Designing a 'Zen' Space: Important Tips to Know

Designing a ‘Zen’ Space: Important Tips to Know

In today’s society where everyone constantly seems to be in motion, it’s nice to have a relaxing, calm environment to come home to. This is why more and more homeowners are choosing to design their house more zen-like. Having a place where you can relax both your body and mind is important. So if you’re looking to create a calming ‘zen’ space in your home, keep reading for some great tips.

Designing a 'Zen' Space: Important Tips to Know

Utilize Natural Lighting

One of the first things you should focus on when creating a relaxing environment is the lighting. You shouldn’t have harsh fluorescent lighting in your zen space — this lighting can keep you feeling restless and even give you a headache. Instead, opt for natural and soft lighting. If you’re focusing on one room, choose a room that has windows that can let natural lighting in. For other sources of soft light, mix a variety of floor lamps and wall-mounted light fixtures to give yourself the ability to control the lighting in the room. With soft, natural light, you’ll be able to relax easily. Furthermore, you should consider moving any electronics, including your phone, out of your new space. Blue light emitted by electronics can not only be harmful to your eyes, but it can cause difficulty focusing and sleeping as well.

Get Rid of Clutter

With the average U.S. home having 300,000 things in it, you probably have a good amount of belongings in your house. And while it’s certainly fine to have some items in your home, you don’t want to try relaxing in an area that is cluttered. This is because extra objects in the room will cause distractions and could even prevent you from forming a relaxing space in the first place. So when you’re designing your zen area, make sure you get rid of unnecessary clutter to allow yourself to clear your mind. You should stick with some comfy furniture and maybe a few decor elements to make the space truly your own, but otherwise, unnecessary items should be moved out of the room.

Choose Warm, Earthy Tones

There are a lot of different ways to design rooms. While a recent survey found that 60% of respondents agreed they would have a sofa be the center of focus in their living room, it’s important to create a space you feel comfortable in. An easy way to do this is to use neutral and earthy tones throughout your space. Whether it’s the color of the walls, furniture, or accent elements, being in a space that offers warm and neutral tones — these colors will promote relaxation and allow you to not be distracted by bright colors around you.

While it’s true that a bathroom remodel can offer a return on investment of 70%, you should focus on making your home a space that allows you to de-stress and feel at peace. So keep these tips in mind when designing your ‘zen’ space for a result that truly allows you to feel your best.

‘Check, Please!’ Restaurants Including Fee In Bills To Cover Employee Healthcare

Healthcare has been a part of the national conversation in the United States for some time. Different solutions have been a part of trying to figure things out, but one thing remains certain: not everyone has access to the healthcare they need.

It’s common for people to think of their own healthcare without much considering what others are going through. Many Americans receive health insurance through their employers, but this isn’t the case for all American workers. This is especially true of the service industry. Your servers, bussers, bartenders, barbacks, cooks, etc. don’t often receive healthcare benefits through their jobs. Obviously, this doesn’t make them need it any less, yet they remain in a difficult situation when it comes to accessing affordable healthcare. This can be particularly taxing when workers in these industries work peculiar hours or multiple different service jobs.

Group of Happy friends having breakfast in the restaurant

A little perspective: people can bill a 45 to 60 minute acupuncture session to their insurance company in the name of wellness, but large groups of service industry workers lack any insurance to cover even the cost of an annual checkup. Some restaurants are attempting to rectify this issue by passing a percentage of the cost onto the customers. As you can imagine, restaurants that have decided to do this receive all manner of mixed feelings, opinions, and comments. Let’s explore.

To explain how it works in the most basic sense, let’s say you’re out to eat with friends. The four of you have dinner, a couple of bottles of wine, and dessert. When it comes time to pay the bill and leave, your receipt breaks down the cost and you’ll see the typical things, but among them is one you haven’t seen before: healthcare tax, for instance. It’s not much, maybe even a few dollars compared to the rest of your bill. This extra tax is being added to your bill to help the restaurant pay for health insurance for their service staff. Some like the idea, others don’t.

