8 Daily Habits of Ultra-Productive People

Have you ever wondered how successful people stay highly productive day after day? The secret of their productivity isn’t actually a secret. They simply know how to manage themselves and when to say no. Ultra-productive people don’t necessarily work longer and they’re not complete workaholics. They simply work a bit smarter than other people. If you feel stuck in your busy schedules, it’s time to make changes, improve your work rut and boost your career. No matter what obstacles block your career path, you have enough power to overcome them. Here are 8 daily habits of ultra-productive people that you can develop today.

1. They do the hardest tasks first


Procrastination is the biggest problem of most people. We often don’t feel like doing the difficult tasks and trick ourselves into thinking that we’ll accomplish them after lunch. The truth is, the most difficult tasks are never accomplished in the second part of the working day. Ultra-productive people know it so they always start their working days with the hardest projects. It’s a lot easier to accomplish easy tasks (or those that inspire you to work hard) at the end of the day.

2. They never overthink their projects and mistakes
Ultra-productive people don’t have time for overthinking. They make mistakes, learn from them and forget about them. They accomplish their tasks and projects and forget about them. They always try to solve their problems the moment they appear. Moreover, they never save phone calls and emails to deal with later. This habit is hard to master but it’s worth the effort.

3. They often say no
Ultra-productive people are not afraid to say no to the tasks and projects that they don’t like or want to accomplish. They often say no to people who ask them for help. It’s not selfish. though. The art of saying no is great and useful. First, because it helps people to do their work on time. Second, because they have more time to relax and do their household chores. Remember, you don’t have to do someone’s tasks regardless of the situation, especially if you have many stuff to tackle.

4. They never multitask
Multitasking is a good thing at times, but it doesn’t help you stay productive during the day. Multitasking is actually a huge productivity killer. When you do one task at a time, you accomplish more than when you are trying to do a few tasks at once. Even if you manage to accomplish those tasks, the quality of your work may be worse. Ultra-productive people strive for better work, which is why they tend to focus on one project at a time.

5. They end their working day by preparing for the next
After a hard working day the last thing we want to think about is the next working day. However, when you plan your next day before you leave the office, you start the next day doing the most difficult tasks, and don’t spend your precious minutes making a to-do list in the morning. Ultra-productive people always end their working day with a to-do list for tomorrow.

6. They prioritize their tasks
When making their to-do lists, successful and productive people prioritize their tasks. They do the most difficult tasks first, then accomplish the most important ones, and if they have some time before the end of the working day, they try to get the less important tasks done. This way, they work productively without exhausting themselves. As I mentioned, you don’t have to work hard to get things done – you simply need to learn how to work a bit smarter.

7. They stick to their schedules
While it’s not always possible to stick to a schedule, you should do it most of the time in order to be more productive. If you hold a business meeting, make sure you keep it short. It’s difficult to stay focused when the meeting is very long and boring. Avoid discussing other topics, prepare an agenda in advance, set a time limit and stick to it. This is how ultra-productive people run their productive business meetings. In case you have any other topics to discuss, do it at the end of the meeting.

8. They delegate
We are not superhumans. Sometimes even highly productive people can be overloaded with tasks. Delegating is an effective way to get everything done on time. If you know that you can delegate some of your tasks to other workers, do it, but only when you really need it. Avoid delegating all the time, or you will end up being highly unproductive worker.

Every day can be a productive day, if you really want it. Reconsider your daily habits – get rid of those that prevent you from being efficient during the day and adopt those that will make you more productive and successful. I hope these small productivity tips will help you boost your career and improve your overall life. Are you going to adopt any of these habits?

7 Smart Ways to Adjust to a New Work Team

Getting a new job has always been a stressful event for every person. But why do people find it extremely difficult and stressful? I think it happens due to unbridled fear of uncertainty, lack of professional skills, knowledge and experience.

I’m a sensitive person and when I get a new job, I automatically start worrying and asking myself too many odd questions. My obsessive chain of what-if-questions really drives me crazy, steals my confidence and even fills my heart with fear or diffidence.

As a reasonable and rational thinking personality, I usually suppress my negative thoughts and put an end to obsessive thinking by sticking to common rules, standards and tips on how to become an indispensable part of a new work team in a quite short period of time.

While these seven tips are effective, sometimes employees have to face the challenges of abnormal situations in different spheres of life, especially career. Even if you do everything right at work, the work team will always be divided into your friends and haters. You shouldn’t get upset about it, but realize that you’re not a dollar to be loved and respected by everyone.

If some of your coworkers feel an antipathy towards you, keep calm and try to find a different approach to them. It will help you handle the situation and prove everyone that you’re a friendly, successful and valuable worker. I hope my experiences will help you quickly adapt to your new work environment and win the respect of your coworkers.

1. First impression is crucially important


When you’re crossing the threshold of a new office, you should remember that your success, reputation and status depend on the impression you’ll make during the first 5 minutes of the conversation with your potential coworkers. They will pay considerable attention to your appearance, words, manners, mindset and stand in life.

Nowadays every company has its own rules, standards, traditions, including dress code. By all means, try not to stem the tide by expressing your individuality through clothing, because such inequality will certainly trigger conflicts and indignation within the work team, and turn its members against you.

