Gunning Daily News

3 Ways Soapstone Enhances Home Design

December 2, 2016 12:33 am

(Family Features)--Move over, marble and granite. There’s a new, old stone that’s coming back into vogue. After first coming into use 5,000 years ago, soapstone is once again becoming a “go-to” material for kitchen and bath designs, indoor and outdoor living spaces and more.

There are three primary reasons for the revived interest in soapstone, according to Steven Schrenk, digital media director and design consultant at Polycor, who has been working with natural stone for 22 years.

Aesthetics: One major factor driving soapstone’s appeal is shifting aesthetic trends. While designers and homeowners have been fascinated by the bright, wide range of colors and bold patterns that could be discovered in natural stone, people are coming back to a tonal, more muted palette, according to Schrenk.

Schrenk sees more designers working with textures within a similar palette of color and playing up the tactile qualities of materials and patterns within that limited palette.


“This is where soapstone plays well in pairing with these different finishes,” he said. “It tends to blend into its space and become more integrated in the whole design instead of being a separate, individual entity.”

Another aesthetic benefit of soapstone is that multiple tonalities can be achieved depending on the finishing techniques.

“It may be a cool, blue-gray color when left in its natural honed state or a deep, sultry black when waxed or enhanced,” Schrenk said. “You can go from a highly figured, dramatic statement piece to a minimal and moody silky surface in the slabs that are neutral without veining.”

Function: When it comes to home design, there’s no doubt that appearance is key, but so is a material’s ability to stand up to its task. Soapstone is nonporous, so it doesn’t stain. It’s softer than granite and marble, dense and heavy, but not brittle. It doesn’t chip easily, but if it does chip, it can be repaired with sandpaper. Those high-performance features make soapstone well-suited to serve numerous functions.

Versatility: “No matter how you slice it, there are 101 ways to style soapstone; whereas with some other materials, there are more limitations,” Schrenk said.

Because of the stone’s ability to absorb and radiate heat, it can be used for unique items, such as pizza ovens and foot warmers, says Glenn Bowman, owner of Vermont Soapstone. He has also seen soapstone used in a variety of everyday applications, both indoors and outdoors, including tiles, flooring, backsplashes, sinks and a variety of custom stonework.

Source: usenaturalstone.com. 

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Know the Signs of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

December 1, 2016 12:54 am

Carbon monoxide poison is a silent danger that claims over 400 lives in the U.S. Annually, as well as over 20,000 visits to the emergency room, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

To keep your family safe, know the signs of carbon monoxide poisoning:

- Headaches
- Nausea
- Vomiting
- Dizziness
- Shortness of breath
- Fatigue

"Safety is our top priority at DTE Energy, and we urge residents to be particularly alert to carbon monoxide danger during the fall and winter heating season. It's when CO exposure most frequently occurs," says Brad Burcz, senior safety and health engineer, DTE Energy.  "One of the best defenses against CO poisoning is to install a carbon monoxide alarm near all sleeping areas in your home. If dangerous levels of CO are detected, an audible alarm will alert you."

DTE offers the following tips to prevent CO poisoning in homes and businesses:

- For businesses, install carbon monoxide alarms in main areas away from vents and appliances or equipment that produce smoke or steam.

- Replace batteries in CO alarms annually.

- If a CO alarm is activated, or the presence of carbon monoxide is suspected, immediately get out of the house or building into fresh air, and if necessary, seek medical attention.

- Ensure all fuel-burning appliances are operating and venting properly. 

- Get an annual furnace inspection by a licensed professional.

- Check yearly to verify flues, vents and chimneys are connected, in good condition and clear of debris.

Source: dteenergy.com

Published with permission from RISMedia.


5 Easy Steps for a Cleaner Home

December 1, 2016 12:54 am

(Family Features)--Whether it is a family dinner after a long day at work, sitting down with a book on a rainy day or entertaining friends during the weekend, there is nothing like spending quality time in the comfort of your own home. With a few simple steps, you can have a fresher, cleaner and healthier home, taking comfort to a whole new level.

Leave your shoes at the door. The bottoms of shoes can track bacteria and chemicals into the home from the outdoors that you may not notice. Create a designated station near the front door to drop shoes off – this can serve as a reminder for your family as they walk in, and guests will hopefully follow suit when they arrive.

Disinfect the handles on doors and appliances. Viruses and bacteria can live on indoor surfaces for several hours, and sometimes even days. Get into the habit of wiping down doorknobs and handles, especially in the bathroom, with disinfectant each night or after use to limit the spread of germs around the house.

Use natural cleaning products. Common household cleaning products leave chemicals lingering in the air long after the cleaning is over. Opt for greener methods that get the job done without compromising the air you breathe. There are dozens of DIY recipes to create natural cleaners on your own, such as an all-purpose cleaner made of one part baking soda, two parts vinegar and two parts water, not only making for a healthier home, but also saving you money.

