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    7 Holiday Shopping Hacks That Will Save You Hundreds Of Bucks


    geomarketing

    The holidays are here which means another season of gift-giving. If you’re worried about how you’re going to make it through without breaking the bank, we’ve got you covered. These 7 holiday shopping hacks will save you hundreds of bucks.

    1. Be picky about who you give gifts to.


    luismaram

    Giving gifts to everyone you know might leave you crying in January when the bills come. Take some time to think about the people who’ve really had a profound impact on your life the past year and weed out the rest. Having a list of people you want to give gifts to eliminates any last-minute shopping splurges.

    2. Write down possible gifts for each person.


    phantomforest

    Before heading to the store, write down possible gifts for each lucky person on your ‘Nice’ list. If you’re crafty, they might even like something you made yourself. Remember that you don’t have to shell out all your extra cash on specific gifts if it’s not feasible on your budget. Get the best gift that works for your pocket.

    3. Stick to a budget, and be strict about it.


    2018god

    Since you’ve already got a list of people and gift ideas ready, why not also set a budget for each person? Just come up with an amount that you’re willing to spend and then divide how much you want to spend on each person on your list. For example, your spouse probably gets around 30-40% of the total budget so you’ll have to adjust the rest of the 60-70% for everyone else on your list. Once you’ve got your budget ready, stick to it.

    4. Compare prices from different stores.


    economicresearchwallpaper

    Some stores have cheaper prices for the same item in a different store. Sometimes shopping online can even give you greater bang for your buck than a physical store. An app called Pricejump produces prices from online stores and physical stores near you when you scan an item’s barcode.

    5. Make coupon apps your best friend.


    business2community

    Get apps like RetailMeNot, SnipSnap, or Checkout 51. You can check these apps for collections of coupons that you can use both online or in-store.

    6. Pay in cash.


    creditsesame

    People that get into debt troubles after the holidays are usually the ones who shop without cash. Why? Ellie Kay, a family finance expert and author of “Lean Body, Fat Wallet” says that “many people simply swipe more on a credit card especially when they don’t have the cash.” Using and spending tangible cash makes you spend less and stick to your holiday budget.

    7. Celebrate for free!


    shutterstock

    Gifts aren’t the only things people spend a lot on this merry season. You don’t have to spend so much to enjoy your holiday—go out and enjoy the Christmas lights around your city or check your local community board for free events. You can also put a smile on other people’s faces by doing volunteer work.

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    26 American Habits That Are Considered Rude Everywhere Else

    Some little habits may be considered normal in the U.S., but that doesn’t mean that the rest of the world thinks the same. If you’re planning a trip soon, it’s important to know about these little quirks before you get to your destination. Here’s 26 “normal” American habits to keep in mind on your next adventure.

    1. Using your left hand in Africa, India, Sri Lanka and the Middle East.


    seekerselite

    In these countries, they use their left hand to clean themselves in the bathroom in lieu of toilet paper. It’s best if you use your right hand to give and receive items since this gesture is considered a slap in the face when you’re using your left hand.

    2. Using condiments on your meal in France, Italy, Spain, and Japan.


    pinterst

    Altering the taste of your meal can be considered an insult to the one preparing it. Before you ask for some ketchup and mustard, try looking around if the tables have condiments on them—if not, just don’t do it.

    3. Opening a gift in front of the give in China and India.


    shutterstock

    Though it’s pretty normal to tear open your present in front of the giver in the United States, in the countries mentioned above it’s considered rude. Opening the gifts immediately makes the recipient look greedy and it can also make the giver feel awkward.

    4. Wearing flip-flops and sweatpants in public places in Japan and most of Europe.


    stylecaster

    For Americans, going grocery shopping or just being in public while wearing sweats is pretty normal. In other countries though, not presenting your best to the world reflects how you are as a person. If you plan to head out in these places wearing your flip-flops, wrinkly clothing, or sweatpants, just know they might think of you as a sloppy person.

    5. Men being topless in South Korea.


    luisaviaroma

    Whoops! You can’t just take your shirt off at the beach. Korean men rarely go topless as this is considered too bold. Wear a rash guard instead of bathing topless.

    6. Bringing your shoes in someone’s home in Asian countries.


    floormatshop

    Before you enter someone’s home anywhere in Asia, you should take your shoes off. If you don’t take your shoes off, it comes off disrespectful. In countries like Japan and Korea, they often sit and sleep on the floor so bringing in your shoes would mean that you’re also bringing in dirt from outside.

    7. Crossing your fingers in Vietnam.


    procaffenation

    Though crossing your fingers while you’re wishing someone good luck is a nice gesture in America, don’t even think of doing this in Vietnam. You might get slapped for it because it’s a crude way of saying “vagina” with your hands.

    8. Tipping in Japan and South Korea.


    munchies

    This common practice in the US is frowned upon by the Japanese and South Koreans mainly because they think that they shouldn’t be given incentives for a job well done. It’s the idea that doing a great job is expected and that they’re paid what is due for doing so.

    9. Throwing a thumbs-up in Latin America, Western Africa, Russia, Greece, and the Middle East.


    bigstock

    This usually means you did good or a good job in the US. But don’t do this hand sign in the places mentioned above or you’re in for a beating because this translates to using your middle finger.

    10. Finishing off all the food in China, The Philippines, and Thailand.


    mazemosaic

    In Western countries, cleaning off your plate means that you’ve enjoyed your food. But refrain from doing this in some Asian countries since this will mean that you’re greedy and hungry. In the Philippines, it’s customary to leave the last piece of food in case someone has just arrived and hasn’t had a piece yet.

    11. Laughing with your mouth open in Japan.


    herchannel

    Japanese women often cover their mouths while laughing. In Japanese culture, women are expected to carry themselves with grace. Laughing boisterously with your mouth open is considered rude and unladylike.

    12. Sitting in the back of a cab in Australia, New Zealand, Scotland, and the Netherlands.


    newyorkpost

    Taxi drivers don’t appreciate it when you ride at the back when you’re alone. They would think you’re being rude and haughty because you refuse to sit in front where they can talk to you.

    13. Being on time in Latin America and Argentina.


    thewomensroom

    If you’re invited to a party in the places mentioned above, it’s a norm to be late. It’s considered rude to be early or on time in Argentina and Latin America because the host will not be able to entertain you while doing last minute preparations. Arriving half an hour late is ideal.

    14. Arriving Late in Japan, Switzerland, Germany, and South Korea.


    TallyPress

    People from these countries value every minute of their time, so if you’re running late for an appointment, you’ll have to make up for it. In Japan, if you arrive five minutes earlier than expected then you are on time. But, if you come on the dot, you’re considered late.

