How to Make Your Parents Happy

Your parents care very much for you, and you should do what you can to make them happy. Learn what you can do to be considerate of them. Below are some suggestions for you depending on your age and where you are in life.

As a Preteen or a Teenager

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    Do your chores. This is a great way to show your parents you care about their concerns. Your parents care about the way your home looks, and being active in helping them maintain that home will make them happy. It will also help keep peace in your home. This will also impact your parents well-being.

    • Do your chores without being asked to. That eagerness to help will be much appreciated, and will earn you brownie points with your parents.
    • Do more than you are asked. If your daily chore is to sweep the kitchen, start sweeping the hall as well. If you see something needs to be done, go ahead and do it. That will lighten the burden off of your parents and really mean something to them.
    • Help your parents out when you see them working around the house. If your dad is raking the leaves, go grab a rake and join him. If your mom is mopping the floor, take the mop from her and let her get a break. Your parents are doing a lot, and it would make them happy if you were considerate of all that they do.
    Do well in school. Show up every day and dedicate yourself to your studies. Parents want to be proud of your achievements, and giving them something to be proud of will make them very happy. You do not have to be a straight A student, but just showing that you care about school will go a long way in their book.[1]

    • Do not skip school. This could create a world of problems for yourself and your parents. If you have to miss for something, clear it with your parents first before you miss a day or a few hours of class.
    • Let them know if you are struggling in a subject. It is better to be honest and get the help that you need instead of hiding it or just giving up. This shows maturity and that you really care about your performance at school.
    • Be good in class. You can be a smart, well-graded student and still have issues with behavior. Make sure your teachers only have good things to say about you. This will make your parents happy since you are taking their parenting to heart.
    Excel in an extracurricular. Find out what you are good at, and join a club or team that supports that endeavor. It is good to have hobbies, and having something that your parents can hang on the wall like a certificate or ribbon will bring them much happiness.

    • Remember that you do not have to be the best. Do your personal best and push yourself to grow in whatever you are doing, but do not try and be perfect. Your parents will be happy just knowing you are trying your hardest.
    • Try out multiple things. One year you might go out for the volleyball team and not make it. Try and join the art club. You might find your passion in something unexpected. Being open-minded will help you figure out what you like best. If you need help finding a hobby,
    Be obedient. Do what your parents tell you to do when they ask you to do it. This shows your parents you respect them and their authority. Knowing they have this respect from you will surely make them happy.[2]

    • Do not talk back or disrespect them. If you cannot do something, let them know in a calm manner.
    • Communicate with your parents if something changes. If you have a set curfew and you cannot make it or would like to stay out, let them know ahead of time instead of just disobeying.
    • Always listen. Parents have reasons why they tell you to do things or set rules. Listening to them will help you to understand their reasoning. If you have questions, just ask them and be open to their perspective.



Playground Safety for Children – Rules and Precautions


Well, firstly, there is no denying that ‘playing’, and ‘safety’ may sound quite ironic in general. What would playing be without some scars and bruises and a broken arm or leg, right? But jokes apart, if you want your children to not undergo a serious injury on the playground or, Heaven forbid, any sort of permanent damage ― physical or mental, then safety is a must.

What is Playground Safety?

Precaution is better than cure. We may not be able to forever dodge accidents of all kinds, but the best we can do is to avoid letting them happen. Any kinds of accidents and injuries on the playground can turn out to be a risk when you least expect it. So here’s a list of basic rules and tips for you and your kids to ensure safe and enjoyable time on the playground.

Playground Safety Rules

Adult supervision and precaution is very important in protecting children from playground hazards. As true as that is, only that wouldn’t be enough to protect your kids all the time. Kids need to be taught and made to naturally take care of themselves and those around while playing outside. Honestly, this goes a long way in the securing their physical and emotional well-being.

1. General Thumb-rules for yourself

  • Inform your parents or guardians before going to a playground. Have an adult or some friends accompany you and avoid going alone without informing anyone.
  • Check the safety of the ground surface around the play equipment. Make sure there is cushioning to minimize harm if you fall. If you find any possibly dangerous objects, either carefully throws them away or ask an adult to. If this is risky, simply avoid playing in that area until it is clean and safe to play.
  • Always try to land on your feet by bending your knees when you jump. Do not land on the ground on your knees.
  • Avoid playing on wet equipment as this will make it slippery, and you may have more chances of getting hurt.
  • Also, believe me, you don’t want to have skin-burns. So if you’re out to play in the sun, apply sunscreen before heading out. If the equipment is too hot, don’t play on it. Maybe evening would be a good time to compensate.
  • To ensure playground health and safety, keep your shoelaces properly tied, so you don’t trip and fall. Try to wear as simple and comfortable clothes as you can, without any scarves, drawstrings, cords or loose ends that could get stuck or trapped in any equipment.
  • Always check for your belongings before leaving the playground. Pick up your things and don’t leave them behind.

