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Lindsey Patterson

Does War Accelerate Technology Growth in the Middle East?

4 min read

It is often said that armed conflict and technology growth often go hand in hand. The internet and those convenient microwave ovens we use to warm our meals on a daily basis were initially developed for military use before they became part of everyday civilian life, and these are only two of many examples in this regard.

 

Military spending and procurement can considerably speed up technological advancement even without war being actually waged; the mere existence of a threat to national defense can make government's rush to come up with technological solutions to contain, minimize or otherwise neutralize threats.

 

If we stand by the assumption that war boosts technology growth, should we infer that the Middle East has greatly advanced because of its constant and unfortunate state of armed conflict? The answer is not binary in this case; the nature of wars and the way battles are fought have a lot to do in terms of moving technology forward. We should not expect that the next Silicon Valley will be located in Syria only because of the protracted war that has affected that country over the last few years, and the same could be said about Yemen.

 

Why the Middle East Situation is Different

 

Despite decades of bellicosity dating back to the Iran-Iraq conflict, the Gulf War, the War on Terror, Syria, Yemen, and all the fights between Israel and the Occupied Territories, we have not seen massive technology growth coming from the Middle East for various reasons; however, we have seen significant technology adoption in the battlefields, and it has carried over to the civilian population, at least to a certain extent.

 

Let's look at the conflict in Ukraine, a country where government forces have been fighting separatists backed by the Kremlin over the last few years. The battlefront is near the Russian border, far away from the capital city. It so happens that the IT entrepreneurial scene in Kiev has grown exponentially since the conflict started; however, this is a metropolitan area far removed from the fighting.

 

In the case of Syria, war has engulfed more than half of the country, and it has been multifaceted. There are terrorist organizations such as ISIS taking over towns as they fight against rebels and security forces alike. When war affects large regions due to sectarian violence, the result is a terrible mess that creates chaos and impedes tech growth.

 

Technology Adoption Arising from Middle East Conflict

 

As seen during the Arab Spring, social media and encrypted messaging platforms on mobile devices proved crucial to the toppling of dictatorships that had turned nations Middle Eastern and North African nations into failed states.

 

Tech start-ups such as Silent Circle, a leader in the private and secure mobile communications field, were vital in terms of assisting protesters during the Arab Spring. This company has blossomed, and people in the Middle East learned about the advantage of using encrypted messaging to fight oppressive regimes.

 

Drones and Satellite Technology Adoption

 

In recent years, female Kurdish fighters in Northern Iraq have used drones to gather intelligence and obtain imagery of ISIS units and their positions. These brave fighters also use drones to deliver medical supplies to villages cut off by ISIS.

 

Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) modules have also been adopted by Kurdish fighters for the purpose of keeping ISIS away. Being properly informed is just as important as being properly armed in the battlefield, which explains why Kurd military units often rely on satellite internet connections in the field. These antenna links allow units to communicate with each other; they also allow soldiers to stay in touch with their families.

 

In the end, the nature of many Middle East conflicts is so chaotic that it does not allow for full-scale technology development; however, it can be safely assumed that soldiers will take their tech knowledge back to their communities once the fighting subsides.

Lindsey Patterson

Top notch reasons when big data and blockchain meet the payoff will be huge

4 min read

For the past years, big data has been dominating, especially in the medical sector. However, the introduction of the block chain has resulted in turning of questions and insights into assets. The combination of block chain and the big data has brought significant changes in information technology and approached to the data quality and security.

 

Block chain is the technology that is likely to change the next business decade. It is the technology that is behind the digital currencies like the Bitcoin. Its introduction is the first native to the digital medium. Equally, big data plays a significant role in information security, and its usefulness has been out standing over the years. The combination of the two ideologies is a great privilege not only to the business sector but also the area of health and other organizations.

 

Costs and Contracts

 

The combination of the block chain and big data results to the radical dropping of the transaction costs. For instance, the searchable databases of all transactions lower the cost of the search. Additionally, the combination will plummet the contracting costs, hence making payments and enforcing contracts. The coordinating value will also be in increase hence the rising of the distributed enterprises.

 

Breakthrough applications

 

Unification of the block chain and big data is one step to taking the business models to a new level. Breakthroughs of the business models that include credit card companies, natural payment systems that run without banks and other intermediaries that cut on transaction costs are under movement to better levels due to blocking chain availability. The dynamics between the customers and the companies are signed hence changing the intermediary rate services.

