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Grand Gift Ideas for a Holiday Shopping Head Start

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With Black Friday and Cyber Monday looming, many are already strategizing how to take advantage of the throngs of deals and steals to be had. And online shoppers are poised to make an indelible mark given their collective spending power—a retail category that’s demonstrated exponential growth year after year. According to Statista, around $72.3 billion was spent online in 2017 alone, a staunch increase from the $29 billion spent in 2009. But as online shopping burgeons, it also overwhelms amid a glut of consumer goods all vying for your eyeballs, hearts, minds and wallets. So, to help streamline your shopping and reduce your stress in kind, I’ve curated this range of holiday gift ideas across various product categories ensuring there’s something for everyone on your “nice” list.

*****GADGETRY*****

Viotek’s GN34C Ultrawide QHD Monitor (www.Viotek.com)

The Viotek GN34Cx is a multitasking workhorse display—an ultrawide 34-inch monitor combining top gaming specs with the reliability of a professional business monitor. View flicker-free video with superior color reproduction, finalize media-rich office projects, and dominate FPS/RTS games. With the GN34Cx, every detail comes to life in ultra-wide QHD (3440x1440p) clarity–two and a half times the resolution of other full HD monitors. The 100Hz monitor refresh rate offers critical precision and accuracy when it matters most–during graphically demanding applications and action-packed games. The GN34Cx’s natural 1800R curve matches the natural curve of the human eye and renders game environments more realistic. Through AMD FreeSync technology, each frame and every movement are clear and smooth, even during CPU-intense, action-packed games, which prevents ghosting or tearing. With amazing edge-to-edge ultrawide QHD clarity, the GN34Cx is a value-centric PC computer monitor.

Crazybaby Air Nano Wireless Earbuds (www.CrazyBaby.com – $20 off with promo code “CRAZY20OFF” through December 2018

The Air Nano Wireless Earbud by Crazybaby is great gifting option and a perfect stocking stuffer. The classic bullet design of these wire-free earbuds offers a snug fit for all types of ears, making them perfect for running, jogging and other rigorous activities. The soft material that makes up the wingtip is water-washable, anti-static and removable (different size options come bundled). It uses the industry’s leading 998 custom-made Carbon Nanotube Diaphragms, enabling crystal-clear acoustics that facilitate an immersive music listening experience. The boast eight to 12 hours of playback time for all day use. Super fuel technology allows a quick five minute charging window for a full 90 minutes of playback. Precision engineering has resulted in an ultra-compact charging case design that can fit in any of the smallest pockets without worry about cables tangling up. The Crazybaby air Nano Wireless Earbuds are available in 10 trendsetting and vibrant colors with plenty of choices to match your personal style.

Circle Home Screen Time Controller (www.MeetCircle.com)

Circle Home is a smart solution letting families of all sizes monitor and filter screen time across all devices, both inside and outside the home. It sets up seamlessly to your Wi-Fi network, and, through its intuitive app-based dashboard, parents can create unique profiles for each family member with specific parental control settings. These include Time Limits – allowing for complete control of screen time usage between a variety of apps, platforms and web-based programs (like Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and more); Bedtime – automatically disconnecting and reconnecting devices from Wi-Fi at scheduled times; Filter – setting individual age and interest filters for each family member; and Pause – having the ability to turn on and off network Wi-Fi at any time. Imagine a world with only 30 minutes of social media per day! Circle takes the fighting out of screen time and empowers parents to set and follow through on their expectations around the house. You can even opt for service off of your own Wi-Fi network as well, ensuring full control no matter where your child may be.

Playground Sessions Keyboard/Piano Lessons Bundle (www.PlaygroundSessions.com)

Give the gift of music and an enriched live by helping them learn how to play the piano at home. Playground Sessions, a company co-created by Quincy Jones, is passionate about using its innovative technology and musical expertise to help people improve themselves and enjoy life more. The bundle includes a Casio CTK-2090 keyboard, which is compact with 61 piano-style keys. It’s a great entry keyboard for the beginner player. In addition to the CTK-2090 keyboard, the Playground Sessions bundle includes a keyboard stand, Audio Technica ATHSJ11BK Portable Headphones (White), Hosa GPM103 3.5mm (F) To (M) Stereo Adapter, an On Stage KSP20 Universal Sustain Keyboard Pedal, a Power Supply and a USB cable to connect to Playground Sessions online instruction via your computer or iPad.

Sharkbanz Shark Attack Deterrent (Sharkbanz.com)

This next travel product is a real life saver, literally! It’s Sharkbanz, a convenient shark deterrent for the beachgoer, swimmer, and surfer. Created by surfers and divers and tested by marine biologists on predatory shark species, Sharkbanz use patented magnetic technology to interfere with sharks’ sensitive electroreceptors. Sharkbanz don’t harm sharks or other sea creatures, use no batteries, require no charging, and are designed to endure rigorous water sports. And, $1 of every Midnight-Bimini Sharkbanz design sold benefits the the warrior surf foundation—a surf therapy organization for veterans.

VocoPro Pop-Up Oke (www.VocoPro.com)

Here’s a great gadget gift for singers who would enjoy a fun, all-in-one wireless karaoke mic with a built-in mixer/speaker, complete with its own light show! From audio leader VocoPro, the Pop-up-Oke microphone can connect to a smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth and use YouTube or any number of different karaoke apps to access and enjoy hours of entertainment. Singers can also use the onboard MP3 SD/TF player to perform with recorded MP3 tracks. The multi-color LED lights can be turned on or off and, when on, will automatically “dance” to the beat of the music to add a visual excitement to any karaoke session. The system features a new generation of wireless karaoke microphone technology, including an all-in-one portable design. It’s just perfect for small karaoke gatherings and road trips! it also features innovative music link technology that can pair two Pop-up Oke devices to perform duets, a shock mounted professional condenser microphone to reduce handling noise, and a user-replaceable lithium ion rechargeable battery (type 18650).

ChargeHub Powerstation 360 Surge Protector Power Strip (www.LimitlessInnovations.com)

Here’s a practical gift item that any device devotee with appreciate: the ChargeHub Powerstation 360, billed as the most efficient charging station on the market today. It features quick and convenient charging for up to 10 devices simultaneously, including four USB’s, six AC Outlets, and provides up to 4000 joules of surge protection with a lifetime connected equipment warranty. The ChargeHub 360 is designed with a safety power-surge to protect all gadgets and devices while providing optimal charge. It uses patented SmartSpeed Technology to provide an optimal charge for virtually any device, up to 2.4 Amps per port or five Amps overall. The six AC outlets (125V / 10A / 60Hz / 1250W) positioned in a circular pattern provides more space between each outlet to maximum functionality. The strip also includes: a 6-foot heavy-duty power cord with 90-degree plug and protected/grounded LED indicator lights. The textured finish is also scratch-resistant and it’s wall mountable so it is easy with the provided screws, hanging template, and instructions – a perfect fit for any home, office, dorm room, workshop, and more!

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*****ACCESSORIES*****

William Henry Luxury Jewelry & Accessories (www.WilliamHenry.com)

Those looking for a truly wow-worthy jewelry gift should look no further than William Henry, an American luxury brand for men and women that crafts unique artisan collections that include jewelry, writing instruments, money clips and award-winning pocketknives enjoyed by A-listers like Harrison Ford, Laurence Fishburne, Luke Bryan, and Cameron Diaz, among many others. William Henry is revered for its painstaking use of precious metals, minerals, and unusual organic materials, and they’re celebrated for their meticulous hand-finished craftsmanship and details. The company often unveils new designs, which most recently includes its bold and distinctive new “Embrace” collection for men and women boasting an array of extraordinary jewelry pieces with signature caged design aesthetics. This includes the Embrace Wisdom pendant featuring a beautiful natural South Sea pearl ensconced in 18 karat rose gold on a finely stitched leather cord, also with William Henry’s “arrow” toggle clasp in sterling silver. The tones play off each other, resulting in an alluring nuance and warmth. For guys, the “Ardent” design, William Henry’s only all-sterling necklace, takes their smallest classic link that’s configured as a chain. Simple but distinctive, lightweight but substantial, it makes a great personal statement. For men or women I also love the William Henry Bolt Maui Pen made from fabled curly Hawaiian Koa wood. It’s substantial, yet elegant enough to carry and use comfortably. Sleek and elegant, this pen boasts modern mechanics, clean lines and timeless craftsmanship designed to command any room and make a strong statement.

