01/07/16 by Mike Catania
Wedding season typically is more spring and summer months, and that is only a few months away, which means plenty of would be brides and grooms are finalizing their plans and fine tuning those guest lists.
And how about those guests, right?
Everyone has been to a wedding (maybe it was your own) where the wedding guests take center stage, more so than the bride and groom or the wedding party, too. Whether they've had a little too much to drink, too much too eat or want to be everyone's best friend, some guests should have never made it past the first cut.
But they did, and with that, you need to be able to spot them quickly and have them escorted out faster than you tried to push that timid flower girl down the aisle.
The pig: Why do some wedding guests act as though they've been saving up for your special day just to eat as much as possible? This is the buffet buster, the one that gets seconds and thirds and spends more time at the appetizer table than the bride and groom spend at the head table. When you go to a wedding, enjoy the food, but eat appropriately and don't pig out.
The drunk: This one is easy. This guest makes the bar their own personal hang out and treat your wedding as a night out with the guys or girls. Same the cash for the bridal dance or plan to add a few more bucks in the wedding gift and drink just to the point where you're having fun but aren't the wedding day lush. No one wants to be your caretaker or handler when you have stripped down to your under shirt and boxers or can't stand up to shake hands and hug the bride and groom but rather they're sweeping you away with the debris after the wedding has concluded.
The dancer: This guest, much like "the pig," seems as though he's been saving up to flash his dance moves at this one particular event. That isn't to say that if you're a good dancer, you shouldn't show off a bit, but the "dancer" doesn't just have fun or dance like no one is watching but rather the complete opposite. They dance to make sure they get everyone to watch. The dance floor is about the first husband and wife, mom and son, father and daughter. Same that hammer dance or running man for the night club, and keep it classy, cool and showmanship at a minimum.
01/05/16 by Chasity McLeod
Who doesn't want to save money? Even better, who doesn't want to start a new year with more money in their pocket?
That causes the masses to start rethinking their budgets and evaluating how they spend and save money, and why that so called emergency funds is either non existent or so small that you barely even remember that it's there.
And with that, a new year's resolution is born.
As much as we try to lose weight or eat right for a new year's plan, saving money or being smarter with it tends to top the list every single year.
When you think about saving money, you tend to over extend and think too hard about ways to save. More time than not, the answer are right in front of your face and easy to see. That is, if you're looking in the right, and most obvious places.
Cancel cable: Cutting the cord is a choice that most have made in recent years, but others are starting to get around to it. The average cable bill teeters around $200, and that equates to more than $2,400 per year. Meanwhile, streaming is all the rage and the likes of Netflix and Hulu are under $20 per service and that means you'll still have to have your cable internet but you can kiss the television goodbye. You won't need it; the entertainment you crave can be yours for a third of the price.
Buy in the offseason: Remember the last time you bought a favorite hat from a sports team or yours during the season? How much was the hat, probably $30 or $40. Then, the team goes into their offseason and that same hat is around $20. Why is that? Because the offseason is about unloading what isn't needed, so why not take that same approach with your every day wardrobe. Sure, buying a winter coat at the end of the season sounds silly, but you'll have it for next year at a fraction of the price. You should make it a habit to buy what you need in the season you're not in. That is going to mean half off across the board and less money spent overall on clothing.
Data plan: So you couldn't resist spending extra on your cell phone plan for extra data that you end up never using and continue to pay for; you can't overlook other extras on your cell phone plan, such as that wireless hot spot that sounded so good but never is used. Much like cable, you can eliminate extras that you don't use. You canceled HBO and Showtime for $20 per piece, so why not cut back on that data or eliminate what you're not using even if it costs you a little more up front.
01/03/16 by Rennie Detore
When you think about the airport and subsequent travel, you hardly spend a lot of time worrying about clothes, fashion or style.
Then again, maybe we should.
Trips to the airport often are hectic, and plenty of travelers simply want to be comfortable on the plane, but even that mindset shouldn't be mistaken for looking foolish or going completely counter productive to looking good even when you're trying to relax.
Some fashion faux pas are as easy to spot as the plane itself, and even though the airport often is viewed as a place where any fashion can fly, you have to consider the following totally a no way this fashion or outfit is going to fly.
Socks and sandals: If you're traveling from cold to warm temperatures (think east coast in the winter months to sunny Florida perhaps), you might want to have the best of both worlds. And with that, men tend to wear socks to stay warm, but want to have their sandals readily accessible once they step out of the cold and on to the warm ground of a more tropical spot. The socks and sandals are terrible no matter how you try to justify it.
Winter coat and shorts: You can take all that we learned from the first item and it pertains to this one as well. Why on Earth would you wear a winter jacket with shorts (and usually sandals on your feet to boot)? If you can't stand to be cold, the jacket of course would be fine, but pack the shorts in your bag and wear something a little more climate appropriate, such as a nicer pair of sweats or warm up pants that look as though they belong with the entire ensemble.
Jeans tucked into boots: Yes, skinny jeans for men are all the rage, but one piece of style that simply has to go is the skinny jeans and the boots or basketball shoes that guy wear over them. Simply put, they tuck the jeans into the boots and look totally ridiculous as a result. Not sure why or how this look got started, but it is totally unflattering. If skinny jeans are your denim of choice, then wear a low cut shoe or Converse style sneaker as the perfect pair, rather than having your Air Jordan's engulf those skinny jeans and totally overpower your outfit in a very bad way.
Being comfy at the airport doesn't mean you have to sacrifice looking as though you don't care all that much about how you look.
10/28/15 by Rennie Detore
With Halloween right around the corner, you have to assume that plenty of people will spend that night watching some of their favorite scary movies.
But what exactly is scary? How do you define that sort of movie? â€¨For some, scary is blood, gore and everything else that leaves your TV screen splattered from the inside. Others define scary as creepy, unnerving or tapping into your fear of the afterlife, ghosts, goblins and other mythic creatures.
The real definition of scary, in the classic sense, are the movies that don't have to rely on some sort of supernatural figure who can't be killed (i.e Friday the 13th,; Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street) or talk of spirits shaking down real people in a haunted house style cinema (i.e. Paranormal Activity). And they certainly don't center on movies that are nothing more than lots of blood that borders on gratuitous rather than essential to the plot point (i.e Saw, Texas Chainsaw Massacre and other of that ilk).
The true movies are the ones that tell a story, make it a point through writing, camera work, and good acting to shock and scare viewers without having to dip into the ever present shock value that permeates through movies that are deemed slashers, scary or just plain sick.
Here are the three that stand the tallest.
The Shining - Jack Nicholson is priceless in this tale of a man sent to write and watch over a place that plays with the inner workings of your mind. From his slow, steady decline throughout the movie to the transformation of his son, Danny, and what he ends up seeing at the hotel the family is staying at, this movie is story telling at its finest, mixed with terrifying music that only sets the scene that much more for a decisively decadent payoff.
Psycho - Classic on all levels. The Alfred Hitchcock thriller doesn't try to do anything more than scare you. Period. And it succeeds in doing that without much effort other than just being plain creepy for all parties involved.
Blair Witch Project - OK, so maybe in 2015 this movie is a dud with all that is offered that is so called "scary." The Blair Witch Project, for its day in 1999, was scary, no matter what anyone will say 16 years after it was made. The movie seemed so realistic with the one camera vantage point, and you actually felt scared that something big was about to happen, even though the ending was unnerving for some and lacked a payoff for others. In any event, for its day, the BWP scored with viewers and scared its fair share of movie goers.
10/08/15 by Rennie Detore
Some movies surprise us. They aren't meant to do well, but they not only come to the table with critical praise but actually score big with audiences commercially.
Quite simply, they make money.
The flip side to the magic that is the silver screen are films that are panned critically and even audiences aren't quite as enamored with them, but that doesn't prevent them from earning millions domestically and billions worldwide.
And yet no one can figure that out.
In some instances, you'll see a lot of success that is bred out of nostalgia or franchises that have done well in prior movies, years previously of course, and that fan base doesn't waiver and will essentially go to see anything with that name attached to it. In other cases, the movie is poorly acted but is filled with graphics and CGI that is awe inspiring to the eye, even though your brain is hardly intrigued. In any event, these movies are tough to get through but somehow find themselves on the top of the highest grossing list of films.
Avatar: Some people love this movie, and visually it is stunning, but it was too long and hardly is going to be one that is memorable or unforgettable. The land of blue people left me feeling ice cold when I left the theater and haven't had any inclination to watch it again, unlike the other notable movie from Avatar director James Cameron, "Titanic." As successful as "Avatar" was, there still hasn't been a sequel, which says a lot about a movie that made that much money but yet the need or want for a second film just isn't there.
Phantom Menace: Awful, plain and simple. It was cartoonish, boring and, had this not been a "Star Wars" movie, would have completely killed the franchise. The movie dragged, the characters uninspired, and George Lucas should be ashamed of this prequel. Fans waited nearly 20 years for another "Star Wars" movie after "Return of the Jedi," and Phantom Menace hardly delivered. The only reason anyone saw it was the drought between the aforementioned movies and that the fans of "Star Wars" will never leave the franchise, no matter how bad the movies are.
Grown Ups: Adam Sandler is a movie star, and no one is sure why. His movie are historically bad, but he's managed to make money with his brand of humor that is stupid funny. Lately, Sandler isn't doing so well and his career has essentially started to plummet. The one bright spot commercially for Sandler was "Grown Ups," a movie that looks like it was written over the weekend and stars his old SNL buddies, minus Kevin James. The jokes all feel like they're only funny to the stars, and the audience is left to figure out the humor or laugh at the stupidity that is Rob Schneider and his toupee or a bug light they cook bacon on. Hilarious, right?
07/14/15 by Chasity McLeod
The decision to marry someone hardly is one to take on lightly. Marriage is significant for plenty of reasons, mainly because you're making the commitment to spend the rest of your life with someone, at least that is your plan when you officially say yes.
But even the most indelible and seemingly perfect matches still want to know if they're about to marry the person of their dreams or if they're truly just dreaming if they think they should actually marry this person.
Let's face it: people have been in love plenty of times and thought about marriage, even if the relationship doesn't feel as though it's being reciprocated on any number of levels. Marriage, or even thinking about it, should be done so with love, admiration, respect and caring in mind, among other elements that you'll need to have to foster that all encompassing relationship you'd like to have for the rest of your life.
That said, how do you know or what are the signs that you should really be considering marriage at it pertains to the person who you are with at the moment?
No matter if you're debating marrying that special man or telling the woman of your dreams you want her to be your wife, certain nuances and outright personality traits will tell you all you need to know, in addition to how you interact with the person.
Core values are the same: This one centers on how you feel about your future together, in addition to your thoughts, beliefs and mentality on any number of issues. If you're talking about something that is important or defines who you are (beyond the ubiquitous politics, sports, news, etc.), you want to make sure the person you're with feels and thinks like you do, relatively speaking. Of course, more tangible examples of core values can center on kids and if you want them or just how close you are to your families.
Trust, trust and more trust: This is key. Do you trust the person you're with in any and all situations? If you don't, that's a problem. This also borders on honesty with one another and the idea that you don't have secrets between the two of you and don't have to constantly look over your shoulder that the next greatest reveal is going to derail your relationship.
Laughter is the best medicine: Communication and laughter are two paramount pieces of the relationship puzzle. This doesn't necessarily mean that you have to have everything in common as far as what you like to do, but you have to enjoy each other's company, laugh at the little things and have the type of relationship that is fun, plain and simple. Part of the laughter and enjoyment translates into being able to tell your significant other anything.
03/22/15 by Matthew S. Vandriak
The rise in online hotel booking has created a slew of consumers content on traveling whose emotions range between pensive and passionately proud of how convenient the service has become, particularly in the wake of finding the best deal possible as hotels begin to fight for your business.
As nice as it is to plan a trip by just clicking a few buttons and assuring yourself or your family a room with more than just a view, there still is some trepidation about booking something online that you really can't see firsthand, kind of like the same mentality of ordering clothes online without being able to try them on before you buy.
The hotel service, naturally, tries to combat these shortcomings with reviews and various third party web sites that have those same recommendations that are promised to be without provocation from someone with a vested interested in making sure you stay at their particular hotel.
For some travelers, they don't realize the hotel they choose isn't anywhere near perfection until they actually arrive to check in at the front desk and then the online pictures that swayed them in this direction seem more like movie magic than actuality.
Spotting a bad hotel isn't too difficult, as long as you're looking for the subtle spots that go beyond a perfectly made bed and a seemingly tidy shower.
1. Envelope on Toilet Paper: This is the definition of small but paramount. Have you ever been to a hotel where you notice the toilet paper end has a little envelope folded on the tip of the roll? That shows not only an attention to detail, but the idea that the hotel is concerned with making sure everything is in its place and shows that there set up goes beyond the norm.
2. Smell: OK, so this one may not seem so subtle, but you'd be surprised how your nose begins to fail you when you're in a hotel and that smell looming large suddenly becomes commonplace and not pungent enough after only a few minutes. You need to act on that initial smell when you walk through the front door, whether that is mold, mildew or just an easiness, taxing odor that permeates through the entire building and then stings the nostrils.
3. The hair factor: This mostly has to do with the shower, specifically taking one in your hotel room and feeling that sensation on your foot that feels about as uncomfortable as standing in the ocean and feeling a fish or a piece of seaweed caress your ankle. Unlike the beach, however, there's nothing redeeming about standing in a hotel shower and seeing or, worse yet, feeling a ball of hair touching your foot. That is a tell tale sign that housekeeping has failed miserably as paying attention to not only the little things but missing the big ones, too, particularly in hotel bathrooms that go for that all white, clean look but end up having the color come back to bite them when they can't manage to scrub it well enough.
03/18/15 by Rennie Detore
I don't flying. In fact, I despite it.
Yes, I realize it is the safest form of travel, but that doesn't mean it is the least stressful or annoying. I don't so much mind the idea that I'm 30,000 feet above land but rather 1 foot away from a person or people that I don't know as the two (or three) of us are wedged together in tiny seats or I'm watching them roam among the "cabin" as if they're in the billionaire owner of the plane itself.
How I feel about flying is particularly vexing since I do it quite a bit. I love to travel with with that comes a true disdain for dealing with passengers that I'll gladly pass on every single time I see them on a plane.
Granted, I'm not the perfect flying companion, either. I get air sick. I type on my laptop and, yes, I crawl over the seat just like everyone else to get to the restroom area that is the size of a gym locker. But I certainly know enough to pick my spots carefully and do as little as possible to not bring my flying shortcomings to the forefront and thus badger and slowly break the person sitting next to me.
I can't say the same for the following flying companions who need grounded immediately.
1. The mom with the baby: Before I get scolded for saying I don't think babies should fly, that's not it at all. I don't have any problem whatsoever with moms or dads who travel with newborns who are only a few months old. I understand wholeheartedly that they need to fly just as much as anyone. What I take homage with is more about the spectacle that they knowingly create to ubiquitously draw attention themselves when they don't have it. Sure, moms have to walk around the plane with a fussy baby, which is totally acceptable, but does she need to stop in the aisle and have her mother in law or hubby snap pictures of this event? Naturally, they'll end up on Facebook for sure, but this is hardly the time for a photo op.
2. Tomato juice guy: I'm not singling out people who order just tomato juice on the plane but rather the passengers who act like their seat is a bar stool or simply can't order a drink or food that is relatively low key, and that goes for people who feel the need to bring three course meals on to the plane, too. I recently sat next to the aforementioned tomato juice guy, who had 2 cans of the juice and proceeded to fall asleep next to me and was breathing his tomato like breath in my face. Couldn't just have water, tomato juice guy? Furthermore, as part of the same trip, I sat next to a young lady who was drinking coffee and had steak and cabbage fajita wraps for dinner and couldn't be bothered to inhale them at Baja Fresh before she boarded. Does she really think that everyone on the plane, myself included, wants to smell cooked cabbage during a 3 hour flight.
