Finishing Touches for Every Room in the House

Written by Paige A. Mitchell, Contributing Writer for InFluential Magazine

These days, Americans are spending more time indoors than ever before. Many people have even reported spending up to 90% of their day indoors with a good chunk of that time being spent at home. While there’s a lot to be said about this new trend, one thing is for sure: the more time you spend at home, the more comfortable your space needs to be.

Finding the perfect furnishings, appliances, and decor for your home can help maintain the peaceful and relaxing vibe you crave when spending time indoors. So, just what touches should you consider? Take a look at some finishing touches for every room in your home.

Fresh Blooms

Looking for a way to spruce up your space? Whether you’re working with a bedroom, bathroom, or kitchen, a plant could be just what the room needs.

Choose plants based on your needs. Are you lacking inspiration in a home office? Fill a vase with a vibrant bouquet. Do you want to green up the nursery? An artificial succulent lends style without requiring any maintenance at all. Does it feel stuffy in the bonus room or bathroom? Choose an air-purifying plant.

Whether you’re looking for something that requires a lot of upkeep or something as low maintenance as possible (maybe even artificial), there’s definitely a plant out there for you.

Decorative Lighting

It goes without saying that lighting can make or break a room. Too much light and a space can feel overwhelming. Too little light and the room can feel draining and dull, sucking all of your energy.

Finding the right balance is important, and there are lots of creative lighting options to help you do that. Whether you want to go with a bold floor lamp or subtle hanging light fixtures, the perfect lighting option could be the last touch you need. Living room lamps cast a welcoming, stay-awhile glow while a chandelier makes a stunning first impression on guests in the foyer.

Home Technology

With technology becoming an increasingly larger part of everyone’s life, many household devices are now electronic and connected to the internet of things. These smart systems can really streamline your daily routine and improve your lifestyle.

A smart speaker is an essential for many people today. Not only can these speakers, like an Amazon Echo or the Google Home, let you listen to your favorite tunes, but they can also tell you the forecast as you’re getting ready for work and read you instructions step-by-step while you prepare dinner. They even increase the safety of your home when connected to other smart devices such as smoke detectors, stoves, and security systems.

Area Rugs

If the rooms in your home have hardwood, laminate, or tile flooring you may be hoping to spruce things up a bit. Area rugs can act as an accessory or the focal point of any room. These soft mats can warm up any room, balance the acoustics of a house, and protect your flooring from furniture and pet scratches. A rug can be a great addition to any space and they can be used to experiment with new colors or patterns into your favorite rooms.

Window Treatments

In many rooms, windows end up being a missed opportunity to add a finishing touch. Things like curtains, blinds, and shutters can dress up your windows as well as make the entire space feel more complete. Plus, window treatments also increase your level of privacy and give you control over how much natural light you let into your home.

Keep Your Home Looking its Best

Making your house look and feel like home is all about attention to detail and regular maintenance. Finishing touches will provide each room with the thoughtful details they need to be whole. In addition to decor and accessories, make sure your home is as functional as it is fashionable. A home protection plan is an effortless and affordable way to keep appliances and systems up and running, according to House Method.

Want to learn more about home decor and other subjects? Keep checking out our blog to stay up to date on the latest trends in almost every industry.

What Every Parent Needs to Know About Kids and Screen Time

 Written by Reena B. Patel, Contributing Writer for InFluential Magazine 

Reena B. Patel, a licensed educational psychologist and author, offers up the facts on how screen time may be harming our children and what to do about it

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), in 1970 children didn’t start regularly watching TV until they were four years old. Today, they report that children begin interacting with digital media at four months old. One look around and it’s easy to see that many children have their own cell phone, tablet, television, or other type of screen that is occupying a lot of their time and attention. The problem with this is with all that screen time there are numerous ways that research shows it may be harming kids. From the smallest of toddlers who are glued to watching tablets and televisions, to teens who are using their devices almost constantly, it’s prompted concerns that every parent should be aware of.