Furthermore, make sure you control your emotions and behave in a confident way, because your eyes reflect your inner emotional state like a mirror. If you feel that your fear and anxiety are going out of control, try to prevail over them, using different meditation techniques that will quickly stabilize your emotional well-being.

2. Adhere to the golden mean
Communication with new colleagues is an incredibly challenging thing. You should always keep in mind that every person has its own comfort zone, stereotypes, views and principles.

Some easy going personalities can quickly open their hearts to you and become your friends, while others need a bit of a reality check and don’t want someone like you to penetrate their comfort zone and thrust your friendship to them. If you see that someone keeps a distance from you, it’s desirable just to accept it and show respect for their opinion.

If you want to speed up the acquaintance process, try to speak the language of your colleagues. Use their slang and avoid obscure words, phrases or jokes. This way, you’ll turn from a stranger into a respected insider in a twinkling of an eye. But you should always remember about the rule of the Golden Mean. This rule is the guarantee of your success in both your life and career. The main thing is not to go too far in everything you do.

3. Keep a stiff upper lip
As a newcomer, you should be mentally ready to deal with mobbing and other types of emotional pressure. Have you ever thought about why workmates mock the newcomers and each other?

It usually happens when they either hate each other cordially or want to check the strength of the newcomer’s character and get to know how they act in different stressful situations. This kind of an acid test gives them an opportunity to see your true colors, strong points and weaknesses. At any rate, you should do all possible and impossible things to remain unprovoked, even if your coworkers decide to get on your nerves.

They might start abusing their position and become impudent by asking you to do numerous tasks you’re not responsible for. In such a case, you should let them know that you’re ready to help them, but you won’t clean the office alone or work overtime on a regular basis. Propose them to assign the tasks fairly. It’s crucially important to state your proposition firmly, but calmly.

4. Make a first step
I know that it’s very difficult to take the initiative, but this habit is the key to a happy, harmonious and successful life. If you’ve just got a job, show your worth and earn favorable reputation. Remember, you’ll never achieve a desirable result, until you find common language or make friends with your colleagues.

You live in the society where the business sphere is round like the Earth. From time to time you’ll meet and have to deal with the same people. But how can you establish and maintain good relations at work?

The newcomer should learn to make the first step. You may invite your coworkers to celebrate a birthday, anniversary or something else together. You’ll have a chance to communicate in a relaxed, cheerful and friendly atmosphere. But be careful and try not to overshoot the mark, because sometimes too much familiarity can breed contempt.

5. Find a team-mate
Just because you’re at work you shouldn’t spend all the time alone like an ole eagle. Effective and productive teamwork has become the main priority for many companies. Every member of the team, as an essential part of a big mechanism, has to work hard and cooperate with others successfully. Those who don’t satisfy these requirements are fired. The company can do it just for the sake of its stability and prosperity. If you don’t want it to happen, you should do your best to establish good work relationships with all your coworkers.

In case you find it too difficult, try to get on well with at least one team-mate and ask them to bring you up to date. As soon as you enlist the support of an experienced and respected team member, you’ll significantly rise in other colleagues’ estimation and become more confident.

Don’t fear to ask for such a help. Many people can’t imagine their lives without mentoring. They become mentors for various reasons. It usually boosts their confidence and ego, increases their professionalism and even improves karma, because gratuitous help is the choice of kind-hearted and wonderful people.

6. Keep your tongue in check
Your tongue can be either your friend or the worst enemy. During the trial period it’s strongly recommended to keep a still tongue in your head. Before you utter a word, you should always think what you say, to whom and what for. It’s important because one day every word or phrase said by you may be used against you by your workmates.

When you’re among your colleagues, you’d better speak on the case and ask everything only about the specifics of your work. They may start spreading rumors about the others in your presence, but you should keep silent and resist the temptation to add your two cents. If you say something bad about other team members behind their backs, they’ll certainly get to know about it.

7. Try to be a source of positivity
Positive people with a perfect sense of humor are always worth their weight in gold. If you’re one of them, then you should take advantage of this wondrous God-Given quality and realize that all the doors are open to you. No matter whether you’re a mature and professional specialist or not, a frank smile is a magic thing that makes even a newcomer an extremely attractive and confident person.

Have you ever noticed that the personalities who smile and carry positivity regardless of everything are always surrounded by lots of people? Without a doubt, smile and positive attitude are the secrets of their attraction. Every time you meet your colleagues face to face, smile for the sake of your success.

If you want to adjust to a new work team, consider following these pieces of advice. The main point is to behave naturally and remember that you’re individuality. Do you adjust to a new job quickly? What other ways to get along with colleagues do you know? Share your tips with us.

FDA Panel Recommends Approval of the First Gene Therapy Treatment

An advisory panel for the FDA recommended approving the first gene therapy for use in the U.S., and the treatment is meant for children with B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia, the most common blood cancer in children. The FDA doesn’t have to follow the advice of the advisory committee, but it often does.