3. Mr. recliner: I have no qualms or concerns for a person who wants to relax on the plane. If possible, I'd sleep the entire time I was flying, but my nerves won't let that happen. That being said, I do take exception to the person sitting in front of me who reclines their seat so far back that I could rub their temples without moving more than an inch. It's almost as if this person believes that they're the only person on the plane and really doesn't need to concern themselves with the fact that they're giant head is laying in my lap and, in the process, crushing everything from my knees down. If you want to lay down while you're traveling, find a bus ride that is more consistent with your lounge act.
03/17/15 by Rennie Detore
The summer concert series isn't far off and with it comes the anticipation and angst of tracking your favorite bands, finding out if they're touring at all and, more importantly if they're coming close enough that you can snag a ticket and see them live.
Music lovers rejoice at being able to see a concert that they truly can define as memorable and a must see. But not all concert experiences are created equal. In fact, some of them are downright miserable, even if you're making it a point to see a band you call one of your favorites.
From parking woes to wildly inappropriate concert goers, you'll be able to spot a bad concert even if you're not sitting front row.
1. Lifeless band: This one comes in various forms, whether the band is late to hit the stage or their subsequent performance would be described as "lifeless." Nothing irks fans more, and rightfully so, than a band who can't be bothered to show the least bit of enthusiasm after 10,000 fans paid $70 to $100 to see them perform, and that dollar figure typically is before all the ridiculous fees. Worse yet and easily the epitome of the bad band is a lead singer that shows no charisma and whose voice sounds like it is several years past its prime.
2. Drunk guy: This one is a no brainer, but also hardly is easy to define specifically. The "drunk guy" could mean the person at the summertime concert who is roaming the lawn seating area and has to stop and talk to everyone or simply overtakes the actual on stage performance because he's so loud, boisterous and overly obnoxious. You'd be lying if you didn't quietly hope he'd have one too many and just pass out where he stands just so he shuts up and lets you enjoy the show you paid all that money to see. The "drunk guy" also can be the person who starts the ill advised mosh pit, crowd surfs even though they're 300 plus pounds or takes off their shirt to reveal that their gym membership isn't being put to good use. In rare instances, "drunk guy" also can be seen bickering with security or ultimately being carted out of the concert unconsciously because, well, he's the "drunk guy."
3. Bathroom woes: You might be able to blame this solely on "drunk guy" but nothing takes the wind out of your concert sails than a venue or show that leaves the bathroom facilities to be desired. You've undoubtedly been to a concert where every stall has been left torn to shreds and the hand washing stations have little if anything to do with washing and look as though you'd be better off not washing up at all. There's no one attending to cleanliness and, in some instances, looks as though the bathrooms haven't been touched up since last year's concert season ended.
02/14/15 by Jackie Russo
Today is Valentine's Day and chances are you've already purchased a gift for that special someone. Naturally, men tend to lead toward flowers, jewelry, candy or dinner, most of the staples that define February 14 each year.
For women, you might think of something just as sweet: a beautifully written card or surprising your significant other with a special trip or even something special, like concert tickets or front row seats to something sports related.
With any holiday of this ilk, you have the opportunity to sink or swim as far as the gift goes. Guys tend to have a little more pressure on them since something that lacks sincerity or feels as though it was thrown together is going to come across as "had to buy something" verses wanting to do it.
Bad gifts, however, should be easy to spot, particularly if you go by your gut feeling when you're buying it, knowing full well that it just doesn't seem like it carries with it the "wow" factor. Of course, wowing someone doesn't have to suggest you need to go big ticket, overly expensive with your purchase. A card that you wrote tends to carry as much or more weight than a new car in the driveway.
Here's what flat out, without any doubt won't necessarily get your Valentine's Day off to the start you'd want.
1. Household appliances: Nothing says "I Love You" like suggesting to your wife, husband or partner that they should spend more time cooking or cleaning. Handing someone a toaster, juicer or any other lame counter top appliance for Valentine's Day undoubtedly will lead to a quiet, awkward post gift giving dinner.
2. Exercise equipment: Here's another swing and miss no matter how is giving this one as a gift. Exercise equipment or even gym memberships are less about the tangible product (even if the person asked about having one) and more about telling him or her that they need to lose weight or get in shape. Now, before you say, "But that's what they wanted," you have to remember the nature of this holiday. Valentine's Day is about love, romance and saying how much you love and care about someone. If you want to buy them a treadmill, do it on a Saturday afternoon just because or better yet, buy it when you're with them so there are no hard feelings after the purchase.
3. Just flowers: Yes, you are correct that flowers are a Valentine's Day favorite, and floral shops make most of their income on this day alone. But giving flowers alone feels way too generic when you simply hand them over to your valentine after you've gotten home from work or in a way that is just bland. Flowers need to be delivered, spontaneous as they can be when someone is expecting them, and absolutely must include some sort of card attached to them that really drives home with words just how much you care. The flowers alone aren't going to cut it.
02/13/15 by Rennie Detore
Go ahead and think about all the times you bought a car and try to remember the one experience that sticks out as the forgettable one. You undoubtedly recall that one the easiest because it made you a smarter shopper and warned you with each subsequent buy what to pay attention to when you're trading in a vehicle, negotiating price or trying to simply find a dealership that you can potentially trust when so many of them reek of rip off.
That isn't to suggest that all car sales persons or dealers are slimy, shady characters, a stereotype that most dealerships try their best to dispel. In recent years, most car dealerships have done away with the bells and whistles or corniness, and have decided to focus on customer service and quality pricing, something that clearly is long overdue.
Still, some companies still haven't got the message, so when you see anything that resembles the following, you can forget about driving for a minute and just worry about running in the opposite direction.
1. Inconsequential gifts: Never quite understood how some dealerships determine that offering some sort of gift for buying a car is a savvy marketing tool that works. Nothing screams sad and pathetic then a dealer offering you a free grill or cooler for a summer time promotion or even a $25 gift card in exchange for you spending $10,000 or more on a car. A nice gesture? Yes. A reason to choose this dealership over another? Nope.
2. Free food and parties: All the hot dogs, hamburgers and soda you can drink just for test driving a car or "Christmas in July" promotion shouldn't suggest that the dealership is brewing with creativity but rather tell you without question that their cars, trucks and SUVs are overpriced and service sketchy, and we're trying to distract you with lame parties and cheap food as a result.
3. Free cars (for the day): This one still seems like it has some legs left, even with the dealerships that fancy themselves as respectable. You may have a salesperson go above and beyond the simple test drive with them as the passenger and instead hand over the keys to you and tell you to take the car to dinner or home for the weekend to really get a sense as to whether you truly want to buy or not. This one not only is dangerous and ill advised for both parties but uses the old sales tactic of "let them see themselves in it" so they'll be more encouraged to purchase. That said, be leery of this and stick to the customary test drive.
4. Cliched open ended questions: Here's a favorite: "What do I have to do to put you in this car today?" The answer: nothing, but you'll be leaving after you hear this tired expression that should have been retired long ago. If you find yourself answering a lot of open ended questions (ones that don't have yes or no answers), the salesperson likely is gathering information to eventually use against you when they close the sale.
5. The ubiquitous manager: Does anyone ever really believe when a salesperson says "let me go talk to my manger that they're actually doing it?" Sure, they probably head back to the office and give the boss an idea of the situation, but what happens is more fiction than fact. What makes it worse is when the salesperson brings the manager to the table to perhaps persuade you even further or assure you you're getting the best price, when in actuality their seniority doesn't impress the customer, but rather has the opposite effect.
6. Trade in terror: This one actually happened to me. I brought my car to a dealership about 45 minutes from my house simply because their car pricing was aggressive. When I arrived, they offered me $500 for my car, an SUV that had about 100,000 miles on it but was worth far more than that sad offer. I immediately said "no" and started leaving when the salesperson stopped me and uttered a question that remarkably ridiculous and basically told me they're complete con artists as work. "Well, how much do you want for your trade in? You're the dealership; you are supposed to do some research and give me, the customer, a fair price. Sure, I want $100,000 for it, but that's not what it is worth and neither was the $500. My surgeon doesn't ask me before I go under where his first cut should be, so why is a supposed car expert asking me what my vehicle is worth. That's their job.
12/01/14 by Krystin Olinski
Talk of the holidays conjure up plenty of visions, from cookies and Christmas trees to family, friends, parties and shopping.
One aspect of the holidays that often goes overlooked is the entertainment element, particularly the movies that define this time of year. Plenty of people have their all time favorite, and typically those are the easiest ones to identify, perhaps the most obvious selections.
Classics like "Miracle on 34th Street," "It's a Wonderful Life" or even the "Frosty the Snowman" cartoon ring in the holidays just as well as any movie in this particular genre. Ranking them purely is based on preference as far as what you want out of your holiday movie (like rarely do you see "Lord of the Rings" listed as a favorite holiday movie, even though some argue that it was released in December).
When you talk holiday movies, you are focusing more on the central theme of the movie being related to everything you've come to know that is synonymous with the holidays, not so much when a film was specifically released.
There's no shortage of worthy contenders, so narrowing the field down to five figures to leave a lot of worthwhile movies unwrapped and left under the tree.
1. "Scrooged" - Bill Murray never truly gets credit for carrying movies that, if another actor was trying to play the lead, would fail miserably. Movies like "Groundhog Day" showcase just how Murray can overtake a film and truly be so magnetic that he really makes the movie what it is. "Scrooged" is what you would call Murray at his comedic finest. He's electric as the fictional Frank Cross, a television network executive who can't embrace the holidays without being visited by his three ghosts, a take on the classic "Scrooge" story. Murray is hilarious in all facets of the film and makes this one of the staples of the holiday movie watching experience.
2. "Just Friends" - This one is a personal preference. Ryan Reynolds, Amy Smart and Anna Faris work exceptionally well in this movie that is a fun holiday film that zips by in about 90 minutes and allows you to laugh about coming home from the holidays as the former ugly duckling (Reynolds) to show off to your new good looks and great job to your high school crush, the girl that always labeled you as a "friend."
3. "A Christmas Story" - OK, so TBS plays the movie for 24 hours beginning on Christmas Eve, and while most people will tell you that they don't make it a point to watch the movie, they will eventually admit that at some point during that one day span, they'll sit down and actually enjoy this iconic movie from beginning to end. The movie is charming, funny and is one of the films that won't lose its spot as one of the defining holiday films forever.
4. "Home Alone" - As odd as Macaulay Culkin has become as a 34 year old adult, his eight year old self in "Home Alone" was cute and magnetic in this box office smash from 1989. John Hughes struck gold with Culkin as the savvy, eight year old child that his parents left at home on a family getaway to France. Culkin roughed up a few burglars with an ending scene that is pure masterful mischief and hilarity for kids and adults alike. Who still doesn't laugh when Daniel Stern, playing one of the bumbling burglars, lets out a lady like scream when Culkin puts a tarantula on his face?
5. "Elf" - Some are calling this a modern holiday classic since its release in 2003. It's one of those film that right around December 20 and on you'll have no trouble finding on cable more than a few times. Will Ferrell, much like Murray in "Scrooged," owns this movie, and the film wouldn't be anything without his performance.
10/07/14 by Rennie Detore
The fall television started a few weeks ago, and this time of year typically is shrouded with optimism mixed with anxiety and hopefulness, specifically the networks sitting back and watching to see what shows register with audiences.
They'll be plenty of winners but most likely more losers as cracking the ratings code for a new series often is quite difficult. Developing a consistent audience and having a network give a show a long enough leash to establish a following isn't a combination you see a lot of in today's fickle and short lived list of television shows that started in September with high hopes and barely lasted beyond the initial set of end credits.
Take Seinfeld, arguably the most popular and well received show in the history of television. This show was on the brink of being canceled since its ratings weren't all that impressive at first glance, and most network "experts" branded the show about nothing barely worth watching.
Nearly 10 years after those reviews and everyone associated with Seinfeld is both wildly wealthy and pinpointed as a genius. The show itself is lauded as groundbreaking and historical in its presentation, story telling and writing.
And to think, it barely made past the first season.
Seinfeld is one of the few shows that held its own for its entire run and felt like it ended just at the right time. It was a remarkable show, and after nine seasons ended on its own terms. Some shows that are equally fantastic don't get that kind of sendoff.
In some instances, shows that are popular seem destined for years of success, only to fall by the wayside for seemingly no reason. Simply put, they left us too soon and, of course, wanting more.
1. Deadwood: This wild west show was one of HBO's finest in the same vein as "The Sopranos," "Sex in the City," and "Curb Your Enthusiasm," and had an entire pay cable television audience enthralled and hanging on every curse word you could think of, and then the show vanished without much reason or cause. Deadwood maybe didn't win the battle that was its run on HBO but the war is theirs as fans won't let the network forget that this show took a dirt nap far too soon.
2. Freaks and Geeks: Realistic, raw and funny, the show was set in high school and told stories that just about every teenager, past or present, could relate to on some level. Everyone knew (or was) a geek just as much as they stared at (or joined) the freaks in school. No matter which side of the fence you were on, there was no split decision on Freaks and Geeks. Everyone who watched the show loved it but was saddled with the "cult following" tag line, which is certain death for sitcoms.
3. Twin Peaks: Two seasons, which weren't nearly enough for the rabid fan base that begged for more from creators David Lynch and Mark Frost. Twin Peaks, much like the aforementioned shows, wasn't necessarily beloved by critics but wasn't totally panned either. Of course years after the show left the airwaves in 1991, critics changed their tune (which happens a lot) and called Twin Peaks one of the best shows of all times. Absence from audiences made hearts grow much fonder as the show is set to return in 2016 on Showtime.
09/12/14 by Vanessa Evans
One of the questions you hear most upon joining a local gym has little to do with losing weight, gaining muscle or finding the right balance of exercise and nutrition.
The most asked question of would be exercisers centers on clothing, more specifically what they should wear to the gym.
As silly as that sounds, you'd be shocked to know that most new exercisers aren't sure about the attire to the gym more than how to operate the treadmill or which dumbbells work best with bulging biceps.
So what exactly is considered feasible, fashionable and acceptable for the gym?
The trick is keeping it simple: shoes, sweats and shirts.
But even that sound, logical advice escapes new exercisers and even the ones that have had a penchant for pumping iron for years. This creates an uneasy atmosphere at the health club, particularly when you're standing side by side a member of the gym that looks ridiculous in what they've decided to wear. And keep in mind, this isn't the 80 year old man who is rocking a headband. He gets a pass. The following outfits don't.
1. Jeans: We understand that you're super busy and you have to come to the gym right after work a lot of the time, but that isn't an excuse to rock your stone washed denim jeans at the office on casual day, then turn around and not change into something else when the workout starts. Jeans aren't comfortable and the idea of sweating inside denim doesn't make for the most opportune or advisable workout.
2. Short shorts: If you are opposed to wearing sweat pants at the gym or the dog days of summer are telling you that it is too hot for long pants, you'll most likely turn to shorts for the workouts. What you don't want to do is make short enough so that literally nothing is left to the imagination. The idea behind working out is moving your body, arms, legs included, so the idea of doing squats or jumping jacks with shorts that look like they were painted on your body isn't advisable.
3. Sandals: OK, let's forget about the fact that this idea looks remarkably bad. Sandals are for the beach, lounging by the pool or throwing on something in the summer just to walk to the mailbox. Wearing sandals at the gym not only looks bad but is incredibly dumb when you consider you're lifting weights that range from five pounds to 100 pounds, all of which are going to hurt tremendously if and when you drop the weight on your foot. That's not to suggest that sneakers are going to save you from any harm but sandals will do nothing to help you from breaking a few toes.
08/31/14 by Mike Catania
No one enjoys the idea of breaking up with your significant other, unless of course the relationship has reached the point of no return, and neither side can amicably or realistically make the union work at this point.
If you truly care about the relationship, however, you might want to pay close attention to what's happening before it reaches that point. Let's say you and your wife seem to be communicating less or leading separate lives after work or rarely make time for one another, even if there is spare time to be had.
Those things are the proverbial red flags that something has gone wrong and can easily be corrected if they're addressed immediately. Relationships can't last if both parties involved realize there is something wrong but either deny a problem or simply look the other way and assume that it will take care of itself.
