City Life Lifestyle

Things You Should Know Before Ordering Steak at Your Favorite Restaurant!

If you like your steaks medium-rare, you need to be careful because you might not get what you are expecting in this day and age.

Most professional chefs will tell you for a medium-rare steak the temperature must be 135° to seal in the flavor and ensure the steak is tender.  The steak should also be allowed a little more time for that nice charring on the outside.

Today, ordering a medium-rare steak might end up being a great deal rarer than you were hoping for.  Many customers at their favorite restaurant have reported that when their order for a medium-rare is delivered to their table, the meat is almost completely raw!

So, Why Is My Medium-Rare Steak Raw?

It really has nothing to do with the cooking process, it’s the cost!

The cost for a high-quality rib eye is now $8 while a few years ago it was $6. We all know that the cost of living is on the rise from our rental costs to labor.  With restaurants, the competition is very high causing more high-end restaurants to try and outdo their competition both in food, décor, and even advertising.

Costs Effect The Cooking Process:

If a customer has to send their steak back because it’s under-cooked, the chef will put it back on the grill for a few minutes which will not increase the cost when it’s returned to the customer.

On the other hand, if a customer complains their steak is over-cooked, it has to be thrown out and the chef must start all over again and this leads to higher costs,  Today, profit margins are very tight and therefore a chef will show caution by under-cooking the steak.

How To Get Your Steak Just Right:

You should try to communicate with your waiter what you want in your steak. Instead of ordering a medium-rare steak, tell them you want a medium-rare + steak.

It will still be medium-rare but just cooked a little bit longer.  This will guarantee you get the steak your want so you can enjoy every morsel!  If you bring home a doggy bag, you should know how to reheat your steak without losing those incredible flavors,  Check out this link for great results.

I hope this will help you get the steak you are expecting the next time go out to eat!

If you like your steaks medium-rare, you need to be careful because you might not get what you are expecting in this day and age.

Most professional...

City Life Lifestyle

Find Out How KFC Creates Such Perfect Crispy Chicken!

If you’ve tried to emulate KFC’s crispy chicken and failed, read on and discover their secret recipe.  Everyone has thoroughly enjoyed a bucket of KFC’s crispy fried chicken along with their side of mashed potatoes and a biscuit.

Even though their prices are the best, their popularity is due to how crispy their fried chicken is.  You now have the golden opportunity to find out how you can create the best crispy chicken with KFC’s incredible recipe!

Follow the directions below and I promise you will not be able to tell the difference.

Start With Their Spices:

First off, you must include their 11 secret spices and their incredible recipe for the breading with 2 cups of flour and coating the chicken pieces in their batter made from egg and milk.

The Scoop:

  • Two-thirds tablespoon of salt
  • Three tablespoons of white pepper
  • One tablespoon of black pepper
  • A half tablespoon of basil
  • One tablespoon of celery salt
  • One tablespoon of dried mustard
  • Two tablespoons of garlic salt.
  • One tablespoon ground ginger
  • One-third tablespoon oregano
  • Four tablespoons paprika
  • A half tablespoon thyme

Fry Right Away:

According to KFC, you should never let the coated chicken sit for any amount of time.  It should be fried right way,  If left to soak in the batter, the bread and skin will very easily soften and slide off the chicken, making for less than a crispy outcome.

You must fry at a high temperature using a good pressure cooker for that extra crispiness.  Even though you cannot deep fry with a pressure cooker, you can still get that extra crunch using a Dutch oven or a pot with a very heavy bottom.

Heat your oil to 350° or 360° and leave each chicken piece in the oil for 12 minutes.  If you have never fried, go to this link for the best results.

Now For The Secret Ingredient!

To create the perfect crispy fried chicken you need one very important ingredient to seal in all the spices, is MSG or Monosodium Glutamate which is the perfect flavor enhancer.

You can either include it in your seasoning batter or sprinkle it on after you have finished frying,  This is a very important ingredient that should not be overlooked,  If you can’t find MSG at your store, you can buy it online.

Let Your Chicken Cool A Bit:

Anyone who has enjoyed fried food knows you do not immediately dig in, it’s way too hot! Place your chicken in a warm oven for just a few minutes.  Another choice, according to KFC, set your oven to 175° and let continue to cook for approximately 20 minutes.

All said and done, you might not be able to exactly create their crispiness from your home because you really need a restaurant-grade pressure fryer for perfection. If you still need some support for frying view this handy guide.

Bon Appetite!!

If you’ve tried to emulate KFC’s crispy chicken and failed, read on and discover their secret recipe.  Everyone has thoroughly enjoyed a...

City Life

You Can Improve Your City by Growing Food: Try Guerrilla Grafting!

You might not know that you do not need a permit to make your city more attractive and abundant with food.  That said, there are gardens popping up in vacant lots that were created through guerrilla grafting but somehow fly under the radar of city ordinances.

