Lifestyle en-US Want to Cut Costs on Your Next Vacation? Go Green <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/want-to-cut-costs-on-your-next-vacation-go-green" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="travel tablet" title="travel tablet" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When you purchase an airfare, do you usually choose to pay a carbon offset fee? Have you even heard of a carbon offset fee? (It's a small amount to help compensate for the emissions from the flight.)</p> <p>The answer is very likely &quot;no,&quot; and that's ok. But if paying for trip already leaves you feeling too broke to pay any extra fees, there are other things you can do to minimize your impact on the environment while traveling. (See also: <a href="">10 Things You're Paying Too Much for When You Travel</a>)</p> <p>And unlike the carbon offset fee, these things will actually help you save some money.</p> <h2>Shop Local</h2> <p>What's the point of shopping during a trip if you buy mass-produced things you can easily get at home? The T-shirts, fridge magnets, and keychains you see at gift shops were probably shipped in from factories <em>elsewhere</em>.</p> <p>If you have to buy souvenirs, consider getting something local. For example, visit a market to see artisans at work and buy your souvenirs directly from them. The items you buy will be more meaningful and you'll help support the local economy. Not to mention give you a great opportunity to &quot;place drop&quot; when someone asks you where you got that new hat. (See also: <a href="">Why You Should Never Buy Souvenirs</a>)</p> <h2>Green Hotels</h2> <p>Some hotels differentiate themselves from the competition by their environmentally friendly practices that minimize water and energy consumption. There is currently no one prevailing set of global standards for green hotels, but you can often find them through certification organizations like the <a href="">Green Key Eco-Rating Program</a>.</p> <p>If you can book a green hotel, that's great. But even if you don't, it's possible to practice green habits at a non-green hotel.</p> <p>One of the best things about staying at a hotel is having someone clean the room for you. However, this could also be a wasteful practice as sheets and towels don't always have to be changed daily. If you want to reuse your sheets and towels, let the front desk or the housekeeping staff know.</p> <p>Other things you can do at the hotel include recycling, taking short showers, and turning off all electric devices when you leave the room.</p> <h2>Collapsible Food Containers</h2> <p>Think you can't fit food containers in your small carry-on? Think again. There are collapsible versions that can remain compact until you need to use them. They are not specifically marketed as travel items, but they would be perfect for complying with airline carry-on limits, which get stricter by the day. Just pack a <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B001CT4WMU&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=46VB5SOOACO5Q7N3">flattened container or two</a> in your bag, then expand them when necessary for take-outs, leftovers, and picnics.</p> <h2>Reusable Grocery Bags</h2> <p>When I travel, I like to book a suite with a kitchen. Shopping at unfamiliar markets and cooking with local ingredients can be an interesting experience in itself. This is why I pack a reusable grocery bag in my carry-on. It's small, light, and green. Plus, some grocery stores have started charging shoppers for plastic bags.</p> <p>Not everybody goes grocery shopping during a vacation, but do consider packing a reusable grocery bag regardless. These bags are more sturdy than regular plastic bags and would be great for trips to the beach and containing luggage overflow.</p> <h2>Public Transport</h2> <p>If there's a good public transport network at your destination, take advantage of it. You'll see how locals get around and maybe meet some interesting people along the way. It's also cheaper and better for the environment.</p> <p>If you plan to take public transit, check out the city's website for important information like maps, routes, and fares beforehand. These details will help you plan your itinerary and you may even learn some money-saving tips. For example, <a href="">Vancouver's public transit website</a> tells you that a book of 10 tickets is 24% cheaper than 10 single tickets.</p> <h2>Rental Cars</h2> <p>If you have to rent a car, go for the smallest one possible. A smaller car usually consumes less gas, and the car rental company often charges less for it. A hybrid car, if available, would be an even better, greener choice. If you're not familiar with the area, rent a GPS to help you find the shortest routes possible.</p> <h2>Reusable Water Bottles</h2> <p>Bottled water is often marketed as being a healthier alternative to the humble tap water, but the science behind this claim is debatable. At least in the United States, tap water is just as safe to drink as bottled water. Yet, the University of Maryland says <a href="">Americans spent $11.8 billion on 9.7 billion gallons of bottled water</a> in 2012 alone.</p> <p>Single-use water bottles are manufactured at great cost to the environment and most of them are not recycled after use. They're also highly attractive to tourists, who often find themselves walking around for long stretches, unprepared and parched. So if you travel to a destination where the tap water is drinkable, bring a reusable water bottle and save yourself some money.</p> <h2>Digital Reading Material</h2> <p>I used to bring one or two books with me when I traveled, but now everything is on my smartphone. This way, I have fewer things to pack and I can read in the dark before sleeping.</p> <p>Reading on a smartphone is not for everyone &mdash; it's small and it's often too bright. But tablets and e-readers are everywhere and most books are available in digital form. These e-books are often drastically cheaper compared to the printed versions, so you'll save money in the long run.</p> <h2>Access the Sharing Economy</h2> <p>The sharing economy minimizes overall consumption by encouraging people, who are often strangers, to share (actually rent) resources. Thanks to the Internet, there are many ways to take part in the sharing economy when you travel.</p> <p>For accommodation, look into vacation rentals (renting someone's home) through websites like <a href="">Airbnb</a> and <a href="">couchsurfing</a> (sleeping on someone's couch). For longer trips, you could try house-sitting (taking care of someone's home while they're away) through <a href="">HouseCarers</a> or <a href=""></a>. Alternatively, use <a href="">Intervac</a> or <a href="">HomeLink</a> for home exchange (staying at someone's home while the other family stays at yours).</p> <p>Instead of renting a car, you can try ridesharing, which is when a local drives you around for a small fee. <a href="">Lyft</a> and <a href="">Sidecar</a> connect ridesharers in some select cities. If you want something more private, go with peer-to-peer carsharing instead, which means you'll rent a local's car when she's not using it. You can find these cars on <a href="">RelayRides</a> or <a href="">Getaround</a>.</p> <p><em>How do you green your travel? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Want to Cut Costs on Your Next Vacation? Go Green" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Deia B</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Green Living Lifestyle Travel eco-tourism green tourism green travel sustainable tourism Thu, 24 Jul 2014 11:00:05 +0000 Deia B 1166920 at How an Expensive Wardrobe Saves You Money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-an-expensive-wardrobe-saves-you-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="shoe shopping" title="shoe shopping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>No one wants to spend more than they have to. Still, the saying &quot;you get what you pay for&quot; is a truism. While you might ask &quot;why pay more?&quot; when it comes to clothes there are ways that having an expensive wardrobe can actually save you money in the long run.</p> <p>Here are some ways that spending a little more up front will help you to avoid costs on the back end or even increase your earning potential. (See also: <a href="">8 Cheap Ways to Update a Wardrobe You Hate</a>)</p> <h2>Shoes</h2> <p>When it comes to shoes, there are basically two ways they're going to save you money: buying quality dress shoes and quality sneakers.</p> <h3>Dress Shoes</h3> <p>Dress shoes are a serious &quot;you get what you pay for&quot; kind of thing. People thought I was nuts when I shelled out $800 for a pair of biker boots. They thought I was less nuts when I told them the boots have a lifetime guarantee and that I met a guy once who owned his for over 20 years. A lot of companies have similar guarantees, be they lifetime, 25 years or 10 years. Divide $800 by 20 years and $40 a year doesn't sound that bad.</p> <p>When buying shoes with a 20-plus year guarantee, keep in mind that fashions change over time. As such, you're going to want to buy something basic and versatile &mdash; something that will go with your wardrobe just as well in 10 years as it does today.</p> <h3>Sneakers</h3> <p>Quality sneakers will save you money by saving on hospital bills. A pair of ten dollar running shoes from Payless just aren't going to get the job done &mdash; no matter what &quot;the job&quot; is. Good sneakers last longer, work better for what they're designed to do, and keep your feet and legs better protected.</p> <p>The National Center for Biotechnical Information found that 60% of running-related injuries were due to poor training, with <a href="">the wrong footwear cited</a> as a major contributing factor. The NYU Lagone Medical Center found that <a href="">poor footwear contributed to such injuries</a> and ailments as bunions, hammer toes, blisters, corns, callouses, and even athlete's foot.</p> <p>If you're just using sneakers to walk around the block, this might not be as much of a concern; But if you're engaging in any physical activity, get yourself a pair of good sneakers.</p> <h2>Denim</h2> <p>I don't wear cheap denim and I urge you to do the same. Not only will one pair of $150 jeans last longer than five pairs of $30 jeans, they also look and fit better. High-end denim is a huge trend right now. But again, the upside of it is that you only have to have a couple of pairs. Honestly, anything more than three is sort of overkill.</p> <p>Remember: You shouldn't be washing your jeans. No less a source than the <a href="">CEO of Levi Strauss</a> says so. Buy them, wear them and <a href="">throw them in the freezer when they start to smell bad</a>. This works because it kills the bacteria that create smell. Maybe wash them every six months or a year or so, if you must. And <em>hang</em> them in your closet &mdash; don't fold them or throw them in a heap. (See also: <a href="">25+ Secrets to Keep Your Clothes Brighter, Whiter, and Lasting Longer</a>)</p> <h2>Suits</h2> <p>To be honest, I think &quot;expensive&quot; is the wrong word here. <a href="">You <em>can</em> get killer suits from the thrift store for cheap</a>. However, you need to meet a minimum bar of quality.</p> <h3>Quality Materials</h3> <p>The suit has to look nice from far away and close up, even if you only paid $100 for it. Inexpensive suits can look nice. &quot;Cheap&quot; suits cannot. Look for things like wear (especially on the knees and elbows) or &quot;pilling&quot; &mdash; those little balls that form on cheap materials.</p> <h3>Canvas</h3> <p>If your suit is glued together, it's not going to last as long as a half-canvas or a full-canvas suit. There are several ways to <a href="">tell if a suit is canvassed or fused</a>, including feeling for a third layer of fabric on the jacket torso, looking for stitching underneath the lapel or just asking the salesperson if there is one.</p> <h3>Fit</h3> <p>Even if you get a made-to-measure suit it's going to require some tailoring. A good fit means a better-looking you, which can result in a higher earning potential. Nothing makes you look more pro than a well-tailored suit when you head down to that job interview.</p> <h3>A Good Suit Is Easy to Find</h3> <p>Again, the issue here is not &quot;more equals more.