Offero Handbags (www.OfferoHandbags.com)

Sourced from the finest Italian leather, Offero Handbags are inspired by strong, confident and empowered women, designed to protect your belongings, while creating the life you want to lead. A woman-owned and managed company, Offero brings you American-made ultra-femininity with built in patent pending anti-theft features. This includes Twaron slash-proof fabric, Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) shielding interior pockets to prevent identity theft, and combination lock technology. The Offero line boasts three different styles, each with two separate colorways: “The Miami” (metallic silver/navy and copper/ivory), “The Manhattan,” (black and caramel), and “The LA” (cobalt and blush), all featuring Offero’s brilliant signature emerald green interior. The “Miami” design uses special water-resistant Italian leather exterior and the nylon interior to help protect your precious belongings from the rain or a day at the beach because let’s face it sometimes life is unpredictable. The fabrics utilized in Offero products are reportedly five times stronger than steel—actually, the same material used in body armor. Not even an X-ACTO knife or box cutter will be able to get through to your valuable belongings. And they’re certainly secure as Offero uses a patent-pending combination lock technology on the shoulder strap of all of their products; so women can safely lock their bags in crowded areas. Detachable chain straps allow you to wrap the chain around a chair as you enjoy your meal at a crowded restaurant without having to worry that someone will slip your bag away from you. Also cause-minded, a portion of all proceeds going to disaster relief efforts.

SLATE COLLECTION Leather Goods (www.slatecollection.com)

SLATE COLLECTION is a new line of meticulously-crafted top-quality leather products that not only inspire, but also perform and endure. With great leather sourced from the American Midwest as the foundation, SLATE COLLECTION products feature thoughtfully-designed elements that make them practical, inspired and perfect for work, home and travel. The line includes a range of stylish products hand-crafted by artisans who use time-honored, exacting techniques, including totes, wristlets, journals, travel accessories and a tech collection—all in carefully chosen signature colors such as indigo, cognac and midnight.  You just can’t go wrong with classic gift items like their elegant Elliot Bay Folio made from full-grain, water-resistant leather with two sides for holding a legal pad and single sheets of paper with corner pockets. It’s great for staying organized in the office or on-the-go.  Personalization is even available on the paper. The Sand Point Passport Holder is another great gift option. Also made from full-gran, water-resistant leather, this sophisticated design with 4 pockets holds a passport and cards tightly and securely. It’s great for the non-stop jet setter.  Monogramming is available on this item and other select SLATE COLLECTION products.

VALIMOR Caliburnus Hand-Tooled Automatic Watch (www.Valimor.com)

Here’s a timepiece that combines the old and the new: the Valimor Caliburnus Hand-Tooled Automatic Watch. Inspired by the legendary Sword in the Stone, this unique timepiece features dragon scales on the solid bezel and swords for dials, making it reminiscent of ancient armor. Featuring jewel-grade natural stones, the patented design features a rich texture that’s one-of-a-kind in pattern, texture, color, and personality—no two timepieces are alike. Plus, it uses Swiss SuperLumiNova BGW9 pigments for the lume on the watch hands, ensuring full visibility in the dark. This distinctive watch, available in various colorways, is ideal for collectors, watch lovers, and fashion-minded men, alike.

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*****FASHION*****

Anemela Official Women’s Fashions (www.Anemela.com)

One of my favorite finds of the season is the renowned women’s fashion site, Anemela Official–a one-stop-shop for top brand clothing, swimwear, dresses and accessories. This online store offers tons of top-quality products for any occasion. Are you ready to go for coffee, drink, at the gym, for a walk, on a date, wedding or for clubbing? Do you have a business meeting or job interview to go to? Have you planned for a trip to the beach, mountains, or other vacation? Or do you want to cozy up at home? No matter where you want to go or what you want to do, Anemela.com will have you covered because they believe “every woman deserves to feel the fashion spirit at any moment.” There are over 20,000 women’s products that fit in any body shape and size, so Anemela.com is sure to have you covered in fabulous style. Plus there’s free shipping on all orders!

Sevenly Statement Apparel (www.Sevenly.org)

Sevenly is an online cause activation marketplace that offers fashionable clothes for the whole family that also make a statement. This is thanks not only to their eye-catching designs, but also because each item contributes to heroic non-profit organizations. For example, their Autism Community Collection features a wide array of bold graphic tees, jewelry and sweatshirts that help the Autism Society provide advocacy, education and support to families effected by Autism. The Autism Community “Dare to Be Different” t-shirt in particular, provides funding toward resources and support to families in the Autism Community. Whether increasing awareness for Breast Cancer and Parkinson’s Disease, or promoting women’s empowerment and anti-bullying, each cause-collection features a wide array of cause-conscious benefits.

TruCulture Clothing Co. Leather Apparel (www.TruCulture.com)

TruCulture Clothing Co. makes apparel for strong women with a passion for life—and those like me who love fine leather garments with a street glam edge. Their unique, premium-quality designs boast supple, hand finished leathers. One of my personal favorites is their Distressed Ruby Multi Buckle Leather Jacket that’s hand processed for a vintage look. It’s loaded with metal zippers, buckles and seaming for the perfect fit. Bright red in color, it’s a real attention getter so be prepared to turn heads. I also absolutely adore the cognac-colored Street Glam Corset Multi-Ties Leather Jacket, which has a distressed wash and finish with various ties, snaps and an elbow-length invisible sleeve zipper that also ensures a great fit. From jackets like these to tops, bottoms and jewels, TruCulture Clothing is bold, classy, glamorous, sexy and empowering. Plus, it’s versatile enough to be worn from the work day on into date night. TruCulture was born in January of 2012 by sisters Claudia and Tommasina Tiberio, both avid motorcycle riders who’ve designed a chic clothing brand that helps women exude confidence with every step.

Basic Outfitters Create-a-Drawer for Men (www.BasicOutfitters.com) – Free shipping with code ‘LuxeList’

The married entrepreneurs behind Basic Outfitters came up with their flagship Create-a-Drawer service to solve a problem that so many men face. Seen on ABC’s Shark Tank, the product is perfect for the guy who refuses to clean out his sock and underwear drawer. Basic Outfitters’ Create-a-Drawer gives the guy in your life a customizable collection of high quality and fashionable essentials for an unbeatable value. Available in small, medium and large drawer options, Create-a-Drawer helps guys replace their old, worn out attire with a whole new wardrobe of socks, underwear, tees, joggers, hoodies, shirts and more quickly, easily and for an affordable price. This gift will get your man more organized than ever.

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*****BEAUTY & SELF CARE*****

N:P Beautiful Flat Iron (www.NPBeautiful.com)

Created by celebrity hairstylist David Babaii (the main man behind Kate Hudson’s beachy waves), this sleek, modern iron can do far more than the norm. It has a curved to allow for endless styling options like waves, flips, curls and ringlets. Its innovative rose gold vibrating plates (which can be turned on or off) shuffle the hair back and forth to minimize tugging, slipping, or pulling. The iron has fast, even heating with instant recovery; a slim, ergonomic handle that closes firmly without strain; and provides  a cool touch, no-slip grip for even pressure ensuring there are no uneven hot spots on the hair. The device also heats up to 400 degrees to maximize its effectiveness. As a cause-conscious company, 10 percent of the net proceeds go to support Pediatric Cancer Research and Animal Welfare causes.

Kiss My Lash Triangulated Mirror & False Eyelashes by GoodJanes Beauty (www.GoodJanes.com)

Help those style-minded gals in your life take their look to the next level with GoodJanes Beauty’s natural, dramatic and glam styled lashes. With 18 varieties, each lash is handmade with cruelty-free, 100 percent mink fur collected from natural shedding. The lashes are stored in clear, protective trays and, with proper care, each lash can be reused up to 25 times. Another of the company’s products is Kiss My Lash, a novel triangulated mirror that lets you to see your upper lash line from above and below at the same time. The patented design provides the truest line of sight to get your falsies flush against the lash line on the first try! The mirror can be held in your hand, placed on a flat surface or attached to the magnetic, hands-free Kiss My Lash Stand.

Sonic Facial Deep Cleansing Brush (www.SuperDuperKiss.com)

The Sonic Facial Deep Cleansing Brush is a stylish combination of quality, performance, ergonomics and convenience all packed into one efficient design. This effective facial brush for all skin types offers a complete cleansing experience. It has an IPX 4 waterproof design and was created with Acoustic Vibration Technology, proven to improve skin care, and has two speed settings. This technology help increase light makeup removal and deep cleansing, and significantly improve skin care problems (like blemishes and clogged pores) also improving skin elasticity and collagen production. It comes as a 3-in-1 Kit that includes a massager and exfoliator that vibrates an average of 6,600 movements per minute, which helps increase blood flow while decreasing puffiness and improving circulation—all without rubbing or pulling of the skin. The device relaxes muscles and tones, and also detoxifies the skin through lymphatic drainage (fluid) and exfoliation that removes dead skin cells.

Helmm Decorative Refillable Deodorant (www.Helmm.com)

Helmm is a new antiperspirant and deodorant made with formulas that are paraben-free, phthalate-free and triclosan-free, which makes it good for your body. It’s also housed in a handsome high end-looking refillable container that’s not only good for the planet, but has a decorative look that makes it display-worthy. Helmm help upgrade your grooming game by offering a much-needed makeover on the old, plastic, single-use deodorant containers. With wonderful scents developed by a luxury French-perfumer, you won’t want to use your old stick ever again.