 

Problem-solving of the IP in the digital age

 

Meeting of the big data and the block chain is a great solution to the intellectual property. With the two ideologies, the value of the IP becomes attainable. There is the digital registration of the art work with ownership and conditions in inclusion. It prevents digital piracy of the intellectual property like the music and artwork by allowing the owners to take part in uploading of the content.

 

Creation of a better sharing economy

 

Most companies combine to sell their used products in one platform. The block chain and the big data provide the services for the suppliers of the used materials to collaborate and share the values in them. It allows for the formation of the cooperatives, free associations by the people who come together to meet their needs.

 

Opening up manufacturing sector

 

With the blockchain and big data combination, the manufacturing sector is under movement to a greater height, in install spark. The data under manufacturer is in storage in the blockchain files. Also, other metadata are in storage in the big data servers. The storage of data by the big data and block chain opens up the limits of the manufacturing sector to the new markets.

 

Changing of the enterprise collaboration

 

Collaboration is one key factor that is changing the nature of the knowledge in the management organizations. However, there are challenges in the unification of corporations. Nevertheless, with the availability of the block chain and block data, the enterprise employees and managers can safely store their data without having to air them in other social work companies for storage.

 

Improved data acquisition

 

With the blockchain and big data combination, multiple data points are under the provision. The technology allows for the access of data by all the potential marketers in blocks of the chain. Hence, the marketing sector will have full history on the preferences of the customers and the purchase patterns.

 

The meeting of big data and block chain is a great opportunity for the growth in businesses and other sectors of life. It is upon the entrepreneurs to embrace technology to gain the benefits of the big data and block chain combination. For more information, visit the data acquisition sites.

Lindsey Patterson

6 Reasons Superior Customer Service is Important

4 min read

Any business owner who is serious about succeeding in the today’s highly competitive business environment needs to understand why great customer service is important. It’s no longer about providing answers. Customer service in the present business environment goes far beyond that. It has become a vital part of the promise your business makes to its customers. Here are six reasons why great customer service is critical to the success of your business.

 

Helps to Retain More Customers

These days, people will only stick with a company if they trust it and have truly good reasons for doing that. Otherwise, there is a lot of competition available that they could choose from and move on with their businesses uninterrupted.

 

Remember customer retention is significantly cheaper than customer acquisition. Your current customers are also more likely to buy from your business than new customers. These logics on their own highlight the strong reasons for providing superior customer services. It takes a business five times more amount of resources to attract new customers than retain existing customers. Also,the probability that you will sell to a new customer ranges from 5-to-20 percent. Your chances of selling to your current customer hovers in the range of 60-to-70 percent. This is the reason successful businesses don’t want to risk losing any customer. They use excellent customer service to ensure their customers stay happy and continue doing business with them for a long period.

 

Improves Employee Turnover

No employee will be happy to work for a business that treats its own customers unprofessionally. When they see how a business values its customers, they feel proud to be part of the team. However, if the business trains its employees to undercut and discount its own customers, the business needs to prepare to deal with poor employee turnout.

 

Critical to Competing Effectively

Just a few years ago, people chose companies that they did business with based on brand and price. In the current digital age, however, the overall experience is the key driver. 89 percent of companies currently consider that they can compete best on the basis of customer experience. Customer service is a vital driver of customer experience. A business can only benefit from customer service if it expands the role of support team beyond just answering customer questions by using IT staffing solutions that empower them to upsell or cross-sell relevant services and create winning customer experiences that can help them to deliver the best customer experience.

 

Impress Customers to Pay More

Focusing on excellent customer service is not just the latest trend that your business should keep up with. It’s also a smart way of doing business. Customers are willing to dig deeper into their pockets to pay you more for a great experience. Surveys have indicated that 86 percent of consumers are prepared to pay more for a better experience. This way, customer service can benefit your bottom line.

 

Opens Doors to Better Opportunities

Treating your customer with respect and honor is infectious. It can open great doors for better partnerships, collaborations, and other opportunities, especially when other businesses notice how well you take care of your current customers. Great customer service says many positive things about a company, their vision, and what they intend to achieve when they care deeply about their customers.

 

Creates Room for Continuous Improvement

Customer service creates a channel through which a company can get customer feedback. Through the feedback, the company can learn about what its customers like and the areas the need improvements. When armed with the information, the business is better placed to make necessary changes so as to remain competitive in the marketplace.