2. Safety Rules involving others

  • Do not get involved in violent fights, verbal or physical abuse. Never push other kids and be careful you are not causing anybody harm.
  • If more kids want to play with the same equipment, be patient and wait for your turn. You can organize forming a line, so everybody gets their fair chance.
  • Keep your bikes, cycles and bags or any big stuff away from the play area as someone can stumble over it and get hurt. But keep your food and water nearby yet away from the play equipment in case you need it.
  • It is good to play with other kids and make friends but inform your parents or guardian if an adult stranger approaches you or asks you do something.

3. Small Equipment Safety Rules

  • If you are playing with a ball or a frisbee, and it goes out of the playground, seek help from a grown-up in retrieving it.
  • When playing with hoops, ropes and such small equipment, keep yourself away from the big equipment and play areas for older kids.
  • Make sure the equipment you play with does not have sharp edges or splinters.
  • While playing with a skipping rope, make sure your shoelaces are properly tied and do not wear scarves or any piece of clothing that can come in the way and cause you to fall.

4. Safety Measures of the Big Swing

  • Do not go very near to the swing and keep a safe distance if someone is swinging.
  • Hold on to the suspending chains with both hands.
  • Do not swing too high.
  • It is also dangerous to stand or kneel on the swing.
  • It is very unsafe to jump off a moving swing. If you want to get off it, first bring it to a halt slowly.
  • If you cannot start swinging by yourself, ask your parent or an adult to gently give you a push.


5. Slide Safety

  • While climbing the ladder of the slide, hold the handrail and keep your feet carefully one at a time. Don’t try to skip the steps or you may get hurt.
  • In a queue, be a good kid and let the one ahead of you slide down before you go. Don’t push other kids. Give them enough room.
  • One of the important safety tips for slides is making sure no one is present at the end of the slide, or you might end up kicking or falling over them.
  • After you slide, get away from the front end quickly if there are other kids behind you in the queue.
  • Again, if the slide is too hot, don’t play on it.

6. School Playground Safety

  • Kids safety tips in the playground at their schools include playing under the supervision of a teacher.
  • While playing, understand and follow any instructions your teacher gives regarding equipment.
  • If you are playing in groups in a designated area, do not leave that area without the teacher’s permission.
  • Keep your water bottle and food away from the play area but within a close reach.
  • Don’t rush and run while leaving the playground. Form lines and retreat safely.

7. Seesaw Safety Tips

  • The spring type seesaw is recommended for preschoolers.
  • Choose to pair up with a kid about your own health and only one child should sit on a single seat.
  • Sit facing each other, not facing outside.
  • Keep a straight back and hold the holders with both hands, so you are balanced before you start playing.
  • Maintain coordination with your partner and keep your feet to the sides, away from underneath the seat.
  • Don’t try to climb on to the middle of the see-saw, especially a moving one.

8. Safety Rules for Climbing Apparatus

  • If the climbing apparatus of any kind is already crowded, wait for a while until there is enough free space.
  • Use both hands while climbing and do not take the next step up unless you are balanced in your present position.
  • Keep distance from the person in front of you and give them enough leg space, so you don’t get a swinging leg.
  • Never reach for bars and ropes too far or out of your reach.
  • While climbing down, be careful not to hit others and make your way down slowly.

9. Fireman’s Pole Safety Rules

  • Hold the pole with both hands and wrap your legs around it as you slide down the pole.
  • Before sliding down always ensure that there is nobody at the bottom of the pole.
  • While sliding down, don’t make too much of direct and extreme skin contact with the pole, apart from your hands and feet. Let your body slide down light and easy.
  • Bend your knees slightly and land on your feet on the ground.