Wigs.com (www.Wigs.com)

Who doesn’t want to look fabulous and exude confidence, especially over the holiday? OK, I concede this might be a better “get”, but Wigs.com options are certainly giftable as well as they carry hundreds of wigs for women of all backgrounds—striving to make all ladies feel beautiful in this instantly wearable hair. Whether you’re looking for realistic human hair pieces, or pre-styled, ready-to-wear synthetic pieces, Wigs.com has comfortable options for every style and need. One option is the “Carrie” styke by Noriko—a  medium length style with balanced body. Evoking a romantic flair, Carrie is perfect for a chilly date night or even a cozy movie marathon. Be ready in an instant in this synthetic piece with its pre-styled waves that’s sure to turn heads. There’s also the “Reese” style that’s a perfectly polished bob with sassy layers throughout. Get that classic look you’re going for with flippy ends and a sleek side fringe. Breathable, lightweight, and comfortable, Reese is perfect for the woman on-the-go and can be worn straight out of the box.  Gorgeous in an instant!

*****WANDERERS*****

Little River Inn (www.LittleRiverInn.com)

For those who prefer experiential gifts or want to arrange a lovely holiday getaway, consider a stay to the Little River Inn—a family-owned and operated resort on the Mendocino coast of California. This picturesque property features a chef-driven restaurant and bar, a nine-hole Audubon-certified golf course, professional tennis courts and a day spa. Ideal not just for romantic getaways, it’s great for the entire family (and pet-friendly as well). The Inn has 66 guest rooms ranging from the economical to the more luxurious. Several private meeting and special event spaces with stunning ocean and garden views make the Little River Inn an excellent venue for small-to-medium-sized weddings and corporate retreats as well. The Little River Inn Restaurant, helmed by CIA-trained Executive Chef Marc Dym, offers hearty California coastal cuisine, and Ole’s Whale Watch Bar is a classic hangout for guests and locals alike.

Paskho Travel Apparel (www.Paskho.com)

Paskho clothing is a great new way to travel in comfort and style. The brand’s name comes from the ancient Greek word “passion,” and these sustainable pieces were created with that in mind. Paskho pieces for both men and women have impeccable details and luxury looking performance fabrics that are livable and pliable, but still fashionable. The garments are perfect for any excursion whether it’s to your local corner store, a slope or sand dune around the globe. Paskho is built to suit the freedom-seeker and the maverick nomadic and the fearless observer, all together.

The Airhook for Air Travelers (www.TheAirHook.com)

Give frequent air travelers a comfort upgrade with The Airhook. It’s a two-in-one solution for airplane travel comfort: a stable drink holder and a secure mount for an electronic device (cell phone or tablets 8.5 inches tall when horizontal). Designed to elevate the level of convenience by allowing for maximum legroom, The Airhook attaches to the tray table in its locked vertical position for use as an anchor, rather than needing to lay the tray horizontally across your lap as a platform. This way you can view your device and access your beverage unencumbered. Other features include: an adjustable angle accommodating for reclined seats and a better viewing posture, as well as a small hook for earbuds or to keep a light garment off the floor. It’s a great hands-free entertainment method for children. It’s also perfect for big and tall travelers and is collapsible for easy carry-on storage. It’s surely an easy way to make plane travel better, so you no longer need to sacrifice space with the folding down trays.

MyPhonePouch Cell Phone Carrier (wwwMyPhonePouch.com) – 15% off with code ‘ATLANTA’

Here’s a great way to help someone stop misplacing their phone and wasting valuable time looking for it! MyPhonePouch is a sleek, innovative solution allowing you to carry your cell phone securely and accessibly on your hip. This soft, stretchy pouch is worn tucked over any snug, sturdy waistband to instantly add pockets to an outfit. Designed by Allison Santini, it’s especially great for those women and girls who often lack pockets in their outfits. It’s great with leggings, yoga pants, sweats, shorts, skirts, slacks and other pocketless garments. Made of high-density performance fabric, MyPhonePouch is available in different colors and sizes to fit most phones.

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*****PARENTS & KIDS*****

Gerber Brand Essentials Clothing & Accessories Collection (www.Walmart.com)

A great idea for new moms and moms-to-be is the Gerber Brand Essentials Collection available at Walmart this holiday season with pricing that fits any budget. If you’re a new parent prepping to bring home your bundle of joy or looking for baby’s first holiday gift, this collection offers a wide assortment of baby clothing and accessories that are a cute as they are comfortable. This includes bodysuits and sleep n’ plays, to caps and socks in super adorable prints and patterns like pink bunnies, polka dots, outer space and safari.  All items in the Gerber Brand Essentials Collection are made with organically grown cotton that’s breathable and soft for baby’s delicate skin, and easily transitions from play time to bedtime.

Just Born Infant Keepsake and Sparkle Collections (www.BuyBuyBaby.com)

The Just Born Keepsake and Sparkle collection, available at buybuyBABY, offers beautifully packaged items perfectly giftable for any new mom or baby. Featuring nursery bedding, bath, accessories and décor, both the Just Born Keepsake and Sparkle Collections were recently refreshed with new colors and styles. This includes the on-trend Sparkle Collection rose gold 2-pack hooded towel and 4-pack washcloth sets, which add extra shimmer to baby’s beautiful moments. Designed with a European-vintage feel, the Keepsake Collection features pieces like this grey linen quilt, faux animal heads and plush bath items that are designed with delicate lace and embroidery details—a wonderful high-end (yet affordable) holiday gift.

Decorate an Ornament Kit & Paint by Number Barfing Beast Kit (www.KidMadeModern.com)

This fun Decorate an Ornament kit by Kid Made Modern are a great way to get your little ones into the gift-giving spirit. Each kit makes a one-of-a-kind keepsake that they can give to their grandparents, teachers, friends or the mailman. You can even collect all six to decorate your own tree. The Paint by Number Kit “Barfing Beast” is a modern approach to mid-century paint by number kits. Each one features vibrant colors and the playful illustrations made by Patrick Hruby and includes everything needed to complete the project.

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*****BOOKS*****


Sci-Fi & and Fantasy Books by Michael Drakich (www.MichaelDrakich.com)
Here’s a great gift idea today that doesn’t involve a screen or electricity to enjoy for a change! It’s fictional science fiction and fantasy books from author Michael Drakich. With titles like The Infinite Within, The Brotherhood of Piaxia, Grave Is the Day, Assassins of Riaz, I Am, Lest the Dew Rust Them, and Demon Stones, these thrillers offer hours of captivating adventure! As a highly rated author, top reviewers rave about the level of detail in Drakich’s storytelling, and imagination that seems to know no bounds. He’s lauded for taking readers straight into the minds of his characters, developing them into a riveting and extremely entertaining tales. You can check out Michael Drakich’s fictional science fiction and fantasy books for yourself at Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, apple and more.

 “The Legacy Letters” Book by Carew Papritz (www.Amazon.com)

A winner of five national awards (including the Mother’s Choice Award), “The Legacy Letters” by Carew Papritz helps people reconnect with family and friends again. The story reveals to the readers the rediscovered private letters from a dying father to his children–and to his wife. His words of wisdom, interwoven between deeply personal stories and poignantly-told memories, ultimately become the practical, moral and spiritual guidebook for his children that he’d unfortunately never live to see; and for his wife, his redemptive act of love. It’s easy to get caught up in our fast-paced, technology-driven society. This back-to-the-basics novel reminds people how to slow life down again, to be in the moment and remember what’s really important. Combining the best elements of various inspirational best-sellers such as “Tuesdays with Morrie,” “The Last Lecture” and “Chicken Soup for the Soul,” “The Legacy Letters” reads like a true-to-life story and is filled with timeless wisdom for the modern age.

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*****STOCKING STUFFERS*****

Bag Branch Purse Organizer (www.BuyBagBranch.com)

The averages person wastes 2.5 days a year looking for stuff and I, for one, am guilty as charged. That’s a mini vacation! People waste precious time searching and digging in their bags, so Bag Branch is a giftable solution unlike any other. It’s an accessory that holds your daily essentials—the items you reach for many times a day—like glasses, phone, keys, cards, pens, gum, etc., keeping these daily essentials together and accessible at your fingertips. It ensures these items are easy to take out and put back where they belong. Plus, you can easily change bags in one easy move, also knowing that you won’t leave your most important things behind. It fits in almost all sizes and shaped bags, structured or not. This patent-pending design features wide and structured pockets that don’t collapse when empty.

