Budget-Friendly Kitchen Redos With Wallpaper

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – A kitchen renovation is almost always a costly and time-consuming undertaking. The thought of ripping out and replacing cabinets, countertops and appliances is enough to stop you in your tracks. But a kitchen redo doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing proposition. Sometimes, the smallest changes can make the biggest difference. Take wallpaper, for example.
Nothing enlivens an outdated kitchen more quickly or more easily than wallpaper. A bright, happy pattern like a toss of fruits or vegetables can play on the past with kitschy, retro-inspired style. Or you can modernize with patterns that mimic tile, stone and metal: a budget-friendly alternative to the real, more costly materials for backsplashes. You don’t have to worry about most stains because most wallpaper has a protective coating and is washable, even scrubbable. In fact, kitchen-friendly wallpapers are much lower maintenance than paint, which has about a three-year life span.
Wallpaper isn’t just for kitchen walls. Here are some ideas that can modernize any kitchen in an instant:
* With extra wallpaper or coordinating border, cover lamp shades on hanging fixtures to create a chic, pulled-together look.
* Wallpaper inset panels on cabinets and pantry doors.
* Paper the back of glass cabinets or open shelves and turn the display of everyday china into a work of art.
* Tap into your creativity: layer wallpaper with a coordinating border and removable wall decals. Or, if there’s a hard-to-reach angle where wallpaper won’t work, use a complementary wall decal to pull the look together.
* If the seating in your kitchen faces one wall, create an art installation by placing individual peel-and-stick wall decals in store-bought frames in a pattern on the wall.
To find additional information on wallpaper, visit www.yorkwall.com.

The Family That Plays Together Stays Together

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Many families today might want to spend more quality time together, but it can be difficult to find activities that each family member will enjoy. The baseball fan might not be interested in an upcoming art exhibit, and an art enthusiast might not want to spend all day in a stadium. So, what can families do to come together in a meaningful, interesting way?
Families might want to consider learning musical instruments together. According to a 2009 Gallup poll conducted by the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM), 85 percent of the Americans who do not play musical instruments wish that they did. And there are plenty of reasons for playing instruments beyond family bonding.
Studies show that babies prefer singing to talking — they pay more attention to mom’s singing than her words. Babies who are sung to sleep also show better development than those who are not. Toddlers enjoy exposure to new songs and singing as part of playtime, and they are never too young to start playing an instrument.
Children who study music develop discipline and the ability to solve problems, communicate and work cooperatively. A Columbia University study revealed that students studying the arts are more cooperative and self-confident, and better able to express ideas. Children develop new skills quickly, too. One study found that kids learning music for just one year increased their ability to memorize information.
These benefits don’t disappear as children grow up. Teenagers report that playing instruments helps them cope with loss, peer pressure and academic stress. Among working adults over age 45, recreational music making has been proven to reduce stress and ease depression.
Buying musical instruments and arranging music lessons can create a common bond between family members and provide memories to last a lifetime.
To find music lessons near you, visit www.wannaplaymusic.com or stop by your local music store.

Give the Gift of Musical Instruments This Holiday Season

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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – In this day and age, where gifts are forgotten in favor of the next “new thing” almost as soon as they’re unwrapped, choosing meaningful gifts can prove challenging. Giving a gift of experience, however, will last a lifetime. And few experiences prove more meaningful than a musical education.

The vast majority of people wish that they could play a musical instrument. According to a 2009 Gallup poll conducted by NAMM, the trade association of the international music products industry, 85 percent of the Americans who do not play musical instruments wish that they could.

And no wonder. Not only does music offer a fun personal outlet, but study after study reports its benefits. Infants who are sung to are more content, sleep better and have an overall better sense of well-being than other babies. In schoolchildren, a musical education can improve performance in other areas of study. In one study, children who received one year of musical training demonstrated improved memory. Art programs help children develop critical-thinking and problem-solving skills.

Don’t think that music’s benefits diminish with age. Playing an instrument helps adolescents and teenagers cope with peer pressure, substance abuse, academic stress and loss.

Music helps everyone, even boomers over age 45. For workers, playing music reduces stress and helps alleviate depression. For seniors, music improves health and wellness while providing a recreational and social outlet.

