Archive for the 'Tips and Advice' Category

What Are Some Good Ways to Keep Files Organized? 06May14

Everyone wants to develop a way to keep files organized more efficiently, but it’s such a boring task. It’s not difficult, though, once it’s implemented, and you can quickly retrieve any file you need in the future. Here are some tips that will help you to become better organized.


Store documents that are related, together. If you have specific projects going, store all graphics, notes, spreadsheets, reports and letters in one folder. This is instead of having one file for reports, one for letters, etc. If you remember the project, which you usually will, it will be easier to find any type of document or file.


Name your folders and files consistently. Mind Tools advises that you divide your main folder into sub-folders with one for each vendor, etc. You can use shortened names, too. Adding colors or other means to distinguish one project from another is helpful, too.


Don’t save unnecessary documents. You don’t need every scrap of paper and every receipt that you receive. Glance through your receipts and only save something if it’s relevant to save. Keeping too many documents makes clutter inevitable, and makes it harder to find the things you do need.


Separate completed months or years from ongoing projects. Perhaps you would find it easier to grab files you need if you keep ongoing work folders on your desk, and put completed files away. On a weekly or monthly basis, or whatever works for you, clean the unneeded files off your desk so that it’s easier to find what you do need.


Make digital copies with your scanner, of paper documents. Then you can archive or store the originals out of the way. Some documents with original signatures should be kept in the main file, so use your judgment on this one. You don’t want to get rid of any paper documents you could need in the near future, just enough to make extra room.


Source:


http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newHTE_85.htm


What Are Some Good Gardening Tips? 29Apr14

If you want your family to eat healthy without heading to the grocery store three or four times a week, consider keeping organically grown produce on their plates with foods that you have grown yourself. Homegrown, organic produce is more delicious and nutritious than the produce you can find at the store. In order to get the most from your garden, you may wish to implement positive and creative gardening tips.


Start your planting early and end it late in the season. Using tunnels and cold frames will allow you to stretch the growing season in your area. You can start your spring planting season earlier, and use row covers in the fall to protect late crops from deer and frost.


Growing high-value crops means planting the produce that would cost you the most to purchase at the produce stand. Mother Earth News states that value can also refer to flavor temptations, which can mean making room for your favorite herbs and tomatoes. Consider, too, other foods that you didn’t grow last year, and see if you can save money by growing them at home this year.


Choosing the crops that have grown well for you year after year just makes good sense. Repeat the successes you have had in the past. If they are not favorites with your family, trade for foods that someone else grows that your family does like. If you have better luck with carrots than with beets, for example, keep your beet planting small and plant as many carrots as your family will eat. If your neighbors are also growers, arrange to trade veggies so that everyone will have what they like.


Growing crops that you can freeze or store makes good sense for your year-round, healthy diet. Early raspberries and strawberries that are ready in June can be stashed in the freezer, and ready for snacking or meals, while you turn your attention to veggies. Plant the foods that grow most easily, so that you can supply your family table year round.


Source:


http://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/gardening-tips-zm0z11zsto.aspx


What Are Some Decorative Ways to Light Your Patio and Yard this Summer? 22Apr14

When the nice weather arrives in the summer, it’s always nice to be able to head out to the yard to enjoy the relaxingly warm evenings. The kinds of lights you illuminate your environment with will set the mood for such treasured evenings, so be strategic with your selection of outdoor and patio lighting.


Below are some possibilities to consider when reflecting upon what is most fitting for you and your family:


1. Sconce light fixtures. Mounted to a wall, these ornate lamps tend to take on a vertical shape and direct light upward. Because of their decorative nature, sconces can be used to spruce up a doorway but should not be the sole source of brightness available on the porch.


2. String lighting. String lights effectively deliver a gentle glow that carries a fantastical air. They can be used to bedazzle tree branches, fences and, of course, Christmas trees. More importantly, many of these LED lights are solar-powered, making them cordless and ecofriendly. While white tinting adds a subtle touch of charm, string lights come in a variety of colors to help ring in the holidays.


3. Recessed lighting. Recessed lights are simple, sleek and can be tucked into the roofed patio of a modern home. Part of the charm is that they are inserted into the ceiling rather than protrude outward. Recessed lighting has dimmer switches that allow you to control the intensity so you can balance visibility with “setting the mood.”