That mentality doesn't really translate when it comes to relationships, and the couples involved should take a more proactive approach to fix what is broken before it gets to the point that neither party wants any part of one another.
Others signs that your relationship is on the rocks:
1. You can't wait to get away from them: This one seems pretty obvious, but still shouldn't be considered lightly when you step back and take stock of your relationship. Everyone appreciates their alone time or the ability to spend time with the guys or girls, but if you find yourself looking for ways to spend even more time with your friends rather than your wife, husband, fiancee or partner, there's probably a reason behind it. Maybe you two have grown apart or realize after dating or years of marriage that you really don't have as much in common as you'd like to. In either case, you should take note and put a check mark on that issue to have it addressed.
2. Fighting, fighting and more fighting: Every couple argues; that's a given. But if you find yourself jawing with one another back and forth almost on a daily basis, something isn't right. Arguments typically are bread out of serious issues (money, family, lying, etc.) so if you two are bickering about buying the wrong milk or how much you dislike her friends or his family, it's time for a good, old fashioned Tony Soprano like sit down to figure out what went wrong and, more importantly, when.
3. Other people: As much as you're committed to your partner, your actions quite frankly will speak much louder than your words. And by that, you may try to convince yourself that you're not interested in talking or dating other people but that doesn't stop you from being at least a little flirtatious and actually contemplating dating someone else. As much as you try to quell those thoughts, if they're in your head chances are you'll act on them if you don't address how you're feeling with not only yourself but your significant other.
08/25/14 by Chasity McLeod
You've been waiting for your favorite band to come to town. You bought your tickets months in advance.
Finally, the day of the show arrives.
The weather is perfect.
The atmosphere is electric at the venue, and you think this is going to be a great night. Until you run into these people
1. One More Beer Guy: He's probably been drinking since yesterday, and he can barely stand up when the opening act takes the stage. He's stumbling and bumping into everyone, making sure to spill a little bit of his drink onto anyone in his path. But you know he's going to have another one, and another after that.
He probably won't remember the concert. And there's a good chance he may wake up in the ICU getting his stomach pumped.Â But the thought of his suffering won't make up for the suffering you'll endure if you're stuck next to this guy at the concert you've been waiting for.
2. The Make Out Couple: Everybody loves a slow song when they're at a concert with their significant other. It's a chance to wrap your arms around each other, maybe dance slowly together while the live music plays. And of course share a kiss while the band plays "your song." All of that is all well and good, but then there's the "Make Out Couple."
Being near this couple at a concert gives you the pleasure to view lots of sloppy kissing and some awful form of dancing. It doesn't matter what kind of music your favorite band is playing, it won't sound nearly as sweet if you're stuck next to the Make Out Couple.
3. Mr. Mosh Pit: This is One More Beer Guy and then some. And it doesn't matter if it's folk music show, this guy wants to thrash. Mr. Mosh Pit can usually be identified by his angry facial expressions, and he also will be bouncing around like he's in the octagon during a fighters intro for a UFC match. Mr. Mosh Pit is easily identifiable by his wardrobe, usually something by Affliction, or a tank top with some type of dragon pattern or camo print. If you want your good time at a concert ruined, Mr. Mosh Pit is your man.
4. The Music History Lesson: He was in London for the Beatles in the 60s. At MSG for the Stones in the 70s. He saw "The Boss" at least once every year in the 80's. And tonight, he's sitting next to you.
He'll tell you all about those shows, which he may not even have actually went to, or he'll tell you why music was better "back in the day."
Sure you came to actually hear your favorite band play live, but tonight you'll miss half of your favorite song because you're getting a Music History Lesson instead.
5. What's That Smell Guy: He may have paid $35 for the concert T shirt, but he must not have had $1.99 for a stick of deodorant. WTS Guy is usually sweating profusely, and he also comes in a variety of awful scents. Nothing takes the air out of your event (and out of your lungs) quite like being stuck next to What's That Smell Guy.
You've probably encountered one or more of these people. If you're attending a concert in the near future, you're probably hoping that you don't encounter any of them, much less one.
08/13/14 by Rennie Detore
Sadness, shock and dismay befell millions with the news that legendary funnyman and renowned actor Robin Williams reportedly committed suicide at his home in California on August 11.
As reports of this tragedy began to circulate through the media, internet and social media, friends, family and colleagues of Williams, who had battled depression, expressed their condolences and talked candidly and honestly about just how talented the late actor was no matter what role he took or if he was participating in television or movies.
Williams engaging personality and comedic brilliance can't be ignored or understated. The range of Williams also allowed him to do some of his best and most lauded work in more serious roles that earned him high praise from critics and peers alike.
Simply put, Williams was genius at work, an eclectic mix of funny and drama that lit up the screen and truly embodied what it meant to be a star. Williams' unique presence and the way he captivated audiences no matter what forum he took, stage, screen, comedy specials or even as a guest on a late night talk show, has influenced legions of comedians who were drawn to how Williams didn't just play a role; he enveloped it will passion and a penchant for making it his own.
Attempting to narrow down the work Williams did and choosing his best roles isn't an easy undertaking, but undoubtedly everyone has their favorites when it comes to Williams and how he magnificently made us laugh, cry and smile with the greatest of ease.
1. "Good Will Hunting": Williams and co star Matt Damon were electric in this movie, with their heated banter back and forth that culminated in an on screen friendship that defined an unconventional teacher student relationship that defined the arch of the entire film. Williams won an Academy Award for his role, and this departure for him from comedy to more dramatic roles earned him high marks as more than a one dimensional act.
2. "One Hour Photo": Just plain creepy but masterful by a man who seemed to enjoy taking a serious detour when it comes to how he was perceived in Hollywood. Williams plays, as the title suggests, a photo clerk at a retail store that decides he isn't satisfied with just looking at pictures of a family and interjects himself into their lives. Williams' appearance for the role was almost unrecognizable, but he owned the screen.
3. "Good Morning, Vietnam": Williams plays a disc jockey for an Armed Forces Radio station and his trademark catchphrase, which is the same as the movie title, became an iconic, repeated tag line for years to come. Williams earned an Academy Award nomination and although he didn't win, this movie put him on the map as far as staking his claim as a Hollywood heavyweight and A list star for years to come.
4. "Aladdin": This was Williams in his proverbial wheelhouse. He voiced the Genie from Aladdin, and after watching the movie, you can't help but love and admire how talented Williams is by adding a sense of humor and candor to a giant blue genie. You almost get the sense that the writers and director of Aladdin said to Williams "just go out there and do what you do best." Mission accomplished, Robin.
5. "Mrs. Doubtfire": Yes, Williams' did "The Fisher King" and "Dead Poet's Society" and both of those dramatic roles deserves spots on a bevy of best of lists for him. That point certainly can't be argued. But admit it, you loved "Mrs. Doubtfire" and couldn't help but be mesmerized by Williams and how "on" he was in this role as a dad who will do anything to be near his children as a messy separation from his wife, which includes being a middle aged nanny in a full body suit and gray haired wig. Few actors could pull this off, but Williams was one of them hands down.
08/02/14 by Jackie Russo
Ask anyone you know if they consider themselves a good driver, and chances are you'll hear an affirmative answer.
That's because everyone wholeheartedly believes they're a good driver but they look at driving as more of a routine or something done out of habit rather than the exact science behind the act itself. Truthfully, driving isn't just steering and pressing the gas or break pedals but instead should be viewed as a systematic approach to paying attention to not only what you're doing but everyone else on the road around you.
Defensive driving often is a term that is used haphazardly when most of the time we don't take into consideration that it goes above and beyond just being safe or studious when you're behind the wheel. If you truly believe you're a prudent driver, then you have to take a look at a few above the rudimentary and think about everything else that goes above and beyond the norm.
1. The safety cushion: This one, hands down, is a practice that you've either never heard of don't do. The safety cushion simply means that when you're stopped at a red light or stop sign you leave at least one car length in front of you, should an issue arise that forces you to pull forward. If you're a bumper to bumper driver, then you aren't a fan of the space cushion. The space cushion not only helps you prevent accidents but potential car jacking as well. You should leave that car length in case you see another vehicle traveling behind you that doesn't look as though it is going to stop. The same cushion could prevent anyone from stealing your vehicle if you have some room to pull forward to avoid the confrontation.
2. The 4 second rule: This one is similar to the space cushion in theory but has to do with the space you leave when traveling or moving at speeds that are above 35 miles per hour. The four second rule is simple: find a spot on the highway, like a road sign or mile marker, and make not when the car in front of you passes it. Then, count to four slowly. If you make it to that same mile marker, road sign or spot before four seconds, you're following too closely. You should have at least four seconds of road between you and the next car in line. Much like the space cushion, you want to proceed behind other drivers cautiously and if you're traveling right behind them, you have no time to react.
3. Pulling forward when parking: This might be the one rule you use and don't even realize that you're doing it. Searching for a spot to park is frustrating, and everyone seems content on finding the closest spot, when in actuality you should be searching for a spot that you can pull forward through and be positioned to not have to back up when leaving. Backing a vehicle is much more dangerous than having the ability to put the car in drive and go forward when you're leaving a crowded area or parking spot.
07/04/14 by Rennie Detore
The show about "nothing" celebrated something special this year: its 25th anniversary.
Despite initially being panned by critics and almost canceled after a few episodes, "Seinfeld" found more than just a home on the NBC network.
It changed the landscape of television sitcoms forever.
Talking about just how creative, hilarious, memorable and iconic "Seinfeld" is easy and has been done for the last decade and a half. Even though the show hasn't been on television in more than 15 years, the legacy of the writing, acting and framework have been copied and admired from afar by others who have attempted to recreate what Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David created in 1989.
The sign of a good show truly is how referenced or beloved it is even after it's been off the air for quite some time, with the other being how often it is quoted.
"Seinfeld" has both of those bases fully covered.
The quotes, especially, define just how amazing "Seinfeld" still is, especially given the show took the sitcom mold and decided the status quo simply wasn't going to cut it. Trying to whittle down the very best of "Seinfeld" to just a handful of famous lines would be almost as difficult as finding a person who never actually watched the show at least once.
1. "Remember, it's not a life if you believe it": This is the quintessential George Costanza line and truly encompasses the character. George uttered this to Jerry when he was attempting to pass a lie detector test as Jerry wasn't ready to admit to one of his many girlfriends that he was a fan of "Melrose Place." The George Costanza character did everything he could to manipulate, lie and cheat in just about any situation, so him imparting his wisdom on Jerry with such passion is pitch perfect writing and delivery.
2. "No Soup For You": The "Soup Nazi" as he was referred to on "Seinfeld" easily was the most famous non recurring character in the show's history. He didn't last for more than just one episode but his "no soup for you" line became synonymous with "Seinfeld" as a whole.
3. "The Sea was Angry that Day My Friends, like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli": Another classic line from George as he's relaying the story of how he pulled a golf ball, hit by Kramer earlier in the episode into the ocean, out of the blow hole of a whale. Why was George trying to save a whale? Because, he was pretending to be a marine biologist to impress a woman he went to high school with, of course.
4. "Yada, Yada, Yada": This phrase perhaps arose from a writer suffering from writer's block, but it turned into pure gold as a way to leave out very important details from a conversation. George, for example, had his girlfriend use the "Yada, Yada" line instead of disclosing important information: like she cheated on George with her ex and stole a watch and skipped the bill on a facial.
5. "You doubled dipped the chip; it's like putting your whole mouth in the bowl": George was dating a girl who recently had a death in the family, so George became, as Jerry and Kramer put it, the "consolation guy" and helped escort his girlfriend back to her hometown to grieve. Of course, George tried to get a discount on the plane ticket and, while at the wake, double dipped chip much to the dismay of "Timmy," one of the girlfriend's relatives. Timmy turns around with the classic "it's like putting your whole mouth in the bowl" line that started a fight.
06/24/14 by Rennie Detore
Carl's Jr., the hamburger and chicken sandwich chain, is doing what a lot of fast food restaurants do, and that's throw caution and creativity to the wind and seeing what sticks.
This time around, it's mashed potatoes.
Carl's Jr. is testing out a new hamburger that says so long to the lettuce, tomato and onions and instead tops their famed beef patty with a little potato action. The Carl's Jr. "Mashers" is a hamburger topped with not only mashed potatoes but also gravy and onion straws, just in case the beef, potatoes and roll weren't enough to fill your expectations and stomach.
It's hard to say how the "Mashers" sandwich will fare in an already competitive fast food marketplace that includes heavy hitters like McDonald's, Burger King and Wendy's. But kudos for Carl's for thinking outside the box and bun to the point that they appear to be reinventing the hamburger beyond the traditional toppings.
The "Mashers" might turn out to be a huge success and find a place alongside other iconic sandwiches like the the Whopper or Big Mac. Then again, the "Mashers" could easily turn into just another mouth watering mess of a burger that is quickly cast aside and forgotten.
And Carl's Jr. wouldn't be the first, or last, fast food chain to have high hopes for one of its menu items, only to watch it chewed up and spit out by the critics. Even the most lucrative and impressive fast food chains can put at least one or two terrible ideas on their resume.
1. McDonald's "Arch Deluxe": This is an easy one. What does a 100 million dollar advertising, coupled with a burger that really isn't anything special other than a piece of peppered bacon, get you? The answer: the top spot of sandwich swings and misses in the form of the Arch Deluxe from McDonald's. Ronald and company spent a small fortune to promote this burger, and nothing ever materialized beyond an initial curiosity. Sadly, this won't be McDonald's only spot on this top five list.
2. Wendy's "Frescata" sandwiches: Call me crazy, but there weren't bad by any means, but they failed to follow the one cardinal rule of fast food: they weren't necessarily fast. Wendy's claims these sandwiches took too long to make, and thus quickly were shown the exit door. Customers aren't about to wait more than a handful of minutes for their food, even if it means eating something that is relatively healthy within the fast food genre. Poor Frescata, we hardly knew you.
3. McDonald's everything that wasn't a burger: OK, so this one basically lumps together everything McDonald's attempted to do as far as branching out beyond the burger. This billion dollar chain tried its hand at everything from hot dogs to pasta, but the United States crowd couldn't have cared less. There was even reports that a few McDonald's actually had the "McLobster," which featured lobster on a hot dog bun, not exactly a reminder of your last trip to Martha's Vineyard.
4. McDonald's Hula Burger: This is starting to look like the pick on McDonald's list but they've had a few awful burgers. Credit McDonald's for at least attempting to try different things, but you have to wonder who thought a pineapple hamburger and pita sandwich would be bona fide winners on their already established menu.
5. Burger King's "Enormous Omelet Sandwich": Where to begin with this monstrosity? If oatmeal with fruit is the protagonist at the breakfast table, then the Enormous Omelet Sandwich was pure villain. Eggs, bacon, sausage and cheese rolled on a huge sandwich bun begged the question: Are you going to live after breakfast? This sandwich was everything that is wrong with the obesity epidemic in the country. Eating one of these sandwiches meant you'd feel terrible about yourself all day, and basically, due to the calorie, fat and sodium content, wouldn't be able to eat anything else for the entire day.
06/24/14 by Holly Clifford
Stand up comedy has given the entertainment community a multitude of legendary performers, some of which stayed strong and true to their original craft while others moved on to the bright lights of the silver screen or television to rave reviews.
From Richard Pryor to George Carlin, Lewis Black to Jerry Seinfeld and anyone else that revolutionized the art of telling jokes on stage and changed the landscape of stand up comedy, this art form is one that takes practice, wit, charisma and truly having your pulse on anything from pop culture to politics or the little things that make us laugh.
Like any profession, however, not everyone is destined to be great or memorable but instead average and forgettable. Stand up comedy is an interesting profession in that you don't necessarily have to be funny to the masses to have successful career. Plenty of stand up comedians elicit nothing more than the proverbial groan and eye roll just when their names are mentioned, yet these same men and women are wildly rich, famous and continue to draw exceptionally well, even if they vary from unwatchable to flat out annoying.
And, in some cases, they're incredibly unoriginal.