The new therapy, called chimeric antigen receptor T cell (CAR-T) therapy, provides new hope that the disease won’t just be treated, but cured. It’s based on using the immune system to fight against cancer—currently the most promising way to fight tumors. Cancer cells arise from normal cells, so the immune system doesn’t always recognize that anything is wrong. A pioneering group of drugs already approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), called checkpoint inhibitors, remove the brakes on the immune system and allow it to attack tumor cells that it normally wouldn’t.

The newly approved therapy CAR-T therapy works to co-opt the immune system in a different way. It involves removing a patient’s blood and essentially replacing it with a population of blood cells stacked with cancer-fighting immune cells known as T cells. To do that, researchers use gene therapy to change patients’ bone marrow cells, which make blood and immune cells, to recognize cancer cells.

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Novartis applied for the approval for its drug, tisagenlecleucel, to treat acute lymphblastic leukemia in children who have exhausted all the existing treatments for the disease. Doctors say the drug, which helps to genetically engineer the cells, only needs to be infused once to repopulate children’s blood with healthy, cancer-fighting cells. In a small group of patients who have received the therapy, 83% were in complete or partial remission three months later.

“Novartis has long believed in the potential of chimeric antigen receptor T cell (CAR-T) therapies to change the cancer treatment paradigm,” the company said in a statement responding to the decision.

Other companies are also pursuing CAR-T cell strategies but have struggled with major complications. Some patients receiving CAR-T therapy can develop a severe inflammatory reaction known as cytokine release syndrome, in which the immune system is overactive and can cause high fever, neurological symptoms and organ damage. Earlier this year, Kite Pharma, which also has a CAR-T therapy product being reviewed by the FDA, reported the death of a patient from brain swelling, and Juno Therapeutics placed its CAR T program on hold when its scientists weren’t able to overcome the toxicity.

Researchers at the hearing told the advisory panel that careful monitoring for the first signs of the inflammation can keep it under control. The advisory panel determined, unanimously, 10-0, that the benefit of the therapy outweighed the risks.

U.S. Scientists Use CRISPR to Fix Genetic Disease in Human Embryos For the First Time

Scientists have successfully used CRISPR, a tool that cuts DNA with more precision than any other genome editing technology, to fix a genetic defect in human embryos that can cause serious heart problems, according to a landmark new study in the journal Nature. This is the first use of CRISPR on human embryos in the U.S.

Chinese scientists have reported using CRISPR to correct genetic defects in human embryos, but some of the embryos they used weren’t viable.

Shoukhrat Mitalipov, from Oregon Health & Science University, collaborated with researchers at the Salk Institute, as well as with scientists from China and South Korea, to improve on those results. They applied CRISPR at the earliest stage possible—when the embryo is still a single cell—to ensure that the genetic changes they introduced were propagated to every cell of the embryo as it divided and developed. Because the embryos were created for research purposes only, none were allowed to develop beyond three days.

CRISPR, which was introduced in 2012, precisely cuts DNA but does not repair it. If combined with other techniques, however, researchers say it could both cut out disease-causing genes and replace them with healthy versions to essentially cure genetic human diseases. So in order to further the science, Mitalipov and his colleagues wanted to test what happened when CRISPR was used in a human embryo. Theoretically, once CRISPR broke the DNA in the appropriate place to cut out a mutation, the cell’s natural repair mechanisms would kick in to repair the injury, fixing the defect this time with the proper code—much like how a word processor’s autocorrect function fixes spelling mistakes.

Unfortunately, this process isn’t very efficient in adult cells in which CRISPR has been tested, so Mitalipov expected similarly low yields in the embryos.

To his surprise, however, he found that embryos were very effective at fixing breaks in DNA.

He created embryos that contained a specific defect known to cause a heart condition by fertilizing healthy donor eggs from various women with sperm from a man who carried the genetic mutation for the disease. He then introduced CRISPR to splice out the mutated gene in more than 50 embryos just after the sperm fertilized the eggs, when the embryos were still just one cell. Several days later, 72% of the embryos showed no sign of the mutated gene; the gene was essentially corrected in all of their cells.

It turns out that the embryo relies on the normal copy of the gene, in this case from the egg, to fix the break made when CRISPR cut out the mutated gene. They key was to introduce CRISPR early enough so the embryo’s own DNA repair system could fix the mutated gene. That’s encouraging for one potential use of CRISPR in the future as a way to correct inherited genetic disease, says Mitalipov, since the embryo seems to have a built-in, reliable way of repairing the injury caused by splicing out an abnormal gene.

“Genetic diseases that are heritable can be treated this way as early as possible,” he says. “It’s the best way to treat the disease before the genetic mutation is actually transmitted to the embryo.”

Currently, the most reliable way of screening for such inherited defects is by using IVF, screening the resulting embryos for the mutation and transferring only those without the mutation for pregnancy. But that may require several cycles of IVF, which is expensive and carries with it side effects and complications, before enough genetically healthy embryos are created.

The study results don’t mean that editing human embryos to correct genetic diseases will be available at hospitals anytime soon. While that’s the goal, the findings are just the first in a series of studies that will need to be done to document the safety and reliability of using CRISPR to fix human disease. For one, the efficiency of the CRISPR and repair process is still about 70%. “There is still work to do to improve the efficiency,” says Mitalopov. “But I think that’s possible to do.”

