Discover your Creativity

mixing paintEveryone possesses the potential for creativity. Most people however associate creativity with artists and performers, like painters, musicians, dancers, and photographers; but almost everyone displays innovation in their everyday life. In 1988, researchers at Harvard Medical School defined “everyday creativity” as any expression of originality and meaningfulness; everyday creativity can be a unique way to solve a problem, from cooking a meal to resolving a work crisis. Everyday creativity could also involve a novel approach to daily activities, like preparing your breakfast in a different way.

To take better advantage of your creative skills, figure out how you are creative, then start developing that creativity. Switch up your daily routine—take a different route to work or change your hairstyle. New and unusual experiences also spark creativity. Take time out of your schedule to start a new hobby or activity. Art is a great way to enhance creativity by pushing you to think in a new way; even if you don’t consider yourself artistic, everyone can develop their skills and benefit from creating something.

Enhance Problem-Solving and Observational Skills: Art is a great way to improve problem-solving skills because it encourages unconventional thinking. Creating helps you see and think in a different way and flexes skills you wouldn’t ordinarily use—such as the ability to focus on details. Art requires you to concentrate on what you see and take in more information from the environment. Artistic practice re-trains your eyes to see in a new way and the skills you learn can spark creativity in other areas of your life.

Alleviate Stress: Creating art gives you a sense of accomplishment and seeing your talent develop gives artists a sense of pride. Studies have proven that the act of concentrating on a creative activity like art lowers stress, anxiety, and creates a sense of purpose. Art can also be therapeutic. Spend some time every week engaged in some artistic activity, whether it’s painting, drawing, photography, or making a collage or scrapbook, art has the potential to bring out our creativity and enhance our daily lives.

Find nearby craft and hobby supply stores using Real Local Pages (RLP), an online directory of businesses and services throughout the United States. Visit the RLP website, http://www.reallocalpages.com, and type in your city and state. Search for local businesses by entering terms like “craft” or “art” into the search box on the main page. You can also search for local services and businesses by choosing from the popular categories list. The results page will show a list of businesses along with the phone number and address of the business. You can use RLP to find a variety of businesses, from seafood restaurants to furniture stores.

Spring Cleaning

spring-cleaningMarch 8th is Daylight Saving Time; while most people aren’t ready to give up that extra hour of sleep, everyone is looking forward to spring. Greet spring by sprucing up your home with these three easy home improvement projects:

 Repaint the Interior: An easy and inexpensive way to add value to your home and transform a space is by repainting. Neutrals are usually a good bet when painting a room since these colors work well with most decorating choices and don’t overwhelm the space. Dark colors make a room seem smaller, but they can make a statement. Warm colors like yellows and oranges work well in kitchens, while shades of blue are good for bedrooms since blue projects a sense of serenity. Be sure to prepare the area before painting. Remove light fixtures and other items on the wall, clean walls with a dry rag to remove dust and cover molding and light switches with painter’s tape.

 Re-grout your Shower, Bathtub, and Toilet: Grout, also known as caulk, is the rubbery material situated between the sink, toilet, bathtub, shower and the floor or wall. Grout protects against moisture and gives the bathroom a clean, finished look. Grout wears down over time and can lead to water damage; fortunately, re-applying grout is easy. Completely remove old grout so that new grout will stick properly.

 Floor Makeover: Offset the wear and tear on your floors by regularly cleaning and caring for floors. Rent a carpet cleaner to remove dirt and dust from the floor; cleaner carpets visually brighten the room. Sweep and mop tile floors to wipe away streaks and dirt. Protect wood flooring by attaching felt pads to chairs and rubber pads to sofas in order to prevent your furniture from scratching floors.

Use Real Local Pages (RLP) to find nearby hardware stores to help you complete home improvement projects. RLP is an online directory of services and businesses, visit the website, http://www.reallocalpages.com, to get started. Enter your city and state, then, search for local businesses by entering key words like “hardware store” into the search box. Users can also search by choosing a term from the popular categories list on the main page. The results page will display the business listing along with the business’s address and phone number. Real Local Pages can help you locate a variety of businesses, from steak restaurants to pest control experts.

One Steak at a Time

Beef_fillet_steak_with_mushroomsDespite recent concerns with the health effects of red meat, beef remains a favorite for many Americans for its associations with luxury and heartiness. Chefs are finding new ways to serve up traditional favorites to cater to the latest food trends.

Sustainable Steak: Sustainably-produced food is a popular trend across the States. More Americans are concerned with where their food comes from, and how it is grown, fed, and produced. Sustainably-produced beef can mean a variety of things. Grass-fed cows and free-range beef refers to how the cow is cared for; grass-fed cows are fed grass and other items, free-range cows are raised in open spaces (versus crowded slaughterhouses). Sustainable also means that the cows are not injected with hormones that artificially increase their mass. Fat from these steaks is healthier and the meat has a unique flavor. Some steak restaurants practice sustainability by purchasing locally-raised meat or by putting the entire animal to use, like using marrow bones for soup.

