7 Ways to Make Your Kitchen a More Personal Space

Written by Kevin Jefferson

Every kitchen needs to have some basic elements such as cabinets, sink, fridge, appliances, etc. and together with the necessity to boost functionality, adding a personal touch to this room can end up being a proper challenge. However, there’s always a way to make your kitchen more personal without making a mess. In case you’re interested in a personal kitchen makeover, the following ideas might come in handy.

1. Play with Colours

There are many ways you could utilise colours in your kitchen to leave traces of your personality and style. For starters, the shades you choose for your walls can make a lot of difference. In case you’re keen on keeping the main elements neutral, you can brighten up the space with vibrant chairs, cabinet hardware, cloths and towels, etc. In case you have a tile backsplash, adding patterned tiles randomly is a great decorative trick. For those of you looking for an impactful and effective yet budget-friendly backsplash solution, you can always go with waterproof vinyl wallpaper.

2. Interesting Lighting Solution

If you find it difficult to spot areas in your kitchen that have more room for personal décor, turn to your lighting. There are so many shade and cover options available on the market these days that you can turn your ordinary kitchen light fixture into a truly amazing and personal statement piece. Obviously, depending on what you want, you can make your lights stand out more or less, but still add a proper personal touch to this room.

3. The Cabinet Design

In case you find your kitchen cabinets a tad boring, you can always transform them, and your kitchen in the process, into something that truly fits your style and personality. The obvious answer is repainting them, but there’s so much more that you could do. Decoupage technique can turn out to be the ultimate makeover solution. You can also opt for an antique furniture DIY. Both of these are great for a more vintage or shabby chic look. With a self-adhesive vinyl wallpaper, you can give a completely new look to your countertops, as well. And if you feel really creative, you can draw or use stencils to add the more personal touch to your cabinetry.

4. Spice Up Your Storage

If you fancy the look of open shelves, you probably keep your spices and teas on there as well. But even if you don’t, you can start by introducing interesting containers such as jars and other personalised boxes where you would keep teas, spices, coffee, etc. instead in their usual cardboard packaging. Transparent jars are definitely the most popular trend but you can also get fully customised ceramic and plastic containers that already have an interesting design.

5. Add Art to Your Kitchen Walls

For those of you lucky enough to have free wall space, gallery walls would be the perfect addition to your kitchen. You can pretty much choose anything you want – and you definitely don’t have to stick to the typical kitchen wall art unless you want to. The eclectic style achieved with different style frames and art in general with regards to the setting is one of the most prominent and unique design ideas that has been trending lately.

6. Feel Free to Mix the Textures

If you wish to introduce more warmth to your kitchen area, mixing the textures is a great idea. The easy way out is to add decorative table cloths, chair cushions and curtains. But, if you don’t mind going all out, you can achieve a truly amazing and personal look by mixing metal, wood, tile, granite and even brick. And since it’s very important to have a functional smoke alarm and top-quality fire ducts for safety reasons, this particular trend can help you make these plain amenities more balanced and minimise the cold and impersonal vibe they tend to give off.

7. Bring in the Statement Piece

There are many items that can end up being your kitchen’s statement piece thus allowing you to add your own personal touch. Actually, statement pieces are especially great for smaller kitchens where you don’t have a lot of room to express your creativity. This can be a really unique DIY for your accent lighting cover but also an interesting piece of furniture such as a dining table if you keep one in your kitchen. Essentially, even a DIY mosaic for the window (you can use small stones and/or coloured glass pieces with glue) in your kitchen can look absolutely amazing and help you create the personal focal point for this room.

As you can see, it’s more than possible to personalise your kitchen space without having to clutter things up. However, it’s important to decide what creative addition you’re going to choose before doing anything else. After all, planning in advance will allow you to make the most out of your particular kitchen, its layout, and its size.

About Kevin Jefferson

Kevin Jefferson

Kevin Jefferson

Kevin has gone through an extensive home renovation with his son, which he has both thoroughly enjoyed, and dreaded every morning. He is now the proud owner of half his dream house (the other half has been waiting for spring). You can read more of Kevin’s work at PlainHelp.

