Creative Gift Giving Is Easier Than You Think

(NewsUSA) – It’s no secret that shopping for holiday gifts can be overwhelming.The answer to alleviating the stress of thoughtful gift giving comes in a cardboard box.Seriously.Subscription box services are popular options for a "gift that keeps on giving," providing a personalized experience delivered safely every month.In fact, in a survey conducted by the Paper and Packaging Board from August 2015 to November 2016, 82 percent of those surveyed agreed that they could rely on corrugated cardboard boxes to get their merchandise shipped and delivered safely. And 60 percent feel that products that come in paper-packaging tend to feel more premium.Innovations in box and packaging design allow these boxes to delight well past delivery with extended use and upcycling options.Find the perfect gift for your loved one this season with one of these favorites:* KiwiCo (Kiwico.com):For the Kid Who Is Going to Run the World.KiwiCo develops monthly STEAM educational hands-on projects and activities to spark curiosity and creativity in kids aged 0-16+.Each eco-friendly corrugated box is filled with interactive projects to fit a child’s respective age group. As your child or loved one grows, so do the boxes!* Loot Crate (LootCrate.com): For the Pop-Culture Obsessed.Loot Crate is a pop culture- themed subscription box featuring a changing monthly theme that covers all fandoms.These corrugated boxes hit every interest from video games to television and movies. Loot Crate offers an additional perk – the box is part of the monthly theme itself, which is to say, the box transforms into a "bonus" gift with some simple cuts and folds. You have to see it to believe it.* Graze (Graze.com) – For the Foodie.Graze is a subscription box that uses high-quality, nutritionist- approved ingredients to provide wholesome snacks. Graze uses responsibly resourced paper-based packaging to ensure that its products are safe and fresh for consumption.Foodies can subscribe for weekly, bi-weekly or monthly deliveries of personalized Graze boxes based on their custom-snack profile.*KitNipBox (KitNipBox.com): For the Cat Lover.KitNipBox is uniquely themed so cats (and their humans!) have something fresh, fun and new to look forward to each month. The design of the box, which can be recycled, is specifically made to fit 95 percent of cats, so they can play with the box and fit inside of it.Additionally, KitNipBox uses specially designed crinkling tissue paper in the boxes, so that the unwrapping experience is even more special for cats and their owners.* Cratejoy (Cratejoy.com):For Everyone.Cratejoy is the world’s premier subscription box website, providing a global marketplace of products.Cratejoy offers a vast selection of uniquely crafted corrugated boxes suited to virtually any hobby, interest or taste.Gifting a subscription box service is an easy yet thoughtful option for anyone on your shopping list! Unbox an experience that will last long past this holiday season. Find out more by visiting HowLifeUnfolds.comClick here to view video. 

Hit Reset with a Kitchen Lighting Update

(NewsUSA) – Ready for a redo? Many homeowners resolve to kick-start a new year by making improvements to themselves as well as their home. When it comes to home renovations, the first place on which most people focus their attention is the kitchen.According to the American Lighting Association (ALA), popular trends in finish-outs and appliances are impacting kitchen lighting choices.In general, kitchen design is trending toward the contemporary side. Jeff Dross, corporate director of education and industry trends for Kichler Lighting, explains that homeowners with previously traditional taste are looking for more transitional products, while transitional homeowners are moving toward a soft contemporary décor.And many of those with existing soft contemporary furnishings are switching to a more austere contemporary solution.Countertops Impact Lighting: While granite is still used in entry- and mid-level homes, most highest-end countertops are now quartz-based, particularly with a matte finish, also sometimes called suede, honed or leathered. The matte-finish trend alleviates the tricky business of providing adequate illumination in kitchens without causing glare from glossy countertops that have been popular for the past decade.Dark Appliances Require More Light: The use of black stainless appliances is on the rise, which eliminates unsightly fingerprints, but creates the need for additional light in the surrounding space. "Black stainless has lower reflectance than white or stainless steel appliances, making the room appear darker," says Dross. "The trend toward more involved backsplash materials makes lighting even more important."Taller Ceilings Mean Taller Fixtures: Over the past 15 or so years, ceiling heights have become higher with 9 feet becoming the accepted minimum height. It is now common for North American homes to have ceilings 10 to 12 feet high. That means taller sconces and taller chandeliers are necessary to fill the additional space."In addition to taller ceilings, center islands are now substantially bigger than in the past," says Dross. "That means the tiny, mini-pendants that were all the rage a few years ago are disappearing. Kitchens demand larger, taller pendants."Before jumping into a kitchen renovation, it is best to design a lighting plan to make sure your fixtures are the right size and style for your new space. A professional lighting consultant at your local ALA-member showroom can work with you to develop a plan and provide the most-up-to-date lighting styles and technology. To find a list of nearby ALA showrooms, go online to americanlightingassoc.com