With the average age of retirement at age 63, health insurance becomes an increasingly important consideration for everyone. By 2030, more than 20% of the population will be above age 65, and as age and time increase, so does the need for proper and affordable healthcare options. As such, closer attention is being paid to the healthcare access of the historically underserved restaurant industry. We mentioned the people who were adverse toward spending an extra percentage on an added health insurance tax at a restaurant, but there are many who support and champion the idea.

This isn’t a new thing, with restaurants across the country adding these provisions to their guest checks. Some help cover health insurance costs, others supply service industry workers with higher wages, paid time off, and the like. While some restaurants make this fee optional and give guests the freedom to remove such fees from their bill, others announce them as non-optional. A simple, small cost for the service provided and an investment into the community that serves. The move has been largely accepted by diners who, for the most part, aren’t going to cease frequenting a favorite restaurant for reason of paying a small percentage toward the waitstaff. Still, others aren’t so keen, saying that such fees rob guests while negatively impacting the tips that make a bulk of service worker wages.

Millions of Americans donate to charities every year, which are contributions that receive tax kickbacks. Nobody bats an eye at such things, but the same isn’t true for adding a small percentage to a restaurant guest check to help pay for an establishment’s waitstaff health insurance. There seems to be a disconnect there, thus the issue remains split. One thing, however, remains the same: people aren’t going to stop going out to eat and the service industry isn’t going anywhere. Where this brings us down the road remains to be seen.

As always, tip your servers and bartenders.

Farm To Fashion Week: Manure And Nettles Used To Make Eco-Friendly Clothing

Would you wear clothing made from nettles? What about a hat derived from cow manure?

These are questions you never thought you’d ask yourself, but companies and researchers are working hard to provide innovative, sustainable, and eco-friendly clothing alternatives across the globe.

One of the most recent victories was achieved by Dutch artist Jalila Essaïdi who was able to make clothing from the manure of farm animals. Yes, I know how it sounds.

Herd of cows grazing on a farmland in Devon, England

When she hoped to use the proteins in goat’s milk for an art project, she was introduced to the hazards posed by excessive amounts of animal manure. Though the Netherlands is able to use some of this manure as fertilizer, there’s simply too much dung to handle. As such, this waste invades local waterways and poses a sanitary threat to local ecosystems.

This issue is also prevalent in the United States. It’s estimated that 80% of hazardous waste sites, including those from local farms, have negatively impacted groundwater quality.

Luckily, Essaïdi was able to find a unique characteristic in cow manure: cellulose.

Researchers found that cow manure is made of 33% cellulose due to the vegetarian diet the animals keep. Cellulose is a common component in plant materials that textile manufacturers utilize to make a variety of clothing products.

Even though it seems odd, Essaïdi was able to use these regenerated cellulose fibers to create clothing. This product, fabricated through the use of biotechnologies, has been dubbed Mestic.

Viscose made from mestic®

Not only has Essaïdi provided a new sustainable product in fashion, but she has also developed a product designed to significantly cut down on the animal waste present in the Netherlands.

Biotechnology has been around since 1919, but it was only 50 years later that researchers were able to perform a successful recombinant DNA experiment. It’s through that same biotechnology that researchers hope to craft more sustainable methods of living in the future.

One Kenyan company has also created an eco-friendly clothing line using nettles. Green Nettle Textile won the year’s most prestigious award recognizing sustainable fashion, the Global Challenge Award. This annual challenge is hosted by the H&M Foundation to inspire innovative, sustainable designs in clothing and textiles around the world.

By developing a clothing line from nettles which grow veritably anywhere, Green Nettle Textile was able to produce a form of sustainable fashion while also supporting local farmers. The group was awarded $170,000, beating out more than 6,600 entries in the competition.

These innovations are another way that the market is changing to favor eco-friendly initiatives. Even celebrities like Kate Hudson have begun to enter the sustainable fashion world.

It’s not surprising that Hudson has entered this emerging market. The co-founder of Fabletics has already shaken the fashion industry with her size-inclusive athletic wear. But her new eco-friendly clothing line Happy x Nature, which is made from recycled plastic bottles, has been released just in time for festival season.

Her collection will be available online with clothing priced between $45 and $150, making it accessible for many.

