- Special Sections
(NewsUSA) - If you want to make your workday a bit better, just turn to coffee. That's according to a survey where coffee was identified as key to securing some of offices' best business deals, improving networking and giving office workers a feeling of being at their best.
In fact, the recent survey conducted by Harris Poll and Keurig Green Mountain showed that of the 843 adults who were interviewed (presumably around the coffee machine), 89 percent said a good cup of coffee makes their entire workday even better.
"Clearly, coffee plays an important role in our society and means so much more than just taking a break from work," says Nicole Williams, Career Expert and founder of WORKS. "It has become a way of bringing individuals together, for colleagues to brainstorm or collaborate, to interact with your boss in a more casual way or even spark one's own creativity."
Without their daily cup of joe, coffee drinkers can feel a range of negative emotions -- exhausted (36 percent), irritable (35 percent), unproductive (30 percent), disorganized (20 percent) or forgetful (14 percent). The data only re-enforced Keurig's take that coffee has a variety of surprising social and professional benefits, which is why the company took on a new challenge -- to brew a better carafe of coffee, faster. With its new BOLT System, Keurig believes it has changed the way coffee is brewed in the workplace.
The company challenged its engineers to come up with something nearly everyone in the office will appreciate -- a system that brews a better pot of coffee with no mess in two minutes. What came of the collaboration between the mechanical and electrical engineers and software team was a system that could brew 64 ounces of delicious fresh coffee, faster than ever before -- which may be a huge boon for office workers' productivity.
"The next time you plan a big meeting, go one step further by making a large carafe for everyone in the room," says Williams. "Almost half of office workers who drink coffee agree that coffee has been the key to making some of their office's best business deals happen. The more time and effort you put into planning a great meeting, the better your team will appreciate you and the task at hand."
To learn more about the future of office coffee, visit keurig.com/Bolt.
(NewsUSA) - It's a fact. When you give kids a chance to create their own meals, they're more likely to eat them. It's also true that kids don't often make the wisest choices. That's why parents are grateful for fruit. Naturally delicious and notoriously healthy, fresh fruit is the perfect ingredient for getting kids to the table. It's a smart food that tastes like a treat.
A lot of parents can't wait for summer and the arrival of fresh fruit season. But thanks to another "best of both worlds" scenario, they don't have to wait. When it's winter in North America, the weather in Chile is just heating up, and its robust fruit industry ensures that fresh fruit is available year-round.
So, what fresh ideas can parents spring on the kids this winter? A great place to start is "nature's candy," fresh Chilean grapes. The perfect finger food, grapes can also be the centerpiece of an appetizer plate, the sweet addition to savory snacks, and the fun ingredient in unexpected places. Green, red and black grapes provide endless inspiration for kids of all ages to be creative and enjoy. Here are a few ideas to inspire!
* Grapes and cheese cubes on pretzel skewers
* Grapes as the center of cheese sunflowers with a celery stem
* Grape turtle with an apple slice as the body
* Frozen grape caterpillars with mini chocolate chips for eyes
* Grape salsa as a topping for tacos or baked brie
* Roasted grapes tossed in grain salads and layered in yogurt-granola parfaits
* Halved grapes tucked into grilled cheese sandwiches
* Heart-shaped cookies decorated with grapes
Winter is also a good time for fresh blueberries, the little blue dynamos that work magic in all manner of kid-friendly dishes. And if it seems like ages since you've enjoyed fresh plums and nectarines, you'll find ripe, flavorful stonefruit from Chile waiting for you in many American produce aisles.
Year-round availability of fresh fruit and kid-friendly recipes give parents sweet options for long winter months.
(NewsUSA) - Throughout the years, chronic back pain sufferers haven't had much in the way of options to relieve their pain. Aside from drug therapy, surgery was often it -- leading many who understandably wanted to avoid an invasive approach to search for an alternative. Now, many patients are saying they've found that relief through chiropractic care. To learn more, visit www.F4CP.org/findadoctor.
Watch the video at: http://youtu.be/e2a1_IZsimU
(NewsUSA) - It's not easy being green -- especially when you share space with more than 3 million people. And yet, one Southern California business is making it easier.
BP Gardens, a subsidiary of GreenGro Technologies (OTC: GNRH), an Anaheim-based eco-friendly technology company, is taking local farming in a crowded urban environment to a whole new level by designing vertical gardens. Its hope, says GreenGro CEO James Haas, is to provide local communities, restaurants and grocers with locally grown, pesticide-free fruits and vegetables.