Guerrilla grafting is one way of making your city more hospitable to their residents without relying on official guidelines.  All you really need,  take some cuttings from fruit-bearing plants, have a few very simple tools, and provide a little tender loving care.

Why Don’t Cities Plant Fruit Trees?

The reason many cities only plant non-fruit-bearing fruits, they are much easier to care for and no one has to spend a great deal of time cleaning up after these plants dropping their fruit on public places including sidewalks.

There does not seem to be a high-in-demand for people to harvest and distribute fruit nor does anyone have the time.  Adding to that, there are places like San Francisco (hold my tongue) that consider grafting as vandalism.

What many places don’t understand, planting and taking care of plants that produce fruit is quite critical for communities in need of fresh fruit such as low-income neighborhoods where these groceries are very hard to come by.

Many of the people in these neighborhoods do not have access to a car to make extra or special trips to the store and do not have the money to spend on healthy items like fruit.  These areas, unlike other neighborhoods, are prime for grafting.

Guerrilla Grafters founder, Tara Hui, was denied by city officials when she wanted to alleviate fruit foods shortage in the Bay Area.  She decided to take it on herself, she joined with fellow agricultural activists to transform their existing trees into fruit-bearing trees and collect data to prove this really does work.

The group only splices edible plants into areas where volunteers will monitor and maintain the trees to combat problems such as insects and other pests.

If you’d like to start something in your neighborhood, all you need are some fruit tree cuttings, a sharp knife, Ziploc bags, grafting tape, rubber bands, and other household items. Visit the Guerrilla Grafters website to get a manual that you can enlarge to read or download in English, German, or Spanish.  Happy Planting!

You might not know that you do not need a permit to make your city more attractive and abundant with food.  That said, there are gardens popping up...

Category - City Life

City Life Tech News

Daimler & Bosch Driverless Parking Has Gotten a Thumbs Up

Without a doubt, we have come a very long way getting Artificial Intelligence-based self-driving systems.

As of date, Daimler & Bosch have received approval from the German regulators to operate their automated driverless parking facility without involving a human safety driver sitting behind the wheel.

This is the world’s first fully automated driverless SAE Level 4 parking function to be totally approved for everyday use.  The thumbs-up comes 4 years after the companies started working together on the technology end.

Bosch board member, Dr. Markus Heyn said this decision by authorities only shows that innovations like automated valet parking is now possible in Germany.

He believes that driverless parking and driving are the cornerstones for tomorrow’s automated mobility.  Automated parking shows just how far we have already come and the continued development path that lies ahead.

Look Ma No Hands!

Level 4 was designated by SAE which means the vehicle can handle all aspects of driving in certain conditions without human interference.

Until now, there have been several Level 4 tests and trials in the works but they all involved people behind the wheel of the vehicle as a backup.

Bosch is considered one of the largest automotive tech and hardware suppliers in the world and they handle the infrastructure aspect of the automated parking function.

It works in collaboration with Daimler’s vehicle technology on its Mercedes-Benz vehicles.  Users can easily access the independent valet service using their smartphone app.

Bosch and Daimler started developing their fully automated driverless parking back in 2015. Their initial partnership including car2go, the which is the car-sharing unit of Daimler.

They debuted their automated valet parking function back in 2017 at the parking garage of the Mercedes-Benz Museum.

Then in 2018, after intensive testing, museum visitors ere able to test the automated parking service with one very important warning, a human safety driver must always be behind the wheel.

Using their smartphone app, visitors could reserve vehicles from the facility.  Their vehicle would arrive independently to the designated pick up place in the garage.

When the visitor is finished with the vehicle, they could deliver it to the drop off area.  The vehicle would then drive itself back to its assigned spot, guided by the garage’s infrastructure and onboard sensors.

The pilot program was limited in scope and restricted by a safety driver, but it served a valuable purpose for Bosch and Daimler and even other companies hoping to use automated driving in Germany.

That said, Germany does not have an approval process for automated driving without a human driver.

From the beginning, Bosch and Daimler brought in authorities from Stuttgart and the state of  Baden-Württemberg’s transportation ministry as well as experts from the German certification authority TUV Rheinland.

You would think the group would assess the safety of Bosch & Daimler’s parking function but it also helped regulators come up with guidelines for testing and the approval benchmark that could be applied beyond the pilot project in a parking garage in Stuttgart.

Bosch & Daimler tested lighting ideas on the vehicle’s pilot project.  They used turquoise lighting to indicate that the vehicle was in automation mode and informed others passing by along with other road users, that the vehicle was driving itself.

This is not the only Bosch & Daimler project that is in the works.  In 2017, they partnered to bring fully automated vehicles to urban roads within the next 10 years.  Last year, they announced plans to have a pilot robotaxi service in San Jose, Calif.