10. Merry-go-round Safety Tips

  • Merry-go-rounds are safer for kids aged 4 years and above. Younger children tend to fall off them more often.
  • Never have the rotation speed of the merry-go-round too fast, and out-of-control, neither before nor after you get on it.
  • If you are old enough to operate the merry-go-round, that is, bring it to spin and climb on to it, the most important thing is your hand grip strength and balance. Once you’re on it safely, keep holding on to the bars tightly and enjoy the thrill.
  • Make sure your feet are away from the pinch zones of the equipment if there are any. Don’t put your feet down or you might have them scraped.
  • If you start feeling dizzy, ask someone to bring the merry-go-round to a halt. Don’t try to jump off it while it is spinning.

10 Simple Ways to Stop Buying Stuff You Dont Need

What is your biggest money challenge?

I’ve been asking this question of my readers for the past month or so and the results are in…

They’re all on the list. In fact, the responses were split evenly between these three financial challenges – not too surprising considering my millennial reader base.

What did surprise me though was that none of these three major monetary struggles took top spot. What did, by a significant margin, was something far simpler, something we all know to do, but struggle to execute – live within our means. i.e. How to stop buying stuff we don’t need.

Overspending, budgeting, impulse buying and the general overconsumption of unnecessary crap was by far and away the most commonly cited financial struggle among my readers.

So today, I’m offering my top tips for addressing it….






If you know you have a tendency to splurge on non-essentials, don’t tempt yourself with window-shopping or trips to the mall for leisure.

Aimless wandering leads to aimless spending. Avoid it by choosing alternate, non-budget-threatening ways to unwind – a walk in the park, a visit to the library, a potluck with friends, etc.


The easiest way to stop yourself from buying stuff you don’t need is to avoid temptation altogether.


If you have to walk across town for an errand, take the residential route rather than the main street lined with cute boutiques.

If you have to make a trip to Target, make a list and stay laser focused on it. Better yet, use your list to search each item online and have it delivered straight to your doorstop, no walking through aisles of temptation or aimless internet browsing.




If and when you must pop into your local Bed, Bath & Beyond, Anthropologie or other store environment, remember that retailers are professional spending seducers.

Every piece of the shopping environment, from layout to lighting is constructed to maximize your spending – that’s why random things you’d never voluntarily put on your shopping list suddenly become so appealing.

Who in their right mind needs a $30 coaster or $60 throw pillow until they see it perfectly positioned in a display at Anthropologie?

Avoid retail seduction by staying mindful of its existence.

Visualize any item you’re tempted to buy in isolation, removed from the intoxicating environment of the store to stay grounded.

Better yet, imagine the item buried in the clearance bin at a thrift store. Would you still want it then?




I donate multiple boxes of books, clothes and other household items throughout the year. The space limitations of my shared one bedroom NYC apartment keeps my accumulation of stuff in check. Even so, I marvel at how much I manage to squeeze into this small space, and when I stop to take stock of it all, it strikes me how little I truly need.


When you have so much, it’s hard to tell what you already have.


Make an assessment of what’s in all those drawers and cabinets and piles of crap shoved into the back corners of your life.

If you pause to inventory and literally make a list of everything you own, your mind will eventually catch up with how wealthy you already are and help you stop buying stuff you don’t need.


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Practice mindfulness and gratitude for everything in your life – experiences, relationships, opportunities, etc.

Taking the time to recognize and say thank you for simple pleasures, from a sunny day to a delicious cup of home brew, can go a long way in creating an abundant mindset, which is a powerful antidote to impulse buys and overspending.


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When you feel full with gratitude, you’re less likely to rely on spending as a tool to fill emotional voids. It’s hard to feel empty when you’re in touch with how much you already have.




Speaking of emotions…. does this sound familiar?

  • I have to get up early tomorrow – I’ll motivate myself with a treat.
  • I totally bombed that interview – I’ll feel better with a treat.
  • I totally rocked that interview – I’ll celebrate with a treat.

It’s easy for emotional justifications to become pervasive and derail your diligent budgeting efforts.

Instead of getting wrapped up in those feelings, stay grounded in the numbers.

Take a moment to detach from whatever you’re feeling and practice gratitude for what you already have, then take a look at your budget and see how the reality of your spending stacks up against your monthly plan.


Stripping away the emotions and distilling decisions down to the black and white of the numbers can save you from a whole lot of spending regret later on.



If your tendency is to overspend, do you really think weekly emails advertising the latest discounts to your favorite stores and travel destinations are working in favor of your smarter spending goals?