BP Gardens began as the seed of an idea from Haas. The thought, he says, was to use as little water and energy as possible, while still yielding fresh, locally grown produce and herbs for customers.
According to Haas, there will be two separate locations and growing methods. BP Gardens Buena Park currently sits on 4.5 acres in Anaheim, California, and features a 5,000-seat full hydroponic grow system, while its sister company, BP Lincoln Gardens in northern California, employs a zero-waste, 80 percent water-saving aquaponics solution with a 40,000-seat capacity.
"With California consistently facing severe droughts, these systems will help change the way we grow [food], modernizing its processes to become more sustainable for the future," says Haas.
Currently, Buena Park has completed its construction and has planted its first crops, which is ideal for leafy greens, while Lincoln is in the process of installing floating raceways and introducing fish in preparation for its first crops. This location will focus on the growth of heavy greens and Sacramento Perch for its customers. Between the two structures, Haas said he anticipates growing 45,000 heads of lettuce a month.
In addition to finding a way to combine technology and food production while reducing the company's own carbon footprint, Haas has also stumbled on a niche market in the medical marijuana industry. While GreenGro does not participate in the sale of medical marijuana, Haas said GreenGro's equipment and advanced hydroponic systems benefit that business as well.
Although Haas estimates that about 60 percent of his customers buy his gardening equipment to grow medical marijuana, he says he is focused on his BP Gardens projects, and isn't content to stop with the California market, but believes he can take his idea worldwide.
"BP Gardens wants to go big," says Haas. "We want to be the source for food and not have to have it travel, and save the Earth."
For more information, visit http://bpgardens.com.
(NewsUSA) - A simple, inexpensive lighting update can completely transform your kitchen from dull to dynamite.
According to the American Lighting Association (ALA), good lighting design makes kitchens more functional, as well as more enjoyable, relaxing and suitable for entertaining.
"Good lighting is vitally important in kitchens," says Jeff Dross, corporate director for education and industry trends for Kichler Lighting. "Perhaps more work in the home is done in the kitchen area than any other room, and having improper lighting would be tantamount to candles in a warehouse or flashlights on a factory floor.
"Food preparation is a vital, though sometimes tedious, task performed virtually every day," Dross continues. "Cooking in a poorly illuminated space only increases the drudgery and the danger. Good lighting adds to the overall space, and increases the pleasure in using said space."
The very fact that kitchens are spaces where people spend a lot of time makes them valuable areas when reselling a home, as well. For this reason, many experts agree kitchen renovations are among the best ways to boost the value of your home. Along with bathrooms, kitchens are an integral part of the home to virtually everyone.
Unfortunately, when it comes time to updating kitchens with a new look, lighting does not always get the attention it deserves. According to Dross, this is to the detriment of home design.
"Lighting is as important a design element as wall coverings, flooring and countertops," says Dross. "It can make an average kitchen look great and elevate a fabulous design to perfection. Need to increase the visual size of a room without tearing down a wall? Add lighting above the cabinets and at the toe-kick space.
"The importance of good, high lumen output for task (under-cabinet) lighting cannot be over emphasized," Dross adds. "Wall-mounted cabinets create shadows on countertop work surfaces. The only way to alleviate those shadows (and the accompanying dark spots on the cutting board) is with under-cabinet lighting."
Another factor to keep in mind relates to energy usage, and by extension, your power bill. The U.S. Department of Energy reports that American consumers use electricity for lighting the kitchen more than any other room in the house. So, to save electricity costs, invest in energy-efficient lighting in the kitchen.
To see the most up-to-date fixtures and shades, and to consult with a professionally trained lighting expert, visit your local ALA-member retailer, or go online to americanlightingassoc.com.
(NewsUSA) - NewsusaInfographic - As health care costs continue to increase, employees are turning to voluntary benefits like accident, critical illness and hospital plans as a way to fill in coverage gaps. In fact, according to the 2014 Aflac WorkForces Report nearly 88 percent of workers agree they consider voluntary benefits an important part of a comprehensive benefits package.
See full-sized image here.
(NewsUSA) - In today's business world, it's wise to take advantage of any opportunity to be more productive. This is especially true for business travelers who spend many hours each week sitting on flights.