&quot; It's an issue of meeting some minimum requirements &mdash; no matter what they cost. So where do you find suits?</p> <ul> <li><strong>Thrift Store</strong>: This is a bit risky, but you can also score some <em>killer</em> finds for next to nothing. Still, if you're especially concerned that you <em>won't </em>be able to tell what's acceptable, try the next option. <br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Suit Outlets</strong>: These have the advantage of a salesperson on site who can answer your questions like &quot;Is this a full-canvas or a half-canvas&quot; and &quot;Do these suits pill quickly?&quot;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Made-to-Measure Online</strong>: One of the great things about the 21st Century is that you can get a MTM suit for <em>cheap</em> online. My personal favorites are <a href="">Indochino</a> based in Canada and LA's own <a href="">Thick As Thieves</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Your Local Tailor</strong>: Yes, you can still get a suit from the local tailor. This is probably the most expensive way of doing it, but if you have the money to throw around, why not?</li> </ul> <h2>Dry Cleaning</h2> <p>Here's something else I do that people think is nuts: I dry clean all of my clothes. Seriously. I never wash anything.</p> <p>First of all, it's not as expensive as you think. <a href="">A home dry-clean kit</a> can be got for pretty much nothing and that will get you through 2-3 &quot;washes&quot; before you have to bring the heavy hitters in.</p> <p>When you spend more money on clothes, you're going to want to maintain them. I liken dry cleaning my clothes to putting gas in my car: Sure, I put low-octane regular in my 2002 Chevy Cavalier. But when it comes to my 1968 El Camino, it's premium <em>only</em>.</p> <p>Maybe have some stuff around you don't need to dry clean. But the stuff you spend money on you should treat as an investment; The more you wash it, the faster it depreciates.</p> <h2>Socks</h2> <p>Dress socks? Save your money. But when it comes to athletic socks, or socks you're wearing out hiking or hunting or doing other outdoor activities. Not only are they going to keep your feet in better shape (drier and warmer) when you wear them, they're also going to last longer, which as you might have noticed is a recurring theme here.</p> <p><em>What part of your wardrobe do you splurge on?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="How an Expensive Wardrobe Saves You Money" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Nicholas Pell</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Lifestyle Shopping clothing expensive clothing men's clothing wardrobe Wed, 23 Jul 2014 15:00:03 +0000 Nicholas Pell 1165665 at The 7 Dumbest Big Purchases People Make <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-7-dumbest-big-purchases-people-make" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="couple tv shopping" title="couple tv shopping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Retail therapy is no myth. Psychologists have found that there's a real science behind the burst of joy we feel when we <a href="">treat ourselves with a big, exciting purchase</a> &mdash; no matter how impractical it may be.</p> <p>Unfortunately, buyer's remorse also exists. Once the newness wears off, our prized purchase sometimes <a href="">becomes just another thing</a> in the pile of stuff that occupies so much of the space in our lives. We begin to compare it to other things like it that we don't have. A faster sports car. A bigger jacuzzi. The latest cell phone upgrade. And just like that our big buy loses its luster.</p> <p>Some items are prone to invoke buyer's remorse. Typically these items are just downright absurd, yet we've convinced ourselves that they're an important, practical, or smart purchase anyway. Thanks to the mistakes of thousands of consumers before us, we've been able to identify a few of them for you. (See also: <a href="">What Is Your Financial Kryptonite and How to Conquer It</a>)</p> <p>Read on for our list of the top seven purchases that are sure to leave you wallowing in your own tears of regret.</p> <h2>1. 3D TVs</h2> <p>The majority of <a href="">3D television owners regret their purchase</a>. It's not that the technology isn't cool. The leading complaint is that there just isn't enough 3D content to make ownership of one of these futuristic devices worthwhile.</p> <p>More than half the 50 movie titles offered in 3D in 2011 were kids' flicks, while <a href="!beO9si">most blockbuster movie titles opted out</a> of the 3D format altogether. When you're coughing up between $2,000 and $12,000 for the TV plus another couple hundred bucks a pop for the glasses, that's sort of a deal breaker.</p> <p>That leads us to another popular complaint: It can be a major annoyance to wear the glasses that make the third dimension pop. Sort of like wearing your sun shades in the house.</p> <h2>2. Whirlpool Tub</h2> <p>It's a vision of romance: Flower petals, candle light, a bottle of wine &mdash; and then you turn the thing on. Who wants to canoodle with that grumbling sound? Yeah, it's a vision alright.</p> <p>Jacuzzi-style whirlpool tubs can be a real mood killer. Not only are they noisy, they're time consuming to fill with water and prone to completely draining the hot water tank. Plus they're expensive to operate, not to mention expensive to buy and install.</p> <p>Bottom line: Most people don't use them enough to outweigh the negatives.</p> <h2>3. A College Education (No, Really&hellip;.)</h2> <p>Okay, so most people would say a college degree is a smart investment &mdash; but it can certainly be regrettable. A third of millennials say they would have been <a href="">better off working than going to college</a>, according to a Wells Fargo study. The reason? They're drowning in debt.</p> <p>More than half the 1,414 college grads surveyed by Wells Fargo said they afforded their education by taking out hefty student loans that have become the crux of their financial distress. Many said they think they'd have been better off with a less expensive, public education than a much more costly degree from a top-tier school.</p> <p>If given $10,000, more than half of those surveyed said the first thing they would use the money for is to pay off student loans or credit card debt.</p> <h2>4. A Timeshare</h2> <p>The cost of owning a timeshare extends well beyond the mortgage. Annual maintenance fees, property taxes, and special assessments are piled on top &mdash; and they can be quite expensive.</p> <p>Another major gripe among timeshare owners is that it's not always easy to schedule their allotted time at the unit. In fact, it can be downright maddening. Some timeshare contracts have so <a href="">severely misstated the ease in scheduling</a> that several states have passed laws to punish these misrepresentations.</p> <p>Timeshares are also difficult to unload. Few people are interested in purchasing a timeshare in the aftermarket, meaning you're very likely to lose money even if you do find a buyer.</p> <h2>5. A Car They Didn't Research</h2> <p>Nearly a third of all <a href="">motorists regret their most recent car purchase</a>, a consumer watchdog report found. Among the top triggers of dissatisfaction: The car is faulty, it costs more to run than they anticipated, or they simply didn't do enough research.</p> <p>A car is one of the most expensive purchases many of us will ever make. So before pulling the trigger on a flashy sport convertible or a clunker with the little engine that could, experts say it's important to weigh all your options and do your homework.</p> <p>Here are a couple good online resources to get you started: <a href="">Edmund's Guide for First-Time New Car Buyers</a> and <a href="">Popular Mechanic's How to Buy a Used Car Without Getting Burned</a>.</p> <h2>6. High-End Designer Bags, Clothes, and Shoes</h2> <p>Speaking of cars, a Gucci handbag can cost more than the down payment on your vehicle. Ditto that for many designer scarves, furs, and dresses. What you're really paying for is an air of luxury and exclusivity.</p> <p>Many of the clothes and accessories we find to be swoon-worthy at the store, high-end and otherwise, end up spending nearly their entire existence in storage. That's because the average person wears only about <a href="">20% of the clothes in their closet</a>, according to retail specialists.</p> <p>Among the top reasons our garments go unworn? The items no longer seem as unique or important as when first purchased, or we realize it was an impulse buy rather than a smart, practical purchase.</p> <h2>7. A $5,000 Watch</h2> <p>So you got a big promotion at work. Why not reward yourself with a Rolex? You earned it. Plus, what's more practical than a classic timepiece?</p> <p>Ted Jenkins, who co-operates a financial advisory firm focused on generations X and Y, speaks from experience when he says: &quot;Don't do it!&quot;</p> <p>&quot;<a href="">The dumbest purchase I ever made was spending $5,000 on a watch</a>,&quot; Jenkins wrote on his financial literacy blog. &quot;I wore two watches over the course of a year, one that cost $5,000 and one that cost $79. The $5,000 watch was a Panerai and the $79 was a Diesel&hellip; During that year, my compliment ratio was four to one in favor of the $79 Diesel watch. I never really cared that much about brand names and it taught me that nobody else really does as well. Now I don't even wear a watch because my phone can tell time.&quot;</p> <p><em>Have you ever made a big dumb purchase? Please share your experience in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="The 7 Dumbest Big Purchases People Make" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Brittany Lyte</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Consumer Affairs Lifestyle Shopping big purchases buying expensive luxuries shopping Wed, 23 Jul 2014 11:00:05 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1165663 at Improve Your Social Skills With Highlights From 5 Great TED Talks <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/improve-your-social-skills-with-highlights-from-5-great-ted-talks" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="friends socializing" title="friends socializing" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="135" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>TED talks have covered so many important topics, but arguably the most important? Social skills. (See also: <a href="">18 Things People With Good Social Skills Never Do</a>)</p> <p>We are social animals&hellip; as long as we're not too busy watching brilliant TED talks to act on what we've learned. So we've put together crib notes containing the main takeaways from 6 exceptional TED talks about social skills.</p> <h2>Speak So People Will Want to Listen</h2> <p><iframe width="605" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="" src="//"></iframe></p> <p>Ever feel as though no one is listening when you speak? Julian Treasure knows why. Treasure warns against the &quot;<a href="">7 deadly sins of speaking</a>&quot; &mdash; gossip, judging, negativity, complaining, excuses, exaggeration, and dogmatism. People who use language conveying those traits are less likely to be taken seriously.</p> <p>The cornerstones of language that commands understanding and respect are Treasure's useful acronym HAIL: Honesty, Authenticity, Integrity, and Love. When you are clear and show care for others, they will listen.</p> <p>We also tend to think about <em>how</em> we say what we say. Our mouths are instruments that attract attention when used well. Remember to warm up your voice and perfect the following:</p> <ol> <li>Register (high voice, low voice)</li> <li>Timbre (smooth and warm voices are more pleasant)</li> <li>Prosody (avoiding monotone)</li> <li>Volume (not too quiet or loud)</li> </ol> <h2>Shape Your Identity With Body Language</h2> <p><iframe width="605" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="" src="//"></iframe></p> <p>Scientist Amy Cuddy suggests you <a href="">do an audit of your body</a>. Are you hunching, wrapping your ankles, or holding your arms? Or are you spread out, with your legs open, or head tilted up? The former are &quot;low power&quot; and the latter are &quot;high power&quot; non-verbal poses and are universal across almost all mammals. Those who are blind use the same poses even though they have never seen anyone else do them.