Join Big Brothers Big Sisters for, Ice Ball 2019, Austin’s Brightest Gem


Saturday, August 24th

6 PM – Midnight

Fairmont Austin Hotel

Join Big Brothers Big Sisters for Austin’s brightest gem, the Ice Ball gala. Enjoy cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, seated dinner, live and silent auctions, live music, dancing and more! Tickets to Ice Ball  include admission to The BIG After, Ice Ball’s official after-party. Visit https://www.bigmentoring.org/ice-ball for all the juicy details.  

How Remote Work is Revolutionizing The Way We Work

Written by Mat Calica, Content Manager at www.AllianceVirtualOffices.com

African-American Teen Male - At an Internship

The way we work is changing beyond recognition. If not yet obsolete, the 9-5 office routine is at the very least falling out of favour with the working population who see work as something they do not go to. As individuals, employees and consumers, we value flexibility more than ever before.

It’s not surprising either – many of us juggle work and family while trying to maintain some semblance of social life. Luckily for us, technology is enabling us to be more flexible in all aspects of our lives. 

Apps are the apex of convenience, saving us both time and money, and portable devices mean we can work on the move as a digital nomad or from the comfort of our homes. To meet this demand, companies are changing the way they operate by offering flexible work options. 

Adapting is critical if these companies are to attract and retain the employees they need in order to compete and grow. Today, the majority of the US workforce is made up of Millennials (people born between 1981 and 1996). 

In a Deloitte survey about Millennial attitudes towards work and the workplace, 75% of respondents say they would like more opportunities to work remotely, and just over half believe having the opportunity to work remotely would have a positive impact on productivity. 

Understanding remote work

Although remote working is a relatively new concept, it’s a simple one. To understand what it means, it’s helpful to consider the three main remote work contexts a person could find themselves in. (Remote working is also often referred to as telecommuting.)

Remote employee

This is someone who works for a company as a direct employee. But instead of commuting to the office each day, they might work remotely some, if not all of the time, usually at home. Increasingly, employers are providing their remote workers with access to a desk memberships in a coworking space close to where they live 


A freelancer is someone who is self-employed and often works on a project basis for companies, for multiple companies at a time or a bit of both. Some freelancers are required to work in their client’s office but many work remotely, again from home, cafes or coworking spaces. 

Remote business owner

Some people decide to run their own business remotely from a home office. Technology has made it much easier to run a business from home than it used to be and owners can operate solo or with a lean team, utilizing freelancers for projects to avoid hiring permanent staff. 

It can be a challenge to build brand credibility when working from home but that’s where a virtual officecomes in. A virtual office provides remote companies with a business address and telephone number, as well as access to bookable meeting rooms. 

Recent trends in remote work

70% of professionals work remotely at least once a week, according to a study by IWG, and it’s anticipated that by 2020, 50% of the workforce will be remote. Some countries such as the UK are proposing that employers should offer flexible options like remote working as a default – not something employees should have to request. 

The widespread adoption of flexible working is also down to larger corporations buying into the flexible work culture in a bid to attract and retain talent and cut office space costs. This coincides with the rising popularity of coworking spaces where employers can scale up or down at short notice.

There’s a lot of research out there that shows remote working makes us more productive too. In a 2018 report by OwlLabs, researchers found that those who work remotely at least once a month are 24% more likely to feel happy and productive in their roles than those who don’t. They also found that the #1 reason that people choose to work remotely is to increase their productivity and focus.

Why working from home is good for business

There are so many logical reasons as to why working from home is good for business, not least of all because it can benefit the bottom line. A study by Global Workplace Analytics finds that if those with compatible jobs and a desire to work from home did so just half the time a typical business would save $11,000 per person per year. 

Furthermore, telecommuters themselves could expect to save between $2,000 and $7,000 a year on commuting costs and the greenhouse gas reduction would be the equivalent of taking the entire New York State workforce permanently off the road!

For anyone starting a business, working from home is seriously worth considering. Not only is it easier to achieve a better work life balanced due to time saved on the commute and increased productivity, it keeps set up costs to a minimum too. 

Although flexible solutions are more widely available now, renting an office can be expensive and also unnecessary, especially in the early days. Again, a virtual office can still provide useful facilities like conference rooms for client meetings and training sessions when needed. 