 

Provide the superior customer service increases the trust of your customers in your brand. That could mean the difference between retaining your existing customers and, therefore, making more money and losing them within a short time.

Lindsey Patterson

What it Takes to Save Money in College

4 min read

College doesn't make it easy for anyone. The rising tuition fees and textbook costs are making everyone broke, and the only solution is to save. Developing the habit of saving in college will not only prevent you from being broke but will serve as a starting point for a great future. People who save live a happier life, can effectively deal with emergencies and are never caught unawares.

 

Think Before You Buy Any New Thing

 

Textbooks are unbelievably expensive these days, with costs rising more than 1,041% in the last four decades. Instead of buying new textbooks you can borrow them from your fellow students or buy used on Amazon. Sites like Chegg and Barnes & Nobles also offer textbook rental services that are cost efficient and reliable. You should also do the same thing for your electronics. Buy fairly used electronics on eBay or any other stores instead of investing in a new one.

 

Discounts… Discounts Everywhere

 

Take advantage of discounts. Make a list of all the websites and stores that offer discounts on anything, from apparel to textbooks and electronics, especially the ones targeted at students. Search for student discount sites and take advantage of everything they offer that will save you money. Use comparison sites to compare the cost of all kinds of items before deciding to purchase.

 

Not the Time to Live Large

 

Unless your dad is Jeff Bezos, you shouldn't want to drive a Ferrari on campus. Listen, forget about buying a car, you have a whole life ahead of you. Paying for parking space, gas, and insurance could hurt your pocket and set you on the path of perpetual debt. If you must use a car, however, make sure you get something not too expensive to maintain. You should also look for cheap auto insurance quotes to save yourself some fortune. Live in a modest apartment in the dorm, where you can share the cost with a roommate, instead of staying off campus.

 

Make a Budget

 

Probably the very first thing you should do before you land on campus. Have a budget and plan for everything from you daily expenses to beer money. Don't look at your account balance and feel like you still have money and go on partying and frolicking. Be realistic about your budgeting and differentiate between "wants" and "needs." Your yearly student budget should also include miscellaneous category, savings as an "expense," aligning your budget with your goals and values, and keep all your bills and receipts organized. Form the habit of paying cash for small expenses to give you that consciousness that you are spending money. No matter how disciplined you are, you will transgress on your budget plans, so forgive yourself already.

 

Use Campus Amenities

 

The ultimate rule for saving money as college students is to live on campus. You know your regular fees come with many benefits you have already paid for right? Save money by enjoying amenities like dining halls, internet access, employment opportunity, bus service, printing, gym, laundry, micro-fridge, computer labs, safety and security, and leadership opportunity.

 

Repair Things

 

Your clothes are going to tear, your shoes will bend, and your cell phone screen will break. Form the habit of repairing things instead of tossing or giving them away to buy new ones. Every dollar you save counts when you are in college.

 

Saving money is not easy for college students. There is fun everywhere, and you want to be part of it, but remember who you are and where you are coming from. Have a budget, use campus amenities, and take advantage of discounts.

Lindsey Patterson

How to Make Easy Healthy Pancakes

4 min read

We don’t normally associate pancakes with being a health food. In fact, pancakes are generally a weekend treat filled with carbohydrates and smothered in butter and sugary syrup. The smell of them cooking on a hot griddle is intoxicating.

 

Pancakes do not have to be lacking in nutrients. With the new wave of popular healthy diets, our senses are being awakened to foods that smell different, have more texture, and offer us things like dietary fiber, protein, and good fats.

 

With this in mind, healthy pancakes do exist in awesome packages or you can make some from scratch that may get your attention. Use organic and pastured products whenever possible.

 

Whole Grain Pancakes

 

This recipe calls for whole grain flour. Whole grains supply us with minerals, B vitamins, dietary fiber, and protein. They blow white flour away in nutritional value. Use the buckwheat flour for a gluten free recipe version of easy healthy pancakes.

 

Ingredients

 

2 Cups buckwheat or whole wheat flour

2 TBS vanilla protein powder (optional)

2 tsp aluminum free baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp sea salt

 

2 whole free-range eggs

1/2 Cup unsweetened applesauce

1 1/4 Cups unsweetened almond milk (use vanilla flavored if omitting the protein powder)

2 TBS pure maple syrup

2 TBS unsalted cultured or free-range butter, melted

 

Coconut oil or grass-fed butter for cooking

 

Directions

 

1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and sea salt.