“There is no denying that technology plays a major role in our lives today, but when it comes to our children we need to be aware of the challenges it can cause,” explains Reena B. Patel, a parenting expert, licensed educational psychologist, and author. “Children’s cognition skills are still developing, so it’s imperative that we take that into account when it comes to their screen usage time.”

In the same report, the AAP reports that 75 percent of children ages 0-8 have access to a mobile device, and that most one and two-year-olds are using a mobile device on a daily basis. This trend continues through every age group. The average 8-10 year old is spending around eight hours per day on various forms of media, and older children are spending more than 11 hours per day. A Pew Research Center report shows that 24 percent of teens go online “almost constantly,” and 92 percent of them report using their mobile devices on a daily basis.

As many would suspect, all of this screen time coming from phones, tablets, and televisions, raises some questions about how healthy it is. In a separate AAP statement, they report that the cognitive impact of the media depends on the child ages, the kind of programming or games they are playing, and social context of viewing. They find that there are both negative and positive outcomes.

When it comes to adolescents, screen time can have a negative impact. The research shows that adolescents who spend more time on electronic communication and screens (such as social media, texting, and gaming) and less time on non-screen activities have a lower psychological well-being. In addition, excessive media use has been associated with obesity, lack of sleep, aggression, sleep problems, and other behavioral problems.

Most parents realize that children also engage in learning activities and even have homework assignments they need to use screens for. They are a part of life and a part of their learning experience, as well as their entertainment one. Rather than sheltering kids from social media and screens, parents should strive for teaching them healthier ways to use them, and how to maintain a balance. With screens here to stay, it’s important that parents take steps to help keep their child’s time spent on them in check. Here are some tips to do just that:

  • It’s recommended that children under the age of two not be exposed to screen time at all. For children over the age of two, it’s recommended that the screen time be kept to one to two hours per day at the most.
  • Discuss the screen time challenges with your children, especially when they are adolescents and teens, so they understand the concerns. Ask your child what are the pros and cons of unlimited or excessive use of devices. Devise a plan for using screens, which limits the amount of time they can be used each day. When children are involved with developing the plan, they are more likely to follow the rules they helped create.
  • Encourage kids to create a balance between screen time and non-screen time. It’s important that kids of all ages engage in physical and social activities that do not involve the usage of screens. Encourage them to have real-life relationships, rather than their friendships being all online or done through electronics.
  • Create rules that will help give them boundaries about when they can use their devices. For example, no devices at meals, and no phones allowed in their bedrooms overnight.
  • Find non-screen activities that the whole family can engage in. This will help them create bonds and learn healthy social behaviors.
  • Use positive parenting techniques when working with kids to help teach them the limits of screen and social media time.
  • Be the example that you want them to follow. From young children to teens, they are watching what parents do when it comes to screen time. Parents who overuse screen time are setting that same example for their children. Having healthy screen habits will teach children to do the same.
  • Parents should be familiar with all the apps and devices their children use. They should have access to the social media apps as well. Ex: Instagram can be created and monitored from a parents account and note on social media pages that it is “parent monitored.” Also, become familiar with Internet safety, including setting parental controls, and how to avoid giving too much personal information online.

“This is an issue that we can’t ignore and hope that it gets better,” added Patel. “We have to take the time to address it, no matter how old our kids are. The technology may be newer to us, but it’s always been a part of their lives, it will continue to be part of their everyday lives and they need to know how to use it in a healthy and constructive manner. They need parental guidance to get there.”

