Making the Transition from House to Home

(NewsUSA) – Whether talking new construction or refreshing an existing space, if you’re looking to transform that "roof over your head" into a warm and flourishing home, the experts say it’s all in the details. It’s the architectural elements – specifically those crafted from natural materials, such as cypress – that transition a house into an extraordinary home.So, take it from these pros, and let the metamorphosis begin."When it comes to creating a warm and welcoming aesthetic in a home, there’s nothing quite like cypress," says Mark Tuck of the Southern Cypress Manufacturers Association,"Its distinctive beauty and extreme versatility make cypress a unique material, one that can be used to create striking, architectural details." Take it from the top From the simple charm of tongue-and-groove to the intricate depth of coffered ceilings, today’s savvy interior designers are using wood to add visual interest to otherwise flat, dull ceilings. Topping the list is Charlotte, North Carolina-based designer Vicki Payne Donatelli, who frequently relies on cypress when adding decorative ceilings to her high-end-home designs."I’ve worked with cypress many times and love its aesthetic and practical qualities," Payne Donatelli says. "For ceiling treatments, I tend to pair cypress planks with structural cypress beams. And whether talking about great rooms, kitchens, or bedrooms, a cypress ceiling can have a dramatic effect on the look of a room. The result is always stunning." Take a look around A fresh coat of paint may be a quick and easy fix for lackluster walls. However, the latest design trends are pulling out all the stops with an elegant, yet comforting approach to your living spaces. For award-winning home builder Stephen Ellis of MGB Fine Custom Homes in Sarasota, Florida, the buzzword is "shiplap." And according to Ellis, "Adding a shiplap cypress wall can create a beautiful backdrop and focal point in any room."In my experience building luxury homes, owners are increasingly asking for horizontal shiplap paneling with a nickel-sized gap between the boards. And when it comes to selecting which wood to use, I typically recommend cypress, because with its rich texture and grain pattern, it offers one of the most elegant looks."Remember, it’s all in the details. So, take note of what the experts like when it comes to selecting a finish for interior cypress woodwork."Some homeowners choose to be bold with paint, while others prefer the subtlety of stain," Payne Donatelli says. "Because cypress accepts stains so swell, in my projects I tend to suggest using a mix of light and dark stains. In that way, you highlight cypress’ honey-like hues, plus introduce some complementary color. It’s an approach that can really enhance a space."Ellis agrees and adds, "I like that cypress can take on so many different tones, but my preference is to apply a wax finish over the wood, and let cypress’ natural beauty shine through."To make the transition from house to home, and for a closer look at the warmth, beauty and versatility of cypress, visit the photo gallery at And let the metamorphosis begin. 

Avoiding Dangers of the Flu for Older Adults

(NewsUSA) – It’s the time of year everyone dreads: flu season.Last season, more than 900,000 people were hospitalized due to the flu or flu complications, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). People over the age of 65 are at greater risk for these complications, making up about 85 percent of seasonal flu-related deaths and hospitalizations last year.Experts say nearly half (48.5 percent) of senior hospitalizations could, in fact, be avoided if proper preventative steps are taken, according to research from Home Instead, Inc. Here are tips to avoid the dangers of the flu:* Consider a flu vaccine for your loved one. If you choose to get the flu shot, the best time to get one is before flu season is in full swing. For the best protection, the vaccine should not be limited to just older adults. Caregivers and family members also need to stay healthy to protect older loved ones.* Take daily preventative measures. It might sound simple, but washing your hands and avoiding those who are sick can go a long way. The CDC lists seven healthy habits to stop germs, including not touching your eyes, nose or mouth and sanitizing properly.* Encourage physical activity for those who are able. Moderate exercise boosts the immune system and can reduce the risk of a cold, according to Harvard Health. Even in frigid winter temperatures, activities such as a walk at a community recreation center or simple strength training exercises at home, using household items and body weight, can boost immunity. * Pay attention to the signs and symptoms. Frequently check in on loved ones. Pay close attention to symptoms and changes in their appearance or demeanor. Encourage regular doctor visits to help keep minor symptoms from turning into more serious issues. And it’s important to know all symptoms of the flu and get treatment as soon as possible.* Take extra precautions to prevent hospitalizations. Simple steps, such as acknowledging symptoms of illness when they first appear, reducing risks of falls around the home and maintaining a healthy diet can all have a substantial impact on protecting older adults from hospitalization and further infection.For more information on staying healthy this flu season, including the "5 Ways to Prevent Senior Hospitalizations" guide, visit, or find a Home Instead office near you at