They are planning on using automated Mercedes-Benz S Class vehicles during the second half of 2019. There will be a geofenced area in the San Carlos and Stevens Creek corridor which is between downtown and west San Jose.

The pilot will have an on-demand ride-hailing service app operated by Daimler Mobility Services.  All rides will be monitored by a safety driver.

Presently, Bosch is building a $1.1 billion facility designed to assemble semiconductors used in self-driving cars, smart homes, and smart city infrastructure.

The Dresden-based chip is expected to start manufacturing silicon, commercially, in 2021 and construction is expected to be finished in 2019.

Without a doubt, we have come a very long way getting Artificial Intelligence-based self-driving systems.

As of date, Daimler & Bosch have received approval from the German regulators to operate their automated driverless parking facility without...

City Life Cool Stories

Urban Hacking: 5 Inexpensive and Cool City Hacks

Urban planners learn a lot from the modifications citizens make on public spaces, whether that’s creating “goat trails” where there aren’t proper sidewalks or hacking infrastructure. These modifications tell urban planners how cities need to be adapted in order to grow.

Urban hacking is one of the most direct ways we have of shaping our city into what we want it to be, and these hacks often lead to permanent solutions. Urban hacks range from taking over disused public squares and installing seating for seniors to bringing humor and fun to everyday scenes.

What urban hacking does is turn public space and urban landscape into a huge playground where people can express their creativity and better their city. Here are 15 inexpensive and cool city hacks to be aware of!

  1. Shopping Cart Sports by Florian Riviére

Florian Riviére is a French artist and activist that has come up with many different city hacks. His project “Don’t Play, Play” encourages people to stay in the parking lot of shopping centers instead of going inside.

For this purpose, parking spots are modified with white tape to turn them into courts for sports such as tennis, hockey, basketball, etc., using shopping carts as nets or structural supports.

  1. Wanderest Chair for Seniors Attached to Light Poles

Light poles can easily become the backrest for seats with “Wanderest”, from designer Nichola Trudgen. This leaning stool can be easily attached to any octagonal or circular light pole and they’re installed in retirement areas where there’s no public seating available.

  1. Info Pillars

Info pillars can be found in Toronto and they often show advertisements instead of actually useful information for people who are exploring the city on foot.

They also block important sections of the sidewalk, making it difficult for pedestrians. That’s why the creative team known as cARTographyTO hacked 35 of these info pillars and replaced the ads with maps, sculptures, art, and chalkboards.

This got the public’s attention, of course, and it encouraged them to reconsider the use of these info pillars.

  1. Tram Track Skateboarding

In Bratislava, Slovakia, the width of the tram tracks match perfectly with the width of a standard European pallet.

When this pallet is modified with parts to keep it in place, it becomes a sort of skateboard that zooms across the city with minimum effort, guided by a map of the city.

This project from Slovakian artist Tomas Moravec is meant to serve as a new transport vehicle that changes spatial perspective of users and the life of the city as well.

  1. Urban Terrasse: Adaptive Furniture by Damien Gires

In France, designer Damien Gires takes octagonal cardboard boxes and places them in anti-parking posts on sidewalks, turning them into mini tables for adjacent cafes.

This project is known as Urban Terrasse, and it’s meant to make sidewalks more functional and to encourage cafe patrons to get more involved with their city environments because it shows them it’s in their best interest.

Urban planners learn a lot from the modifications citizens make on public spaces, whether that’s creating “goat trails” where there aren’t proper sidewalks or hacking infrastructure. These modifications tell urban planners how cities need to be...

City Life Cool Stories Humans Are Awesome

Top 7 Unusually Geeky Art Graffiti

When you read the words “unusually geeky art graffiti”, you must wonder what it takes to qualify as such. Well, sometimes it’s all about the content, but most of the times is about the methods the artists have chosen to create their graffiti.

Here are 7 unusually geeky graffiti that either comment on or use digital methods to either redefine the approach to street art or represent contemporary messages through new media.

  1. The GraffitiWriter

The GraffitiWriter is an electronic robotic graffiti writing machine that’s remote-control operated and it can write any programmed text message on the ground.

It travels at speeds of up to 8 miles per hour, so it means it reduces the problems of encountering authorities while you’re out making your graffiti, and it can use non-permanent, washable paint.

  1. The PixelRoller

The PixelRoller is a cross between manual and conventional printing methods. This intentional combination provides the ease of computer printing with the creativity and freedom of manual printing.

It can be programmed to print any patterns you want, making each creation unique and the way these patterns are rolled onto the surface is amazing to watch.

  1. The CCTV Reminder

The CCTV Reminder is put together with a few magnets, a laser cutter, cheap cardboard, and a few other things. This laser cut sculpture is awesome and the idea is to provide non-operational reminders of the CCTV surveillance we’re constantly exposed to in public places.