As the gig economy grows and the need for flexible options becomes even more important, we can expect to see the number of employees offering remote options to rise. 

In the words of Microsoft’s Dave Coplin: “We are stuck in old ways of managing, communicating and collaborating. We measure success by process not by outcome. It is time to harness the power of collaboration and flexible working to rethink the way we work towards a better, more agile, more creative working environment.”

The Undiscussed Medical Error

7 questions that could save your life

While you may routinely hear about medical errors, it’s less common to hear about a misdiagnosis.

Inaccurate or delayed medical diagnosis is a medical error many people rarely talk about. Yet research released by the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine (SIDM) shows it remains the most common, costly and catastrophic of all medical errors.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine and CRICO Strategies found that 34% of malpractice cases resulting in death or permanent disability stem from an inaccurate or delayed diagnosis, making it the No. 1 cause of serious harm among medical errors.

This happens, in large part, because making and communicating a medical diagnosis is a complex and imperfect science. There are more than 10,000 known diseases and more than 5,000 laboratory tests, but only a limited number of symptoms to provide the clues necessary to make an accurate diagnosis.

However, there is a new sense of momentum in the healthcare community to raise awareness and reduce inaccurate and delayed diagnoses, including more funding from the federal government.

Even as researchers and experts continue to explore how best to address this costly, dangerous and sometimes deadly issue, it is important for patients to be aware of it. Everyone has a role to play in improving the diagnostic process, including physicians, nurses, radiologists, laboratory scientists, health system leaders and, perhaps most especially, patients.

It’s critically important that patients share information with their medical providers and know the right questions to ask in order to decrease the likelihood of misdiagnosis.

To help patients have conversations with their physicians about their diagnoses, SIDM’s patient toolkit offers a questions checklist, including these seven questions to ask:

  • What is my diagnosis? What else could it be?
  • Why do you think this is my diagnosis? From test results? From my physical exam?
  • Can you give me written information about my diagnosis? A pamphlet? A website?
  • Can you explain the test or treatment you want me to have?
  • What are the risks to the test or treatment you want me to have? What happens if I do nothing?
  • When do I need to follow up with you?
  • What should I do if my symptoms worsen or change, or if I don’t respond to treatment?

In addition to these questions, always ask when test results will be ready. Get a copy for your records and call your doctor’s office if you do not receive your test results.

For more information and steps you can take to avoid misdiagnosis, download the Patient’s Toolkit for Diagnosis and share your personal story of inaccurate or delayed diagnosis at ImproveDiagnosis.org. (Family Features)

Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine

Flavorful, On-Trend Asian-Inspired Summer Entertaining

Summer is the perfect time to bring out the grill and enjoy creating a flavorful meal when entertaining your family and friends. While some choose to whip up classic recipes, you can heat things up by taking advantage of all the seasonal ingredients and popular culinary trends, such as opting for authentic, Asian-inspired recipes.

With many Americans opting to eat more ethnic foods, it’s evident that global flavors continue to be on the rise. While Asian flavors are not new, they continue to pique consumers’ curiosity. Incorporating on-trend, plant-based products and ingredients that bring out Asian flavors aid in creating bright and balanced dishes for all your eating occasions both indoors and in the backyard this summer.

Consider these tips to ensure your summer gatherings are ones to remember.

Take Advantage of Seasonal Ingredients

Summer provides a variety of fresh flavors to incorporate into meals, whether you’re stirring up a classic family recipe or something new. Seasonal tastes like tomatoes, peaches, corn, blueberries, avocados and other sun-ripened fruits and vegetables can help showcase the variety of the summer harvest.

Opt for Simple, Flavorful Swaps

From sides to salads and sandwiches, many summer dishes are served with creamy condiments. However, simple, accessible swaps can provide the same robust flavors using fewer, cleaner ingredients. One time-tested example is rice vinegar, which can be an alternative to mayonnaise and creamy dressings. To help elevate the flavors of your summertime dishes with minimal calories, consider an option like the NAKANO lineup of eight delicious rice vinegars, which are made with real rice and the finest ingredients, creating a clean flavor that is smoother and mellow compared to other vinegars. Featuring easy-to-read labels with no more than seven ingredients, it has no added preservatives, no artificial flavors and no high-fructose corn syrup or MSG. These rice vinegars are available in eight delicious varieties, including the new Toasted Sesame Rice Vinegar.