1. Dane Cook: He's played to 15,000 fans on various stand up specials, and the crowds seem to really enjoy his humor. But after a few years and rumors that he stole material from fellow comedians, most notably Louis C.K., Cook and his appeal wore thin and eventually tapered off to epic proportions. He's still part of the comedy circuit to some degree, but he's nowhere near as popular as he was circa 2006-2007, when he actually landed some fairly noteworthy movie roles.
2. Jeff Dunham: A puppet act? Seriously. Who thinks this is funny? Obviously, the answer is someone since Dunham is knee deep in puppets and plenty of cash, along with cable companies giving this goof one special after another. His act is terrible and is the type of television you put on when you can't fall asleep at 4 in the morning.
3. Larry The Cable Guy: Not only does his catch phrase make your skin crawl, but he's never actually told a joke that is funny. Why is a cable guy funny, by the way. If George Carlin gets high praise for being the kind of comic that is intellectual and focuses on language and the human race to a perfect pitch, Larry the Cable Guy is bottom of the barrel stuff. He makes redneck jokes and developed a persona that is the kind of guy you look at and make fun of; you know like laughing at him, not with him. No one has any interest in doing either with Larry.
4. Gallagher: In what other job can you get famous and make millions of dollars as a sub par prop comic whose claim to fame was smashing watermelon for a living? Gallagher didn't really make jokes per say but rather used oversized couches and sledgehammers to smash fruit as his idea of comedy. Just plain awful.
5. Jay Leno: The two time host of "The Tonight Show" once was described as a favorite comedian of Johnny Carson. Not sure why after watching Leno for the last few decades. His humor consists of unfunny one liners, and his later work on "The Tonight Show" grated on nerves and viewers, particularly when he ousted Conan O'Brien out of a job.
06/07/14 by Rennie Detore
Hitting the books, studying hard and cultivating a career path are the cornerstones of the college experience. The reason you're there in the first place is to continue your education and have the means to be able to secure the job you want, and live comfortably and securely for the next 30 or 40 years.
As much as college centers on what happens inside the classroom, the idea of continuing your education can center on more than just the test taking and long, drawn out lectures.
To truly appreciate the entire scope of college, students should make sure they take in all the sights and sounds within the confines of their university. Of course, passing grades and earning your degree trumps the extracurricular activities you can enjoy, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't stop to enjoy everything else the college experience can offer.
1. Go to a sporting event: College athletics not only is big business, but football and basketball games specifically create an atmosphere that is intoxicating, even if you're not the biggest sports fan. The cheering, camaraderie and fervor speaks to everyone in attendance and truly encompasses college in all its glory.
2. Pull an all night study session: OK, so you're already studying enough as it is, but every college student has a moment where they have 10 hours of work to accomplish, whether that's studying or writing a term paper, and only five hours to do so. That's when the most diligent and studious of students put their nose to the proverbial grindstone and hit the books until the sun rises the next morning. Chances are, all that hard work and lack of sleep paid off with a stellar grade, and you'll also be able to tell the inevitable story of how you went hours upon hours without sleep yet still managed to pull off the impossible.
3. Make new friends: This one is likely going to happen regardless, but making friends in college also is about meeting people that aren't exactly like you. Branching out and talking to would be buddies that have different interests than yours or spending time with new friends that can give you an entirely new prospective on just about everything is one of the great aspects of college. Your college or university likely is a melting pot waiting to be discovered, and when you finally do that, you'll be pleasantly surprised with what you've learned and the new friends you've made.
4. Study abroad: College is one of the few forums that affords you the opportunity to study somewhere that isn't in your backyard. Sure, you probably left the comfort and convenience of your parents' home to go to college in the first place, but think about the experience you'll always treasure if you're able to study abroad and truly soak in a cultural tour de force you'll never forget.
5. Internships: This one seems like a given but far too many students pass on the notion that they should spend the latter part of their college life working. Maybe they assume they'll have plenty of time to work once school is out, but colleges typically work hard to find you an internship so take advantage of those resources provided to you, and get your foot in the door somewhere so that you at least have a few contacts made when you're sending out resumes in droves.
06/04/14 by Jackie Russo
Sometimes, food gets a bad rap and often is terribly misunderstood.
Take avocados or peanut butter for example. These fatty foods get cast aside quickly and with great prejudice when you're trying to cut calories, lose weight and hit the gym all in one fell swoop.
But those aforementioned foods actually promote muscle growth and are considered "good" fats, the ones that help your body more than they hurt it.
Avocados and peanut butter are a few of the exceptions. They're foods that carry a so called bad reputation but actually are quite advised as far as having them at least in moderation.
Other foods don't have that luxury. Despite these foods being overly popular with the masses, they realistically should be ignored every chance you get, whether you're talking about a quick, breakfast on the go or a dinner that hardly would be considered home cooked. That includes the main course, side dishes or even the occasional snack or beverage as well.
You hate to use the word "never" but these foods and drinks belong on that list, especially if they're items you ingest on a daily basis.
1. Diet soda: If you wanted to do public relations for a particular food or drink, you'd want to hook up with any of the diet soda manufacturers. This soft drink sells itself as a legitimate low calorie alternative that is perfectly safe. In actuality, diet soda is littered with aspartame, an artificial sweetener that wreaks havoc on your stomach and could lead to more serious conditions. The irony of diet soda is that it is sold as zero calorie option versus regular cola but actually contributes to weight gain in people who drink it, since the ingredients in your diet drink make you hungrier and feeling less full.
2. Cereal or granola bars: These two delicious snacks probably feel like they're being picked on, but they're deserving of all things negative pushed in their direction. Much like how diet soda is marketed as being a healthier alternative to sugary drinks, cereal and granola bars sound healthy but most of the ones produced are fat personified. If you must have an on the go bar of some sort, think about a lower calorie and fat bar that's filled with protein. Don't let the words "cereal" or "granola" lull you into believing that you're actually eating well.
3. Microwave popcorn: The information on microwaveable popcorn is just plain scary. Plenty of experts and researchers alike are attempting to tell anyone who will listen that microwave popcorn, the chemicals in the lining of the bag specifically, are remarkably dangerous. These same microwaveable popcorn haters suggest you buy the kernels loose and cook them the old fashioned way: in a pan on the stove.
05/29/14 by Vanessa Evans
No matter how much someone tells you to the contrary about not having any regret, chances are there is at least a few decisions they'd like to have back and choices that, in hindsight, weren't very smart ones.
Now that you're a full fledged adult, have you ever thought what you'd like to tell your younger self. Granted, unless you have a time machine stored somewhere, you truly can't go back and change what's already been done, but the thought process at least is engaging and makes for interesting conversation.
If nothing else, maybe now that you're mature and well traveled, you can at least impart some of that wisdom on a younger generation, perhaps children of your own, nieces, nephews or relatives.
1. Don't spend money that you think you have: This is one that plagues the adolescent masses, particularly the ones that work diligently while they're living in the friendly and rent free confines of their parents home. Let's say you're making a few hundred dollars a week or even about a thousand or so dollars per month, and figure that since you have no bills to speak of then the money you're making is essentially yours to spend as you see fit. That misstep is financial flawed. Living at home is the best time to start saving money, because the moment you set foot outside those comfortable walls of mom and dad, you'll be wishing you set aside some cash as a reserve you'll likely need desperately.
2. Eat better: That size 38 inch waist is slowly starting to creep into the 40 plus territory now that you're in your mid to late 30s, and losing the weight becomes increasingly difficult with each passing year. That's when you start thinking that maybe you should have at least tried a little harder to eat healthier in your late teens and 20s. Of course, your metabolism burns food faster when you're younger, but those bad eating habits you picked up when you were younger stuck with you as you got older, and those subsequent pounds landed on your hips, thighs, stomach and backside.
3. Not every relationship is meaningful: You'll have plenty of girlfriends and boyfriends, friends and partners, and when you're younger you might consider each and every one of them the most important you'll ever have. The older you is quick to point out that not all relationships are created equal, nor to they all deserve tears to be shed when they end. Relationships should be meaningful, and as you get older you'll begin to hone in on the exact characteristics and traits you're looking for in a significant other. That sound advice is something you wish your younger self knew when you bemoaned and sobbed over every conversation, date or relationship that went sour.
05/24/14 by Jackie Russo
Wedding season is upon us all, and that means the planning and pensive thoughts from the would be bridge and groom, but that doesn't mean they won't sweat out the actual day in the hopes that all goes as planned.
One of the more intriguing variables on wedding day are the guests themselves, more specifically whether the majority of them will refrain from making day more about their antics than what's happening between husband and wife.
Of course, every wedding has its share of party animals but not all the wedding no nos fall on the shoulders of this group. Sure, you'll want to keep an eye out for anyone who looks like Vince Vaughn or Owen Wilson from Wedding Crashers, but even the most demure of guests still should be on your wedding day radar.
There's obviously more than a few rules guests should abide by, particularly the universal ones that should never even see the light of this special day.
1. Fight clubbed: Anticipation is always palpable when it comes to the tossing of the garter or the bouquet, but that excitement shouldn't be confused with common sense as far as tempering just how ferociously you go about getting your hands on either of those two items. Far too often weddings are marred by a desperately single woman leaving claw marks on a fellow female or guys leap frogging one another or throwing fists for the honor of catching the garter. You certainly don't have the stand their like a statue and definitely can have some fun with it, but keep your cool in the clutch.
2. Speech less: If you're one of the lucky ones that actually is part of the wedding, presumably the maid or matron of honor or the best man, then chances are you've been working hard on a speech for the wedding day. At least, of course, we hope that is what you've been doing for the last year of planning. Whatever you do, if you're cast in this role, don't go near a microphone without some sort of plan or written notes. You're a huge part of this special day, and standing up in front of the room like you're George Carlin isn't going to end well. If you don't know what to say or regrettably haven't prepared, then please keep it simple.
3. Complain, complain go away: No one likes a wedding guest that can't stop blabbering about how much they don't like, well, everything. It's too hot outside for the ceremony; it's too cold inside the banquet room; the food isn't good; I'm tired, etc. This is one of the few days when you're witty comments and inane banter isn't welcomed at all. You should find a seat and shut up or just leave before the bridge or groom hears you.
4. The drunk guy (or girl): Every wedding has one of these people, either just an individual or a group that is having way too much fun at the bar, which later gives the bride and groom plenty of fodder for a questioning attitude as to why they were invited in the first place. If you're one of these guests that simply can't wait to drink, please keep in mind that your action aren't just affecting you but rather two people who thought highly enough of you to invite you to their wedding. If that isn't enough to sway you in the right direction, then implement some sound advice: stay home.
05/02/14 by Rennie Detore
You've more than likely asked yourself plenty of questions before you ultimately decided to join a health club or gym, but perhaps the most important of those is "where."
Often when it comes to exercise and implementing a workout routine, you already know why you should head down that road. Whether you're interested in adding muscle or desperately need to lose weight, you have your reason in mind when you begin to determine exactly where you'd like to join. Some would be exercisers assume that all gyms or health clubs are created equal, and that treadmills, elliptical machines, weights and classes won't vary much from place to place, and that price is a motivator.
That mentality isn't too far off, especially if you're someone who believes wholeheartedly that you'll probably use a few cardiovascular machines and engage in some modest weight training. Often what goes overlooked as you begin finding a place to begin exercising are the smallest of details, things you wouldn't expect to define your decision.
Even though your gym might pass the proverbial naked eye test, you'd be wise to take a closer look at the finer points of your place of fitness. Otherwise, you may come to the realization that you've joined the wrong place.
1. Cleanliness: As part of your initial tour of prospective gyms, you should treat these establishments and their cleanliness the same way you would a restaurant you're deciding to eat at or not. The best place to comb over to see if this club or gym takes cleaning seriously is the bathroom. Check for mold or soap scum in the showers or take a quick glance at how clean the toilets are.
2. Staffing: This one is two fold. When you're visiting a gym, you should talk to a few of the staff members and see if they're the type of employees that are interested in truly helping you achieve your goals. Truthfully, some staff within the walls of health clubs and gyms like the idea of getting a free membership to the facility, and take the job for that reason alone. Any management team that permits and perpetuates that mentality by allowing that personality to continue to work there definitely isn't a place you want to visit. The other staffing aspect to keep in mind is volume. If you're new to exercise, and don't always feel comfortable with how to use various equipment, it's always nice to know that you have some support.
3. Current members: You may not pay much attention to the other people working out when you're taking a tour, but keep an eye on what you see. Do the members that already belong there make eye contact with you? Are the other members all on their cell phones, which is an remarkably annoying action to deal with while you're at the gym? Do they look as though they're unfriendly? The last thing you want to do is join a gym, feel completely inadequate and thus stop going just as you're getting started.
4. Terms: The days of long term contracts upon joining are pretty much done, particularly when joining a gym. If you start visiting clubs, always ask if there is a contract involved, and if the answer is "yes," you can pretty much cross them off your list. Some health clubs and gyms offer incentive to sign a year contract, but month to month is easily your better bet. If the gym you're visiting is pushing terms on you, there's plenty of other options around town that isn't solely interested in only locking you into a contract.
5. Trainers: Most of the general public that joins the gym does so with the intent of hiring someone to help them along the way. That help comes traditionally in the form of personal trainers, and finding one that matches your personality is paramount. You know you've picked the wrong gym and trainer specifically if you hear lots of loud barking and yelling from trainer to client, and very little encouragement. That means the trainer is more about hearing the sound of their own voice, rather than actually helping you achieve the goal of losing weight or whatever you're trying to do while you're there. Some clubs have a tendency to hire a fleet of trainers that all have that same mentality of punish the people they're training and rarely stop to reflect on why they are there in the first place: to help.
04/29/14 by Andrea Arden
Identity theft is running rampant, whether it comes in the form of hackers going toe to toe with retailers and taking liberties with your credit card numbers or so called emails that look as thought they're totally legitimate.
Fraud is all around you, the consumer, and just when retailers or banks believe they've figured out how to stop hackers or identity thieves, that group of individuals already are working on a new scam. That revelation is truly what makes identity theft and fraud such a scary proposition, which puts the onus on shoppers, customers and the population as a whole to educate themselves on how to spot a phony proposition when not to opt for a credit card in place of your debit card.
As some have learned the hard way, stopping identity thieves and those who specialize in scamming innocent individuals isn't easy, nor is anything truly full proof. But that doesn't mean being more mindful of how you spend and store won't at least remedy the problem.
1. Email fraud: This one often gives the masses more issue than they'd care to admit. Fake emails often are so detail oriented and nearly flawless that even the most keen and mindful of people clicking now and regretting later. Some of the more common companies that battle email fraud are the likes of Paypal, eBay and Craigslist. What you want to look for when it comes to emails and whether they're legit or not is poor grammar, spelling or taking the time to compare emails if you believe you've received one that isn't from who they say. Also, most of the aforementioned companies and others like them make it a point to tell you on their respective web sites exactly what their emails will say or not say, such as telling consumers that they'll never ask you for a bank account or phone number. Emails that ask you for those are easily flagged as fake. Craigslist especially is always good for fraud and scam, given the nature of this sales and services open forum. If you're selling something, be prepared for plenty of stories from prospective buyers that are clearly not real. For example, if someone from Craigslist tells you they'd love to buy your dining room table, but they'll have to wire you money and send movers to pick it up, and they'll need your address, etc., that's a sure fire sign that you're on the cusp of getting scammed.
2. The separate card: This idea isn't so much as solution as it simply makes life a lot easier for you if you find yourself in the midst of a full scale data breach. The logic behind having a credit card that you use for all of your online purchases is simple and centers on the ability to track purchases in one spot, rather than decipher which card you used for a particular purchase. A good rule of thumb always is to never use your debit card when buying online because it is attached to your checking or savings account. That's your money, and it's a lot more stressful to attempt to retrieve it, rather than credit.
3. Not so hot spot: It's always mind numbing and truly amazing when you see someone doing an online banking transfer on their cell phone or tablet network or, worse yet, using an open network to pay a credit card bill or look up important information. You should always secure your wireless network if you're going to be doing something important. That password might be the difference between protecting your banking and identity versus leaving that pertinent information out in the open for all to see.