Patel is the founder of AutiZm & More, and as a licensed educational psychologist and guidance counselor, she helps children and their families with the use of positive behavior support strategies across home, school, and in community settings. She does workshops around California, where she provides this information to health professionals, families, and educators. She is also the author of two children’s books that teach compassion and kindness, called “My Friend Max: A Story About a Friend with Autism,” and “Winnie & Her Worries,” both available on Amazon. To learn more, visit the website at

Reena B. Patel

Reena B. Patel

About Reena B. Patel

Based in the San Diego area, Reena B. Patel (LEP, BCBA) is a renowned parenting expert, guidance counselor, licensed educational psychologist, and board certified behavior analyst. For more than 20 years, Patel has had the privilege of working with families and children supporting all aspects of education and positive wellness. She works extensively with developing children as well as children with exceptional needs, supporting their academic, behavioral and social development.  She was recently nominated for San Diego Magazine’s “Woman of the Year.” To learn more about her books and services, visit the website at and to get more parenting tips follow her on Instagram @reenabpatel.


American Academy of Pediatrics. Children and adolescents and digital media.

American Academy of Pediatrics. Decreases in psychological well-being among American adolescents after 2012 and links to screen time during the rise of smartphone technology

American Academy of Pediatrics. Managing Media.

Pew Research Center. Teens, Social Media & Technology Overview 2015.

Shopping for Love

If you’re looking for love this Valentine’s Day, don’t forget the grocery store. You might just pick up a date and the ingredients for a successful date night. According to a survey commissioned by ALDI, 32 percent of adults have gone on a date with someone they met at a grocery store or know somebody who has. In fact, the grocery store rivals bars as being a good place to find someone “date-worthy.” Visit for more information. (Family Features)


Aiding Aging Parents

4 tips to help overcome new challenges

It’s not easy getting old, as the saying goes, and it can be even harder to watch your parents age. Helping parents transition into the later years of their lives can be a delicate matter, but there are ways to help them ease into an elderly stage and cope better with challenges.

Carol Lavin Bernick, former executive chairman of Alberto Culver, navigated this type of life transition with her parents. In her book, “Gather As You Go: Lessons Learned Along the Way,”Bernick offers tips to give and get joy while preserving your parents’ dignity in addition to wisdoms on business and leadership, philanthropy, dealing with tough times and being a working mom.

For example, consider these tips and ways to aid aging parents:

Provide Entertainment

Music can be a helpful gift – try loading a music player with a playlist of your parents’ favorite songs. Old movies can also spark conversation. Host a luncheon for some of their best friends and make their favorite treats. They may be housebound, but there are still ways for them to interact.

Adjust to Physical Changes

Reading materials could require larger-than-normal print, and a magnifying clip-on screen for a computer can be helpful as well. Serving foods that are easier to cut can make eating a simpler process. Keep an eye on weight and nutrition and try to find someone who will make a house call for haircuts.

Relive Memories

Encourage older relatives to write (or dictate) their thoughts on financial tips, military service, business success, valued life lessons and, of course, the stories of how they met their spouses. Make a family tree together and try creating a photobook with old and new pictures. Share news about family members’ relationships and accomplishments, which might bring back personal memories.

Consider the Little Things

Surprise your parents with a few new pieces of clothing for a thoughtful gift. Laminate a list of their medications and their doctors to keep with you in case of emergency and provide a copy to your parents and any other caregivers. Create a contact list on your parents’ mobile phone to help them easily reach family and friends without needing to search. If there are young children in the family, try bringing them by for a visit – their energy and smiles may help brighten the room.

Find more tips to assist aging relatives at (Family Features)

Gather As You Go

6 Ways to Celebrate Singlehood this Valentine’s Day

Columbia University Affiliated Neuropsychologist with Empowering Tips and Insights

These days, more and more women are referring to Valentine’s Day as “Single Awareness Day.” Gone are the days of moping around lonely and longing for a relationship. Many women who are fulfilling career ambitions, focusing on meeting financial goals, traveling and having fun with friends and family are perfectly fine with their singleness. When Valentine’s Day rolls around, more single women want to treat it as an excuse to have some fun. To keep the positive momentum going, Dr. Sanam Hafeez, Neuropsychologist and Teaching Faculty at Columbia University, shares 6 positive ways to celebrate singlehood this Valentine’s Day.

