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Avoid Winter Slip-Ups

January 19th, 2017 | Comments Off on Avoid Winter Slip-Ups | Posted in Lifestyle

Winter months present hazards that are typically not factors during warmer weather – specifically, slip and fall concerns. With snow and ice covered conditions, you run the risk of taking major falls, which can lead to serious injuries.


shutterstock_506081020Consider the following recommendations to help you stay on your feet during this time of year:

  • Wear the proper footwear that provides traction on snow and ice. Footwear should be made of anti-slip material; avoid plastic and leather-soled shoes or boots.
  • Exercise caution when entering and exiting vehicles, and use the vehicle for balance and support.
  • Try to walk only in designated areas that are safe for foot traffic. If you notice that a walkway is covered in ice, walk on the grass next to the sidewalk, which will have more traction.
  • Avoid inclines that are typically difficult to walk up or down as they may be more treacherous in winter conditions.
  • Take small steps to maintain your center of balance, walk slowly and never run. When possible, walk with your hands free to maintain your balance. And despite the cold temperatures, avoid putting your hands in your pockets. This will help you better maintain your balance and allow you to break a fall should you slip.
  • Use handrails, walls or anything stationary to assist in steadying your feet.
  • Look ahead to the path in front of you to avoid hazards.
  • Test a potentially slippery area before stepping on it by tapping your foot on the surface first.
  • Remove debris, water and ice from all walkways.
  • Sand or salt surfaces covered by ice or snow to provide traction.
  • Dry your shoes or boots on floor mats when entering a building.

If You Begin to Slip…

  • Twist your body and roll backward to avoid falling forward and injuring your face.
  • Try to relax your body when you start to feel your legs give way.
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Netflix Secret Movie Categories Hack

January 19th, 2017 | Comments Off on Netflix Secret Movie Categories Hack | Posted in Lifestyle


You know that horrible, rug-pulled-out-from-under-you, life-spinning-out-of-control feeling when you’ve poured the wine and settled into the couch and opened the Netflix…and realized there’s nothing you want to watch? It’s all okay now, thanks to this genius Netflix surfing hack.

Gizmodo notes that the trick only works if you’re watching Netflix through your web browser, but when you do, you’ll notice the URL is something like That number at the end of the web address is the key that unlocks tens of thousands of super-specific genres you can check out.

All you have to do is enter a new number code and you’ll find a new genre to watch. There is one website and one Google spreadsheet that have listed all of Netflix’s ridiculously long list of genres, from Cerebral Foreign Movies from the 1970s (669) to Irreverent Independent Mockumentaries (4553).

According to The Atlantic, there were 76,897 “altgenres” available on Netflix as of 2014. So this might take you a while. But hey, you were going to waste time on Netflix anyway, right?

Rental Car Insurance: Tips On What You Need To Know At The Counter

January 19th, 2017 | Comments Off on Rental Car Insurance: Tips On What You Need To Know At The Counter | Posted in Lifestyle

Rental car insurance can be confusing and frustrating. Learn what you need to do before you ever step foot in a rental car office.

Apps to Prevent Distracted Driving

January 19th, 2017 | Comments Off on Apps to Prevent Distracted Driving | Posted in Lifestyle

While everyone knows they shouldn’t use a smartphone behind the wheel, one in every four crashes still involves someone texting, snapping, sharing, or chatting on a mobile device. So how do we save ourselves … from ourselves? I’ve tested more than a dozen apps and gadgets that promise a fix.

DriveMode Wins Top Spot

Every major cellular provider offers something to help with distracted driving. I found AT&T’s free DriveMode app for Android and iPhone works the best, and after nearly six months of testing, is the only one that I still use every single day.

It turns on automatically when your car starts moving more than 15 miles per hour and silences text alerts. It doesn’t totally lock your phone down, though: anyone who texts will get a pre-configured response (like “I’m driving, will call you back in a minute”) and you can still access music, navigation, and select contacts on your phone with a single click. Parents can also set up the app notify them when a teen driver disables it.

The reason this app blew past the competition for me is because it’s super simple to use and eliminates the most common sources of distraction: phone calls, text messages, games and social media. You just set it and forget it. At the same time, it allows some interaction with the things I rely on, such as the Waze navigation app and streaming music via Spotify. Many safety experts argue that the only safe place for a smartphone in a car is in the trunk—but human behavior has already shown us that doesn’t work. (I’m not sure I could get anywhere anymore without Waze.)