Unsubscribe from those newsletters and replace messages of consumption with positive, inspiring alternatives.


Align your inbox with what you want to achieve as much you align your budget with those goals.




You know that feeling you get mid-binge watch of your favorite TV series? The temptation to roll right into the next episode is overwhelming.

If you miraculously manage to tear yourself away from the screen though, you notice how quickly that urge evaporates. Within a matter of hours, you’re consumed by another task entirely.

Remember that feeling the next time you’re facing overwhelming purchase temptation. If you can tear yourself away from that in the moment urge to buy, you may be surprised at how quickly the temptation fades away.

By instituting a 24 hour hold policy on purchases, much of what feels like a must-have in the moment will likely fade away too.

The key is to hold off on pulling the purchase trigger until you’ve had the time and space to make that assessment.




This has always been one of my most sobering and effective strategies to stop buying stuff I don’t need. When I see the cost of an item, I calculate how many hours of work it would take to earn that amount.

This was particularly effective when I was making $10-15 an hour waiting tables, babysitting and other jobs I hated.

Instead of asking, is this pair of jeans worth $100? I’d ask, is this pair of jeans worth an entire shift at my soul sucking restaurant job?

Even now, I frame costs in terms of the time it would take me to earn as much. After all, time is a non-renewable resource.




Imagine having a tiny handheld scale in your pocket while working towards a fitness goal and being able to use it in moments of temptation – when considering a second glass of wine or an oversized piece of chocolate cake maybe.

If you stepped on the scale in that moment of decision and found yourself already teetering on the edge of your target weight, you’d probably have an easier time saying no to the extra indulgence. The scale would keep you accountable to your long-term bikini body goal.

An app that tracks your spending can offer that same kind of accountability for your budget.

In that moment of purchase temptation, you can quickly check-in on your smartphone to assess whether the spending you’re considering is going to bring you closer to or push you further away from what you really want to achieve.

Check out You Need a Budget with a free 34-day trial to take the guess work out of your day to day budgeting and keep you accountable to your big picture goals.




Speaking of big picture goals, that’s what this is all about – making financial decisions in the day-to-day that are in alignment with the big picture lifestyle you want to live.

The problem is it’s easy to lose touch with that big picture when it exists only in your imagination.


To keep the big picture top of mind and make daily spending decisions that align with those goals and priorities, create tangible reminders of what your big picture looks like and strategically place them around your life.


For example, an image of your dream home as your desktop background as you’re saving up for a down payment, or a picture of your children wrapped around your credit cards as you work to build their college cash reserves.

Whatever resonates with you and motivates you to save, make it visual and put that reminder some place where you have to check-in with it regularly, particularly in moments of temptation.


With all these smarter spending strategies in mind, let me add that I’m not against the occasional indulgence or splurge.

I firmly believe you can enjoy your day-to-day lifestyle while making spending decisions that serve your big picture priorities.

That’s why none of these tactics call for an automatic denial of every non-necessity purchase. Rather, these strategies are designed to help you make spending choices more mindfully.


The importance of focus and self-control for young children

Support your child's development of focus and self-control.

Today’s world is busy. There are so many things to remember, juggle and keep up with. Even young children have a lot of information to juggle, especially as their attention span is a moving target throughout their early development. This is especially difficult on young children who are still developing the skills they need to remember and manage everything on life’s ever-growing to-do list.

The ability to focus and control involves the developing executive functioning skills including the ability to pay attention, learn and remember rules, and the self-control to not act on initial impulses. Studies have shown that children who have developed executive functioning skills often do better in school and are more likely to be able to achieve personal goals as they mature.

Focus and self-control

In “The Mind in the Making,” author Ellen Galinksy explains what focus and self-control really mean. Focus and self-control consist of four different skills: focus, cognitive flexibility, working memory and inhibitory control.

  1. Focus refers to attention and involves being alert and “orienting.” Orienting refers to the ability to focus one’s attention on the specific tasks that will help them accomplish whatever their goal is. Concentration is also a big part of focus as children get older.
  2. Cognitive flexibility means someone is able to change the focus of their attention, change perspectives and even adjust to changing situations, priorities or demands. This is really the ability of your brain, thinking and acting to adjust to things that happen.
  3. Working memory is like a holding cell in your brain where you hold information that you can continue to change and update as needed. When your working memory is developed, you can hold information in your head, add to it, cross things off when they are completed and think about what you need to do to accomplish each task. Working memory also helps us relate ideas or experiences to things you have already learned or previous experiences.
  4. Inhibitory control refers to the ability to stop yourself from doing things. These skills are useful when you are faced with a difficult task that you are tempted to give up on, helping you act in appropriate ways and simply stopping and taking stock before you act. Exhibiting inhibitory control necessitates control of attention, emotions and behavior. It could be as simple as the ability to block out your neighbor’s conversation while you try to read your emails at work.

