says Solis.
(NewsUSA) - It's one of the most common injuries from a car crash, and those who've experienced it know it can be even more painful than watching a C-SPAN hearing on waste management.
But in fact, whiplash, as it's commonly known, is about more than just immediate pain. That's because this injury to the soft tissues of the neck from a sudden jerking or "whipping" of the head can also destabilize the spine -- and leave you with severe, long-term pain if left untreated.
It can take anywhere from hours to months for symptoms to manifest themselves, but they include:
* Blurred vision
* Neck, arm, shoulder and low-back pain
* Neck stiffness
* Reduced range of motion in the neck
Since the health of your spine, which houses the nervous system, isn't something you want to gamble with, many health experts recommend seeking chiropractic care at the first sign of one or more of those indicators.
"Chiropractors are specially trained to evaluate and care for neuromusculoskeletal injuries like whiplash," said Gerard Clum, DC, of the not-for-profit Foundation for Chiropractic Progress.
Chiropractic care is aimed at what's been described as "restoring the body" center by making manual and instrument adjustments to improve spine alignment and function. This care may be supported by massage and other soft-tissue techniques. A Doctor of Chiropractic may refer a patient for additional testing or other specialized examination procedures. In situations where it is needed, he/she may also co-manage the patient's care with other providers.
The best part? "It's effective while being completely drug-free," said Dr. Clum.
To locate a chiropractor in your area, visit www.F4CP.org/findadoctor.
(NewsUSA) - In case you haven't noticed, the indoor trampoline industry is booming with new arenas opening throughout the U.S. Not just because they're loads of fun (of course they are), but because it's something families can do together, while enjoying activities like dodge ball, basketball or even exercise classes.
Unlike other businesses despite the recession, the indoor trampoline industry continues to grow by leaps and bounds. According to the Association of Trampoline Parks, estimated industry revenue was approximately $12 million in 2008. Now, the association estimates that there are 340 indoor parks with revenues reaching approximately $680 million.
One of the emerging companies within the industry is Rebounderz Franchise and Development, Inc., founded by Mark Gurley and Al Palladino. Their idea was born out of a wish to occupy their teens' time that didn't include forking over a large sum of cash to an amusement park, yet give them something that would keep their kids active. From there, the two envisioned a place that would include trampolines but also be more than just a place to bounce.
According to the company's website, the two "poured their hearts into creating a truly unique, boldly athletic, family-oriented entertainment venue focused upon safe, physical activity and extreme, high flying action for all ages."
Since it first opened its doors in July 2008, the company now has multiple franchise locations in the U.S., and several more due to be finalized, where guests can jump, flip and bounce their way to health and happiness.
While its standalone trampoline facilities are still a fantastic business offering, Palladino points to a "growing popularity in non-trampoline offerings that provide something for everyone when it comes to active entertainment."
Palladino is referring to the company's family entertainment centers -- facilities that offers everything from fitness classes to slam-dunk basketball courts to kids' areas and foam pits.
"We believe we have an early investment opportunity in a proven and recession-proof business model that's still new to the marketplace. We have an opportunity to become among the first indoor trampoline arenas in most cities and communities," says Gurley.
For more information, visit www.rebounderz.com.
(NewsUSA) - Congratulations, guys, on being so in love that you can save yourself at least one big headache this holiday season.
Yes, for those wondering, if you're planning on popping The Big Question -- marriage, that is -- a diamond engagement ring can also count as her Christmas or Hanukkah present. "If a guy's gonna pop the question eventually, he might as well use the opportunity to avoid shopping for a holiday gift and kill two birds with -- ahem -- one stone," the Washington Post declared.
And you won't be alone: While 39 percent of all marriage proposals occur between Thanksgiving and Valentine's Day, what sane-thinking male wants to be the one who waited till February to give his girlfriend a ring she was expecting in December?