Christmas Comes Early with Family Holiday Movies on UPtv

(NewsUSA) – The holidays are almost here, and fans of uplifting Christmas television can look forward to 45 films on UPtv, including seven Sunday night premiere movies. The network, known for family-friendly fare, kicks off 55 days of holiday programming starting November 1."At UPtv, we celebrate families through uplifting and inspiring stories," says Amy Winter, general manager and executive vice president at UPtv. "Our Christmas programming slate has something for everyone – whether viewers are looking for great movies about the true meaning of Christmas, the heart and humor that comes along with family, or just a little holiday romance, UPtv invites you to join us this holiday season," she says.In addition, UPtv brings back the fan favorite, Gilmore Girls "GilMORE the Merrier" marathon, for the week of Thanksgiving.The 153-episode binge-a-thon starts with a showing of the first episode on Monday, November 19, and concludes with the seventh season’s series finale on November 25. The marathon is hosted by actor Scott Patterson, who played Lorelei Gilmore’s love interest, Luke, on the show.This year’s original films maintain the UPtv holiday tradition of celebrating family, friends, love, memories and the true meaning of Christmas.The season kicks off with "A Christmas Switch" on Sunday, November 4. In a classic body-switching storyline, the movie puts two very different moms in each other’s lives to learn some valuable lessons as Christmas approaches. Struggling singer Audrey and wealthy record executive Julia learn that luxury isn’t more important than family, but that family time needs to be balanced with time for oneself.Other original features include "Christmas on the Coast," in which a crusty New York novelist seeking to lift her writer’s block goes home to small-town South Carolina and finds not only a change of scene, but also a change of heart.In "Christmas with a Prince," a dedicated pediatrician finds herself tending to her high-school crush (who happens to be a prince, and a spoiled one at that) after he breaks his leg on a nearby ski slope. However, tough love and Christmas spirit prevail to bring the unlikely couple together.To learn more about UPtv’s Christmas movies and to get the full schedule,visit, or check for updates on Facebook at, Twitter on @Uptv and Instagram at UP_TV.

The Value of Prescription Drug Benefits for Medicare Enrollees

(NewsUSA) – If you are eligible for Medicare, prescription drug benefits should be an important consideration when it comes to choosing among various Medicare coverage options.It’s important to know that Original Medicare provides very little prescription drug coverage. Therefore, if you have Medicare and want drug coverage – known as Medicare Part D – you will need to purchase it from a private company, such as Humana. You can either buy a stand-alone prescription drug plan (PDP) or obtain Part D prescription coverage through a Medicare Advantage plan that includes prescription benefits.Even if you’re not currently taking prescription medications, it is still a good idea to look into getting prescription drug coverage as soon as possible.One reason is that you may need to start taking a prescription medication sooner than you expect, but you can’t just sign up for coverage at any time. You can sign up for coverage only when you first become Medicare-eligible (typically at age 65) or during the Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plan Annual Election Period, which runs each year from Oct. 15 through Dec. 7, for coverage that starts on Jan. 1 of the following year.A second reason to enroll in Part D coverage as soon as you are eligible is to avoid an enrollment penalty. If you wait to sign up, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) can charge you a penalty every month, in addition to the plan’s monthly premiums. Penalties can range from a few dollars up to more than $20 each month on top of your premium. This can be a significant cost if you’re living on a fixed income. Once a penalty is assessed, it never goes away."Fortunately, there are plenty of resources available to help you choose the drug coverage that is right for you, such as talking with a licensed insurance professional or visiting to compare all of the plans offered in your county,"says Jeff Fernandez, Senior Vice President for Humana’s Medicare West Region & MarketPoint Administration.Even if you are already in a plan, the Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plan Annual Election Period (Oct. 15-Dec. 7) is the time to take a good look at all your plan options and find the coverage that is right for you. Humana is a Medicare Advantage HMO, PPO and PFFS organization and a stand-alone prescription drug plan with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in any Humana plan depends on plan renewal. Y0040_GHHKC3PEN_C 