Health Trend to Watch in 2018 – Personalized Medicine

(NewsUSA) – When scientists first read the entire genetic code of a human being in 2003, the monumental achievement promised a new era in medicine.What diseases we get, and how we respond to drugs, depends in large part on our own individual genes. Knowing our own genetic code, therefore, makes it possible to design specific treatments that work best for each person – an approach known as personalized medicine.This personalized approach turns out to be especially important in cancer treatment. Tumors that seem to be of the same type can actually have very different underlying genetic mutations. And because many of today’s drugs are designed to target particular genetic vulnerabilities of cancer cells, a drug that is effective for some tumors will fail for others.Realizing the enormous promise of personalized medicine hasn’t been quick or easy. It has required major scientific and technological advances to prove the links between genetic variations and diseases, and to dramatically lower the costs of identifying and sequencing genes.But recent progress has been impressive. In the last few years, more than one-quarter of all new drugs approved by the FDA have been personalized medicines. And by 2020, the total market for targeted therapies and gene tests is expected to top $149 billion per year.One of the many companies that have been driving this rapid progress is Pittsburgh-based Helomics. The company has developed clinical tests for key genes and other biomarkers in a whole range of different cancers. Studies show that a personalized approach using Helomics’ ChemoFx test brings a 14-month improvement in overall survival in patients with gynecologic cancer. The BioSpeciFx test, for example, examines the genes that are active in cancer cells to reliably inform the patient’s tumor response to drugs.Helomics is also expanding its reach with a new technology it calls D-CHIP™ and a strategic collaboration with Skyline Medical (NASDAQ:SKLN), which markets an innovative system for collecting and disposing of fluids from patients. So more and more in 2018, your drugs will be personalized just for you. 

New Books Offer Retirees The Way To Plan For Retirement

(NewsUSA) – Social Security, Medicare and supplemental insurance, long-term care, IRAs, life insurance, post-retirement investments and income taxes can all affect the success of your retirement. To that end, an easy-to-understand book and workbook are now available to help guide you in this process."The Complete Cardinal Guide to Planning for and Living in Retirement," an Amazon bestseller, and the accompanying workbook, written by Hans E. Scheil, CFP, can answer your questions about retirement, such as:* When do I?start my Social Security check?* How do I?supplement Medi-care?* Should I purchase Long-Term Care Insurance?*What should I do with my IRA or 401(k)?* Am I investing and creating enough income in retirement?* What about income taxes after age 65?* How do I handle life insurance and transferring assets to children and grandchildren?* How do I choose financial and legal professionals to help me?Long-term care planning is one subject both books explain in depth. The average annual cost for nursing home care is $85,755 and in-home care is $49,192, according to Genworth. This cost can go on for years and many retirees, as well as their adult children, do not have a plan to pay for this. There are options available for covering long-term care, which are outlined in the books."The consequences of failing to plan for long-term care are suffered by the family," Scheil says in his book. "I deal with family members all the time who are doing last- minute planning for a client who has just checked into a facility or is receiving care at home. I experience the confusion, fear, anxiety, pain, and disappointment that comes with these situations. The adult children have a tough time with it. Our job at Cardinal is to help people avoid or minimize these challenges."Throughout his 41 years in the financial services industry, Scheil has worked with clients age 65- plus to provide them with the financial solutions they need to have a successful retirement. He also shares his experience caring for his mother, father and grandmother in their later years.In his books, Scheil addresses the major problems retirees can face and provides simple strategies that can be put in place with the help of a qualified professional.Scheil is a Certified Financial Planner professional who accepts speaking engagements to help educate the public on the basics of planning for retirement. Hans serves clients in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.To get the books, visit Amazon.com or your local library. To get more information, call (919) 535-8261 or go to CardinalGuide.com