1. Plan a trip.

While everyone else is out getting overpriced meals and mediocre service, declare a date-night with yourself setting the goal to plan a solo trip to see friends or family or explore another city. Many single women make the mistake of forgoing travel because they want a boyfriend to travel with. They end up burning themselves out with too much work and no play. “Planning a trip is a fun forward-thinking activity that inspires creativity, imagination, and optimism. When you are single you have the freedom to travel the way you want. You don’t need to consider anyone else.” explains Dr. Hafeez. 

2. Spruce up your surroundings.

When we get into nesting mode, we honor ourselves and our single status. Tidying up and simply adding new throw pillows to a sofa, a new bedspread, a new shower curtain, and some candles can add new energy to your space. “Another great way to celebrate your singlehood on Valentine’s Day is to decorate as you see fit. When we feel great in our living space, we are more productive. Many single women find they enjoy being able to redecorate without having anyone else offering their opinion.” Dr. Hafeez adds. 

3. Host a party.

Celebrating Singlehood on Valentine’s Day can be a blast when you invite other singles over for a fun pot luck dinner or cocktail party. Share funny dating stories, play some great music and enjoy some quality time with friends. “When people enter relationships, they have less time for their friends. Single people who have a solid group of friends always have something fun going on. What is interesting is the more a person loves their single life, is confident and happy on their own, the more attractive they become to others,” explains Dr.Hafeez. 

4. Pamper yourself.

Schedule your hair cut, facial, massage and declare a day of self-pampering. Many salons and spas offer Valentine’s Day specials and packages so take advantage. Some even offer after work treatments so you can go straight from work and indulge. “Treating yourself to a day of beauty is a great way to tend to yourself. Single women have the time to focus on their beauty routines without anyone asking how much they spend on eyebrow waxing, facials, highlights, blow-outs and anything else you choose to do,” Dr.Hafeez reminds us. 

5. Go shopping… online.

Be your own Valentine and buy yourself a present or several presents for that matter? Perhaps there’s a nice dress, handbag, shoes or fragrance that you’ve been wanting to treat yourself to. Celebrate your awesomeness with a splurge. “When we shop, we get a dopamine hit, hence the term retail therapy. The key is not to let it get out of control. Set a budget and the intention to enjoy yourself. Buy yourself something that a man typically would such as jewelry. There’s something very empowering about a woman buying herself a beautiful and symbolic piece of jewelry, suggests Dr.Hafeez.

6. Eat the candy.

Who doesn’t love chocolate? You’re your own greatest Valentine! Grab yourself your favorite Valentine’s Day candy box and allow a sweet treat. “Want an endorphin boost? Eat some chocolate. Endorphins are stress minimizers and help boost our immune systems,” says Dr.Hafeez. Ladies who revel in their singlehood have no problem treating themselves to some chocolate covered berries and champagne.

Cheers to you and cheers to being single.

About the Doctor:

Dr. Sanam Hafeez PsyD is an NYC based licensed clinical psychologist, teaching faculty member at the prestigious Columbia University Teacher’s College and the founder and Clinical Director of Comprehensive Consultation Psychological Services, P.C. a neuropsychological, developmental and educational center in Manhattan and Queens. Dr. Hafeez masterfully applies her years of experience connecting psychological implications to address some of today’s common issues such as body image, social media addiction, relationships, workplace stress, parenting and psychopathology (bipolar, schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, etc…). In addition, Dr.Hafeez works with individuals who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), learning disabilities, attention and memory problems, and abuse. Dr.Hafeez often shares her credible expertise to various news outlets in New York City and frequently appears on CNN and Dr.Oz. Connect with her via Instagram @drsanamhafeez or

Simplify Your Morning Routine to Get More Out of Your Day

Some people wake up each morning refreshed, bright-eyed and ready to take on the day. Others slap the snooze button repeatedly and drag themselves begrudgingly from a cocoon of blankets. Whether you embrace the morning or muddle through, there’s little doubt that those early moments set the stage for the day ahead.

Give yourself the opportunity to focus on what matters most each day with these tips to simplify your mornings.