This sculpture has the silhouette of a camera and the battery-operated red light adds the final touch of realism making this sculpture jarring.

  1. The ElectroGraff Method

The ElectroGraff Method was developed by the Graffiti Research Lab, which is known for architectural light projection graffiti and other graffiti projects.

This method is used for embedding movable LED display electronics using magnetic paint and conductive spray-paint to attach display elements and power them without having to use more traditional and visible methods.

  1. Hello Nametag

The Hello Nametag device is meant to replicate the Hello Nametag that’s often used in contexts where you’re exposed to many strangers, such as business conferences and other events.

The name tags, in this case, are attached to public objects and unlike the ones we use, they are programmed to speak the name of said object. The Hello Nametag can be stuck on any surface and it invites the public to interact with these things.

  1. ASCII Graffiti

The ASCII Graffiti is one of the first computer geeky graffiti and even though it doesn’t actually leave the digital realm, it does compositional and stylistic conventions from traditional graffiti and it reinterprets them for computer display.

  1. Tagging in Motion

Tagging in Motion is a type of 3D street graffiti that’s created by using a virtual reality interface combined with digital rendering.

What this does is record the graffiti artist with several cameras that capture his motions in 3D, thus generating street art that doesn’t need a physical surface to exist. Plus, it leaves no evidence, unlike traditional graffiti.

When you read the words “unusually geeky art graffiti”, you must wonder what it takes to qualify as such. Well, sometimes it’s all about the content, but most of the times is about the methods the artists have chosen to create their graffiti.

Here are...

City Life Inspiring Stories Vacation

Sleep in a Legend: Bauhaus School Opens to Guests

It was the early 1900s when Walter Gropius pioneered a new form of functionalism and minimalism that continues even now to shape architecture, graphic industrial, furniture, and interior design.

One of the most iconic parts of this movement was Bauhaus, a school in Germany that combined an arts-and-crafts ethos with an industrial aesthetic. The institution attracted potential artists and architects from all over Europe, molding and influencing their minds.

Teachers like Vassily Kandinsky and Paul Klee taught around 200 students creative ways to form ideas from all sorts of disciplines, such as construction, advertising, manufacturing, and, of course, art. The building feels like some of today’s Modernist designs, but, at the time, it was the beginning of a movement, especially its innovative curtain wall system.

Form Follows Function

While the institution moved from Weimar to Dessau and Berlin then back again, it has been renovated in Dessau to look and feel the way it did in 1926. The school is complete with student rooms available to rent that are small and minimally appointed with private balconies.

The rooms were designed to be spaces not only for sleeping and hanging one’s clothes, but also to be a workspace with a chair and desk. They’re formed, mainly, to draw people into collaborative studio spaces.

Studios and sleeping spaces are now open to the public for around $50 a night, so now both fans and designers have the ability to revel in this iconic space designed by both teachers and students and enjoy the proto-Modernist architecture that so influenced what we have today.

It was the early 1900s when Walter Gropius pioneered a new form of functionalism and minimalism that continues even now to shape architecture, graphic industrial, furniture, and interior design.

One of the most iconic parts of this movement was Bauhaus, a...

Animals City Life

St James’s Park Gets Three New Pelicans

Wonderful News! There are three brand new arrivals to St James’s Park in London.  Their names are Sun, Moon, and Star.

James’s Park is famous for their pelicans who are able to roam freely but they seem to prefer staying close by the lake.  All three pelicans came all the way from the Prague Zoo and will soon be joined up with permanent residents Isla, Tiffany, and Gargi.

Actually, all three arrived here toward the end of May but have been kept out of public sight so they can settle into their new surroundings.

Hugh Smith, the Senor Wildlife Officer for The Royal Parks, believes it will take a few weeks for the two flocks to come together. There will be little interaction between the new pelicans and the established pelicans.

They will need a period of adjustment for bringing together three relatively tame birds with three semi-wild birds.  They do not see any disagreements just a little apprehension or suspicion while they get to know each other.

It will not take very long for these birds to start using the Pelican Rock because it’s natural for them.

A Gift For a King

Pelicans first arrived at St James’s Park in 1664 when the Russian Ambassador sent a gift to King Charles II.  This is the third time the Czech capital has sent pelicans to live in this very famous park which is located next to Buckingham Palace.

The Prague Zoo sent four in 1995 and another three in 2013.

Miroslav Bobek, Zoo Director, said he was honored to help St James’s Park to keep this 350-year tradition alive.  We believe that Sun, Moon, and Star will have a very happy life along with the other pelicans.

You can visit the park every day between 5 AM and Midnight and say hello to the Pelicans.  You can go to Duck Island Cottage between 2:30 PM and 3 PM to watch them being fed fresh fish.

