How to Find the Right Dog for Your Family

Adding a four-legged friend to the family is no small decision, and it’s easy to get distracted by sweet eyes pleading to be taken home. Becoming a dog parent is a major commitment, so it’s important to do your research and make well-informed choices before deciding on a new dog.

No matter what stage of acquiring a dog you’re in, educate yourself about your options. A resource like Be Dog Smart, an online tool designed to guide consumers through the process of looking for a dog, can help you every step of the way, regardless of whether you’re considering getting a dog from a professional breeder, pet store, friend, family member or adopting from a shelter or rescue.

By asking the right questions, researching credible sources and requesting transparency from those who provide companion animals, you can rest assured you are taking the right steps to bring home a new furry family member.

Take smarter steps to bring your new fur-baby home with these tips from the Pet Leadership Council, the creators of the Be Dog Smart initiative:

  1. Determine the responsible environment you would like to acquire your dog from. One way to ensure those who raise and supply dogs maintain proper care standards is to understand the acquisition process and thoroughly vet breeders, retailers, shelters and rescues before supporting their operations. Ask questions about their businesses, policies, animal care and referral sources. Visit the locations personally to get a sense for the environment before making a decision. Once you settle on a source for your dog, interview several options to determine the best fit.

  1. Consider how a dog fits into your living situation. For example, if you work long hours, you’ll need to consider ways for your dog to be let outside during the day. Although some breeds require less space for exercise, all dogs need daily activity and regular access to relieve themselves.
  1. Think about the time and monetary investment. Dogs typically do not understand being left in their crates because you have a busy work schedule or social life. Contemplate your available time and how you would adjust to accommodate your pet. The same can be said for your finances. Ensure you can afford essentials such as food, grooming items and veterinary care as well as extras like toys and treats before making the commitment.
  1. Learn about the differences between purebred and mixed breeds. With so many breeds of dogs available, it’s tough to know which one is the right fit for you. Purebred dogs, which are dogs whose parents belong to the same breed, offer predictability in size, appearance, temperament, health issues, grooming needs and energy level. Mixed breeds, whose parents come from different breeds or are mixed breeds themselves, have a lower chance of being born with inherited congenital diseases and often inherit only the best traits from each parent.
  1. Weigh the benefits of a puppy versus an adult dog. Puppies are typically sweet and fun, and there are advantages to bonding with a puppy from its earliest stages of life. However, puppies quickly grow and can require a lot of work and training. Puppies are also more likely to be destructive. At rescues and shelters you’ll often find older dogs, many who were abandoned due to their owner’s life circumstances, not anything they did wrong. These dogs can be wonderful additions to a family and may be house trained and have previous basic command training, but there is a possibility of not getting a clear understanding of the dog’s past.  (Family Features)

For additional tips and to learn more, visit BeDogSmart.org.

SOURCE:
Pet Leadership Council

5 Cool Ideas for Self-Improvement Month

Photography courtesy of (c) mavoimages / stock.Adobe.com.

There’s no good reason to wait until the new year to focus on self-improvement. There’s also no excuse. September is Self-Improvement Month, and a fine time to learn a new skill, take up an old hobby or set a goal.

Here are five cool ideas to try out over the course of the month:

• Start coding: Whether you want to switch careers and become a software or web developer or simply take up a new hobby, learning to code can open a world of possibilities, while keeping your mind active and vital. And these days, free online tutorials available in dozens of programming languages, can help you get started without any tools required but time and dedication.

• Learn to play piano: Learning a musical instrument can improve focus, enhance memory and reduce stress. For a fast-track to playing songs skillfully, check out the Casio CT-X700, which features a Step-Up Lesson system to easily learn songs from the keyboard’s built-in library. The display shows proper fingering and notation, and a six-track recorder allows you to quickly capture your inspiration.

• Set a reading goal: You don’t have to be a student to complete a reading challenge. Whether it’s to read 5 non-fiction books over the course of the month or get through that classic tome that’s been sitting on your bookshelf for years, give yourself a reading goal to achieve this month.

• Get outdoors: Spending time exercising in nature has powerful physical and mental health benefits. Give yourself the motivation needed to get outdoors with a wearable device, such as the WSD-F30 Pro Trek Smart Outdoor Watch, which includes a built-in compass, altimeter and barometer, as well as a slew of fitness and nature apps designed to promote wellness and help you better appreciate your surroundings.