Check your air filter every 30 days. Every breath is a reason to care about your air, and more time spent at home can stir up indoor allergens like pet dander and dust.

Expose textiles to heat. Just because your sheets are odor-free and the curtains are stain-free doesn’t mean that the fabrics are free of dust mites or other bacteria. Tackle hidden germs by washing your bedding in hot water each week and throwing your pillows and curtains in the dryer for at least 30 minutes.

For more ways to make your home happy and healthy, visit Filtrete.com.  

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Cold, Bronchitis or Pneumonia? How to Tell the Difference

December 1, 2016 12:54 am

When illness hits hard, it can be hard to differentiate symptoms—especially when you're curled up in bed. However, it is important people are aware of the differences between a cold, bronchitis and pneumonia so that you know when to seek professional help.

- Colds may be characterized by a clear runny nose, cough, and a low-grade or lack of fever. While it is one of the most common infectious diseases, it is usually mild and resolves without treatment.

- Bronchitis happens when air passages are inflamed. Possible symptoms may include: a frequent cough with mucus, wheezing, fever, and a lack of energy. Brought on by a viral infection, acute bronchitis is more prevalent of the two basic types. Chronic bronchitis is a cough that lasts 2 to 3 months annually, for at least two years—typically caused by smoking.

- Pneumonia produces fluid in the lungs due to an infection. Symptoms may include a cough, fever and difficulty breathing. Older adults, babies and people with other illnesses may need to be hospitalized for treatment.

Source: USA Medical, ABC 4 Utah

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Lesser-Known Jobs That Pay $100,000 or More

November 28, 2016 1:03 am

You don’t need to work on Wall Street, or be a doctor or lawyer, to earn a hundred grand a year or more, says the research team at Glassdoor.com, a site focused on careers.

Lesser-known jobs that pay over $100,000 annually include:

Special agent – Whether you work for law enforcement or a private corporation, people who examine criminal trends and propose crime deterrent strategies can earn a median of $125,000. Qualified candidates should have law enforcement or military backgrounds plus a degree in criminal justice.   

Airline pilot – In addition to ably handling a plane, pilots need to oversee crews and be savvy communicators. Candidates must be certified with an Airline Transport Pilot License and hold a bachelor’s degree in aviation or have served in the military. Median salary is $134,000.

Regional sales executive - Successful sales executives need to be well-versed in their company’s products and acutely aware of customer needs. Stellar communicators – with or without a college degree – earn a median income of $103,500.

Nurse practitioners – Those with a master’s degree in nursing can earn a median of $106,300. They will perform physical exams, treat common injuries and illnesses, and prescribe some medications.

Reservoir engineer – These professionals identify and pursue oil and gas reserves underground.  The goal is to extract the maximum amount of energy without over-tapping the reservoir. Those with a degree in chemical engineering – and some experience in the field – can earn a median of $143,000.

Equity research associate – Qualified candidates with a bachelor’s degree in finance, economics or similar use financial models to analyze and report on financial trends. The job incorporates the excitement of investment banking but is less demanding, and commands a median salary of $100,000.

Geophysicist – Geophysicists study the earth using gravity, seismic, electrical and magnetic methods. Some study how the earth is changing while others locate valuable minerals beneath its surface. Requires a bachelor’s or a master’s degree in geology and pays a median $119,380.

Software architect – They take the lead in communicating about system developments with the company’s leadership. Most candidates have at least a bachelor’s degree in math, software engineering, or similar, although some acquire the right skills through an online coding boot camp or another accelerated online program. Long hours pay off with a median salary of $116,500.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Creating Healthy Food Habits for Your Kids

November 28, 2016 1:03 am

(Family Features)--More than nine in 10 millennial moms think it's important for their kids to learn about where their food comes from, and more than three-quarters of those moms actively do things with their kids to help learn just that, according to recent findings.

Building healthy habits is the top reason moms cite for encouraging more learning when it comes to food, according to research conducted by IPSOS on behalf of Cuties – the sweet little clementines. Even when the weather is colder outside, these tips make it fun for families to learn about where their food comes from and help encourage kids to eat healthy for a lifetime.

Grocery shop together or go to a farmers market. Many cities now have year-round indoor markets, where together you can select fruits and veggies to try. Often the farmers are there, so you can learn about produce and get ideas for how to prepare unfamiliar items at home.

Cook with your kids. Find fun recipes that let them explore fresh foods where they can be creative. Find age-appropriate ways to involve them, like stirring or measuring, and encourage them to get hands-on with recipes, such as this fun Flower Salad recipe from registered dietitian Ellie Krieger.

