St. Patrick’s Day has come round once again. While you could tromp down to a bar and make yourself sick off beer filled with green food coloring, wouldn’t it be more fun to throw an amazing St. Patty’s Day bash of your own?

Serve up the right food and drink

“We’re all Irish on St. Patrick’s Day”, as the saying goes. Your food should be Irish too, so here are a few ideas to get you started:

Drinks: You can’t think of Ireland without thinking of Guinness, but don’t forget Murphy’s too. To really kick things up a notch, don’t be satisfied with just throwing out some cans of stout and calling it done. Why not try serving up some unique Guinness cocktails?

You should also be serving Irish whiskey, which is not to be confused with Scotch, bourbon, or Kentucky mash blends. Jameson is always a favorite, but there are some awesome craft whiskeys coming out of Ireland these days.

Food: Traditional St. Patty’s Day foods include soda bread, corned beef and cabbage, Dublin Coddle, and beef and Guinness pie. There’s also an old Irish joke that a seven-course meal in Ireland is just seven types of potatoes. Potatoes should always feature heavily in your St. Patty’s Day offerings.

For the true gourmands, nothing beats the challenge of matching your food to the strong stout you’ll be serving. Stout goes very well with oysters, chocolate puddings, and game meats like rabbit or pheasant.

Put thought into your decorations

The decorations are the first thing people see when they walk in, and they can also be a way to keep the party going. Of course Irish green should feature heavily, but no party is complete without shamrocks and rainbows.

Shamrock tissue garland is easy to hang and makes a great statement. Put your own “Blarney stone” at the entrance and invite guests to kiss it in order to enter. Fill vases or Mason jars with green lights and use them to decorate tables and benches.

Companies like Premier Glow offer all kinds of St. Patrick’s Day-themed lighted party favors that allow your guests to interact with the decor. A shamrock LED top hat can be the perfect prize for a game winner, and light up shamrock necklaces let everyone advertise their Irish loyalty for the night.

Activities people will love

For the kids: Divide the kids into teams and place a bucket of clothing for each team at the far end of the room — the goal is to find all the green clothes. After someone blows a whistle, one member of each team hops like a frog to the basket, finds one item, and hops back with it. Once they return, the next person goes and so on until one team has them all.

You can also get some colored ping pong balls and play Blarney Stone Bounce. Each team gets a particular color of ball, and at the sound of the whistle, they throw them at a Blarney stone replica. The goal is to get their ball to bounce off the stone and into one of the buckets around it.

For adults: When it comes to adult St. Patty’s Day games, you should be thinking alcohol. Try the Hot Potato drinking game, which is basically a riff on musical chairs. Pass the shot glass around, and whoever is holding it when the music stops has to drink. You can also adapt the children’s games above to add some liquor into the mix.
Instead of pin the tail on the donkey, you might also try a rousing game of Pin the Snake on St. Patrick. If the blindfolded participant misses, they have to down a shot of Jamesons. It’s not entirely clear whether the most sober player at the end is the winner or the loser, and that’s just the way it should be.

It’s not too hard to figure out why so many people feel better and more energetic in the summer than they do in the winter. Take a look at the amount of sunlight hours received across the United States on the summer solstice, which is commonly referred to as “the longest day of the year” because it’s the day with most sunlight. Residents of a stretch from Northern Washington to Northern Minnesota can bask in more than 16 hours of sun, while parts of Texas and South Florida “only” get about 14 hours, which is still pretty good. But all the sunlight in the world doesn’t do much good if you don’t go outside and really experience it sometimes. Sitting by the window and working is nice, but it’s not quite the same.