 

2. In another bowl, combine the eggs, applesauce, almond milk, and maple syrup. Whisk the wet ingredients until smooth and frothy. Then, slowly whisk in the melted butter so as not to scramble the eggs.

 

3. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and whisk until just mixed but still a little lumpy. Set this aside to rest for at least 5 minutes.

 

4. Heat a griddle or iron skillet over medium heat. When the pan is hot, coat it with some coconut oil or butter.

 

5. Ladle 1/4 cupfuls of batter onto the heated surface. Cook until air bubbles begin to form, about 2 to 3 minutes. Flip the pancakes and cook another 2 minutes or until golden brown.

 

6. Serve warm with fresh fruit slices and pure maple syrup.

 

Flourless Pancakes

 

Now we are venturing into outside-the-box pancake territory. These healthy pancakes have no grains. They are perfect for those who are on a low-carb, Paleolithic, or GAPS diet. The recipe calls for bananas, but you can substitute avocados or cooked winter squash if you are adventurous. Just add a little pure maple syrup or stevia to the mash if using avocados.

 

Ingredients

 

4 Very ripe bananas, approximately 14 ounces

4 Whole free-range eggs

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Pinch of sea salt

 

Coconut oil or grass-fed butter for cooking

 

Pure maple syrup for serving

 

Directions

 

1. In a large bowl, mash the bananas with a fork or potato masher. They can be lumpy.

 

2. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, baking powder, cinnamon, and sea salt.

 

3. Pour egg mixture into mashed bananas and stir to combine.

 

4. Heat a griddle or skillet on medium-low until hot. Add fat and fry pancakes in small batches for approximately 90 seconds per side.

 

5. Serve warm with pure maple syrup.

 

Pancakes invoke really great childhood memories for most of us. Unfortunately, this breakfast staple of our youth was not a terribly healthy option. The recipes here for easy healthy pancakes may seem a bit unusual for some home cooks. If you love pancakes but are trying to make more nutritious food choices, give these healthy pancakes a try.

Lindsey Patterson

7 Important Facts About Shingles

5 min read

Shingles is a very painful rash. It can affect just about any area of the body or the face. According to WebMD, shingles are most common in older adults and people with weakened immune systems. Since there is a chance that you could develop shingles at some point in your life, you should know more about it. Below are 7 important facts that you may not know about shingles.

 

#1 One in Three People Will Develop Shingles In Their Lifetime

According to the Centers For Disease Control (CDC), each year, there are over one million cases of shingles reported. If you had the chickenpox as a child, you already have the shingles virus in your body. The older you get, the higher your chances are of developing shingles. Unfortunately, doctors still don't know what triggers a shingles outbreak.

 

#2 There Is No Cure For Shingles

If you had chickenpox as a child, the virus that causes shingles will always remain in your body. It will remain dormant in your nerve tissue. For some people, it remains dormant for the rest of their lives. For others, it becomes active in the form of shingles. It is even possible to get shingles more than once in your life. If you do have a shingles outbreak, there is a shingles ointment that can help with the pain associated with the rash. You can also take antiviral medications to clear up the rash faster. However, there is no way to get the virus out of your body.

 

#3 Shingles Can Be More Painful Than Childbirth

Many mothers who have had shingles have compared the pain to that of childbirth. It can cause an intense burning and itching sensation in the area of the rash. The reason that shingles are so painful is that the virus affects the nerves inside of your body. Different people report different sensations of pain. Some say that it feels like something painful is crawling under their skin. Others compare shingles to being stuck in an electric fence causing shocks throughout their body. If you do develop shingles, prescription pain medication likely won't help to reduce the pain. According to the FDA, a skin patch was approved for the treatment of the pain from shingles. The main ingredient in the patch is capsaicin, which is also the main ingredient in hot peppers. For many people who have developed shingles, this is the only treatment that brought them relief.

 

#4 The Pain From Shingles Can Linger, Long After the Rash Has Gone

If you have shingles, the pain won't always go away when the rash does. There is a condition associated with shingles called postherpetic neuralgia (PHN). This is a residual pain that can linger for weeks and even months after the rash disappears. The reason this occurs is some people experience damage and inflammation in their nerve tissues, which causes the pain to outlast the rash. As you get older, your chances of developing PHN increase. People who suffer from this residual pain say that it is severe and debilitating

 

#5 There Is a Vaccine For Shingles

In 2006, the FDA approved a vaccine for shingles, called Zostavax. If you were to get the vaccine, it can drastically reduce your chances of developing shingles. It can also prevent you from developing PHN. According to the CDC, only 25 percent of the senior population gets the shingles vaccine each year. Considering the pain associated with shingles, these are very surprising statistics. Many of the people who have developed shingles have stated that they wished that they gotten the vaccine when they had the chance.