4. Traditional Lanterns. More rustic than the other lighting options on this list, lanterns can be positioned as centerpieces or along pathways to add an enthralling charm to the nighttime darkness. Often manufactured with color glass, metal and candles, they should be used for their aesthetic properties more than as a light source. If you have young children in the household, it may be wise to find versions that utilize light bulbs instead of traditional fire.

5. Motion sensor flood lights. These lights are practical for numerous reasons; they will automatically turn on when people are stepping forth into your home’s vicinity to light their way and alert you to their presence. The only downside is that motion sensor flood lights can be a bit costly.


6. Pendant light. Beautiful and versatile, they are fixtures that hang down from the ceiling. Coming in diverse shapes and hues, pendant lights often double as works of art and can be a contemporary alternative to a classic chandelier.


7. Glow in the dark yard decorations. To make your garden a nighttime feast for the eyes, beautify your flower beds and yard with glow in the dark garden accessories. Especially appealing for children, Taylor Gifts has lighted LED spinners, glowing animal figurines and more!


Go ahead and make your yard and porch inviting to guests. With a bit of vision and only minimal funds, you can make your home both safe and pleasant.


Top 10 Flowers to Plant in Springtime 15Apr14

Spring is the season in which nature starts to “warm up” for summer’s big act, teasing us in the meantime with cherry blossoms, friendly breezes and fresh buds on the trees. Of course, we all become wildly excited for the end of winter; suddenly, people are out and about on the sidewalks and smiles are plentiful.


Welcome spring with open arms and a readied garden. Playing around in the dirt is a gratifying way of spending a weekend afternoon. Taylor Gifts’ garden accessories and hoses will make the process both easier and more fruitful. Plus, you’ll light up as you see flowers poke through the soil. To learn what plants to nurture this time of the year, consider the following:


1. Peruvian Lily. These flowers only require a little amount of care and are absolutely beautiful. Originating in South America, they are perennials that feature uniquely speckled insides.


2. Dianthus. These old-fashioned favorite flowers provide bright colors along with a noteworthy, pleasant fragrance. This purple-pinkish bloom is accompanied by lusciously green leaves, adding a gorgeous contrast to your garden. There are various plants that fall into the category of “dianthus”; some breeds will last years, while others have a lesser life span.


3. Gardenia. If you are looking for an elegant, perfect flower to plant in your garden with an incredible scent that anyone will be able to enjoy, gardenia’s may be the best addition to your garden. Though the plant often resembles a small shrub more than a traditional flower, it has plenty of white blooms to enchant those passing by your garden.


4. Nicotiana. These are also very elegant flowers and are absolutely gorgeous to admire. They are best when planted outside your bedroom window, as their scent is stronger throughout the night and can naturally provide your home with a calming aroma. Yes, it is associated with cigarettes, but the plant itself does not threaten your health to plant it inside your garden your home.


5. Phlox. This type of flower grows in full clusters of candy-colored shades and can fluctuate in heights; some species climb to be four feet tall! They can come in a wide variety of hues like baby blue, lilac, blush and reds. The phox’s incredible scent is most evident on a warm, sunny day.


6. Roses. Of course, roses are one of the best plants to plant in the springtime because they tend to be deemed America’s favorite flower. Their colors range from pure white to deep red and the scent is intoxicating. A perennial, a healthy form of this plant can live for years. Be aware that they often have prickles on the stem that may jab young children who may reach for the bloom.


7. Sweet pea. Sweet peas are known as one of the most pleasant smelling flowers of all time. Their vines can grow between four to six feet tall, and it comes in a myriad of rich pigments. It responds well to sunlight and, if properly cared for, can last you a lifetime.


8. Lily-of-the-valley. This plant is perhaps one of the easier ones to take care of and, conveniently, it need minimal light. The lily-of-the-valley can spread aggressively (especially in moist conditions), so consider positioning it near physical barriers like pavement. Be mindful that this white or pink bulb can be poisonous to small animals that might be inclined to take a mouthful.


9. Lilac. The lilac flowers are favored among millions of people around the world because of their vivacious scent and easy upkeep. As long as they are not completely in the shade, they will never disappoint you; they’re durable and require little attention, though be careful of excessive powdery mildew damaging the appearance. An added bonus is that lilacs attract butterflies!