Health benefits of sun

We hear plenty about the harmful effects of going outside and tanning. Sunburns can and do cause skin cancer, but sun also gives us something else that we desperately need: Vitamin D. An estimated 1 billion people in the world suffer from a Vitamin D deficiency that could put them at risk of developing certain diseases. If your friend from Seattle mentions having to go fill a Vitamin D prescription, that’s probably why. Seasonal Affective Disorder is a very real condition that affects roughly five percent of Americans. Symptoms include changes in appetite, weight gain, irritability, anxiety, and difficulty concentrating. It’s usually at its worst in winter before improving in the springtime. It’s more common in northern climates than southern ones. That’s not to say that people from Texas can’t get SAD, but it’s not as likely an affliction as it is among residents of Portland or Anchorage.

Moving is one way to combat seasonal depression, although it’s a pretty extreme reaction. Another way to fight it is to really make the most of the days when there is plentiful sunshine. Go to the park and take a long walk. If you have a gym membership, see if it can be put on hold in the summer while you go outside and get your heart rate going. Make sure to apply plenty of sun protectant first, and re-apply it as necessary.

A different kind of travel

Most of us travel in cars, and it’s true that motorcycles aren’t for everyone. But if you love them, they’re a great investment, and there’s something about feeling the wind on your face and the sun beating down on your (ideally helmeted) head that can’t be beat. Go to a dealer like M & S Harley-Davidson and start spending summer the way bikers do: on the road, exploring the area’s mountains, rivers, and valleys.
Even though it’s sunny in the summertime, there’s nothing that says you can’t travel to an even sunnier place. Experience the height of tropical luxury on the Hawaiian islands. The memory of those surfing lessons in Waikiki will keep you warm once the time changes again and the sun starts setting before you even leave work. Living your best life in the summer will help ease the transition to colder weather. It can’t hurt to leave a little money in your travel budget for winter, too. That way, if you absolutely need a weekend escape to Arizona or Florida, you can hop on a plane and take a break from the dark, snowy gloom.

Online donations have been boosted recently. This is partly due to changes in the law brought about by the current U.S. administration. Non-profit organizations experience spikes 72 hours after major press coverage. For example, changes to immigration policies put the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) firmly in the spotlight, leading to large donation spikes they greatly benefited from.

 

Under Trump’s administration, nonprofits are reaping the rewards of “outrage giving,” too. This happens when donors are influenced by their emotional connection with an issue in society, and consequently pour in donations. This happened when people thought proposed cuts would influence Meals on Wheels. The company were flooded with donations of $1,000 per day as a result, receiving an astonishing $160,00 in just a few days!

 

When non-profit organizations receive unexpected media attention, donation spikes are prevalent. If you want your company to receive unprecedented coverage, it’s important to come armed with an effective digital marketing strategy. To help you on route to implementing the best digital marketing strategy possible, this article has collected some digital marketing tips for nonprofits that are well worth considering:


Your organization can quickly become the subject of unexpected media attention, so make sure you are armed with the best digital marketing strategy when it does. You’ll need to be in excellent shape to keep up with the fast paced digital marketing industry. Here are a few tactics to consider ahead of time:

Optimize for Mobile

We live in an age where smartphone use is at an all-time high. Consumers rely on their phones as their main source of knowledge. Donors’ emotions will be evoked through news they read on social media or emails. Because smartphones are so commonplace, you can rest assured people will be reading about new things on their phone. If you haven’t optimized your organization’s website for smartphones, you risk becoming irrelevant. To stay connected with your audience, it’s important to create a donation form with a fast mobile checkout experience. Research from Dunham & Company found that 18% of donors have made donations by using a mobile device in 2015. This figure continues to grow year-over-year, so if your donation site isn’t mobile compatible, you’ll lose a huge segment of the market. With mobile responsive design, you can build a website which automatically scales down when visited on a mobile device.


Email Segmentation

According to a recent study by M+R benchmarks, email accounts for more than a third of online revenue for nonprofits. Effective email marketing can be tricky in the digital age, meaning it’s important to segment the market. This is an effective way to communicate with specific donors, where you can send repeat donors relevant messaging. Segmentation is essential when communicating with your donors. It allows you to send prospective donors and repeat donors relevant messaging. This stretches beyond including a donor’s name in an email list. The last thing you’ll want to do is make big donors feel like one of a thousand people. It’s important to engage in initiatives which recognize their incredible support. This can be achieved by maximizing the persuasive power of your content. More and more supporters are choosing to respond to email donation requests, where the percentage of donors motivated by email has jumped to 40% since 2015. This has been achieved through targeted emails that make donors feel unique, alongside personalized emails in the aftermath of donations. When you find yourself in the limelight, ensure you’re well positioned to contact the right donors quickly!