Barley+ Bars (www.BarleyPlus.com)

Barley+ bars are a healthy stocking stuffer option versus all of that candy that normally bloats those holiday stocking—and the recipients that partake. These delicious and nutritious bars are made with a unique type of Barley called BARLEY MAX that has more soluble fiber, insoluble fiber and resistant starch than other grains. The results taste and feel amazing because Barley Plus contains Pre-biotic dietary fiber to help feed the intestinal flora, so it’s great for gut health.

~~~

As the Executive Editor and Producer of “The Luxe List,” Merilee Kern is an internationally-regarded consumer product trends expert and hospitality industry voice of authority—a travel, dining, leisure and lifestyle expert who spotlights noteworthy marketplace innovations, change makers, movers and shakers. She reports on exemplary travel destinations and experiences, extraordinary events and newsworthy products and services across all categories. Reach her online at www.TheLuxeList.com, on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/LuxeListEditor, on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/TheLuxeList and on Instagram at www.Instagram.com/LuxeListReviews.

Some or all of the accommodations(s), experience(s), item(s) and/or service(s) detailed above may have been provided at no cost or sponsored to accommodate this review, but all opinions expressed are entirely those of Merilee Kern and have not been influenced in any way.

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From Content To Commerce: Why TikTok Has Become The New Digital High Street

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High Times for Tik Tok
(Source: Statista)

It’s time to forget the days of the ‘YouTube Crew’ and the Love Island Instagram Influencers, a new kid has hit the block and they are transforming digital marketing as we know it. From content to E-commerce, TikTok has revolutionised the social media landscape and it’s time to talk about why.

From its large Gen Z audience to the international celebrities it has carried up to fame, TikTok has become the platform that everyone is talking about. So it’s no surprise that large fashion and beauty brands have stepped up their game and have begun the journey towards the future of the digital high street.

(Source: Statista)

With recent studies proving that TikTok downloads have only increased during the global pandemic, taking over social media giants such as Facebook and Instagram, it’s no wonder that business leaders have seen an opportunity to grow their brand digitally. 

As Covid-19 causes more high street brands to fall through the net, read on to find out how the future of E-Commerce could be ever changed post-pandemic and why TikTok is leading the revolution.

What Is TikTok?

For those of you who have been living under a social media sized rock, TikTok is the new app that the younger generation are going crazy for. As a visual content platform, the site with over 1.1 billion users worldwide allows users to post short snappy videos of pretty much anything they like. From 15-second dances to quick comedy skits, the content creativeness is endless as our population becomes more and more tech-savvy. 

Mimicking the original staples of social media platforms such as Vine and YouTube, TikTok allows its users to like and comment on a video, follow their favourite creators and even follow links to other suggested websites associated with all the TikTok trends.

This is where the E-Commerce giants step in. With such a large audience and the ability to post all kinds of content, brands are taking advantage of TikTok’s rise to fame in the same way they dominate both Instagram and YouTube. From in-built ads that allow users to follow a link straight to their products, to brand deals with opinion-leading TikTok influencers, many brand leaders have realised that their success is now digitally driven, rather than sitting on the high street.

The Death Of The High Street

As we continue to try and forget 2020, it’s likely that the death of the physical high street has been caused by the ever-growing complications of Covid-19. While taking away most of the globe’s freedom and forcing many to retreat back to their households, our health and wellbeing isn’t the only thing suffering as a result of the pandemic. 

As we adjust to new living and working schedules, a reduction in commuters and a rise in working from home has only further reduced the need for the high street. Since the start of the pandemic, online retailers such as Amazon have seen a 51% rise in sales in 2020 alone, with this number only set to increase post-pandemic.

In contrast to this, once large consumer giants such as Arcadia, who owned the popular brand, Topshop have fallen into administration. Joining other high street retailers moving solely online. As E-commerce giants such as ASOS buy our street giants out, the days of window shopping are quickly approaching an end.

Instead, a brand new future of digital advertising is rising up, with TikTok leading the way.

The Rise Of The Influencer 

From the days of YouTube favourites, Zoella and Danisnotonfire to the new age of TikTok superstars, Charli D’Amelio and Addison Rae, the rise of the influencer is definitely nothing new. With the Gen Z and Millennial population beginning to become the prime demographic for high street giants, it’s no surprise that brand leaders are using the ‘influencer’ to their advantage.

Recent studies have shown that nearly half of social media users from 18 to 34 have participated in social commerce on platforms like Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat in the last year. This has been highly driven by the influence of social media celebrities who continue to influence an already impressionable nation. 

With #AD and #Spon dominating the videos of our favourite TikTokers and Instagram Influencers, large brands use their widely celebrated platforms to influence the opinion of their audience. Whether it’s a new accessory or a new celebrity style, we’ve all seen this marketing technique in full force.

So how is this revolutionising the high street? As social media stars continue to define the future of the definition of a ‘celebrity’, large brands know that their opinion on a product has some serious weight in it. Better still, unlike older forms of TV advertising, consumers can not only hear about the new product but click a link below to shop it straight away, revolutionising the convenience of online shopping. In fact,  according to new research from Mediakix, 80% of marketers find have stated that influencer promotion is a highly effective marketing strategy.

Smart Marketing 

Creative Technology officer at WPP’s Mindshare, Jack Smyth claims that TikTok’s approachable nature allows brands to blend in amongst creative content streams, for the ultimate smart marketing. 

“Culturally, TikTok is well placed for live-streamed commerce to capture the dissolving distinction between content and commerce because it doesn’t feel as polished as other platforms” he added in a recent interview with Social Media week, suggesting that TikTok could rise up against other advertising platforms such as Instagram.

What’s more, the announcement of TikTok’s new partnership with Shopify, a start-up online retailer for small businesses, is only set to encourage the birth of a true digital high street. As Shopify tracks TikTok’s trends and insights, it is helping businesses embrace new selling strategies and make unique connections with users in order to target their advertisements.

In a recent interview, Director of Shopify, Shimona Mehta described the partnership as the beginning of the future of online shopping and a new way to target demographics: “Brands are having to compete like never before to get the attention of buyers. The goal is for businesses to make it easier for buyers to discover their brands. With this new TikTok partnership,  Shopify merchants in the UK can connect with new customers in a way that can help them build their brand, drive sales and create engaged communities”.

Looking To The Future

The future of the high street seems highly likely to become completely digitalised, with many younger consumers viewing physical shops as a secondary addition to their favourite brand’s online platform. As TikTok continues to rise up amongst Gen Z trendsetters, this is just the beginning of a social media-orientated shopping experience that is here to stay.

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Guideline to Understand Main Functions of EMS Software provided

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EMS Software
EMS Software

Let’s take a look at the features that staff monitoring software usually includes.

All monitoring programs are equipped with staff attendance clocks. This feature allows management to determine when employees sign in and sign out.

Another important tool is website tracking, which allows management to understand the websites and social media pages that staff has visited during office hours.

A key tracking tool is a special tool that can record the number of keystrokes per hour. In this way, it calculates the average number of employees. This feature ensures that staff stays in front of the system during office hours.

There is also a screenshot application in the productivity monitoring software. These apps randomly take screenshots of workers to determine what is being done on a particular system.

Some solutions also allow employees to access private conversations, especially when they are not paying attention to official or work calls.

The above characteristics clearly show a big difference between manual monitoring and the use of technology to record all employee activities. In both cases, best free ems software monitoring is possible, but the problem is that managers cannot always track their employees. By using productivity monitoring software, companies can observe their employees at any time. They can then create a picture report with all the details of the employees to check their performance.

With the best free EMS software, productivity will not remain the same

The reality is that even active workers cannot always be productive. Generally speaking, workers spend approximately 6 hours in production activities out of 8 working hours. Another important point is that productivity can be measured by completing tasks. We say this because some workers seem to be busy but do nothing, or even less. We know that many of our workers sit a whole shift in front of their system. However, their productivity is only average. On the other hand, some employees are smart, they are very busy in the office corridors, but their performance is still better than others.

The above discussion confirms that manual or digital monitoring is the solution. Therefore, when it comes to software that monitors employees and supervisors, employee morale is also affected. To maintain regular monitoring and don’t use pressure tactics. In this way, morale will remain high, and you will achieve results that meet your expectations.

Are the reports generated by the staff monitoring software accurate?

It has been found that the reports generated by many staff monitoring solutions are not completely accurate. Experts believe that this is because staff monitoring software is often not properly integrated with other tools.

The above discussion confirms that manual or digital monitoring is the solution. So when it comes to software that monitors employees and supervisors, morale is also needed. To maintain normal supervision and don’t use pressure tactics. In this way, morale will remain high, and you will achieve results that meet your expectations.

Are the reports generated by the best free ems software accurate?

It has been found that the reports generated by many staff monitoring solutions are not completely accurate. Experts believe that this is because staff monitoring software is often not properly integrated with other tools.