Stylish Carrying Case Corrals Handbag Essentials in Style

(NewsUSA) – Despite their best efforts, most women have had the experience of frantically digging into the bottom of a large purse or handbag for an essential item such as eyeglasses, cellphone, keys, or passport. A separate case to corral these important possessions makes sense, especially if it combines fashion with function.Being able to protect, carry, and access these items in a reliable, convenient, safe way makes women’s lives easier and better, according to the creator of TravelEyez, a unique, stylish accessory that holds not only eyeglasses, but other essentials including phones and keys.The TravelEyez products are double-sided and designed to zip around the strap or handle of any purse, handbag, or backpack.This stylish accessory is available in black mesh with six different-colored zipper options, as well as black leather and caramel leather for a dressier look, and are sold in sets of two cases that may be zipped together or used separately. The designs are identical regardless of color, so they can mix and match, or stay consistent."Each TravelEyez case can hold a pair of glasses or car keys, money, credit cards, jewelry or a smart phone. You can zip cases together to connect as many as you need, and attach them to your purse or bag handle to keep your personal items organized and close at hand for easy access," says Yvonne Graber, creator of TravelEyez.TravelEyez also gives women peace of mind. The case cancels the need to keep valuables such as a phone or keys in a pants or jacket pocket where they might fall out.Some of the most popular uses include:- Travel. Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, the case provides a secure way to monitor a phone, wallet, credit cards and passport. Try it on a suitcase, travel tote, or carry-on bag.- Shopping. As mundane as it may sound, don’t underestimate the value of a handy way to easily access your phone and wallet when shopping, especially for moms toting small children along.- On the go. This is an ideal accessory for students, fitness fanatics, or those on the go. The cases attach easily to bike bars, gym bags, and backpack straps.With the holidays just around the corner, TravelEyez also makes a great gift or stocking stuffer.The patent on the TravelEyez design is pending.For more information, visit

If You Want to Make Your Pre-Winter Roof Checkup Easier, Your Attic Can Help

If you put any stock in the Farmer’s Almanac, it’s going to be a harsh winter. Which is one of the many reasons to check the health of your roof now . By using your attic, you may save yourself a trip to the hospital.

Think of it this way: No homeowner wants to be climbing a ladder 25 feet or so into the sky when Old Man Winter hits. Instead, your attic – which is a lot more comfortable – can substitute, as a fallback, for the eyeball roof check experts recommend be done every pre-winter and spring to identify problems before they become even more serious headaches.