</p> <p>Not surprisingly, human power dynamics are very much influenced by body language. It usually isn't fair. For example, women are much more likely than men to use smaller body movements such as meek shoulders, folded arms, crossed legs. People who do not feel empowered create a self-fulfilling prophecy of social disenfranchisement by using this body language.</p> <p>The key is chemistry. Testosterone and cortisol are big components in how we react with confidence or fold up in fear. Those who were told to hold a high power pose for two minutes experienced a 20% increase in testosterone, and those who held low power poses saw a 10% decrease in testosterone. Similarly with cortisol where high power poses created a 25% decrease in cortisol, while low power poses created a 15% increase in cortisol.</p> <p>Cuddy's tip? Find two minutes a day to do high power poses by yourself before going to work or doing anything high stress, because those who do this are much more likely to do well.</p> <h2>Transform Introversion Into Social Capital</h2> <p><iframe width="605" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="" src="//"></iframe></p> <p>Lawyer and writer Susan Cain points out a fundamental truth: The <a href="">world celebrates boisterous extroverts</a>. However, quiet introverts make helpful contributions to the world that are subtler, but just as important. Most social systems are built for extroversion, especially schools and the workplace &mdash; even though introverts are more knowledgeable and get better grades in class, and take less outsized risks and are welcome to new opinions in the office.</p> <p>Solitude matters and can help us transcend our surroundings to arrive at important epiphanies and revelations. Conversely, people in groups tend to mimic each other's opinions and ideas. Cain recommends contemplating your own ideas alone, then coming to the group with your ideas for more meaning collaboration.</p> <p>Cain suggests these three rules for making the world better for introverts:</p> <ol> <li>Stop the madness for constant group work. Some people need more privacy and autonomy at work and school for deep thought.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Go to the wilderness. Be like the Buddha by taking time to unplug and be alone.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Take a look at what's inside your suitcase. Open up to the world and show people the content of your character and your personality when you can.</li> </ol> <h2>Focus on Friendship First, Then Ideas</h2> <p><iframe width="605" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="" src="//"></iframe></p> <p>Have you ever argued with someone and found it pointless? Television pundit Sally Kohn has heard a lot of remarks about her and her politics, and it led her to a critical realization: We don't spend enough time <a href="">finding common ground before debating ideas</a> with others.</p> <p>Instead of obsessing over what is &quot;politically correct,&quot; Kohn urges us to find our own emotional core in others, what she calls being &quot;emotionally correct.&quot; Basic human compassion is crucial. Kohn uses Sean Hannity as an example. She's a liberal, and he's a staunch conservative, yet Hannity doesn't let what he feels about her beliefs stop him from treating her as a friend. Try emotional correctness by helping someone who doesn't share your beliefs.</p> <h2>Leave Social Media Behind</h2> <p><iframe width="605" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="" src="//"></iframe></p> <p>It's hard to discuss social skills without mentioning social media. People of all ages now use their computers and phones as proxies for face-to-face communication. Psychologist Sherry Turkle talks about the &quot;goldilocks effect&quot; &mdash; our desire to keep people at just the right distance for comfort and avoid the messiness that is in-person human communication.</p> <p>The problem with this is that we need face-to-face socializing in order to be able to function in the real world, especially children. Even parents can't resist the desire to edit, delete, control, and customize their existence, and it's teaching our children bad social habits.</p> <p>Technology appeals to us most where we are the most vulnerable: we are lonely but afraid of intimacy. As a result, we expect more from our devices and less from each other. We should reflect on what online life might be taking away from our experienced life so we can make a more self-aware relationship between ourselves and technology.</p> <p>Sherry Turkle has five suggestions to get back in touch with ourselves and our loved ones:</p> <ol> <li>Make daily attempts to reinforce solitude.</li> <li>Demonstrate the value of unplugged communication to your kids.</li> <li>Create designated &quot;sacred&quot; places in your home free of devices.</li> <li>At work, walk away from computer and talk to coworkers in person.</li> <li>Really <em>listen</em> to people when having a conversation, even the boring bits.</li> </ol> <p><em>Do you have any favorite TED talks on social skills and group behavior? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Improve Your Social Skills With Highlights From 5 Great TED Talks" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Amanda Meadows</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Lifestyle empowerment social skills TED TED talks Thu, 17 Jul 2014 17:00:05 +0000 Amanda Meadows 1158335 at Convert Your Crap Into Cash Without a Garage Sale <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/convert-your-crap-into-cash-without-a-garage-sale" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="girl clothes" title="girl clothes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="151" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We all have extra stuff lying around that we'd love to pawn off for cash &mdash; in theory. But let's face it. Organizing a garage sale can be sort of like planning a dinner party without the payoff of good friends, good conversation, and a couple of refreshing gin and tonics. All that sorting and polishing and sticker-tagging and sign-making &mdash; not to mention the time you'll spend trying to shoo the neighbor who wants to take home your kid's $500 barely used air hockey table for 20 bucks &mdash; and you might not even earn enough to cover your expenses for that bottle of upholstery cleaner. (See also: <a href="">Have Your Best Yard Sale Ever</a>)</p> <p>Fortunately, it's true what they say: One man's trash is another man's treasure. The trick to making this maxim work for you is finding the right platform that will put your well-cared-for Coach purse before the eyes of fashionistas who deeply value the absence of scratch marks on the leather strap.</p> <p>The Internet is a brilliant resource for reaching your best-bet buyers. So is your flesh-and-blood network of family and friends. Here's our guide to getting the biggest bang for your leftovers and unwanteds using the basics of target marketing. It's all about finding your niche.</p> <h2>1. Clothing</h2> <p>The founder of <a href="">ThreadFlip</a> launched the up-and-coming online marketplace for second-hand garments and accessories two years ago after taking a peek at his wife's cluttered closet. What struck him was that most of the overflow was comprised of perfectly fashionable, cared-for pieces that she never even wears. When he asked his wife and other women why they hold on to clothing they know they'll never put on, they gave him the same answer: &quot;<a href=";_type=blogs&amp;_r=0">It's too hard to do anything else with them</a>.</p> <p>Sites like eBay and Etsy work great, too, but ThreadFlip offers the added benefit of a niche audience. This is fashionistas selling to other fashionistas, so you're bound to rake in more cash for those peach-colored stilettos than if you were to try and hawk them on a generalized resale site. (Another excellent option for pre-owned luxury clothing and accessories is <a href="">Portero</a>).</p> <p>When you sell on ThreadFlip, the site helps you lure in buyers by marketing your items with high resolution photos. (If you're clumsy with a camera, you can fork over a higher percentage of your earnings and the company will handle the photography for you.) Once you hook a buyer, an empty box arrives at your doorstep. Simply fill it with the items you've sold and call for a pickup. ThreadFlip will ship the box directly to the buyer, and for this the site takes a 20% cut of the sale.</p> <h2>2. Furniture</h2> <p>It's not easy &mdash; nor cheap nor in any way desirable &mdash; to sell a couch by mail. Sites that facilitate resale transactions with buyers right in your local community are your best bet for larger items, like furniture, swing sets, and pinball machines, that are too cumbersome for the postal service.</p> <p>While Craigslist is well-known, <a href="">Krrb</a> (pronounced &quot;curb&quot;) is a newer hyperlocal classifieds platform that's on the rise in popularity. The 75,000-member online consignment boutique caters to the bargain hunter with sophisticated taste. High-end furniture pieces go for anywhere <a href="">between $800 and $10,000</a> depending on condition and style. Recent listings include a Victorian aquarium, 19th century furnishings, and a vintage mahogany sideboard. There's also <a href="">a pair of taxidermy goats</a> that's going for $1,500.</p> <p>In most cases, the buyers on sites like Craigslist and Krrb are willing to come to you. And it's on them to hire a truck to transport the antique bed and night stands. All you have to do is hold out your hand. Ahh, how good it feels to have a fistful of cold, hard cash.</p> <h2>3. Electronics</h2> <p>Here's the good news: Amazon will buy your old electronics in exchange for money to spend on Amazon. And considering the breadth and depth of the Amazon marketplace, credit for this online shopping site is nearly as good as cash.</p> <p>It works like this: Check the <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;node=2226766011&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=WVMW4DSEZF3VHV4Y">trade-in page</a> to see if your old cell phone or video game console is eligible for the gift-card program. (Books are also applicable.) Then package up your gadgets and send them off to Amazon. The company will even pay for the shipping. Once the company receives the items, your Amazon account will be credited in about two business days.</p> <p>Amazon doesn't have a monopoly on the electronics trade-in industry, although its service in this department is streamlined and immensely easy. Still, there are other options to explore. <a href="">Nextworth</a> and <a href=";u=255320&amp;m=45652&amp;urllink=&amp;afftrack=">Gazelle</a> offer similar trade-in programs with an added benefit: They'll actually send you a check for your outdated iPad. On the downside, Nextworth can often take upwards of 10 days to reimburse you while Gazelle tends to lowball its offering price.</p> <h2>4. Valuables That Aren't Selling Online</h2> <p>There are certain items you won't want to part with unless you're getting what they're worth. Diamond earrings. The teak end-table. Those leather boots you bought on your honeymoon in Italy. You know they are high-value items, even if the bid amounts on your eBay auction suggest otherwise.</p> <p>Chances are that at least some of your friends, family, colleagues, and neighbors share in your taste and would love to go on a shopping spree at your house. So why not let them? Simply price the items you want to sell and invite a group of people over to browse.</p> <p>Or, take a hint from the minimalist, world-traveling duo Warren and Betsy Talbot and host a <a href="">Reverse Birthday Party</a>. The next time your birthday comes around, examine the stuff in your house and stick price tags on all those beautiful, loved items that you could only bear to part with for a fair price. Then invite over the friends and family members you know will appreciate just as you do that antique farmhouse spinning wheel or the cutesy Christmas china set and let 'em loose. In lieu of gifts, your guests will be doing you a favor by spending that gift money &mdash; and then some, if all goes to plan &mdash; on all that exquisite stuff you need to part with in order to declutter your life.