    15. Blowing your nose in public in Japan, China, France, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey.


    englishangels

    When you have a cold, it’s best to retreat to a bathroom to blow your nose. In the countries listed, it’s not only considered rude but repulsive to blow your nose in public. It’s a hundred times worse when you blow your nose at the dining table.

    16. Touching people in Middle Eastern and Asian countries.


    blerds

    Poking or touching someone to catch their attention, especially the opposite sex, is not practiced in these countries. Personal space is very important to them and hugging people in public even as a greeting is considered offensive. To do these things puts everyone else around you in an awkward situation.

    17. Burping in Japan.


    readersdigest

    Better out than in? Not exactly. While some other cultures translate burping as a sign of appreciating the food you just had, in Japan it’s considered impolite.

    18. Eating with a fork in Thailand.


    cosmopolitan

    Eating with just a fork is unheard of in Thailand. You’re given a spoon and a fork, and you should only use your fork to push food to your spoon. It’s even better if you eat with your hands instead.

    19. Not declining gifts in Japan and China.


    soulpost

    Modesty is an important value in these countries and accepting a gift right away without declining it a few times can be considered thoughtless. It’s also impolite when you don’t give something in return or at least offer to.

    20. Having one hand in your pocket in Turkey and South Korea.


    newyorkpost

    The way you bring yourself speaks so much about who you are in these countries. Even the act of putting one hand in your pocket can be viewed as arrogant—either you put both hands in your pockets or none at all.

    21. Calling the United States “America” in South American countries.


    youtube

    The United States of America is part of North America, so to claim that you are from “America” when you’re speaking to South Americans is politically incorrect. It’s best to say you’re from ‘the United States’ because using “America” implies that South America is unworthy of the title.

    22. Showing the soles of your feet in Arab, Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist countries.


    depositphotos

    Feet are considered the dirtiest part of our body since we use them to get around. Flashing the soles of your feet to anyone is a sign of disrespect and should be avoided.

    23. Not bringing your own alcohol in Norway.


    thalhammers

    If you’re at a potluck in Norway, make sure you grab yourself a six-pack before you go. Norwegians are notorious for keeping their alcohol for themselves, so keep your fingers on your own bottle.

    24. Eating in a public place in Rwanda and Japan.


    metro

    There’s a time and place for everything and the people from these countries adhere to that. If you’re planning to eat at a public place like the bus or the subway, don’t. This means that you’re being inconsiderate to the people around you. In these cultures, respect plays an important role and letting everyone smell what you’re eating is not very polite.

    25. Refusing food in the Philippines and Lebanon.


    daum

    Saying “no” to food offered is a sign of disrespect to your hosts in these countries. In the Philippines, they will feel embarrassed when a guest doesn’t eat a dish they’ve prepared because it implies that it isn’t good enough.

    26. Asking “what do you do?” in the Netherlands.

    evolllution

    It’s an insult when you ask what someone does for a living in the Netherlands. They usually think that you’re asking because you want to know what “class” they belong to. It’s best not to ask this in countries with a social-welfare system like that of the Netherlands.

    Now you’re one step closer to being a responsible tourist. We hope these tips help you on your next foreign destination! Safe travels!

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    25 Idiot-Proof Recipes Guaranteed To Impress Your Holiday Guests

    This holiday season is the time to stretch your culinary skills and finally impress your friends who are convinced that you don’t know your way around a kitchen. Don’t cop out and order pre-made dishes, we are sharing a whole load of recipes—from cocktails to main courses to desserts—that are unbelievably easy to make, but are sure to wow your guests.

    Recipes can be found in the link below.

    1. Sparkling Winter Sangria.


    countryliving

    What better way to show off, er, we mean start off your party by indulging your guests in a little booze? This fruity holiday bubbly is sure to get the party started!

    Get the recipe here.

    2. Pomegranate-Apple Cocktails.


    pinterest

    In the history of holidays, no one has ever said that having two drink options was a bad idea. This versatile cocktail recipe is a good addition to your drink menu. You can serve it hot or cold, with or without alcohol.

    Get the recipe here.

    3. The Perfect Holiday Cheese Board.


    eatyourselfskinny

    A cheeseboard is the perfect route to take when you’re a lazy cook but still want to put out a stunning course. All you need to do is get the best cheeses you can get your hands on, along with some crackers, cold-cuts, and dried fruits. Lay them on a pretty wooden board and you’ve got one incredible, effortless dish.

    Get the recipe here.

    4. Buttermilk Fresh Cheese.


    countryliving

    If you’ve ever wanted to make your own cheese, here’s a super simple recipe for it. All you’ll need are three common ingredients, a little elbow grease, and your guest will surely envy your kitchen skills.

    Get the recipe here.

    5. Easy Crostini Board.


    delish

    Why serve your guests chips and dip as a starter when you can serve crostinis? Toasted bread with delicious, strategically-styled toppings are always a win at any party.

    Get the recipe here.

    6. Sweet Pear and Gorgonzola Salad.


    foodnessgracious

    When planning your menu, don’t forget a salad dish! Nothing screams “I’m a totally capable host” like a sophisticated salad to start off your holiday meal.

    Get the recipe here.

    7. Shaved Brussel Sprout and Chestnut Salad.


    orchardstreetkitchen

    Seeing whole brussel sprouts might be a downer for some guests, so the next best thing is to serve them in an unexpected way. This fresh and easy recipe will be a hit at any dinner table this season.

    Get the recipe here.

    8. Orange Carrots with Yogurt-Parsley Dressing.


    countryliving

    Let carrots take the center stage by dressing them up in a light dressing. This recipe substitutes the usual creamy and indulgent sauces for something bright and tangy.

    Get the recipe here.

    9. Double-Stuffed Potatoes.


    pinchofyum

    This dish proves that the holidays are never the right time to go easy on carbs. This double-stuffed potato recipe calls for two kinds of taters, plus an unexpected ingredient.

    Get the recipe here.

    10. Chicken Cranberry Brie Tartlets.


    lemontreedwelling

    This surprisingly easy recipe comes with only one fair warning: double your batches, because they’re just that good.

    Get the recipe here.

    11. Cheddar Biscuits.


    thecozycook

    You only need four steps to create these flavorful biscuits. The added cheddar gives it that kick we all sometimes need from a plain biscuit.

    Get the recipe here.

    12. Fresh Herb Spoon Rolls.


    countryliving

    These simple rolls pack incredible flavor with minimal effort.

    Get the recipe here.