Center Offers Hope and Help for Binge Eating Disorder

(NewsUSA) – Many individuals who struggle with food and weight may be undiagnosed with the mental health illness of binge eating disorder (BED), according to a leading health pscychologist."The good news is that BED is highly treatable," says health psychologist Dr. Julie Friedman of Eating Recovery Center."The bad news is that most people have never heard of BED and have no idea how to get treatment," she adds.BED is a disorder, not simply a lack of will power or inability to follow a diet, Dr. Friedman says."Unaware that they have a mental health disorder, binge eaters typically blame themselves, and the anxiety and stress associated with these negative thoughts can be considerable," she emphasizes.According to Dr. Friedman, as many as 12 million individuals suffer from BED,"Binge eating changes your brain in a way that makes your cravings for food and your urge to binge worse," says Dr. Friedman."Your dopamine receptors start to drop out because your body is overwhelmed by the amount of rewards you’re getting in one sitting."As you lose more and more of these receptors, your body stops producing the dopamine hormone, so you’re constantly looking for the next fix, which can only be satisfied by more bingeing," she explains."People think they can stop binge eating on their own, but unless the brain chemistry is addressed it’s not really possible," she says.Dr. Friedman identifies several signs that indicate that a binge eater needs professional medical treatment, including feeling out of control around food or "addicted" to food, binge eating at least once a week, eating large amounts before bed or during the night, and feeling guilty and depressed after binge eating.To this end, traditional eating disorder treatment focuses more on restrictive patterns of eating, such as anorexia, while the Eating Recovery Center’s Binge Eating Treatment and Recovery Program (BETR) focuses on restricting and binging."We have treatment centers across the country: the treatment program is tailored to treat BED patients," Friedman says."Our centers are all designed to be comfortable and accessible for patients of all weights, shapes and sizes with specialty furniture, medical equipment, and space planning designed to make any patient of any size feel at home.""A team of physicians, therapists and dieticians not only treat the eating behaviors but also the underlying issues such as depression, anxiety, traumatic stress, and addictions such as compulsive shopping, gambling, or gaming,"?she adds.BETR is covered by most major commercial insurance plans."BETR is a one-stop shop. We treat it all under one roof," she says.Friedman adds that the outcome of treament gives patients new life and points to the following statistics:* 83 percent report that they have fewer binge eating episodes per week;* 88 percent report their lives are better;* 91 percent say they manage stress better;* 80 percent say they enjoy more satisfying relationships;* 75 percent say they feel less anxious or depressed.Visit for more information.

Extend the Life of Your Outboard Engine with These Storage Tips

(NewsUSA) – As summer winds down, every boat owner clings to those last few warm days to take his or her boat out on the water with family and friends. Unfortunately, summer doesn’t last forever and as the sun sets on another boat season, it is time to start thinking about how to store your boat and outboard engine for those off-season months.Proper off-season storage protects critical internal components from corrosive gummy deposits from unbound ethanol, which can damage your engine, fuel tanks and fuel system components. Proper winterization also helps to protect against the freezing of critical engine components. If left untreated, damage from corrosion, broken parts, and general repairs could cost you thousands of dollars as well as time on the water.So, as you prepare for off-season storage, follow these easy winterization steps to ensure your outboard engine is in tip-top shape for next season:1. Flush out the engine with fresh water. Doing so will flush out excess salt, dirt, sand, and other contaminants, and prevent blockage and corrosion of critical cooling system components.2. Add fuel stabilizers. Pour quality fuel stabilizers into the gas tank to prevent the breakdown of ethanol and other deposits from ruining your engine. Be sure to run the engine after adding the stabilizer to the fuel tank to ensure that it reaches fuel system components in the engine.3. Keep the fuel tank full. Storing your boat with a full tank of fuel, particularly if ethanol fuel is used, will help minimize condensation that may occur within the fuel tank.4. Fog the engine cylinders and carburetor intakes to help slow corrosion. The use of spray fogging oil will help protect internal engine components from corrosion. Spray fogging oil into the air intake while the engine runs, then disconnect the fuel line. Continue to spray into the air intake until the engine dies. Evinrude E-TEC engine’s auto-winterization feature streamlines steps one and four by flushing out the engine and fogging itself for a few minutes. After the engine has completed fogging, it will shut off and your engine will be ready for storage.5. Change the oil in four-stroke engines. Changing the oil will remove moisture and harmful acids that have collected within the oil. These acids and contaminates could cause corrosion of internal engine components.6. Drain and replace gear case lubricant. Milky colored gear lubricant is a sign that water has entered the gear case. If left unchecked, the water within the gear case can freeze, causing the gear case to permanently fail.7. Ensure that the battery is fully charged and disengaged. A fully charged battery is less susceptible to damage during cold storage. A fully charged battery’s freezing point is around minus 95 degrees Fahrenheit, whereas a partially-charged battery could freeze in temperatures as high as 20 degrees Fahrenheit.You should always consult your owner’s manual for specific winterization techniques, but following these quick, easy, and relatively low-cost steps will protect your engine and save you expensive maintenance costs next season. 