So, rather than sit staring at the back of the seat in front of you each flight, here are some ways to put your time to better use:
* Exercise your brain by reading. It doesn't matter whether it's the latest book by Stephen King or James Patterson, that report you've been meaning to tackle or a professional journal. Where else are you going to get consecutive uninterrupted hours to catch up on some light (or heavy) reading?
* Catch up on important writing. You may not be able to wade through emails, but you can tackle employee reviews, finesse a speech or presentation or even do some personal writing in a journal or blog.
* Take the opportunity to rest or sleep. Why stay awake watching movies when you can rest up before that big day on the job? This is probably one of the most important aspects of business travel. We all know how difficult it can be to sleep on a plane, but the simple act of shutting your eyes can help you to hit the ground running.
* Remember to hydrate. Humidity levels are notoriously low on a flight by about 5 to 10 percent, which is similar to an arid desert. It follows that passengers can expect to get dehydrated to some degree, which can be combatted by drinking at least one liter of water for every four hours in the sky. Not only does better hydration improve health, it's also been found to reduce jet lag.
* Find an airline that can accommodate your business needs. Not all airlines are created equal. For example, Aer Lingus, the premier airline that connects Ireland to the world and the world to Ireland, is expanding its business class offerings in the coming months to provide more comfort to its international travelers.
Some of the changes the airline has made include: More convenient flight times, shorter transfer times, pre-clearance for customs and a bevy of in-fight conveniences such as complimentary Wi-Fi, USB power, ample work space, custom-made duvets for coziness (and warmth) while you sleep on your fully flat bed, and meals that showcase the finest and freshest ingredients from the Emerald Isle.
By revamping its business class, Aer Lingus said it is able to "provide its customers with value without compromising on product" and, in this way, help its business travelers remain productive while in the air.
For more information, visit www.aerlingus.com.
(NewsUSA) - Al darle una palmadita y un adiós a la fiesta de Año Nuevo de 2015 y disfrutas de lo que queda de tu Pavo y Rosca de Reyes, deberías estar pensando en tomar esas resoluciones sobrantes del año que pasó y volver a comprometerte de nuevo con ellas este año, incluyendo ponerte en forma y saludable.
Para ayudarte a alcanzar tus metas, puedes necesitar abastecerte de algunos elementos esenciales, tales como ropa y accesorios o aparatos para la cocina. Con este fin, JCPenney, uno de los minoristas de ropa y del hogar más grande del país, cuenta con todas las marcas que conoces a un precio que se ajusta a tu presupuesto y te mantiene en el camino indicado para que adoptes una vida más saludable.
Para que completes tu vestuario de entrenamiento físico, la tienda tiene de todo: desde zapatos hasta chaquetas deportivas. Las zapatillas de correr de mujer, New Balance, están a menos de $70 y te dan la velocidad y el soporte que necesitas, no importa si estás corriendo distancias cortas o si estas entrenando para un maratón. Para mantenerte abrigada en los días fríos de invierno, la chaqueta Xersion Colorblock coordina perfectamente con el Xersion Reflective Print Legging. Ambas piezas te mantienen fresca y seca al absorber el sudor. El tejido elástico te permite moverte libremente y sus costuras sin rozaduras no irritan tu piel.
Si relajarte, al hacer ejercicios es tu objetivo, el Kit de Yoga para principiantes puede ser para ti. Incluye una estera de yoga, una correa de yoga con hebilla (en caso de que quieras probar una clase en un gimnasio u estudio) y un bloque de espuma de yoga. Para aquellas que quieran ejercitar los músculos, el Kit de Natural Fitness Resistance Toning que fortalece y tonifica todo tu cuerpo, podría ser perfecto para ti. Incluye una pelota para hacer ejercicios, tubos de látex resistentes a la rotura y puños de tobillo forrados.
Mientras el ejercicio es una parte esencial para estar saludable, la nutrición también es clave. Para este efecto la olla de vapor Oster puede cocinar verduras al vapor, arroz, carne, mariscos, aves, frutas e incluso huevos. El vapor instantáneo te permite empezar a cocinar inmediatamente. También viene con un sincronizador de 75 minutos que tiene un auto apagador de seguridad. Además, cuenta con piezas desmontables que son aptas para lava platos, lo que lo hace fácil de limpiar.
Para un desayuno rápido, la licuadora/batidora Cooks Rocket Power Blender te permite preparar rápidamente un batido saludable y mezclar tus propias salsas caseras. Sus cuchillas de acero inoxidable hacen del batir, picar, moler y mezclar tareas sin esfuerzo y viene con recetas rápidas y fáciles.