Prepare the night before. Many of your morning tasks will flow more smoothly if you take time to plan the night before. Consider what you’ll wear and ensure your outfit is clean and ready for the next day. If you brought work home, collect everything back into your bag or briefcase so nothing gets left behind in the morning rush.

Stick to a routine. Especially when you’re groggy, it can be easy to miss important steps. There’s no right or wrong way to go about your routine, but make it consistent. If you follow the same general pattern every day, habits will form so you can cross each task off your list in order.

Fuel up naturally. Busy mornings make it tempting to skip a morning meal, but a nutritious breakfast can help you reach optimal physical and mental function. When pouring your morning cup of coffee, consider non-dairy creamers. Simple, easy-to-pronounce ingredients like almond milk, coconut cream and real vanilla go into natural bliss Half and Half, providing an innovative, plant-based twist on the classic coffee creamer. Additionally, Oat Milk creamer is another non-dairy option that can replenish your body for the day ahead. Each flavor is crafted to offer simplicity and bliss in your morning routine.

Build in time for exercise. Get moving with some light exercise to get your blood pumping and metabolism revved up. Exercise need not be strenuous or lengthy. Even a half hour of yoga or brisk walking can jumpstart your system. Remember part of exercising is the nourishment that takes place before and after to refuel.

Unplug at breakfast. Once you find the discipline to regularly enjoy your breakfast at home, take the enjoyment one-step further by declaring the breakfast table an unplugged zone. Consider stirring an option like natural bliss Toasted Coconut creamer into your coffee, which offers a flavor that can transport you to an island oasis. Use the time to enjoy a moment for yourself or mentally prepare for the day ahead without the interruption of electronic pings.

Make your commute count. A lengthy commute can make a long day seem even longer, but those moments don’t have to be wasted. Use this time to find your workplace state of mind or review tasks and meetings to prioritize your plan of attack once you reach your desk. You might even use this time to give a presentation one last practice run.

Transform your mornings and find the full creamer portfolio at (Family Features)



Presenting the January – February 2019 Edition of Teen InFluential

We’re thrilled to present to you the January – February 2019 edition of the multi-award winning Teen InFluential which is Dedicated to the Art of Living Well!

We invite you to visit and subscribe to Teen InFluential at and by clicking on the gorgeous cover below.

Unlock the Key to Your Future Success!

Welcome to the January – February 2019 Edition of InFluential Magazine

We’re thrilled to welcome you to the A New Way Forward! edition of multi-award winning InFluential Magazine.

Be sure to visit and subscribe to us at and by clicking on the stunning cover below starring the photography of Alex Nazarov.

The Arts Residences at Thompson San Antonio Hotel: A Local Icon in the Making Announces Banner Year-End

The First Luxury Condominium Tower in Downtown San Antonio Will Be an Arresting Architectural Interpretation of Old San Antonio Charm and Urban Sophistication 

DC Partners, developers of The Arts Residences at Thompson San Antonio hotel, announced on Tuesday the property has closed out the year with more than 65 percent of units sold. Since its groundbreaking, the property has celebrated a flurry of activity, selling out of two floor plans – the Picasso and the Rembrandt – and reconfiguring level 15 to accommodate more two-bedroom floor plan requests. The year’s impressive sales milestones also include the sale of three penthouses.

“As this graceful, structure begins to take form and shape over the coming months, I hope the people of San Antonio will be awed by its timeless beauty and inspired architecture,” said Roberto Contreras, CEO of DC Partners. “To meet the demand of our San Antonio clientele, we reconfigured the 15thfloor and worked with Powers Brown Architecture to unveil seven additional two-bedroom residences, two of which are brand new floor plans.”