Seeing London in A New Light

(NewsUSA) – "People are looking for magic in their lives and to experience something that stays with them forever," says Helen Marriage, the director of Artichoke, the producers and creators of the Lumiere London festival."People respond to light in a special way," Marriage continues. "and in the middle of winter, when night falls early, it’s just so wonderful and uplifting."In January 2018, London’s most iconic buildings, streets and landmarks will again be illuminated artistically for the British capital’s largest night-time festival, Lumiere London.Lumiere last lit up London in 2016, when millions of people visited the city to interact with the art installations. In January, the festival returns to London much bigger and bolder than before.More than 40 international artists will work to transform the city into a vast, nocturnal exhibition space, offering dazzling new perspectives on London’s iconic landmarks and historic architecture with beautiful, thought-provoking installations.As an example, Westminster Abbey, which has stood at the heart of London for hundreds of years, has been the setting for every coronation in the British monarchy since 1066 and has hosted 16 royal weddings, will be one of the key festival locations again.It will be illuminated by the French digital artist, Patrice Warrener, who will present the second installment of The Light of the Spirit for Westminster Abbey, one of the most popular installations at Lumiere London in 2016.Other installations include: Love, a Matisse-inspired animation of two paper-cut figures who spend the evening kissing and dancing to a bespoke soundtrack at the Royal Academy of Arts; interactive illuminated singing see-saws in Mayfair and, at Kings Cross, an immersive work that imagines a world underwater.The artists will create bespoke light installations for each selected building in London, turning the capital into a gallery without walls. Lumiere London is about more than the art: it’s about people sharing public space and re-discovering the city."Lumiere London offers the chance for visitors and Londoners alike to see the city in a totally new light, explore new areas, and see a familiar city in different ways," says Helen Marriage."Our mission from the start," Marriage continues, "was to make great art accessible to everyone and to bring back the joy of experiencing it. Lumiere London is about reclaiming the streets and bringing a new dimension to the daily life of our city."Lumiere London will take place on closed roads over four nights between 18 and 21 January 2018 at locations around the city, including: London’s West End, Mayfair, Westminster, Piccadilly, St James’s, Fitzrovia and Kings Cross.To find out more about the festival and to plan your trip to London, see https://www.visitlondon.com/lumiere#7kk8D0owMHHw6OqU.97

Brighten Up Your New Year with These Lighting Trends

(NewsUSA) – The beginning of a new year is an opportunity for a fresh start for your home.One easy change that will make a big impact is a lighting update. Simply changing a fixture – a chandelier, a few pendants or even just a table lamp – can give a room a whole new look. So whether you are considering a minor update or a major renovation, stay on top of the latest lighting trends with a few tips from the American Lighting Association (ALA).Mix and MatchYour home is a reflection of your style and personality. Create your own look by bringing in fixtures of various styles and finishes."One of today’s popular design trends encourages individuals to create unique lighting designs by mixing and matching their favorite fixtures within the same space," says Jennifer Kis, director of marketing communications for Progress Lighting. "There is no need to feel limited by fixtures, or even finishes, in one particular collection. Coordinating complementary pieces creates a cohesive feel to the home, while also reinforcing your design style."Lighting manufacturers are making it easier for homeowners to select fixtures that work well together by offering collections that feature details and finishes that are complementary to a range of fixture families.Bring the Outside InLook outside for inspiration. Using interior design elements in outdoor spaces has been popular in recent years. But gaining popularity lately is the idea of incorporating exterior fixtures with inside décor."We have seen a lot of creative ways designers are using a variety of exterior lanterns inside," says Kis. "Nature-inspired elements and outdoor wall sconces or hanging lanterns that are traditionally used to enhance curb appeal can also be ideal when incorporated into interior design schemes within the home."Pendants are PerfectFor versatility and compatibility, opt for pendants. Available in a seemingly infinite array of shapes, colors, sizes, finishes and materials, pendants are more popular than ever. These adaptable fixtures can be hung in groupings of two, three, four or more, depending on a particular space and need. Pendants can serve as overall task or ambient lighting, as well as add visual interest and beauty to the overall décor.For more information, and to find a list of local ALA-member lighting showrooms where you can see the latest fixture styles and talk with a professional lightingconsultant, go online to americanlightingassoc.com