 

Instagram

Instagram is growing exponentially. This has created an opportunity for nonprofits, who can establish their footprint on the platform. With a presence on Instagram, you’ll align your marketing efforts with societal trends. Attach solid stories to your Instagram posts for greater impact, rather than appearing too spammy by asking for donations. If you want to create dynamic content to share your story, Instagram is the way to go. There are additional options to pay for advertising too, which can help you reap the benefits of increased donations.

We love love. It’s pretty great when you’re able to meet a person who cares about you and respects you, and when you can also care about and respect this person in return. A lot of finding the right person involves timing, and so it’s especially nice when two people decide that now is the right time for a long-term relationship, and then, a while after that, decide they want to get married. A big part of many engagements, however, is an engagement ring. Such rings are traditionally seen as something the woman wears before the big day, but nowadays many men are wearing them as well. There are a few different ways to approach buying an engagement ring, and one increasingly popular option is designing a ring together.

A unique love

We all want to feel special and unique. There’s even a saying that goes something like, “Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else.” Jokes aside, every love is different, and that’s good. Some couples meet online, while others meet through mutual friends. Some couples want to get married at the beach, while others plan on eloping to Las Vegas. It makes sense that you want a ring that reflects your feelings toward each other. When you’re excited to start your life, sometimes a standard ring just doesn’t seem like enough. The first thing to do is find a reputable local jeweler who is willing to work with you and your fiance. If you’re getting married in Brisbane, Australia, then you’ll probably want to also look for engagement rings in Brisbane. You can go with a national chain or a local, family-owned store. It’s all about finding an environment that makes you feel comfortable. You don’t want an overly pushy salesperson, either, because then you risk ending up with something you don’t like simply because you wanted the badgering to stop. Never say, “yes,” if you really mean, “I’m not sure.” That’s true for both weddings and wedding rings.

Budgets and time frames

Getting a custom engagement ring isn’t usually a speedy process. You have to figure out the design and then wait for the ring to be made. If you want the engagement ring to be completed by a certain time (such as before a big engagement bash), then make sure to start the process early and be very clear about your deadlines.

You should also be prepared to spend more on something custom-made than on something that you can buy right off the shelf (or display case). If you had a certain budget in mind for a traditional, pre-made ring, it’s worth bumping that budget up somewhat for a more exclusive design. Don’t, however, feel the need to spend a lot of money to “prove” that your love will last. There is no piece of jewelry capable of doing that. If spending more money protected couples against divorce or misfortune, then people who drop a million dollars on a wedding would be married for a hundred years. That’s not how life, or love, works.

 

Granite is a beautiful addition to your home. Traditionally, granite countertops are the go-to way to incorporate the lovely stone in your home, but that is not the only way to incorporate the lavish material. Many granite companies, like Southwest Michigan Granite, have everything from custom designed slabs to leftover pieces for you to choose from at a much lower cost. Granite comes in so many colors and textures that it looks dashing by itself or looks bold when used with other materials, like metal or wood. Granite is durable and easy to clean, so it is perfect for countertops. If you want to incorporate granite in your home in ways that will set your design apart from the rest, consider these applications below.

Granite in the Bathroom

Granite is resistant to mold and water, so it’s ideal for the bathroom, the room of your house where the most moisture lives. Granite is functional in the bathroom, but it also looks incredible and is an easy solution for elegance and appeal. Similar to a kitchen countertop, granite is great used as a bathroom vanity top. You may also want to go so far as to looking into getting a granite sink or basin, or as a base for your tub to fit into. Granite can be cut by composite material machining that uses water jet cutting systems to make precise projects. Pedestal sinks come in granite, as do shelves. Nothing looks better than granite floors in the bathroom, and considering the bathroom is the most abused room in your home, you will want to furnish it with material that can stand the test of time.