Supporting the development of focus and self-control

Try these tips from Michigan State University Extension for helping build your child’s focus and self-control.

  • Bring control and calm. Being able to control bodies, emotions and actions is a skill children need to learn. You can help young children learn these skills by realizing what methods help them calm and re-center and encourage them to employ those methods when they need them or when they are staring to lose control.
  • Make it a game. Lots of games or activities can help children practice focus and self-control. Games like I spy, guessing games, red light-green light and musical chairs are all great ways to help children practice skills for focus and self-control.
  • Encourage your child’s interests. Have you ever noticed how easy it is to get lost in your hobbies, and yet it can be so challenging to stay focused for even 10 minutes on a work task that you dread? We have a much bigger capacity for focus and self-control when we are interested in the task, and it is much easier to be engaged and enthralled in something that interests you. Help your child follow their interests and encourage them to invest time in exploring those interests.
  • Read. Reading stories to young children that encourage them to listen and focus can help them develop these important skills. Find stories where children can finish familiar phrases or refrains and ask them questions about the stories during and after you have finished the story.
  • Support pretend play. When children pretend, they have to use working memory to remember their “character” or other characteristics of their story. They also use cognitively flexibility in their creative expression during pretend play.
  • Plan and do. Help children make plans and stick to them. Encourage them to decide on a plan of action, follow through with it and then check in with them afterwards.
  • Keep them guessing. Play games that don’t follow normal rules or expectations, or change the rules halfway through. These types of games keep children on their toes and require them to pay attention in order to remember what they are supposed to do.

You can help your child develop the essential life skill of focus and self-control, and set them up for success.

For more articles on child development, academic success, parenting and life skill development, please visit the Michigan State University Extension website.


5 Ways to Win New Customers and 10 Ways to Keep Them

The next sentence might raise a few eyebrows, but I am going to say it anyway. Winning new customers is much easier than keeping them as returning customers. After winning new business, so many things could go wrong during the retention process that customer retention becomes daunting for the business owner. However, retaining customers is extremely crucial to the health of your business, even though it’s not as easy as winning them.

5 Ways to Win New Business

1. Increase Your Customer Base – If the business has a good conversion rate, the math is simple. More customers will result in more business.

2. Cater for Different Marketing Channels – It is very likely that some of your customer base might be ebay users, some might be Amazon users and some will only look at the organic search results. To win new business it will make sense to diversify your marketing channels to reach as many potential customers as possible. A good channel to look into is affiliate marketing if you aren’t already. This gives potential buyers a 3rd party opinion on your product/service. Consumer Mattress Guide is a great example, they review mattresses to help visitors make informed buying decisions.

3. Check Your Prices – Customers are very wise these days. Before buying from you, they will research other offers to find the best deal, especially for branded products. To win new customers, ensure your prices are competitive.

4. Offer More Products or Services – True in many industries, customer taste changes, technology improves and new products are constantly introduced. To win new customers stay tuned to your market and add new products when possible.

5. Make Your Current Customers Work for You – Current customers can help immensely. Social recommendations are known to have a high conversion rate because friends or family tend to share a similar taste. To win new customers make sure your website has an easy way to share content (for example, an button is an easy way to email a page) and do not be afraid to ask customers to share your products with others.


Winning business after you’ve sent the quote

Shaking hands on an accepted quote for new business

No one likes wasting effort, which is why it is particularly irritating to lose business after you have prepared a good quote. Benjamin Dyer of Powered Now explains how to maximise sales when you are quoting for new business

Quotes for customers are an essential part of marketing for many small businesses, especially trades such as plumbing, building and landscape gardening. They can also be incredibly frustrating.

You work hard researching materials, getting prices together and estimating the work in order to put together a great quotation. You hope that the customer is eagerly anticipating your email and that they will open it the moment it arrives, recognise all the hard work that has gone into it and respond positively.

Sadly, the world doesn’t always work like that. But there are ways to improve the amount of work you get after you quote for jobs.