    13. Garlic and Rosemary-Infused Mashed Potatoes.


    womansday

    These aren’t your basic mashed potatoes, so they deserve every right to be in your holiday spread. Garlic, rosemary, and peppercorns add all that extra flavor regular mashed potatoes never knew it needed.

    Get the recipe here.

    14. Pumpkin and Cauliflower Casserole.


    rachaelrayeveryday

    A casserole is a great way to feed a crowd. Make it more festive with tender pumpkin and cauliflower, topped off with a cream sauce that will send your guests straight to heaven.

    Get the recipe here.

    15. Turkey Potpie with Phyllo Crust.


    marthastewart

    Using phyllo dough instead of the usual pie crust cuts out those extra calories, but definitely not the flavors. Make this recipe even more easy and buy pre-made phyllo. No one will be the wiser!

    Get the recipe here.

    16. Herb and Citrus Butter Roasted Turkey.


    pinterest

    A traditional holiday meal is never complete without a turkey. There are only six steps to making this showstopper, so don’t be intimidated.

    Get the recipe here.

    17. Herbed Chicken with Beets and Brussels.


    countryliving

    If a turkey seems too big of a task, try this chicken dish. There won’t be any need to constantly check on this bird as it cooks since this recipe calls for you to bust out that handy slow cooker.

    Get the recipe here.

    18. Pork Roast with Dried Fruit and Fresh Herbs.


    seriouseats

    Not going to lie this roast is pretty incredible, even if you’re a less-than-experienced cook.

    Get the recipe here.

    19. Sweet and Spicy Cola-Glazed Ham.


    delish

    This ham only needs six ingredients and three steps. Pair these with the cheddar biscuit recipe above and you’ve got a hit!

    Get the recipe here.

    20. Rosemary-Infused Gravy.


    vegetariantimes

    This recipe may be easy, but it’s definitely not basic. Not into rosemary? Get creative and substitute it with any of your favorite herbs.

    Get the recipe here.

    21. Cranberry-Grape Sauce.


    marthastewart

    If you’re not much of a fan of tart cranberry sauces, this one is for you. Toss in some grapes while your cranberries simmer for an added sweetness.

    Get the recipe here.

    22. Angel Berry Trifle.


    jocooks

    All you need to do for this dessert is get your ingredients ready, and layer them in a glass container. There’s no pressure to make it look neat as the contrasting colors are enough to bring some culinary drama to the table.

    Get the recipe here.

    23. Peppermint Crunch Fudge.


    realhousemoms

    This isn’t like any other fudge recipe out there. The recipe combines two layers and flavors of fudge, making it a win for both chocolate and peppermint lovers (and a double win for those who love both!) You can even save these for last as a great holiday gift that your guests can take home with them.

    Get the recipe here.

    24. Mini Brown Sugar Cheesecakes.


    countryliving

    Make your guests feel extra special by making mini cheesecakes to devour. Ginger and lemon add unexpected but irresistible flavors, and ends the meal on a high note.

    Get the recipe here.

    25. White Spiced Coffee.


    countryliving

    Ending a well-prepared holiday feast is as much of a treat for the host as it is for the guests. Coffee is a great beverage to close a meal, but because it’s the holidays, why not spruce things up? Add in cardamom, cinnamon, and rum. This is definitely a special cup of joe.

    Get the recipe here.

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    People Are Losing Their Minds Over This Christmas Tree Trend And We Bet You Will Too

    Ladies and gentlemen we present to you, the upside-down Christmas tree.


    twitter

    Think of it however you want, but expect to see these at hotel lobbies or at your local malls this year.


    travelandleisure

    Photos and videos of this kooky version of the holiday tree are all over Twitter lately because how else would the news of this odd trend spread?

    People all over are flipping over this flipped Christmas decor trend—and surprisingly, in a good way!


    twitter

    There is no need to be confused about this new style, it’s just a new take on the Christmas tree. With the holiday only happening once every year, why not take the risk and chuck tradition up on its head, right?


    twitter

    And we mean that quite literally.


    365greetings

    People have added their own touches to the trend. Some have gone the minimalist route…


    timeout

    …While some went all-out crazy because really, there are no rules to how you can decorate your own tree!


    houstonchronicle

    Decorators argue that turning the Christmas tree upside-down is actually a space-saving move. Since the widest area of the tree occupies the ceiling, it frees up space at the bottom, which only means one thing…

    …More prime real estate for bigger presents this year!


    wifflegif

    A savvy decorator would also note that flipping the tree upside-down flaunts your traditional ornaments a lot better. Without the bottom branches, your ornaments can freely dangle.

    These topsy-turvy trees are on sale ranging from $250 to a whopping $1,000 like this one from Target.


    twitter

    As it turns out though, this isn’t a new thing.


    tate

    We did a little research and learned something new today. Turns out that trees hung upside-down is actually an old tradition dating back to 15th century Europe.

    An article from The Spruce states, “In days gone by, and to some extent today, Poles in southern Poland, Silesia, Podhale, Saçz region, and Kraków—hung a spruce tree upside down from the ceiling in a central position of the home and decorated doorways and walls with separate boughs of the same tree.”

    This style is more of a nod to the old form of Christmas trees, where Middle Age Eastern European Christians believed that it represents the Trinity and Christ crucified.


    pinterest

    No matter how you look at it, the upside down Christmas tree is a fascinating sight to behold and makes for memorable holiday pictures. It carries years and years of tradition and at the same time provides a neat solution to save space.

    Now who doesn’t want that?


    newsweek

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    How To Survive A Wildfire: Here’s What You Need To Know

    Reports show that there have been 65,575 cases of wildfire in the United States in 2016. This statistic, according to the National Interagency Fire center, means that over 5 million acres of land in the country were left charred by this occurrence.


    Reader’s Digest

    Wildfires can happen naturally or through man-made practices. These are the most common causes of wildfire:

    • Lightning
    • Sparks from rockfalls
    • Spontaneous combustion
    • Volcanic eruption
    • Unattended campfires
    • Intentional acts of arson

    But however a wildfire was caused, it is always a serious threat to humans and the environment. With its frequent occurrence, it is important to know safety tips to ensure safety and survival just in case that you are in the situation itself. Here are the survival tips to always keep in mind when in a wildfire:

    Stay calm


    NBC News

    Panicking during emergency situations, like a wildfire, only impedes your ability to think straight and tackle the situation. Keep calm by taking deep breaths, if the air is not heavy with smoke. Immediately reach for your survival kit (if you have any) and move towards your vehicle or your safety route.

    Survival experts also that one’s confidence to overcome an emergency is an important characteristic to retain in such situations. Mental strength is a crucial factor in making it through difficult situations, which also applies to wildfires.