Ergo, to help you out, it's time to separate some myths from facts when it comes to the whole engagement ring-buying process. (Alternate Plan Alert: For those not quite ready to propose -- or, for that matter, who have other diamond jewelry lovers on their holiday lists to shop for -- we've also got some tips for you.)
MYTH: You need to be prepared to spend two months' salary on a ring.
FACT: That's just a guideline. Your financial circumstances -- and your girlfriend's taste -- ultimately rule.
MYTH: There's no way of telling whether a diamond has been produced "ethically" or not.
FACT: This is a big issue for some couples, so know that the Diavik mine in Canada's North West Territories, for one, has gone to great lengths to provide buyers with proof that it's adhering to international standards of labor, health, safety and environmental practices in producing the nicely sized diamonds of good color and gem quality it's famed for.
"Each certified gem is laser-etched with a unique number that indicates the date mined, and each gem's unique optical fingerprint is recorded in an international database so that it can be positively identified," says an expert in the field, noting that many insurance companies offer discounted rates in such cases.
MYTH: Most women want a pear-shaped diamond engagement ring.
FACT: Round diamonds are the most popular.
MYTH: You must pick the ring out yourself in order to maximize the effect.
FACT: Thankfully, no, so you've dodged a bullet there. But if you prefer shopping stag, at least have your girlfriend's hints in mind.
Finally, about those other diamond jewelry gift-gifting tips we promised.
"Classic diamond stud earrings will never go out of fashion," says jewelry and style expert Michael O'Connor, "and diamond line bracelets can be worn with any outfit."
(NewsUSA) - Winter is upon us, but the window hasn't closed for homeowners to keep their heating bills from going through the roof.
While exploring tactics for cutting energy costs, there might be no more critical consideration than windows. A home with inefficient windows is almost like a home with a hole in the wall -- and installing energy-efficient windows can shave up to 15 percent off heating and cooling bills, according to estimates based on data set forth in the U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Star Savings Estimates (www.energystar.gov/windows).
Numerous factors determine a window's energy efficiency. Windows with a lower "U-Factor," for example, are preferable in colder regions because they allow less heat to escape.
"Each homeowner's needs are unique, and it's important to choose windows that make the most sense for your home and environment," said Christine Marvin of Marvin Windows and Doors, a manufacturer of premium, made-to-order windows and doors. "To find out which product and glass solution might be right for you, we always suggest you visit your local dealer."
Here are some other tips to find the best windows for your home:
* Consider your conservation goals. One homeowner may simply want greater energy efficiency. Another may be drawn to "passive" or "net zero" building practices -- whose requirements are designed to maintain comfortable temperatures with incredibly minimal heating and cooling systems.
"At Marvin, our robust product offerings help homeowners achieve whatever type of solution they seek," said Marvin, who also pointed out that Marvin is the only major American window manufacturer to offer Passive House Institute US (PHIUS) certified options in the U.S.
* Don't sacrifice beauty for efficiency. Windows should be beautiful, functional, durable and energy efficient, says Marvin, whose company offers more than 150,000 energy-efficient options, including many standard product solutions that meet new Energy Star criteria that take effect in 2015 and 2016. "Rest assured -- there's a solution that fits both your design and efficiency needs."
* Add window treatments. Certain window treatments also can help maintain comfortable temperatures in a home. For example, homeowners can program Marvin's automated exterior shading system to provide the optimal amount of light, 24 hours a day.
* Consult an expert. Marvin suggests homeowners speak with a professional, when selecting windows, to explore and identify solutions for their home and climate.
(NewsUSA) - It takes years of practice to become a great golfer and to hone your swing. But to reach that level, your body has to be up to the task. Well, it turns out chiropractic care can help golfers treat injuries and restore balance. For more information, visit www.F4CP.org/findadoctor.
Watch the video at: http://youtu.be/cGWPeSV4VKQ
(NewsUSA) - Wow.
Unless you're living in some alternative universe, that's the reaction you're likely shooting for when others open your holiday presents.