An example of this is the use of social media on a certain system. The situation becomes more complicated when we try to monitor the unproductive use of social media by marketers in the system. This is because marketers and social media experts stay online on social media, engage with potential customers, and promote the brand there. These productivity monitoring tools are also difficult to investigate on Zoom phones. This is because some employees use it to read certain articles recommended by management to improve their skills.

Therefore, some companies claim that they have not benefited from it because they have been using certain software to monitor the activities of their employees. This situation worries service providers, who have already introduced features that can specifically solve this type of problem. However, these solutions are still very expensive. Only large organizations and companies can afford this kind of software that can more closely monitor computer activity.

Monitoring computer activities help you save time

The last problem related to productivity monitoring is that the manager spends time monitoring the activities of his team during office hours. At this point, we want to mention that it’s not just employees who spend their time on non-productive activities. Experts found that managers also wasted time tracking employee activities and checking reports.

Summary

The basic operation of the best free ems software is to monitor employee activities and restrict non-productive websites. It also restricts users from installing foreign software on company systems.

The employee activity monitoring software also keeps records in the database and sends an email to the administrator or manager for notification. If the rule is violated on the user side, an alert will be displayed on the tenant system.

Tenants create different projects with their static budgets. Invoices can be created with static input, and the user must provide the PO number and invoice amount to monitor computer activities. Before creating an invoice. This EMS system restricts and tracks the use of employee monitoring software and restricts and tracks the use of hardware.

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How Long Does Depression Last After Quitting Heroin

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How Long Does Depression Last After Quitting Heroin
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By Geoffrey Booth, M.D., Medical Director, LifeSync Malibu

When you make the courageous decision to quit heroin and turn your life round you might have pretty high expectations. You probably look forward to feeling healthy and whole again, and can’t wait to be a productive member of society.

So when depression clings to you, even after you have completed withdrawal and rehab, it can be disheartening. Worse than that, it can lead to a relapse. Depression is not just a common co-occurring condition among active heroin users, but it is also a prevalent aspect of post-acute withdrawal syndrome, or PAWS.

PAWS refers to the cluster of mild but persistent withdrawal symptoms that sometimes hang on for months in early recovery, and depression is extremely common. It can be frustrating to feel stuck in the gloom of depression when you had such high hopes after gutting out withdrawal. Setting realistic expectations in recovery, as your brain chemistry adjusts and stabilizes, can help you ride out the depressive symptoms and get to the other side.

Depression and Heroin

Heroin is a powerful drug made from morphine, a potent analgesic. When you use heroin, the drug is converted to morphine in the brain, which produces the well known desirable effects. Users experience a deep state of relaxation and rush of euphoria that the brain immediately registers as a pleasurable event. But because heroin is highly addictive, it isn’t long before the drug traps you into a cycle of using just to avoid feeling sick once it wears off.

Because heroin binds to the opioid receptors in the brain, it begins to slowly alter the way the brain functions. With the drug providing the dopamine surge, the brain becomes dependent on it and stops producing natural dopamine.

In addition to the chemical changes in the brain, people addicted to heroin are likely to experience many adverse psychosocial events, which can lead to depression. People often struggle with employment, relationships, legal problems, health problems, and homelessness. All of these factors increase the risk for suicide among heroin users. According to the publication, Addiction, a heroin users is 14 times more likely to die by suicide than their peers.

Causes of Depression After Heroin Withdrawal

There are various reasons for experiencing depression after completing treatment:

  • Depression may have been present prior to getting treatment. If there was co-occurring depression present with the heroin addiction, the only way to achieve lasting sobriety is through a dual diagnosis treatment program. This is a specialty that provides simultaneous treatment for both disorders in an integrated plan. If the depression was not addressed during treatment, then there is a higher probability it will linger in recovery.
  • Feeling disappointed in recovery. After years of living in an altered state due to substance abuse, sobriety may not seem all that great initially. In the early months of recovery feelings of depression can set in when expectations are not immediately met. Also, the consequences of the addiction may now be fully realized in sobriety, which can cause feelings of sadness, guilt, or shame.
  • Post-acute withdrawal symptoms (PAWS). Depression is a PAWS symptom that may stubbornly persist for months following treatment. Because of the significant impact of heroin on the brain it is not surprising that there might be some long-lasting psychological effects. Even after completing detox and treatment, the PAWS can persist.

Regardless of how or when the clinical depression surfaced, treating depression after rehab is critical. Depression in recovery can pose serious risks to not only the recovery itself, but also may cause impairment in functioning, adverse effects in relationships, reduced productivity at work, and increased risk of suicide.

Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS)

Depending on how long the heroin addiction was present, it can take time for the brain to begin to normalize following treatment. During this period of transition, it is very common to feel a lack of joy or happiness. Lingering depression is one of the most common effects of PAWS, a cluster of symptoms that may take months to resolve.

Depression symptoms include:

  • Feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and despair
  • Fatigue
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Slowed or agitated movements
  • Sleep disruptions
  • Loss of interest in things you used to enjoy
  • Difficulty making decisions or concentrating
  • Irrational feelings of shame or guilt
  • Thoughts of suicide

Persistent depression poses a threat to recovery because the symptoms can become so unbearable that the individual may seek relief by returning to heroin use. This is why the longer you can remain in a treatment program the better. An extended treatment program, such as six months, allows the brain and body to stabilize within a supportive environment, reducing the risk for relapse.

Treatment for Depression After Quitting Heroin

The worst thing someone in recovery can do is to ignore the symptoms of depression. Treating depression in recovery involves ongoing psychotherapy, holistic methods, and possibly medication.

Therapy: Emotional and psychological support is key in heroin recovery. Therapy, both individual and group sessions, provide a safe environment where you can work through the feelings associated with depression.

Holistic: Depression symptoms can be relieved to some extent through natural means. These include getting regular exercise, sticking to a healthy diet, and getting adequate sleep. In addition, learning how to relax, through yoga, mindfulness, or massage, can also improve mood.

Medication: Medication for depression may be necessary. Antidepressants take about 4-6 weeks before the effects begin to be seen, but these drugs can possibly relieve the symptoms.

In the early months of heroin recovery it is important to heal the body and the mind. As difficult as it is to suffer through a bout of depression, be patient and always remember, this too shall pass.

About the Author

Geoffrey A. Booth, M.D. is the Medical Director of LifeSync Malibu, an exclusive rehabilitation program located in the heart of Malibu. Dr. Booth has treated thousands of addicts over the years and now has dedicated most of his clinical time to providing medical care and detoxification to clients who suffer from substance abuse. He is committed to helping them establish the foundations for long-term sobriety. While not working, Dr. Booth has a rich personal life filled with activities surrounded by friends and family.

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Does Teen Loneliness Lead to Internet Addiction?

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Does Teen Loneliness Lead to Internet Addiction
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By Arastou Aminzadeh, M.D., Founder, BNI Treatment Centers

One of the most distressing effects of the pandemic has been its affect on teen mental health. Young people spent a significant amount of time cooped up at home, forced to give up most of their social activities due to lockdowns. This resulted in increased teen loneliness.

At a time in their development that social interactions play a key role in helping adolescents acquire healthy social skills, teens were left few options this last year. Most would default to the Internet to find peers to chat with on social media platforms and forums, or to kill time with online activities. In fact, the majority of a teenager’s social life has occurred online for a year now.

Teen loneliness was already a common problem prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Research from Italy and Iran had previously studied the connection between loneliness among young people and subsequent internet addiction. Both studies demonstrated a positive correlation between these two factors.

Now, a new study out of Finland further cements this relationship between teen loneliness and compulsive internet use. The new variable in this recent study is the pandemic and how it has exacerbated teen loneliness, and therefore, internet addiction. The fallout from the excessive time online is an increased sense of loneliness because it replaced real life social interactions.

About Teen Loneliness During COVID-19

Ask any teen if they sometimes experience loneliness and they are likely to nod their head in the affirmative. All young people sometimes feel left out or lonely. However, teens who suffered from more pronounced feelings of loneliness may have been struggling with depression or another mood disorder, social anxiety, or a personality disorder. Some loneliness is normal, but intense chronic loneliness is typically associated with a mental health challenge.

During the pandemic, however, loneliness became its own epidemic that affected everyone of all ages. Teens, though, were hardest hit by the effects of the social distancing policies because of the significant role socializing plays in their daily life. Where adults had plenty of other distractions, teens were left with a gaping void in their life.

Study Shows Increase in Internet Addiction Among Lonely Teens

According to the Finnish study that was published in February 2021 in the Child Development journal, compulsive internet use has increased at a statistically significant rate. Dysfunctional internet behavior would include online gaming addiction, copious amounts of time on social media sites, and consumption of online pornography.