</p> <p>Take whatever's left over to a brick-and-mortar consignment shop.</p> <p><em>How have you turned your old stuff into cash without bothering with a yard sale? Please share your secrets in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Convert Your Crap Into Cash Without a Garage Sale" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Brittany Lyte</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Consumer Affairs Lifestyle Shopping consignment declutter garage sale selling used yard sale Thu, 17 Jul 2014 15:00:05 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1160270 at 14 Things Good Hosts Never Do <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/14-things-good-hosts-never-do" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="party host" title="party host" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="144" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I throw a couple parties a year and host overnight guests regularly as an <a href="">Airbnb host</a>, but I'm far from the host with the most. Still, I strive to be better. That's why I polled a few friends and experts to see what's on their list of party fouls that a good host would never commit. (See also: <a href="">Don't Ruin the Party: 11 Things Good Guests Never Do</a>)</p> <h2>1. Expect Gifts</h2> <p>I don't expect anyone to bring me a gift when I'm hosting &mdash; and, honestly, I'd rather they didn't bring a gift unless it's something consumable (who needs more <em>stuff</em>?), and I'm not alone. Relationship and etiquette expert April Masini, author of the critically acclaimed online advice column <a href="">Ask April</a>, agrees. &quot;Good hosts will never insist on gifts. It's great to celebrate your birthday, anniversary or impending nuptials, but insisting or expecting gifts is greedy and bad form. That's not to say you shouldn't be gracious when you do receive presents, but if you're throwing an event to celebrate yourself, make sure the focus is on the celebration &mdash; not the bounty.&quot;</p> <h2>2. Let the Guests Fend for Themselves for Household Necessities</h2> <p>Susan Callender, founder of <a href="">Oh! My Gauche</a>, a service dedicated to social savvy and professional skills, says that good hosts will always have information on guest amenities &mdash; like password-protected Wi-Fi, washer/dryer, iron and ironing board, etc. &mdash; available where the guest can easily find them, like in a binder or folder in the guest bedroom. You also can add take-out menus, your home address and phone number (I doubt they have it memorized), and tourism information about your area if you'd like. It'll make the guest's stay hassle-free and more enjoyable.</p> <h2>3. Request That Guests Bring Something (Unless They Insist)</h2> <p>Whitney L. Smith, owner of the lifestyle blog <a href="">Pumps &amp; Circumstance</a>, thinks it's rude for hosts to ask guests to bring an item to any event other than a potluck. &quot;I love entertaining, and one of the things I don't think is proper for a host to do is to request that guests bring something,&quot; she says. There is an exception, however: &quot;If guests <em>offer</em> to bring something it's OK to request ice or beverages, but to ask them to bring food is a no-no.&quot;</p> <h2>4. Let Guests Clean Up</h2> <p>The trash needs to go outside, your guest is on her way outside. Makes sense, right? Wrong. If they offer, great, but otherwise, hosting is not about efficiency; it's ultimately about providing a service to others.</p> <h2>5. Require Guests to Pay Unexpectedly</h2> <p>Maybe you're young, maybe you don't read Wise Bread enough and don't have the savings to throw a party where everything's covered. That's okay. But it needs to be made clear to your guests beforehand.</p> <h2>6. Make a Scene If Someone Brings an Unapproved +1</h2> <p>Gwendolyn Mulholland, owner of the family blog <a href="">Finding Sanity in Our Crazy Life</a>, suggests that hosts suck it up and keep their mouths shut about a guest who brought a date when plus-ones weren't expected. I agree with her &mdash; there's nothing you can do about it now, short of kicking them out, and you don't want to hurt anybody's feelings, do you?</p> <p>However, to the guest who does this &mdash; you should consider yourself lucky when your host doesn't make a scene. Consider that the extra person could throw off the dynamic of the room, especially if guests were invited based on compatibility. Also, the host prepared food for the invited guests, not the surprise guest. What if he or she doesn't like what's being served? What if the host doesn't have enough food? There are a few invariables here that you really don't want to tilt too far. (See also: <a href="">Quick Pantry Snacks for Uninvited Guests</a>)</p> <h2>7. Allow Anyone Underage to Drink</h2> <p>Advice columnist April Masini chimes in again with another really excellent tip: &quot;Good hosts never encourage underage guests to drink,&quot; she reminds us. &quot;Forget being the cool parent or the cool family friend. If there are underage teens and young adults at your home, you are responsible for what you serve them, and even if their parents say it's okay, it's your house, your rules. You'll save yourself a bundle of hassle if there's a potential accident that you are responsible for by serving underage guests, and if there isn't, you've set the standard at your house and everyone will know for next time. Better safe than sorry.&quot;</p> <h2>8. Run Out of Food and Drinks</h2> <p>When I host parties, I abide by the rule of seconds &mdash; I buy enough food for every guest to have them. Of course, some guests won't have seconds, so there may be a generous amount of food left (par for the course; it's always better to have more than enough than not enough), in which case you can do a few things:</p> <ul> <li>Send guests home with a plate for later.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Pack the leftovers for lunch.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Donate the food to a local organization whose volunteers might enjoy the home-cooked or catered food.</li> </ul> <h2>9. Neglect to Clean and Properly Stock the Bathroom Prior</h2> <p>Now we're getting into serious territory. If you've failed to stock your bathroom with the necessary essentials, you may very well embarrass the person who needs to call someone to bring the TP. Can you imagine? I'd die of humiliation and then come back to life as the ghost that haunts that terrible host forever. Also, there's this related tip from a friend: &quot;A good host would never invite someone over when their toilet is clogged. Been to a house party like that. Awful, awful experience.&quot; Let's leave it at that.</p> <h2>10. Stash Away the Good Bottle of Wine That the Guest Brought</h2> <p>&quot;A good host should always open a nice bottle of wine that a guests brings to a dinner or party,&quot; says Kelsey Graves founder of the party-inspiration site We Heart Parties. &quot;It is not polite to keep the nice bottle for yourself. Be sure to open it and share it with your guests.&quot; Another way to put it is: Stop being stingy, you lush!</p> <h2>11. Serve Themselves First</h2> <p>Let your guests have first dibs on the food that you've prepared &mdash; just like your grandmother did; she didn't eat until everybody else was fed, remember?</p> <h2>12. Allow Pets to Annoy Guests</h2> <p>I love dogs &mdash; I have a dog myself &mdash; but my husband and I take measures to ensure that he won't annoy guests when we host an event. For shorter gatherings, like a brunch at our house, he's fine in our bedroom for a couple hours. But for longer parties &mdash; like around the holidays &mdash; it's best for us to send him to daycare for the night where he can play with his furry friends while our guests can enjoy themselves without an animal begging for food or attention.</p> <h2>13. Fail to Introduce Guests Who Don't Know Each Other</h2> <p>If the party is heavy on mixed company, it's the host's job to acquaint everyone at the beginning. Make a habit of making introductions as soon as a guest arrives, so you don't get preoccupied, forget about the person, and let him fend for himself. Some people just aren't comfortable going up to strangers and making small talk. Not that I'm at all bitter or speaking from personal experience, of course.</p> <h2>14. Invite the Wrong Mix of People</h2> <p>If you're inviting a mixed bag of people who don't necessarily know each other, it's wise to consider the potential compatibility of guests as well, especially for a sit-down event or an overnight excursion.</p> <p>I tend to invite singles that I think might compliment each other and couples with similar interests. For an intimate dinner, for example, I'm definitely not inviting my very religious friends to dine with my LGBT-activist friends. While I'm all for rousing dinner conversation, there are some things better left unsaid. It also wouldn't be very fun for a single friend to attend an event filled with only couples. While not every person will become besties, you at least want the group to enjoy each other's company for a couple hours.</p> <p><em>What are some things that you think good hosts should never do? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="14 Things Good Hosts Never Do" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Mikey Rox</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Entertainment Lifestyle dinner entertaining guests host party pot luck Thu, 17 Jul 2014 11:00:04 +0000 Mikey Rox 1160904 at How to Attend a Wedding for Cheap (Without Actually Looking Cheap) <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-attend-a-wedding-for-cheap-without-actually-looking-cheap" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="wedding party" title="wedding party" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Summer is wedding season, and if, like me, you're at that age when all your friends are tying the knot, it can be a nightmare for your pocketbook. Modern weddings seem to be more elaborate than ever, piling on the costly obligations for guests who just want to show the happy couple some love. (See also: <a href="">How to Shave $5,000 Off Your Wedding Expenses</a>)</p> <p>If you're tired of whipping out the credit card every time an invitation lands in your mailbox, this list of money-saving tips is for you.</p> <h2>Far Away? Send a Gift Instead of Attending</h2> <p>If you're hundreds (or even thousands) of miles away from the wedding location, realize that it's okay to decline attendance. No invited guest is expected to attend, even if that's not explicitly stated by the couple. Especially if it's a <a href="">last-minute wedding</a>. Instead, splurge on the gift and send it with a nice handwritten note of congratulations.</p> <h2>Find Your Own Lodging</h2> <p>When a couple knows people will be traveling to attend their nuptials, they often try to help by blocking off rooms at a local hotel. While convenient, never assume that this is the most cost effective option. Explore local hotel rates for yourself as well as options on Airbnb. If you know others who will be attending, think about getting an entire house or apartment, and splitting the bill.</p> <h2>Look for a Gift That's Thoughtful Rather Than Expensive</h2> <p>This is true 100% of the time, but especially if you're an out of town guest. Contrary to popular belief, there is no &quot;minimum price&quot; for a wedding present. Give from the heart. It could be something that's funny, practical, or homemade. (See also: <a href="">25 Gifts You Can Make Today</a>)</p> <h2>Use the Registry to Your Advantage</h2> <p>If the couple announces that they've registered at one or more stores, it behooves you to investigate their requests as early as possible. Sign up for sale alerts and customer loyalty programs at those stores if they exist, then be ready to snag a wanted item when the cost is low or you've got a coupon.</p> <h2>Don't Take Gifts on the Plane</h2> <p>Once you've chosen your gift, ship it directly to the recipients rather than taking it on the plane (if traveling long distance). You'll save yourself the extra baggage fee and a huge logistical hassle. If you're traveling by car, obviously the converse is true. Save on shipping fees by bringing it yourself.