Giant Cuts: Large steak cuts have recently become a popular menu item. Weighing in at 22, 32, or even 40 ounces, these king-size cuts offer a good value and encourage a family-style dining experience.

International: Steak restaurants are specializing in international beef options, offering customers a taste of items like the Argentinian favorite, chimichurri, or Japan’s yakiniku-style beef.

Natural Grilling: Natural grilling includes anything prepared over an open flame. Open-flame methods like charcoal grills and wood-burning ovens give beef a beautiful char. Wood-burning fires impart a smoky, distinctive flavor to the meat.

Preparation Techniques: Chefs are experimenting with unconventional techniques of preparing meat, like a recent favorite amongst foodies, sous vide, in which the meat is sealed in a plastic bag, placed in a cooker that can be set at a particular temperature, then given a final sear to finish the preparation. Chefs are also applying techniques like dry-rubbing or cold-smoking to less prestigious beef cuts to create flavorful meats.

Find a local steak restaurant using Real Local Pages (RLP), an online directory of business across the United States. Start by visiting the website, http://www.reallocalpages.com, and typing in your city and state. Search by choosing from the popular categories list or by entering simple terms like “steak” into the search box on the main page. Use RLP to locate other types of businesses, from clothing stores to auto repair shops.

 

Cozy up to a Good Book

booksSince the first e-books became available to consumers, bibliophiles have fearfully imagined a future where books only exist on e-readers, tablets, and other electronic formats.  But book lovers don’t need to despair just yet. According to the 2014 Nielson Books & Consumers survey, print books are still more popular than e-books; sales of physical books made up 67 percent of the book market in the first six months of 2014. In the U.K., bookstores are experiencing an increase in the sale of print books, and according to that 2014 Nielson Books survey, 10 percent of buyers learned about their book purchases by visiting a bookstore while another 12 percent said they discovered new titles via family and friends. Brick-and-mortar bookstores and the printed word are sticking around.

Although finding and buying e-books is more convenient and often faster than browsing for titles at bookstores, visiting a physical bookstore to find your next read is more satisfying. Many people learn through touch, the tactile experience of holding and reading a book gives readers a different experience than reading a book in another format. Readers can easily explore new books they might not notice if they only shopped for e-books; eye-catching covers and book titles on nearby shelves encourage people to check out something different. Bookstores are also a great place to socialize; you can hang out with friends or meet new people that share your reading interests. Some bookstores have a café or even a wine bar to encourage people to mingle and linger over the books. Other bookstores, especially independent bookstores, usually cater to local needs and interests by featuring events for the community such as book signings, children’s activities, book clubs, or book readings.

Locate a bookstore in your area using Real Local Pages (RLP). RLP is an online directory containing listings for thousands of businesses across the United States. Visit the RLP website, http://www.reallocalpages.com, to begin searching. Choose your city and state to narrow your search, then enter keywords like “bookstore” into the search box to find locations. Each business listing includes the address and phone number of the business for your convenience. Real Local Pages can be used to find a wide variety of businesses and services, from bookstores to flooring experts.

Floored by Flooring

10272163-bamboo-flooringGetting new flooring is a big decision that requires careful thought about your personal style, your budget, your lifestyle, and the current look of the room. Figure out what colors, patterns, and textures appeal to you before you shop. Think about what you want the room to look like and take into account the current furniture and décor of the room. One of the most important decisions to make is what type of material to use in the room; the endless options can be overwhelming, but understanding the strengths and weaknesses of every type of flooring will help buyers make a more informed choice.

Carpet: Carpet flooring offers buyers a huge range of possibilities in terms of pattern, color, and texture. Choose carpets with a high fiber density, carpets with more fibers per square inch tend to be more durable. Buy rugs online and save some money. One of the drawbacks of carpet is the need for frequent cleaning and its tendency to stain and trap dust and dirt.

Ceramic Tile: Ceramic tile comes in a wide variety of colors, patterns, shapes, sizes, and textures. Ceramic tile is easy to clean and can take a lot of wear . It’s resistant to scratches, stains, and moisture,  but a cracked tile is hard to replace. Also, because of its hard surface, dropped items break more easily and wetness on the tile makes it slippery. Some types of tile have an anti-slip finish that reduces slipperiness, making it safer to walk on the wet tile.

Wood: Hardwood floors give rooms warmth and come in a range of wood types. Wood should not be used in basements or other rooms with lots of moisture. Sunlight discolors certain wood floors and although many woods are wear-resistant, owners need to be careful to avoid scratches. Wood floors however can be refinished many times and are a durable flooring option.