10. Lavender. Lavender flowers are not only known for their beautiful appearance, they are known for their scrumptious scent. Many aromatherapy products even harness its aroma for its relaxing properties. Made up of dozens of different subspecies, lavender can be cultivated in both gardens and flower beds.


This list is plenty to take your yard and turn it into a flower heaven that you can enjoy day in and day out! Soon, you can take out your patio furniture and enjoy nature’s wonder as your precious blooms surround you.


What Are Some Tips to Preparing Your Home for a New Pet? 08Apr14

Congratulations! You’re thinking about welcoming a new member into your household in the form of an adorable pet. Depending on the kind of animal you are adopting, there are different levels of preparation that needed to create a safe environment. Smaller animals such as hamsters or gerbils are simply need a quality cage or holding pen. However, since dogs and cats are often free to roam across every surface of your home (whether you like it or not), it’s important that you make sure your entire house is safe and sound for your new furry friend.


Puppy or kitten proof your house


If you are bringing an animal into your home that chews on things, likes to hide, is not housebroken or has no knowledge of right or wrong, brace yourself for the occasional mess or two (or five). Make sure your give your new furry friend a place where they can feel at home. Typically, new puppy or kitten owners can enclose a small area in a room where they spend plenty of time and can keep a close eye on their new friend to make sure they are following the rules. Never allow your new puppy or kitten to wander freely around the home as nothing good can ever come out of it. The next time you walk into your kitchen, do not be surprised if you find a little accident waiting to be cleaned up by you. It’s important to have the proper pet cleanup products readily available for your pooch or kitty, and consider having multiple litter boxes or pet potty patches scattered throughout the house to determine where he or she would prefer to “go.” Cats can be picky about where they “do their business” so, if your new feline friend is not responding to its current box, experiment with multiple makes to see which ones tickle his or her fancy.


Be prepared for some messes


Bringing a new puppy or kitten into your house means that you realize some of your personal belongings may be damaged. Blinds, curtains, shoes, socks, furniture, pillows, and anything else your new friend can get their claws or teeth on could be ruined beyond fixing. To minimize the potential damage, take preemptive steps to make sure your favorite items are out of reach. Pups are especially fond of chewing on footwear, so make sure no sneakers are left lying about the floor with a shoe rack or organizer. Animals are also naturally attracted to dangling items, so it might be wise to move any suspended scarves or jewelry to either a horizontal storage unit or the interior of your closet. To protect your more precious furniture items (at least temporarily), purchase a pet parade couch pet bed that you can easily place on top to shield your couch or chair from dog hairs or accidents.


Protect your new pet’s health


Just like you wouldn’t want to leave harmful chemicals in reach of a small child, you should take the same measures with your dog. Move potentially harmful cleaning substances from beneath the sink to higher shelves or find a way of latching ones that are more easily accessible. Additionally, tape down any electrical cords they might be tempted to chew on. Take a look around your home and consider whether your determined kitty or pooch might be able scale to new heights to reach things like the deadly bowl of chocolate; what looks like a counter chair to you might look like a ladder to your resourceful four-legged pal. Similarly, what may look like a waste basket to you may look like a smelly buffet of flavors to your pet, so make sure all trashcans are tall and not easy to knock over so your dog doesn’t end up eating something he or she shouldn’t. Finally, make sure that you don’t have any poisonous plants within easy reach like lilies, mums and poinsettias. Don’t forget, this goes for your garden as well.


Make your new pet feel right at home in his or her new environment with lots of love, hugs and, of course, home pet products from Taylor Gifts.


Announcment: Taylor Gifts $1000 Academic Scholarship Is Now Open For Submissions 01Apr14

Taylor Gifts is all about nurturing the young, creative minds of today so they can yield the fantastical creations of tomorrow. After all, ingenious (and delicious) inventions like the Bacon Bowl and Vegetti were once pipedreams before patience and hard work made them a reality. Therefore, Taylor Gifts is pleased to announce the inaugural Taylor Gifts $1000 Academic Scholarship!