</p> <h2>Extend Your Stay and Make it a Vacay</h2> <p>If you're going to three or more weddings in a year, there's a good chance your vacation time will go the way of the dodo. When a friend of ours recently got married at the beach over a long holiday weekend, we used the coincidence to our advantage: We arrived a day early and stayed a day late, turning it into a mini vacation.</p> <h2>Skip Pre-Wedding Events</h2> <p>It must be all the wedding shows on TV, but modern weddings have gone from &quot;a ceremony and a reception&quot; to three day long mini festivals. There are bachelor and <a href="">bachelorette parties</a>, bridal showers, pre-wedding brunches and dinners, and spa dates &mdash; and that doesn't even include the main event! Unless you're immediate family or in the wedding, all of these are optional. Save big by skipping pre-wedding money pits.</p> <h2>Don't Be in the Wedding Party</h2> <p>If the bride or groom asks you to be in the wedding, it's a great honor, but not an obligation. Wedding party duties involve throwing showers, planning pre-wedding events, and buying expensive outfits that you'll probably never wear again. Be honest: Tell the couple that your budget doesn't allow you to participate in the wedding party, but you can't wait to attend the ceremony.</p> <h2>Be a Slow Gift Giver</h2> <p>Did you know that you're not required to bring the gift to the actual wedding? According to the Emily Post Institute, you have <a href="">up to three months</a> from the date of the wedding to give a gift without violating any etiquette rules. So if money will be less tight in a few weeks, just wait.</p> <h2>Recycle Outfits</h2> <p>You don't have to wear something different to every wedding you attend. If some of the same people will be at more than one upcoming ceremony, invest in a classic outfit that can be made to look different by swapping accessories. You can also borrow something from a friend, or <a href="">rent an expensive dress</a> and return it when done.</p> <p><em>How do you trim the cost of attending weddings? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="How to Attend a Wedding for Cheap (Without Actually Looking Cheap)" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Beth Buczynski</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Entertainment Lifestyle cheap weddings gifts parties wedding guest weddings Mon, 14 Jul 2014 15:00:05 +0000 Beth Buczynski 1157258 at 7 Ways to Eat More Slowly — and Lose More Weight <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-ways-to-eat-more-slowly-and-lose-more-weight" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="eating chopsticks" title="eating chopsticks" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="151" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Several years ago, my father's best friend started bringing his own silverware to dinner at our house and requesting salad plates to eat off of. Despite the ribbing he endured from my father and their other friends, Arnold remained steadfast in the importance of his new habits.</p> <p>That's because he had discovered an important secret in being a healthy eater: small utensils. Several studies have shown that our <a href="">minds tend to misjudge the quantity of food</a> set in front of us based upon the size of the plate we're using. The same amount of food looks scanty on a large plate and overly generous on a small one.</p> <p>Arnold took this idea one further by also using tiny forks and spoons to eat with. Not only do his portions look bigger when eating them off of wee plates with itty-bitty silverware, but the smaller utensils also force him to slow down while he eats.</p> <p>Although it's unlikely we'll stop teasing Arnold about his tiny forks and plates, he has been vindicated by science. This habit has made him a more mindful and slower eater, which, as it turns out, is the cornerstone of better digestive health and a healthier weight.</p> <p>Here's what you need to know about being a slow eater, and how to implement techniques to slow yourself down when it tastes so good.</p> <h2>Why Eat Slow</h2> <p>One of the things I really appreciated about spending time in Europe was adapting to the European view of meals. As Americans, we tend to motor our way through our food, as if dining is an inconvenience that we just have to get through. In the old world, however, meals are an event and a pleasure, and it's considered both bad manners and foolish to try to rush through them.</p> <p>As it turns out, slow meals are one big reason why Europeans tend to be so much slimmer and healthier than we are.</p> <p>First, researchers have determined that it takes the brain 20 minutes to register that you feel full. That's the amount of time it takes for stretch receptors in your stomach to indicate they have expanded to capacity, as well as the amount of time the <a href="">hormone leptin takes to signal satiety</a>. If you have ever scarfed down five slices of pizza, only to feel ill 20 minutes later, then you know that eating quickly can overburden your stomach.</p> <p>Eating slowly means that you will feel full with less food. Based on this, slow eating has been touted as an aid to weight loss. In fact, researchers have found that diners consume as much as <a href="">88 fewer calories per meal</a> by eating slowly.</p> <p>In addition, eating slowly helps your digestion. As you probably remember from your fifth grade science class (or <a href="">Slim Goodbody</a> if you're a fellow child of the 80s, like me), digestion begins in your mouth. If you eat quickly, you are likely not chewing your food as thoroughly, giving your stomach a more difficult job, which can lead to indigestion and other issues.</p> <p>Finally, slow eating means that you really get a chance to savor your food. Instead of hurrying through the buttery and chocolatey delicacy of your Mom's famous cookies, eating slowly allows you to truly taste, smell, and feel each bite, making the experience ultimately more satisfying.</p> <h2>How to Slow Down While Eating</h2> <p>Okay, so eating slower will help you better enjoy and digest your food, and may decrease your waistline to boot. The only question is, how do you go about eating more slowly? Here are seven tactics that will help.</p> <h3>Use Smaller Silverware</h3> <p>Arnold's strategy is an excellent way to force yourself to slow down without thinking too hard about it. If each bite you take is smaller than usual, but you take the usual amount of time to chew and swallow, then you will necessarily slow down the pace of your eating.</p> <p>It is important to note, however, that researchers have found that diners who are (unwittingly) given larger forks eat less than those using smaller forks. However, the study only found this to be true when <a href="">diners were sitting down to a meal</a>. Those who are snacking with small forks eat less than those who are snacking with large forks. The thinking is that diners sitting down to a meal have a goal &mdash; satiety &mdash; and the large fork (and corresponding large bite) makes them feel as if they are making progress on that goal.</p> <p>However, since you are intentionally switching out your normal fork for a tiny one, you are more likely to allow yourself to anchor on the fork size as the appropriate bite size, while also eating more mindfully.</p> <h3>Time Your Meals</h3> <p>The next time you sit down to eat, start a stopwatch as you take your first bite. Chances are that you'll find you've eaten your final bite within five to seven minutes. That's far too fast, particularly if you're very hungry, since the fifteen-minute wait between the final bite and the signal that you're full will be interminable. (Which is why you'll go for seconds and then feel ill later.)</p> <p>Once you know how long you usually take to eat, plan on stretching out your meals with the help of a timer. Set it for 20 minutes and try to &quot;beat&quot; the clock by still having a little food on your plate by the time it goes off. If you know you're trying to be slower than your timer, you're more likely to pause between bites and take your time to enjoy the flavor of your food. This strategy has an added benefit if you are trying to encourage your entire family to eat more slowly &mdash; it can be a fun game to see who can eat the slowest.</p> <h3>Lower the Lights and Play Soft Music</h3> <p>If you've ever wondered why the atmosphere in chain restaurants is so different from that of fine-dining establishments, it comes down to speed. Applebee's and Ruby Tuesday are in the business of getting you fed and out the door quickly, while your favorite French restaurant intends for your meal to take some time.</p> <p>Because of this, the chains play loud, fast-paced tunes and turn up the lights, while <em>Chez Pain Sage</em> gives you candlelight and soothing classical music. As it turns out, in addition turning tables over more quickly, the bright-and-loud atmosphere also <a href="">causes diners to eat more quickly</a> and consume more calories.</p> <p>That means you can help slow down your own consumption at home by breaking out the candles and queuing up the Miles Davis. (Or the Barry White, depending on who you're eating with.)</p> <h3>Take a Sip of Water Between Each Bite</h3> <p>&quot;Washing down&quot; every bite you eat is a good way to make sure that you slow down, but it also helps you to feel fuller sooner and aids in digestion &mdash; you need as much as <a href="">12 cups of water to properly digest your food</a> and absorb its nutrients. It is also a trick that you can use anywhere &mdash; from restaurants to parties to snacking on the couch &mdash; which makes it an excellent habit to get into.</p> <h3>Count Your Chews</h3> <p>Your mother may have told you to chew your food at least 20 times before swallowing, but there is surprisingly little consensus on exactly how many chews is ideal. However, a recent study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that participants <a href="">who chewed almonds at least 25 times</a> absorbed more unsaturated fat (that's the good kind) than those who only gave the food ten good chews.</p> <p>Journalist A.J. Jacobs (who attempted to chew every bite 50 times for a week) found <a href="" style="text-decoration:none;">many benefits to counting his chews</a>, in addition to eating more slowly. He appreciated the subtle tastes of his food much more; he avoided bloat after a Thanksgiving meal; and he found he was a better listener at the dinner table.</p> <h3>Use Chopsticks for Everything</h3> <p>Even if you are a champion chopstick-user, it's likely that you will eat more slowly with these utensils than with a fork or spoon. You can also try eating with chopsticks with your non-dominant hand to slow yourself down even more. An added benefit of using chopsticks is that they don't scoop up calorie-dense sauces as easily as forks and spoons do.</p> <h3>Snack on Food That Needs to Be Peeled</h3> <p>Snack time is an easy time to go overboard. Since we generally don't eat snacks at a table, we're more likely to mindlessly munch our way through a bag of chips or handful of cookies without even noticing what we've eaten.</p> <p>An excellent way to combat this trend is to only snack on foods that require some work on your part to eat them: oranges, bananas, pistachios, and edamame are all delicious snacks that will force you to eat slowly and mindfully.</p> <h2>Leaner Waist and Better Taste</h2> <p>Not only can eating slowly help you achieve your weight loss goals, but you'll also enjoy your food more by taking the time to savor it. That's a win-win.</p> <p>You may have to put up with some teasing, however, if you start bringing your own tiny fork to dinner parties.</p> <p><em>Are you a slow eater? How do you slow down at the table? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="7 Ways to Eat More Slowly — and Lose More Weight" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Emily Guy Birken</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> General Tips Health and Beauty Lifestyle diet metabolism slow eating slow food weight loss Fri, 11 Jul 2014 17:00:03 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1156617 at 6 Harmful Money Beliefs That Are Keeping You Poor <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-harmful-money-beliefs-that-are-keeping-you-poor" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="no savings" title="no savings" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="146" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>All action begins with thought. Even in our financial lives, how we think about money, the biases we hold about ourselves and money, and the money messages we receive from others influence our financial reality. (See also: <a href="">5 Stupid Things My Parents Taught Me About Money</a>)</p> <p>If you're working to build a brighter financial future, don't let these six common money beliefs sabotage your success.