Your Guide to the Best Digital Marketing Trends

The landscape of digital marketing continues to evolve along with the changes happening in the search engines. Old techniques are getting outdated and leaders in the field are constantly suggesting new techniques. The important thing is that marketers need to keep up with these changes if they want to continue to maintain a top position in the search result.

Video Marketing
Video has become the main means for people to get the message across to people on the internet. Many purchase decisions happen over the video so you shouldn’t miss out video marketing in your campaign. YouTube is the leading video marketing platform so it should be the first place where you go to set up your channel. There are also other social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram that allow users to use video in their posts. To optimize for SEO, you should add text overlay and captions that include keywords on your video. Get more details at www.movavi.com/videoconverter.

Live Streaming
Live streaming is frequently implemented with influencer marketing. People like to watch live streaming because it looks as if they are really seeing the presenter talking on the stage in real time. It gives a more genuine experience which turn into higher trust for your products. Hiring an influencer with a spontaneous personality to promote your product through live streaming is sure to generate a large stream of audience.

Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing refers to using influencers in the field to spread the word of your product. When your company is new, it is hard to get sales because people not yet know about your product. Instead, just take a shortcut and pay an influencer in the field to review and recommend your product. The influencer marketer can be a top YouTube vlogger, popular blogger, or famous journalist.

Content Marketing
Content marketing remains one of the most important part of digital marketing. People surf online to search for valuable information so you need to make your content useful if you want to get conversions. If you run a blog, make sure you regularly update it with new content. Businesses that have social media accounts should regularly make quality posts that give what the customer is looking for. No matter what content you post, it is important that it is relevant to the audience age and industry.

Voice Search
Many people now like to perform voice search with applications like Siri and Google Assistance. The voice search application will read the featured snippets on the search engine result, which makes all the more important for webmasters to optimize for featured snippets. Marketers need to consider that voice search is conversational request and optimize it accordingly.

Chatbots and WhatsApp
The use of chat bot is on the rise in e-commerce site. When a visitor lands on a website, a chat bot will automatically ask the user if it needs assistance. If the visitor choose yes, it will automatically be connected to a representative. Many businesses also like to use WhatsApp Business Messaging to communicate with the customers. In fact, many businesses like to use WhatsApp for their daily chores.

 

 

The Best Interior Design And Decorating Trends To Revamp Your Space

Whether your design and decorating choices are big or small, they can immediately communicate your style to anyone who enters your home. They can also bring you a sense of joy whenever you look around you and see the beautiful pieces you picked out. Revamping your space can even have health benefits. One-third of homeowners say that they change to a healthier lifestyle after remodeling their kitchen, according to Houzz.

Now is the perfect time to give your space a makeover and start feeling those benefits. It doesn’t matter if you rent an apartment or own a house, you have options for how you want to express yourself in your home. Let’s take a look at some of the top design and decorating trends of this upcoming year to get inspiration and ideas for your home.

A new kind of subway tile

For a number of years now, white subway tile has ruled the kitchen backsplash market. This style gets its name from the subway tiles that were first used during the early 1900s in New York City subway stations. These tiles became the standard subway decoration because of their easy-to-clean and durable surface that reflected light well. They also became common for kitchens because of similar reasons, but now designers are putting a spin on them.

This year’s trendy backsplashes are still utilizing the fresh white color of subway tiles, but the individual tiles are larger than the standard three by six inches of past tiles. The larger tiles also minimize the amount of grout that shows. Designers are arranging them in herringbone, chevron, or stacked patterns, rather than in the offset brick pattern of years past. Some people are even ditching the rectangular tiles completely and opting for circles and curved lines instead.

Going green

For once we’re not talking about eco-friendly living (although incorporating environmental options remains a popular trend), but rich and vibrant green hues that bring nature inside. Interior designers have seen earthy green tones on the rise in homes as people want to create a paradise that allows them to escape technology and the stress of the outside world.

The best part of these decorating trends is that you don’t have to make permanent changes your landlord wouldn’t appreciate in order to incorporate green into your home. Pick out green throw pillows and blankets to accent your living room, or go bold with an armchair or sectional entirely upholstered in green. If you can make lasting changes to your home, consider incorporating sea glass into a kitchen or bathroom countertop. Subtle shades of green, blue, and aqua are typically found in every 50 to 100 pieces of sea glass and can make a plain space feel like a relaxing oasis.