Even implementing a few tips takes a little more power out of the hands of hackers and puts it in yours. Anyone who makes it a point to steal identities is always going to be thinking about another way to develop and enact some sort of scam, but that doesn't mean you have to lie down and let them do whatever they want without at least some sort of fight.
04/27/14 by Rennie Detore
Reality television is an acquired taste, especially if you've always found a flavor for traditional dramas or comedies.
For at least the past 10 years, reality television has been a staple on networks and cable to the point that this particular genre has transformed from groundbreaking to relatively watered down. The inception of reality television felt progressive, unique and an alternative to campy, formulaic programming with canned laughter.
Reality television was what it claimed to be: real. The better reality television offerings often featured no names and were devoid of star power but centered on a premise that was equal parts entertaining and intriguing. Think "American Idol" and "Real World" when you ponder reality television shows that changed the landscape.
But for every "Idol" or "Survivor," there were plenty of programs that tried really hard and bombed even harder. Narrowing down that list to just a few might be difficult given the plethora of poorly produced shows.
1.Keeping up with the Kardashians: Some may argue this show finding its way onto a "worst" list given its ratings performance for the E! Network. Anyone who has tried to watch this unbearable family on the small screen knows just how painstaking of a process this 30 minutes can be. Reality television often works when the stars aren't stars at all. The problem with the Kardashian clan in that they think they are celebrities and act accordingly, even though technically none of them have ever done anything to earn that status.
2. America's Got Talent: This was a horrific hodgepodge of talented people and stage acts that bordered on sheer stupidity. Trying to comb the country for people who have some sort of skill sounds like a decent premise until you get a hour's worth of a show that features juggling karaoke singers or magicians that don't belong on television. And that's the real flaw of America's Got Talent: too many duds and not enough talent on display.
3. Toddlers in Tiaras: I'm not sure what's worse about this show, the fact that these poor children are thrust into modeling careers in lieu of actually enjoying being a kid or the moms that pathetically live vicariously through their offspring. Some of the outfits these kids wear are nothing short of disturbing thanks to being way too provocative and inappropriate. The fact that the moms on the show couldn't care less that their kids and their psyche are being compromised might actually be worse that the clothing choices for these children.
4. Mr. Personality: This one is just plain weird. I understand the premise of a woman wanting to choose a man based on his personality alone. But someone explain why these guys have to wear these ridiculous and creepy masks. I liked this show better when it was called the "Dating Game," minus the odd Phantom of the Opera feel Mr. Personality had to it.
5. Temptation Island: This show should be retitled "Let's Break Up This Perfectly Good Relationship." Seriously, what is the purpose of this show, other than to watch everything that is wrong with boyfriends and girlfriends. This show glorifies manipulation and resentment, not to mention the lowest common denominator of making sure everyone on the show is wearing as little as possible.
04/18/14 by Mike Catania
Parents probably have quite the love and hate relationship with the internet, especially when it comes to their kids.
The internet reinvented the way we do research, find news, weather or sports and how we communicate and socialize with one another. But the wonder and innovation that is the internet also created another piece of technology that parents must monitor. They've been bestowed the responsibility of making sure their kids aren't using the world wide web for anything more than school work or perhaps a little gaming.
Exploring the internet isn't just for little kids, either. Teenagers are just as apt to start searching and perusing web sites even more than younger children, particularly given the inception of Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites that aren't necessarily regulated for content.
You could say the same thing for the entire internet as well.
And with that onus on parents' shoulders, they're undoubtedly taking steps to make sure that their kids not only understand the gravity of what they can stumble upon on the internet but how to differentiate between what's inappropriate and not.
Simply turning kids lose on the internet, given its vastness, isn't a smart idea. Parents have to take more than just a passive approach and take the time to really drive home the point that the internet can actually do more harm than good.
So what specifically can parents do to educate their kids before it is too late?
1. Make the computer a family affair: Moms and dads are busy, but that doesn't excuse them from using the computer first and then stepping aside to allow their kids to follow suit. Parents should make it a point to use the internet together with their kids, especially if they're younger and just hitting their teenage years. This won't work so much for older kids, but sitting down with them before they get older might nip the problem in the bud.
2. Scan, scan, scan: Older teens could be tempted to test the proverbial waters and take a sneak peak at something they shouldn't be. Parents should make it known that the family computer or any computer in the house for that matter is fair game when it comes to running scans or checking internet history to see what sites have been visited. This shouldn't be prefaced as a threat but rather healthy check ups of sorts to make sure no one is using the PC or Mac for the wrong reasons.
3. Password sharing: This might be a tougher sell for older kids and teenagers as far as making it a point to tell them that if they have any email or social media accounts that the password must be public knowledge for the parents.
4. Location, location, location: This one is easily overlooked for younger kids. The household computer needs to be in a centralized location, preferably an office or somewhere out in the open so a casual walk past by mom or dad can note anything on the monitor that shouldn't be there. Putting the PC in the kids' bedroom won't do parents any favors as far as being able to keep tabs on content.
04/13/14 by Krystin Olinski
The movie theater often is a magnet for the annoying.
No, this isn't about your $10 movie ticket or having to take out a small loan just for popcorn and drinks but rather the lovely and oblivious movie goers that seemingly pay attention to everything other than the actual film.
And, they certainly aren't concerned with you, either.
Anyone who's been in the midst of vicinity of this particular movie attendee knows just how incredibly rude and nerve racking this person can be, especially since you'd actually like to watch the movie. Apparently, they have little problem spending money for what amounts to no reason whatsoever, since they're more interested in chatting, calling, napping or whatever else they deem paramount while at the movies.
Trying to narrow down the most ubiquitous isn't exactly an easy task but some irritations absolutely outweigh the others.
1. The chatty guy: You have to assume that this talkative man or woman didn't get enough chit chat at the water cooler within the office and can't help but resume their conversation while you're trying to watch the feature film of your choosing. This person can take on several forms, including using their cell phone to make calls or endlessly talking to the person next to them, usually about the most inconsequential of topics. If you want to talk sports, politics or how much you dislike your boss, can't you pick a better venue than the movies? Even worse than the inane banter back and forth is when two people have to openly and loudly ask one another questions about the movie as it is happening.
2. The hungry guy: Eating light en route to the movie theater isn't unheard of, especially if you plan on raiding the concession stand for just about anything that isn't tied down. That chain of events is typical, but what isn't so normal is sitting next to a person who packed a lunch for this two or three hour movie. This pseudo lunch or dinner goes far behind sneaking in a few Junior Mints or a can of soda, but rather a grocery bag filled with cold cuts, cheese, potato chips and even a tub of sour cream dip. Did this person take a wrong turn and end up at the movie theater instead of a party? If these people aren't stacking a club sandwich by the third act of the movie, then they probably opted for a different food related purchase while at the theater: fast food. Nothing personifies ridiculous more than catching a glimpse of someone stuffing their face with a McDonald's or Wendy's bag during the movie. Let's get real, it's called fast food; they couldn't have left the house five minutes early and just ate the burger and fries at the restaurant or in their car. Spare us the onion and mustard smell permeating through the theater, please.
3. The sleepy guy: You may think to yourself that this person isn't really bothering anyone per say. If they don't mind paying to sit in a theater and sleep, then what harm is that to you? Great point, unless of course you're the one sitting next to them, watching them drool on themselves or lay their head on an arm rest you're supposed to be sharing. Suppose you're sitting in front of this sleepy patron, and they decide the want to stretch out their legs on top of your seat. Not much makes a movie more unbearable than having to rest your head between a set of sneakers.
When movie makers, producers and directors alike talk about the "magic of the movies," you have to think they're not talking about people who take away from the show by completely ignoring unspoken etiquette. If you want some real magic, make these people disappear completely from the theater.
04/04/14 by Rennie Detore
Often done out of necessity or because you're just tired of spending money on rent alone, you've tossed your hat into the housing market ring and are intent on buying a home.
Before you begin house hunting, however, you must truthfully determine if owning a home is something that you're actually prepared for, above and beyond the monthly mortgage payment.
Far too often, buying a home is idolized as being the "American dream," and those who continually rent are cast aside as foolish for essentially throwing their money away (i.e. paying for something every month that isn't yours and you don't own).
That certainly stands as valid reasoning but still doesn't mean that you're necessarily ready to own a home, and everything that goes with it. Beyond owning a home, building credit and actually having that sense of purpose every time you pay your mortgage, knowing that you're paying toward something that is basically yours, there's much more to a home.
What about additional utilities that were already included in your rent?
Do you have money saved for emergencies?
How does your job and its security play into your next move?
All of these pertinent questions must be considered contently before you sign that sales agreement on the dotted line and begin your forage into being one of many homeowners that bites off far too much they can't chew.
Think you're ready to buy a house; think again.
1. You're barely making it as a renter: If you're paying $500 in rent and, with the lower home buying interest rates in your sights, you can match that same dollar figure when buying a home, you decide its basically a laterally move financially only now you "own" your home. That simplistic thinking isn't going to take into consideration anything with the new home that pops up that isn't covered under home owners insurance or part of a home warranty upon buying. Most home warranties cover minor repairs but nothing that would classify as major, like the roof leaking. And the majority of repair money comes out of your pocket, meaning that $500 rent vs. $500 mortgage isn't exactly the even playing field you thought it was initially.
2. Additional home related expenses: If you're renting and your gas and electric are included in your monthly payment, have you thought about what it's going to cost you with a new home? You have to add, on average, another $200 per month to your outgoing expenses after you stop renting and start paying a mortgage. You also have to consider homeowners insurance, if it isn't included in your mortgage payment, along with a home warranty monthly charge and perhaps even cable TV and internet, provided that was paid by your old landlord as a package deal with your rent.
3. Your not sure your job is stable: This one speaks for itself. Let's say you have enough money to buy a home as far as the down payment and earn enough to take care of the monthly expenses. That's all well and good, but what happens if in a few weeks, months or years, your job no longer exists. That might not be realistic, but if you happen to be employed by a company that isn't doing so well or there have been talk of layoffs, buying a home shouldn't be a high priority. It's much easier to bargain, beg and plead with a landlord or break a month to month lease than haggling with mortgage companies about not being able to pay for your home.
4. Your credit score and report need work: A common mistake among would be house hunters and eventual home owners is the confusion with credit and how it can hinder your chances of being approved for a home loan. Banks and loan underwriters pay close attention to your debt to income ratio, and if your credit cards or debt in general are in a state of disarray, you might want to get that cleaned up first and foremost before you even consider approaching a financial institution or realtor to buy a home. This includes paying down credit card balances that are incredibly close to the credit limit and not opening new lines of credit at least a six months to a year before you decide to buy. A huge misstep for home owners is, once they find a home, sign the papers and await word on final approval, they begin charging thousands of dollars worth of furniture to department store credit cards or decide, in the midst of the underwriter determining their home owning fate, opt to buy a new car simultaneously. Those moves are enormous red flags for mortgage companies and could easily affect your debt to income ratio moments before the loan is signed off on, thus causing you to not be approved.
All of this isn't to suggest that buying a home is a bad idea. But if you're really not ready for it, then that's exactly what the endeavor becomes. Sometimes, in the case of being a home owner, patience trumps impulse and waiting until you have more money saved, a better job or financial stability seems like the logical move at the moment.
04/01/14 by Krystin Olinski
No one wants to admit that they're relationship may be in trouble, but often times the signs are so obvious that they're hard to ignore.
You aren't communicating, and everything seems to transform from basic conversation to argument, and thus bickering outweighs playful banter as the chatting of choice.
Some of the signals aren't quite as evident and rank as subtle hints that things aren't going well or simply are heading in the wrong direction.
Either way, you can't ignore what is painfully apparent or if you're starting to ponder one very important question: Is my relationship in trouble?
1. Inadvisable discussions: Every man or women seeks solace in their friends when it comes to opining about your relationship and all of the subsequent shortcomings or your specific frustrations regarding it. But beyond talking to your parents, aunts, uncles, cousins and close friends, you should be concerned if you're starting to have these same questioning conversations about your relationship with the wrong person. For example, if you're out with your girlfriends and you meet a guy and begin addressing how unhappy you are with your relationship, that's not smart, especially if that one therapy session turns into exchanging phone numbers and then seeking that person out to continue the bash session. The combination of that new, budding relationship coupled with your struggles in your current one makes for a terribly tempting concoction.
2. So long to caring: You start missing a few dates here and there, and aren't putting the kind of emphasis on your relationship you once did. Maybe you'll argue the point that being comfortable in a relationship is a good thing, but that logic only has legs if you aren't showing up for dinner in sweat pants. This isn't overemphasizing or putting too much on the superficial but rather just caring about your appearance or actually impressing your significant other. It may not seem like much at the time, but the lack of caring could easily extend into other aspects of the relationship, mainly intimacy and making time for that, too.
3. Interests change: You would assume that one of the reasons you got together in the first place was that you and your significant other shared at least a handful of interests together, whether that's enjoying the same music, movies or general outlook on life. If you're in the midst of a relationship and you find that interests change, that's might be a slow building sign that you're headed in separate directions. Those summertime concerts have transformed into you go one way, and your girlfriend, boyfriend, wife, husband or partner head out somewhere else on the same night. There's nothing wrong with spending time with your friends, having a girl's night out from time to time or knowing inherently that you have freedom to do what you want, but if you find you're spending more time doing that then enjoying the company of your partner, you may scoff it off now and look at it in hindsight as a turning point toward the wrong direction.
4. Avoidance: This one sort of speaks for itself. If you don't make getting together or setting date nights, you've already answered the aforementioned question as to whether your relationship is in trouble. This just in: you should want to be with your significant other, and go out of your way to not only make plans but just seem them even if it's for a few minutes. Avoiding that time at all costs isn't fair to either person and isn't hard to decipher going forward: it's time to call it quits.
Saying so long to your relationship isn't an easy decision but definitely beats the alternative: remaining stressed and stubborn, trying to convince yourself everything is going to be fine, when it reality all parties involved know it's time to move on.
03/31/14 by Holly Clifford
The travel season is fast approach, and even if you're accustomed to packing your bags, hopping in the car or catching a flight, even the most adept and focused of individuals and families can forget a few tips that make your trip or vacation that much more enjoyable.
1. Over packing: This one happens far too often, and really is incredibly avoidable. The general practice is putting as much in your suitcase, with the "just in case" mentality pushing to the forefront of your thought process. But most people tend to come home with a good portion of unused clothes, suggesting they didn't do an admirable job of dissecting what they would be using. Packing extra socks and underwear always is a wise move, but you probably won't be needing five dresses for a two night stay. And as long as you're paying attention and honing your packing skills, you may want to print out a new copy of the rules when it comes to medications or liquids and how to pack them. And please, tighten those caps so you don't open up your suitcase or duffel bag to find that your conditioner or moisturizer has ruined your entire vacation wardrobe.
2. Talk to your bank and creditors: Why exactly does your bank need to know that you're going away on vacation? That may sound like a silly item for your vacation to do list, but it actually will save you from one headache after another. If you're traveling out of the United States or even leaving the state you call home, you should call your bank and let them know. With so much focus today, and rightfully so, on fraud, banks are quick to deny charges that they see as questionable. So if all your purchase take place in Pennsylvania and all of a sudden you're charging away in Arkansas, chances are your bank is going to put a red light on buying, even if you haven't been the victim of identity theft. A simple, authorized phone call to your bank or credit card company can allow you to avoid the certain and inevitable displeasure of standing in line to buy something or attempting to pay the check at a restaurant to no avail.
3. Overbooking your agenda: It's totally natural to exude excitement and clamor to visit every possible site when you arrive at your destination. But by all means keep in mind that this is your vacation, and part of the reason you've decided to get away is to lessen your stress and forget about having a schedule. Instead of boasting an itinerary that is wall to wall walking around and hitting the major attractions, pick a few that catch your eye and leave yourself plenty of down time to just relax and enjoy yourself.