    Cover airways with a wet cloth

    When the area has already been engulfed in dark, heavy smoke, the most important thing to do is to wet any fabric or piece of clothing to cover your nose and mouth. This ensures the prevention of inhaling carbon monoxide, increasing your chances of surviving the ordeal. Carbon monoxide can cause nausea and even death. So prevent inhaling it by staying low to the ground and by impeding it from entering your respiratory tract with a damp cloth.

    Make several escape plans

    If you still have the time and opportunity to do so, create escape plans to quickly leave the area in the safest manner possible. This is just in case your first plan of action doesn’t pan out, or when certain factors turn the situation into worse, you have a Plan B in mind.

    Evacuate the area


    peakoil

    It is not wise to stay within the vicinity of the risk area and wait around how the situation is unfolding. Wildfires are very unpredictable and powerful, that even those highly trained to manage them are overwhelmed by this disaster.

    Stay updated with the news

    If the situation still allows for it, constantly check on news updates regarding the condition and intensity of the wildfire. If reports are saying that you need to leave the area as soon as possible, then heed the news and depart. Emergency updates are also a good source to know where the nearest evacuation areas are, so you can immediately go towards the route that leads to it.

    Go downhill


    Youtube

    Avoid high-burn areas and instead head towards terrains that are non-flammable. When the fire is actively sweeping through the whole forest, trees, bushes and tall grasses, areas with foliage are particularly risky to stay in. When in an uphill area, immediately go towards routes going downhill. Due to updrafts, fire moves faster uphill, and it is difficult to escape (and be rescued) when you are trapped uphill with surrounding fire.

    Do not seek refuge in canyons

    While going on an escape route downhill, do not follow and stay in canyons, chutes and and draws. These areas are like chimneys and funnel noxious gas and deadly heat upwards, which, when standing upright, are easily inhaled.

  • in

    24 Tech Gift Ideas On Amazon You Can Get Under $15

    Struggling with gift ideas for the holidays? If you’re on Amazon right now scouring through pages and pages of items that don’t seem to be gift-worthy, don’t sweat! We’ve rounded up a couple of things that are practical and budget friendly that anyone would love. Click link in the description to purchase.

    1. HICKIES, $14.95


    Amazon

    With Hickies, you’ll never need to tie your shoe again. Perfect for the athletic friend who’s always on the go, Hickies lets you slip on your shoe while maintaining a snug fit. These tieless laces are made with elastic memory fit material that conforms to your feet. So you’re guaranteed comfort, support, and style. Each pack has 14 straps, enough for a pair of shoes. They also come in different colors so you can mix and match them for an edgy look.

    Get it here.

    2. Swiss+Tech Folding Multi-tool, $14.57


    Amazon

    If you’re looking to give a gift to someone who’s always fixing things, then this one surely fits in the pocket. Swiss-Tech is a multi-functional tool with 15 cool features. It’s got 7 hex drivers, 2 screwdrivers, a T25 star driver, an LED flashlight, a nail puller, and a pry bar. It’s made of stainless steel and is heavy duty yet compact. It’s like having a toolbox everywhere you go.

    Get it here.

    3. Kinsa Smart Stick Digital Thermometer, $12


    Amazon

    A great gift for tech savvy parents is this innovative thermometer. Kinsa is a smart thermometer that you can connect to your phone which gives an accurate reading in just 10 seconds. With a few simple taps on your smartphone, you can take temperatures, track symptoms, take pictures of any unusual rashes, and even record custom notes to have a full history of the illness. It’s a quick and easy way to recovery and is pediatrician recommended.

    Get it here.

    4. Mengo Air Vent Magnetic Phone Mount, $7.95


    Amazon

    The Mengo makes mounting your devices inside your car easier than ever. It’s a magnetic phone holder that you can slide into the air vent. Four heavy-duty magnets will keep the device in place even on the roughest of roads. It provides 360° rotation so you can adjust it to have the perfect view from any angle. The mounting piece is designed to securely fit into any type of air vent and it requires no tools to attach it.

    Get it here.

    5. 5-in-1 Multi-bottle Opener, $7.99


    Amazon

    Instead of having 5 different kitchen tools to open different kinds of jars or bottles, how about having one that does it all? This multi-bottle can opener has an ergonomic design that will make bottle popping easy, quick, and safe. This all-in-one tool has a beer top opener, a jar opener, a bottle cap grip, a jar seal breaker claw, and a pop-top can assist to help you pull off that pull tab lid. It’s versatile and affordable so you can open items with ease.

    Get it here.

    6. Portable Waterproof Silicon Keyboard, $5.99


    Amazon

    We’ve heard of portable keyboards, but what about flexible and waterproof ones? This QWERTY keyboard is ultra slim and lightweight for any friend that’s always on-the-go. It’s easy to keep and clean up too and it’s compatible with any device with a USB port.

    Get it here.

    7. Polyester Wash and Dry Sneaker Bag, $5.95


    Amazon

    This polyester sneaker bag is the perfect item to give to your athletic friend so they won’t have to worry about how they can clean their tennis shoes. It’s a zip-up laundry bag that you can attach to your front loading dryer door with velcro straps. Insert your shoes in and voila! It holds the shoes in place and you can wash and dry them without having to remove them from the bag.

    Get it here.

    8. Glass Bulb LED Humidifier, $9.29


    Amazon

    This gadget is ideal for the home or the office. It’s portable and easy to use and removes unwanted odors and smells in the room while increasing humidity in the air.. Dropping some aroma oil into the lamp can create an environment perfect for relaxing. The LED lights come in several different colors too!

    Get it here.

    9. Microwaveable Pasta Cooker, $14.99


    Amazon

    For any pasta lover, this microwaveable pasta cooker is the answer to all their woes. It cooks pasta very fast without the mess and energy of boiling noodles in a pot. You’ll have perfectly cooked pasta every time and it’s FDA-approved too! This would be the best gift for a college student, a carb addict, or someone who doesn’t know their way around the kitchen.

    Get it here.

    10. ALL OUT OF Grocery Pad, $7.54


    Amazon

    Want to make mom’s life easier? Buy her this grocery shopping pad. Say goodbye to forgetting any items on your grocery list. You can easily stick this pad on the refrigerator door and tick the boxes off when you’ve run out of that certain item. It’s a great gift for any head of the household!

    Get it here.

    11. Stemless Shatterproof Glasses, $12.95


    Amazon

    For all of your wine-loving friends, this stemless shatterproof glass is the best gift. It’s durable and travel-safe. It’s made from a BPA-free polymer so even if they aren’t made from glass, they still look crystal clear. They’re perfect to bring along for a picnic or a camping trip.