Multifunctional furnishings

As more people move into smaller apartments and homes made for city-living, decor is also becoming more compact and multifunctional. Anyone who has lived in a more modest space knows the challenge of making a living room double as a guest room or finding storage space when it seems impossible.

Luckily, the furniture to solve these problems can be both stylish and functional. Designers have created storage options that fit neatly into existing furniture pieces, like under-bed drawers. Couches that transform into beds no longer look like the clunky messes that your parents had, but like a completely normal sofa that fits seamlessly into a living room. If you’re working with a small space, be sure to look for pieces like these that can do double duty while adding to the aesthetic of your space.

Now that you’ve got some inspiration from what’s trending right now, it’s time to go forth and give your home a facelift with these decorating trends. It’s probably in need of one, as about 85% of all homes in the country were built before 1980. While you’re remodeling, remember to have fun and pick out designs that speak to you. When all’s said and done, you should have a space that wipes away the stresses of the day and brings you absolute joy.

Another College Athletics Scandal: This Time, It’s Not About the Athletes

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) loves this time of year. College basketball tournaments are going on all over the country, football programs are gearing up for the upcoming season; and the money is pouring in. It’s estimated that the entire North American sports industry will be worth upwards of $74 million by 2020. The NCAA brings in more than $1 billion a year in revenue.

Because this organization is so profitable, there has been a push to better compensate student-athletes. Seemingly every year there are scandals involving athletes being illegally paid — especially when it comes to recruitment. The story that’s currently circulating the news, however, is a little bit different. Money is still exchanging hands and athletics are still involved, but it’s not the top athletes that are typically at the center of these college scandals. In fact, the students that are involved in this recent admissions controversy are barely athletes at all.

Graduates of the University

According to ESPN, federal prosecutors have indicted nine college coaches and dozens of other school administrators and officials for their involvement in an alleged bribery scheme that helped famous and wealthy parents — including Aunt Becky from Full House (Lori Loughlin) — secure their children admission into some of the country’s most prestigious universities.

“I don’t know how much of school I’m going to attend,” said Olivia Jade Giannulli, Loughlin’s 19-year-old daughter and USC student. “But I do want the experience of, like, game days, partying… I don’t really care about school.”

Jade, an online influencer, went on about her excitement for college parties on her YouTube channel last summer. Now, since her mother is at the center of this bribery scandal that involves creating fake athletic profiles, she’s taking some serious criticism. Unlike someone like Patti McGee, the first woman to become a professional skateboarder back in 1964, Loughlin’s daughter has no history in athletics.

College parties are one thing and twentysomethings love letting loose and playing all sorts of fun games during these outings. But at upscale cocktail parties, where two to three glasses a person are typically consumed, there are often shady, backdoor deals being done in order to get children into the nation’s top schools.

According to U.S. Attorney Andrew E. Lelling, what’s next for the students involved in this scandal is still to be determined.

“As to charges against them, we’re still considering that. It’s not an accident that there are no students charged in these charging documents,” Lelling said. “The parents, the other defendants, are clearly the prime movers of this fraud. It remains to be seen whether we charge any of the students.”

Jade and similar people looking for more of a party-like college experience should check out some of the following schools, though it’s still imperative to get in fairly. For what it’s worth, though these are still quality educational facilities, here are some of the top party schools in the United States:

  1. Tulane University
  2. University of Georgia
  3. West Virginia University
  4. University of Wisconsin
  5. Howard University
  6. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  7. Indiana University — Bloomington
  8. The University of Alabama
  9. Florida State University
  10. University of Texas — Austin
  11. University of Iowa
  12. Southern Methodist University
  13. University of California — Santa Barbara
  14. Miami University
  15. Penn State
  16. Ohio University
  17. University of Mississippi
  18. University of Southern California
  19. Syracuse University
  20. University of Kansas

The following schools are involved in the new bribery case: USC, Texas, Georgetown, UCLA, Stanford, Wake Forest, San Diego, and Yale.