03/26/14 by Vanessa Evans
Are you in love with your job? Do you wake up every morning feeling energized and primed to push through your eight hour day with a smile on your face?
Chances are, you can't really muster up that much enthusiasm when it comes to your place of employment or the actual job itself. Truthfully, your job is merely a means to earn money, live and pay your bills, and is devoid of traditional happiness, meaning that you leave for the day infused with equal parts enjoyment, fulfillment and eagerness to return the following day.
Not every job reeks of redundancy mixed with depression but rather sport similar, redeeming characteristics like creativity and freedom to work without restraints. The other overwhelming trait of a career or job that you have a hard time hating on is one that gives you a sense of satisfaction of a job well done in conjunction with helping people along the way.
1. Teacher: No one can argue the point that teachers tackle a bevy of personalities throughout the course of their career and experience mounds of stress as part of their daily routine. But seeing their students finally reach the point where they understand a particular lesson or graduate with honors even if they struggled at one point or another is unbelievably gratifying and rewarding. Ask any teacher who's had a visit from a past student who has gone on to bigger and better things, and they'll use that example as the reason they get up every morning and go to work.
2. Hairdresser/Barber: Hairdressers and barbers are innately social and are just as savvy and sensational as a good salesperson. They're not necessarily selling anything but rather carefully crafting relationships to make their clients feels comfortable with the idle chatter and content with skillfully sending them home with an even better head of hair than they had when they arrived. Your hairdresser or barber also gets gratification with every makeover they muster up on a daily basis.
3. Fashion Designer: Passion needs to be the driving force behind choosing a job and watching your career flourish, and those who pursue fashion as their line of work undoubtedly love the idea of putting their proverbial ear to the ground and staying in tune with the latest and greatest trends. Fashion designers are given tremendous freedom to be creative and make their own rules, be their own boss and watch as their inspiration for the stylish and fashionable ideas they concoct come to fruition for rave reviews.
4. Contractor: The final scene of the movie "Office Space" lets you know that ditching your desk job in favor of savoring the crisp, clean outdoor air might give be the career revelation and respite you've been looking for in favor of budget meetings or managing a slew of employees. Plenty of traditional, career minded individuals have opted to bag the suit and tie and trading it in for work boots, hammer and nails. Contractors have the intelligence and aptitude to work with their hands, build a home and stand back, take a long, hard look at the house and realize just how remarkably special the final project appears.
5. Sales Rep: You love people and being around them, right? Working in sales at any level allows you to flex your communication muscles and likely talking to a different person every time you sit down to do business. This could be something along the lines of retail, door to door or an account representative for a larger scale company.
03/17/14 by Vanessa Evans
The college model needs more than just a little tinkering.
You could argue that it needs a complete overhaul. In many instances, you have more graduates than jobs to fill, thus leaving plenty of college alums out of work the second they earn that degree.
College is equal parts enthusiasm of a job well done and starting another chapter in your life and heading into the work force, along with likely carrying around your first significant amount of debt. You can only put so much of a dent in that debt if you aren't making a decent wage.
That fact makes choosing the right major even more important, given that this decision might be the difference between earning a marginal paycheck or flourishing in your career.
Plenty of college majors make for careers that allow you to succeed once your studying is done. The flip side is selecting a course of study that won't lead you to the kind of job you'll need to not only survive but be able to pay back the loan looming large upon graduation.
1. History: Your knowledge of all things history might bode well for you if you're selected to compete on Jeopardy, but beyond that it probably won't equal the kind of income you're hoping for after those four years in college. You can always supplement your income when you win Final Jeopardy, but you shouldn't count on being crowd champion of a game show to pay your bills.
2. English: Most of what was discussed when it comes to history as a major applies to English as your field of choice. English is more tailored to a subject you'd like to pursue in conjunction with wanting to become a teacher. In that instance, English is easy to understand as a major. Aside from that logic and long term planning, English won't translate into tons of money in your pocket.
3. Journalism/Photography: The slow and painful death of print media makes journalism just plain risky as a major. The same can be said for photography. These two majors are majorly tricky in the sense that if you're able to land a job at USA Today, you'll be glad you went down the journalism and photography road, but that's not exactly going to help you right out of the post graduate gate. Those who have spent time in these fields for years probably will tell you that these are passions that don't always pay and might be a better viewed as part time hobbies than how you make your primary living.
4. Drama: The only drama you'll likely find is the trying to turn your love of acting and performing into something that pays. That's not to suggest you won't be hoisting an Emmy or Oscar, but that path is admirable and ambitious thinking, but getting there isn't going to be easy. In the interim between graduating with that drama degree and becoming a Best Actor nominee might be a little lean in the wallet.
Going to college often is just the natural next move after high school but just because it might be a foregone conclusion doesn't mean it should be treated lightly as far as choosing a major. If you're content on following your passion and doing what you love most, then kudos to your drive and determination.
Just be prepared for the fallout if you can't find exactly what you're looking for right out of school.
03/14/14 by Rennie Detore
If you aren't really familiar with St. Patrick's Day or head out to celebrate every year, you probably only know it as the holiday in March when everyone wears green and goes out to the bar.
That vague and general assumption pretty much is the pop cultural version of this event as millions migrate to their nearest watering hole, pub or bar and completely let loose, green garb and all.
Unlike your traditional weekend out, St. Patrick's Day often takes on a celebratory aura that most assume excuses them from exercising common sense, moderation or good judgment. Relishing St. Patrick's Day and the style and substance that goes along with it doesn't have to translate into an uncomfortable situation or making everyone you're with that night sorry they asked you to come in the first place.
Don't confuse keeping it simple and having fun with coming across as being the boring one in the group. Your judgment and implementing it accordingly won't mean you're the wet blanket but rather intelligent enough to keep your wherewithal, without necessarily sitting idle and quietly in a corner while everyone else is enjoying their night.
1. Overboard on the green: Wearing green on St. Patrick's Day is the norm, but taking it too far also seems like a right of passage. Guys who paint their entire body green or the ubiquitous leprechaun outfits from the ladies simply are too much of a good thing. The body paint comes across for the guys as a desperate attempt to go shirtless for no other reason than trying to do your best Incredible Hulk impersonation.
2. Age appropriate: Keep in mind that if you're out on St. Patrick's Day and are part of an older crowd, you can do without the green pants and face paint, aside from maybe a small four leaf clover on the cheek. Grab a shamrock T shirt, maybe a green baseball cap or even a relatively conservative or demure green dress will make you look like you're part of the crowd without standing out for all the wrong reasons.
3. Drink smart: This advice should pertain all the time, but St. Patrick's Day often brings out the worst in the masses when it comes to knowing when to walk away from the bar. Just because St. Patrick's Day is synonymous with shots and mixed drinks doesn't mean it also shouldn't include something equally as important: the shut off valve.
The luck of the Irish will turn quickly if you're not prepared to pace yourself, act your age and treat St. Patrick's Day like it is nothing more than another night out.
03/10/14 by Krystin Olinski
The polar vortex has everyone hoping for a tropical getaway this Spring Break. Unfortunately, the side effect of Spring Break is either drunken frat boys high fiving or toddlers crying over spilled milk. This year, don't settle and instead choose a Spring Break destination that is off the grid without costing as much as your student loans.
1. Puerto Rico: No passport required. A trip to PR is the luxury of the Caribbean without waiting 12 weeks for your passport to arrive. This is an ideal location for a spontaneous getaway. In Puerto Rico, lay on the white sand, trek through the rainforest, explore their beautiful caves or snorkel the reefs. What more is there in life, really?
2. Austin : Austin has a slogan, "Keep Austin Weird." You can do just that in the tech centric millennial city. Their music and tech festivals are the holy grail to the indie scene. If you head to Austin, make sure to check out a music show, meander the farmer's markets and don't forget to Instagram or Snapchat your travels.
3. New Orleans: Whether you are a history buff or a whiskey lush, New Orleans is the city for you. In The Big Easy, you can have your tarot cards read, take a paddle boat down the Mississippi River and listen to the saxophone playing in the breeze. There is something romantic and timeless about New Orleans.
4. Tulum: Authentic Mexico is not served at Senor Frog's. Make sure to visit the less touristy, Tulum. Tulum is home to Sian Ka'an, a World Heritage site, one of the 7 Wonders of the Modern World, Chichen Itza, and you can swim with the dolphins.
5. Hawaii: The lone state of Hawaii seems so unreachable monetarily and geographically. This year, however, they are hosting sales to Oahu with flights and hotel packages under $500. Hawaii needs no introduction with its lava fields, rainforest, surfing and all the leis you can get.
6. Iceland: If you can stand the ice any longer, Iceland is one of the more beautiful locations on Earth. There are few places where you can horseback ride on a glacier in the morning, traverse lava tube caves in the afternoon and catch the Aurora Borealis after dinner. Iceland is relatively inexpensive flight and hotel stay. Just beware of the cost of food, a calzone and a coke will run you nearly $40.
Enjoy your Spring Break.
03/05/14 by Krystin Olinski
Who didn't fall in love with little Macaulay Culkin in "Home Alone," doing his own grocery shopping and staving off an attempted burglary?
And what about the tiny tyke from "Jerry Maguire," with his spiky hair and glasses getting cute and cozy, and sharing time with Tom Cruise.
Those kids stole the show with performances that instantly became iconic, but also placed them in a category of actors that is hard to shake: child stars. The reason that moniker carries such a negative connotation because most children included in that group fail to garner much success once they hit puberty.
Culkin has been quiet for years, and most people don't even knows the real name of the kid from "Jerry Maguire." Those two hardly are the only ones that turned fame as a child into a rudimentary lifestyle as a teenager and adult.
But for every Culkin or Corey Feldman, there's a Drew Barrymore, who turned success and a raucous and tumultuous childhood career into success as an adult actor, writer, producer and director.
The spotlight often follows around the trials and tribulations of the child stars that flounder, rather than chatter centering on the ones that actually flourish and survive those awkward teen years within the movie and television business, and emerge as seasoned, well respected actors.
Here's another six that pushed through the proverbial glass ceiling that is acting as a child and managed to maintain a career that can be deemed worthy.
1. Jason Bateman -- The kid from the television show "The Hogan Family" and "Silver Spoons" shot to fame as an adult thanks to the iconic "Arrested Development" and turned that amazing role into movie stardom as an adult with hits like "Juno," "Identity Thief," "Horrible Bosses" and "The Breakup." He is directing an upcoming film "Bad Words" and will star in the sequel to "Horrible Bosses."
2. Sarah Jessica Parker -- Yes, she married Ferris Bueller but Parker gets put on this list since she shot from "Square Pegs" stardom to the "Sex and the City" superstar. As a kid, she also starred in "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" and the original "Footloose." She stumbled a bit in the 1990s with forgettable movie roles in "Striking Distance" and "Honeymoon in Vegas," but that all changed when she transformed in Carrie Bradshaw.
3. The Mickey Mouse Club (most of them) -- This is the only group of sorts to make the list, since it includes Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Justin Timberlake and Ryan Gosling. Timberlake and Gosling especially have been making more than just a few waves with their movie careers (and Timberlake with his music as well). Gosling starred in "The Notebook," "Crazy, Stupid Love" and "Drive." Timberlake flashed more than just some serious dance moves, and also has show some serious acting chops and a comedic side to his repertoire (most notably with his best friend and new "Tonight Show" host Jimmy Fallon).
4. Leonardo Dicaprio -- Dicaprio did wonders as a kid in "What's Eating Gilbert Grape" and on television's hit show "Growing Pains." Dicaprio ironically didn't experience any real life pains from child to adult actor. He's an renowned actor and leading man in such blockbusters as "Blood Diamond," "The Departed," "Wolf of Wall Street" and "Inception." Oh yeah, and that billion dollar movie about that boat.
5. Neil Patrick Harris -- NPH never missed a beat as a child, combining brainy and adorable in one package on "Doogie Howser, M.D." Harris played the title role as a prodigy who graduates from medical school as a kid. The role didn't pigeon hole Harris, who is currently wrapping up his Emmy nominated role on "How I Met Your Mother." He starred in the "Smurfs" movie and often is called upon as a host for the Tony Awards.
6. Ron Howard -- Howard is the perfect example of child star turned adult who didn't really have a place in Hollywood in front of the camera. Instead, Howard did an about face and took a seat in the director's chair and hasn't moved since. He's one of most renowned and respected director's in Hollywood, and his career started as the rambunctious red head on "The Andy Griffith Show."
Not every star of television, stage and the silver screen turn their golden opportunity as child into a career that centers more on failure or trouble with the law, rather than ongoing success. About half the time, talent trumps all and those quirky, cute kids grow up into talented adults.
The stories of success just get the kind of headlines they should.
02/28/14 by Chasity McLeod
Who doesn't love a kitchen appliance that makes life easier?
From the blender to the microwave, your kitchen counter top is littered with little gadgets that help spare you any extra time making, baking or preparing food.
If your fast paced, time sensitive daily routine, along with cell phones and tablets for starters, has taught you anything it's that you truly value what helps you get through the day unscathed and with as much simplicity as possible.
Why should you kitchen be any different?
But much like any topic or piece of technology, your kitchen also houses a haven of hapless, hopeless devices and products that sounded a lot more enticing at first. Once it came to the actual usage and incorporation of these items, you found yourself incredibly disappointed.
These items certainly don't stand toe to toe with your microwave or coffee pot and probably would have been better off left on the shelves.
1. Juicer (unless you actually use it): Before you raise your hand in appreciation of what your power juice or juice extracting machine has done to improve your life, you must first assume initially that you are going to use it. If you're a straight from the carton kind of consumer, but have heard wonderful things about juicing and would like to go down that road, step cautiously. Juicing is fantastic, healthy and empowers you to draw extra energy at every turn, but that's provided it actually gets turned on; otherwise, it's about a hundred bucks of dead counter space. Juicing can be a lot of cutting and thawing of fruit and clean up in some cases, much more than you might want from your relationship with juice. Twisting the cap off an Ocean Spray bottle might be more your speed, so think about that before you run out and buy a juicer.
2. Sandwich press or griddle: Who doesn't love a perfectly toasted sandwich or fresh eggs and hot cakes off the griddle? That all sounds lovely and remarkably filling when it comes to breakfast and lunch, but the griddle is a beastly piece of equipment that might be more cumbersome than convenient in most kitchens. The sandwich press or grill doesn't have to be quite as monstrous as your griddle, but ask yourself if how many times you'll actually take this device out and use it. After careful consideration, you may decide that you're perfectly fine with your pan and spatula and can live consciously and perfectly well knowing those perfectly positioned grill marks are overrated.
3. Food Dehydrator: The food dehydrator might be the prototype kitchen gadget as far as believing in your heart that you need it, but eventually figuring out that it was a huge misstep when building the perfect kitchen counter top. Who didn't love the television commercial that showed just how fun it would be to stock up on dried apricots and beef jerky for years to come? That dazzling display of dehydrating doesn't quite live up to the hype once this bulky behemoth of a machine hit your front door in a box the size of a small refrigerator. Between the size and prep time that often goes into making the food dehydrator a fantastic machine, you felt just as depleted, exhausted and shriveled up as that banana chip you've been slaving over for the last few hours.
Between savvy marketing and the magic of television infomercial, you shouldn't feel duped or dumb founded as to why you bought these products in the hopes that you'd be using them for years to come. Regardless if you're talking about kitchen utensils, makes and models of cars or the next generation of cell phones, not every product is a slam dunk.
In some cases, like the aforementioned kitchen ones, they're the retail version of the air ball.
02/25/14 by Rennie Detore
"Ghostbusters" was the first movie I saw at a drive in theater. I was five years old.
I fell asleep about halfway through the movie, but that was more a product of being a kid than what I was actually watching.
As an adult, I've grown to appreciate the 1984 blockbuster that was "Ghostbusters," and the iconic status it enjoys 30 years after its release.
This is a rare piece of work that at the time was considered silly and forgettable, but eventually grew into a classic, the kind of movie you can watch every day or can't help but quote whenever you get the chance.