 

#6 Shingles Isn't That Contagious

Saying that shingles aren't at all contagious is not 100% accurate. Shingles and chickenpox are caused by the same virus, the varicella-zoster virus. If you have shingles, you cannot pass the rash on to anyone else; however, if you come into contact with someone who has never been vaccinated against the chickenpox or has never had it, you can give them shingles. Most people have been exposed to the chickenpox, even if it was a mild exposure, therefore, the risk is very low. Also, in 1995, the chickenpox vaccine was introduced, therefore, most people are immune. The chances of giving anyone shingles are very low, but it is possible.

 

Shingles Starts In Your Nerves

The location of a shingles outbreak depends on the nerves that the condition has affected. For example, if the condition targeted the trigeminal nerve in the face, the outbreak would occur on the face and neck.

 

Shingles is a very painful condition. It can affect just about anyone who has ever had the chickenpox and it is possible to develop shingles more than once. Unfortunately, the pain can go on for weeks, months, and even years. Fortunately, there is a vaccine that can reduce your chances of developing a shingles outbreak. If you are vaccinated and you still develop shingles, the vaccine will shorten the length of the time that you suffer.

 

Lindsey Patterson

What Kind of Plants to Use for Interior Design

4 min read

When it comes to interior design, houseplants add a great deal of beauty for very little cost. On top of this, many houseplants are famous for being able to clean pollutants from the air in a home. Even before people knew this, houseplants were prized for being that one element that enlivened rooms that would look cold and uninviting without them. Indeed, the stark architecture that became popular during the 50s and 60s led to the popularity of houseplants. Even public buildings such as banks and offices are careful to have a houseplant or two on the premises.

 

A well-placed plant or group of plants can disguise an unfortunate bit of architecture such as an exposed pipe or an awkward corner. In the summer they can hide dormant radiators or even stand in for furniture that the homeowner wants to buy one day. Artificial Xmas trees or real ones are the focal point of a room during the holidays. What are the best kinds of plants to use for interior design?

 

Crotons

Crotons are unusual looking plants that give that little pop of funkiness to an otherwise staid room. There are a lot of varieties, and when they’re mature they develop uncommon color combinations that usually involve green, cream, yellow, pink and red. The leaves may be shaped like oak leaves, or they may be twisted or curled. This plant likes a warm room, lots of sunlight and soil that’s kept evenly moist.

 

Snake Plant

The familiar snake plant often has tall, spear-shaped leaves that add the sensation of height to a room. The tough, succulent leaves often have bands of darker green, and one variety, the unfortunately named Mother-in-law’s Tongue, has golden edges. This plant is not only attractive but basically indestructible. It can thrive on low light, dried out soil and other forms of neglect. A snake plant that’s well cared for rewards its carer with spikes of sweet-scented white flowers.

 

Philodendron

This is a large family of houseplants that sport attractive, glossy green foliage. They do best in average potting soil with a bit of humus in it. Philodendrons like indirect light and appreciate fertilizer two or three times a year. They come in erect and vine types and have leaves shaped like hearts, elephant ears or palm fronds. Vining philodendrons may need to be pruned occasionally.

 

Ficus

The fig family is also huge and variable. The India rubber plant is nearly as indestructible as the snake plant, and is ideal for an east or west window. The large, oval shaped leaves should be sponged down every few weeks to keep them dust-free. Other figs are the fiddle-leaf fig, the weeping fig, the creeping fig and the Indian laurel. The creeping fig makes an excellent plant for a hanging basket.

 

Ferns

Ferns are unusual in that they reproduce through spores instead of seeds and have a convoluted reproductive cycle. These plants are ideal for rooms with high humidity, warm temperatures and indirect light such as bathrooms and powder rooms. They need to be watered frequently and deeply, and their leaves benefit from being misted. The leaves can be delicate and lacy, such as those of the maidenhair fern, or large and leathery like the bird’s nest or staghorn fern. The stag horn fern can be attached to a wooden plaque covered with moss and attached to a wall in lieu of a painting or a mirror.