Granite Mosaics

Mosaics are the most decorative, creative way to improve your home, and granite is a wonderful material for the job. Granite pieces can come together to create beautiful mosaics to be used around the fireplace, as the mantle, in the shower walls, as a walkway, or as a backsplash. Granite mosaics create a focal point for the room that attracts the eye. Use white and cream granite for a clean and fresh look, or darker colors for a more traditional and rustic look. With mosaics, you also have the option to combine light and dark tones that will contrast each other for greater design and creativity.

Granite Countertops Throughout Your Home

Countertops are not only a part of the kitchen, but they can include desktops in the office, table tops in the dining room, and coffee table tops in the living room. Granite is such a versatile stone that it can be used in any room in your house. The leftover pieces are even great for cutting boards or decorative pieces. As you can see, including granite in your home is limitless. It is sought after for its strength and beauty, and will have your guests wishing they had granite in their home as well. Everyone who upgrades their home with granite is thankful that they did.

Some solutions for a more energy-efficient home mean taking a look at how you use energy in your home. You use energy when you heat and cool your house, so consider adjusting your thermostat even one or two degrees, which can save you money on cooling or heating costs. Also, look into installing a programmable thermostat, so you are not wasting energy when you are asleep or not home. In addition to finding more energy-efficient heating and air-conditioning units, be sure you maintain them correctly. Getting a tune-up from a company like John Duffy Energy in Edison, New Jersey and changing your filters regularly on the AC and heating unit can help your units run more efficiently. You can also install a wood burning stove. As long as your get your wood from trees that are already down or that need to be thinned out, then you are heating your home in a more energy efficient way. You can update all your appliances, like your laundry machine and dryer, dishwasher, and refrigerator to more energy efficient versions. Setting your hot water heater to 120 degrees is more energy-efficient. If you have an electric water heater, replace it with a natural gas water heater. You also use energy with your lights, so replacing your compact fluorescent lights with light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs can save you money and energy because these bulbs last longer.

Energy Efficient Materials

In addition to upgrading your appliances in your home, try to use energy efficient materials in your design. Adding attic insulation and using residential metal roofing can heat from escaping through the roof. Be sure you choose a light-colored roof to decrease the heat transferred to the attic. What is more, with a metal roof you can install solar panels on top of them to offset your energy usage. Manufacturers even make more energy efficient flooring with cork and thicker windows, so your home stays cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Countertops made of bamboo or recycled glass are more energy efficient because they are more sustainable to produce. Another more energy efficient option for countertops and floors is concrete.

Exterior Energy Efficiency

The efficiency of your home does not involve the interior exclusively. The design of the exterior of your home is just as important. Plant trees on the south, west, and east sides of the house to help shade your home. You can also install a simple rainwater collection system to water these trees with. Another way to reduce water usage is to plant shrubs, bushes, and perennials that are tolerant to drought, called xeriscaping. Composting is another energy efficient solution for your home. Rather than toss your food scraps as waste, start a pile in your backyard for healthy compost to amend your garden and around your other plants. Think of your home as a living organism. What goes in can be used as fuel for another part of the home. In addition to compost, use your lawn clippings for mulch, to attract more worms that keep the soil healthy.

If you’ve been diagnosed with cancer, this is a tough time. Friends and family alike are devastated by the news, and so are you. “Cancer” is one of the most hated words in the English language, and you wish it had never come anywhere near you or the ones you love. A diagnosis, however, is not the end. Cancer can be fought, and cancer can be beaten. You have a journey ahead of you, but it’s one that will create beauty in the struggle and hope for the future.