Serve Up On-Trend Asian Dishes

Asian flavors and ingredients continue to be increasingly popular due to delicious flavor profiles combined with vibrant colors and presentation on the plate. When warmer weather calls for lighter meals, go for an option that blends popular culinary trends and adventurous tastes like those typically found in Asian cooking to wow your crowd. Even the most inexperienced of cooks can whip up this Asian Buddha Bowl with Lemon-Tahini Dressing, featuring tofu, nourishing veggies and a sweet-yet-tangy dressing – a combination to leave your guests eager for your next get-together.

For more recipe inspiration and tips for creating fresh summer flavors, visit NAKANOFlavors.com.

Asian Buddha Bowl with Lemon-Tahini Dressing

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes

Servings: 6

Tofu Marinade:

  • 2          tablespoons NAKANO Seasoned Rice Vinegar or NAKANO Roasted Garlic Rice Vinegar
  • 1/4       cup tamari (Japanese soy sauce)
  • 1          tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2          teaspoons chili paste
  • 2          garlic cloves, diced
  • 2          blocks extra-firm tofu, pressed and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • nonstick cooking spray
  • wooden skewers, soaked in water

Buddha Bowl:

  • 2          cups fresh, shredded carrot
  • 2          cups broccoli, cooked and cut into small florets
  • 3          cups brown rice, cooked
  • 2          teaspoons sesame seeds, toasted

Lemon-Tahini Dressing:

  • 1          tablespoon NAKANO Natural Rice Vinegar or NAKANO Organic Natural Rice Vinegar
  • 2          tablespoons tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • 3          tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1          tablespoon tamari (Japanese soy sauce)
  • 1          tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1          garlic clove, grated
  • 1          teaspoon grated ginger
  • 2          tablespoons lemon juice
  1. To make Tofu Marinade: In small bowl, whisk rice vinegar, tamari, sesame oil, chili paste and diced garlic. Add tofu to bowl and place in refrigerator 10-20 minutes to allow tofu to marinate.
  2. Before lighting grill, spray with nonstick cooking spray then heat grill to medium-high heat. Remove tofu from marinade and thread on skewers. Grill each skewer 10 minutes, turning midway, or to desired doneness.
  3. To make Buddha Bowl: In six bowls, evenly combine carrots, broccoli, baked tofu, brown rice and sesame seeds.
  4. To make Lemon-Tahini Dressing: In medium bowl, whisk rice vinegar, tahini, sesame oil, tamari, maple syrup, garlic, ginger and lemon juice until combined. Top each bowl with dressing, as desired.

Substitutions: Tofu can be substituted with 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken or top sirloin steak. (Family Features)


Arsen Gurgov: The Keratin Whisperer

The Celebrated Hair Stylist is the Hot, Hot, Hot Guy for The Popular Hair-Straightening Treatment

But Women, Take Note:  Arsen Knows the Not-Not-Not’s for the Complex, Multi-Layered Process

Arsen Gurgov

Arsen Gurgov

Keratin. It’s one of the most popular treatments for women looking for smoother, silkier hair. The protein-based formula is known to eliminate frizz and gives your mane softness and shine. But it’s not a simple treatment, despite what product literature might promise, and the glut of major brands offering straightening-for-all effects might easily confuse many consumers.

Though a common salon service that might require two to three hours and cost an average of $500, keratin treatments are often misunderstood.

Enter Arsen Gurgov, one of the nation’s top stylists and its most pronounced “kera-toligist.”

“Keratin is a protein that hair misses when it turns frizzy,” says Gurgov, who shot to fame for his role in the Today show’s “Ambush Makeover” series. “The Keratin treatment restores the needed protein. It’s the perfect solution for everyone’s biggest hair problem—unmanageable hair. Itmakes curly strands soft and sleek so you can style your hair the way you want without a salon blowout. But it’s not just the product you use, it’s actually how it’s applied.”