Over-the-Counter Drugs May Not Be the Solution Pain Sufferers Think

(NewsUSA) – Maybe it’s because of all the scary news surrounding opioid abuse, but a new study shows Americans now seem to be extremely wary of taking any kind of prescription medicine to relieve pain.A whopping 78 percent of those surveyed in a joint effort by Gallup and Palmer College of Chiropractic said they’d "prefer to try other ways to address their physical pain before they take pain medication."What many may not to realize is that even over-the-counter (OTC) and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) frequently used to treat mild and moderate pain come with risks. The likes of aspirin, ibuprofen, acetaminophen and naproxen can trigger adverse effects such as ulcers, bleeding, gastrointestinal problems, and – in rare cases – increased risk of stroke or even kidney damage."If over-the-counter medications are used, it should be remembered that just because it’s OTC doesn’t mean it’s completely safe for everyone," says Velma Wilks, RPh, a practicing registered pharmacist in Lubbock, Texas, who believes people should consider non-pharmacological approaches first.She’s not alone. In fact, one alternative to both opioids and OTC drugs – drug-free chiropractic care – has grown so popular among those seeking relief from back and neck pain that it’s become something of a movement under the rallying cry of "chiropractic first."Highly educated and trained in the structure and function of the human body, doctors of chiropractic use hands-on techniques to help enhance flexibility, muscle strength and range of motion. Most insurance and health plans cover its use."One hundred million Americans suffer from chronic pain, and they deserve to know the risks about the OTC medications they’re taking," says the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress’ Sherry McAllister, DC.To locate a nearby doctor of chiropractic, visit f4cp.com/findadoctor. 

Napa Valley Holiday Traditions from Marc Mondavi and Family

(NewsUSA) – Holiday entertaining can be stressful. What to cook? Which wines pair well? But with a few tools and a bit of planning, you can breeze through the holiday season like an entertaining pro.Janice Mondavi knows this all too well. As a mother of four girls and a member of the iconic C. Mondavi wine family, Janice hosts her large, extended family throughout the holidays. She gets through the season by keeping some go-to recipes on hand and a few quick tips for the perfect wine pairing.Janice’s go-to’s include her favorite roast recipes and easy, no-nonsense wine pairings. She finds that roasts and steak recipes feed her large family without breaking the bank. Her favorite holiday recipe is the family’s "Steak Sliced Thin" New York Strip Steak recipe that was created by Rosa Mondavi, the wife of Cesare and the family matriarch who started the Mondavi wine legacy in the Napa Valley in 1943.When pairing wines, Janice says it’s all about pairing similar flavors together. For instance, Janice pairs sweet wines with spicy foods, simple fare with lighter wines, and bold flavors together. She also points out that rules are made to be broken, even with wine."Wine is simply a matter of personal preference and sometimes it’s fun to mix things up, especially during the holidays," she adds. Some people prefer to pair opposite flavors together, and will pair a dry, acidic wine with a rich creamy sauce.Janice loves a good cheat sheet for pairing wines and that’s why she and her team at CK Mondavi and Family wines came up with this handy wine-pairing sheet, "The CK Mondavi and Family Wine Pairing Made Simple," which can be downloaded here: www.ckmondavi.com/ckm-pairings.This Christmas, Janice will be making the Steak Sliced Thin Recipe for her family. "It is one of my husband Marc’s favorite dishes, is easy to make and everyone enjoys it," she says. Janice will pair this recipe with CK Mondavi and Family Cabernet Sauvignon or Scarlet Five (their red blend).Grandma Rosa’s Mondavi Steak Sliced Thin RecipeIngredients:- 1-2 lb New York strip sliced by your butcher to 1/2" or thinner- 6-8 Garlic Cloves- 1/4 cup CK Mondavi and Family Sauvignon Blanc- 2 tbsp. Olive Oil- Steak seasoning (The Mondavis prefer a simple seasoning of oregano, salt and pepper)Directions:Pound both sides of the steak slices until they are somewhat thin. Season each slice with oregano, salt and pepper (or your steak seasoning of choice). Set aside. Slice the cloves of garlic. Heat 2 tbsp. of the olive oil in a frying pan on very low heat. Add the garlic and sauté for a minute or so. Be sure not to burn the garlic slices. Add the wine and cook until the wine has evaporated. Turn up the heat to medium and begin to sauté the steak slices for about 2 minutes on each side for medium rare, a bit longer if you like your meat well done. Place on a serving platter and pour the excess sauce on top. Serve hot with any of your favorite side dishes.Meet the Mondavis: Click here to view video.