The Arts Residences will be San Antonio’s premier River Walk address. No other high-rise condominium development in the city can compete with its location and amenities for the most discerning buyers. Situated at the epicenter of San Antonio’s vibrant performing arts district and within walking distance of the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, The Arts Residences will be part of mixed-use development encompassing more than 337,000 square feet. Residents of the 61 über-elegant condominiums atop San Antonio’s first Thompson Hotel will enjoy all the Thompson’s exceptional amenities, including round-the-clock security; an upscale restaurant with a world-class chef; a 5,000 square-foot pool deck with cabanas and pool bar; a lavish, relaxing spa; a state-of-the-art fitness center; and 24-hour concierge and room service.

Contreras and his colleagues at DC Partners wanted the building’s design to be distinctive and visually stunning, yet still complement San Antonio’s regional Hill Country architectural style. “This is more easily accomplished in a horizontal format, but it can be difficult to execute vertically,” said architect Jeffery Brown, FAIA Founding Principle and CEO, Powers Brown Architecture. “We were tasked with understanding the building’s style and what it means to people, and we did this by breaking it down into materials, orientation and context. The positioning of the sun is a major factor in the architectural design, requiring us to work less emotionally and stylistically, and more practically than we might have, otherwise.”

The Powers Brown team calibrated The Arts Residences’ design to elements of the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, across the street, using metal panels that index the river and mirror those of the Tobin. They balanced traditional materials and scale with a certain modernism, carefully choreographing the building’s crown and its inside-outside reciprocity to create what both the developer and the architect believe will be a truly iconic building on the San Antonio skyline.

“A well-designed building should look like it was born on the site it inhabits … like it would be totally out of place if moved anywhere else. I think we’ve accomplished that with this project,” said Brown.

Just as they meticulously weighed the elements of The Arts Residences’ exterior, the architects gave equal importance to designing its interiors at three particular levels – the public level, the hotel and the penthouse – with a focus on the penthouse spaces, their mix, size and disposition,” Brown continued. “We created two-story penthouses and mapped the choreography of the spaces to ensure one area flows well into the next. As a result, the spaces are sophisticated, inviting and comfortable.”

The Arts Residences at Thompson San Antonio is on track for completion in first quarter 2020. The for-sale residences are priced from the high $400s to $4.5 million for penthouses. The general contractor for the project is San Antonio-based Jordan Foster Construction.

“Very soon, you will see this architectural masterpiece begin its gracious ascent into the San Antonio skyline,” said Contreras. “We knew we had an unmatched location for a beautifully designed architectural project that will certainly become a landmark in the city. The Arts Residences is eminently unique for the San Antonio area, and interested parties should act fast to view our incredible mix of floor plans still available.”

About The Arts Residences at Thompson San Antonio

The Arts Residences at Thompson San Antonio is San Antonio’s premier River Walk address, with luxurious surroundings, refined details, a private entrance and concierge service for residents and 24-hour security. Located in the epicenter of San Antonio’s vibrant performing arts district, the 337,000-plus-square-foot mixed-use development encompasses The Arts Residences’ luxury-living condominiums atop San Antonio’s first Thompson Hotel and a restaurant with a world-class chef. Developed by DC Partners and San Antonio-based Universal Service Group, and designed by Powers Brown Architecture, the project is scheduled to be completed in first quarter 2020. The Arts Residences at the Thompson Hotel is exclusively marketed by Karla Dupre with Kuper Sotheby’s International Realty. For more information, contact the state-of-the-art sales gallery at (210) 227-4840 or visit

About DC Partners

DC Partners is a real estate development and investment firm with the financial strength and expertise to complete projects of all sizes and asset types, including high-quality high-rise, mid-rise, mixed-use and suburban projects. The company uses a broad range of investment strategies to pursue acquisition and development opportunities through the EB5 program, as well as traditional development approaches. Well-known for its landmark projects, DC Partners’ portfolio consists of more than 1.5 million square feet, with properties including office facilities, mixed-use centers, hospitality, multi-family, residential communities and luxury high-rise condominiums. Among its most recent luxury condominium projects are the Cosmopolitan, Astoria, Arabella, Marlowe, Chateau Ten and The Arts Residences at Thompson San Antonio. For more information, visit