Wonderful News! There are three brand new arrivals to St James’s Park in London.  Their names are Sun, Moon, and Star.

James’s Park is famous for their pelicans who are able to roam freely but they seem to prefer staying close by the lake.  All...

City Life Cool Stories

Beyond the Streets: Early Brooklyn Graffiti Exhibition

Beyond the Streets, a show exhibiting the work of celebrated artists who spent years illegally working on the streets, first opened in Los Angeles last year.

It’s curator, Roger Gastman, has now opened a second iteration of Beyond the Streets in Brooklyn, NY, where visitors get to view the work of over 150 street artists from around the world.

Gastman, a well-known graffiti historian and “urban anthropologist” is known not just for these shows, but also for co-authoring books on street art and co-producing films like Banksy’s Exit Through the Gift Shop.

Two floors of wall-breaking art

You can check out this latest show, including conceptual artist Jenny Holzer, feminist art collective Guerrilla Girls, Shepard Fairey, and Takashi Murakami, at the new 25 Kent Avenue space on the edge of Williamsburg and Greenpoint.

The art takes up two whole floors of the space and also offers sculptures, works on canvas and, immersive installations alongside a Beastie Boys installation featuring “artifacts and ephemera” from the band’s 4-decade history, a functioning tattoo parlor by Bert Krak & Alexis Ross and a room of puppets made of trash by Paul INSECT and BAST.

Gastman has long had a passion for celebrating art that was first done illegally under the cover of night. In recent years, developers that are changing cities have desired officially sanctioned murals around as a way to “clean up the neighborhood.”

But the artists in these shows are ones who broke the rules, shaped what we know as street art, and, at times, paid the price for pioneering the way, says Gastman. Though many of them now have their own profitable studio practice, their beginnings were anything but.

“You know, this culture—which was started by youths writing their names over and over again for the sake of fame and fun and notoriety—has ballooned into a worldwide cultural phenomenon,” says Gastman in an interview with Artnet.

“So many of the pioneers are still with us today. A lot of them are getting older. But let’s learn from them. Let’s respect them. And let’s preserve the history as much as we can while they’re with us, before it’s too late.”

The exhibition opened up on June 21st and will remain open until the end of August this year. If you’re not able to make it to Beyond the Streets NYC, you can see the artists’ work on the website. They’re worth checking out, even if not in person.

Beyond the Streets, a show exhibiting the work of celebrated artists who spent years illegally working on the streets, first opened in Los Angeles last year.

It’s curator, Roger Gastman, has now opened a second iteration of Beyond the Streets in Brooklyn...

City Life Health

Science Proves Cat Ladies Aren’t Crazy

This is for all you cat-lovers out there – it turns out that you were a lot smarter than you thought when you decided to have a cat for a pet as studies are showing they’re the solution to decreasing stress, anxiety, and improving your cardiovascular health.

Somewhere around 68% of American households have pets according to NIH, and all animal companions provide positive benefits, but scientists are seeing that cats are exceptional mood and health boosters.

Yes, they’re entertaining and great for keeping away loneliness, but they’re also good for your heart. Scientists at the University of Minnesota’s Stroke Institute actually did a ten-year study to discover how cats benefit cardiovascular health with over 4,000 participants. The results were phenomenal; it turns out that cats are crucial for decreasing stress and anxiety.

Compared to humans who don’t own cats, cat-owners may have a reduced risk of experiencing a heart attack by 30 percent. In addition, since cats simply love getting petted on your lap, they’re perfect for those times when you need a morale boost – both physically and emotionally.

While you’re petting your cat, heart rate, blood pressure, and stress levels all go down. Dogs can do similarly, but the problem is that they also encourage stress since they require more attention than cats do.

Cats Are Good For You

Some people might have a thing against cats because of allergies, but actually, if you are exposed to cats more as a child, you’re less likely to develop allergies and infections. In fact, living with a cat can also reduce the likelihood of your developing asthma! The scientists also found that after interacting with a cat, kids with autism displayed better communication efforts.

And there’s more! A cat’s purr has healing powers – no, I’m not pulling your leg on this one. The frequency of a cat’s purr falls between 20 to 140 Hz, which helps mend broken bones and wounds. Cats help keep depression away, which has been associated to developing various types of illness.

Doctors should be prescribing a 15-minute dose of playing with a cat every day as it improves your mood and keeps you active! Cats know how to slow down, take it easy, and take a nap. Take a cue from them, and do the same sometimes!

I don’t know if you’ve noticed it, but there are cat videos and posts all over the internet – they seem to be taking over. There are a ton of cat lovers out there, and the war of whether cats of dogs are better has been going on for quite some time, but from the results of these studies, it seems that cats have finally come out the victor!