As you move towards treatment, you can expect your doctor to talk you through the most common cancer-fighting options. You’ll discuss chemo, and if you choose to undergo the treatment, you can expect some negative side effects, including hair loss and nausea–but not even chemo will have the last word over you. Chemo is used for good reason, in that it’s one of our most effective ways of fighting back. The treatment won’t last forever, and it gives you a way to kick cancer back. Another treatment you’ll likely discuss with your doctor is surgery, and your doctor will put you in contact with a center. A brain tumor would be removed somewhere like the Atlantic Neurosurgical Specialists, and a mastectomy performed somewhere like this New Jersey Breast Center in Edison, NJ. Surgery is not always necessary, so that first discussion with your doctor is just that: a discussion.

Besides these standard options for fighting cancer, there are some other strategies you can enlist to punch back. A change in diet is often recommended for cancer treatment. The fewer toxins you put into your body through your food, the better off you’ll be. New studies are showing that avoiding animal protein can be a huge help in combating cancer. Researchers found that mice injected with aflatoxin (one of the strongest known carcinogens) reacted differently to the injection based on their milk protein intake. The researchers found that it didn’t matter how much aflatoxin they injected: the mice who consumed less milk protein (less than their daily dietary need) did not get cancer; the mice who consumed more than their daily dose of milk protein did. While researchers are still investigating the role a vegan diet plays in fighting cancer, there are many more studies that lend credence to the benefits of going vegan! As you fight, enlist the power of growing things and take time to study new developments in cancer research. You still have a great deal of power when it comes to how your body heals, so as you fight, investigate. Cancer doesn’t get to have the last word over you.

One part of beating cancer is handling the stress that comes along with it, and we all know that more appointments can be impossible. You may benefit from online therapy from sites like BetterHelp.

It’s never too early to start spring cleaning. If you’re the need to reduce some clutter in your house, then why wait until March to start? All the stuff in your house probably isn’t going to become essential once the season changes from winter to spring. There are a few ways to go about cleaning and decluttering. One of the easiest is to just throw out everything that you aren’t using, whether it’s old appliances, clothes, books, or something else. That isn’t the most efficient way, though.

Double check things

If you know that old washing machine you’ve been keeping in the garage is dead once and for all, then feel free to haul it away to the junkyard. But if you aren’t absolutely sure, then it can’t hurt to get an outside expert to take a look at things. If you’re way of the big box appliance stores, contact a family-owned appliance repair service like Astre Appliance Services of Fairfield, NJ. While you’ve moved on and bought a new washer or a new stovetop, there’s a chance your old item could be refurbished and made useful once more. You won’t be using it, but someone else might be able to squeeze a little more life out of it. It’s both cheaper and more environmentally friendly to refurbish an old appliance than it is to buy a new one. As a bonus, if the appliance repair people say the item is truly useless, then they might know a better place to haul it away than your local dump.

Hire a service

People tend to approach the decluttering process one of two ways: with overwhelming and perhaps unearned confidence, or with dread that this is entirely too much for one person to handle and they don’t know why they’re even bothering. People in the first category often find themselves desperately in need of a few extra sets of hands when they become exhausted halfway through the process. People in the latter category may put off and delay indefinitely out of fear that it can’t be done. In either case, you should feel more than fine about calling in some help. Sometimes you can bribe your friends to help you sort through all the crap you’ve accumulated. Other times you may want to hire professionals, especially if that will make the difference between it getting done or not.

Then there are the issues that crop up after almost everything has been hauled away or donated. Maybe you’ve cleaned out your attic only to discover that there’s way too much rat feces up there (not that there’s ever really an acceptable amount of rat feces, but some amounts are more horrifying than others). You don’t get paid enough to deal with rodent droppings. In fact, you don’t get paid at all, so that means it’s time to look for an attic cleaning service. A company like Atticare of New Jersey is more than equipped to go up there and clean things up, then take measures to ensure rodents can’t get in again. After everything is done, you should have an attic that’s both free of clutter and free of rodents. The next step is making sure it doesn’t fill up with useless items again, and that part is on you.