</p> <h2>1. I'm Just Not Good With Money</h2> <p>I wasn't good with sewing, flossing before bed, painting a house, or cooking until I tried each and taught myself the basics. For this belief to hold, a person has to cling to the mistaken idea that learning is impossible. Sure, you may never pose a threat to Suze Orman, but anyone can learn to budget, discipline their spending habits, and gradually take greater control of personal finances. (See also: <a href="">Money Management in 5 Minutes a Day</a>)</p> <h3>Remedy</h3> <p>Shift your thinking away from the powerless &quot;I'm just not good with money&quot; and replace it with the truer and more empowering &quot;I may not have been taught how to manage money well, but I resolve to learn.&quot;</p> <h2>2. I Don't Make Enough Money to Save</h2> <p>In a world of high-prices, razor-thin budgets, and stagnant salaries, it's easy to conclude that saving is a pursuit reserved for other people with fatter paychecks. And though everyone's financial picture is unique, saving starts by making it a priority and embracing the idea of socking away something on a regular basis &mdash; no matter how modest the amount may be. Once you get a little bit of money saved something wonderful happens: Momentum builds and you get a buzz from watching your nest egg grow. It's a quietly powerful force and one you shouldn't deny yourself.</p> <h3>Remedy</h3> <p>Revise this belief by being less attached to the numbers. Instead of a $100.00 a week, could you save $10.00? What figure would be a reasonable starting point that you could build on later? (See also: <a href="">101 Ways to Save Money Around the House</a>)</p> <h2>3. Creditors Won't Lend Me More Money Than I Can Safely Repay</h2> <p>Sadly, we live in a world where it seems lenders use one part black magic and two parts shameless guesswork (note: black magic proportions are just estimates) to determine how much credit to extend to consumers. Their numbers should in no way inform <em>your</em> spending or override <em>your</em> own good judgment. Sure, lenders aren't in the business of making bad loans (&hellip;ahem&hellip; usually), but their calculations don't factor in your financial goals and important quality of life issues that indebtedness affects.</p> <p>To illustrate the divide between what lenders offer and what's in the best interest of borrowers, here's a story from own experience.</p> <p>In 2004, I applied for a mortgage on my first home. The lender approved me for a mortgage four times the amount I was comfortable with. When I saw those numbers, I laughed out loud. Why? Well, first, I didn't need a four-bedroom house with a swimming pool. And second, I didn't want a mortgage payment so steep that I'd end up chain-smoking over nightly dinners of canned pork and beans. Sure, I could have made the payments every month, but I would have been miserable and constantly stressed.</p> <h3>Remedy</h3> <p>Replace this belief with &quot;Regardless of what a third-party number-cruncher says, I won't borrow more money than I can safely and sanely repay.&quot; Staying true to your own financial reality is the best way to preserve your happiness &mdash; and your good credit score.</p> <h2>4. Credit Card Debt Is Just Part of Life</h2> <p>According to the <a href="">Consumer Financial Literacy Survey</a> conducted by the Harris Poll in 2014, one in three U.S. adults reported that their household carries over credit card debt from month to month. Though the trend to pay off card balances in full each month is growing, normalizing long-term consumer debt is an insidious part of easy credit. Over the years, unchecked debt erodes people's chances at real financial security by siphoning off significant portions of income through interest, late fees, and other charges. It's financial death by a thousand cuts.</p> <h3>Remedy</h3> <p>Although consumer debt may be unavoidable at times, reject the notion that it's normal operating procedure. When you put high interest credit card debt behind you, you free up the income that can build real wealth over time.</p> <h2>5. Being Frugal Means a Lifetime of Denial</h2> <p>This isn't just one of the biggest <a href="">misconceptions about frugality</a>; it's the one folks most often point to as an excuse to continue their spendthrift ways. But healthy frugality is less about denying ourselves everything and more about exercising strategic restraint in order to accomplish specific goals. For example, a frugal person may vacation in the Bahamas every other year because she's driven the same used car for ten years and never carried an auto loan. People who direct their resources mindfully in order to stay out of debt and live richer lives get labeled &quot;frugal&quot; when &quot;focused&quot; might capture the breadth of the lifestyle better.</p> <h3>Remedy</h3> <p>Give up the bias that frugality is synonymous with voluntary poverty. Instead, look for areas in your budget where you can cut back in order to achieve specific ends. Dream big and see how a more a strategic approach to saving and spending can help make frugality fun.</p> <h2>6. Money and Romance Don't Mix</h2> <p>You know what's even less romantic than realistic discussions about money? A break-up from money-related arguments, chronic debt, and endless financial anxiety. Compared to divorce, frank and honest money talk seems absolutely swoon-worthy, doesn't it? Think of it this way: Understanding where you and your partner stand with money, debt, and spending is essential information to determine if you're a good long-term match. Getting on the same page financially helps protect your love affair, build a happier domestic life, and accomplish your goals as a team.</p> <h3>Remedy</h3> <p>If you're hesitant to broach the topic of money with the person you care about, start by reading this article together and then reserve a time to &quot;get naked&quot; about your finances in a non-judgmental, constructive way. Once you've opened up about finances, it'll be easier to find ways to <a href="">manage money with your partner</a> proactively.</p> <p>The lesson here is a simple one: Don't accept limiting financial beliefs at face value. Question your own money self-talk and the wisdom behind casual advice that suggests you're powerless to control this important aspect of life. As hokey as it may sound, changing how we think really is the first crucial step in changing our fortunes.</p> <p><em>What harmful beliefs about money do you have? Which old beliefs were the toughest for you to get over?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="6 Harmful Money Beliefs That Are Keeping You Poor" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Kentin Waits</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Lifestyle financial planning money beliefs money management Fri, 11 Jul 2014 11:00:07 +0000 Kentin Waits 1156978 at If You're Doing This on Your First Date, You're Not Getting a Second <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/if-youre-doing-this-on-your-first-date-youre-not-getting-a-second" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="bad date" title="bad date" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="136" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Dating has certainly changed since the world became tech-savvy. With the advent of smart phones, dating apps, and social media, making that awkward first move is not nearly as tough as it used to be. But, once you've both agreed to go on a first date, how do you make sure you get a second? (See also: <a href="">Find Love With These Fun and Frugal First Date Ideas</a>)</p> <p>The following behaviors will guarantee that your first date will almost certainly be your last. Oh, and these apply to both men and women, so don't kid yourself that some of these don't concern you.</p> <h2>Turning Up Late</h2> <p>Leave your date chewing on breadsticks for 45 minutes without so much as a call or text message, and two things will happen. First, if your date has been polite enough to stick around, you'll be sitting through the most painful hour of your year. And second, you will not be making plans to do this again. Ideally, you should show up five minutes early. If you are going to be considerably late through no fault of your own, let your date know. If it is your own fault (and really, it always is), apologize but perhaps cushion the blow with something flattering (&quot;I wanted to look really nice for you and completely lost track of time.&quot;) (See also: <a href="">How to Always Be On Time</a>)</p> <h2>Paying Too Much Attention to Your Cell Phone</h2> <p>Really, paying <em>any</em> attention to your cell phone. This is supposed to be a time when you only have eyes for each other. Constantly pulling out your phone to check messages, read Facebook updates and scroll through Reddit and Twitter will not make you very popular. Why would anyone want to give you a second date if you can't put them first for a few hours?</p> <h2>Getting Completely Drunk</h2> <p>Hey, first dates can be nerve-wracking, and a glass of wine or beer can definitely ease the tension. However, you cannot let a few drinks turn into a bender. If you start knocking back the booze like it's ice water in a heat wave, you will come across as an irresponsible jerk that cannot be trusted. You also do not look attractive when you're face down in the dessert and drooling like you've just had major dental surgery. Do yourself a favor. Have one or two drinks, and stop.</p> <h2>Turning the Date Into 20 Questions</h2> <p>First thing's first; people love talking about themselves. So, if you ask questions that get people to open up and talk about their favorite subject, you'll be doing well. Being a good listener is a very attractive quality, and asking about someone's life is just as becoming. But, you can go too far.</p> <p>If it goes from &quot;tell me more about the kind of work you do&quot; to &quot;how much do you earn?&quot; &quot;how many dates have you been on this year?&quot; and &quot;do you vote Republican or Democrat?&quot; your date is going to feel like they're being interviewed for the role of your next partner. That's a big turn off. To curb this, try to make sure the questions you're asking are open-ended, and follow on what was asked before, as opposed to running down a pre-planned checklist.</p> <h2>Talking About Sex</h2> <p>Flirting is good. Being lecherous is bad. This is a first date, and you should be on your best behavior. By all means respond to the signals you're getting in an appropriate manner, but have some decorum. By diving into the subject of sex, you're giving the impression that you're only after one thing. Even if you both decide that the first date will also be your first intimate encounter, there's no need to become aggressive with it. Show some class.</p> <h2>Being Cheap</h2> <p>Both men and women should come to the date expecting to pay for half of it. This is not the dark ages, both sexes deserve equal treatment, and no one should just sit there expecting the other person to dive into their pocket and pay for everything. If the other person wants to pay, by all means acquiesce politely to their wishes. But being cheap is as off-putting as being drunk. You should show your date consideration. Dating can be expensive, and if you are both willing to meet up, you should both be willing to share the costs.</p> <h2>Bringing Your Buddy</h2> <p>There's not really much to say about this. You may have your doubts about the person you're meeting, and you may also want your best friend to give them the once-over. However, there is a time and a place for that kind of consultation, and it is not on the first date. Bring yourself to the date, and no one else.