AT&T DriveMode app works with other carriers, but the other providers have their own solutions too. Sprint’s Drive First app is great, but only available for Android phones. Same with T-Mobile’s DriveSmart app and you’ll have to pay $4.99 to get it to do what AT&T’s DriveMode does automatically. Verizon’s Driving Mode controls come straight from its Android Verizon Messages app, so it doesn’t work on iPhones either. It also disables texts and sends an auto-reply whenever you get a message, but it doesn’t turn off any other distractions. It also needs to be turned on manually every time you get in the car, unless you’ve paired it with Bluetooth.

Other Apps Worth Taking For A Spin

SafeDrive (free for Android and iPhone) makes a game out of staying off of your phone and I really like it. Instead of preventing you from looking at your phone, it awards you when you don’t. Whenever you’re in a car, a screen pops up on your phone that shows how many points you’ve earned. Leave your phone alone, and you earn points as you drive—but if you touch your phone, all of those points vanish. You can cash in your at your local gas station, and the list of other retailers is growing. Other SafeDrive users can even challenge you to see who racks up the most miles without using their phones. Winners get glory, and more points.

Focus — Screen Free Driving (iPhone) is another fun take on staying off your phone—kind of like smartphone shaming—but in an effective way. It launches when you start driving, and if you touch your phone, a voice sternly says, “hang up and drive.” If you don’t, the app gets downright angry, yelling phrases like, “lock your phone NOW,” “eyes on the road, Chief,” and even, “would your parents be happy with you if they knew you were doing this?”

It’s funny, impossible to ignore, and helps you realize how much time you really do spend sucked in by your smartphone. At the end of every drive, it gives you a road report showing how many minutes you’ve been distracted with your devices. That’s pretty eye-opening too. It’s free to download, but you can unlock extra features for $4.99, including how speeding reports for teen drivers.

If you absolutely need to stay plugged-in while on the road, try Android app MessageLOUD ($15.99/year). It’s a new service that automatically reads your texts and emails out loud as you drive. It works with Gmail, MS Exchange, Yahoo, Outlook, Office365 and Hotmail. It lets you delete, dismiss, auto-reply, or call back with a single tap or swipe—a lot like controlling your radio—without taking your eyes off the road. It’s still a fairly new app and more distracting than DriveMode, but a step up from having your phone in your hand and your eyes on the screen. The app makers are working on an iOS version now.

In theory, Siri should read my messages too, but I think I’ve dropped my iPhone too much and scrambled her brain. Everytime I ask, “read my texts,” she tries to Facetime someone named Dex.

Targeting Teens

This is an especially dangerous time for teen drivers. An annual AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety study shows the highest number of teen deaths on the road occur during the year’s “100 Deadliest Days” between Memorial Day and Labor Day. When it comes to tech support, there are lots of options here, but my favorite is tXt Blocker ($7/month). It shuts down the phone completely when your teen is driving (and lets you set up “No-Cell Zones” to prevent texting from work or school) that teens can’t hack around. You can also track and find your teen through the tXtBlocker website and see reports on how safely they’re driving.


Fight the Flu!

January 19th, 2017 | Comments Off on Fight the Flu! | Posted in Lifestyle

What is Influenza (also called Flu)?

shutterstock_317547830The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccine each year.

Signs and Symptoms of Flu

People who have the flu often feel some or all of these signs and symptoms:

  • Fever* or feeling feverish/chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue (very tired)
  • Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.

*It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.

How Flu Spreads

Most experts believe that flu viruses spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby. Less often, a person might also get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth, eyes or possibly their nose.

Period of Contagiousness

You may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick. Most healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick. Some people, especially young children and people with weakened immune systems, might be able to infect others for an even longer time.

Onset of Symptoms

The time from when a person is exposed to flu virus to when symptoms begin is about 1 to 4 days, with an average of about 2 days.

Complications of Flu

Complications of flu can include bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections, dehydration, and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes.

People at High Risk from Flu

Anyone can get the flu (even healthy people), and serious problems related to the flu can happen at any age, but some people are at high risk of developing serious flu-related complications if they get sick. This includes people 65 years and older, people of any age with certain chronic medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease), pregnant women, and young children.

Preventing Flu

The first and most important step in preventing flu is to get a flu vaccination each year. CDC also recommends everyday preventive actions (like staying away from people who are sick, covering coughs and sneezes and frequent handwashing) to help slow the spread of germs that cause respiratory (nose, throat, and lungs) illnesses, like flu.

Diagnosing Flu

It is very difficult to distinguish the flu from other viral or bacterial causes of respiratory illnesses on the basis of symptoms alone. There are tests available to diagnose flu. For more information, see Diagnosing Flu.


There are influenza antiviral drugs that can be used to treat flu illness.

For more information, see “Seasonal Influenza, More Information.”


