Oh, Those New Year’s Resolutions

3 Infographics Show What We Hope To Do (And What We Probably Won’t)

Find out the who, what and why of the New Year’s Resolutions — who else is making resolutions this week? What are more people resolving to do than anything else? How many people keep their resolutions past January 8th?

From Daily Infographic:

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From Visual.ly:

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From Confused.com:

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Bonus! If you want to take a different road to change in 2013, check out this infographic from MamiVerse.com, 30 Dr. Seuss Quotes That Can Change Your Life — it starts with “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You,” and ends with “You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And you are the one who’ll decide where to go…”


5 Most Searched For Terms in 2012

What Topics Trended Hottest This Year

Google, Yahoo, and Bing released their top trending search requests in the U.S.A. for 2012 — the hot topics this year ran the gamut from Whitney Houston to the new iPhone to Honey Boo Boo.

The 2012 Election was the only term that appeared in the top 5 of all three search engines.

Google’s Trending Searches in 2012

  1. Whitney Houston
  2. Hurricane Sandy
  3. Election 2012
  4. Hunger Games
  5. Jeremy Lin

Yahoo’s Top Searches overall in 2012:

  1. Election
  2. Iphone 5
  3. Kim Kardashian
  4. Kate Upton
  5. Kate Middleton

Bing’s Most Searched News Stories for 2012:

  1. iPhone 5
  2. 2012 Election
  3. 2012 Olympics
  4. Hurricane Sandy
  5. Honey Boo Boo Reality Show

Google’s Zeitgeist Map

Some of the “biggest moments” of the year as they occurred across the globe — click on a pin on Google’s Zeitgeist map for details on when and where certain events hit the “search-o-sphere.” (Note: the map feature of Google Zeitgeist may not work in every browser.)

5 Great Gifts For Anyone

Scratching Your Head About What To Give — This List Is For You

1. Sweets are always sweet

Whether you want to make it or buy it — sweets are always a timely gift.  Epicurious offers recipes (and resources) to either make (or buy) delicious presents from macaroons to barbecue sauce. For a selection of some of the yummiest looking gift baskets around, Huffington Post has found 10 baskets, including the delicious hot chocolate makings pictured below, they are tempted to send to themselves!

2. Don’t look a gift card in the mouth

At GiftCards.com, you can create your own custom gift cards, which are accepted wherever MasterCard and Visa are accepted. Each card can be personalized with the recipients full name and a personal message just below. They’ve partnered with thousands of local restaurants and stores around the country — so if you want to give the gift of heartburn from Oklahoma Joe’s BBQ, no problem. Or you can upload your own image to create the ultimate personalized gift card.

3. Evergreen

Plants are the gifts that keep on giving. Whether it’s a seasonal bloom such as the pretty poinsettia from Giving Plants below, a classic like this paperwhite planting kit from White Flower Farm or a fragrant (and useful) herb like the potted rosemary tree from ProFlowers, plants are a lovely way to give a gift that lasts long after the holidays are over.

4. Pen & paper

Even in the 21st century, there are still plenty of times when nothing beats good old-fashioned pen and paper. Pick out a pretty or witty notepad — like the “One Day at a Time” set from Russell & Hazel below — or a packet of note cards for your giftee. If you really want to impress, order stationery printed with their name, like the “Isaac flat note cards” bordered in navy blue with coordinating envelopes from The Stationery Studio.

5. Nothing beats something made by hand

Cookies wrapped in cellophane — or presented individually in their own sleeve like the oatmeal cookie below (from Martha Stewart). A stack of pretty ornaments. Your own secret hot chocolate mix, complete with marshmallows, in a jar topped with a bow. A festive coffee cup sleeve (like the ones below pictured in Better Homes & Gardens). A selection of your favorite recipes printed on cards or as a special booklet. For more homemade gift ideas, check out Better Homes & Gardens.

3 Factors To Weigh Before Picking a Tablet

With So Many To Choose From, Deciding Which Tablet To Buy Can Be Tricky

1. Size

Are you (or your gift-ee) going to be carrying it around a lot? Watching a lot of movies and TV? Reading books? Taking notes? The 10” tablets are definitely tops for watching video and giving you plenty of real estate for browsing the web, but they are also, by definition, bigger and heavier than the 7” family. For throwing into your bag or large coat pocket, a 7” tablet is far more convenient — and it’s lighter weight makes it a better option for people who intend to read on their tablet frequently.