</p> <h2>Focusing On Your Ex</h2> <p>We all have horror stories about our past. We have also had dream dates. Neither should really be discussed unless the conversation naturally turns to it. Even then, it's good to treat an ex the same way you would a former employer in a job interview. Acknowledge them, but move on quickly. If you stay focused on a bad ex, your date may just wonder if you were the problem. If you go on and on about a great ex, they may feel they can never live up to that ideal.</p> <h2>Playing It Too Cool</h2> <p>There's cool. There's aloof. And there's just plain rude. By all means, dull your enthusiasm a little. You don't want to come across as a desperate eager puppy just dying to go home with someone and be their partner forever. But then the whole &quot;I'm so cool I could freeze hell&quot; routine won't cut it either. &quot;Where would you like to go for dinner?&quot; should not be answered with &quot;hey, whatever, I don't really care.&quot; Be happy to be there, just not so happy your kittens are having kittens.</p> <h2>Being Keener Than Mustard</h2> <p>Perhaps even worse than being too cool for school is being an eager beaver. You turn up for the date with armfuls of gifts, and have pre-arranged for a string quartet to play your date's favorite song (which you found out by cyber-stalking them). It's just too creepy, and honestly, no one wants to be around someone that desperate (even if that is not your intention). Ease off on the gas. By all means show that you're happy to be around, but if you could be a contestant on The Price Is Right, you might want to think about toning down your hyperactivity.</p> <p><em>So, what first date mistakes have you made? What about mistakes your date made? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="If You&#039;re Doing This on Your First Date, You&#039;re Not Getting a Second" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Paul Michael</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Family Lifestyle Personal Development Dating etiquette first dates manners romance Wed, 09 Jul 2014 17:00:07 +0000 Paul Michael 1154565 at Best Money Tips: Make Veterinary Bills More Affordable <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-make-veterinary-bills-more-affordable" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="vet" title="vet" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="153" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some amazing articles on making veterinary bills more affordable, building a new job wardrobe on the cheap, and saving money when you move.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="">15 Ways to Make Veterinary Bills More Affordable</a> &mdash; To make veterinary bills more affordable, go to a college of veterinary medicine. []</p> <p><a href="">How to Build a New Job Wardrobe on the Cheap</a> &mdash; Paying attention to accessories and opting for quality can help you build a new job wardrobe without breaking the bank. [Living on the Cheap]</p> <p><a href="">How to Save Money When You Move</a> &mdash; If you are moving soon, save money by tossing, selling, or donating some of your stuff before you move. [Money Under 30]</p> <p><a href="">15 Reasons Why You Won't Be Able To Retire Early</a> &mdash; You may not be able to retire early if your structural living expenses are too high. [Good Financial Cents]</p> <p><a href="">Could It Be Worth It to Spend More Money?</a> &mdash; It may be worth it to spend more money on shoes or appliances. [Canadian Finance Blog]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="">4 Things to Think about BEFORE Your First Investment</a> &mdash; Before your first investment, consider whether or not you are ready to invest. [Money Under 30]</p> <p><a href="">Staying Annoyed Screwed Me Out of a Fortune or How to Spot and Create (Business) Opportunities</a> &mdash; Changing your mindset from &quot;I need a job&quot; to &quot;I need income&quot; can help you spot and create business opportunities. [The Money Principle]</p> <p><a href="">7 Ways to Boost Your Energy and Get More Done</a> &mdash; To boost your energy and get more done, clean your home and take a break. [POPSUGAR Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="">3 Insurance Products You May Need But Didn't Know Existed</a> &mdash; Did you know there's a thing called multiple birth insurance? [Thousandaire]</p> <p><a href="">Easy, Last-Minute (and Mostly Kid-Friendly) Dishes to Take to Your Summer Potlucks</a> &mdash; If you are headed to a summer potluck, consider bringing a snack mix or a store bought dessert in your own dish. [Parenting Squad]</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Best Money Tips: Make Veterinary Bills More Affordable" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Ashley Jacobs</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Lifestyle best money tips bills pets vet veterinary Tue, 08 Jul 2014 19:00:05 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 1154998 at 5 Ways to Turn Your Walk Into a Real Workout <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-ways-to-turn-your-walk-into-a-real-workout" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="power walking" title="power walking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="143" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Summer is the season for getting fit and strong, for strolling and striding outdoors. Did you know you could be getting more from your morning walk? It's true! And it's as simple as upping the intensity or heading to a new location. Before you lace up for your next loop around town, be sure to check out these tips and tricks. (See also: <a href="">25 Reasons You Should Take a Walk</a>)</p> <h2>1. Add Intervals</h2> <p>Instead of heading out on a steady jaunt around the neighborhood, try mixing up your walk by warming up for 10 minutes, alternating fast walking with recovery spells, and finishing up with a cool down. You can use any ratio that works for you, for example 1 minute of fast walking with 1 minute of recovery, but the longer the quick portions are, the stronger you'll become overall. You'll even <a href="">boost your metabolism</a> this way, meaning you'll burn more calories in less time and keep the burn going after you finish your workout.</p> <h2>2. Climb Hills</h2> <p>This same concept applies when it comes to inclines as well. Walking uphill requires much more energy than staying on even ground. And adding this challenge to your routine has its own set of benefits. For instance, with each increase of 5% incline, you'll burn an extra <a href="">3 to 5 calories</a> per minute. You'll also work different muscle groups, giving your legs a more toned look and increased endurance to boot.</p> <h2>3. Try Jogging</h2> <p>Consider jogging your ultimate interval option when it comes to walking. In fact, there is a growing group of exercisers who engage in a <a href="">walk/run approach</a> to exercise and racing on the daily. Versus standard running, mixing the two is easier on the body yet increases your cardiovascular output. If your goal is to eventually run a 5K race, walk/jogging can get you over the finish line faster (and with less chance of injury) than, say, going cold turkey into running territory.</p> <h2>4. Vary Terrain</h2> <p>If you're sick of standard sidewalks, take your walk to a new location. Not only will you get the change of scenery, but you'll also increase your calorie burn. Trekking on dry sand, loose gravel, dirt trails, and other surfaces has the power burn up to <a href="">30% more calories</a> than on solid ground. Of course, be sure to slather on the sunscreen and bring the bug repellent, as there's no shade on the beach and hiking can invite a brigade of bugs to the party. (See also: <a href="">Homemade Sunblock and 6 Other Non-Toxic Recipes to Get Your Skin Sun-Ready</a>)</p> <h2>5. Stop and Drop</h2> <p>Punctuate your walk with body-weight training exercises for a total body workout. For example, walk for 10 minutes, then drop and do 25 pushups or sit-ups. Resume your walk for another spell and then do 50 jumping jacks. Continue on your way and then stop to complete a set of squats. Anything from tricep dips at the playground to lunges beside a park bench should do the trick. Try to do this type of varied routine once a week to see some toned results. (See also: <a href="">These At-Home Exercises Will Give You a Gym-Quality Workout for Free</a>)</p> <p><em>How do you supercharge your walk? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="5 Ways to Turn Your Walk Into a Real Workout" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Ashley Marcin</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Health and Beauty Lifestyle circuit training fitness jogging walking weight loss Tue, 08 Jul 2014 17:00:04 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1153956 at 7 Tips for Getting the Best Morning Workout <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-tips-for-getting-the-best-morning-workout" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="morning jogging" title="morning jogging" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The sun is rising earlier these days, which means you can exercise earlier than usual, before your normal workday begins. Plus, who wants to go for a walk or jog outdoors when the temperatures regularly hit peaks in the 90s and humidity levels are sky high? Not me. There are also many advantages to switching routines to the AM hours, foremost of which is eliminating the excuse factor for skipping workouts. If you get it out of the way for the day, you'll likely stick with the routine. (Related: <a href="">These At-Home Exercises Will Give You a Gym-Quality Workout for Free</a>)</p> <p>As a long-time runner who prefers moving in the evening hours, I do find the switch quite jarring at first. So, the following are tips for how to get the most of your morning workout, from waking consistently to getting your body moving with less coaxing.</p> <h2>1. Banish the Blackouts</h2> <p>Since I'd rather sleep as long as possible in a darker than dark cave, I've taken a cue from nature to help myself rise and shine. I allow my room to flood with light, and when I start to stir, usually around 6 a.m., I can't fall back to sleep. Always set a standard alarm as a backup for those unexpected cloudy days.</p> <h2>2. Set the Stage</h2> <p>I set out my clothing and shoes the night before so they are ready and waiting without requiring me to use many brain cells. Since I'm not keen on waking early, anything to make the process more automatic is key.</p> <h2>3. Eat Something</h2> <p>I used to lace up and head right out the door at this point. Over time, though, I realized that I had zero energy mid-way through my 6-mile loop. The culprit? No fuel. Eating a small morning snack (think toast with peanut butter or a banana and crackers) before exercising will help keep blood sugar levels going and allow you to dig deeper. And don't forget a glass of water! (Related: <a href="">15 Grab-and-Go Post-Workout Breakfasts</a>)</p> <h2>4. Ease Expectations</h2> <p>If you're new to the early morning routine, go easy on yourself at first. Maybe you can smash a killer interval workout in the afternoon and evening hours, but the morning leaves your legs feeling limp. Start your new program by doing simple moves &mdash; and even spending dedicated time warming up &mdash; to transition into the harder stuff over time. Don't worry, going from zero to 100 is hard for everyone.</p> <h2>5. Call a Buddy</h2> <p>One of the surest ways to get out the door and enjoy a more fruitful workout is to involve someone else in your routine. The company not only makes you more accountable, but it also means friendly chatter that will help make the time go faster &mdash; I promise. If you can't think of anyone else who'd want to subject themselves to exercise so early, consider signing up for an exercise class at your gym. (Related: <a href="">The Cheapest Way to Get Fit and Strong in 30 Days or Less</a>)</p> <h2>6. Try Something New</h2> <p>If you're diehard into one sport specifically, maybe you're finding that the activity doesn't jive with your morning self. You can always try something new, from biking to swimming to walking and beyond, to mix it up and get a better overall workout. Cross-training is also a great way to strengthen muscles you haven't used in years. (Related: <a href="">22 Fun and Free Summer Exercise Ideas</a>)</p> <h2>7. Incentivize</h2> <p>Some of us need an extra push to get into consistent healthy habits, and that's OK. So do those extra 20 pushups, finish that additional mile, or burst past that pace plateau. The good news is that you can <a href="">reward yourself for free</a> for all your hard work.