“One size does not fit all hair types it’s a discretionary thing. A keratin treatment requires the stylist to study your hair to assess what you reallyneed,” says Gurgov, a top talent with two decades of experience. He works out of an eponymous Upper East Side studio—a loftlike penthouse on 60th Street between Madison and Park — where he regularly counsels his customers on the do’s and don’ts of getting a new ‘do.

Gurgov’s technique, mastered by performing thousands of treatments, is to combine a range of brands and products. Not all follicles are created equal, and blind loyalty to one particular label can get Arsen simmering as hot as his iron.

“Hair has unique qualities and requires different products,” says the stylist, matter-of-factly. “There are millions of brands, and each approaches hair uniquely. For example, if you had a great treatment and told your friend which product was used, they might want to have the same thing. But what works on you might not work on your friend. You have to look at the condition of the hair, is it healthy, or perhaps a bit brittle? Maybe they have had a previous keratin treatment that really burned their hair Everyone’s hair is so unique—a stylist must use discretion on how to create a custom treatment.”

Gurgov has researched and identified the best brands and products and is continually studying the latest industry developments.

But in addition to using top-quality products, the application process is key. After the product is combed through the strands, a flat iron is used to smooth the hair. As the temperature of some irons can reach as high as 450 degrees, this can be a dangerous part of the process.

“It’s very, very important to have a flatiron with an adjustable temperature gauge, so you have the ability to control it,” Gurgov says, noting that different parts of a head of hair often need a range of temperatures, from a simmering 350 degrees, an intense 450 degrees or a still-simmering 350.

The composition of keratin is another consideration. “Some are silicone based, some are water based,” Gurgov says. “A stylist must decide what will work best in each situation. If someone has an oily hair or scalp, a silicone-based product would be a mistake. is Also, keep in mind that all of these products contain some form of formaldehyde, and a well-ventilated application space is essential for the client and the stylist team.”

The most important no-no? Washing your hair too often.

“The less you shampoo your hair, the longer your keratin will last,” says Gurgov, who suggests washing once a week because a treatment might lose effectiveness after 24 shampoos. “Shampoo is only meant for your scalp not so much for the hair,” he adds. “Since it’s a film, the more you shampoo, the more film your remove.”

Finally, look closely at the ingredients: The best keratin treatments use paraben-free, sulfate-free formulas.

Cómo los niños pueden recibir atención preventiva gratuita o de bajo costo

Los beneficios de Medicaid y CHIP incluyen vacunas, chequeos regulares, visitas al dentista

Los niños se encuentran entre las poblaciones más vulnerables cuando se trata del sarampión y otras enfermedades contagiosas. Darles a los bebés las vacunas recomendadas a los 2 años es una de las mejores maneras de protegerlos de 14 enfermedades infantiles serias, incluyendo el sarampión y la tos ferina.

Para las familias, Medicaid y el Programa de seguro médico para niños (CHIP) cubren las vacunas y brindan cobertura de salud gratuita o de bajo costo para ayudar a mantener a los niños saludables.

El sarampión es un virus extremadamente contagioso. Según los Centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades (CDC en inglés), el sarampión es tan contagioso que si una persona lo tiene, hasta el 90% de las personas cercanas a esa persona que no están inmunizados también se pueden infectar.

Durante los primeros tres meses del 2019, se reportaron 387 casos de sarampión, más que el total de casos reportados para todo 2018. Más de 20 estados han reportado casos de sarampión.

Su hijo puede ser uno de los millones de niños sin seguro que son elegibles para cobertura médica gratuita o de bajo costo a través de Medicaid y CHIP, lo que puede permitir que su hijo se vacune contra el sarampión y otras enfermedades infantiles graves. También puede recibir beneficios como chequeos regulares, visitas al dentista, exámenes de la vista, servicios de emergencia, medicamentos recetados y otros cuidados preventivos.