Concrete: In recent years, concrete has become popular for flooring. It’s durable and holds heat well. Concrete is also fire-resistant and can be treated to create unique designs. The surface can be stained, painted, embossed, and even scored to create interesting patterns. Concrete however is porous and stains easily, a stone sealer needs to be applied every few years to protect the surface.

Search Real Local Pages (RLP) to find local flooring experts and flooring stores. RLP is an online directory of businesses and services. Visit the website, http://www.reallocalpages.com to get started. Enter your city and state, then enter key words like “flooring,” into the search box. The results page will show the business along with the business’s address and phone number. Real Local Pages is useful for locating a variety of services and businesses, from florists to flooring experts.

 

Think Outside the Bouquet this Valentine’s Day

tulipValentine’s Day is just around the corner; by far the most popular thing to give on Valentine’s Day is flowers. Americans spend up to 10% of their Valentine’s Day budget on flowers and at least 60% of Americans splurge on flowers for loved ones during the holiday. Most people go for the traditional long-stem red roses, as a symbol of passionate, romantic love, red roses seem to be the best choice for a Valentine’s Day bouquet. According to recent surveys however, many women prefer something other than the conventional red rose. Besides being cliché, red roses are more expensive around Valentine’s Day, costing up to 30% more than their usual price.

For those trying to think outside the box—or rather, the bouquet, florists recommend a variety of other flowers for a Valentine’s Day gift. Consider buying tulips in red and white, or freesias and hyacinths. Or purchase other types of red flowers, such as the Red Lion Amaryllis or red lilies. Gerbera Daisies are also a great choice since they come in a wide range of colors and can last more than a week in water. For those set on giving red roses for Valentine’s Day, take a look at the garden rose which has more petals, or consider the elegant Black Baccara rose.

Enjoy your flowers as long as possible by properly caring for them. Cover the bouquet with newspaper or a bag when transporting them to protect them from temperature changes. Heat ages flowers faster, so keep your bouquet out of direct sunlight and away from heat sources. Stir a little bleach into the water to keep away bacteria and re-cut the flowers daily to make them last.

Buy your bouquets from a local florist this Valentines’ Day. Local florists usually have better prices and better quality than flowers purchased online. Search for local florists using Real Local Pages (RLP), an online directory of businesses and services, http://www.reallocalpages.com. Choose the city and state where you want to search. Enter key words like “florist” into the search box on the main page or choose a category from the popular categories list. The results page shows the business listings and include the phone number and address of the business. Real Local Pages is great for finding a large variety of businesses, from restaurants and movie theaters to car dealerships.

A Romantic Night Out

Wet-rose-in-a-plateGoing out for a romantic dinner is a tried-and-true Valentine’s Day activity, but finding the perfect restaurant for an evening out is not always easy, especially on a busy holiday like Valentine’s Day. Plan ahead to find the right restaurant:

Ambiance: When you walk into a restaurant, feel out the atmosphere of the place. Pick a restaurant with an atmosphere conducive for conversation. A noisy restaurant where you have to shout to hear the other person isn’t ideal. Choose a restaurant with soft music and a quieter dining area. Restaurants that offer diners more privacy is also a plus; tables spaced further apart provide a sense of space and the privacy makes it easier to focus on your date. Look for dimly lit restaurants, lower lighting creates a more intimate environment. Plus, soft light, like the glow from a candle, is the most flattering type of light.

Comfortable: A romance-worthy restaurant should be comfortable, not stuffy and overly formal. Pick a restaurant that you and your date feel at ease in, it’s difficult to have a good time if you feel out-of-place.

Food: The food is of course, one of the most important elements of a good restaurant. Decide on a restaurant with food you and your date enjoy. Stay away from messy foods and look for a restaurant that offers delicious desserts you can share after the meal.

Reservations: Make a reservation for the restaurant. Preparation shows your thoughtfulness and keeps the evening running smoothly.

Use Real Local Pages (RLP) to find a romantic restaurant for Valentine’s Day. RLP is an online directory of businesses and services throughout the United States. Visit the website, http://www.reallocalpages.com, to help you find a wide variety of services and businesses, from lawn care specialists to hotels and restaurants. Choose your city and state, then, search by entering key words like “restaurant,” into the search box on the home page. You can also search by clicking on an item from the “popular categories” list on the main page. The results page displays the business listing as well as the phone number and address of the business.

 

 

Factors to Consider when Purchasing a Car

carThere are many different factors to consider when purchasing a car. One of the most important things to think about however is your budget. Many potential buyers focus on the car they want and fail to consider if buying their dream vehicle fits into their budget. The car’s cost is not the only thing buyers should think about, some factors to think over when making your budget and searching for the right car include:

Figure out your Budget: Unless you can purchase your car in cash, most people will need to finance their car. Decide how much money you can afford on a monthly car payment; experts recommend that you shouldn’t spend more than 20% of your monthly income on a car payment.