Para obtener más información, visita JCPenney.com.
(NewsUSA) - NewsusaInfographic - Tradiciones culturales y una época de compras extendida contribuyen a un sobre índice de gastos en comparación a la población general. Se proyecta que las Latinas están entre los consumidores que más gastaran en las tiendas por departamentos en esta temporada de fiestas. Para dar inicio a la campaña navideña #MeNavidearon, JCPenney se dio a la tarea de investigar las hábitos de compras de la consumidora Latina. El 86% de las latinas, toman las decisiones en sus hogares y es evidente que este segmento de la población, que sigue creciendo, tiene una gran influencia comercial. Artículos populares en las bolsas de compras de las latinas estas navidades, incluyen decoraciones para el hogar y ropa para la familia.
(NewsUSA) - If you're like most Americans, you don't have all of the answers when it comes to tax filing. That's why it's important to do as much research as possible to get up to speed on the latest adjustments and myths surrounding the tax code.
To help, here are six tax myths that the National Association of Enrolled Agents -- a group of federally licensed tax practitioners who specialize in taxes -- encounters frequently.
Myth: I'm filing an extension, so I don't need to pay anything before the deadline.
Fact: Tax extensions only extend the time you have left to file, not the time you have to pay any taxes owed. If you owe money and file an extension, you have until April 15 to pay, regardless of the extended deadline date. Otherwise, interest and penalties begin to stack up.
Myth: I had a really big loss in the stock market this year, so I won't owe any income taxes.
Fact: Deduction of capital losses against ordinary income is limited to $3,000 per year. Also, whether you reinvest or receive dividends, they are technically, still income and are taxed as such.
Myth: They paid me in cash, so I don't have to report it.
Fact: If it's income, you must report it. You always report income, regardless of whether it's cash, tips, bonuses or dividends.
Myth: I'm too young to have to pay taxes.
Fact: Even dependents working part-time while in high school must file a tax return if they earn more than $6,200 in 2014, if they want to receive their refund or if their unearned income is more than $1,000.
Myth: Income earned in a foreign country is not taxable.
Fact: The operative word is "income," which means it's taxable. The IRS requires taxpayers to report all earned income, even if it's earned abroad.
Myth: Tax preparers only fill out forms that you can do yourself.
Fact: Licensed preparers know the intricate (and constantly changing) tax laws, regulations and codes, and how they can be applied for your benefit and save you money. Enrolled agents, America's tax experts, receive annual continuing education so they are knowledgeable of tax laws and how they can apply to you. Enrolled agents not only specialize in tax preparation and tax planning, they can also represent you before the IRS.
Find an enrolled agent in your area on the "Find an EA" directory at www.naea.org.
(NewsUSA) - They're delicious, nutritious and versatile. They're naturally fat-free, high in vitamin C and a rich source of antioxidants. Americans love them in cereals, salads, sauces and as toppings and by the handful, but when winter comes around, many people assume fresh blueberry season is over.
Not so fast. When the snow flies in Minneapolis, things are just heating up in places like Chile. Thanks to a robust South American fruit industry, fresh blueberries now maintain their favored position in North American produce aisles, culinary creations, and home kitchens all year long.
The popularity of blueberries has soared in recent years, driven by their impressive nutritional resume. One half-cup of blueberries contains just 42 calories and helps meet the recommended 5 to 9 servings a day of colorful fruits and vegetables. The "Little Blue Dynamos" pack in fiber, potassium, Vitamin C and more cancer-fighting antioxidants than either wine or green tea. Recent studies also show that fresh blueberries can help keep skin looking younger; help prevent dementia, Alzheimer's disease and heart disease; and serve as a natural anti-inflammatory.
Helping the cause significantly is that most people consider fresh blueberries a treat, including children who remain blissfully unaware of the health benefits. Fresh blueberries are easily enjoyed as a grab-and-go snack, but there are other sweet and savory ways to beat the winter blues with this superfood.
* Salads Accents. Fresh blueberries add instant appeal to green salads and heartier grain salads.
* Blueberry French Toast Sandwich. A satisfying favorite on winter weekends.
* Peanut Butter & Blueberry. Add fresh blueberries to this classic sandwich. Almond and cashew butter also taste great with blueberries.
* Blueberry Salsa. Swap the traditional tomato for fresh blueberries, a surprisingly cool complement to hot peppers.