Some would argue that the driving force behind the "Ghostbusters" movies was the onscreen brilliance of Bill Murray. That fact was hard to argue. But behind the scenes, the creativity and writing acumen of Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis told the story from start to finish.
Ramis penned some of the more irreverent and hilarious comedies both before and after "Ghostbusters."
Ramis passed away February 24 from complications of a disease that causes swelling of the blood vessels known as autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis.
He was 69.
Ramis leaves behind family and friends that love him and miss him. For fans of his writing, directing and acting, he'll also bestow a legacy of outstanding work that, much like "Ghostbusters," will never grow old or outdated.
Even after his passing, he'll continue to influence directors and writers, much the way he did with the likes of Judd Apatow and the Farrelly Brothers.
That's what legends do.
Pairing down only five Ramis related movies to acknowledge isn't easy, but basking in just how witty, intelligent and influential he was to millions of people is effortless.
1. "Ghostbusters": What more can you say about a movie that was panned by critics and then adored and revered by the masses? It's a classic, and so was Ramis' performance as Egon Spengler, seemingly the only one of the trio of original "Ghostbusters" that actually knew an inkling about science. He was demure, sarcastic and delivered some of the more memorable lines of the film. Remember, the Twinkie.
2. "Analyze This": Ramis directed and wrote the screenplay of this spoof comedy that came out right around the time "The Sopranos" and provided a comedic take on a mobster (Robert Deniro) seeing a therapist (Billy Crystal). It was a perfect foil to the violence and intensity put forth by "The Sopranos" and audiences loved it.
3. "National Lampoon's Animal House": The prototype for every college fraternity movie, "Animal House" was written by Ramis and starred the late John Belushi. When you watch movies like "American Pie" or "Old School," you can't help but see Ramis' screenplay from "Animal House" bleed through into today's modern collegiate or high school comedy.
4. "Caddyshack" - Voted one of the best sports movies of all time, Ramis co wrote and directed this film that included a who's who cast of Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield and Billy Murray. "Caddyshack," much like "Ghostbusters" didn't seem like it was destined for much more than a $.99 VHS bin at a local video store. But the performances, laughs, quotable lines and hilarity that ensured turned this would be slice into the woods into a hole in one.
5. "Groundhog Day" - Murray and Ramis teamed up for this dark comedy of sorts that saw Murray play a Pennsylvania weatherman who relives the same day over and over again. Ramis wrote and directed "Groundhog Day" and the pairing of he and Murray was golden. The premise of this movie worked but only because of the way Ramis pieced the story together and gave Murray more than adequate material to work with.
Ramis will be sorely missed. His work will never be forgotten.
02/17/14 by Rennie Detore
Jay Leno is out. Jimmy Fallon is in. For now.
Doubt regarding the future of Fallon as the new host of "The Tonight Show" is founded, given the events the last time Leno left the long running talk show.
If Fallon taking over for Leno feels a bit like deja vu, it should. It wasn't that long ago that Leno gave up the famous chair for Conan O'Brien, longtime host of "Late Night," the show that followed Leno's for years.
O'Brien barely had a cup of coffee as host of "The Tonight Show," before Leno found his way back on to the show. Some have suggested Leno never really wanted to leave. Other argue that NBC saw enough of O'Brien in just a matter of months, and felt like he just wasn't the right fit.
Fans of Fallon have every right to wonder quietly or aloud whether Leno might be interested in putting off retirement from "The Tonight Show" for a second time. Who's to say Leno won't grow tired of sitting at home on his couch and decide that he's ready for round number three?
Fallon assumes his show hosting duties on "The Tonight Show" on February 17, and Leno might be inclined and content to ride off into the sunset once and for all, but those who question whether Fallon is just another placeholder while Leno recharges his batteries certainly have plenty of motivation behind that theory.
That said, Fallon feels right as the kingpin of late night talk. And if you need any more proof that he's going to have a long standing tenure as host of "The Tonight Show," here goes:
1. The "R's" have it
Fallon has a little more relevancy than O'Brien when it comes to how he delivers his jokes, the show's writing and references. A wider demographic can relate to Fallon, who comes across as a little more humble and charming. Now let's get one thing straight: O'Brien is incredibly talented and is one of the sharpest and wittiest writers you'll ever bump into, but his "Tonight Show" material fell flat with Leno's older audience. O'Brien is quirky and never really struck that right cord with the Leno leftovers. Watching enough of Fallon, you can see he won't have that same roadblock.
2. Sense of Humor
Fallon is one of the more revered and relevant "Saturday Night Live" cast members in recent memory, and the way he delivered the news or put together a sketch is straight comedic gold. O'Brien certainly had his moments, too, but Fallon seems more seasoned in this regard. Fallon also isn't afraid to show off his musical acumen in a parody type role, whether he's a dead ringer for Bruce Springsteen or is doing his best Neil Young impersonation. That type of extracurricular activity on his show spells anything but doom for him.
3. Social Media
It's not hard to figure out how to extend your popularity and reach well beyond just the television medium. Fallon is a superstar when it comes to social media, and not only uses it for promotion but also within some of his material. His "Hash tag" Wednesday pokes a little fun at Twitter, but he's laughing at more than just his own jokes. That Wednesday night routine always finds itself as a top trending topic worldwide. That should equate to a least a "few" more viewers.
It's hard not to root for or like Fallon if you paid attention to even a couple minutes of his "Late Night" program. He's remarkably likeable and funny, two tremendous staples of any successful television figure.
Given Leno's laziness and lackadaisical demeanor over the last few years, Fallon will feel like a breath of fresh air, the kind of energy and surge that the "Tonight Show" chair has sorely been missing.
02/16/14 by Rennie Detore
Have you ever found yourself knuckle deep in a bag of potato chips and realize that the entire bag is gone?
That feeling isn't exclusive to you and often hampers even the most fervent and focused dieter who swears off fatty foods, deep fried delights or anything else that would jeopardize their already expanding waistline.
Mindless eating might sound like a simple lack of self control but plenty of other outside forces or the things you do on a daily basis lead to unnecessary snacking and the consumption of food without regard for just how long you've been eating.
Focus on these five tips, and you'll be closing that potato chip bag faster than you think:
1. Count out a serving and put it on a plate
Far too often, you'll plop down on the couch and crack open a drink and dive into a bag of salted goodness while you're watching television. Two hours into your football game or intense movie, you're still eating, paying closer attention to the final score or plot line more so that how much you're eating. That's why its paramount to put what snack foods you want on a plate and fully understand what a serving size consists of no matter what you're eating.
2. Breakfast rules
Skipping your first meal often leads to larger portions throughout the day. Far too often, you'll hear friends, family or co workers lament how they only eat "one meal a day" and can't seem to lose weight. After further discussion, you realize that lone meal is enough to live on for days. In addition to the eat once a day mentality, your metabolism is negatively affected by not fueling your body first thing in the morning.
3. Emotional eating
You're in the midst of a life changing event, and usually food plays a factor on opposite ends of the spectrum: you either don't want to eat at all or can't stop chowing down. If you're affected more so by the latter, you're not alone. "Emotional" eating plagues plenty of would be weight loss persons as food often takes the place of emoting when you've received some bad news or are in the midst of a breakup. Your best bet is supplanting stuffing your face with working out, going for a walk or making it a point to increase your activity level. You'd be surprised to find out how much you won't miss food.
Eating is natural part of everyone's day, but it's important to look at food as fuel that powers your body, mind, stamina and wherewithal when it comes to work and play. That's not to say you can't enjoy food, but indulging to the point that you're hurting your health is hardly advisable.
02/15/14 by Jackie Russo
You're not exactly thrilled with your job but you don't mind it, either.
Going to work isn't so much a chore but there's plenty of other things you'd rather be doing.
That feeling that has come over you like a complacent shroud is called employment purgatory, and it's the first sign that you need a career change sooner than later.
You spend a little less than half your life at work, which begs a very important question: Shouldn't you at least enjoy what you do?
Granted, every job has its peaks and valleys, but overall the former should outweigh the latter.
Want to know when it's time to jump ship and find another line of work; here's a few hints.
1. The Little Things
It's one thing to be bored or uninterested in your job, but if you're having trouble motivating yourself to do even the basic, day to day activities that are defined in your job description then that's a sure fire sign that you have worn out your welcome at your current position.
2. No Advancement
The idea that you can't go any further than your current title is reason to fall into a marvelous malaise at the office. A big part of a job is the idea that a better job is possible or quite likely as you put your time in and, of course, do a great job. If you've been the model employee for years and management is filling your mailbox with empty promises and little upside, then you're best bet is heading for the door, because your talents aren't truly being appreciated.
3. Resentment or Anger
This is a unique sentiment in that you find yourself not being able to be happy for your fellow employee when they do well: closing a new client or hitting a sales quota, for example. If you find yourself fuming more often than not, that probably means you're either taking the rigor of the workplace a little too seriously or you're simply not happy with what you're doing. A lack of contentment breeds contempt for not only your employer but also your fellow co workers. The last thing you want to do is start burning bridges and inner office friendships simply because you've been miscast in your current role or employer.
4. Relationship with Supervisor
Let's say you've dropped the ball on a few presentations, and can't seem to, in the eyes of your boss or supervisor, get back on track or do anything right recently. Your relationship with your boss is one that needs to be at least serviceable, and if it's heading south quickly, you should too. Do you really want to have awkward, passing glances with your boss in the hopes that he or she looks up affirmatively? Didn't think so.
Switching careers is hardly an undertaking that should be looked upon lightly. This is your livelihood and how you provide for yourself or your family, so any decision deserve ample consideration. But plodding along aimlessly or pushing through every painstaking day, week or month is hardly a happy medium.
02/14/14 by Krystin Olinski
Valentine's Day is right around the corner. If you're anything like me, I loathe this holiday. Not because, I am a lonely single gal. I have a boo, I just don't quite understand having to force your significant other to show affection, but I digress. I feel guilty if I don't partake because of my feminist agenda, so here are a few ideas to be unique this Valentine's Day. Trust me, he doesn't want a stuffed teddy bear.
1. Cooking Classes: They say the quickest way to a man's heart is through his stomach. Heat things up by taking a couples cooking class with your beau. There is something sensual about food, so harness the sexiness, Betty Croker style. There are tons of options available at local restaurants and Publix (for those lucky enough to live in the Southeast) offering instruction for how to make sushi, pastas and even mixology classes. Eat your heart out.
2. Brewery tour: The only thing better than beer is imbibing beer with your babe. You will score major cool points for planning a brewery tour of some local ales. If you live in a city like Denver, Austin or Tampa with a thriving brewery scene, plan on a tour of breweries. You both could learn a lot and enjoy a variety of pints. Just make sure you don't drink and drive.
3. Have a Staycation: Become a tourist in your hometown. Many times people live in a city for so long, they never think to do the local attractions. Museums, landmarks and other attractions are a great way to explore together and gain a new perspective. There's no place like home.
4. Gadgets: Every guy loves tech gadgets. If you man travels a lot, Beats by Dre can help him relax on the plane, even if the polar vortex is keeping him grounded. Has your man not missed the gym since high school? The Jawbone UP24 is a fitness band that tracks sleep, activity and even has a reminder to get up and move if you have been idle too long. It syncs through Bluetooth and keeps him on his toes.
1. 5. Boudoir photo shoot -- The sexiest thing a woman can wear is a smile. Make sure he knows that with tastefully done, yet suggestive photos starring you. Give him the photos on Valentine's Day morning and make him think about you all day long. Anticipation is key.
6. Sporting event or concert tickets: Experiences are presents that last a lifetime through memories. Continue to build the memories with s major league sporting event or tickets to his favorite musician. You might find a new pastime or a new favorite band along the way. Kiss Cam anyone?
7. Travel Bag: For all of his "manscaping" needs, travel bag or kit is a great way to increase the number of adult sleepovers. Having all of his favorite products close at hand makes it easier for him to grab and go. There are a bunch of different sizes, styles and fabrics available. You can even monogram, as long as that doesn't hearken him back to his mom writing his name on his underwearâ€¦.
02/10/14 by Rennie Detore
Your New Year's Resolution to lose weight is already 30 days old, and you're probably in the midst of taking stock of your progress now that January has turned into February.
And you've come to a resounding conclusion to that resolution: You've actually started to see a little bit of progress. So maybe you haven't hit your goal weight and those jeans are still a bit snug, but you've noticed that you're feeling better, have more energy and are skipping that 2 pm nap you've been taking at work.
But alas, all is not perfect when it comes to your going to the gym routine, and one aspect of your journey leaves plenty to be desired.
Your gym bag.
Yes, that tote or duffel bag you've been lugging around for the last month or so doesn't exactly fit the mold of the model carrying case in terms of the contents or lack thereof. The first rule of thumb is an easy one: make sure your bag doesn't need bagged. In other words, invest in a modern gym bag that mirrors the name.
That means no grocery bags (not even the upscale, cloth or nylon ones with handles) or rolling up your deodorant and shampoo in your sweatshirt and sweatpants and calling that a "homemade" gym bag.
Beyond the bag itself, you need a few items above and beyond the essentials for that trip to the gym, whether you're going first thing in the morning or right after work. Everyone knows they need clothes, but a closer look reveals you should be packing much for than the obvious.
1. Lock for locker
This one seems a little redundant but you'd be surprised to learn that most people who bring a gym bag filled with clothes, shoes and even valuables don't bother to add a lock to that all important contents list. It's too risky, no matter how secure your gym is, to leave your things readily accessible to the general public that migrates in and out of the locker room.
You can see this one coming a mile away. The same person who is crouched down in the corner on one knee after only a few minutes of a workout most likely are the ones that answer the following question with a resounding "no."
Did you eat before you came to the gym? Plenty of myths regarding weight loss point the finger at no eating before you workout so you can burn more calories while you're running or lifting weights. Wrong. You need food for energy, and without anything in your stomach, your exercise is going to exhaust you faster and have you heading for the sidelines is no time. Your gym bag should include some sort of emergency protein bar, shake or even a small bag of almonds, nuts or anything that can keep you from passing out in the midst of a pushup.
3. Extra clothes
Everyone knows your gym bag should have exercise clothes in it, so you're equipped to change from your work attire into your workout garb once you've traded in the office for the elliptical. But did you ever think that you should pack an extra outfit as well? There's nothing worse than putting in a long, hard and arduous workout and being forced to go home sopping wet with sweat. That isn't a pleasant car ride home as you are forced to peel your skin and subsequent soaked clothing away from your car seat, and rush into the house to find the nearest shower. An extra set of clothes nips this annoyance squarely in the bud.
This one really runs parallel to some degree with number three. If you're making it a point to really amp up your workout and sweat out that ham sandwich you had for lunch, you should be commended for your hard work. Conversely, if you're the person who is moving from one machine to another and leaving that annoying back and neck sweat behind, then shame on you for not having a towel in your bag.
5. Hair ties and headbands
Have you ever been in the midst of a kickboxing class and instead of focusing squarely on the instructor, you're busy pushing hair out of your face? At that moment, you probably wish you had a hair tie right about now. These are one of the more overlooked items and rarely do these must haves wind up in your gym bag. The same can be said for headbands, too. Not only do they keep hair out of your face but they also put an end to sweat beads rolling down your head and into your eyes or mouth. That's a salty snack you're completely fine with skipping.
As far as missing a workout? That's probably not going to happen now that you've developed a routine and that resolution to lose weight is within reach. Having pieced together a competent gym bag underscored with practicality as far as what's in it won't make or break your workout.
It will, however, make life and lifting weights a whole lot easier.
02/09/14 by Vanessa Evans
When it comes to your career, two questions constantly permeate your thoughts.
Are you content at your job?
But more importantly, is your job happy with you?
The latter inquiry might be the one that gnaws at your more so than the former, especially if you're convinced that your days are numbered within your workplace?
Is in paranoia on your part or have you truthfully picked up signs that your boss and co workers are counting down the days until you're gone?
Here's a few signs your job might actually be in a bit of peril.