2. Operating System

Now that Apple has brought out the iPad Mini, a 7” tablet, you can pick any size and still have a choice between Android and iOS — and Windows tablets are beginning to garner some acclaim as well. Apple does offer more apps than any other platform, and its user interface remains the best — although that margin is closing fast. On the other hand, the Android OS offers more flexibility and customization than Apple. The Windows 8 platform is powerful, but it has a steeper learning curve than the other two.

3. Storage

Some tablets offer external storage in the form of some sort of SD card — and some don’t. Apple is infamous for not offering any external storage options on any of its iOS devices, the iPhone, iPad or iPad Mini; iPads are available with internal storage up to 64gb. Many Android devices do offer a slot for an SD memory card — allowing you to add up to 32gb to your tablet’s storage capacity for less than $50.

Other factors you’ll want to weigh are cost, speed, battery life, among others. CNET, PC World, Digital Trends, and TechTrends offer advice, reviews and information to help you choose the right tablet. The site Versus IO lets you compare a variety of smartphones and tablets — bringing up the specifications of each and weighing them against each other.


3 Tips To Handle Holiday Stress

Things You Can Do To Keep The Season From Stressing You Out

1. Anticipation and Imagination

Planning ahead for the pitfalls of the holiday season is one of the best ways you can smooth your way. For all the events coming up, visualize the experience in your mind — if it’s a tradition you’ve been part of before, remember both the good and the bad. 

Focus on ways you can maximize the positive and prepare yourself to handle or even avoid the negative. If you had a great time last year on that last-minute shopping run with your sibling, this year, make it a plan. If a colleague tends to become obnoxious at the holiday party and make you uncomfortable, prepare yourself with a few hasty departure excuses, so you’re not fumbling at the time.

2. Sleep and Exercise

Just because it’s the holidays doesn’t mean the basics don’t apply. Research study after research study show that getting enough sleep and exercise are surefire ways to keep your mood up — and your ability to handle stressful situations at its peak.

3. You Time

The holidays can take up a lot of time with parties, events, family, colleagues — all of which can be fun and festive, but may also feel like an endless load of obligations. Make sure you schedule time at least a couple of times each week to do something that really is fun, and also relaxing — whether you sneak off to a movie, or lock the door and take a long bubble bath, or crack a bottle of wine and stay home with your best friend (and NO one else), remember that the holidays should leave you feeling joyous, not resentful.


8 Fall Movies With A Lot of Buzz

Oscar Season Is Here — What You Shouldn’t Miss


1.    The Master

Starring the inimitable Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix in his first post faux “retirement/breakdown” appearance, The Master tells the story of a magnetic cult leader, his belief system and his young protégé. Director Paul Thomas Anderson delivers a compelling story powered by some powerhouse performances.

2.    Looper

Looper is Rian Johnson’s third movie after his debut (the surprisingly successful film noir set Orange County, Brick) and sophomore film (the con and caper tale The Brothers Bloom) — it’s a thriller/suspense/time travel movie that is a huge leap forward (no pun intended) for the filmmaker. With Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, playing an oddly convincing young Bruce Willis, Looper is a fast-paced adventure that grabs you up and doesn’t let you go until the very end.

3.    Argo

Possibly the best movie of the year so far, Argo tells the true tale of the recently declassified mission to rescue six American hostages from Iran during the hostage crisis in 1980. Written by newcomer Chris Terrio and superbly directed by Ben Affleck, this movie is a master class on how to maintain nail-biting suspense even when your audience knows exactly how it’s going turn out.

4.    Skyfall

It may be not Oscar material, but the first Bond movie after a four-year absence is chock full of Oscar caliber talent. Directed by Oscar-winner Sam Mendes (American Beauty), Skyfall brings Daniel Craig and Oscar-winner Dame Judi Dench (Shakespeare in Love) back as 007 and M and introduces what promises to be a Bond villain for the history books, played by yet another Oscar winner, Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men).