But with so many choices out there -- including a seeming bombardment of online offers -- you need to be aware that you're also sending a message about yourself with every gift that's unwrapped.
The right gift, as consumer behavior expert Kit Yarrow has written, "can enhance connections between people." A really bad one
. . .Well, we've probably all distanced ourselves from someone whose obviously inappropriate present screamed "clueless."
Here's what these "wow" gifts say about you:
* I'd rather be safe than sorry. Most women would be thrilled to receive a ginormous bottle of expensive perfume. But beware: A lot of others would interpret such an "easy" choice the way this New York writer did when her (ex-)boyfriend so gifted her after she'd spent weeks searching for the perfect briefcase for him: "It just seemed like something he picked up at the airport duty-free store." Ouch.
* My taste is impeccable. Few things telegraph a person's status like a good watch, and these two beauties from Swiss watchmaker Baume & Mercier (www.baume-et-mercier.com) make almost anyone look like roaring successes. For women, the new Promesse collection includes an elegant model with a black mother-of-pearl face, punctuated by Roman numerals and 69 strategically placed diamonds, with a glossy alligator strap that's thicker than a foreign empress' accent.
"It really makes quite a statement," says Lauren Dimet Waters of Second City Style.
For men, the gold Clifton 10058 -- no diamonds here, but another thick strap -- is absolutely the way to go to strike a perfect balance between classic and modern. You can shop both watches at the Baume & Mercier e-boutique or by calling 1-800-MERCIER, where free wrapping and free engraving are available. Watch the video at http://youtu.be/IR1a-rMKwXM.
* I recognize your passions. An Italian sports car is beyond the reach of most of us, but there's a whole cottage industry out there offering gift certificates for "experiences" like a few hours behind the wheel of exotic autos. Too Le Mans for you? There's also tandem skydiving and whitewater rafting.
* I'm hipper than you think. If your kids accuse you of being frozen in 70s music, buy them tickets to a hot concert. (Hint: Britney Spears is out; Katy Perry is in.)
One caveat: For those toying with contributing to a charity in someone's name, make sure it's a cause they believe in as much as you do. Otherwise, the message you may unwittingly be sending is "It's All About Me."
(NewsUSA) - No one wants a big surprise at tax time, which is why tax professionals recommend that clients review their tax situation early to make any necessary adjustments to withholding or estimated tax payments.
"This used to be a simple process," said Mary Olson, enrolled agent and manager of The Iola Tax Place in Iola, WI. "This year, many tax professionals need to devote more time to understanding the impact of the new Affordable Care Act on their clients. Taxpayers who obtained health insurance through the Affordable Care Act Marketplace may be in for a big surprise at tax time."
As part of the Marketplace, eligible taxpayers had the option to receive a subsidy to help pay their monthly health insurance premiums. This subsidy was paid directly to the health insurance carrier and was considered an advance of the premium tax credit. Eligibility for the subsidy was based on estimated household size and income.
Generally, individuals and families with estimated household incomes for the year between 100 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty level for their family size were eligible for the subsidy:
One person: household income between $11,490 and $45,960.
Family of two: household income between $15,510 and $62,040.
Family of four: household income between $23,550 and $94,200.
Olson cautioned, "If the actual 2014 household income exceeds these amounts, and a subsidy was granted, the subsidy will need to be repaid on their 2014 federal tax return."
Many people were exempt from the Marketplace, so the subsidy was not allowed. Those exempt were already receiving affordable minimum coverage through an eligible employer plan, were eligible for Medicaid, Medicare, CHIP or TRICARE, or were claimed as a dependent on another person's tax return.
In August, the IRS issued draft copies of the health insurance marketplace statement and the premium tax credit form, which must be filed along with the tax returns of those wishing to claim the credit. If the final copies of the forms and instructions are not released in sufficient time for the tax software companies to incorporate them into their programs, the start date for the filing of 2014 tax returns could be affected.
