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Top Story: Funny Photos – Inappropriate Elf on a Shelf

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See all images via – Inappropriate Elf on a Shelf (18 pics) | Little White LionLittle White Lion.

Farmers Markets: What You Need To Know

TemescalMarketBig

All across the country local farmers, ranchers, and food producers come together to sell their goods to nearby communities at farmers markets. Farmers markets are a great place to pick up fresh meat and produce, socialize with friends and family, and find opportunities to get involved in your community. Locally grown and produced goods provide many benefits for the farmers, communities, and consumers involved.

Farmers
When farmers and producers prepare their goods for local markets, they cut out all the complications and fees that come with selling to large grocery stores and wholesalers. They are able to make more profit when they sell directly to consumers. Other costs are cut in regards to transportation, refrigeration, and storage. By bringing their food to outdoor markets, expenses for selling their food and other goods are low or non existent. Farmers are able to deliver the freshest, most natural product to the consumer.

Consumers
As a consumer, it’s important that we get the freshest product for the best price. Locating local farmers markets and knowing when they’re open will give you this option. These markets gives locals access to organically grown and fresh picked fruits and veggies, free range eggs and chicken, and pasture raised meats. All of these items are fresh and have been prepared to sell quickly. Taking an outdoor stroll at the farmers market gets residents out in the fresh air, talking to the farmers and producers of the goods, and mingling with neighbors and the community. Shopping at these local markets get consumers a much higher quality of food for lower prices than in supermarkets.

Community
Farmers markets bring a large amount of people together for fresh produce and other goods. People come from surrounding rural and urban areas to buy food and find unique products. Communities that host year round and seasonal markets bring revenue to hometown businesses and residents in the surrounding areas. Crowds from these markets funnels shoppers into local businesses. After strolling around the farmers market, people will venture to local restaurants for brunch, stop in for a cup of coffee, and visit antique stores to complete a relaxing afternoon. Local activities also have a chance for community outreach and involvement.

While some may think that health food stores are their only options for fresh meats and produce, and that these kinds of markets are hard to find, think again. There are many year round farmers markets all across the country, and seasonal markets in other areas.

About the Author: Michelle is a blogger for Forward Home Security. She loves DIY projects, cooking, spending hours on Pinterest, and hanging out with her cat, Zoie.

Facts About Coconut Oil

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You’ve been hearing all about it. It’s taken top spot as the new super food in the past year. It’s all over Pinterest as the “best kept beauty secret” and natural food junkies are ditching their cooking oils for this tropical miracle. If you haven’t jumped on the coconut train yet, we want to give you the inside scoop and let you know why everyone is so crazy over this product.

The Facts

Coconut oil is a safe and natural oil extracted from the “meat” of ripe coconuts. This tropical cure all is safe on the skin, a healthy source of fat, and is quickly becoming available to more of the population than just fancy health food stores. When purchasing, look for Extra Virgin Coconut Oil. It should be stored in a dry location. With a very specific melting and solidifying point, a couple degree differences in your home will change the state of the product.

Beauty

This oil is quickly replacing the typical moisturizer and smell good lotion. Take a dime sized amount, warm it between your hands, and apply to your skin, tame those flyaways, or apply to your face as a daily moisturizer. With its clean smell, it doesn’t require any fragrance or cover up.

Many women have testified to improving the condition of their hair and a blemish free face to this oil.

Cooking

Replace your vegetable, olive, and sunflower seed oil with coconut oil. Coconut oil is a saturated fat that is completely natural and safe for cooking and eating. It is stable at higher heats when cooking on the stove, and it’s fantastic for baking. Coat your pan with it the same way as with other oils or sprays. Some recopies even call to cover the food with it.

It’s perfect for cooking meats, veggies, eggs, and other stove  top or oven snacks. And it does not leave your food tasting like coconut.

For a related sweetener, check your local natural food store for coconut sugar.

Other uses:

Here are some other uses we found for coconut oil from Coconut Oil Tips and others.

Body Butter

Eye Makeup Remover

Cuticle Oil

Shave Cream

Antibacterial

Boosts Metabolism

Cold Sore Healer

Dandruff Remedy

Sunscreen

Sooth Hangnails

Lip Balm

Toothpaste

Frizz Tamer

Bug Bite Relief

Soothes Burns

Heals Cuts and Scrapes

Anti Wrinkle Eye Cream

What home remedies or recopies have you found for Coconut Oil?

About the Author: Michelle is a blogger for Forward Home Security. She loves DIY projects, beauty secrets, spending hours on Pinterest, and hanging out with her cat, Zoie.

Be My Valentine – But First You Need To Pass A Background Check!