 

Terrariums

Terrariums can be everything from a brandy snifter to a huge, old antique jug of clear glass. Once installed, the plants set up their own ecosystem. Terrariums use small-sized plants, and the gardener should select plants that are uninteresting mix of size, shape, pattern, colors and habit.

 

Lindsey Patterson

How to Shop for Food on a Tight Budget

3 min read

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Life doesn't always go as planned, and there are a number of reasons that you may find that your food budget is tight. My neighbor Serena had a medical emergency that required life saving blood transfusions the last thing on her mind when she was in the hospital was how limited her finances were about to become.

 

Examine what you 'usually' purchase. Why do you prefer certain brands? Ask yourself if it is a true preference, such comparative quality, or dietary reasons, or if you buy a brand simply out of habit. If the latter applies, consider trying cheaper brands, or different brands when they're on sale. Serena prefers name brand sodas and drinks soda daily, but now only buys them when they are on sale. When the sales come around she stretches her budget to buy as many as she needs for that month..

 

Think of your budget in monthly terms. You can often save by buying items in bulk, bearing in mind that some foods are perishable. If you can get a great price on meat, which can be frozen, sodas, canned foods, potatoes, oil, rice, beans, or spaghetti, buy what you can while it's on sale, without breaking the monthly rule. This is to avoid what Serena calls 'food surpluses', which is when your money runs out, leaving you with a few foods in the pantry while lacking critical ingredients to cook them. Don't spend your month's food money all at once. Do pay attention to items that you always need.

 

Do cook as much for yourself as possible. Don't sacrifice your health. Serena is a good cook, but now must follow a special diet. She has become an adept reader of labels. Most boxed mixes, bottled condiments, and frozen prepared foods are expensive compared to following a recipe, so try to cut down on them. Discount packaged foods may have more fat, sugar, and additives than name brand items. When you buy prepared foods, such as ice cream, read the labels carefully for food dyes, preservatives, additives, and other things that should be avoided. Carrageenan is not a bad additive. It is a harmless natural thickener.

 

Coupons, BOGOs, and store sales can be tricky. An advertised sale is not necessarily a bargain. Beware of sales leading you to buy things you normally wouldn't. Even if there is a big 'sale' sign on a product, check out the competing prices. And learn the critical difference between BOGO and 'Two for (3)$'. You don't have to buy two when the sale is listed the latter way, so don't if you don't need to.

 

Shop around. Serena was surprised to learn how expensive her local grocery store was in comparison to a nearby Save-A-Lot and even Trader Joe's. There are drawbacks, however. She has to take traveling to a store into account in her food budget. Also, the Save-A-Lot doesn't carry certain healthy foods she needs, and Trader Joe's is pretty far away. She now takes monthly trips to the Save-a-Lot for bulk meat, potatoes, meats and onions, and occasional ventures to TJ's for items she needs for her diet.

 

Serena says that her food budget has actually improved her cooking and shopping experiences. She's become more aware of prices and what foods she uses daily or weekly versus what she might not use at all, and her refrigerator is never cluttered with unused items. Now that she knows when she overspends or is overcharged, she won't go back to her old ways. "But I'll buy more chocolate," she smiles.

Lindsey Patterson

Oil Pulling Trends

3 min read

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With popularity on the rise, you've probably heard of oil pulling. This is the act of swishing oil around in your mouth for 20 minutes. This is thought to improve everything from a person's skin to whitening and strengthening teeth. Some claim that it even helps to ward off serious illnesses such as Alzheimer's and heart disease. While doctors and dentists aren't quick to jump on board with prescribing pulling oil over expensive treatments, those who have tried the practice live and swear by it. This isn't just some new fad, however, but an infatuation with a 5000-year-old practice. If you're curious about it, here are some popular oil pulling trends to try out.

 

Sesame Oil:

 

If your oral hygiene is suffering and your teeth and gums are painful or loose, if you're depressed, suffer from mild vision problems, have unpleasantly underarm odors, trouble focusing, TMD/TMJ/TMJD, dry skin, clogged sinuses, stiff or painful joints, feel lethargic, or are suffering from withdrawals from an addiction, you may want to start pulling with sesame oil. Results are usually seen and felt within 1 - 2 weeks, though with more serious cases this may take up to a month.

 

Olive Oil:

 

If you're looking to grow your fingernails out quickly, want to grow thick hair quickly, want to feel more energetic, have more mental clarity, alleviate negative thoughts, heal your cracked heels, get rid of that chronic cough, ease the pain of addictions, lose some extra weight, reduce the size of pesky pores, and reduce the look of fine lines and wrinkles, pulling with olive oil is perfect for you.