Further, the study found a direct connection between compulsive online behaviors and depression. This went both ways. A teen that was depressed may have spent more time online, as a distraction or salve, while teens that spent copious amounts of time online were more prone to develop depression. In either scenario, depression was the link.

In addition to the mood disorder, adolescents that engaged in excessive online activity had poorer academic performance. This is attributed to the amount of time that is consumed by online activities, which cuts into the time available to study.

The study determined that it wasn’t only due to a lack of social time with their friends this last year that has resulted in compulsive online behavior. The authors found that teens whose parents were not around, or who were inattentive, were also likely to turn to the Internet to fill their sense of loneliness.

COVID-19 and Teen Mental Health

There is no denying the serious impact the pandemic and lockdowns have had on our young people. Major milestones have been skipped over, social events radically altered or cancelled, schools closed, and, of course, the loss of live, in-person social interaction.

Teens need structure, predictable daily routines, and a sense of safety. During the past year these basic needs are not being met. Many kids have lost loved ones to the virus, or seen their parents become unemployed. All of this is very difficult for a teen to process and manage, as their limbic system is not fully developed at this age. Brain functions like impulse control, emotion regulation, and decision-making will be under construction until age 25.

As a mental health practitioner, I can confirm that our teens are struggling at higher rates than usual. Anxiety and depression are definitely on the rise in this cohort. When the dust settles we will have to face the statistics head on and provide additional services for struggling adolescents.

Other Causes of Teen Loneliness

At first glance, it may seem that teen loneliness is simply caused by a lack of friends. Maybe the teen struggles socially and has trouble establishing or maintaining sound friendships. But in reality, there are many other factors that can contribute to feelings of loneliness. Consider these 5 things that can cause loneliness:

  1. Moving. Possibly the family has recently relocated. Even if the new home is not that far from their former home, the unfamiliar surroundings can triggers feelings of loneliness. This even more so if the move is quite a distance away from their old friends and school.
  2. Social anxiety disorder. Some teens have a heightened or irrational fear of being judged by their peers. Because of the fear of being publicly criticized or mocked, the teen chooses to isolate, leading to loneliness.
  3. Feeling excluded. Teens are very sensitive. Most teens have the “fear of missing out,” or FOMO, which means they crave the feeling of belonging and being included in social gatherings. When they are passed over repeatedly it can lead to feelings of loneliness and even depression.
  4. Social media. While the word “social” in social media may sound like it is all about connecting with others, in fact social media can enhance feelings of loneliness in teens. This is due to the unnatural, shallow, and sometimes toxic “relationships” made on social media platforms.
  5. Being bullied. Cyber-bullying is extremely damaging to a teen’s self-esteem. When they happen to be the target of a bully who uses social media to embarrass or shame them, they will feel marginalized and isolated.

At this time in history it is essential for parents to be fully present for their children, and tuned into their mood states. If the teen is exhibiting signs of depression due to loneliness, and seem to self-medicate by engaging in compulsive internet use, it would be a good time to have the teen evaluated. Parents truly hold the key.

About the Author

Dr. Arastou Aminzadeh is a triple board certified physician in psychiatry, child and adolescent psychiatry, and addiction medicine, and is the co-founder of BNI Treatment Centers in Agoura Hills, California.  Dr. Aminzadeh is a fellow of the American Society of Addiction Medicine and also a fellow of the American Psychiatric Association.  A well respected leader in the field, he also holds an adjunct faculty position at the University of Southern California, Keck School of Medicine, where he completed his residency and fellowship.

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How to Stop Intrusive Thoughts

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By Steven Booth, Co-Founder, Elevation Behavioral Health

We have all experienced unwanted involuntary thoughts that upset us. These are not like ordinary thoughts that flow through the mind during the day. Instead, intrusive thoughts are highly distressing. When intrusive thoughts plague us it can result in the symptoms of anxiety.

Sometimes intrusive thoughts are associated with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). In fact, for someone with OCD, the intrusive thoughts are what drive the compulsive behaviors. The thoughts are so upsetting that the individual with OCD will attempt to diminish the potency of the disturbing thoughts. This can turn into a pattern of obsessive thoughts followed by compulsive actions. Learning how to overcome OCD-related intrusive thoughts becomes an integral goal in managing this mental health disorder.

Whether the intrusive thoughts are related to anxiety or OCD, either way they are very frustrating and disrupting to your daily life. Learning techniques to stop intrusive thoughts can help bring these under control and improve functioning.

What Causes Intrusive Thoughts?

It is not yet fully understood why people have undesired thoughts that invade their consciousness. Often, these random thoughts that intrude on our otherwise peaceful day will keep tapping away demanding our attention. Other times, the thoughts, though disturbing, are fleeting and leave us as quickly as they arrived.

There are a few potential causes for the onslaught of intrusive thoughts. These include:

  • PTSD. Someone who has prolonged symptoms of stress after experiencing a trauma will be plagued by intrusive thoughts. The thoughts are usually related to the event itself, such as undesired memories.
  • OCD. OCD usually has intrusive obsessive thoughts that drive the compulsive actions. The thoughts are so upsetting that the person will engage in ritualistic compulsive behaviors as a way of mitigating the stress the thoughts cause.
  • Medical issues. Intrusive thoughts can be a symptom of a health condition, such as Parkinson’s disease, dementia, or a brain injury.

Are Intrusive Thoughts the Same as Ruminations?

Intrusive thoughts may seem to be the same as ruminating thoughts, but the two actually bear distinct differences. Where an intrusive thought is usually random and fleeting, ruminations the ongoing mulling over of the upsetting thoughts. Instead of noticing the intrusive thought and then choosing to ignore it or dismiss it, ruminating involves embracing the thought and chewing on them for long periods of time. Rumination is a type of coping mechanism to help process a disturbing event by reviewing the event over and over in your mind.

OCD and Intrusive Thoughts

The most common source of intrusive thoughts occurs among those who struggle with OCD. The intrusive thought is often related to a core value, such as religious beliefs or ethical issues, and involves a disturbing scenario that goes against what the person believes in. These thoughts might involve things of a sexual nature, thoughts of harming a loved one, or blasphemous thoughts that are in opposition to their core faith beliefs.

Because these intrusive thoughts are so destabilizing, the person with OCD will begin to fear the thoughts, which only makes the thoughts more pervasive. They begin to adapt compulsive behaviors to help diffuse the stress that the obsessive intrusive thoughts cause them.

Types of Intrusive Thoughts

There are different types of OCD-related thought intrusions. These include:

  • Sexual intrusive thoughts. Disturbing thoughts that involve taboo sexual imagery, inappropriate sexual thoughts, or violent sexual acts.
  • Religious intrusive thoughts. Obsessing about possibly sinning against God, scrupulosity, doubting faith beliefs, or blasphemous thoughts.
  • Harming intrusive thoughts. Undesired thoughts of harming a loved one, such as a spouse, a parent, a child, or self.
  • Responsibility intrusive thoughts. Irrational acceptance of the blame for certain acts committed that was not the fault of the person.
  • Existential intrusive thoughts. Anxious thoughts that question the reason for existence, the purpose of life, or the reality of self.

Each of these types of intrusive thoughts will drive a corresponding compulsive action.

Exposure and Response Prevention

One of the targeted treatment methods for helping someone with OCD-related intrusive thoughts is an intervention called exposure and response prevention, or ERP. ERP is a type of cognitive behavioral therapy that helps the person face the disturbing thoughts head, but in small stages. Slowly they are encouraged to disengage from the compulsive actions that would typically follow the intrusive thought. 

By stating their thoughts out loud with an ERP therapist, the power of the thoughts is greatly diminished. As Dr. Debra Kissen, a Clinical Fellow at the Anxiety Depression Association of America states, “The same intrusive thoughts that feel so real, all powerful and self-defining when swirling around in your head will disintegrate when said out loud.” The thoughts have far more power when they are held captive inside your mind, but when shared with someone they lose their impact.

In ERP the intrusive thought is exposed, and then the decision to not engage in the compulsive behaviors is the response prevention. The person makes a decision to no longer give in to the compulsions. During the first few weeks of ERP the therapist will guide the person through the steps of exposure and non-response. Eventually, the individuals will be equipped to conduct ERP themselves.

How to Stop Intrusive Thoughts

There are some effective techniques for managing intrusive thoughts when they appear. Consider these tips:

  1. Do not fear the thoughts. While natural to want to avoid or ignore the thought, that can make it a reaction based in fear. Instead, try to accept the thought, realize that it is an obsessive irrational thought, and remind yourself that it will soon pass.
  2. Practice self-care. Intrusive thoughts are related to anxiety or OCD, so learning methods to help promote relaxation can be helpful when the thoughts occur. Practice mindfulness and deep breathing to calm yourself down when the thoughts occur.
  3. Seek help from a therapist. A therapist can work with you through the ERP therapy and other therapies, like CBT, which can help you make changes in how you respond to the thought triggers. They can also refer you to a psychiatrist who can prescribe antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications.

Don’t let random intrusive thoughts impact your quality of life. There are ways to manage these thought obsessions, which will improve all areas of daily functioning.

About the Author

Steven Booth is the CEO and Founder of Elevation Behavioral Health in Agoura Hills, CA. Steven earned his B.A. from the University of California, Santa Barbara in Economics. Before helping to co-found Elevation Behavioral Health, Steven worked in both private and public accounting. Like many others, Steven has seen firsthand the destruction that addiction can inflict on family and friends. He has also witnessed the extraordinary changes that can be made when addicts receive the necessary treatment. His passion is providing outstanding mental health care through his facility, and improving the quality of life of clients.

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Top 10 Fashion Trends to Try in 2021

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Part of the fun of fashion is experimenting with different styles and the latest trends! Some trends are bold and eye-catching, while others are more subtle. Here are some exciting trends that are worth giving a try.