He’s also encouraged by the fact that the gene editing and repair did not introduce other errors in the DNA. While it’s the most accurate DNA editor available, one of CRISPR’s drawbacks is that it can cut the genome in unintended places, especially where letters in the code look very similar to the target (again, similar to the way autocorrect can sometimes introduce more errors in attempting to fix a misspelling). Mitalipov’s team found no such off-target effects, a sign that CRISPR editing, at least in this study, was relatively safe. He notes, however, that may simply be an artifact of the particular gene he targeted; there may be coincidentally no parts of the genome that have similar sequences as the gene that CRISPR cut.

Even beyond the medical questions, there are also ethical concerns about the power inherent in manipulating the human genome. While correcting devastating diseases such as the heart condition Mitalipov studied, which can cause sudden death in young people, isn’t ethically controversial, using CRISPR to modify other genes—for intelligence, say, or athleticism or physical attributes like eye color or height—is much more problematic. The concerns are especially acute when it comes to eggs, sperm and embryos, since changes in these can be passed down to the next generation and forever change the human gene pool. The embryos that Mitalipov created were never intended to be transferred for pregnancy. But had they been allowed to develop, they would not contain the heart disease mutation, and they would not pass on the mutation to their offspring. The CRISPR editing would essentially eliminate the mutation from that family’s pedigree. Editing changes in already developed cells in adults aren’t inherited, so are less worrisome in terms of their legacy.

For now, there are legal and regulatory hurdles to moving the research closer to human trials. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) does not provide funding for using CRISPR in human embryo research. The Food and Drug Administration is banned from considering studies that involve genetic altering of human eggs, sperm or embryos. Mitalipov and his team used funding from Oregon Health & Science and did not rely on any NIH support.

9 Tips on How to Teach Your Child to Swim

Teaching your child to swim can be really difficult. Children, especially young ones, are known to be impatient and annoying when it comes to learning how to swim. If you have a temperamental child and you want them to learn how to swim this summer, check out a few helpful tips on how to teach your child to swim.

1. Safety first
You wouldn’t believe how many parents don’t think about dangerous things that can potentially happen when teaching a child to swim. It’s important that you make sure you have enough space in the ocean or pool to swim, make sure your child always stays hydrated and, of course, healthy. Remember to be aware of dangers of cracked skulls, broken bones and drowning. Also be sure to know standard CPR or have someone who can help.

2. Think of pool toys
Many people think that pool toys like life savers or noodle floats can be distracting, but if you’re having a difficult time with teaching your child to swim, all those pool toys might be very helpful. If you don’t want your child to get turned off from swimming, add some pool toys so your kid can associate swimming with staying active and having fun in the summer.

3. Think of floaties
Okay, not every child likes the idea of wearing floaties, but if your child is excited to wear floaties, consider yourself lucky. Floats are extremely important, especially when you first start teaching your little one to swim, since that’s usually when your kid may need them the most. Remember, it’s always better to be safe than sorry!

4. Don’t work alone
If you’re a single parent, ask someone else to help you, for instance, close family members or neighboring mothers. Even if you’re used to taking care of your little one by yourself, it’s always good to have another swimmer to assist you. Moreover, your child may learn much faster with 2 different teaching styles than only one.

5. Teach your child to breathe underwater
Another step to go through when teaching your little one to swim is to make sure that your child knows how to breathe underwater. One of the best ways to go about it is through the counting method. Watch your kid blow bubbles underwater and count to 5 as he/she holds on to you. It is very important to master this technique. You don’t want to see your child suffocate herself/himself while swimming because they couldn’t find out how to breathe underwater correctly.

6. Teach your child to float
Children often have a difficult time learning to float. Although it requires a lot of patience and reassurance, it’s actually worth the effort since floating is such a vital safety skill. At first, your little one might struggle and this tension can cause them to fold in at the waist. Explain to your child that they should relax if they want to learn to float. Try to encourage your child to lie back in the bath or in the pool first. This will take a few attempts and lots of reassurance, but both you and your kid will be satisfied with the results.

7. Teach your child to kick their feet
Help your kid learn to kick their feet. Have them scissor kick their legs and ask them to make as many bubbles as they can. You can even make a fun game out of it and see how much froth your child can make. Help your child to fully enjoy their lesson. Once they have acquired the basic skills, you can start to teach beginning arm strokes as well as more advanced swimming techniques.

8. Look for professional help
If teaching your kid to swim on your own seems impossible, don’t give up! Opt for some professional swimming lessons at the community center. A lot of young people, who were successful swimmers in high school or college, offer swimming lessons at a reasonable price. If you can teach your child, these lessons may not be necessary, but if you have a busy schedule and you want your little one to learn how to swim, enroll them in some good swimming lessons.

9. Be patient
One of the best ways to teach your little one anything new is to display as much patience as possible, and don’t overreact when you kid looks to you for help. Everybody has different learning styles and speeds, keep it in mind and try to be patient when teaching your little one how to swim.

Have you had a difficult time teaching your little one to swim? What tips can you suggest to other moms looking to teach their children to swim? Share your tips with us please.