Make sure quotes reach customers

The first thing is to make sure your prospect has actually received your quote. As well as emailing (or posting) the quote, it’s worth texting the customer to let them know the quote has been sent.

It’s all too common for emails from new contacts to end up in the spam folder. Meanwhile, your customer may be reading the quote that your competitor sent and has no idea what happened to yours.

When it comes to trade businesses, one of the biggest complaints from homeowners is that they can’t get quotes out of them. Unfortunately this doesn’t mean they will necessarily read quotes when they are received.

Marcelle Stoughton, director of Fencing Services, puts it this way: “After I send a quote, as well as texting them, the following day I call the prospect by phone to confirm they got it and to see if they have any questions. If they haven’t opened it, I try to get them to open it or retrieve it from the spam folder. However, I don’t pressurise them.”

Marketing follow-up

After the quote has gone, you also need to note a time in your diary when you should follow up. It is best if you pre-arrange this if possible. Marcelle Stoughton says: “I call them back a week later after they have had time to think about it.”

Sometimes, unfortunately, you will be the loser. Under these circumstances, it’s important to make the most of a bad job. Matthew Stevenson of The Landscape Company says: “If I get an email back with bad news saying I haven’t got the job, I always respond saying thank you for the opportunity and thanks for responding and wishing them all the best. I also tell them that if they want anything in the future, to not hesitate to get in touch.”

If you respond this way the prospect will really appreciate your attitude. If things don’t go to plan, they may come back to you now or in the future. They might even recommend you to others. None of that can happen if you are rude or if you don’t reply.

Unfortunately if you are off-hand or rude, you not only guarantee your good work was wasted, you may even cause adverse comment to be posted online. Increasing numbers of homeowners check reputation online.

Improving your marketing

You also miss out on the opportunity to find out why you lost the business, so you can build that into the way you sell in the future. For instance, if you lost on price and it was obvious that was all that mattered, you might choose not to bid for work with that type of customer in the future.

If the prospect decides to delay the work this presents a different issue. You need to contact them on a regular basis. Many customers forget who they had previously contacted. When they decide to get the work done, they often start their search again.

Make sure that you track the work that you won and lost by source of lead. This enables you to learn where the most valuable leads come from and concentrate your efforts accordingly.

It’s a lot of work to provide excellent quotes; and it’s annoying when you do it for nothing. But by making a few small changes, you can improve your conversion rate and win more business in the long term.


How to Properly Take Care of Your Handbag, According to Designers


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Don’t Hang It

While you might be inclined to sling your bag over a doorknob or hook, resist the urge. “Don’t hang your handbag by the handle as it may distort the leather,” Caraa Co-founder and Creative Director Carmen Chen Wu says. “I recommend standing it upright on a shelf, instead.”

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Keep It Out of the Light

Chen Wu also warns that letting your handbag sit in the light for too long can cause damage. “Store it somewhere without direct sunlight to prevent any discoloration, and with low humidity to avoid mold,” she says.

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Use a Dust Bag

Hobo Co-founder and Chief Visionary Officer Koren Ray has a storage solution that keeps your bag out of the light and safe from the elements. “Dust bags are always a good idea,” she says. When you purchase your handbag, it should come with a dust bag, but if it doesn’t, you can find eco-friendly options pretty easily.

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Invest in Maintenance Products

Ray notes that while leather ages gracefully on its own, a little protection and nourishment go a long way. “Certain leathers work well with leather cream, while other leathers should only be treated with a cleaner or protectant, depending on the nature of the grain,” she notes. “I am a big believer in spraying a suede bag with leather and suede protectant before use, so that the suede will have a protective layer and be better suited to handle the elements. I do believe less is usually best when it comes to applying product to leather, in effort to keep the hides in their natural state as much as possible.”

HOBO’s leather care collection includes a leather cream, leather spray, and leather and suede protector, all of which are made with natural ingredients and in the United States.

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Clean It, But Not Too Much

If your bag is nylon, you’ll clean it differently than leather. “Gently hand-wash nylon with mild soap, rinse with water, press almost dry with a large clean towel, and air dry for a couple of hours,” Chen Wu says. For leather bags, she advises to “mix a solution of warm water and dish soap, dip a soft cloth into it, wring it out, and gently wipe the leather surfaces. Use a second clean, damp cloth to wipe off the soap. Dry with a towel. Warm, soapy water will also help remove water stains and scuffs.” Keeping this in mind, she also recommends not going overboard. Chen Wu recommends only cleaning your handbag when it needs a refresh to avoid wearing it out more quickly.