  1. Layered Necklaces

There’s something that’s effortlessly appealing about a stunning layered necklace. Mixing and matching gold, silver, and other metals with different lengths, stones, and accents can give you a look that seems like it required lots of styling but is simple to throw on and add some extra flair to any outfit.

neckless

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For a dramatic look, wear your long, layered necklace with a low, v-neck top or dress. For a more everyday or work-appropriate ensemble, wear a simple layered necklace with a blouse or dress.

  1. Cutout Booties

Booties have become a classic staple in any woman’s wardrobe — they’re perfect to wear with dresses, skirts, rompers, rolled up jeans, and leggings. They’re a universal must-have!

Boots

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Not only are most bootie super comfortable with their low heels and supportive style, but they’re also easy to wear and look great with just about any outfit. They’re constantly being revamped to be more trendy. Adding some unexpected and stylish cutouts to your essential booties is a fabulous way to step up your style and step out looking great! Cutout bootie styles are also perfect for the warmer months and transition your looks beautifully from traditional boots to summer sandals.

  1. Graphic Tees with a Vintage Twist

You don’t have to visit a thrift store to find a retro-looking graphic tee to rock as a casual, trendy look. Graphic tees are back in style in a big way, and giving them a vintage twist with a bit of faded appeal, retro references, and throwback styling is a great way to get in on this fun trend.

Whether you’re daydreaming about rocking your love of Guns N’ Roses or looking for a tee that delivers comfort, style, and a bit of nostalgia, this trend is a fun way to embrace a fashion and add some personality into your wardrobe.

  1. Embellished with Embroidery

This fabulous trend can be found on many super stylish and accessible articles of clothing and accessories that are simple to add to your everyday looks.

tamara menzi eya7vX50lb0 unsplash

Image: Unsplash

Embroidery is a surprisingly versatile and easy-to-wear trend, ranging from subtle accents on basic silhouettes to bold prints on accessories, dresses and more!

  1. Printed Playsuits

Giving the ever-popular romper some extra sass and personality is easy with printed patterns that have become more prevalent. Try upgrading your favorite romper, playsuit, or jumpsuit silhouette with a head-turning pattern.

Rompers are a fabulous wardrobe staple, pairing the ease of a complete look in one garment and effortless style. Adding an exciting print to a romper makes the piece even more versatile and easy to dress up or down, depending on where you’re headed.

  1. Modern Cateye Sunglasses

Giving the classic cat-eye glasses new life in a whimsical and oversized style is a fabulous trend that you can easily give a try. Adding modern details like mirrored frames, larger size, and cool frames in a variety of colors make this trend wearable and fun.

For a sweeter look, try some baby pink accents on your frames, or go more edgy with matte black and stunning mirrored lenses.

  1. Statement Belts

Bold jewelry has been on-trend for some time, and now, adding a statement accessory to an outfit in an unexpected way is simple with a chic belt on-hand.

mateus campos felipe TSMn85u9hA unsplash

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Opt for a belt with a unique buckle, gold or silver designs, studs or other beautiful details that work just as well with a pair of classic jeans as a flowy dress.

  1. Free-Flowing Pants

When you want a day free of the restrictions of skinny jeans, opting for a pair of free-flowing pants can improve your whole attitude and make you feel free. Choose a loose-fitting pair that flatters your figure and style with a more fitted top for a chic and comfortable look.

This style has become super trendy because of how well it pairs with crop tops, giving a modern, yet slightly vintage appeal to your apparel.

  1. Denim, Redone

Give that classic denim jacket a total upgrade with modern elements that can give an outfit that perfect finishing touch.

Denim Jacket

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The oversized denim look is on-trend, making this style easy to rock and pair with a boyfriend-inspired look or simply a chic piece of outerwear to throw on for a chilly evening, festival accessory, or just a statement piece for your favorite ensemble.

  1. Matching Sets

It takes confidence to rock a two-piece outfit that’s matchy-matchy, so why not challenge yourself to step outside of your fashion comfort zone with one of these chic looks?

Start simple with a muted color and build up to wearing exciting matching prints, patterns, and exciting colors.

No matter your style, there’s a new trend that’s perfect for you to try out. So go ahead – switch up your look and try something new!

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Why was the Super Mario “cum pipe” trending on Twitter?

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Why was the Super Mario "cum pipe" trending on Twitter?
Why was the Super Mario "cum pipe" trending on Twitter?

Why was the Super Mario “cum pipe” trending on Twitter?

 

If you logged into Twitter on Monday, you may have been perplexed to see the expression “the cum pipe” trending in the sidebar. Do you have any idea what the term arrangement means? I found it out and can describe it to you, so that’s good news.

It all started this morning, when a meme page calling Everything Out of Context tweeted a joke meme of Peach, Luigi, and Mario standing in front of three warp pipes, each with its own color scheme: gold, white, and rainbow. “The time has come for you to choose the gay pipe, the piss pipe, or the cum pipe,” reads the text on the picture. The Super Mario 3D World meme is mostly just a static picture, but the original has a video with a Luigi-like voice asking you those fateful terms.

Although that account did not produce the original meme, which has been circulating the internet for a while, it did get it in front of a lot of people in March. The user who created the post, Puyi, told Polygon that he came across the 3D World meme and thought it would be “interesting” to encourage it by allowing people to “pick one of the three choices.” That is, you were paying to read the words “cum pipe.”

It’s worth noting that the cum pipe tweet wasn’t a simple survey. Instead, selecting an option will automatically generate a tweet announcing your decision. Picking the yellow pipe, for example, will result in a tweet that reads “I choose #ThePissPipe” — but you’d still have to submit it. Monday’s promoted tweet resulted in over 6,300 tweets with the hashtag #TheCumPipe, indicating that the clear warp pipe was the most popular of the three choices.

This pattern may remind you of a previous, similarly spontaneous trend: the carp picture. A college student used the same Twitter function in December to have a picture of a carp take over the internet for a short, bright moment. This is the same thing, except it’s a lot less safe. (Today’s trending topic on Twitter, #TheCumPipe, did not go down well with Twitter users.)

When the meme became well-known, the voting motivated people to compete with one another. However, as more people competed for the best pipe, the meme became more common among the general public.

“After today, my interest in marketing is bigger, but I can’t say for sure if I want to go that way,” Puyi said when asked if he would ever consider a career in marketing.

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Why is everyone talking about Roblox?

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Why is everyone talking about Roblox?
Why is everyone talking about Roblox?

Why is everyone talking about Roblox?

 

 

Here’s a fun fact: in 2020, more than half of American children under the age of 16 will have played Roblox, but many people will still be unfamiliar with the game.

Roblox fever, on the other hand, has swept the globe. The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and CNN have all written about this thing called Roblox recently. In March, Google searches for Roblox stock spiked, prompting celebrities like Reese Witherspoon to make jokes about it. However, you might be unaware of why Roblox has become so famous in 2021.

So, I’m here to fill you in on everything.

What exactly is Roblox?

Roblox is a gaming site and storefront that allows users to play games online. Roblox isn’t a game; it’s a forum where users can play games generated by other people. In this way, it resembles the PC platform Steam rather than any online children’s game.

All of the games on Roblox are created by its users, which sets it apart from everything else in the games industry, including a storefront like Steam. Playing games isn’t the only way to have fun on Roblox; you can also make games. These games are not made by Roblox Corporation, but rather by Roblox users. According to the official website, over 20 million games have been released on the store.

Why is Roblox causing such a stir right now?

And everyone can make a lot of money on the site, even children. By monetizing their games, some developers can earn up to $1 million in a single year. Despite the fact that Roblox and all of its games are free to play, many kids purchase and spend Robux, a virtual currency used in Roblox games, on cosmetic products. A portion of these transactions is held by Roblox developers in the form of Robux. If a developer has amassed enough Robux, they can convert them to real money using a software called the Developer Exchange (also known as DevEx).

Individual designers aren’t the only ones benefiting. The Roblox Corporation is a remarkably valuable organization. Roblox Corporation went public on Wednesday, which means that its shares are now available for purchase. Its stock ($RBLX) had a fantastic first day, beginning at a $45 reference price and ending at $69.50. According to The Wall Street Journal, the firm currently has a market capitalization of about $45 billion. Epic Games, the developer of the ever-popular Fortnite and Unreal Engine tech, was priced at $17.3 billion in late 2020, to give you an idea of how big that is. (Epic Games remains a privately held corporation.) Many people have been fascinated by Roblox’s commercial performance, as well as the fact that the Roblox economy is almost entirely run by young people who can make a lot of money.

How well-known are Roblox games?

In some instances, extremely common. Adopt Me!, a pet simulation game in which kids buy and care for animals, reached 1.6 million concurrent players in April 2020, according to the game’s creators, and has been viewed over 20.4 billion times. (The creator has not made the number of unique logins available to the public.) Brookhaven, another title, has the most concurrent users at the time of release, with over 420,000 people playing it.

What company creates Roblox games?

Roblox allows everyone to create games. The platform allows young people to develop their own game concepts. It accomplishes this by offering a collection of game development resources that almost everyone, even children, can learn to use. Roblox also makes it simple to transform your development into an online multiplayer game, so if a game takes off, these developers will be able to scale.

The games are written in Lua, a scripting language that is simpler to learn than most other programming languages. Developer forums are provided by the company, where developers can troubleshoot and learn new skills. Developers don’t have to think about logistics like setting up servers with Roblox; they just make the game, and players can play it online multiplayer. It is up to each developer how involved they want to be in game production.

What does a typical Roblox game entail?