    Get it here.

    12. Smartfinder Bluetooth Locator, $12.97


    Amazon

    We all have that one friend who keeps losing things, but you can remedy that by giving them this nifty device. With the Smartfinder, you can locate anything—from your wallet to your pet! Just attach the device to the item. It connects to your smartphone or tablet via bluetooth and when you’re separated from the Smartfinder, your phone reminds you that the item you’ve lost is out of range. It doesn’t only function as a locator, it can be used for taking selfies or voice recording too!

    Get it here.

    13. Magnetic Wristband, $9.49


    Amazon

    Need a helping hand? This magnetic wristband has heavy duty magnets for holding screws, scissors, small tools, nails so that you won’t have to struggle with juggling all the tools in your hands. This is an ideal gift for your friend who’s always down to make woodworking or DIY projects.

    Get it here.

    14. Mini Universal TV Remote, $2.30


    Amazon

    This universal TV remote can control up to 500 different TV brands. It’s perfect for any prankster or just anyone who can’t seem to find their remote all the time. It comes with a key ring so you won’t lose it. Whether it’s the gym or a bar, you can use it anywhere you like.

    Get it here.

    15. Googly Eyes Drink Marker, $5.12


    Amazon

    This is a fun way to mark your drink. These silicone bands are designed to slip round most cans and bottles so you can tell which drink is yours. They’ve got googly eyes on them so it gives it a funny touch. This way, you’ll never drink out of anyone else’s bottle again. It’s a great gift for that friend who invites you to their place all the time.

    Get it here.

    16. Self-filling Water Bowl, $8


    Amazon

    Giving this to any pet-lover will make them love you. If they’re leaving their pet at home for work, this will definitely be a gift they’ll appreciate. This way, busy pet parents won’t have to rush home or worry about their dehydrated pups or kitties while they’re away.

    Get it here.

    17. Electric Wine Bottle Opener, $14.38


    Amazon

    Time to throw out those primitive wine bottle openers. The Oster Electric Opener is a cordless device that removes the cork in seconds. All you have to do is slip it on top of the cork and push the button. No more struggling with pulling out the cork with force. It can open up to 30 bottles in one single charge. Pair this with item number 11 on our list and you’ve got the perfect gift set for your wine-obsessed friend.

    Get it here.

    18. Yarn Dispenser $14.99


    Amazon

    For that friend who loves to knit, this yarn dispenser will be a sure hit. It’s designed to hold and release yarn to deliver perfect tension while knitting or crocheting. This way, they won’t have to keep adjusting the yarn ball all the time. The rubberized bottom will ensure that it won’t slip off the table.

    Get it here.

    19. Bike Mount Phone Holder, $12.98


    Amazon

    This cell phone mount is a great gift for any bike enthusiast. It’s got a non-slip rubber grip that secures the holder in place. It’s easy to install and remove and it’s compatible for most cellphones.

    Get it here.

    20. Credit Card Lightbulb, $5.99


    Amazon

    You can say that you have a bright idea in your pocket with the credit card lightbulb. It’s a LED light bulb that fits in your wallet. It’s a great gift for just about anyone because of how handy and convenient it is. Just flip the light bulb up and you’ve got light!

    Get it here.

    21. Bike SpokeLit, $12.89


    Amazon

    Another gift to give for your bike enthusiast friend. It’s a LED light you can attach on your bike spoke for a stylish way to be safe. It’s good for those night bike rides to keep yourself visible on the road. Just attach and fit it on the bike spoke. Once you’re pedalling at a steady speed it will blur into a seemingly solid ring of light. It also changes color throughout the duration you use it. It comes in a waterproof and shockproof case for durability.

    Get it here.

    22. Touch Screen Gloves, $11.47


    Amazon

    Taking your gloves off every time you need to use your phone during winter can get a bit tedious. But you don’t have to risk frostbite just to answer that text message. With the touch screen gloves, you’ll keep your hands warm while being able to scroll through your smartphone or tablet. It’s just the right accessory to give someone this holiday season!

    Get it here.

    23. Google Cardboard, $15


    Amazon

    Know any friend or family member that’s into virtual reality? Buy them the Google Cardboard. The viewer is affordable and perfect for anyone on a budget. It’s easy to assemble and is made from durable high quality cardboard. Just insert the smartphone into the slot and boot up some virtual reality apps and 360-degree videos and you’ll be totally immersed.

    Get it here.

    24. Wearable Activity Tracker and Smart Button, $15


    Amazon

    Who would have thought that you can buy an activity tracker for just $15? The Shine is a smartphone compatible device that encourages you to reach your daily activity goals. It’s simple to use and compact. It registers your bike pedals, swim strokes and distance you’ve traveled by sensing your movements. It’s the size of a quarter so it makes it easy to wear. Plus it’s waterproof! It’s a practical device for your athletic and techy friend.

    Get it here.

  • in

    Fox News Owner Rupert Murdoch’s Home Among Those Razed By LA Fires

    It appears the latest casualty of the wildfire that has burned thousands of acres across Southern California this week is the Bel-Air home of 21st Century Fox executive chairman and acting CEO of Fox News Ruport Murdoch.

    Moraga Estate, the only working winery in Bel-Air, includes a house, guesthouse, office building, wine cave, and the 13-acre Moraga Vineyards.


    TVCorti

    The vineyard is located outside of Los Angeles and across the 405 freeway from the Getty Museum. People in the estate, along with other homes in Bel-Air and nearby Sherman Oaks, were ordered to evacuate.

    The Australian media mogul released a statement Wednesday saying that despite the damage to some buildings in the upper vineyard area, the house and the winery miraculously appear to be intact.

    “The situation at Moraga Bel Air is very fluid at the moment,” Murdoch said in the statement. “We are monitoring the situation as closely as we can and are grateful to the efforts of all the first responders.”

    “Some of our neighbors have suffered heavy losses and our thoughts and prayers are with them at this difficult time,” he added.


    SMH

    The 16-acre property was once owned by legendary Hollywood icon Victor Fleming, director of “The Wizard of Oz” and “Gone With the Wind.” Fleming built the home in 1939, the same year that both films were produced.

    Murdoch purchased the property for $30 million in 2013. He lives in the 7,500-square-foot house with his wife Jerry Hall. “It was simply stunning,” Murdoch said to the Wall Street Journal of the estate. “The winery and vineyard, and the wine were a great bonus. I very quickly fell in love.”