Explore the story of where some of their favorite foods come from. Kids learn and remember information when it comes in the form of a story. Cuties is giving families the chance to uncover those stories by encouraging them to submit questions using #AskAGrower on Facebook. Actual growers will answer with stories about how this sweet, seedless and easy-to-peel fruit is grown with care by their family of growers. A video series at cutiescitrus.com/our-story also helps bring the stories to life.

Source: cutiescitrus.com

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Protect Your Feet and Ankles This Winter

November 28, 2016 1:03 am

It is never a good time for a foot or ankle injury, but some might consider the colder months to be the most inconvenient time to have their feet or ankles out of commission. Ironically, it is during the winter when many injuries in the lower extremities occur due to weather-related incidents.

To help, ACFAS provides three critical and easy-to-follow tips that can mean all the difference between comfort and pain in your feet during the winter.

Wear the Right Shoes 
"Whether caused by wearing high-heels on icy surfaces or just sheer accident, falls are one of the most common causes of weather-related injuries. Often time, wintertime falls result in an ankle sprain, or worse, a broken bone in the foot, ankle, heel or toe. I encourage patients to wear low-heeled shoes or boots with a traction sole to help prevent slipping," says Massachusetts—based foot and ankle surgeon and ACFAS Fellow Member Greg Catalano, DPM, FACFAS.

Equally important, wearing warm shoes or boots can protect a person's feet in frigid temps. "Wearing water-resistant, insulated footwear serves as a barrier between the feet and outside elements; this is particularly important for patients with neuropathy or Raynaud's phenomenon. While different, both conditions block normal blood flow in the feet and places a person at a greater risk of developing additional problems. In some cases, people can incur chilblains, which are itchy, tender, red patches that emerge in response to cold air, or in extreme cases, frostbite," adds Dr. Catalano.  

Remember, the thicker the insulation, the greater the protection is between a person's feet and the adverse effects caused by cold weather.

Keep Your Feet Dry
Damp feet can cause cold feet and can be just as harmful. Wearing moisture-wicking socks will help keep feet dry from internal wetness caused by sweat, while water-resistant footwear will ward off external weather elements that can cause dampness.   

"I encourage my patients to wear appropriate socks as a standard practice during the winter months to guard their feet in both foreseen and unexpected inclement weather conditions," says Dr. Catalano. 

For some, inserting foot warmers in their shoes serves as an extra layer of protection. Before doing so, it is best to consult with a foot and ankle surgeon. If worn incorrectly, foot warmers can burn the skin and cause severe harm for those with nerve damage.

Get the Right Help
With all that can happen to the feet and ankles during the winter months, it is best to know what to do when faced with a condition or injury brought on by cold weather. 

"In the case of a suspected fracture or sprain caused by a fall, see a foot and ankle surgeon or visit the emergency room as soon as possible for prompt diagnosis and treatment. If medical care is unavailable, for temporary relief of symptoms, try the RICE principle—Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. But, remember, delaying treatment can result in long-term complications," adds Dr. Catalano.  

For feet that are exposed to cold and dampness for a prolonged period, soak them in warm water – avoiding hot water or direct heat. Soaking them in warm water will allow the feet to regain their normal temperature gradually.  

Source: foothealthfacts.org.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


5 Snorkeling Hot Spots to Add to Your Bucket List

November 25, 2016 12:45 am

If you love snorkeling, you’ve probably discovered some favorite spots in the Caribbean islands. But contributors to Travel and Leisure Magazine recommend five dream spots for ocean aficionados that can’t be beat for snorkeling and other ocean sports:

Komodo Islands, Indonesia – While the giant lizards here get most of the attention, Komodo’s Pink Beach will put you in a colorful undersea garden with rays, schools of groupers, and hawksbill turtles. Alternatively, visit the sea surrounding Komodo National Park, which offers unmatched underwater exploration with over 1,000 species of fish, 260 types of coral, and 14 types of endangered whales, dolphins, and giant turtles – not to mention rays, sharks, and a flourishing coral reef.

Buck Island, St. Croix, Virgin Islands – In this paradise for beginning snorkelers, you can make your way through the Elkhorn coral barrier reefs in brilliant blue waters and see colorful parrot fish, three species of sea turtles, terns, and endangered brown pelicans.

Palau – Only one of the marine lakes that dot Palau is open to snorkeling, but it’s worth the trip. Jellyfish Lake on the uninhabited island of Eil Malk lives up to its name, filled with millions of golden jellyfish that have thrived in the isolated lake for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. For a truly other-worldly experience, you can snorkel among these amorphous floating creatures, which have a non-poisonous sting that can hardly be felt by humans.