1. No one is saying much to you.
This one isn't so much whether or not you're discussing the trials and tribulations of Justin Bieber in the lunch room but rather if co workers or your boss especially have failed to mention important work related information, meetings or the happenings within the organization to you. It's particularly alarming if suddenly that Tuesday morning meeting you've attended for the last four years is missing from your docket.
2. You're not getting enough work
You may be enjoying not getting reports or spreadsheets dumped on you but that could be a major sign that you're position is being phased out or someone else is getting your work until they can find a new you.
3. The "For Sale" sign in the window
This one might not be your fault as much as it is the reality of your company being sold. New owners often want their own people running the show, and that could mean not only your job is in trouble but also that of your co workers or even supervisor.
4. The force out
The flip side to item number two is being bombarded with work and given unrealistic expectations as far as your workload goes. If your company is in the midst of a huge deal or big project, and you find yourself swamped, consider that a good thing. But if it's a regular, old Wednesday and your boss is piling on more to do and asking you to stay late five nights a week, then you may be in the midst of an undisclosed force out.
5. The Classified Ad
This one is pretty obvious and quite self explanatory: if your the Senior Account Manager, and you happen to see an ad on Monster.com that features your company along with an ad that is touting an open position of "Senior Account Manager," then you probably can connect those dots on your own.
6. You don't click with your new boss
You're so sad to see your boss leave for retirement, knowing full well that the two of you really connected. The new boss represents more time, effort and work you have to put in develop that same relationship, but if the initial meeting and subsequent interactions aren't exactly smooth, your future could be filled with rocky conversations and perhaps that new boss opting to replace you
7. You always seem angry and upset at work
Again, this one is in your court. Your manager might seem inept to you but they certainly can pick up on the idea that you're not enjoying your work. If you have an open relationship with her or she, then they may approach you to see what's wrong. If you're just another cog in their corporate wheel, they may note that your not happy and be apt to move on to the next valuable resume.
8. The (negative) reviews are in
The last few years at your current job have been amazing; your year end reviews read like an Oscar winning performance, you're confident that you're on the fast track to a better position, then it hits you: a scathing review. You're not sure why (it's fine to ask, too) or if there is something you did wrong (again, ask) but that review might be the company's way of justifying your early exodus from your desk chair.
9. No one listens to what you say
We've all had our fair share of ideas that are stinkers, but if you're constantly giving input and your opinions or ideas are being fluffed off or out right ignored, you might not be in the company's future plans and could get the obligatory "good luck in future endeavors" speech.
10. Your department is sent packing
If you are in charge of a set of employees and they're let go, chances are you will be to; think of it realistically, if there's no one left to manage, then why does the company need you. Similarly, if your department as a whole is having its budget whittled away and there is talk of eliminating the division all together, you should spend your lunch break looking at the want ads.
Any of these points of contention are worthwhile red flags that it's time to starting thinking about changing jobs, before someone else makes that decision for you.
02/09/14 by Rennie Detore
Facebook fuels quite the love versus hate relationship.
One one hand, you're incredibly thankful that a social media site is superbly adept at allowing you to keep in touch with friends and family, regardless of whether they live next door or hundreds of miles away.
Plenty of Facebook posts also are filled with worthwhile information that can easily be deemed useful, such as recipes, household hints or repair tips that might make life a little easier for you. And, of course, who doesn't want to know what their favorite famous person is up to, and attempt to live vicariously through their enviable lifestyle.
The flip side to Facebook is one littered with the silly and inane. You expect that type of behavior from celebrities or those within the media, but certainly not the people you fall "friends" both personally and within the confines of Facebook, right?
If you spend the majority of your time on Facebook reading posts that put you in a mood that is anything but jovial, you may need to take stock of your so called list of friends and find some new ones. From the pedestrian declarations by those in your inner online social media circle to a plethora of pictures of pets overly dressed or dolled up, you're at your wits end.
When is it time to start hitting the "delete" button? Here's how you know it's time to find new Facebook friends who don't annoy you with every log in.
1. The day to day activities post
Taking the family to a pumpkin patch or heading out to cut down your own Christmas Tree is cute and adorable. Telling the world that you just saved $3 on a case of Diet Pepsi or just hit the gym to work on your legs isn't exactly the kind of breaking news everyone needs to know. Those Facebook friends who feel they have to share every nook of their existence with you via social media have got to go for good. No one, not even people who call you friends and especially acquaintances, care that today is your grocery shopping day or you've decided to give up red meat. Those types of quirky facts need to be said using only your "inside" voice.
2. Over sharing events and feelings
This falls under the "uncomfortable category," and usually is accompanied by an odd, inappropriate photo or something remarkably personal or private for all to see. Sharing your baby's first steps or their trials and tribulations of potty training should be kept within the family and isn't worthy of a Facebook post and especially not a picture. It's totally acceptable and understandable that moms and dads revel in any accomplishment achieved by their kids, but let's use good judgment. Hitting the winning home run: yes. First time spitting up on dad's shoulder: no.
As far as your inner being, keep it where it originated. Telling everyone that you're searching for yourself or are ravaged by emotional shouldn't be shouted off the proverbial rooftop. If a break up, news or a life changing event rocked you to your core, maybe it's too personal for social media. Pick and choose the close friends you want to share with and do something novel: call them.
3. Shameless self promotion
So this one isn't so much directed at the penchant for businesses to inform followers and clients alike about promotions, sales or special events. Facebook is a modern day advertising marvel as far as saving companies serious cash in lieu of piecing together a marketing budget in the thousands. That said, Facebook turns into the obligatory 15 minutes of fame rather quickly when you read about "just ran by 15th marathon; I rock" posts. Congratulations certainly are in order but not everyone is a exercise phenom and the tone of the message really sets the mood on how it will be interpreted. Like if you make it a point to tell the world you're at a fancy restaurant and then take a picture of your plate, that's a dead giveaway that you're bragging gratuitously. What you're basically saying is look at how small the portions are and how large the bill is going to be; aren't you jealous? You're feeble attempt at garnering attention is thinly veiled, and no one is buying the sincerity of your sentiment.
The beauty and downfall of social media is that literally anyone and everyone can have a voice. That expression isn't so much the issue at hand but rather what exactly you're choosing to share. Anyone with a computer and a distinct user name and password can flippantly fire off any particular sentiment. Those who think before they speak and actually have something worthy to say are the ones worth listening to.
02/03/14 by Chasity McLeod
Food is fuel, but often times that message is muddled when you're in the midst of a dessert binge or fast food bonanza.
Everyone is plenty guilty of forgetting that food is what makes your body tick from head to toe. Think of how you feel when you eat a cheeseburger and French fries: tired, lethargic, depressed and dejected. Conversely, the opposite happens if you're ingesting a grapefruit for breakfast or a handful of baby carrots in place of your potato chips for lunch.
Spotting a would be "super" food might be easier than you think. They live and breathe in your grocery store, but you won't find them on a fast food board or dollar menu.
It may take a little more time, patience and wherewithal to incorporate them into your diet, but you'll feel much better that you did.
So what are the best foods to make you feel better? Here goes:
Even if you've made it a point to completely ignore anything and everything as it relates to healthy food chatter, you've undoubtedly heard that blueberries are filled with antioxidants and help boost your immune system. Plenty of blueberry advocates will tell you that they skip the cold medicine and instead revert to ingesting blueberries as part of healthy shakes to help stave off any sort of virus or infection.
Blueberries have plenty of competition in the antioxidant department thanks to the arrival of the next best thing: grapefruit. Your immune system will shed a tear and thank you every chance it gets by ingesting a fruit that is filled with enough power and potency to do just about anything. This loveable, remarkable ruby red fruit is linked to helping prevent cancer or lowering your cholesterol. Not much more you can ask of a piece of fruit.
Eating lots of garlic should come with a warning label for both good and bad reasons. The breath probably will keep plenty of friends at an arm's length, but it might be worth losing a few relationships over when you realize that garlic packs quite a punch above and beyond bad breath. Garlic unlocks the key to lower blood pressure and works to help keep your heart healthy.
Grapes probably won't be on many lists, but they deserve their accolades as one of the few fruits that help you sleep. Popping a few of these at night allow you sleep soundly and feel much more rested in the morning. What's the secret? Melatonin, a sleep regulating ingredient.
5. Dark, leafy greens and spinach
Your liver likes you, but it will love you so much more if you make it a point to fill your rudimentary salads with more than just a heaping helping of iceberg lettuce. Adding dark, leafy greens to your diet directly helps detoxify your liver and allowing it to work like a well oiled machine.
And thanks to any and all of these super foods, you'll most likely be inclined to skip the fatty foods in favor of enjoying a renewed, refreshed vigor.
01/29/14 by Rennie Detore
Are you a fan of the Seattle Seahawks or Denver Broncos?
If the answer is a resounding "no," and the idea of watching the upcoming Super Bowl isn't exactly high on your list, you still can find some salvation in everything else that goes the big game or the subsequent party you'll be attending.
Here's hope for the non fans of the Broncos or 'Hawks:
1. Your not so favorite player falls flat on his face
You can't stand listening to Peyton Manning and all his "Omaha" audibles, right? The boisterous and controversial Richard Sherman is making you sick. Why not tune into the game and see if the player you aren't exactly a fan of falters on the grandest stage in professional football? Maybe Manning will hit the hard, cold New York City turf a few times or Sherman misses an easy interception. Those could easily be missteps that make you happy you're watching.
2. Party distractions
This one is easy: you don't care about the game, but what about the social atmosphere and food? Certainly you can find a party to keep your interest, whether that's a slew of dill dip or parking yourself in front of the hot wings.
3. The commercials
As much as football fans salivate over the pending grudge match between the Seahawks and Broncos, the general public probably is equally interested in the Super Bowl commercials. The two week hype for the actual game often pales in comparison to the hustle and bustle of rumors and clips of Super Bowl commercials. Whether it is Arnold Schwarzenegger playing tennis or a mini "Full House" reunion, these commercials make waves in a good way. And you have to admit that you love those 30 second ads, too, and watching them as they happen make for fun television.
4. The side betting
This isn't about spending thousands on trying to determine a winner or any over/under point total or mortgaging your financial future on one sporting event but rather the quirky side or "prop" bets that go along with the game. Who's going to score the first touchdown? Who is going to be the Most Valuable Player? How many times are they going to show the Manning family on television?
5. The halftime show
This one particularly rubs football fans the wrong way, but those who congregate for the Super Bowl for other reasons make it a point to watch. The steadfast fans of the sport argue that acts like Bruno Mars don't resonate with lovers of football, but the NFL has a method to making their hardcore fans mad. The goal of the halftime show is pure genius; it draws in the casual viewer, which explains the incredible ratings the Super Bowl garners.
Often times, especially depending on the score, the game often is a backdrop for the sights, sounds and festivities that flank the Super Bowl, making the teams, the plays and the game sometimes a moot point.
01/26/14 by Krystin Olinski
I love the Super Bowl. I could not care less about who is playing or who wins. I am intrigued by the Super Bowl ads, but I could take them or leave them. What really gets cheering is the food. Appetizers are my most favorite course. I save recipes from magazines, online and from family friends. I have an extensive app collection, and not the one on my iPhone. I have compiled a list of my faves that never make it back to my home stadium.
Sweet and Tangy Meatballs
â€¢ 2 12-oz jars Heinz Chili Sauce
â€¢ 1 jar grape jelly
â€¢ 1 package of frozen meatballs
Combine jelly and chili sauce in a crockpot and stir until smooth. Add meatballs and set temperature to low. Cook for 2 hours on low.
Spicy Cheesy Chicken Dip
â€¢ 2, 8 oz packages of cream cheese, softened
â€¢ 2, 9.75 oz cans of chicken, drained
â€¢ 2 tbsp of hot sauce, more if desired
â€¢ 3, 16 oz packages of Monterey Jack or Colby shredded cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine cream cheese, two packages of cheese, chicken and hot sauce until smooth. Transfer mixture to 9 inch casserole dish. Tope with last package of shredded cheese. Bake for 20 minutes or until cheese is bubbling. Serve with chips.
Bacon Wrapped Scallops
â€¢ 2 lbs regular sliced bacon
â€¢ 2 lbs sea scallops
â€¢ 3 tbsp butter
â€¢ 1 tbsp minced garlic
â€¢ 1/3 cup chicken broth
Cut bacon strips in half. Wrap piece of bacon around each scallop and secure with a toothpick. Broil 5 inches from heat for 3 minutes each side or until bacon is crisp. In a skillet melt butter; add garlic and sautÃ© for 1 minute. Add broth and bring to a boil. Cook 2 minutes. Place scallops in a large bowl and add broth mixture. Toss lightly to coat.
BBQ chicken sliders
â€¢ 2 cups shredded boneless rotisserie chicken
â€¢ 2 cups BBQ sauce
â€¢ Hawaiian sweet rolls
â€¢ Pickle chips
Mix chicken and BBQ sauce. Cook 2 minutes or until chicken is thoroughly heated. Spoon 3 tbsp. chicken mixture onto sweet roll and top with pickle chips.
Fig preserve and prosciutto bruschetta
â€¢ Fig preserves
â€¢ Goat cheese
â€¢ Sliced prosciutto
â€¢ Toasted sliced French bread
Spread goat cheese on toasted bread, top with fig preserves and sliced prosciutto. Serve chilled.
No matter who wins or loses, these apps are sure to be a touchdown. Enjoy!
01/18/14 by Krystin Olinski
We are now two weeks into the New Year and the line at the gym is already starting to dwindle back to normal. The New Year has become a time when people can leave behind the negativity that may have come in 2013, to embrace the opportunities 2014 will bring and the welcome the potential to unlock the "new and improved you."
According to the Journal of Clinical Psychology, 45% of Americans make a New Year's resolution each year, but less than half of those people will make it to July and only 8% will make it through the year with those resolutions intact. So the question remains, how can you make sure to make your resolution a lasting habit and not become another unsuccessful statistic?
I have compiled a list of easy ways to make sure you turn your January resolutions into lifelong habits.
1. Tell a friend.
Telling someone about your resolution makes you 10 times more likely to achieve your goal. Not to mention, they may have similar goals to your own. Having someone be a cheerleader who is with you in the trenches increases your chances of success.
2. Break your goal into small parts. Setting a long-term goal can seem daunting, but if you break up your resolution into monthly or even weekly goals, you are much less likely to become discouraged.
3. Group goals together. This idea was brought to you by the New York Times and is soon to be published in a paper in Management Science. "The idea is best illustrated with a scenario: Imagine you want to exercise more but struggle to drag yourself to the gym. Imagine you also have a fondness for trashy novels but feel guilty wasting your time reading them. The solution is simple: Allow yourself to read those novels only while exercising at the gym. Our research demonstrates that when you leave your copy of "The Hunger Games" (or such) at the gym, you exercise 56 percent more often (and 61 percent of people will even pay the gym to hold their book so it is only available when exercising)."
4. Create a "fresh start" approach. Many people are more likely to start their goals on certain times, whether it's the beginning of the year, a new month or even on Mondays to start the week off right. If you find that you are slipping away from your goals, don't give up. Restart your determination the next day, next week or the next month. Just don't give up or get down on yourself. We all make mistakes, the key is to keep going and not dwell on your mistakes.
5. Put your money where your mouth is.
According to an experiment conducted by American Economic Journal: Applied Economics found that smokers who were trying to quit were more likely to succeed if offered an opportunity to deposit funds in an account for six months that they would lose if they failed a urine test for nicotine and cotinine. You can do this yourself with the help of StickK.com, a website created by behavioral economists.
6. One goal at a time. What is most important for you to achieve in 2014? Make sure you only pick a handful of resolutions you want to focus on so you don't feel overwhelmed trying to overhaul your entire life.
7. Define your goal. Many times we create an arbitrary goal that is difficult to define or measure. For example, if you want to get fit in 2014, make your weekly goal to attend at least three fitness classes a week. That way, you can keep yourself on task and you are able to assign an achievable behavior to a subjective goal.
Even though the statistics for achieving your resolutions seems low, you are worth continuing to try to make improvements on your life in within yourself. Good luck to you!
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