They’re low-maintenance, relaxing, laid-back, empathetic of human feelings, and easy to be around. So, if you don’t already have one, the doctor’s orders are in: go get a cat – or two, or three!

This is for all you cat-lovers out there – it turns out that you were a lot smarter than you thought when you decided to have a cat for a pet as studies are showing they’re the solution to decreasing stress, anxiety, and improving your cardiovascular...

City Life Fashion

Ideas For Easy Makeovers For Your Home

Redesigning your living areas can be quite a time consuming and often overwhelming. Have you ever sat down and just stared at an area you want to upgrade but have not found the motivation to get to work?

We have found the best way to deal with your anxiety and lack of motivation is to start with something small.  If you have a large project for a living area, break it up into small “to-do” jobs, you will be amazed how quickly the entire project will move along and each small makeover will give you a lot of satisfaction.

First off, taking a large project and breaking it into smaller jobs will be a great deal more manageable and you will become even more motivated to move on to the next one.  Here are some really great ideas for upgrades that shouldn’t take longer than an afternoon but will deliver excellent results:

A Small Wallpapering Project:

Consider wallpapering just a certain area of your room vs trying to wallpaper the entire area. Consider adding a really nice print to an access wall or maybe the back of a display case. The idea is to create something that will visually draw someone’s attention.

Choose a pattern or color for your wallpaper that will compliment the rest of your room.  One thought might be choosing a wallpaper that has a simple interesting design.  Find something that will work with your décor but not become overbearing.

Using wallpaper on a piece of furniture such as a bookcase or display case that has very plain lines, can spruce it up.  This is a very easy project that you can finish in just a few hours at tops.

Dress Your Furniture Up With New Hardware:

Sometimes, the simplest project can actually have a huge effect.  Why not replace your old handles on your dresser with new, intricate brass or a nice floral design on knobs?  Try a whimsical design for your nightstand such as leather pulls or in a child’s room – animal faces printed on knobs!

If you are redoing your kitchen, there are so many wonderful kitchen themes to choose from for your cabinets.  Handles shaped like tomatoes or lettuce or apples and pears, the sky’s the limit! Maybe your cabinets came out of the fifties and you want them to be retro and modern.  You do not have to go crazy just shop around for modern, sleek designs for the hardware.

Add Some Interesting Artwork To Your Walls:

Artwork has a habit of bringing new life to a room while covering up scratches or imperfections in your painted walls.  You can shop around for artwork or get a little creative and pull out all those wonderful pictures you stowed away and frame them!

Another idea, get a large frame and make a collage of your favorite pictures.  Have a nice simple material for the background, add simple frames to each image and then place them in the large frame.  This small project will not take much time but will give your room a whole new look!

Another idea, have someone make a box with sectionals and place small antiques such as wooden soldiers in each section.

Add Shelving To Display Your Collectibles:

If you are a collector of small teacups, why not have shelves installed on your walls to show them off instead of hiding them somewhere to collect dust.  Really simple floating shelves do not require a lot of work and are quite easy to hang.

The one tool you will need is a stud finder to decide where to hang your collectibles.  Also, depending on their weight, make sure you have the right hardware that will be strong enough to hold the objects.  If you need some advice, talk to someone at your home improvement store.

Add The Magical Touch Of Lighting:

I’m not sure there is anything that adds a more impressive look than new lighting fixtures. Add a new chandelier or wall sconces. Trade out your tired old fifties chandelier with something really modern, sleek, and retro!

You would be amazed by how modern your space will become.  Unless you know how to rewire, it is strongly suggested you bring in a professional who can get the new wiring done in a very short period of time.  If you have an overhead ceiling light, why not trade it in for a really nice fan with lights that matches your décor and colors.

You can have your electrician add a dimmer switch to boot!

Give Your Plants Something To Rejoice In:

Too often, we buy plants and just place them in a corner in the same old pots they came in.  Over time, this is not healthy for the plants due to a lack of needed nutrients and the roots will start outgrowing their space.

Think about placing them in beautiful new planters that accentuate your room and will make your plants very happy! You can choose from ceramic planters, terracotta, or other interesting materials.  If you want to go with colorful planters, pick an accent color that is already a part of your room.

Redesigning your living areas can be quite a time consuming and often overwhelming. Have you ever sat down and just stared at an area you want to upgrade but have not found the motivation to get to work?

We have found the best way to deal with your anxiety...

Animals City Life

Finding the Right Dog Walker

Dogs needs to be exercised every day in order to stay healthy.  This is essential for their physical and mental well-being so if you are unable to walk your dog daily you will need to find a suitable dog walker.

This can be a difficult decision because although anyone can call themselves a dog walker, it doesn’t mean that they have the experience, qualification or expertise to be the right walker for your companion.