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Ditch Plastic Poly Bags

If you’ve been using a plastic polybag in lieu of a dust bag—halt! “Never store your leather handbag in a plastic polybag,” Chen Wu warns. “The plastic can stick to the leather over time and damage it.” Aside from it damaging the bag, a traditional dust bag is a far more aesthetically pleasing option so this tip should be easy to follow.

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Maintain the Shape

There’s nothing sadder than a sunken-in handbag. However, this structural catastrophe can be avoided completely. According to Ray, rolling sweaters inside your bag helps them maintain their shape.

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Embrace Imperfections

Both Ray and Chen Wu agree that while taking care of your handbag is necessary, it’s important to love and carry it, too. “Age equals beauty and the more you carry your bag the more beautiful it will become over time,” Ray says. “As the leather softens, the shape can change slightly and that is part of the charm of something well-loved.” Chen Wu adds that “worn-in bags develop a patina that can make them even more beautiful.”

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Do Not Wait Until the Last Minute to Make Repairs to Your Handbag

Don’t wait to get those small repairs done because you may cause more harm than good if you do. At the first sign of damage, visit your local seamstress or leather repair shop, depending on what damage has occurred.

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Consider Using a Handbag Liner

Protect the inside of your handbag from things like spills, especially if you frequently change your bag, by using a handbag liner. Not only will your bag be protected, but you’ll also get even more pockets for storing things, and a liner makes it easy to swap out bags quickly.

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Be Sure to Zip or Fasten the Handbag and Overlap Handles on Top of It

Leaving handles with heavy hardware to hang on the sides of your bag when not in use will put added stress on the handbag or may cause tearing, so make sure that you always zip or fasten your handbags and then overlap any handles on top of it.


How to Be Mentally and Emotionally Strong

When we’re not able to handle the curveballs life throws at us, things can feel pretty chaotic and out of our control. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could face obstacles and adversity with confidence, knowing that you can bounce back from anything? Good news: you totally can! Anyone can become mentally and emotionally stronger. You just need to work on building your confidence and resiliency and learn how to regulate your emotions when tough times do come around. It’s a journey that doesn’t happen overnight, but soon you’ll notice a difference in how you handle setbacks.


Why Working Faster Matters Even When You Make Mistakes

Too many people work slowly because they fear making mistakes, but the cliché saying is true: time is money. Jeff Bezos recently argued that being wrong can hurt you, but being slow will kill you. Evolutionary biology tells us the same. It was, after all, the meek, but speedy, rodents from 160 million years ago that ended up inheriting the earth as humans today.

Speeding up your workflow doesn’t require you to sacrifice quality. Sloppiness and mistakes are more often the result of fatigue. Working faster can actually boost your productivity and accuracy, as long as you take strategic breaks between those bursts of adrenaline.

Keeping a quick pace throughout your workday will help you move through more tasks, identify opportunities for efficiency, and actually save you time in the long run by helping you focus on those actions that actually produce results.

Here are a few techniques for how to work faster to save time and minimize your mistakes without tiring out:
1. Work With Goals: To-Do Lists are your Friend

Is there any greater satisfaction than crossing an item off a to-do list? Completing a task stimulates a psychological reward process in the brain that results in a rush of dopamine, the neurotransmitters directly connected to pleasure and motivation.

If you don’t set daily goals, your brain chemistry doesn’t get to experience the rush of motivational feelings nearly as often, resulting in burnout. However, when you create a checklist of tasks and complete them, those feelings of satisfaction and accomplishment come regularly throughout your work day.

So much of productivity is setting up the right circumstances to thrive. So don’t make the checklist on your phone, as it’s too easy to get a popup notification and derail your focus entirely. Also, your list doesn’t need to include everything you need to do this month, just the most important tasks you need to get accomplished today.

A checklist is a simple way to set a roadmap, so that once you’re up and running, you don’t have to slow down to regain your bearings. Also, it sets the right circumstances for those reward signals to keep on coming, keeping your brain stimulated, energized, and moving forward.

“A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.” – Albert Einstein

2. Work in Sprints: Try The Pomodoro Technique

Working at full-speed and in top-form for the entirety of an 8-10 hour work day is impossible for anyone. The Pomodoro Technique is all about breaking your workday into smaller, more manageable increments, so you can keep up a fast pace for the entire day.