It’s no secret that you can sell just about anything online. From people getting rid of old TVs on Craigslist to people offering a weekend in their vacation home through VRBO, to businesses that have grown and thrived using only an online store–the internet has created unlimited selling opportunities. The reason is simple: the internet connects you to anywhere. A girl in America can buy her prom dress from China, and a woodworker in Norway can sell his candlesticks to a couple in Japan. We’re all connected, and that leaves plenty of opportunity for business growth and sales potential.

Let’s look at some of the benefits of making an online business. An online store can be a great way to start turning a full-time or part-time profit since your handmade items or direct liquidation can be sold for higher than what you paid. Buy wholesale pallets, and you can make a profit on inventory you invested less time into. Shipping allows you to send it anywhere. You can have a thriving Amazon shop out of your back porch, or an Etsy business that brings in an extra grand a month, just from the crafts you create on the weekends. Online businesses have a lower set up cost: they require no office. You can work from home. Your customers can peruse your inventory at any time of day: you don’t have to be available 8-5 in a store or pay employees to be. Plus, online stores are easy to track, so you’ll have an easier time seeing which products sell well and which don’t. You’ll also spend less time on the business, since online stores are easy to set up, and most of the features take care of themselves.

Let’s say you aren’t looking to start a full or part-time business selling things online. You should, however, be aware of all the ways online selling could be a benefit to you. Rather than dragging your grandmother’s antique dishes to the thrift store to donate, you could make a significant profit posting them online. The same goes for your old devices, extra junk, and anything else you think would resell. You can even post horses for sale online, allowing other equestrian lovers to find and fall in love with the horse that’s for sale. There’s almost no limit to what can be sold online, and it’s a great way to pass on the love from items you’ve enjoyed, and put some extra money in your pocket.

Whether you want to start a business, or just post a thing or two for sale, the internet offers great opportunities. Next time you have something to sell, consider whether or not it could turn a profit on eBay or Amazon or Craigslist. Your pocketbook will thank you.  

We all think, to some extent, that we’re prepared. Our bills are paid. We have a job. For the most part, we don’t think of the life events we could be preparing for, but there are quite a few things we could get ahead on–even if some of them are a bit unusual. Here are five ways you can be taking care of your future (that you probably didn’t seriously think of until just now).

Future Health Issues

Many of us don’t even consider our health until it’s too late. It is, however, a good idea to start investing in your wellbeing now. A future without a debilitating disease is a lot better than one with–and right now, your choices and habits could be all that’s preventing one. Try to alter your diet to include less sugar and animal protein, and try natural health aids, like CBD oil.

Money

Many of us only save a little at a time, hardly considering future savings. You should, however, be putting away 10% of every paycheck. If that’s not possible, try to rearrange your lifestyle until you can financially afford it. While it might not be realistic right away, savings are hugely important, and that 10% is a great buffer against falling into any kind of debt.

Choice of Burial

While a weird one to think about right now, it’s always best to decide how you want to be buried, and let your family know. If you’re in charge of a clan, it also helps to decide on a provider ahead of time. The choice is up to you: coffin or cremation? Many are now preferring cremation services for their low-cost and natural approach to burial. A request for cremation vs. burial means your family will have an easier time knowing what to do, and less of a financial burden.

Protected Information

In the same “weird” vein of the last one, you should have all of your sensitive information, like bank accounts and passwords, written down and kept in a folder. In the event of your death, your spouse or family would be able to access what they needed without unnecessary stress.

Live in the Present

While it might seems a bit antithetical at first, preparing for the future by forgetting about it improves your quality of life. We often enter the future unprepared, because we wasted so much of our present worrying. Instead of living in limbo, an effort to live in the present often encourages us to care for our immediate needs, making the future steadier and more secure.

Instead of preparing for the future with a vague sense of worry, there are practical things we can do right now, in the moment. They’ll help us, and our family and friends, in the long run. They might seem peculiar now, but they’ll afford us peace of mind when the future rolls around.

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