Great Barrier Reef, Australia – It’s impossible to talk about the world’s best snorkeling spots without mentioning the world’s largest coral reef ecosystem. Made up of 2,900 individual reefs that stretch over 1,400 miles off the Australian shoreline, the area boasts eye-popping coral, brilliant marine life, barracuda, manta rays, and the bones of ships that have crashed on the reef over the years. For an easy place to start, head to the Whitsunday Islands right off the shore of Queensland.

Hawaii’s Big Island – The underwater state park at Kealakekua Bay offers spectacular coral and colorful fish. Hit the water near the Captain Cook Monument to see dolphins, turtles and a variety of undersea creatures. For more underwater adventure, head to the crystal waters of Honaunau Bay to explore coral gardens, dolphins and tropical fish.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Keep Your Home Safe Without Compromising Style

November 25, 2016 12:45 am

(Family Features)--Home accidents cause nearly 13 million injuries a year. Some simple updates to your home can help you avoid these accidents, as well as give your rooms a facelift.

“People often think that home improvement projects mean a complete overhaul of a room,” says Matt Muenster, a licensed contractor, designer and HGTV and DIY Network TV host, “but there are dozens of smaller updates that people can DIY that can have a big impact on the room. It’s the subtle details that make a difference in how you use and enjoy the space.”

To get your home makeover underway, try these tips from Muenster, who has teamed up with 3M, to keep your home both safe and stylish:

The Less Clutter, the Better: Sometimes the bulky knife block can be an eyesore or take up too much space on small countertops. If you are looking for new and interesting ways to store sharp knives, try installing magnet strips on the backsplash in the kitchen. This will not only keep your counter clutter free, but give your kitchen some flair.

So Fresh and So Clean: Enjoy fresh, filtered water at home without having a bulky filter attached to the faucet or the hassle of constantly refilling a pitcher. The new 3M Maximum Under Sink Water Filtration System stays out of sight while allowing high water flow from your existing faucet. The system, which is available at Lowe’s stores or Lowes.com, is easy to install using just a screwdriver, wrench and drill, and the quick-change filter lasts up to six months. Best of all, it reduces contaminants that may be in your water, including 99.3 percent of lead, as well as microbial cysts, chlorine taste and odor, sand, sediment, rust and soil.  

Step It Up: Have kids at home? Put a stepstool that slides into the toe kick beneath the sink so that your kids are able to roll it out like a drawer and step up to wash their hands. This is also great for parents who have young chefs in the house who like to help out in the kitchen.

A Soft Landing: If you find yourself having “butterfingers” more often than not, try putting down flooring that is made from a soft material like cork in the working areas of the kitchen. This way, you can help prevent breakage next time something slips through your fingers.

Get a Grip: If you are planning a bathroom remodel or simply want to make a change, choose tile with textured surfaces. This will make them less slippery under wet, bare feet. Smaller tile with more grout also helps prevent slippery surfaces.

Let There Be Light: Whether it’s a trip to the kitchen for a midnight snack or to the bathroom in the middle of the night, toe kick LED lighting that is connected to a motion sensor can be a great nightlight that doesn’t always have to be left on.

A kitchen or bathroom remodel can be big or small, but with some planning and the right tools, the projects can be accomplished using your own hands. By tackling these projects yourself, not only will you have the assurance that your home is safer without sacrificing style, but your new space will also feel extra special.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Americans Overspend During Holidays

November 25, 2016 12:45 am

We all know what it's like to spend more than we meant to. The SunTrust Banks, Inc. annual Holiday Financial Confidence survey reveals that 43 percent of Americans feel pressure to spend more than they can afford during the holiday season. Pressure to overspend is up four percent since the survey was first conducted in 2014 by Harris Poll, but down slightly from a high of 46 percent last year.

In the 2016 SunTrust Holiday Financial Confidence survey, two-thirds of Americans (66 percent) admitted they typically experience stress during this time of year.

To create a more memorable holiday season, SunTrust offers the following tips:

Align spending with your values. The most meaningful gift you can give isn't a present you buy, but your presence in the moment. Take the financial pressure off by giving gifts that promote personal connection, like offering to help an elderly grandparent with grocery shopping for a month.

Embrace creative and unique gifts. If you're an artist, gift a sketch. If your friend collects vinyl, scour secondhand stores for unique records. Reject the notion that a special gift has to break your bank account.   

Trim costs, not your social life. Togetherness around food is a hallmark of the holidays and a great way to connect with loved ones, but it can be expensive if you're the host. To avoid the high cost of a lavish party, host a wine and cheese gathering or try an old-fashioned potluck.

Choose the virtual shopping cart. Start your holiday shopping early and price compare online first. This can help relieve the pressure of last-minute purchases that often end up costing more.

Take preemptive steps to avoid a holiday hangover. If reconciling your checking account balance isn't a habit, the holidays are a good time to start. Tracking purchases every few days can help you keep spending under control and avoid financial regret in January.Source:  SunTrust

Published with permission from RISMedia.