3 Tropical Destinations To Beat A Long and Harsh Winter

After a long winter, it can be great to get away for a bit to a tropical, warmer destination. You might think you need to look outside the United States for a vacation spot warm enough, but believe it or not, you have plenty of options to choose from within the country. In fact, U.S. domestic travel increased by almost 2% in 2017.

There are over 19,000 airports, heliports, seaplane bases, and other landing facilities in the United States and its territories; with all of these options, one of them is sure to have your next vacation destination. Even without a passport and without leaving the United States, you’ll be able to plan a fun tropical vacation the entire family will enjoy. Check out these 3 tropical destinations for a fun vacation to beat the winter blues.

Hawaii

Always a classic for an island getaway, Hawaii has a few different islands perfect for vacationing depending on what you’re looking for. For a more nature-oriented vacation in Hawaii’s tropical forests, try visiting Kauai; a variety of movies are filmed on this island due to its picturesque landscape. If you’re looking for more of a traditional vacation experience, the Big Island could be right for you; with plenty of hotels and luxury vacation activities to choose from.

Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico has tons to offer while still being close to home. Check out the wide variety of wildlife on this island while not being too far away from the mainland. If you’re looking for a slightly more secluded getaway, try one of the smaller islands off the coast of Puerto Rico; many of these islands haven’t had as many tourists, making them a bit quieter and off the beaten path. Don’t forget to check out all the ocean activities the islands have to offer; 19.6% of Millennials participate in water sports, and you’ll find plenty to get involved with there.

Catalina Islands

While you may have heard of the last two tropical destinations, these lesser-known islands are sure to help you beat back the winter blues. These islands are less than 50 miles off the coast of California but are the perfect tropical getaway. Look for all your summertime and tropical favorites, including zip lining, hiking, beaches, and more.

Even without a passport, you can make the most of these tropical destinations to help get over a long winter. Which of these travel spots can you see you and your family vacationing to?

 

Nail Salon

Ohio Spa Owner Under Fire For Naming Nail Salon ‘Inappropriately’

Jobs. A necessary evil. That is, of course, unless your job doesn’t feel like day-to-day toil. A poll taken in 2016 referred to Millennials as the job hopping generation, with six in 10 open to a new job at any given time. This is a greater number than any previous generation.

While that fact has drawn criticism from older generations, younger people are much more likely not to suffer through doing a job they hate. A concept that doesn’t compute to certain mindsets. A way to avoid disliking your job is to start your own business. Sure, it’s tough at first, but you’re ultimately in charge of what happens, for good or for ill. Plus, you get to name your own business.

Ohio resident Dawn Moon is a new business owner. The licensed cosmetologist recently opened her nail salon and spa that has since caused quite the scene. The value of on-site signage is equal to 24 full-page newspaper ads each year. For Moon, this wasn’t enough, so she took her marketing acumen and opened Pandora’s Box by officially naming her nail salon Hand Jobs Nails & Spa.

So many reactions. Outrage. Offense. Laughs. Viral marketing. Her spa, in just a few days, is on the map internationally.

“You don’t want something that they can’t remember or that they can’t pronounce or say. In less than a week, I think the whole country knows about us. You can’t pay for that kind of advertising,” she explained.

Phenomenally clever. She goes on to defend the name because it’s literally the establishment’s job to work on hands. Still, some residents of the town are outraged over the name and have appealed to the zoning board to force Moon to change the name of her spa. She’s prepared to fight it tooth-and-nail.

“If you go in and get your nose done, it’s called a nose job right? Well you come in and get your hands done it’s a hand job!” she argues.

She’s certainly not wrong and whichever way the verdict turns out, she already got enough free marketing out of it for the whole ordeal to be worth it. The spa has reportedly received more compliments and jokes about it than ire, but it only takes one “I want to talk to a manager!” type to get the authorities involved.

The decision of whether Hand Jobs Nails & Spa remains named thusly is forthcoming and if they’re told to change the name, appeals will be filed and it’ll be taken to court, reports say.

Some 99% of marketers swear by the unique value of trade show exhibits that aren’t found in traditional marketing mediums. We might suggest they take a lesson from Dawn Moon and harness the unique advantage of knowing the viral content market and thoroughly exploiting the attention span of the internet and the collective reach of a little PG-13 humor.

Now, who’s ready for a manicure?