10 Ways to Wear Matte Lipstick

Matte lipstick has a higher content of wax and pigment and less oil than standard lipstick. This makes the final product more opaque and more deeply colored. It is possible to get outstanding color contrast with matte lipstick, but only if the product is applied appropriately, because matte lipstick doesn’t wear like gloss lipstick. Read on to see who should be wearing this new trend and to learn some techniques for making it look great.

1. Fine and Smooth
Matte lipstick has a tendency to adhere to dry areas and rough patches of skin. To ensure that you have the right surface on which to apply a matte product, start by exfoliating your lips. A simple rub with honey and sugar will work wonders on lips, but you can purchase a commercial product as well. Exfoliate your lips once per week if you wear matte lipstick often. Light colors tend to show irregularities more than dark matte colors do, so exfoliating is more important with light shades.

2. Textured
If a perfectly smooth finish isn’t for you, then you can choose to go with a finely textured look. Note that you still want to start with a smooth canvas because you are going to add texture, not let texture show through. Start with a lip liner that matches your skin color closely and use it to create an outline. Apply a textured matte lipstick to fill in between the liner. Textured lipsticks emphasize the natural shape of your lips.

3. Concealer First
If you want the color of your lips to be as bright and vibrant as possible, then you need to start with an even, neutral canvas. Putting concealer on your lips will help your lipstick to pop, much like putting down primer helps a new coat of paint to look fresh and bright. Concealer is also a must for lighter colors as it helps the lipstick remain true to its original color once applied.

4. Neat Lines
The standard process is to apply lipstick to your lips and then to follow up with a liner. When it comes to matte lipsticks, however, you want to do the opposite. Apply a lip liner that is the same shade as your lipstick to get a clean, neat line. Fill in your lips with the matte lipstick and then blend it with the liner to create a smoother, perfect look.

5. Blot and Reapply
If you want your matte lipstick to look its best, then you should apply two coats. Apply the first coat and then blot your lips with a tissue. After that, apply a second coat. Not only will this improve the color, it will prevent the lipstick from caking. As an added bonus, this technique can also help you go longer between applications.

6. Faded Look
Gloss lipsticks help to create a full, plump look; so much so that women with thin lips are often advised to use only gloss lipsticks. It turns out that, with a little finesse, you can achieve the full look with matte as well. Start with a lip liner that is identical to your skin tone and then fill in your lips with a matte color that is just slightly pinker than your skin tone. Finish by blotting the edges of your lips a bit more than the centers and they’ll look fuller.

7. Bright Lips
If faded matte isn’t your style, place concealer on your lips and then go for a bright matte lipstick. This look is best for women who already have fuller lips and works well with equally bright accents in other areas like cheekbones and eyes. It is easy to go overboard with this technique, so be careful.

8. Messy Matte
Believe it or not, having messy lipstick can be alluring. This technique, like the faded technique, works best with tones that are slightly pinker than your own skin tone. Just put the lipstick on, without liner and without blotting. It’s okay, even desirable, to miss a few spots to produce a sexy, confident look.

9. Semi-Sheer
The semi-sheer look is considered to be sophisticated and elegant. It’s easy to do too. Just put on a dark, semi-sheer lip shade, like a berry matte, and then blot it well. It will provide very striking drama without being overtly bright. The semi-sheer look is great for evenings out and for formal occasions.

10. Dark Matte
You can get an edgy, aggressive look by choosing a dark, muted shade like gray or lilac. This look is great for contrasting your lips with other features of your face, including highlighted cheekbones or bright eyes. Dark matte is probably the hardest look to pull off, so use it with caution.

For now, the matte look is quite popular. Whether matte lipstick remains a beauty staple moving forward will come down to use. You can almost never go wrong with glossy lipstick, particularly if you have thin lips at baseline. The same cannot be said for matte lipstick. Use this product with caution and understand that making it look good will take a little bit more time and attention to detail. If you have the patience and prepare your lips as above, then you can pull off some very stunning looks with matte lipstick.

As a final note, remember that matte lipstick contains less oil than standard lipstick, which means it won’t moisturize your lips well on its own. Moisturizing is a great way to ensure that you have smooth, pliable, healthy lips. Most experts suggest that you moisturize your lips twice per day, before putting lipstick on and after taking it off.

10 Great Ways to Use Essential Oils

Essential oils are wonderful tools for promoting relaxation, creating a sense of peace, and healing the mind and body. They can also be used for many different tasks around the home and make a wonderful addition to your beauty regime. Here are ten creative uses for essential oils.

1. Massage
Add three or four drops of an essential oil such as sandalwood, chamomile, lavender, ylang ylang or bergamot to three tablespoons of vegetable-based oil for a soothing and relaxing massage. Coconut oil or jojoba oil make wonderful carrier oils and are packed with fatty acids and health-boosting nutrients.

2. Room Fragrance
Essential oils such as jasmine, neroli, clary sage or lemongrass promote peace and tranquility within the home. If you have an oil burner, place a few drops of essential oil in the dish along with a spoonful of vegetable oil. Place a lighted tea light candle underneath to slowly warm the oil. You can also place a few drops of oil into a spray bottle filled with water, and spray the mixture onto furniture, rugs and carpets.