The famous productivity hack suggests breaking your work intervals into 25-35 minutes. By continually restarting the “pomodoro,” (which references the shape of the kitchen timer the inventor of this technique initially used), you train your brain to stay hyper-focused during those shorter periods of work, resulting in more stamina and productivity over the course of a day.

The Pomodoro Technique encourages short breaks between each interval, and then a longer, 20-30 minute break after 4 work sessions. Like a daily checklist, this productivity technique transforms the cycle of work into a process of staggered rewards. Each completed increment brings its own sense of accomplishment (and dopamine!).

Although, “It’s a marathon, not a sprint,” is often referenced when it comes to accomplishing long-term projects, interval training is the better workout metaphor for an efficient daily work flow. High-intensity interval training is considered the most efficient form of cardio because it helps you burn more calories in less time.

Similarly, these bursts of hyper-focused work increments produce more results because of the intensity. The scattered breaks (or periods of low intensity) allow you to rejuvenate and refocus before the next round.

3. Work Smarter: Remember the 80/20 Rule

It’s important to remember that productivity doesn’t have a direct correlation to input. Yes, your coworker may be putting in ten-hour work days — but how much of that extra time is translating into real results?

The 80/20 rule — or the Pareto Principle — has historic roots dating back to the mid-19th century, and the basic tenant is that 80% of results are brought about by only 20% of your efforts. So although a 10-hour work day may appear successful if measured in input rather than output, it’s likely the most tangible results only came from 20% of that time.

The Pareto Principle is not an exact science, but a kind of inevitability. Some of our efforts won’t always be fruitful. Those people who fear working too quickly for the fear of slipping up don’t seem to realize that mistakes are inevitable, and most of them can be corrected and repaired. Plus, mistakes give you the hindsight to get it right the next time.

When you apply the 80/20 rule to your own work day, it gives you a tangible way to measure which of your actions result in the most production. A daily checklist, or a productivity schedule like the Pomodoro Technique, can help you pay attention to the 80/20 rule more closely. What items on your checklist took more effort? Which pomodoros produced the best results?

When you start to identify these patterns of input and output, you can redelegate and refocus your priorities toward that 20% that actually produces high-quality work. Then, replicate those circumstances whenever you can rather than slowing down.

“No matter how many mistakes you make or how slow you progress, you are still way ahead of everyone who isn’t trying.” – Tony Robbins

4. Work for Momentum: Break the Rules When Necessary

Some hesitate to adopt an incremental schedule from fear of bringing those moments of heightened productivity to an abrupt stop. Whether you’re “on a roll,” or “in the zone,” momentum is a real state of being, and you need the time and space for your productivity to naturally build and recede.

People tend to build momentum at similar times of day. I’m a morning person, and do better waking up at 6am and working till noon. So much of productivity is getting to know your own tendencies, so you don’t always have to rely on tricks like the Pomodoro Technique or the 80/20 rule to find your flow.

Break the rules when you have to. When you understand when, where, and how you work best, you learn which circumstances lead to mistakes or lower-quality work, and you can avoid them. And on those days when the struggle is real, productivity hacks can keep you on schedule and help you avoid procrastination. Tell yourself you’re going to work on a task for just 5 minutes, or you’re going to write just one paragraph, or you’re going to get just one item off your checklist done.

These little steps usually are enough to get some traction until your productivity takes off. And remember that in order to stay alive, you just have to make sure you don’t slow down.


The First Video Game?

photo of Tennis for Two

Before ‘Pong,’ There Was ‘Tennis for Two’

Before the era of electronic ping pong, hungry yellow dots, plumbers, mushrooms, and fire-flowers, people waited in line to play video games at roller-skating rinks, arcades, and other hangouts. More than fifty years ago, before either arcades or home video games, visitors waited in line at Brookhaven National Laboratory to play “Tennis for Two,” an electronic tennis game that is unquestionably a forerunner of the modern video game.

Tennis for Two was first introduced on October 18, 1958, at one of the Lab’s annual visitors’ days. Two people played the electronic tennis game with separate controllers that connected to an analog computer and used an oscilloscope for a screen. The game’s creator, William Higinbotham, was a nuclear physicist lobbied for nuclear nonproliferation as the first chair of the Federation of American Scientists.