5.    Life of Pi

An unlikely best-seller and award winner (the Man Booker Prize in 2002), the book Life of Pi has sold more than twice as many copies as the next best-selling Booker prize winner. About a boy, a tiger, a hyena, a zebra and an orangutan adrift at sea in a lifeboat, Life of Pi appears to be an unlikely movie as well. If anyone can pull it off, it would be director Ang Lee, who brought us Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and who won the Best Director Academy Award for Brokeback Mountain.

6.    Zero Dark Thirty

She was the first woman ever to win the Academy Award for Best Director (The Hurt Locker). This year, Kathryn Bigelow (along with the writer who won the Oscar for Best Screenplay for The Hurt Locker, Mark Boal) is back with Zero Dark Thirty, which should be a mesmerizing look at the hunt for (and killing of) Osama Bin Laden by Seal Team 6.

7.    Les Miserables

What are the chances that this December’s Les Miserables — a musical based on a 1990s movie based on a 1980s Broadway musical blockbuster based on an 1860s French novel — is going to be any good? Oscar winner Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech) thinks they’re pretty good. Then again, with a cast that includes Russell Crowe, Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen it looks like the director may have stacked the deck.

8.    Silver Linings Playbook

Oscar nominated director David O’Russell (The Fighter) is back this year with a tale of what you do after you lose everything. Starring Bradley Cooper and Oscar-nominated Jennifer Lawrence (Winter’s Bone), Silver Linings Playbook promises to be an emotional rollercoaster.

4 Easy Ways to Stay On Top Of Product Recalls

Before You Take That Pill Or Eat That Peanut Butter

It seems like every week another report comes out announcing a product, food or drug that has had to be recalled from the shelves because it malfunctions, or isn’t what it’s supposed to be, or is contaminated in some way.

How’s an average person supposed to know that this week isn’t the week to buy peanut butter? Or that the pretty bassinet you were eyeing poses a suffocation danger to your new baby? 

Some recalls hit the news in a big way. The Excedrin recall this year was a hot topic and all over TV, the internet and the newspapers. That’s one item. Last year there were more than 2,000 product recall announcements.

Various U.S. agencies offer alerts for product safety issues — via email or various social media platforms.

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is “committed to protecting consumers and families from products that pose a fire, electrical, chemical, or mechanical hazard or can injure children.” You can subscribe to their alerts — and even specify just what kind of updates you’d like to receive (all recalls, child/infant product recalls, household product recalls, etc.). 

 Sign up for alerts from the CPSC here.

 Follow @OnSafety on Twitter to get their updates on safety alerts and recalls

 Check out CPSC’s Facebook page for updates on recalls. 

U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA)

When items that fall under the purview of the Food & Drug Administration (such as Excedrin, spinach, peanut butter, etc.) are recalled, the FDA oversees the recall process to make sure it is adequate and effective. The FDA keeps a record of product recalls, which can be searched, sorted by name, date or product type, as well as an archive of press releases related to products and product safety. 

  Sign up to receive information on recalls, market withdrawals and safety alerts from the FDA here.

 Follow @FDARecalls on Twitter here

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Part of the USDA’s charter is to make sure that the “nation's commercial supply of meat, poultry, and egg products is safe, wholesome, and correctly labeled and packaged.”

 Sign up to get notified when the USDA issues a recall or public health alert here.

 Follow @USDAFoodSafety on Twitter here

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)

The NHTSA is tasked with “achieving the highest standards of excellence in motor vehicle and highway safety” — not only does the agency monitor manufacturers’ recall efforts, they can also order recalls and repairs of vehicles and parts. You can sign up for the NHTSA’s email notifications on their recalls — and even tailor the content to your area of concerns (e.g., child restraints, specific makes/models, motorcycles).

Sign up for email notifications of NHTSA recalls and safety alerts here.

 Follow @NHTSAgov on Twitter for recalls and other vehicle safety announcements.


Top 5 Candies to Hand Out This Halloween

Survey Says….

According to Facebook “Likes”

#1: Skittles (23.55 million thumbs up)

#2: Starburst (11.5 million)

#3: Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (10 million)

#4: Kit Kat (9.4 million)

#5: Twix (5.26 million)


(statistics via Today.com)


 According to Huffington Post Editors

#1: Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups Miniatures

#2: Starburst

#3: 3 Musketeers

#4: Nerds

#5: Kit Kat

(via Huffington Post)





10 Scariest Movies of All Time

Halloween Is The Perfect Time For A Horror Movie Marathon

Although there is no definitive list — and the American Film Institute failed to give horror movies its own Top 100 list — there is no shortage of “experts” ready to rate, rank and recommend the top horror movies ever made. 