Filing a tax return can be daunting and stressful without the advice and guidance of a tax expert. Enrolled agents receive their licenses from the Department of Treasury -- they're America's Tax Experts. To find an enrolled agent in your area, call 1-800-424-4339 or visit the NAEA website at www.naea.org and click on "Find an EA."
(NewsUSA) - Millennials want to see the world. According to a study by Boston Consulting Group, Americans ages 18-34 reported a greater desire to travel abroad by a 23 percent margin. While the economy rebounds, travel spending by this group is up.
These 80 million young Americans crave authenticity and adventure in travel; they are socially and ecologically conscious and strive for a healthy lifestyle. International travel and cultural experiences are their top priorities. One great travel option is adventure cruising on an eco-friendly ship.
Star Clippers' soft-adventure, healthful activities and unique ports of call make this cruise line perfect for millennials. They can explore several different countries in one vacation on an authentic and comfortable tall ship.
The intimate size of the ships -- just 170 or 227 passengers -- lends the feel of a private yacht. Special itineraries reach exciting destinations, including such exclusive events as the Cannes Film Festival and the Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez yacht regatta. Typical itineraries navigate the Caribbean in winter and Mediterranean in summer, visiting ports less traveled by large cruise liners.
The atmosphere on board is relaxed. An open deck plan encourages guests to climb the mast for a panoramic view from the crow's nest, relax in the bowsprit net or enjoy a cocktail on deck. Events like a pirate-themed party or sunrise yoga create a congenial milieu.
Shoreside activities include historical and athletic pursuits. Water sports, including kayaking, paddle boarding and snorkeling, are popular. Other options for enjoying a day at port range from biking the hills of Croatia to kicking back at a quiet beach barbecue.
For more information on Star Clippers itineraries and a virtual tour, visit www.starclippers.com.
(NewsUSA) - It's one of the unfortunate truths of our obsession with sports: Coaches don't normally get much credit unless they take their teams all the way to a title. And yet, there actually still are some coaches -- let's call them the good guys -- who view at least a part of their jobs as helping to build character in their players while easing the mental and physical irritations that come with competition.
"Coaches have the power to teach much more than the physical elements of the game," says acclaimed college football coach David Shaw. "My job is to guide players on how to be successful in the heat of competition, as well as in the classroom and after graduation."
It makes sense then that Shaw recently teamed up with both the College Football Hall of Fame and Dove Men+Care Deodorant -- best known for providing caring products to help end underarm irritation -- in a campaign called "Care Always Wins." Its purpose: Encouraging local fans to nominate candidates for the four school coaches who most "fostered a caring environment on and off the field."
Which brings us back to the aforementioned "physical irritations."
One of the things even the winningest coach has in common with fans is the need to pay attention to skin irritations. (Hey, just try imagining how many fewer touchdowns we'd see if quarterbacks all came down with a case of itchy skin.)
Here's some tips for avoiding such problems:
* Wear moisture-wicking clothes. Chafing -- and the rashes that can come from it -- is a big risk during extended exercise, says WebMd.com. Workout clothing and sportswear made from these fabrics are specifically designed to keep you "drier and cooler" by pulling moisture away from the skin.
* Commit to a moisturizing skincare routine. "Many men, and in particular athletes, suffer from uncomfortably dry, itchy skin when they don't have to," says noted dermatologist Dr. Jeffrey Benabio. His recommendation: Products like Dove Men+Care Body Wash, which he says is clinically proven to fight dry skin with MicroMoisture technology that activates during lathering to guard against discomfort.
* Wash clothes and towels after each use. It may or may not have been covered in science class, but infection-causing germs can hang around to irritate the skin if ignored.
But what about those fan-nominated coaches, you ask?
The "Caring Coach of the Year" awards will be handed out later this year by the Hall of Fame, with the winners receiving funding to support their respective football programs. Learn more at www.dovemencare.com.