• Start saving: If you don’t have a savings account, think about opening one during the month of September. Make it painless by having the fund draw automated monthly payments from your checking account. Then sit back and watch your savings grow.

Long before writing up resolutions, celebrate Self-Improvement Month, a perfect mid-year motivation for change and growth. (StatePoint)

Tips for Maintaining an Organized Home

This time of year, family life can get a little messy. School schedules and sports activities mix with work commitments, and before long the house is as cluttered as the calendar.

Fall is the perfect time of year to recommit to an organized household so you can keep the chaos contained. With these tips, you can make small changes to help you get organized and stay that way.

Embrace routines. The idea of dedicating large chunks of time to organizing and tidying the house can be overwhelming. However, making time to clean as you progress through the day can help control clutter and keep the time commitment more manageable. Commit to cleaning up the kitchen after dinner each night. Set expectations for kids to pick up their rooms before bed. Before long, routines become productive habits that make a visible difference.

Purge the excess. Over time, nearly everyone collects too much stuff, and clutter is often more an indication of too much volume than poor organization. Items are purchased to replace outdated things, but the old pieces sometimes don’t actually get discarded. Getting control of your clutter starts with eliminating the things you no longer want or need. A good strategy is to create piles of items: keep, sell, donate and discard.

Create a drop zone. In most homes, the entryway is a catchall for family belongings that get shed with each pass through the door. It’s convenient to have shoes, coats, backpacks and other essentials ready to grab as you head out, so instead of fighting the inevitable jumble, find a way to organize it. A stylish drop zone using ClosetMaid’s Space Creations organizers is a solution that attractively contains all those essentials. The line includes a range shelving kits, complementing drawers, baskets, rods and more so you can customize the storage unit to your exact space and needs.

Avoid junk piles. Nearly every home has at least one junk pile, drawer or even room. In most cases, the reason is that the contents are a mish-mash of items that don’t really have any place else to go. Make a point to identify ways to create order, whether it’s adding drawer inserts to contain all the odds and ends or buying a standing file to capture bills and mail.

Be mindful about use. When you’re on a mission to eliminate excess clutter, it can be tempting to go overboard putting things away. It’s important to be realistic about where you store the things you need and err on the side of keeping the things you use regularly within reach. This may mean getting creative about how you organize or even adding new storage containers or furniture, but remember being organized is only helpful if it’s also practical.

Find more ideas for better home organization this busy season at ClosetMaid.com. (Family Features)

SOURCE:
ClosetMaid

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)

SOURCE:

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

Be on the Winning Side with the July – August 2019 Edition of InFluential Magazine

We’re thrilled to invite you into the world of the July – August 2019 Edition of InFluential Magazine.  This edition is chocked full of awesome articles and exclusive interviews including one with Judge Tanya Acker of television’s successful Hot Bench.

Be sure to connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Visit us at www.influential-magazine.com.

Save Money on Summer Road Trips

If financial constraints are keeping you from exploring the world, it may be time to reassess your approach to travel. From road trips across the country to jaunts across your state, there are plenty of ways to curb costs, so your biggest challenge is finding more days away from the office, not replenishing your bank account.

Make reservations in advance. Shopping early for lodging is one way to save. Give yourself plenty of time to watch deals so you can grab the best one, and if it’s possible, be flexible with the travel dates. Shifting your trip by even a day can sometimes make a difference in the rates.

Utilize rewards programs. Shopper loyalty programs make it easy to save money on essential purchases. Not only can you access exclusive card-holder discounts, but you can accumulate rewards points or even earn cash back. For example, with the Shell | Fuel Rewards® credit cards, you can save 10 cents per gallon (up to 20 gallons) every time you fill up at Shell, in addition to earning rebates on other qualifying purchases. See store for details or learn more at shell.us/roadtrip .

Share the journey. If your travel party consists of multiple families, consolidate into as few vehicles as you can. This helps minimize costs on everything from gas to per-vehicle admission fees at destinations like national parks.

Pack snacks. Next to lodging, food is the biggest expense you’re likely to encounter on a road trip. Consider packing snacks for the road so you can save money while managing your hunger. Alternatively, an option like the Shell | Fuel Rewards Mastercard lets you earn rebates on qualifying purchases made with the card.