3. Insect Repellant
Bugs can ruin any al fresco activities, so preparing a defence is essential to avoid being eaten alive by mosquitos and ants. Put a few drops of citronella, catnip, eucalyptus or lemongrass into an electric oil diffuser to deter flying invaders. A few drops of peppermint oil mixed with water in a spray bottle will ward off invading ants.

4. Cleaning
Traditional cleaning products often contain harsh chemicals that can be dangerous to pets and small children. Make your own all-purpose cleaner by filling a spray bottle with a mixture of three tablespoons apple cider vinegar, half a litre of water and two teaspoons of an essential oil such as lemon, peppermint or eucalyptus.

5. Homemade Toiletries
Do you know what toxic chemicals are lurking in your shampoo or body lotion? Most store bought toiletries contain irritants such as sodium lauryl sulphate and alpha hydroxy acid. Making your own soaps, moisturizers and shampoos is both safer and economic. Grate a 100 g bar of Castile or olive oil soap into 400 ml of water. Place the mixture on the stove, and boil gently until the soap is completely dissolved. Add your favorite essential oils and herbs to create a non-toxic shampoo and shower gel.

6. Foot Bath
Soaking your feet in a hot water at the end of a long hard day can make all your troubles simply melt away. Aromatherapy oils are great ways to boost the de-stressing effects of a soothing foot bath. Fill a foot bath or large plastic bowl with hot water, and add some drops of cypress, geranium, lavender, blue chamomile or vetiver essential oil. Lie back for 15 minutes. You can follow this with a relaxing foot massage using a little coconut oil and a drop of your favorite essential oil.

7. Hair Care
Make a refreshing hair rinse by mixing one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in one cup of warm water. Add essential oils such as lemon or myrrh to treat a dry, itchy scalp and outbreaks of dandruff. Tea tree and peppermint oil stimulate the scalp and encourage blood flow to the hair. Lavender and jasmine oil add a delicious fragrance to homemade hair rinses and help to add moisture and shine to the hair.

8. Pet Care
Pets can also benefit from essential oils. Always be sure to purchase therapeutic grade oils as perfume grade may be harmful when applied topically or ingested. For a homemade flea treatment for dogs, combine 6 drops of Melrose essential oil with 2 drops of Palo Santo oil. Add this to half a cup of distilled water and a tablespoon of liquid Castile soap. Avoid using this mixture on cats as pine and citrus oils can be toxic, but you can substitute the oils for either lavender or cedarwood.

9. Bath Soak
Adding an essential oil to bath water can help to relive tired and sore muscles, detoxify the body and calm the mind. For a soothing bath soak, combine a tablespoon of vitamin E oil with a few drops of oil such as frankincense, marjoram, basil, sage or ylang ylang. For an invigorating soak to open the pores and detoxify the skin, try rosemary, lemongrass, peppermint or juniper essential oil.

10. First Aid
Build your own natural first aid kit using a combination of antibacterial and healing oils. One drop of ginger oil diluted in one drop of carrier oil such as olive oil makes an effective cure for headaches and nausea when taken internally. Tea tree oil is wonderful for minor cuts and scrapes, and lavender oil mixed with water is ideal for insect bites, sunburn and itchy rashes. A drop of lemon oil mixed with a carrier oil provides relief from colds and congestion when rubbed into the chest.

Carrier oils are vital when using essential oils as they dilute the oil and help the skin to absorb it. You can choose from many different carrier oils such as vitamin E, olive oil, almond, jojoba or coconut oil. Always test the mixture on a small patch or skin before using to make sure there is no redness or inflammation. The vast majority of oils are hypoallergenic, but you should exercise care when using on animals, children or pregnant women.

10 Best Techniques for Shaping Your Nails

Fingernails come in all different shapes and sizes, but sometimes we aren’t happy with the hand (literally) we’ve been dealt. The good news is that nails are easy to form into just about any shape you desire. Some people shape their nails for cosmetic reasons while others, like classic guitar players, shape their nails for functional reasons. The following techniques will help you shape your nails easily, safely, and effectively no matter what your motivations.

1. Straighten Side Walls
Straighten Side Wall
If you want square, oval, rounded, or almond-shaped nails, then you need to start by straightening the side walls. All of these shapes begin as a square and that requires you to file the sides of your nails until they are perfectly parallel to one another. When you have straightened the sides of your nails, then can you begin shaping the tips.

2. Square First
Square First
After you have shaped the side walls of your nails, you can go ahead and file the top off to make a perfect square. Some people sticks with this shape, but it can be difficult to pull off. Square nails are better suited to long, narrow fingers because they tend to make fingers look shorter. Square nails are also the starting point for most of other shapes (except the pointed shape). A square is most easily achieved with a medium-grit (150) file. So make sure you invest in a high quality file first.

3. Squoval
Squoval
The squoval is just a rounded-off square and is a common shape that many people use. The squoval is a nice adaptation of the square for people with shorter fingers because it doesn’t make them look stubby. Start with the square as above, then gradually take off the corners until you are pleased with the look. Be careful to alternate your filing, taking a little from each corner and rather than just filing one down to where you think it should be and then moving on to the next. Alternating between one side and the other will help you get the shape you want without taking off too much nail.