What are the scariest movies ever? Check out these lists:

In no particular order, seven movies made at least three of the above lists’ top 10:

1.  Alien (1979) — “If serving as the incubator for a killing machine from outer space doesn’t scare you, then just wait until it grows up, and hides in the shadows of your spaceship, and picks off your crew one-by-one.” (Boston.com)

2. Psycho (1960) — “Honor thy mother” has never been so scary.

3. The Exorcist (1973) — If you think this movie is just Linda Blair’s turned-around head and projectile pea soup, hang on to your hats.

4. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) — “Once Leatherface makes his entrance, get ready for a full hour of psychological terror. If you ever complained about your in-laws, watch this movie and thank your lucky stars.” (Boston.com)

5. Jaws (1975) — The highest-grossing movie in history at the time, Spielberg’s second directorial outing and John Williams’ unforgettable score made “duhDUH” two of the scariest notes ever heard in a movie theater.

6. Night of the Living Dead (1968) — AMC should thank George Romero, who directed this movie, for creating the whole genre of zombie terror — “The Walking Dead” on AMC is one of the most successful shows on basic cable — as should almost every movie that relies on the bar-the-doors and nail-down-windows strategy as a crucial plot point.

7. Halloween (1978) — “It isn’t just that Michael Myers is a homicidal maniac. He’s a homicidal maniac who wears a mask that carries an expression of pure blankness, as if killing is boring.” (Boston.com)

The Shining (1980), Rosemary’s Baby (1968) and Frankenstein (1931) each made two of the lists.



How Important Is Body Language?

From Your Office To The Presidential Debate, Gestures May Say More Than Words

What you say without saying a word

More than half of what you say isn’t through the words coming out of your mouth — so being aware of your body language and expressions, and what they might be saying to your audience (whether one person or a roomful) can be extremely helpful in getting across the point you want to, rather than something else entirely.

  • Want to look powerful and in control when talking to your boss?
    Consider standing inside the door frame to your boss’s office— "It frames you like a piece of art and also makes you appear to be more powerful," according to Janine Driver, founder and president of The Body Language Institute in Washington and author of You Say More Than You Think: A 7-Day Plan for Using the New Body Language to Get What You Want!(via The Globe and Mail)

  • Can’t tell if your colleagues are interested or bored to death?
    Are they looking at you or are their eyes wandering or focused on a spot somewhere beyond you? Is their face relaxed or is their jaw clenched, their lips pursed? Are they facing you head-on or are they turned away? All these things can help you judge your audience — and help you adjust your own behavior from what you’re saying to how you’re saying it, to try and win them back. (from Forbes)
  • Want to feel more confident?
    Body language can actually raise testosterone levels and lower the levels of the anxiety-producing hormone cortisol — in both men and women — according to Amy Cuddy, an associate professor at Harvard Business School. Check out her amazing presentation at a TED conference here. Striking a “power pose” — standing tall and straight with an open posture — can help your body give you the confidence your mind is telling you you don’t have. (from LifeInc on Today)

How do you think The Mentalist does it?

On the TV show “The Mentalist,” the main character Patrick Jane is a self-professed con-man who once pretended to be a psychic. Rather than seeing into the great beyond or the interiors of people’s minds, Jane is an expert at the “cold read” — a technique through which one can ascertain facts about someone else through careful attention to details, responses and body language.

(Infographic from SocialPhy)

The debate about the debate

One of the hottest topics these days is “who won the debate?” While many are comparing answers to answers, another contingent is judging facial expressions and hand gestures — the verdict is still out on who won either way. 

The New York Times put together a great visual analysis of the candidates’ body language — see it here.

On “This Week With George Stephanopoulos,” Howard Dean said “the key to a debate, if you want to see how it moves the American people, is to turn off the sound, watch the mannerisms. It’s not what they say. I mean, there may be a zinger and that could change things, but—it’s not what they say. It is their mannerisms. It’s how they come across.”



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