* Blueberry Coleslaw. Cabbage and blueberry combine two nutritional powerhouses into a savory side.
* Chocolate-Dipped Blueberries. Need we say more? Present them in a heart-shaped dish or shape for that someone special.
(NewsUSA) - Forward-looking companies know that their businesses aren't really healthy unless their employees are. Firms like Google, Apple and Facebook all understand that, and consequently have incorporated chiropractic care into their workplace programs. And one of the very first to have adopted such a whole-body approach -- Standard Process, a Wisconsin-based nutritional supplement company -- has documented proof of its astounding results. To learn more, visit www.F4CP.org/findadoctor.
Watch the video at: http://youtu.be/GD4uy1iOaZ0
(NewsUSA) - When considering lighting design, chances are you picture major fixtures like ornate chandeliers, groupings of colorful pendants or elaborate track lighting. However, even small fixtures, such as portable lamps, can transform a room, according to the American Lighting Association (ALA).
Joe Rey-Barreau, education consultant for the ALA and associate professor at the University of Kentucky's School of Interior Design, says, "With the proper light bulb and shade, a lamp can provide effective task lighting while also serving as an important decorative element in a space."
It is important to view a lamp as a piece of the overall whole, not the only source of lighting in a room. One or two lamps cannot effectively illuminate a large space if they are the primary light source. Think of table and floor lamps as lighting accessories that create layers of light throughout a room.
Layering Your Lights
"Layering of light means there are multiple types of lighting fixtures in a single space," says Rey-Barreau. "For example, in addition to recessed and decorative lighting at the ceiling, table and floor lamps can provide lighting for dark corners."
The difficult part of deciding which lamps work best for your space may be choosing from the nearly infinite range of types and styles available.
Focusing on Bulbs
While in the past, table and floor lamps typically used incandescent bulbs, the introduction of LED light bulbs now provides a better option. LED bulbs are five to six times more efficient than incandescent bulbs and can last 25 times longer, making them both money and energy savers.
"It is important to choose the correct color temperature of the bulb," Rey-Barreau says. "Incandescent and halogen bulbs all have the same warm color temperature, which is a measure of how visually warm or cool a space appears. LED bulbs are available with different color temperature ratings, and consumers sometimes make the mistake of choosing a color that appears too cool or bluish."
Bulb packaging includes detailed information about light output, wattage consumption and color temperature. Rey-Barreau suggests choosing a color temperature in the 2700K to 3000K range, which will match the color of incandescent and halogen bulbs.
Your local ALA-member store has a large selection of lamps, as well as trained professionals to help you find the perfect fixture for your home. More information is available online at americanlightingassoc.com.
(NewsUSA) - As winter rolls around, most households are busy digging out their winter coats and firing up the woodstove. However, few people realize that as they gear up for festivities, pest invaders like rodents, cockroaches and nuisance wildlife are just one foundation crack, open utility pipe entry point or broken basement window away.
The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) reminds homeowners that the potential for pest infestations increases during the cold months of the year as pests seek shelter -- most often in people's homes.
House mice nest in dark, secluded attics and basements. In addition to carrying diseases and bacteria, causing indoor allergies and asthma attacks, they can also chew through drywall and wires, increasing the risk of electrical fires.
Keep house mice from entering the house by sealing outside cracks and holes. It's also important to keep basements and attics dry and clutter free to prevent nesting spots.
Norway rats nest in basements, piles of debris and other undisturbed materials. They can gnaw through almost anything to obtain food and water. Like house mice, Norway rats also carry diseases and pose a risk of house fires.
Fill any gaps or cracks on the outside of the home, and eliminate sources of moisture in crawl spaces and basements.
Raccoons often climb through chimneys or attics in search of a denning site, posing danger to humans. Not only can raccoons attack if they feel threatened while trapped indoors, but they are also a major host of rabies in the U.S.
To repel raccoons, store waste cans in sealed areas, or use an animal-proof lid. Check the outside of your home for access points, repair loose siding or shingles, and use a mesh cover or cap for your chimney.
German cockroaches live in small areas close to food and moisture. They can sneakily enter the home in bags and boxes, and can contaminate food sources and spread bacteria.
To defend against cockroaches, keep counters and floors clean. Vacuum frequently, and dispose of garbage regularly, paying specific attention under appliances and sinks.
Visit PestWorld.org for more information on pests and prevention tips and to find a pest professional in your area.