4. Oval or Almond
Oval or Almond
The oval and almond shapes are pretty much the same. To produce either, start with the squoval and file in toward the center of the nail with each stroke. Work slowly, these shapes are hard to make even and if you take too much off of one side. It may help to create a pattern out of paper and then trace that onto your fingernail with a pencil to ensure you get the shape you want.

5. Pointed
Pointed
The pointed nail is the only one that does not start with side wall straightening first. It is also the least common shape in the West, having gained more notoriety in Eastern Europe and Russia. The pointed shape is used to make short fingers look longer and more slender.

To create the point, it can be useful to sketch the desired shape onto the nail with a pencil. Start filing slowly, taking care to never file through the marks you have made. You want to file right up to them, but never through them. This will produce an even, perfectly tapered point.

6. Tools of the Trade
Tools of the Trade
When it comes to shaping nails, if you want to do it right, you need the right tools. Start with an orange stick, which you use for pushing down cuticles (never cut your cuticles). Next purchase several files of differing grits. Whether you go with metal or emery board is up to personal preference (cushioned boards are easier on your nails), but choose quality tools either way. Decide if you want to use manicure scissors or clippers to trim your nails. Scissors offer more precision, but are also more difficult to use. You are more prone to injury with scissors, so use them with caution.

7. File at an Angle
File at an Angle
Always angle your file so that you file more of the under part of the nail than the surface. This will help to bevel your nail, which will protect it from chipping and peeling. Angling the file also helps to ensure that you don’t take off too much nail with any one stroke.

8. Direction Matters
Direction Matters
Never saw back and forth on your nails. Sawing will not only make it difficult to obtain an accurate shape, but can actually weaken your nails. Instead of using a sawing motion, start at the outer edge of the nail, push the file in toward the center, and then move to the other side and do the same. This will keep the nail even and prevent damage.

9. Moisturize
Moisturize
Moisturizing your nails may seem to have little to do with shaping, but there is a connection. Hydrated nails are less prone to cracking, peeling, and hangnail formation, all of which make hydrated nails easier to file and shape. Moisturize daily and immediately after filing. You should also moisturize your hands and nails every day before you go to bed. You hands will look younger for many years to come.

10. Nail Polish
Nail Polish
Putting a clear polish on before you file can actually make the job easier. The polish will protect your nails from cracking and peeling while providing a little extra substance to slow down your progress as you file. Using a color may even make it easier for you to see the shape of your nail.

The key to good looking nails is patience. Use a fine grit file as much as possible so that you take less off with each stroke and to reduce the risk of cracks and chips. Before you start to file your nails, take stock of your finger shape and length. Some nail shapes, as mentioned above, are more suited to certain finger shapes than others. If you aren’t sure which shape is for you, start with the most conservative, the square, and modify that shape until you are happy. What are your techniques for shaping your nails

8 Wonderful Lessons I’ve Learned from My Mom

I won’t be mistaken if I say that my mom is my best teacher. When I was a little girl I was often angry with her when she tried to prove me something or persuade me to do something I didn’t want to do. Many years later I’ve understood how precious her lessons were. I know that I became a person who I am now because she always supported and helped me. My mother’s encouragement and wisdom shaped my personality and made me better. Even now, when I’m grown-up, I often need her advice, support or just a kind word. After all, who can teach you love, life values and patience better than your mom? I’m thankful to my mom for everything and especially for these 8 lessons she taught me.

1. Children are the first priority
I always knew that my sister and I were the most important people in my mother’s life. A woman can be a first-rate professional, faithful and caring wife and a good friend. But when a woman gives birth to her child, first of all, she should be a mother. My mom managed her career and household chores, but I never felt lack of attention or indifference. My mom showed me a great example and I hope I will become a good mother too.

2. Work is an integral part of your life
‘It doesn’t actually matter if you don’t need money or you’re bored. If you want to become a grounded person you should tame your laziness and work hard’, that’s what she told me one day. I always find inspiration and encouragement in her words of wisdom. My mother is a very hard-working and diligent person. At times she had to work two jobs to support our family. But she never complained and she really loved what she’s doing. Most of my achievements are largely due to determination and diligence that she taught me.

3. Friends are great, but family is everything
No matter how old you are, but whenever you have difficulties your parents are usually the people you address. As an adult, I realize how disrespectful and indifferent I was to my mom sometimes. I used to sacrifice family time to spend time with my friends. I used to place my friends over my family and now I really regret that. But the truth is that friends are not forever, while your family will always be with you no matter what.

4. Never judge others, don’t envy
That’s another priceless lesson my mother taught me. My mom has never gossiped, judged or been jealous of other people’s success. She taught me that gossiping about other people could turn things into great troubles. When her pals started gossiping about someone during friend gatherings, my mom always tried to avoid the discussion or change the subject. I’ve learned that everybody has a right to do what he or she wants; therefore I’d better mind my own business and never judge people. Thanks to my mom I’ve understood that envy is a poor thing because you never know what’s behind people’s success.

5. Life isn’t black and white
Although good fortune and bad fortune go hand in hand, life isn’t black and white. I was always amazed at my mom’s optimism and inspiration. She was rarely depressed even when everything seemed to be terrible. She could find the good in every situation and loved repeating that everything was relative in life. Life is a very unpredictable, ambiguous and amazing thing and any attempt to generalize something or set rigid boundaries is absolutely senseless.