The most direct response is that there is no such thing as a “ordinary Roblox game.” Roblox is a website that allows users to create whatever they want. From single-player platformers to first-person shooters, there’s something for everyone. However, the most popular games are simulators in which players can role-play various scenarios such as going to school or visiting a pizza parlor.

Is Roblox a free game?

The website, as well as the games on it, are available for free download. In-game purchases of cosmetic items, skins, and other upgrades are possible in Roblox games. In Adopt Me!, for example, players can adopt and care for pets, and a child can purchase an egg that will hatch a pet. Since each game is different, in-game transactions can differ.

What does Roblox’s future hold?

Roblox’s imaginative and whimsical environments have long been separated from the rest of the gaming industry. Since its inception in 2006, the company has been limited to the niche audience of “children’s games,” and has gone largely unnoticed. Over time, the company has grown and supported the young developers who use the Roblox platform to distribute their games. The company developed a website that functions as a parallel games industry as a result of this. Roblox has its own collection of games, developers, and conventions.

Many creators on the platform are now confident due to the company’s current valuation. Now that the larger business has gone public, some developers are already talking about purchasing their own stock. Alex Hicks, cofounder of Red Manta, a Roblox studio, told Polygon that the public offering is exciting because it is “definitely bringing more exposure to studios.” “A lot of kids already know what Roblox is,” he added, “but the older audience is only scratching the surface.” Roblox has been rising in popularity for a while, and its developers are expected to gain further attention in the future.

 

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Latest Features Should Have in a Car while Purchasing a New One

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Latest Features Should Have in a Car while Purchasing a New One

The new vehicle purchasers are given a bewildering exhibit of jargon and abbreviations describing alternatives, bundled highlights, and seller introduced accomplices to look over. There is the extraordinary impulse to get them all, yet the expenses rapidly add up.

Consumer Reports always gets questions from vehicle shoppers approaching what they ought to be searching for in the present models. They often have some vague ideas about what is accessible, yet they are not satisfactory on what is worth the additional cost.

To help these new-vehicle shoppers who have not looked at the market in some time, our specialists have amassed a list of key features they ought to consider getting, including convenience and safety things. Similarly, as necessary: We have hailed the things that can be skipped.

Security-related things are positioned arranged by significance by our specialists. Different features are listed sequentially.

  1. Safety

Because of radar and PC controls, vehicles are getting smarter and more secure than at any other time. While features differ between makers, search for blind-spot detectors, collision cautioning with automatic braking, and programmed cruise control, which will change your vehicle’s speed to coordinate traffic, says Tom McParland, a vehicle purchasing expert and author for the auto news site Jalopnik.com. While these innovative features add to the cost, they can decrease the danger of accidents.

  1. Electronic Stability Control

This would keep the vehicle from turning wild and sliding sideways when you make a turn fast, or you unexpectedly need to turn, which happens regularly on streets.

  1. Automatic Emergency Braking

The system applies the brakes all alone to prevent a crash when it detects a vehicle in its manner or diminishes the power of an impact that cannot be dodged. Systems that incorporate person on foot recognition are absolute generally beneficial.

  1. USB ports

A port makes it simple to keep your mobile powered up and connected with sound systems. Regardless of whether it is for charging your mobile or tuning in to music, numerous individuals consider this option an absolute necessity have convenience.

  1. The Engine

Since you realize that your vehicle is protected, you need to check the two other significant things that people groups are keen on: how quick can this vehicle go, and what is the fuel efficiency? The engine dictates both these viewpoints. There are two fundamental things to check here: the machine’s general dislodging in liters and the number of cylinders in the engine. For example, a little vehicle would ordinarily have a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine, which is incredible for fuel-efficiency yet probably will not give you quick speeding up, particularly on a grade. Then again, if you have a great engine, like a 6.2 liter, eight-cylinders one, you can whizz past every other person yet wind up hacking up significantly more for fuel since effectiveness here would endure. Preferably, pick something appropriate for the driving you to do – if you are stuck in city traffic, the quick speeding up will not be any utilization.

  1. Automatic High Beams

This system automatically turns the high beams when there is no approaching traffic or vehicles ahead and switches back to low beams when traffic shows up to forestall, blinding different drivers. This advances a more prominent utilization of high beams, which makes driving more secure.

  1. Self-Parking Technology

Generally restricted to luxury cars, this option especially bids those living in a city or neighborhood where parallel parking is a lifestyle. “It may be justified, despite any trouble from a time and security point of view, especially on the off chance that you’re not as confident about your parking abilities.”

  1. Transmission

Things being what they are, how would you like your gears to work? If searching for automatic transmission, where once you put the stick-on drive, the vehicle does practically everything for you? Or, on the other side, would you say you are a customary stick shift lover? Did you realize that a portion of the more up to date models accompany “semi-automatic” transmission, where the clutch is computerized, and you need to move the gear stick? While the choice of information will indeed not influence the vehicle’s performance, it would impact the expense and, obviously, the great component. So, pick wisely.

  1. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay

These bring familiar smartphone interfaces and some significant yet restricted features and convenience to the vehicle’s infotainment system. They urge drivers to put their smartphones down and instead collaborate with the vehicle’s implicit screen, giving them more consideration to driving.

  1. 360-Degree Surround-View Camera Systems

These cameras are situated around the vehicle beneath the side mirrors and the rearview camera. The systems give drivers a bird’s-eye perspective on the car as though from above; help them check for youngsters and articles objects the vehicle, especially when backing up; and make parking simpler.

  1. Teen Monitoring

If your children or grandchildren are driving, you might need to look at alternatives that can screen and restrict driver behavior. While systems differ, most permit you to shield radios from impacting and set a maximum speed cap.

  1. Fast USB Charging

The standard USB port in the car works at 0.5 amps, which charges a mobile gradually. If an application is being utilized, the mobile may lose charge in any event when connected. Numerous new vehicles currently have a 1.5-, 2.0-, or 2.4-amp rating, and the more up to date USB Type-C ports support up to 3 amps of charging, making phone charging quicker, regardless of how the mobile is being utilized.

  1. Keyless Entry

Considerably more than a remote controller, this system detects a vital key in your handbag or pocket and naturally opens the entryways. “When you’re showing up at your vehicle with your arms loaded with full of groceries, it truly proves to be useful,” says Jim Milan of Auto Accessories Garage.

  1. Heated Seats and Steering Wheel

These available into direct contact with a driver or traveler, so in chilly climates, they warm inhabitants quicker than the climate system can warm the vehicle’s interior.

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Ways In Which Accountant NYC Can Improve Your Business.

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A good Accountant is your key to strengthen your financial game. You will require the services of a good accountant to look after various financial procedures. If you are running a business in a city like New York your need is way greater for a good accountant. The good accountant NYC has to offer for your business is the one that knows your business well.

There are various ways in which a good accountant can help to sort the financial game of your business. If you think that you can handle all that pressure on your own then you are wrong. You need the assistance of a good accountant.

There are various ways in which an accountant can help your business and we are going to tell you all about that in this article. You have to prioritize your financial aptitudes before you read below down to this list. 

Ways in which an Accountant help your business

An accountant is a person that holds all the weight of your account complexity on their shoulders. So, it is better that you find the best Tax accountant NYC has to offer. This individual will help you with many things.

He/she will help you organize your business structure

This is a great thing to start with this list. It is very important that you know the organizational structure of your business. An accountant will tell you which approach will be better to expand your business. 

Do you want to follow the limited liability approach for the growth of your business or you want to become a Subchapter-S corporation? Both of these structures have their own pros and cons. Your accountant will choose the one that benefits your business the most and eliminate other options. 

Know what budgeting your business needs

If you have the Best tax accountant NYC has to offer then they will know your business as better as you do. You will require the assistance of someone that can make a yearly budget of your business as the most desirable way. 

This is a key step to make a proper growth base for the upcoming year. A good accountant will review the previous year’s result and then put together the budget of the new year for your company. This budget will be more credible, efficient and show sound improvement when compared to the previous one. 

Proper Reporting of your accounts

If you are unable to track your work it is very difficult to examine results. Just like that, you need proper reporting of your accounts. A good Accountant in NYC will provide you with the most accurate business statements on a regular basis. 

This reporting will include all major expenses and financing of your business-like.

  • Financial statement
  • Income statement
  • Balance sheet
  • Cash flow

These statements will help you learn about the whole financial roadmap of daily activities. 

Planning of upcoming Taxes for company

This is one of the most important jobs that an accountant can do for you. You know that in NYC taxes are a big part of your business. So, you cannot simply ignore them. A good accountant will help you understand what is your business fare share in taxes.

They will also stop you from paying unnecessary taxes as well. They will provide you with the legal strategies through which you guys can save handsome money in taxes. All that money that you save from your taxes can be used to grow your business.

So, these are some of the ways in which a good Accountant can help your business. A good accountant is the biggest asset of a company. 

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