(NewsUSA) - Most of us would consider many alternatives to having to undergo surgery or to be dependent on medication to find relief from back pain, sciatica, neck pain or chronic headaches.
Fortunately, chiropractic care provides such an option. Doctors of Chiropractic have been winning over countless converts in the health care field by taking a holistic approach to caring for patients with these types of problems. To quote WebMd.com, Doctors of Chiropractic appreciate that "a person is made up of interdependent parts, and -- if one part is not working properly -- all the other parts will be affected."
If you've never been to a chiropractor, here's what to expect:
* A thorough evaluation that may include X-rays, a physical, a chiropractic structural exam that pays particular attention to the spine and pelvis and perhaps a laboratory analysis of blood and urine samples.
* A posture test designed to check for abnormalities like a shoulder or hip that's higher than the other.
* Gentle correction of any misalignments in the spine and pelvis through methods including manual and instrument adjustments.
* Specific stretching techniques and soft tissue rehabilitation.
* Advice and counsel, where needed, on everything from nutrition to exercise to lifestyle modification.
"Chiropractors recognize that even something as simple as your posture and sleep habits can affect your health," says Dr. Gerard Clum of the not-for-profit Foundation for Chiropractic Progress. "And their focus is on helping your body maximize your ability to heal and resist disease rather than just treating the symptoms of an injury or disease."
To find a chiropractor in your area, visit www.F4CP.org/findadoctor.
(NewsUSA) - Si serás el anfitrión de una reunión por las fiestas, es sencillo hacerlas especialmente memorables con una mesa que sea tan festiva y atractiva como la comida que sirvas en ella. Claro, prefieres disfrutar de la compañía de tu familia y amigos antes que estar pulimento plata; y puedes crear una mesa destellante rápida y fácilmente con las herramientas y los conocimientos adecuados:
Algunos simples consejos para tener la mesa para las fiestas más festiva de todas:
* Se audaz con el color. La reciente revista Taste de Williams-Sonoma con respecto a las mesas para las fiestas recomienda los "matices festivos" de las remolachas, las manzanas y los rábanos, resaltados con guarniciones rojas y verdes. Haz que los colores realmente resalten utilizando bandejas de plata brillantes para servir tus recetas para las fiestas. La mejor parte es que puedes usar tu tiempo en la preparación de la comida, y no puliendo esos platos. Con los productos adecuados, como Tarn-X Tarnish Remover, sólo limpia y enjuaga para un brillante y parejo acabado para mejorar tu presentación de las fiestas.
* Mezcla y combina la vajilla. Los juegos de vajillas son siempre una opción clásica, pero no tengas miedo de mezclar. Prueba diferentes estilos de vajilla para los distintos platos, o asocia los clásicos tazones de sopa de tu abuela con tus platos contemporáneos. Únelo todo con brillantes cubiertos de plata para lograr un entorno único y elegante. Tarn-X Silver Polish hace que sea fácil de conseguir esa chispa, y es seguro para su uso en platos y cubiertos bañados en plata, bandejas de plata y otras piezas de servir.
* Lleva el momento del café al siguiente nivel. Nada dice "festivo" como café y té servidos de un juego de té de brillante plata. Ya sea que tu juego de café y té de plata sea de época o nuevo, asegúrate de que lo has pulido hasta un obtener un acabado espectacular. Y no te olvides de los tenedores de postre de plata.
* Muestra tus reliquias familiares. La mesa de las fiestas es un lugar perfecto para mostrar reliquias familiares atesoradas. Utiliza piezas decorativas de plata para darle chispa como base para tu centro de mesa, y rodéalas con piñas, adornos clásicos de las fiestas, frutas, flores o lo que tu imaginación sugiera. Lo más importante, no te olvides de asegurarse de que estén pulidas.
Visita www.jelmar.com/TarnXProducts.htm para más información sobre cómo limpiar con Tarn-X y sobre la línea completa de productos Tarn-X.