    Not everybody feels empathetic about the right-wing propagandist’s tragedy, however. Some Twitter users found the situation ironic, given that Murdoch called climate change “alarmist nonsense.”

    The Union of Concerned Scientists have peviously identified how climate change has increased the intensity and frequency of wildfires in the Western U.S. This year alone saw a record-setting wildfire season in California.

    Despite detractors, Murdoch has received messages of sympathy from people in high places. Including, as it were, the highest seat in the land: President Donald Trump. The POTUS has called Murdoch a “very good friend” and allegedly seeks counsel from the media mogul regularly.

    In total around 34,000 hectares are now burning and the fires, fuelled by the dry Santa Ana winds, have burned hundreds of buildings in Los Angeles county and neighbouring Ventura county.

    More than 10,000 people have evacuated their homes already and an additional 150,000 people are now affected by evacuation orders.

  • in

    10 Tips To Growing A Fall And Winter Garden No Matter Where You Live

    It’s the middle of winter and you’re craving for a meal with a good salad on the side. Instead of going down to the grocery store to get some fresh greens, wouldn’t it be a dream to just step out to your garden? That’s not so far-fetched as you might think. It’s possible to grow a fall or winter garden absolutely anywhere!


    giphy

    With these tips, you’ll never run out of fresh greens even during the coldest winters.

    1. Start with plants instead of seeds.


    pinterest

    Get a head start on the fall and winter seasons by buying short-season plants that are abundant during this time of the year. There are varieties of seeds which can be more difficult to cultivate during the cold months. Having plants that are mature enough to withstand these seasons is ideal for your garden.

    2. Get a cold frame.


    rodalesorganiclife

    Consider buying or making your own cold frame. It’s basically a small greenhouse that sits on top of the ground. It’s also bottomless so you can just place it directly above your plants to protect them from cold temperatures and drying winds. They’re low-cost and easy to build and there are several DIYs that you can follow online. This is best to use on a deck or patio where you have your potted plants or on top of your garden bed.

    3. Add heat to your cold frame.


    vegetablegardener

    Now that you have your cold frame, an extra step you can take to make sure the growth of your plants is to add heating. It’s as easy as plugging in a string of mini holiday lights and placing them strategically inside your cold frame. This method can increase the temperature inside by about 10 degrees. You can even grow cool-weather plants like lettuce, radishes, and edible pansies just by keeping your cold frame well-insulated. Just make sure to keep it at around 40 degrees.

    4. Raise your garden beds.


    rogueengineer

    The season gets wetter as winter approaches, so you have to be mindful of good drainage when taking care of your garden. Raising the soil level by 8 inches can make a big difference. This method keeps the roots and the base of your plants from rotting. An additional tip when doing this is filling the bed with native soil and compost.

    5. Choose “hardy” vegetables.


    familyfoodgarden

    And no, we’re not talking about Tom Hardy here! In garden-speak, when we say hardy, we’re talking about plants that can adapt to the cold. Identifying the right kind of plants to use is vital to growing your winter or fall garden. There are plants that don’t survive well in frigid temperatures such as tomatoes and pumpkins. So how do you select the right plants? Plants labeled as “cold-hardy”, “frost tolerant”, and “freeze tolerant” are perfect for sub-freezing temperatures.

    6. Use low tunnels.


    umaine

    Low tunnels are also known as quick hoops, caterpillar tunnels, or mini-hoops. They’re a relatively new method of protecting plants compared to cold frames. They can be made from PVC pipes or metal, bent into arcs over garden beds, then covered with clear plastic sheeting on top. One benefit of using low tunnels is you’ll be able to yield more harvest because of the bigger garden area you can work with —you can grow large sprouting vegetables like broccoli or cabbages which can reach 3 feet in height!

    7. Get indoor grow light systems.


    hydroponics

    With an indoor lighting system, you can grow seeds even in the winter. When the plants are mature enough, you can transfer them outside. Having your own indoor light system allows you to control the environment for efficient seed cultivation.

    8. Check a plant hardiness zone map.


    planthardiness

    Gardeners and growers can determine which plants are most likely to thrive based on this standard. This map is based on average annual minimum winter temperature depending on your location. There are even online sites where you can easily type in your zip code and find the hardiness zone of that certain area.

    9. Build a miniature greenhouse.


    thraam

    This is best for people who live in much colder climates where low tunnels and cold frames just won’t cut it. A miniature greenhouse can keep temperatures really warm and keep the plants inside thriving even with little to no sunlight. The trick is to keep an electric heater to maintain ideal temperature ranges.

    10. Buy a room thermometer.


    yourbestdigs

    This might just be the most basic tip in the book but it’s an important one. Keeping the temperature range in check will allow you to monitor the right environment for your greenhouse or indoor plant room. For cool weather crops, 45-55°F or 7-13°C is ideal.

    Even if you aren’t a seasoned gardener or the greatest green-thumb in your state, don’t be discouraged. With these tips, you and your garden are ready for winter. Happy planting!

  • in

    These 13 Tips Will Help You Keep Your Furbabies Safe This Winter

    As we start getting ready for colder temperatures, make sure your pets are too! Take time to read these tips to keep your pets safe, happy, and comfy all winter long.

    1. If it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pet.


    aspca

    This is a no brainer. If you can’t handle the cold then how can your pet? Pets can freeze to death if left outdoors, so keep them inside as much as possible.

    2. Keep your home humid.


    pinterest

    Coming home to a dry atmosphere after some time out in the cold can give your pet itchy, flaky skin. Keep a humidifier in your house and make sure your pets get plenty of drinking water so they stay hydrated.

    3. Keep your pet dry.


    readersdigest

    Towel dry your pets as soon as they come inside. Remove any unwanted snow clinging from their fur. Make sure to check their paws for any snow caught between their toes. Take the time to brush your pet’s coat to stimulate blood circulation and improve their skin.

    4. Less baths.


    pets4homes

    Constantly bathing takes away moisture and essential oils from the skin. This can lead it to be dry and flaky, which will irritate your pet. If you have to give them a bath, make sure to dry them off completely after and use a moisturizing shampoo. Ask your vet for some shampoo recommendations.

    5. Don’t shave them down.


    allwallpaper

    A longer coat of fur will keep your four-legged friend warmer. If your pet is long-haired and needs regular grooming then opt for a simple trim. The shorter the hair, the less salt crystals, ice balls, and de-icing chemicals can cling to them and dry their skin. Salt and ice can also irritate and burn your pet’s skin.

    6. Dress them right for the season.


    primalcanine

    Dress your pet up in booties to protect their feet, and sweaters to keep them warm. Make sure to always wipe their paws after being outside and don’t forget the space between their foot and pads.