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Love makes people do crazy things. February 14th is an emotionally charged day. The combination of high expectations, intense feelings flying around, and excessive amounts of wine can make people act a little coo coo. While it’s perfectly natural to get excited about the big day, it’s always a good idea to exercise a little caution before things get too cray.

Having said that, here are 5 reasons why you should background check your Valentine this year.

1) Detect Possible Alcoholism

Alcoholics do not fare well in situations where it’s socially acceptable to drink on a weekday. Before you end up out on a date with someone that will get plastered and embarrass you at your favorite restaurant, pull their public record first.

You may be thinking, how could a background check reveal whether or not someone has a problem with alcohol (or other substances)? Well, every alcoholic I’ve ever dated had definitely been arrested for some alcohol-related bad decision. If your date has several arrests on his/her record for things like “driving under the influence” and “public drunkenness” you may want to consider going to a restaurant that doesn’t serve booze on your big day.

2) See If Someone Is Dangerous

One of the dirty little secrets about Valentine’s Day, is that there are actually a lot of violent incidents between intimate partners that take place on this day. Men have murdered their girlfriends, wives have stabbed husbands, and newly dating couples have turned deadly.

It’s always a good idea to run a criminal background check on the person you’re dating. If your Valentine has been arrested for things like “assault and battery”, “stalking”, or “harassment” take these offenses as serious red flags and call the date off once and for all. It’s better to be single on Valentine’s Day than in the hospital. Stay safe out there lovebirds!

3) Find Out If Your Date Is Married

Bigamous relationships happen more often than you might think. Some studies even claim that between 20-40 percent of men on online dating sites are married. To make matters worse, it’s not just the guys who get down on being deceitful, women do it to.

Fortunately, there is a way to find out if someone is still secretly married before let yourself fall head over heels in love with them. Only a background check can give you instant access to a person’s public records such as marriage and divorce licenses. All you have to do is type in their first and last name and you will be able to see if the person was ever married, and when (or even if) they got divorced. This is a great way to protect your heart from getting broken by a potential cheater.

4) Find Out About Your Date’s Neighborhood

Even if you’ve already been to the person’s house, a background check is still a great way to learn more about the neighborhood they live in. A background check report will compile valuable demographic and census data about an area and reveal information about crime trends. You can also see how much their home is worth, and possibly find out if other people live there.

5) See If You’re Dating a Sex Offender

It’s not something anyone ever wants to discover about their date, but it’s certainly important information to know, nevertheless. Finding out that your Valentine has been convicted of a sex crime is certainly a deal breaker for most reasonable folks.

Besides, it’s not like this is something that a person would reveal over the course of a romantic dinner. “Hey by the way, I’m a sex offender.” How else would you be able to find something like that out, without performing a background check?

Running a background check on the person you’re dating isn’t always pretty. You may not get the answers you want, but at least you’ll know the truth about who you’re with.

 

Jessica Ruane blogs for Instant Checkmate, a company that provides premium criminal background checks to individuals.

 

5 Ways To Be More Creative

Journal

Creativity is important to any person; our levels of creativity can influence our careers, our relationships and our choices. Often those lacking in creativity find they do struggle in certain areas of life and can be envious of those who find creativity comes easily.  Although it’s either in your nature to be creative or not, there are ways to encourage your creativity. All of us are creative on some level; just some of us aren’t sure how to use that creativity. Here are ten ways to encourage creativity-

  1. Keep A Journal

Writing every day is proven to help our brains start thinking creatively. Even if you are just writing down your own thoughts writing is a way of expressing yourself. Soon you will find it comes naturally and you will barely even have to think about what it is you are writing. Try to stick to doing this every single day.

  1. Take Up Photography

Most of us now have a good camera in our pockets- our phones! With great apps now like instagram it’s easy to create your own beautiful photos. If you make a pact with yourself to take five inspiring photos a day you will automatically start seeing things in a different light. You will be constantly thinking of the world in a creative way and looking for opportunities to capture a moment.

  1. Sign Up To Pinterest

Pinterest is a great place to start creativity. It’s a place to make virtual mood boards. You don’t have to use it to inspire a particular project, make your own boards just for fun and to understand your likes and what inspires you as an individual.

  1. Make Your Social Life Creative

When you go out to a bar or a restaurant take in the decor and the way in which it is set up. Someone has had to come up with the design, think about the choices they have made. Make it part of your everyday life to take in your surroundings. Visit more art galleries and watch more films. Be conscious of what you are watching. Someone has had to come up with the story, design the set and the costumes. All of these take a lot of creativity. Think about the choices they have made and pick up on the details.

  1. Attend Creative Thinking Training

If you really need an extra boost when it comes to creativity consider putting your mind into the hands of an expert to train you to learn how to be more creative using brainstorm facilitation.

Eilidh MacRae works for Now Go Create and would recommend them for creative thinking training.