There are just a few requirements to keep in mind before the real fun begins:


* To enter the scholarship contest you must be a freshman, sophomore or junior currently enrolled in a university within the United States.
* The Taylor Gifts $1000 Academic Scholarship is also open to high school seniors in the United States.
* One essay submission per student.
* Each essay must be 750-800 words. No more, no less.
* Okay, so now that you’ve committed these requirements to memory, let’s take a look at the prompts you can choose from for your submission:


1. If you could create a device to better mankind’s quality of life, what would it be? Who would use it most?
2. Who do you consider to be history’s greatest entrepreneur or inventor? Why?
3. Do you consider yourself unconventional? When has it paid off?
4. Has there been a time in your life when you’ve felt guided by an entrepreneurial spirit? Did you act on it and take the initiative to achieve your goal? Explain.


Choose one and answer it with all you’ve got in 750-800 words. Muster up your creativity and problem-solving skills to potentially earn this $1,000 scholarship!


When you’ve completed the masterpiece, please submit it to scholarship@taylorgifts.com . Entries must be submitted by no later than midnight on 6/15/2014. Otherwise they will not be taken into consideration. Do not forget to include your first name, last name and the name of your institution before submitting the document.


Here’s how the winner will be chosen:


First, the top twelve semi-finalists of the Taylor Gifts essay competition will be picked by a select panel of judges. These judges will consider creativity, style, grammar, spelling, concision and how well the student has stuck to the topic they picked. Once they’re chosen, online voting will begin.


This means that the ultimate winner will be determined by you, the public. An online voting system will be established so friends and strangers alike can cast a ballot for the essay that inspired them.


Scholarship Payout Details


The scholarship will be paid to the school of the selected recipient in a one-time amount of $1,000.00. The scholarship funds will be made payable to the winning student’s university by Taylor Gifts’ CEO, Francis Ruthkosky, sent specifically to the Financial Aid Office and placed in the student’s account.


Before the scholarship can be officially awarded, the winning student must provide Taylor Gifts with:


* Written proof of enrollment at an accredited university, college or institution within the United States.
* The address of the school’s Financial Aid Office.
* His or her student ID number.
* If you are selected as the winner, please send this information to:


Attn: Scholarship Coordinator


Taylor Gifts

600 Cedar Hollow Rd

Paoli, PA 19301


Please do not hesitate to contact scholarship@taylorgifts.com if you have any other questions regarding this opportunity.


What Are Some New Outdoor Tools and Equipment for Spring and Even Summer? 25Mar14

As the cold grip of winter releases its hold on the country, you’ll enjoy spending more time outdoors. Warmer weather beckons you outdoors, and tending a garden is a perfect reason to spend time outside.


A garden beautifies the area around your home and gives it more curb appeal. It gives you a stress-free place to relax and let the troubles of the day fade away. If you want your garden to prosper, there are some spring and summer tools and equipment that will help.


A wheelbarrow is helpful for transporting soil and plants with less effort. You can find them in light-duty to heavy-duty models, depending on how much hauling you do in your garden area.


Shovels are essential for all gardeners. They allow you to dig up weeds, plant or relocate plants and turn soil.
Kneepads are helpful if you tend your garden kneeling down. Dense foam relieves any discomfort. If you have trouble kneeling for long periods of time, you can use a gardening seat, instead.


You can cultivate, shape and trim many plants with hand pruners. If you have larger plants, you can select pruners of greater size. Hand trowels are a lot like shovels, except that they are sized to fit the hand. They help you dig in small areas of soil like container gardens and flowerpots. If you need a small hole for planting flowers or bulbs, a hand trowel is the tool of choice.


Garden hoses are essential if your garden isn’t getting enough rain. It makes things a lot easier for gardeners who have large expanses of gardens or landscaping. A sprayer attachment will allow you to change the amount of water you’re using. A battery powered sprayer will let you get to places your hose might not be able to reach.


If you have young plants, hosing them to water them may be too hard on the new plants. For these, it’s helpful to use a watering can. In this way, the water won’t hit the tender leaves and buds as hard.


It’s Daylight Savings Time – Set Your Clock Ahead 06Mar14

To change to daylight savings time in the spring, you will set your clocks ahead one hour. The actual time change is on the second Sunday of March. You “lose” one hour during that night.


After clocks are set ahead in the spring, the sun will come up later in the mornings, but there will be one extra hour of usable daylight each night before sunset. In the fall, clocks are set back, which adds the extra hour to the morning light and takes an hour of daylight away in the evening.