</p> <p><em>How do you get the most out of your morning workouts? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title=" 7 Tips for Getting the Best Morning Workout" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Ashley Marcin</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Health and Beauty Lifestyle exercise morning workout running workouts Mon, 07 Jul 2014 15:00:04 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1153234 at 8 Things You Can Do in Denver That You Can't Do Anywhere Else <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-things-you-can-do-in-denver-that-you-cant-do-anywhere-else" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="red rock ampitheater" title="red rock ampitheater" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I moved to Colorado to attend graduate school, and fully intended to return to my home in the Southeast upon graduation. That was eight years ago.</p> <p>In my opinion Denver's a dark horse among American metropolises. It's clean, easy to get around, chock full of fun things to do, and just a short drive away from the most beautiful mountains in the country. Looking for quick, affordable getaway? Keep reading for activities you can only do in the Mile High City. (See also: <a href="">9 Great Cities for Job Seekers</a>)</p> <h2>1. Smoke Legal Weed</h2> <p>If you haven't heard by now, Colorado is the first state to legalize marijuana for all adults over age 21. There are now approximately 100 legal <a href="">weed stores</a> in the Denver metro area hawking marijuana buds as well as THC-infused edibles of every shape and flavor. Been a while since you inhaled? Let one of the many <a href="">cannabis tour guides</a> do the driving for you.</p> <h2>2. Eat at a Restaurant Started by a Pal of Buffalo Bill</h2> <p>Henry H. &quot;Shorty Scout&quot; Zietz was a member of Buffalo Bill's infamous band of straight-shooting band of scouts. In 1893, Zietz opened the <a href="">Buckhorn Exchange</a>, a bar and restaurant that catered to cowboys, Native American chiefs, miners, railroad builders, silver barons, and anyone else brave enough to live in the Wild West. The Buckhorn Exchange is now in its second century of existence, and still holds the first liquor license ever issued by the State of Colorado.</p> <h2>3. Rock Out at Red Rocks</h2> <p>I've seen concerts in stadiums, iconic music halls, and even on a cruise ship. None hold a candle to the experience of attending a performance at Red Rocks amphitheater. This outdoor venue is both a geological wonder and a musical masterpiece. Known around the world for walls made of massive red boulders and superb acoustics, even a band you hate would sound good here. (See also: <a href="">25 Incredible Places You Must Visit Before You Die</a>)</p> <h2>4. See the Cliff Divers at the Real Casa Bonita</h2> <p>Before I moved to Colorado, I thought most of the places mentioned on South Park were fictional. I was wrong. Not only is <a href="">Casa Bonita</a> a real Denver restaurant, everything Cartman loved about it is real too: the treasure cave, the cliff divers, and yes, even the delicious sopapilla.</p> <h2>5. Stand Exactly One Mile High</h2> <p>The official elevation of the City of Denver is 5,280 feet &mdash; exactly one mile. Of course, the elevation varies in different parts around town. If you want to be a mile high (and you're not interested in the legal weed mentioned earlier) just head to the <a href="">State Capitol building</a>. The 18th step leading into the building is exactly 5,280 feet above sea level.</p> <h2>6. Visit 22 Craft Breweries in the Same Day</h2> <p>If you love to drink good beer from craft breweries, Denver should be the number one destination on your travel list. There <a href="">over 20 top notch breweries</a> in the downtown Denver area, from national brands like Blue Moon, to Colorado-only favorites like Breckenridge Brewery. Many of these breweries also offer tours in addition to tap room tastings. (See also: <a href="">10 Great Reasons to Drink Beer</a>)</p> <h2>7. Take a Train Up the Rockies</h2> <p>No trip to Colorado is complete without at least peeking at the majestic Rocky Mountains. You could spend all day hiking to the top of a nearby peak, or you could cheat by letting a train do the work. There are <a href="">eight scenic railroads</a> in the Denver area, and all of them will show you a side of the mountains people rarely get to see.</p> <h2>8. See a Cattle Drive</h2> <p>Although it's grown up and modern now, Denver is a cow town at heart. Once a year, the city embraces its ranch hand roots by welcoming the <a href="">National Western Stock Show</a>. This 14-day event features a full-sized rodeo, livestock auction, a cow parade, and plenty of 10-gallon hats.</p> <p><em>Know any other special to Denver activities? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="8 Things You Can Do in Denver That You Can&#039;t Do Anywhere Else" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Beth Buczynski</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Entertainment Lifestyle Travel cheap fun cheap outings Denver travel Mon, 07 Jul 2014 11:00:05 +0000 Beth Buczynski 1153954 at 6 Things That Seem Like Splurges But Are Actually Savvy Buys <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-things-that-seem-like-splurges-but-are-actually-savvy-buys" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="massage" title="massage" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>To splurge, or not to splurge, that is the question.</p> <p>There's a certain set that thinks the word &quot;splurge&quot; should be deleted from our vocabulary. Some people take frugality and smart spending to an entirely new level, and if a purchase is too extravagant for their liking, or if they feel that it's unnecessary, they'll walk away with no remorse. To each his own. (See also: <a href="">Want to Cut Costs? Get Yourself a Frugal Filter</a>)</p> <p>Splurging is typically associated with high-cost indulges or pleasures, which at the end of the day might not be necessary to our survival. But given how hard you work and the sacrifices you've undoubtedly made in your life, what's the harm in occasionally spoiling yourself?</p> <p>And while you're spoiling yourself, you might discover that some splurges are actually savvy buys.</p> <h2>1. Massage</h2> <p>Spending $60 or $75 for a one-hour massage might not perfectly fit into your monthly budget, but don't immediately shrug off this relaxing experience.</p> <p>Now, I'm not suggesting you spend rent money on a massage. But if you have some disposable cash, scheduling a massage (even a half-hour one) could be the treat of a lifetime, especially if you're stressed and looking for a way to unwind.</p> <p>There are several <a href="">health benefits of massages</a>, too. A 30- or 60-minute treatment can loosen tense muscles and reduce your anxiety level. Additionally, treatments increase blood flow throughout your body, helping improve your immune system and remove toxins from your body.</p> <h2>2. Entertainment System</h2> <p>&quot;The average cost of movie tickets in the second quarter of 2013 hit the highest price ever, at $8.38 per ticket,&quot; according to the National Association of Theater Owners.</p> <p>However, city dwellers and those who prefer IMAX or 3D know that ticket prices can be much higher &mdash; as much as $15 or $20 depending on the location. This isn't too bad if you're paying for only yourself. But if you, your spouse, and kids are big movie watchers, you might pay upwards of $100 for a single showing, not including drinks and snacks. This is where an entertainment system becomes a savvy buy. (See also: <a href="">You Never Need to Pay to Watch Movies</a>)</p> <p>Some people may feel that a home entertainment center is pointless, especially after factoring in the cost of a sizable high-definition television, surround sound, and comfortable seating. But when you add up the cost to take your clan to the movies once or twice a month (tickets, popcorn, drinks, candy), a home theater saves money.</p> <p>Not only can you entertain your family at home for less, you can comfortably watch sporting events or other live events from home. Therefore, you don't have to go to a sports bar, thus saving you money on food and bar drinks.</p> <h2>3. Quality Mattress</h2> <p>There are mattresses for every budget &mdash; whether you're looking to spend $300 or a $1,000. One thing that I've learned from buying mattresses: &quot;you get what you pay for.&quot; And after sleeping on an uncomfortable mattress for three years, I vowed to never purchase another cheap mattress again.</p> <p>Of course, you have to make a decision that's right for your budget at the time. And if you need a new mattress today, spending a lot might not be an option; but if it is, this is one splurge you won't regret.</p> <p>The truth is, you're going to spend some money if you want or need a quality mattress. And while the purchase might leave a temporary ding in your savings account, <a href="">the health benefits</a> are worth the purchase. A quality, comfortable mattress not only helps you sleep better, it also reduce your stress level and the risk of back or neck pain.</p> <h2>4. Non-Stop Flight</h2> <p>Fuel prices aren't getting any cheaper. Therefore, if you're planning a vacation or going to visit family, you may look for the cheapest flight available. Unfortunately, the cheapest flights don't always depart at the best times, and you might deal with multiple layovers.</p> <p>Like so many others, I've purchased flights with two and three layovers in order to save $50 or $100. And at the time, it seemed like a good deal. However, as I look back, I probably spent more money in the long run.</p> <p>When you sit in airports for six or seven hours, you'll do anything to kill boredom &mdash; browse airport gift shops and potentially buy things you don't need; spend your hard-earned cash on overpriced airport food or coffee; or give in and pay for airport WiFi.</p> <p>So, while a connecting flight might drop your ticket price, the money you spend while waiting around for your next flight could cancel out any savings.</p> <h2>5. Personal Trainer</h2> <p>Yes, you can workout on your own. But if you've been on a quest to lose weight or increase muscle tone for months or years to no avail, splurging and hiring a personal trainer can get the results you want.</p> <p>To some, paying $30 an hour for someone to guide them through workouts may seem like a waste of money. However, a personal trainer isn't just a workout buddy. This professional actually tailors an exercise program specifically for you based on your abilities and fitness goals.</p> <p>The <a href="">benefits of a personal trainer</a> can't be overstated. You'll receive support, learn the right ways to complete certain exercises; and with a personal trainer, you're accountable to someone, which can help you stay focus and reach your goals.</p> <h2>6. Updated Wardrobe</h2> <p>Splurging on a new wardrobe might also seem like an irresponsible move. However, if you feel that your clothes hold you back professionally, updating your closet can be the change you need.</p> <p>It's unfair, but <a href="">your clothes say a lot about you</a> &mdash; in fact, dressing to impress might be &quot;the key to success.&quot; (See also: <a href="">101 Ways to Save Money on Clothes</a>)</p> <p>Subtle modifications to your style, such as buying better fitting clothes, being neat, or perhaps dressing more conservatively can change how others view you. They may see you as a more confident, competent, responsible, or trustworthy person, which can help you snag job interviews, job offers, and even move up the corporate ladder.</p> <p><em>Do you have other &quot;splurges&quot; that are actually savvy buys to add to this list? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="6 Things That Seem Like Splurges But Are Actually Savvy Buys" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Mikey Rox</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Lifestyle Shopping quality shopping Splurge value Fri, 27 Jun 2014 11:00:04 +0000 Mikey Rox 1149977 at