Even During School Year, Fun Reading Important for Kids

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Most young kids love reading, but when the busy school year starts, it can be challenging to find the time to encourage them to read for fun.
It’s important to remember, however, that the more kids read on their own time, the higher they tend to score on tests.
In fact, about 76 percent of students who report reading for fun on their own time once a week or more perform at the high end of basic level testing, while 14 percent of students who never or hardly ever read for fun perform below the basic level, according to the American Library Association.
So how can we get kids reading during their free time when they’re already so busy in and out of school?
“Kids should be exposed to a variety of books and genres so that they can figure out what they enjoy,” says Stephanie Fryling, Vice President of Merchandising, Children’s Books, at Barnes & Noble. “If kids love the books and topics they’re reading about, like a graphic novel, they’re much more likely to reach for a book as often as a video game.”
It can be a challenge, however, to know what reading to get for your kids, let alone put down money for them.
That’s part of the reason bookseller Barnes & Noble started a national Kids’ Book Hangout. This free, seasonal event offers kids, parents, and caregivers a chance to gather together to learn about a range of books for grades 1-6, as well as play fun games and activities related to the stories and characters.
“We wanted to create a fun, friendly environment for kids to learn about new books and genres so they can find what interests them,” Fryling says.
The first Kids’ Book Hangout, held this summer, was a big success, drawing over 10,000 kids to Barnes & Noble bookstores around the country. Fryling expects the next Hangout to be even bigger.
The second Hangout will take place Saturday, October 20, at 2 PM, and features a range of books and graphic novels about friendship, adventure, and mystery. Barnes & Noble partner with Penguin Young Readers and Random House Children’s Books on the following titles:
* “The Cardboard Kingdom,” by Chad Sell
* “5 Worlds: The Sand Warrior,” by Mark Siegel and Alexis Siegel
* “The Last Kids on Earth and the Cosmic Beyond,” by Max Brallier
* “Squirm,” by Carl Hiaasen
* “Monstrous Devices,” by Damien Love
During the Hangout, booksellers will introduce the books to the kids along with games, activities, and free giveaways. Barnes & Noble will also sell the books for 20 percent off in stores and online on the day of the event.
To sign up at their local Barnes & Noble, parents can go to and register for free.
For this Hangout, Barnes & Noble also partner with DOGObooks, where kids can discuss, rate, and review the selected titles. Kids can visit the Kids’ Book Hangout page at before or after the Hangout.

Cultural Center Breathes Life into Historic School

(NewsUSA) – A former Nevada school for Indian children continues its mission of education, but now as a museum and educational center for tribal arts and culture.The Stewart Indian School in Carson City, Nevada, was opened by the federal government in 1890 with the goal of educating Indian children. The school’s original goals included assimilating the children into mainstream American culture and offering vocational training while discouraging tribal traditions and language.The school’s mission shifted to an academic focus in the 1960s and it closed in 1980, when it became the property of the state of Nevada.Today, the state-run Nevada Indian Commission is working to restore many of the historic stone buildings on the 240-acre campus with the two-fold goal of educating the public about the school’s history and providing entrepreneurial and cultural opportunities for Native Americans.Some building space will house a museum; other areas will include venues for arts, culture, and business development.Sherry Rupert, executive director of the Nevada Indian Commission, says that the museum and cultural center "offer a new beginning to the campus."In the spring of 2019, a new cultural center and museum is scheduled to open in one of the campus buildings. Plans also call for creating a welcome center in a former post office near the museum.Long-term plans include rehabilitating many of the stone buildings on the campus so they can be functional spaces available for use as places of learning about tribal culture and arts.The school was also known for strong athletic programs, and renovators hope to restore the gymnasium to its position as a gathering place not only for sports, but for other community social events.Nevada governor Brian Sandoval was instrumental in promoting the restoration and reinvention of the school.Sandoval made raising $4.5 million in funding for a museum and cultural center a priority in his 2017-18 budget and pledged to continue his support for other related projects. He participated in a blessing ceremony for the museum and cultural center in July."The importance of history and culture and what happened here, for better or for worse, it has to be preserved," Sandoval says."It has to be a story that is told forever. This has to be a place where people can travel from all over the country and all over the world and truly understand what happened here."For more information about the school and museum, visit