    7. Keep your pet away from any body of water—even winter puddles.


    dailydot

    Bodies of water are dangerous for pets because they could fall in, especially when they’re not on a leash. There is also the possibility of melting ice that will cause water levels to rise. Winter puddles could have traces of ethylene glycol, a chemical found in antifreeze. Keep your pets away from them, as ingesting it could be fatal. If you catch your pet drinking water from a puddle during winter, take them to the vet straight away.

    8. Adjust your pet’s daily calorie intake.


    hungryforever

    It takes more energy in cold weather to keep your body temperature regulated, so additional calories might be necessary for your pet. Visit your vet to figure out how many more calories your furry friend will need.

    9. Keep your pets in sight.


    animalbuilder

    Don’t let your furry friends roam without a leash when temperatures start dropping. This increases the risk of your pet getting hit by vehicles, getting lost, or getting frostbite.

    10. Never leave your pets in your car.

    happycatsonline

    Cars act like refrigerators in the winter and could possibly freeze your pet to death. Beware of stray cats keeping warm under the hood of your vehicle, too. Check if there are any by knocking on the hood of your car to wake them up before starting the engine.

    11. Prepare an emergency pet survival kit.


    adventurecats

    Disaster can strike at any time so it’s best to stock up on emergency supplies for you and your pet. Check out PetMD’s Top 10 Pet Emergency Kit Items or this Pet Disaster-Preparedness checklist from the Humane Society of the United States.

    12. Get your pet a cozy bed.

    southbaynorton

    Your pet deserves more than a cold floor during the winter. Give them a warm blanket, and raise their beds off cold concrete or tiles. If you can afford it, buy them a heated pet bed.

    13. Always keep your pets warm.


    rvpetsafety

    Even pets with thick coats can still feel chilly. Keep your furry best friend warm by giving them jackets, sweaters, booties, and keeping them indoors. If your pet is a senior, have a warm soft area for resting. You can also give them some natural joint supplements prescribed by the vet. Lastly, keep them away from your heaters. While heaters can provide warmth, they could accidentally burn your pet if they’re too close.

  • in

    Drive Safer This Winter With These 7 Tips For Conquering Snowy Roads


    defensivedriversdiscount

    Driving in the winter can be dangerous. Even the slightest bit of snow and ice on the road can make for stressful conditions. To help all you drivers out there get ready for treacherous roads, here are some tips on how to safely drive in snow:

    1. Driving in snow means driving slow.


    autoexpress

    Always drive slowly on snow-covered roads. It’s very easy to slip and skid during the winter time, since it’s a lot easier to lose traction in snow. It’s even easier to lose traction when you accidentally drive on ice concealed under the snow or black ice, so drive slow!

    2. Keep calm in a skid. Don’t panic!


    privatefleet

    If the back end of your car starts going off on its own, it’s best to steer your car in the same direction it skids. Doing so will help restore traction and regain control.

    3. Keep your distance from other cars.


    travelers

    Did you know that stopping on an icy road takes 10 times longer than stopping on a dry one? According to a report by The Telegraph, having as much as 20 seconds between you and the car ahead helps reduce the risk of an accident. You can also increase the distance between you and another car from 8 to 10 seconds rather than the usual 3 to 4. This increased margin of safety gives you enough time to take action to stop or avoid any crashes.

    4. Get the proper snow tires for your car.


    orlandtoyota

    The treads on winter tires are designed for better grip and traction on the surface you are driving on. They will also prevent any snow and slush from possibly building up on your tires.

    5. Use your headlights and know when to use your fog lamps.


    driversedguru

    Turning your headlights on can make you more visible, especially when it’s snowing. Snow on the ground can increase glare while snow clouds cause light levels to drop. Snow clouds can also cause mist and murk. Make sure you are visible to everyone around you. If there’s zero visibility, or you can no longer see the car in front of you, then use your fog lamps. Otherwise, turn them off.

    6. Keep your windows clear.


    justlogbookloan

    Your windows should be given a thorough wipe-down before you hit the streets. Clear your windshield, rear, and side windows and check that your wipers aren’t stuck to the screen. Make sure that the inside of the car’s windows are free of mist. It’s easier to stay safe when you can see your surroundings. Learn to de-ice your vehicle with this guide.

    7. Have an emergency kit ready.


    beprepared

    Your emergency kit should include: a blanket, water (in bottles that won’t break if the water freezes), a wind-up flashlight, first aid kit, extra clothing and shoes, a whistle, seat belt cutter, small shovel, scraper, snow brush, roadmaps, and a candle in a deep can and some matches. You should also keep objects in your trunk like: a tow rope, some sand and salt, jumper cables, a fire extinguisher, windshield washer fluid, warning lights or road flares, and antifreeze. Here are some more tips to help you prepare your emergency kit

    8. If you don’t have plans, stay home.


    thumbtack

    Drive only when it’s necessary. If your trip isn’t important or urgent then it’s best to just stay at home.

    Even if you’re a seasoned driver, it doesn’t hurt to take some extra precautions this winter. We hope these tips helped! Drive safe out there!

  • in

    7 Ways To Prepare For (And Survive) Hurricanes

    Hurricanes have become more regular and intense in the past years. With this in mind, it is never a bad idea to be ready for it, even before hurricane season comes along. Here are some easy ways to prepare yourself and your family from a potential natural disaster.

    1. Create an evacuation plan.


    functionbetter

    Evacuation plans are essential no matter where you live. If you’re by a coastal area or below sea level, you will need to devise a solid plan in case of a storm surge. Be familiar with your nearest evacuation area, and how to get there. Test your plan in good weather and inform adults in your family of specific tasks they need to do. Preparing a checklist can save you the trouble of being too anxious when a hurricane hits.

    2. Reinforce any structural issues around your home.


    torriguttersma

    Repair and reinforce any structural issues around your home as soon as you hear news of a hurricane coming. Trim trees and remove any plants in your area that could uproot or get blown away by strong winds. Patio furniture and gardening tools lying outside the house should be kept inside too.

    3. Stay updated.


    macitynet

    Stay updated on emergency alerts by watching the news or constantly checking your inbox. Most areas will send information blasts, either through text or email, on which roads to avoid or if there is a need for immediate evacuation. Take every alert you receive from the proper authorities seriously.