Be conscious of your gas mileage. You may not have much of a choice when it comes to which vehicle you’ll drive, but paying more attention to your driving habits can stretch your gas tank a little further. Be sure your tires are inflated to the correct pressure. If your vehicle is a gas guzzler, consider renting a more efficient vehicle for the trip. Weigh the additional cost of the rental versus what you may spend in fuel for your personal car before making a decision.

Research attractions. Admission fees to various attractions can really add up, but a little pre-planning can help you capitalize on discount days and other special deals. If your plans are flexible, you can schedule your trip around those offers to capture the same experiences at a significantly lower price tag.

Travel doesn’t have to drain your wallet. Managing your trips with practical tips like these may even free up enough funds so you can fit in an extra adventure or two. (Family Features)

SOURCE:
Shell

Your Invite to the Big Brothers Big Sisters Ice Ball 2019

ICE BALL 2019
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.

Kandi Burruss Launches Kandi Koated Luxury Cosmetics Collection

The Kandi Koated cosmetics line pushes the world of beauty forward with a range of products encouraging people of all skin tones and identities to express and celebrate their authentic selves

Kandi Burruss

Kandi Burruss

Kandi Burruss — entrepreneur, Grammy Award-winning songwriter, and star of the Real Housewives of Atlanta — has expanded her empire with the launch of Kandi Koated, an empowering collection of luxury cosmetics celebrating diversity and inclusivity across all identities and skin tones. Burruss designed the line for those seeking to express their authentic selves—individuals who know they’re worth and want to look and feel confident on their own terms.

The Kandi Koated collection emerged from Burruss’ desire to see more inclusivity in the world of beauty. The selected ingredients, pigments, and palettes reflect the very diverse community that both inspire and have been inspired by Burruss for more than two decades.

“People come from all walks of life,” Burruss said. “They are not only a rainbow of shades, hues, and colors but also identities. The collection’s color palette ranges from deep espresso and bright, bold reds and purples, to brilliant metallics and buttery nudes. This allows anyone to experiment and celebrate their beauty in the ways that work best for them.”

Kandi Koated includes concealers, illuminators, blushes, bronzing powders, lip products, lip and eye pencils, and eye shadow and liquid palettes in colors for casual daytime wear and knockout evening looks. The collection’s Pretty Powerful line will feature Authentic, a special, limited edition matte lipstick featuring a bold red color that serves as a reminder of the wearer’s strength, authenticity, beauty, and power.

“Kandi Koated is more than a cosmetics line. It is a celebration of beauty, individuality, and diversity in a world where acceptance should be more than a goal. It should be our reality,” added Burruss. “I can’t wait to share this collection and its message of empowerment with people across the country and around the world.”

Kandi Koated cosmetics are cruelty-free with paraben-free, gluten-free, and vegan options available. To learn more and to purchase products in the collection, visit KandiKoated.com or host a Kandi Koated party with a Bedroom Kandi Boutique Parties consultant.

GUIDE: The Best Places to Catch Your Fave Celeb in ATX

While events like SXSW and Austin City Limits Fest draw floods of celebrities to Austin, it doesn’t mean that the city doesn’t play host to famous folks throughout the rest of the year. From the Intercontinental Stephen F. Austin Hotel downtown to Salt Lick BBQ in Driftwood, here’s a cheat sheet to spotting a celebrity in the Music Capital of the World on any given day.

Stephen F.’s Bar & Terrace at the InterContinental Stephen F. Austin Hotel 

Standing tall next to Austin’s iconic Paramount Theater and located in the heart of downtown, Stephen F’s Bar & Terrace offers a hot spot for celebs looking to stop by for late-night cocktails after major events or shows. With ideal views of Austin, along with creative cocktails, an incredible whiskey selection, and delicious bites, Stephen F’s Bar & Terrace also features a private lounge area, The Whisper Room, perfect for celebs looking for more private outings — complete with its own terrace overlooking downtown Austin, elegant tableside cocktails, and a full cigar selection. Notable celeb visits include the likes of Austin native Matthew McConaughey, David Spade, Charlize Theron, Eva Mendez & Ryan Gosling, Lance Bass, Joan Rivers and more.