So, what’s the best way to give the gift of music to a loved one? NAMM suggests purchasing a musical instrument -; the gift will provide a lifetime of enrichment. Arranging music lessons is another meaningful gift. Consider purchasing a gift certificate for music lessons, either in lieu of or along with a musical instrument. To find music lessons near you, use the Lesson Locator, a database of lesson providers and stores at www.wannaplaymusic.com.

South Beach: A Tropical Location Close to Home

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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Americans who want to plan a tropical beach vacation without traveling beyond the continental U.S. should set their sights on Miami. The city’s multi-cultural flair, superb beaches and lively nightspots satisfy everyone from art buffs to water sports enthusiasts to partiers.

Miami’s South Beach provides the best mix of beach, culture and entertainment. Historic Art Deco boutique hotels line the boardwalk. For a truly deluxe experience, check out The Hotel Clinton South Beach on Washington Avenue. The ultra-contemporary hotel houses a full spa and 88 sleekly styled rooms with smooth carpeting and elegant, white accents.

After relaxing in the hotel’s pool or optional in-room spa, guests who step outside can find world-class clubs, shopping and restaurants. South Beach, or the “America Riviera,” headquarters the U.S. Latin music industry and offers a sizzling nightlife scene. More than 200 restaurants and upscale shopping — think Armani, Kenneth Cole and Versace — leave no visitor unsatisfied.

The beach itself is a long, white stretch of warm sand and blue water — perfect for sunbathing or a game of beach volleyball. Those with a taste for adventure can rent Jet-skis at the Miami Beach marina or visit the South Beach Dive and Surf Center, located across the street from the Clinton, to plan scuba, surf and snorkeling excursions.

If even a beach this lovely can wear thin, guests should explore South Beach’s cultural destinations. The Wolfsonian Museum houses modern art objects dated from 1885 to 1945, while the Bass Museum exhibits everything from 16th-century Flemish tapestries to contemporary conceptual art.

Of course, no visit to Miami would be complete without a taste of the city’s vibrant nightlife. From popular clubs like Mansion, Prive, Glass, Bed and Opium Garden, to more intimate, but no less chic destinations like the Rose Bar, Social, Sky Bar and the Roof Top at Town House, visitors and celebrities alike can enjoy one of the world’s hottest clubbing destinations.

For more information, visit www.clintonsouthbeach.com.

Canvas Conveys Cancer Experience

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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Architect Nikko Shabtai was painting in a Beverly Hills art workshop when his art took on a life of its own.

“I was painting a model when I unintentionally picked up my painter’s knife instead of a brush and painted her without a breast,” said Shabtai.

A fellow artist at the workshop noted that the woman Shabtai portrayed appeared to have had a mastectomy, but did not look incomplete or scarred; rather, she looked “beautiful and whole.” Shabtai agreed.

His subconscious inspiration? A family member with breast cancer who had undergone a mastectomy.

Shabtai’s painting, “As I Am, Beautiful and Whole,” took first prize in the third, biennial Oncology On Canvas: Expressions of a Cancer Journey Art Competition and Exhibition, winning a $10,000 donation to the Cancer Schmancer Foundation, which was founded by actress Fran Drescher and educates women on the risk factors and early detection of women’s cancers.

Nearly 600 entries were submitted for the 2008 competition, which was created by Eli Lilly and Company and is presented with the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship. The competition invited individuals diagnosed with cancer and their families, friends, caregivers and health care providers to express, through art and narrative, the life-affirming changes that give the cancer journey meaning. In total, 26 prizes were awarded to 20 cancer charities selected by 19 winners in various categories.

Second place went to Elizabeth Menges, a high-school art teacher from Boston, for “C. in Bedroom,” a six-painting series in oil detailing the morning dressing routine of a breast cancer survivor who had had a mastectomy.

“The woman I painted opened her home and life to me,” said Menges. “I recorded her stories and photographed her vulnerabilities. She trusted me with the rest. I hope these images help demystify a situation we sometimes fear and broaden our image of how a ‘real woman’ looks.”

Lilly is expanding the reach of this inspiring artwork by touring it nationwide to hospitals and cancer centers. For information on the exhibition, the 2008 competition or the 2009 call for entries, visit www.LillyOncologyOnCanvas.com.