Financing your Car: Think about how long you will finance your vehicle. Longer loan terms will lower your monthly payments but you pay more interest in the long run. Alternatively, a shorter financing period will make monthly payments higher but you will you pay off your car faster.

Find the Cash: Decide how much cash you can put towards the car purchase. The more money you put towards the car, the less you’ll need for your car loan. You can pay your car loan off faster and save more money in long run.

Find the Car: Only after you’ve calculated your budget should you decide on what vehicle to buy. Decide whether you will purchase your car used or new, or if you plan to lease a vehicle. These factors will affect what cars you can afford. Project the long-term costs of the vehicle, including insurance, gas, and maintenance.

Real Local Pages (RLP) can help you find a local dealership, auto repair shop, or auto broker for your car. RLP is an online directory of businesses and services across the United States. Visit the RLP website, http://www.reallocalpages.com to get started. Type your state and city to narrow your search; then, enter keywords like “dealerships” or “auto” into the search box on the main page. Site users can also search by picking a category from the Popular Categories list on the home page. The results page will display the name and information of the business. Use Real Local Pages to find a variety of businesses, from car dealerships to bakeries.

Bite the Bagel

bagelA crispy and delicious toasted bagel slathered with cream cheese or butter is a popular breakfast food, especially for busy people to eat on their way to work.  Bagels took off as a breakfast food when Lender’s Bagels began selling packages of frozen bagels in the 1960s. Bagel-like foods can be found in many different cultures; the Uighurs of China made steamed and baked rolls with a hole in the center, and in Italy, a sweet, bagel-shaped bread called taralli has been enjoyed since the 14th century.

The modern bagel however has its origins in Poland. Legend has it that a baker in Vienna invented the bagel to honor Polish King Jan Sobieski who defeated the Turkish army in 1683 at the Battle of Vienna. King Sobieski loved horses, so the baker formed the bread in the shape of a stirrup, or beugel in German. Bagels became a specialty of Jewish bakers in Poland and other parts of Eastern Europe; in the 1800s, these bakers brought their recipe with them when they settled in New York. Traditional bagels were made using flour, yeast, salt, malt, and water instead of egg, which made the bread harder. The dough was shaped into rings, which were then briefly boiled in water before baking. This process gave bagels a crispy surface and chewy consistency, bagels were only good for a few hours, after which they’d be too tough to eat.

The large numbers of immigrants coming to New York from Eastern Europe in the late 19th and early 20th century created a huge demand for bagels. Eventually, the bagel caught on with other New Yorkers, Lender’s Bagels further popularized the food so that by 2008, Americans were eating over 3 billion bagels a year.

Locate a local bagel shop through Real Local Pages (RLP), an online directory of businesses and services throughout the United States. Visit the website, http://www.reallocalpages.com, and enter your location. On the main page, enter keywords such as “bagel” into the search box, or, choose a category from the popular categories list to search. The results page will display the phone number and address of the businesses. Real Local Pages is a great website to help you find many different types of businesses and services, from sporting goods stores to electricians.

 

New Year, New Sport

Adults_playing_frisbee_DWH01221-300x232Losing weight and getting more fit is the most popular New Year’s resolution but only 46% of people who make resolutions continue towards their goal past six months. Only 8% of individuals making resolutions actually achieve them. Many people become frustrated with their lack of immediate success or give up on their goal of losing weight because it’s too difficult; but getting in shape doesn’t need to be a chore—playing sports is a great way to lose weight while also having fun. Studies show that playing sports is a good way to improve overall physical and mental health:

Physical Benefits: Sports are great way to maintain a healthy weight, but playing sports offers other health benefits. According to the Center for Disease Control, physical activity like sports can lower your risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Sports also strengthens muscles and bones; playing sports helps build muscle mass, and muscle burns more calories than body fat.

Mental Benefits: Besides the great physical advantages of playing sports, being active reduces stress, anxiety, and the likelihood of depression. Playing a sport lowers stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline while also stimulating the production of endorphins in the body, which improves your mood. Playing sports also makes it easier to fall asleep and have sounder rest. Sports can also improve cognitive functioning and self-esteem. Studies show that active people possess a more positive self-image and have higher confidence. The skills you master while playing a sport boosts confidence and pride in yourself, and these positive feelings can spill over to other areas of your life.

Use Real Local Pages (RLP) to find local sports equipment and sporting goods stores to get the things you need to start a new sport. RLP is an online directory of businesses and services; visit http://www.reallocalpages.com to get started. Enter your city and state, then enter key words related to your search into the search box on the home page. You can also choose a term from the popular categories list or click on one of featured images on the main page to search. The results page will show the listings as well as the address and phone number of the business. Real Local Pages is useful for locating many different types of businesses and services, from auto repair shops to lawn care services.