Take a look at this guide for choosing a dog walker that meets all your pet’s needs:

Word-of-Mouth Recommendations

Getting good recommendations from other dog parents is probably the best way to start when looking for a dog walker of your own.  Ask them what their experiences have been, talk to other dog owners at the park or ask your vet if they have any particular dog walker they are happy to recommend.

If you do get a good recommendation then be sure to check them out thoroughly before deciding to hire them.

Meet and Greet

Always invite a potential dog walker to meet your dog because your dog needs to be comfortable with them.  If your dog feels shy or wary when they meet new people you need to keep this in mind and give them some time. However, the walker should not be phased by this.  Ideally, they will be calm, assertive and able to read your dog’s behavior and body language.

Ask questions

 The sort of thing you need to know is what will be happening while your dog is with their walker.  Consider the following questions:

  • Where will my dog be walked?
  • Can you accommodate my dog’s needs? If your dog is not particularly well socialized, for example, would the walker be willing to walk him/her alone?  Would they be able to introduce your dog to others gradually?
  • How long will my dog be walked? Make sure you are clear about the specific amount of time your dog will spend walking with their new companion.
  • Will anyone else walk my dog? Many dog walkers work alone, but some are part of larger businesses.  If this is the case you’ll need to know who is likely to be walking your dog.
  • What training do you have? If you are employing a dog walker you want them to have some experience of dogs, ideally professional experience. This is a crucial question to ask or you could end up with someone walking dogs just to earn some extra cash.
  • Have you been walking dogs for long? You need to know how much experience this person has in walking dogs.
  • What training methods do you use? If their training methods do not dovetail with your own you might want to choose someone else.
  • Do you have the relevant licenses and insurance? A legitimate dog walking business is required to have a license and proof on insurance.
  • Are you able to deal with emergencies?
  • Are you trained and certified in canine first aid?

And finally, take the walker for a test walk:

Ask the walker if you can come along for the first walk.  Although they will obviously be on their best behavior you can still get an idea of how they interact with your dog and if your dog likes them.  See how they relate to your dog’s needs, for example, are they sensitive if your older dog needs to walk slowly?

Look to see if they are a good fit.  Look at your dog – how is their body language?  Do they look happy and comfortable with this person? Never feel rushed into making a decision, it is important that your dog feels happy and comfortable on his or her walk and that they are safe.

Dogs needs to be exercised every day in order to stay healthy.  This is essential for their physical and mental well-being so if you are unable to walk your dog daily you will need to find a suitable dog walker.

This can be a difficult decision because...

City Life

Two Words You Should Stop Using At Work

‘No Problem’.  Two seemingly innocuous words that people use all the time, especially at work.  Often we use it instead of saying other common phrases such as, ‘of course’, or as a way of saying, ‘you’re welcome’ when something thanks us for doing something.  It is pretty harmless, right?

Wrong.  For some reason, these two words really have a tendency to rub people up the wrong way.

Many workplaces have an unofficial blacklist of irritating phrases and ‘no problem’, is often on it right alongside ‘no worries’.

It’s fair to say that most people who use these common expressions do so to be polite, personable and professional but unfortunately if you are one of these people you need to be aware that you could be giving off the total opposite impression to the very people who matter most.

Consider the Meaning

Now this can all seem a little harsh, especially if it is not something you’ve considered to be remotely annoying.  As a young professional it may seem slightly churlish for someone to point out that this particular phrase can be super-irritating especially if you use it yourself as an alternative for saying, ‘sure’.

It’s only when you start to look at it from the point of view of someone like a manager who has people directly reporting to them that the penny drops.  If you ask someone to do something and they say, ‘no problem’, it can be something that starts to annoy.

Firstly, it can be seen as a slightly dismissive; an off-the-cuff response which undermines their supervisory position and secondly, there is an unspoken implication that one day if they are asked to do something that there could be a problem.

In a business context when said to a professional superior it implies that you are doing them a favor when in fact, you are doing your job and it is your responsibility to do the tasks you have been assigned.

There are plenty of other ways to convey that something is not going to be a problem without ever using those two words.  It could have a generational component to it but I have heard a number of people say that they simply cannot stand it when people use this particular phrase.

If this is making you doubt whether or not you should use the phrase maybe its time you moved on to more universally acceptable ones like ‘any time’, or, ‘my pleasure’ or even ‘yes, absolutely’. For many people, the phrase “no problem” really is no problem, but is it worth taking the risk?

‘No Problem’.  Two seemingly innocuous words that people use all the time, especially at work.  Often we use it instead of saying other common phrases such as, ‘of course’, or as a way of saying, ‘you’re welcome’ when something thanks us for...

City Life Science

Women Think Better in Warmer Rooms, Study Suggests

While the study hasn’t been completely conclusive, recent findings have suggested that women think better in warmer rooms while men work better in lower temperatures ones.