The Salt Lick BBQ in Driftwood, TX

Photography courtesy of Kenny Braun.

Photography courtesy of Kenny Braun.

Originally founded over half a century ago in 1967, The Salt Lick has become one of the most popular and successful BBQ restaurants in the country. With three locations across Texas, including an expansive vineyard and multiple private event spaces at the original location in Driftwood, The Salt Lick offers guests, including celebs, chefs, musicians, and tastemakers from around the world a place to relax and enjoy some of the best BBQ while they visit Austin and Central Texas. Well-known guests and endorsers have included folks like David Letterman, Neil Patrick Harris, Anthony Bourdain, Adam Richman, Bobby Flay, Rachael Ray, Kelly Ripa & Mark Consuelos, Kyle Chandler, Sandra Bullock, Matthew McConaughey, Willie Nelson, Jerry Bruckheimer, Ron Howard, U2, Matt LeBlanc, Ron White, Robert Rodriguez, Portugal. The Man, and countless others such as current and past elected officials like former Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

Circuit of The Americas 

COTA Tower

COTA Tower

As the only purpose-built Grand Prix facility in the United States designed for all classes of racing, Circuit of The Americas welcomes celebrities from all over to experience high-adrenaline racing year round, and heading to the track is a surefire way to spot celebrities in Central Texas. The MotoGP Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas at COTA has seen celebs including Keanu Reeves, Channing Tatum, and Kyle Chandler. Race fans like Gerard Butler, Gordon Ramsey, Lindsey Vonn, Venus Williams, Bill Clinton, Matthew McConaughey, and Gayle King among many others have been spotted at the Formula 1 Pirelli United States Grand Prix. Jesse Metcalfe and Colt McCoy ushered in the inaugural IndyCar Classic at COTA this year.

Kemuri-Tatsuya

Puff Puff Pass and Matcha Painkiller.  Photography courtesy of  Julia Keim.

Puff Puff Pass and Matcha Painkiller. Photography courtesy of Julia Keim.

Kemuri Tatsu-Ya, from the Tatsu-Ya Family behind acclaimed concepts Ramen Tatsu-Ya, Domo Alley-Gato, and DipDipDip Tatsu-Ya, offers ample comfort and adventure for guests seeking both. The Texas-influenced Japanese izakaya has achieved national acclaim, including Bon Appetit Best New Restaurant in 2017, Restaurants of the Year 2018 in Food & Wine, as well as a Best New Restaurants James Beard Foundation Awards semifinalist — and has become a hot spot for celebrities like Patton Oswalt, David Chang, Dan the Automator, and Action Bronson, especially during SXSW. 

Branding Through Time

In a world of social media influencers and fake news, branding professionals need to carefully craft their company’s persona to build a loyal, trusting customer base. As the modern customer becomes more conscious of how their data is used and where the messages they absorb is coming from, branding is likely to change in the next few years. To predict where PR pros should steer the industry next, we can take inspiration from where branding has already come from.

The ancient Mesopotamians used brands to convey ownership, craftsmanship and quality during trade. This then evolved into symbols used to distinguish a company’s product in the market – early examples still around today include the Quaker Oats man and the lion of Lyle’s Golden Syrup. With the advent of social media such as Myspace and now Twitter, branding has become the complete presentation of a business to the world, from direct customer interaction to evidential employee satisfaction.

As of last year, digital ad spend surpassed TV ad spend for the first time, showing how truly digital has become the most vital landscape for marketing in modern society. However, simultaneous with this shift has been a growth in awareness from consumers on data privacy and internet transparency. 2018 saw the Cambridge Analytica scandal which exposed the misuse of up to 87 million users’ data and the introduction of GDPR brought data sharing to the forefront of everyone’s mind.
Calls for more transparency on social media have led to influencers being required to announce when they endorse a product as part of a paid partnership. This has shown that consumers are still happy to receive branded messages from their favourite online personalities as long as their intentions are clear. This will be vital for branding professionals to remember in the future as only brands with a record of trustworthiness will flourish in this more conscious digital landscape.

When it comes to forming future branding strategies, the main values consumers will best respond to haven’t changed much since ancient times: trust, quality and craftsmanship.

Check out our infographic for more inspiration from the history of branding.

Branding Through Time

This infographic was provided by The Rolling Bean, mobile coffee van hire across the UK.