(NewsUSA) - The holidays are here, and while you're admiring all of the beautiful presents wrapped and sitting under your tree, or getting excited about travel plans, it's also the perfect time for burglars and muggers to steal some seasonal cheer. (Remember the movie Home Alone?) It's enough to cast a Scrooge-like pall over what is traditionally "the most wonderful time of the year."
Still don't believe it? According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, nearly 400,000 home break-ins occur in the U.S. from November through December each year, so it is essential to secure your home as you bring in expensive items and gifts.
"Most homes are extremely vulnerable to burglaries during the December holidays," said Bob Beach, chief of Longwood University's police force in Farmville, Virginia. "Keeping your home safe from thieves during the holidays requires following just a few basic safety measures."
The following travel and home security tips will help you put a wrench in Mr. Grinch's plans and keep you and your belongings safe:
* Take trusted transportation. Avoid unmarked (or unknown) vehicles. Taxi lines at the airport and hotel are your best options.
* Ask for help. It's always best to ask someone for directions rather than wait for someone to approach you. This way you are in control of the situation at all times.
* Keep your wallet and purse close. It's best if women carry small purses and keep them close, while men should keep their wallets (or preferably, money clips) in their front pockets.
* Protect yourself and your home. There are a number of small key chain alarms or pepper sprays that will give you a sense of security. The SABRE personal alarm keychain, for instance, fastens to your keys and is an option for those planning to explore the city away from the comfort of the hotel. And for those times that you are away from home, consider installing SABRE's wireless home security or standalone alarms. The standalone alarms are easy to install and can be purchased for as little as $20 to $50.
* Watch what you throw away. Potential intruders often rummage through trash to see what might be in your home. Boxes from new, expensive gifts, or receipts for big purchases alert criminals that these big-ticket items can be found inside.
For more safety information, visit www.sabrered.com.
(NewsUSA) - The recent Ebola outbreak in the U.S. has, if nothing else, highlighted how ill-equipped some U.S. hospitals are in their readiness to battle an infectious disease outbreak.
While the risk of contracting the Ebola virus is low, there is a considerably higher risk for patients to catch other deadly superbugs that are prevalent in hospitals right now, such as Clostridium difficile, MRSA and VRE.
Underscoring this point is that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 99,000 people die every year from an infection they get during their hospital stay, and one in 20 pick up infections that they didn't have when they arrived. This equates to as much as $30 billion a year in medical costs.
"Eliminating pathogens from patient rooms is the quickest and easiest way to lower the risk of additional infections," said Mark Stibich, Ph.D., co-founder and chief scientific officer of Xenex, a San Antonio-based company that has created a robot that emits xenon ultraviolet (UV) light to destroy potentially fatal bacteria and viruses.
Kelly Mather, CEO of Sonoma Valley Hospital, agrees.
"This is an example of our commitment to patient safety," said Mather. "We add another layer of protection for our patients with this UV disinfection technology, which has been shown to be 20 times more effective than manual cleaning with chemicals." Earlier this year, the hospital was named one of the 15 safest hospitals in the U.S. by Consumer Reports.
If you will be going to the hospital, here are three tips to give you the best chance at avoiding infection:
1. Do your research. Hospital infection rates are now posted online at www.hospitalcompare.hhs.gov. Check out the hospital where you plan to be treated to ensure that its infection rate is at or below national averages. If it isn't, tell your doctor that you want to go somewhere else.
2. Ask questions. Question the hospital's disinfection protocol. Are they aware of or using new technologies to disinfect their rooms to get the superbugs out? Hospitals using full-spectrum UV light "germ-zapping robots" are seeing dramatic reductions in their infection rates.
3. Wash your hands. It sounds simple, but request that everyone (including your doctor) wash their hands before touching you. Germs reside on high-touch surfaces like door handles and bedrails and can be easily transmitted from healthcare workers to you.
For more information, visit www.xenex.com.