Such findings may cause workplaces to think more deeply about their room temperatures and the effect it has on employees’ productivity.

The study occurred in Berlin where 542 students were recruited by researchers to take math, cognition, and verbal tests. Forty percent of the participants were female. First, the tests were taken in a room kept at 61.14 F, but then they were taken in another room at 90.63 F.

Overall, the women performed better on math and verbal tests in the warmer room while the men did better on those tests in the colder room. However, the cognitive tests were unaffected by temperature.

Warmer is better for everyone

“Our findings suggest that gender-mixed workplaces may be able to increase productivity by setting the thermostat higher than current standards,” the authors wrote.

Study co-author Agne Kajackaite, head of the Ethics and Behavioral Economics research group at WZB Berlin Social Science Center, told Newsweek: “There have been many studies showing that women prefer higher indoor temperatures than men. However, nobody looked at the effect of these differences in comfort on performance.

“We show that the battle for the thermostat is not just about comfort. It is much more—in our experiment, women’s cognitive functioning is the best at high temperatures, whereas men’s [is] at low temperatures. Importantly, the positive effect of increased temperatures on women’s performance is much stronger than the negative effect on men.”

Kajackaite continued: “This is just the first study looking at the effects of temperature on cognitive performance by gender. We ran the experiment with a homogeneous sample at a German university. More research looking at different groups—age, educational background, country—and different cognitive tasks is needed.”

Wouter Van Marken Lichtenbelt, a professor of ecological energetics and health at Maastricht University who has also published research on body temperature, told Newsweek that the study was written as if men had an opposite response to that of women, but “there is not one statistically significant effect observed in the data of the men.”

Wei Luo, a Ph.D. student at Maastricht University working with van Marken Lichtenbelt, confessed that the methods used were not wholly sufficient as the order of the different tests was fixed and the participants could have simply been tired. “This makes comparison between tests difficult,” said LuoHe.

The paper also lacked any information concerning participants’ clothes or the length of the tests, said van Marken Lichtenbelt, and this information could have had a significant impact on the results.

However, the results still strongly suggest that offices would be more productive if they slightly increased their room temperatures, agreed Van Marken Lichtenbelt, who also did a study in 2015 that found that exposures to temperatures outside our comfort zone could affect things like diabetes and obesity.

While the study hasn’t been completely conclusive, recent findings have suggested that women think better in warmer rooms while men work better in lower temperatures ones.

Such findings may cause workplaces to think more deeply about their room...

City Life Earth

Could We Put AC Units To Better Environmental Use?

When you feel the heat of the sun beating down on you and your home, the last thing you want to do is just sit and sweat. Rather than perspire until we expire, most of us do what you would be expected: you put on the AC unit.

But, rising energy costs and rising worries about the impact of such hardware on the environment leaves us with both financial and moral considerations. However, despite being vilified by some, air conditions could play a more active, meaningful role in turning around atmospheric carbon dioxide: some believe we could use it as a source of fuel.

This problem has been one that is spoken about on a regular basis. Excess carbon dioxide in the air is not a good thing. It can be used for numerous things, such as for pumping into a greenhouse to feed plants or feed the growth of trees. However, we could also find other uses for it – including the potential for turning atmospheric carbon dioxide into a fuel.

The ideas been going around for some time and could be delivered in the near future. Analytical scientists have started to argue that using AC units that can pull in the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and turn it into fuel could be a goer. These would be hugely useful for solving excess carbon dioxide in the air, and for dealing with rising energy bills.

This would be a much more effective alternative to using things like fossil fuels to help power our lifestyles. For many, it would be the perfect antidote to both stabilizing the cost of living and in making a more conscious effort to help the environment.

Is this going to be possible?

Sadly, for now, it’s more theory than a possibility. It’s still something that is being worked on. Thankfully, major names such a Climeworks, Siemens AG and various other firms, such as Green Energy, are getting involved in correcting this issue.

More resources are going into the creation of this kind of green tech, which could go a long way to making sure we have more of an opportunity to stop such needles wastage moving forward.

According to researchers on the project, the aim would be to create a system that is going to separately capture the CO2 from the air and then isolate the hydrogen from the water. This would then be used to produce the fuels needed.

The challenge, then, is creating a system that can do all of this at once. While it’s apparently not difficult to do in theory, the practice is seemingly a fair bit tougher.

It’ll be interesting, then, to see what comes next. If these were able to be created, then we could be producing enough fuel to help run many cities, according to research in the Nature Communications journal.

With the need for more renewable forms of fuel that can also cut down on our production of carbon, this could be a fantastic solution to turn the tide in the battle for a healthier planet.

When you feel the heat of the sun beating down on you and your home, the last thing you want to do is just sit and sweat. Rather than perspire until we expire, most of us do what you would be expected: you put on the AC unit.

But, rising energy costs and...