6. Respect everybody
I’m pretty sure my life would have been hard if I hadn’t learned this lesson. Respectful attitude and politeness are really so simple and free, but still many people lack these essential traits. My mom inculcated good manners and respectful attitude in me when I was a child. I learned that every person deserved to be respected and well-treated. A homeless man, a servant and a shop assistant deserve to hear ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ whenever you come in contact with them. It goes without saying that you should respect you family, friends and elders.

7. Children shouldn’t justify their parents’ expectations
My mom has never tried to make me a person she wanted me to be. Yes, she brought me up, educated and shaped my personality, but she hasn’t tried to change me or make different version of myself. I’m thankful to her for understanding and wisdom. She accepted my decisions and choices even when she thought differently. She always wanted me to become a doctor because that was her childhood dream. But I’ve chosen another path and she accepted it. Moreover, she was the only one to believe in me and encourage all my undertakings.

8. Appearance and clothes don’t matter
No matter how beautiful and well-dressed the person is, you can define the person by actions and deeds only. My mom is a very good-looking woman with a sophisticated taste and good manners. But most people appreciate her character and good temper. Often the most expensive clothes and the most appealing appearance are totally deceptive because they hide a shallow personality.

Over the years I’ve met many people who taught me important things. I often find inspiration in friends, famous people and even strangers. But I can say with confidence that my mom was and will always be my best teacher, best friend and my everlasting supporter. Whenever I feel upset or discouraged I remember her wise words and everything gets better. What lessons have you learned from your mother?

10 Beauty Tips for Contact Lens Wearers

You may have been wearing contact lenses for years, or you may have just made the switch from spectacles. Either way, you probably love the convenience and enhanced vision that you enjoy because of your contacts. On the other hand, applying makeup, especially eye makeup, can be frustrating. Following these basic tips can minimize the frustration and risk associated with wearing both contact lenses and makeup.


1. Clean hands, clean makeup tools
When dealing with your eyes and the delicate skin around them, cleanliness is essential. Wash your hands thoroughly before you begin applying your makeup. Be sure that your makeup brushes and tools are also kept clean and in good repair. Never, ever share makeup or makeup tools with anyone As a bonus, you should find that your entire makeup job looks more polished and natural when you use clean, high-quality products.

2. Put your contacts in first
A major advantage of contact lenses is that you can wear them while you apply your makeup. In fact, you should insert your contacts before you apply any makeup to your face. You’ll see better and you will minimize the risk of eye infections.

3. Opt for waterproof, oil-free mascara
Oil-based mascaras and contact lenses do not mix. Likewise, you should always use waterproof mascara. On the other hand, mascara that includes fibers and other thickening agents are a no-go; there is too much risk of flaking and debris falling into your eyes.

4. Cream eye shadow is preferable
You don’t have to give up on wearing eye shadow if your wear contact lenses. Simply substitute cream-based eye color for your favorite powder shades. Cream eye shadow is less likely to flake. You may need to adjust your application technique when you first begin using cream eye shadow, but the adjustment is worth the effort.

5. No liner on inner or lower lids
If you wear eye liner, use a fine-tipped brush or pencil and take your time drawing the line. Since you are wearing your contacts you should be able to see what you are doing. Limit eyeliner to your upper lids. Never, ever attempt to apply eyeliner to your lower lids and especially not to your inner lids. That is just asking for an eye infection.

6. Choose hypoallergenic products whenever possible
Even if your skin is not especially sensitive, consider using hypoallergenic cosmetics whenever possible. Selecting hypoallergenic eye makeup is especially important. The same properties that make hypoallergenic cosmetics suitable for sensitive skin can protect your eyes from potential irritation.

7. Select pressed powder
Many women like to finish their makeup routines with powder. The powder sets the makeup in place and minimizes the appearance of oily skin on the nose and forehead. If you opt for powder as a final step in your makeup routine, opt for pressed powder rather than loose powder. While loose powder can produce a lovely smooth finish, it also tends to fly around, and at least some of that flying powder could end up in your eyes.

8. Remove eye makeup with care
When the time comes to remove your makeup, wash your hands thoroughly beforehand. Use products that are water based and fragrance free. Use a foam wedge rather than cotton balls to remove eye makeup to minimize the risk of fibers migrating into your eyes. Be sure that your makeup is completely removed before removing your lenses.

9. Consider disposable lenses
Back in the day, you had to boil your lenses regularly to keep them clean. Today, disposable lenses make it possible to ensure that your lenses are always clean. Ask your eye care professional if disposable lenses are a viable option for you.

10. Know when to wear glasses
Regardless of how convenient wearing contact lenses can be, there are times when you have to wear glasses, at least temporarily. If you accidentally poke yourself in the eye with your mascara wand, you will probably need to remove your lenses at least until the irritation in your eye has subsided. It also goes without saying that if you are suffering from any kind of eye infection, do not risk wearing contact lenses.

When you wear contact lenses, it’s crucial to carefully apply your makeup. Although it’s always best to go make-up free, there are times when we need make-up. Hopefully, these little tips will help you avoid an eye infection and any other eye problems. If you know some other tips, share them with us, please.