Los padres con ingresos bajos a moderados (hasta casi $50,000, o incluso más en algunos estados) pueden inscribir a sus hijos en Medicaid o CHIP. No hay un Período Especial de Inscripción Abierta; puede inscribir a sus hijos en cualquier momento del año. Para inscribir a sus hijos, puede solicitar en persona con la agencia de Medicaid o CHIP de su estado, visitar la sección “Encuentra la cobertura para su familia” en Espanol.InsureKidsNow.Gov o llamar al 1-877-KIDS-NOW (1-877-543-7669).

Si necesita vacunas de inmediato, comuníquese con el coordinador del programa Vacunas para Niños de su departamento de salud estatal o local coordinador, o llame al CDC al 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636) para obtener ayuda. (Family Features)


Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

Welcome to the July / August 2019 Edition of the Multi-Award Winning InFluential Magazine: Be on the Winning Side

William Jackson, MBA, GQ Insider, 2018 Folio: 100 Honoree, Founder & Chief Business Officer of InFluential Magazine, Spanish InFluential, and Teen InFluential

William Jackson, MBA, GQ Insider, 2018 Folio: 100 Honoree, Founder & Chief Business Officer of InFluential Magazine, Spanish InFluential, and Teen InFluential

Greetings InFluential Family & Friends:

I hope sincerely your summer has been prosperous and fulfilling.

I enjoy reading very much and take as many opportunities as possible to do just that.  Whether it be for entertainment or education, to my mind, reading is a fundamental key to living my best life.

It’s my hope your reading menu includes InFluential Magazine, Spanish InFluential, and Teen InFluential.  With every edition, we strive to bring you rich and inviting editorials sure to complement as you strive to live your best life.

My awesome team and I are thrilled to bring to you our Exclusive Interview with Judge Tanya Acker of the hit television show Hot Bench.   She’s an insightful and very intriguing woman and we’re glad to share with you her story.

Skincare guru June Jacobs is another Exclusive Interview we share in this edition and her story is one of struggle and subsequently success and we’re thrilled to bring it to you.

All in all, we’ve done our best to bring you all things “Dedicated to the Art of Living Well”.

We wish the best and look forward to spending time with you throughout the summer and the remainder of the year.


William Jackson, MBA, GQ Insider, 2018 Folio: 100 Honoree

Founder & Chief Business Officer of InFluential Magazine, Spanish InFluential, and Teen InFluential

A Fast, Filling Breakfast

A filling yet nutritious breakfast is a productive way to start any day, especially one loaded with flavor. Spanish Potato and Onion Omelets are simple to make and pack plenty of protein with diced ham and eggs paired with the complementary tastes of onion and potatoes.

Find more recipes at Culinary.net.

Watch video to see how to make this recipe!

Spanish Potato and Onion Omelet

Recipe courtesy of the National Onion Association

  • 1          cup olive oil, divided
  • 4          Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/8-inch slices (about 4 cups)
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 2          medium onions, thinly sliced (2-2 1/2 cups)
  • 6          eggs
  • 4          ounces cured, cooked ham or prosciutto, diced
  1. In large saute pan, heat 3/4 cup olive oil. Cook half potatoes until tender and golden, turning often. Drain. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Repeat with remaining potatoes.
  2. Add 4 tablespoons olive oil to pan. Cook onions until soft, about 15 minutes. Add potatoes to onions.
  3. In large bowl, beat eggs. Add eggs to potato and onion mixture. Stir in diced ham or prosciutto. Reduce heat to low and cook 8-10 minutes until golden brown on bottom. Invert platter on pan and flip omelet onto plate. Add remaining olive oil to pan; slide omelet back into pan.
  4. Cook until golden brown on bottom.
  5. Slide omelet onto serving plate. Let cool. Cut into wedges. (Family Features)


Judge Tanya Acker is on the Winning Side and That’s Important to Her

Photography courtesy of Annie Shak.

Welcome to our Exclusive Interview with Judge Tanya Acker of Hot Bench for our multi-award winning July – August 2019 edition.

Judge Tanya Acker

Judge Tanya Acker

What a thrilling honor to have the opportunity to dialogue with Tanya to discuss her unique perspectives as a go-to expert on headline news and gain insight into her story.

This riveting Exclusive written and conducted by our Founder, Chief Business Officer, and Publisher William Jackson is sure to inspire and motivate.

Judge Tanya Acker

Judge Tanya Acker