 

Sunflower Oil:

 

As well as having benefits for oral hygiene, this can help with blood cholesterol, taking the edge off of hot flashes, leaving you feeling refreshed, improving quantity and quality of hair, leaving your mind sharp and uncluttered, helps with caffeine dependency, improves blood circulation, removes sugar from the body more quickly, improves skin, and can help eliminate both cold sores and dark circles under your eyes. Again, this typically takes a week or two to see and feel.

 

Coconut Oil:

 

A top pick for those familiar with pulling oil, coconut oil helps to suppress appetite, helps to reduce or eliminate cavities, whiten teeth, kill bacteria, leave you feeling relaxed, decreases nerve and joint pain, can help with snoring, can alleviate bloating in a mere 6 days, stabilizes blood pressure, enhances your sense of taste, helps to fight inner ear infections, improves skin, and adds to your vigor and agility. For its wide array of "feel good" qualities, it's no wonder this is a favourite among oil pullers.

 

Doing research to find the right oil for you or creating your own blends to enhance certain qualities is both fun and interesting. Though it does take commitment, it doesn't take any more time than other health and beauty tips. 20 minutes a day can improve everything from bad breath to unwanted weight, bags under your eyes to high blood pressure. Regardless of what oil you decide to try first, make sure that you get the highest quality you can. Not only do the higher quality oils taste better, the purer forms have stronger results more quickly.

Lindsey Patterson

How to Make Fashion More Affordable for Your Lifestyle

4 min read

Congratulations! You have decided to improve your personal fashion and style habits. This can be the beginning of a terrific journey. It can also open a door to additional friendships, new employment opportunities, and a renewed happiness in life. However, if you are just getting started, you may have already run into a problem. Great fashion can seem expensive at times. Thankfully, it doesn't always have to be this way. Check out the ways you can make fashion more affordable for your lifestyle below.

 

Fashion Budget

 

Are you able to pay your car payment, your rent, and your utility bills on time each month? If you can, this means you can easily afford great style. To accomplish this, you will just need to rethink how you spend your money. Set aside an amount of money each month to spend on fashion. Make this amount affordable enough to set in stone. You can even open a separate account to store this money. Pay yourself your fashion money each and every month the same way you pay your other bills. Do not allow yourself any excuses for not paying it. Also, you are not allowed to feel guilty about paying yourself the money. Remember, it is a bill meant to improve your life!

 

Know the Versatility of Items

 

Take the time to study fashion basics pertinent to your style. For example, if you are a man, you should know that a sharp, navy blazer will be far more useful to your wardrobe than a pink one from a spring fashion line. As a woman, you will know that a little, black dress will get you through countless social gatherings and parties. Also, affordable perfumes, like the from a direct senegence distributor or a local department store, never go out of style. Make sure you stock up on the scents you like whenever there is a sale. Once you know the most cost effective items to purchase with your fashion money, you will be able to slowly build the foundations of a great wardrobe.

 

Browse Consignments Shops with Purpose

 

Make it a habit to browse consignment shops with your mind loaded with fashion knowledge. In your mind, keep a running list of fashion items you want to acquire. Consignment shops often have serendipitous items. However, if you don't have a long wish list, it will be hard to locate these items. If you are constantly looking for items you need at the consignment shop each week, you will eventually be able to find the things you need. This will save you money in the long run. As you go on the hunt each and every week, your eye for great fashion items will also be strengthened.

 

Connect with Stores

 

Stay connected with the stores that offer the fashion items you crave. Many merchants offer periodic sales that only last a single day or weekend. You will want to be able to be notified of these sales as soon as they happen. This means you need to sign up for emails and social media alerts from as many different merchants as you can. Also, make sure you check these notifications for special coupons and promotional spending cash. You will be surprised at the amount of savings you can obtain this way.

 

Shop Out of Season

 

Never forget that the best time to pick up a winter coat is at the start of spring. Merchants need to move product at the end of each fashion season. This means you can easily pick up timeless items at a great discount. Make it a habit to start each calendar season with a trip to your favorite store to buy items from the previous fashion season.

 

You don't need to be rich to enjoy great fashion. Use these tips to make great fashion affordable for your lifestyle. Once you get started with these tips, you'll be able to look great every day!