(NewsUSA) - Sometimes it's the smallest ingredient in a meal that makes it stand out -- the briny bite of pickle on a sandwich, perfectly light, melt-in-your-mouth pancakes or freshly cracked pepper atop fluffy scrambled eggs. The hallmarks of all these favorites are simple but essential ingredients: vinegar, baking soda and spices.
Not only are these food additives the secret ingredients in some of our favorite dishes, they're the motivation of some pretty awesome culinary, cultural and global advancements.
In their earliest form, food additives were used to preserve food. Techniques like salting and smoking helped early cultures protect and extend their food supplies through lean times. Communities all over the world used regional spices to further preserve and enhance their foods -- the dawn of foodies. The pursuit of spices is even credited with promoting world exploration -- Columbus discovered the Americas while looking for new trade routes to access India for its spices.
Today, food additives have advanced well beyond their early rudimentary uses. We still use salt and vinegar to preserve food, but we're now able to use food additives to enrich and fortify our foods and drinks as well. Vitamins added to milk enhance its healthiness. Probiotics added to yogurts aid in digestion. Natural colors added to whole grain cereals make them fun and appealing.
Chefs involved in the modern cuisine movement use food additives to make surprising and inventive new foods that puzzle and delight eaters -- think "caviar" made out of fruit juice, or powdered bacon. These applications use more impressive-sounding additives than simple salt or sugar. Alginates enable the encapsulation of fruit juice to look like caviar, and maltodextrin is essential in the creation of bacon powder. Though these ingredients may sound intimidating, they're naturally derived -- alginates are extracted from brown seaweed, and maltodextrin is a product of starch. The source of their power is the same as that of baking soda -- chemistry.
As additives and their uses have evolved, so too has the process by which we cultivate them and monitor their use. Early explorers have given way to food scientists and food safety organizations, like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The FDA and other scientific experts help to regulate food additives to make sure they are used safely in the foods and drinks.
Food additives have come a long way since early civilizations discovered that salt helped preserve food. They've advanced the possibility and potential of foods, but by far their most important role remains to make our foods better, meaning both more accessible and more delicious.
To learn more about food additives and their myriad of uses, visit FoodScienceMatters.com.
(NewsUSA) - It's the bane of every cell phone user -- conversations that become garbled and calls that drop. These "dead zones," usually happen while you're on the road, and can be frustrating at best, while making you feel exposed and defenseless at worst. However, they also present a critical safety issue when driving during the winter.
As winter weather wreaks havoc on roads (never mind cell phone coverage), it becomes more important than ever to stay connected to family and friends -- whether it's to let them know you're running late, stuck in traffic or in an emergency situation.
That's why zBoost, a Georgia-based company that develops and manufactures cell phone signal boosters, is helping people stay connected no matter where they are, while giving winter travelers a sense of safety and security.
"As a realtor in snowy Ohio, I am on the road showing homes or visiting family, and I'm dependent on my mobile phone to stay connected," said Lisa Van Doting. "Before adding my zBoost Mobile1 cell phone signal booster, I was frequently in areas with no cell service, which left me disconnected and vulnerable in emergency situations."
The way it works is the zBoost Mobile1 is set up in the interior of any car or truck, and a mobile phone is placed in a sturdy, lightweight cradle (much like cell phones of old). The cradle amplifier connects to the dash-mount bracket and also connects to the vehicle's 12V power through a power adaptor via a USB cable. The magnetic antenna is mounted on the exterior of the car, which captures the signal outside of the car, brings it in through a narrow cable and amplifies it on the inside for a stronger signal, extending the in-vehicle cell zone (the phone must be in the cradle). The unit also boosts voice and text for all major cell carriers.
In addition to reducing dropped calls and combatting dead zones, it also extends the battery life of the phone, includes a hands-free option, and most important, extends your cell phone's range.
For more information, visit www.zboost.com/solutions-products/travel/zb245.html.