It’s easy to forget to set your clocks properly each spring and fall. Of course, most of today’s smartphones and mobile devices set themselves to the new time. For things like microwave ovens, wall clocks and older watches, you will need to set them manually. Use the phrase “spring forward” to remind you that in the spring, you set the clocks ahead. In autumn, “fall back” reminds you to set the clocks back an hour. At that time, you will be back on Standard Time.


Changing to Daylight Savings Time isn’t done just to confuse people, of course. It was originally designed to allow less energy to be used in homes, with the extra hour of daylight in the evening.


Daylight Savings Time was started in the United States in the midst of World War I. It was instituted to save energy for production of materials needed for war. Workers took advantage of the later daylight hours in the months between April and October. The states were directed to use Daylight Savings Time again during World War II.


Between the periods of war, states could decide individually if they wanted to use Daylight Savings Time or not. Congress passed a Uniform Time Act in 1966, which set on paper the number of months that states could remain on Daylight Savings Time.


European nations have used Daylight Savings Time since 1996, although the start and stop dates are different. Iceland and Kyrgyzstan observe Daylight Savings Time year-round.


If you need a new clock for the new year, take a look at our clock category.

Summer Nights 11Jun13

Now it is officially June, which, in my mind means it is officially summer — and Mother Nature definitely got the memo! The temperature has been warm to hot, the sun has been shining, and we’ve already had our fair share of stormy weather.


Summer gives us the best excuse to spend time outside. I am sure we will talk a lot about things to do outside during the summer this season since it is definitely one of my favorite activities, but let’s just take the excitement one topic at a time. A lot of people are not so thrilled spending summer days outside (it is hot…I understand not everyone likes to be outside in such high temperatures). However, there is something to say about summer nights. When the sun goes down, and the temperature drops significantly, it is the perfect time to end the day outside. Sometimes summer nights are still warm, other times summer nights get a little chilly and you need to wear a sweatshirt with your shorts and flip flops. No matter what, summer nights outside are a great time. It is a time for the kids to catch fireflies and the adults to relax under the moonlight.


Just remember the following tips about making your summer night outside perfect:


1. Make sure to have some sort of bug repellent, such as the Glo Stick Insect Fly Trap. Being outside is great, but the bugs like it a lot too, so do what you can to keep them away.


2. Make sure to have some lights prepares, like the Solar Hand Crank Lantern. With more light, the longer you can stay outside and extend your summer night.


3. Have enough reclining camp chairs for everyone to have a comfortable place to sit, and then no one has to stand out of obligation.

Father’s Day Brunch 04Jun13

Here’s a reminder that Father’s Day is on Sunday, June 16th this year. If you want to do something fun and something different, I have the perfect idea for you!


Brunch. Yes, brunch. Homemade, well-thought, deliciously-prepared Father’s Day brunch. So easily you can put together an unbelievably delicious brunch for dad on Father’s Day this year. Brunch is always fun, and it can seem like you put a ridiculous amount of time and effort into it without having planned much at all. Do not worry, those of you who do not spend much time in the kitchen, I will help you here. Below is what you need to make a great Father’s Day brunch without much preparation:


Pancakes: With a simple pre-made pancake mix from any grocery store, just add water. Use your Perfect Pancake to make perfectly shaped and cooked pancakes, the Perfect Pancake is just the kitchen appliance you need.


Eggs: What brunch does not have eggs? So, make some eggs, which are super easy! Just grab a carton of eggs at the grocery store. And either grab an Orgreenic Frying Pan, crack a few eggs in the pan, and mix them up until they are cooked to create scrambled eggs; or get a little fancy and use your Heart Egg Cooker to make some sunny side up eggs in heart shapes for dad.


Fruit: At the market, while you are there picking up pancake mix and eggs, make sure to also get some fruit – any fruit – whatever dad likes. And if you are not sure what he likes, this time of year, just pick up a variety of fruit that looks good. Make sure to serve the fruit nicely on a buffet server. If you are really lost in the produce section of the grocery store you can buy pre-cut, pre-packaged mix fruit in the produce section. It’s that easy!


Aside from this, you will want to make sure to have appropriate beverages like milk, OJ, coffee, and tea; some butter and syrup for the pancakes; salt, pepper, ketchup, hot sauce, mustard, and pre-shredded cheddar cheese to top the eggs; and sugar and honey if you’re having coffee and tea.


This should help you through Father’s Day brunch! Enjoy and good luck! To all of the Dad’s: Happy early Father’s Day!