    4. Stock up on essentials.


    stevelanderskia

    If you have been advised to stay indoors or move to a temporary evacuation area, have an emergency kit ready. Your emergency kit should have enough sustenance for you and your family that will last three days, at the very least. Listed below are some materials that should be in your kit:

    • Cash
    • Food
    • Water
    • Medications
    • First-Aid Kit
    • Power Bank
    • Batteries
    • Battery-powered Radio
    • Flashlight
    • Whistle
    • Maps

    5. Review your insurance policies.


    foggybottomrambles

    It is smart to re-visit your home insurance policy to confirm if it covers floods or not. In areas that are hurricane-prone, insuring a home may be pricy, but it is better to be safe than sorry when a hurricane knocks on your door.

    6. Keep copies of important documents safe.


    tidallife

    Crucial paperwork should be in waterproof cases. This includes birth certificates, passports, social security cards, plus insurance and medical coverage papers. If you’re ever forced to evacuate, you will need the proper documents to prove your identity and home ownership.

    7. Keep your pets in mind.


    chron

    Sadly, one of the last things that homeowners think about during a natural disaster is the well-being of their pets. If you are unable to care for them during a hurricane or any other weather emergency, drop them off at an animal shelter rather than leaving them behind.

  • in

    Weighted Blankets 101: Everything You Need To Know Before You Buy One


    interestingengineering

    The weighted blanket, a tool that helps soothe people with anxiety and depression, is slowly establishing a more mainstream presence. But how come? What’s so special about this seemingly normal-looking piece of bedding?

    Aside from keeping us warm at night, blankets are associated with comfort, safety and security. Early on, children can form strong emotional attachments with their blankets— and it seems this attachment is subconsciously carried over to adulthood.


    nellypacks

    But weighted blankets offer a deeper level of therapeutic effect. Read on to find what weighted blankets are, and who can benefit from them.

    What Makes Weighted Blankets So Special?

    Weighted blankets simulate the feeling of being given a tight, warm hug; it’s designed to distribute the entirety of its weight evenly on the person using it. There’s a variety of weights and sizes to choose from, as it is recommended that a blanket weigh 10% of the total body weight of the user. It can weigh as much as 40 lbs for an adult sized blanket, or as little as 5 lbs for a kid-sized blanket.


    friendshipcircle

    As these blankets use the concept of “deep touch pressure”, the gentle weight it puts on the user causes a calming effect. Deep touch pressure is “a form of tactile sensory input which is often provided by firm holding, firm stroking, cuddling, hugging, and squeezing.” These forms of touch increase the endorphin levels while simultaneously decreasing heart rate and blood pressure. It also causes the release of serotonin and dopamine in the brain, calming down the nervous system.

    Who Can Benefit From Weighted Blankets?

    Anyone at any age can benefit from the therapeutic effects of a weighted blanket. It is a safe and effective solution for sleep disorders and anxiety as it eliminates the need for drug therapy. Even when sitting upright and placing the weighted blanket on the legs or shoulders can induce the same relaxing effect as sleeping under it.


    friendshipcircle

    There are a vast amount of disorders that weighted blankets can help with. Here are just a few of them:

    What Are Weighted Blankets Made Of?

    Weighted blankets are made of different materials to better suit the preference of its users. The material that gives it weight, however, mostly comes from plastic pellets. We’ve arranged the lightest, most breathable material to the most structured fabric options out there, so you can decide which type of weighted blanket would suit you most:


    friendshipcircle

    • Cotton
      • For people who are very particular about the feel and print of their blankets, Kona Cotton in particular makes for a great choice. Endless prints and colors can be printed on cotton fabrics and those who opt for a higher thread count can rely on this kind of material for that.


    friendshipcircle

    • Flannel
      • This material is a great option to experience the breathability of cotton, but at the same time offer more warmth. Flannel also comes in a wide array of prints and colors like cotton.


    friendshipcircle

    • Satin-cotton
      • This type of material is suitable for those who enjoy the feel of satin but are sensitive to heat. Satin-cotton can be used by itself or paired with cotton on its other side. This combination is best for users who enjoy the feel of both fabrics.


    carnetdevoyagedejosephine

    • Minky
      • This synthetic option is ideal for babies or children, as it feels extraordinarily soft, while still providing warmth.


    sylviastitches

    • Linen-rayon blend
      • For those looking for a more industrial-strength type of fabric, this material should suit you best. Blankets made from this fabric are sturdier and less prone to tears and stretch, although they do feel a bit itchy and are less soft.

    How To Make Your Own Weighted Blanket

    Weighted blankets are surprisingly easy to make yourself. All you need to do is round up your choice of fabric and some plastic pellets, and with a few basic sewing skills, you can create your own weighted blanket in no time.


    saltoftheearthweightedgear

    Prepare:

    • Quality Plastic Pellets – take 1 pound of pellets for every 10 pounds of the user, then add an extra pound
    • Your preferred fabric
    • 5 yards of fabric in total – 2.5 yards for the top and 2.5 yards for the bottom of the blanket
    • Thread
    • Scissors
    • Measuring tape
    • Ruler
    • A small scale
    • Pins
    • Sewing machine


    dandelionmama

    Assembly:

    1. Decide on the size of your blanket. For the purpose of this how-to guide, assume that we are creating a blanket that fits in a twin bed (40” x 76”). Remember that if you intend to use the heavier type of fabric (e.g. linen-rayon blend), weigh it prior and add its weight to the total weight of the finished blanket.
    2. Determine the right side of the fabric and place them together.
    3. Measure and mark two inches towards the interior of two of the long sides of the fabric. Do the same for one of the shorter sides and leave the other side open for the pellets.
    4. Sew the lines together and then turn the fabric inside out. You can also iron the edges at this point if you prefer to keep a crisp and neat edge.
    5. Add the plastic pellets by following these steps:
      1. Create a uniform grid on the unstitched area of the blanket. Since a total of 4” were taken out to stitch together the sides to create an edge, the remaining area should be about 36” x 72”.
      2. Create even squares with the remaining area. With 6”x 6” square grids, there should be perfect six squares across and another 12 up.
      3. Weigh and divide pellets in unformed portions for every square.
    6. Sew along the grid lines to create channels that are six inches apart from each other. Pour the proper amount of pellets on the square.
    7. From the bottom seam, measure six inches, sew a line across to seal the line of the squares that are already filled with pellets.
    8. Repeat steps 6 and 7 until all the channels are filled and sealed.
    9. To finish, seal the remaining two inches of opening in the fabric by sewing them together. Now you can enjoy your very own homemade weighted blanket!


    dandelionmama

    Instead of using plastic pellets, uncooked beans or rice also make great weight substitutes. But these need to be stored in ziplock bags before placed in the squares to prevent the formation of mold or decay.

    So, are you making your own weighted blanket or buying one? No matter your choice, you are sure to feel more relaxed under the comforting warm embrace of a weighted blanket.

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