It Pays to Prep Your Tires for Winter Roads

SilverSneakers Fitness Program Improves Older Adult’s Physical and Mental Health

(NewsUSA) -Joanne C. was 74 when she had a stroke two years ago that left her paralyzed on the entire right side of her body. She refused to accept that she’d end up in a wheelchair and began rehabilitation, determined to get her life and body back to where it was before her stroke.Joanne’s hard work paid off. She has regained much of her strength and movement and can walk again. In large part, she credits her SilverSneakers exercise classes – offered through her HumanaChoice® PPO, a Medicare Advantage preferred provider organization (PPO) health plan – as key to her successful recovery.Being a SilverSneakers member helped keep Joanne in good physical condition before her stroke. "SilverSneakers helped me be familiar with many of the exercises they had me do in physical therapy and gave me the confidence and strength to persevere through a difficult rehab process," Joanne says.Numerous studies, including Tivity Health’s SilverSneakers Annual Member Survey of 2016, confirm that exercising, especially with others, improves older adults’ physical and mental health.1,2, 3However, there are challenges that prevent many Medicare beneficiaries from joining gyms and fitness classes.By offering SilverSneakers through its Medicare Advantage (MA) plans, Humana is working to overcome those barriers so more people with Medicare can benefit from exercising.For those on a fixed income, joining a gym can be expensive. SilverSneakers provides gym access at no additional cost to many of Humana’s MA members across the country, including those in Florida and Texas. SilverSneakers has partnered with almost 14,000 fitness and wellness centers around the U.S. and, with national reciprocity, SilverSneakers members can go to any one of those facilities.The program is designed with the Medicare population in mind and taught by certified instructors who offer classes and modifications for all fitness levels. These instructors are specifically trained to help members avoid stress-related injuries to muscles and joints.There’s also a wide variety of classes offered, including circuit training, yoga, Latin dance and even an outdoor boot camp. SilverSneakers members also have access to all of a facility’s amenities, which can include a range of exercise equipment, weight rooms and swimming pools."According to Tivity Health’s annual survey, SilverSneakers has made a significant difference in the lives of many of our Medicare Advantage members, not only in their physical health, but also in their social life," says Lauri Kalanges, M.D., Humana’s Medical Director of Medicare Products for the Mid-Atlantic Region.Tivity Health’s Annual Member Survey of 2016 found that 91 percent of SilverSneakers participants reported an improved quality of life. SilverSneakers has had a substantial impact on the health of its participants, reducing hospitalizations and the risk of depression.3For more information about SilverSneakers, go to www.silversneakers.com.Humana is a Medicare Advantage HMO, PPO and PFFS organization with a Medicare Contract. Enrollment in any Humana plan depends on contract renewal. This information is not a complete description of benefits. Contact the plan for more information. Limitations, copayments and restrictions may apply. Benefits may change each year. SilverSneakers is not offered on all Humana MA plans in all areas. 1. Nguyen Q, Ackermann RT, Maciejewski M, Berke E, Patrick M, Williams B and LoGerfo JP. Managed-Medicare Health Club Benefit and Reduced Health Care Costs Among Older Adults. Prev Chronic Dis 2008;5(1). 2. Nguyen HQ, Maciejewski M, Gao S, Lin E, William, B, LoGerfo JP. Health Care Use and Costs Associated with Use of a Health Club Membership Benefit in Older Adults with Diabetes. Diabetes Care 2008; 31:1562-1567 3. Nguyen, Koepsell, Unutzer, Larson and LoGerfo. Depression and Use of a Health Plan-Sponsored Physical Activity Program by Older Adults. Am J Prev Med 2008;35(2):111-117