Dos and Don’ts of Last-Minute Holiday Shopping

December 20th, 2016 | Comments Off on Dos and Don’ts of Last-Minute Holiday Shopping | Posted in Lifestyle

shutterstock_521034784If you’ve put off holiday shopping for yet another weekend and still can’t get through your growing holiday to-do list, make sure that you’re not paying a premium for last-minute gifts. Shopping at the last minute may be your only option, but there are still steps you can take to keep costs down and share the holiday spirit under budget.

Here are some dos and don’ts of holiday shopping at the last minute.

Do: Ask about free gift-wrapping services. Many stores will offer free gift-wrapping services on in-store purchases, so you’ll have that gift ready to go the same day you buy it. You’ll save time, or course, but you’ll also save money on gift wrap and assorted supplies. It really does pay to ask if the service is available, especially if you are buying multiple gifts a few days before a holiday event.

Don’t: Go shopping without a list. When you’re on a tight budget and don’t have the option to splurge, make sure that you’re armed with a shopping list and plan to keep your spending on track. It’s easy to get derailed once you’re in the store and on the hunt for gifts. Your list of must-haves will keep you focused on your task (time is running out, after all), and your list will help you stay on budget.

Do: Check the store or shopping center schedule. Many stores will open early and close late to accommodate last-minute shoppers like you. This means that you can avoid the after-work traffic jam by arriving later in the evening or rising early to get your holiday shopping done before work. Check the mall and store hours to confirm opening and closing times and plan accordingly. Consider that many holiday shoppers may not be willing to shop at the crack of dawn, either. If you can make a trip out earlier in the day, you may be able to beat last-minute crowds.

Don’t: Forget about your local grocery or convenience stores. Many grocery stores, drugstores and convenience stores are stocked with holiday items that make for great last-minute holiday gifts. From boxes of chocolate to gift baskets filled with goodies, stocking stuffers and smaller gifts may be available at low prices at your local grocery or hardware store. Keep an eye out for in-store specials and markdowns as Christmas draws near. These stores will need to clear inventory as quickly as possible, so you may be able to get a good deal before the after-Christmas sales.

Do: Make use of smartphone apps for last-minute deals. Whether you’re heading to the electronics store, a gourmet food store or your favorite big-box store, use shopping apps, such as SlickDeals, RetailMeNot and Coupon Sherpa, to get the latest coupon codes, coupons and other discounts on online and offline purchases at the last minute. You’ll rarely have to pay the full retail price on gift items once you’ve checked these apps for deal alerts and the latest coupons.

Don’t: Worry about Christmas Eve crowds. If you’re the ultimate procrastinator who left the holiday shopping until Christmas Eve, there’s still hope. Most people are already home for the holidays – and at home for Christmas Eve – so if you still have a few gifts to round up for Christmas Day celebrations, now’s your time to shine. Just keep in mind that many stores close early on Christmas Eve, so you will need to head out earlier in the day to pick up those gifts.

Do: Consider food gifts. If you’ve been baking away this holiday season, consider wrapping up some of those treats in an attractive gift tin or food gift box as a last-minute holiday gift. Cookies, brownies, cupcakes and other baked treats can make the perfect gift for any foodie on your gift list. Even better? They are an easy gift to put together at the last minute. If you don’t have any time left to be in the kitchen, you could also put together a mini gift basket of holiday candy, boxed cookies and other treats you already received or purchased to give away as a last-minute gift. Regifted holiday treats may not be the most thoughtful gift to give, but this late in the season, there’s not enough time for thoughtful.

30 Simple Holiday Décor Ideas

December 20th, 2016 | Comments Off on 30 Simple Holiday Décor Ideas | Posted in Lifestyle

Looking to update your holiday decor? Find more easy holiday decorating ideas here.


Twist on a Traditional Wreath

Instead of the traditional evergreen, try a homemade wreath of citrus fruits. Start with a circular piece of florist’s foam, then use wooden florist’s picks to secure large items, such as oranges, first. Continue with smaller fruit: kumquats, clementines, limes. Tie with a thick velvet ribbon.


Sparkly Ornament Display

Place vintage ornaments on a cake stand nested with leaves for a stunningly simple centerpiece.


Personalized Place Settings

Serving holiday dinner buffet style? Wrap each dish in a sheet of parchment paper and tie with a length of ribbon before stacking it. Guests will be rewarded with a pretty presentation (not to mention a little gift-opening practice).


Invite Greenery Inside

Lush greenery draped around the house, especially doorways, creates an inviting atmosphere and a woodsy aroma.


Get More Great Ideas

Visit to see the rest of these awesome decorating ideas.

Quick and Easy Holiday Recipes

December 20th, 2016 | Comments Off on Quick and Easy Holiday Recipes | Posted in Lifestyle

Impress your guests this holiday with some quick and easy holiday delights from the chefs at Food Network.

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