5 Most Controversial Album Cover Photos of All Time

At one time, the cover of an album was almost as important as the music it contained. In order to entice buyers or to generate publicity, some musicians pushed the boundaries of good taste right over the edge. Here are arguably five of the most controversial album covers of all time. Yes, there are some worse examples from lesser known artists, but these album covers all graced the works of some of the most legendary names in the business.

The Beatles, “Yesterday and Today”

The original cover of this album, which was only released in the United States and Canada, had an image of the smiling Fab Four, wearing butcher smocks and holding bloodied baby doll parts and chunks of meat. While this album cover would probably not even raise a single eyebrow today, at the time, the image was very jarring, especially for such an influential band. Most of these album covers were either destroyed or had a more innocent image slapped over the top of the offending picture.

Nirvana, “Nevermind”

Many people find this album cover, which depicts a naked baby swimming towards a dollar bill on a hook, controversial, but often for different reasons. Some people find the sight of the naked baby’s penis offensive, while others didn’t like that the wee one was floundering around in a pool. Still others don’t like the message of a baby chasing after money.

Lynyrd Skynyrd, “Street Survivors”

At first, there was nothing controversial about this album cover, which depicted the band standing on a street, surrounded by flames. Unfortunately, only days after this album was released, a plane carrying the band crashed, killing three of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s members, as well as four others.

After the plane crash, the album cover was changed, at the request of family members, to one that showed the band standing against a black-coloured background.

The Jimi Hendrix Experience, “Electric Ladyland,” U.K. Version

If you think the “Electric Ladyland” album cover released in the U.K. that featured 19 naked women and a photograph of Jimi Hendrix was the artist’s idea, you’d be wrong. He had actually wanted this album cover to show the band members with their families. Instead, Track, the U.K. label, chose the naked ladies. The Hendrix estate considers the United States version, which features a blurry photo of Hendrix, the official album cover.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono, “Unfinished Music, No 1: Two Virgins”

As the comedienne Jerry Seinfeld once said, “There is good naked and there is bad naked.” The cover of “Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins,” which featured John Lennon and Yoko Ono standing nude and unsmiling was bad naked — or maybe, just uncomfortable naked. The back of this album featured the couple nude from behind.

It is, however, a good look at what men and women looked like before the Brazilian and man-scaping came into vogue.

Author Byline: Kerstin has a strong passion in graphic design. In between pinning her favorite graphics on Pinterest, she works for several Sydney printing services creating eye-catching marketing collateral for her clients.

Why African Countries Score Higher in the Happiness Index

When it comes to being happy, citizens of Africa tend to be the happiest. This comes as a shock to some people who tend to see Africa as a land filled mostly with poverty, but that poverty leads to simplicity, and that may just be the key to their happiness.

 They don’t want as much.

Most Africans are not materialistic, whether because they choose to do so or because their economic situation forces them too. There is no desire to purchase the biggest and best items, and there is no overall drive to become rich and famous. Not wanting materialistic items or coveting possessions owned by others removes some of the stress and burden that people in other countries feel. Social class is most African countries is not determined by the type of clothes worn or address of your home, and this lack of desire and longing tends to make everyone happier.

 They focus on family.

Many African cultures put family first, and most households consist of generations of family members. These large families help children grow up to feel extremely loved, and everyone in the home is there to lean on one another to help them, both emotionally and financially if necessary. Strong family values allows the people of Africa to be happy because they’re constantly surrounded by love and appreciation.

 They focus on culture.

Most African countries are still true to their roots. They celebrate holidays and rituals together as a community, indulging in feasts and dancing with one another. These celebrations allow them to constantly get to know everyone in their community and engage in activities with people who share the same beliefs as they do.

 They share similar experiences.

In the United States, it is very common for the rich and poor to live in the same towns, but people let their financial differences get in the way of building relationships, and this can cause a disconnect between communities. In most African communities, most families share similar experiences. Most of them are poor with little to no electricity and transportation, and these similarities allow everyone in the community to work together as a team and look out for one another when they’re in need.

 They’re simple.

Everyone knows that technology plays a huge role in the lives of most Americans, and this technology has been the reason that there is no longer a desire for face-to-face communication or why everyone is constantly busy. In Africa, most of these technologies are not readily available. When people want to communicate, they get together—they don’t text or send social media messages. Without the constant desire to play apps on an iPhone or spend countless hours on Pinterest, they’re able to spend more time with their friends or family members engaging in real conversations and enjoying one another, and this simplicity is much more valuable than any technology.

 The fact that Africans are much happier than any other country goes to show that money truly cannot buy happiness. Instead, it’s all about living simply and enjoying time spent with friends and family that will truly make you happy.

Article prepared by Martha M, Martha currently helps executives preparing to travel to Africa learn Swahili by providing tutoring via Skype.

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