Gardening Tips for Beginners

Gardening Tips for Beginners

Gardening-Tips for beginners.

The foremost tip in this will be the most important. Find the hardiness zone of the local area. It can be found on the USDA website, and many other websites can also help identify local hardiness zones. The hardiness zone is a geographical zone defining certain climate conditions relevant to plant survival and growth. If a plant that thrives on sunshine and humidity finds itself in Alaska, it simply will not grow or survive. That is why it is the first and most important step.

Know what is involved.

Helen Lee Schifter, who thoroughly enjoys gardening, believes that any beginner entering into a new hobby or craft should also start small. When starting with a huge garden the first year, anyone would be overwhelmed. Starting small allows growth in the coming years, after knowing the challenges and obstacles of the first year. There is still plenty to work with and gives way to experiments and experience without spending too much money. Seedlings are a good way to start as starting seeds to a full plant can be an art of itself. Seedling or bedding plants are often the plants seen already sprouting at the garden centers. Just like in the tea ceremony Chado, rushing through is not the right way.

Time to plant.

Once the hardiness zone is identified and a decision has been made on size, it’s now time to decide on what is wanted to plant. Plants and seed packets have information on them about what zone they grow best in, so match that up with the local hardiness zone and they should thrive. Knowing the kind of soil the plants will be planted in is ideal. There is all kinds of local information on soil online. Soil can be improved with bags of gardening or planting soil, whether a gardening bed or pots are being used.

The location of the garden is also key. The garden should have enough sunlight. Most plants and vegetables require at least 6 hours of sun per day. A watering source should be close by. Having to convey water when the plants are thirsty can be a difficult task. With a hose or water supply nearby it can make quick work of watering the plants. A tell-tell sign of thirsty plants is having dry soil approximately one inch down from the top of the soil.


While practicing all the aforementioned tips a gardener must have patience. Chado, the ancient Japanese tea ceremony, is much like gardening. They are about the journey, not the destination. Helen Lee Schifter, a former wall street trader, once said on the topic of starting her career “My biggest mistake starting out was a sense of impatience”. This can be translated to gardening easily. Schifter has been studying for 8 years and is still seen as a beginner. Likewise, with gardening, it is a skill that developed over time. As a gardener gets more comfortable in his garden, the more they will see improvements.

Executive Producer John Lasseter’s New Animated Short Blush Premiers at the Tribeca Film Festival

Executive Producer John Lasseter’s New Animated Short Blush Premiers at the Tribeca Film Festival

Blush, the first short from Apple Original Films and Skydance Animation, took its first bow at the Tribeca Film Festival in June. This inaugural release from a multi-year partnership between the two studios premiered at Tribeca as part of its showcase of animated short films curated by Whoopi Goldberg. The animated short is produced by Heather Schmidt Feng Yanu of “Toy Story” and the “Cars” trilogy, who is also director of inclusion at Skydance. Executive producers are Dana Goldberg, David Ellison, and the legendary John Lasseter of “Toy Story,” “Monsters, Inc.,” and “Cars” fame.

The 11-minute film opens with a young horticulturist-astronaut whose ship collides with an asteroid that knocks it off course. He crash-lands on an uninhabited dwarf planet, a cold, hard, gray rock. The space-faring botanist desperately hopes to create just a tiny bit of oxygen by growing a plant he took on board, but it withers and dies.

Just as the protagonist is running out of air, another spaceship careens into the planet. Out of it steps a comely alien astronaut, whose dark pink face seems to have a permanent blush. She saves the botanist and gives him a new life.

“Blush” will be released on Apple TV+. It is shot in 3-D, but it has, “Variety” reports, “quaint, natural pictorial tones of 2D, yoked with Hollywood’s frequent focus on core human relations.”

Skydance did graphics for the film in the U.S. and Spain.

The film was directed by Joe Mateo, who lost his wife Mary Ann after her 8-year battle with breast cancer in 2017.

Mateo said that losing his wife inspired the direction of the film.

Mateo told Variety “After I lost Mary Ann, I suddenly couldn’t breathe, it was a scary moment. I had to call a friend who is a doctor and ask him: ‘What is going on with me?’ He said: ‘Joe, you are having a panic attack.’ I realized that Mary Ann was my air. I was struggling to breathe because I lost my air.”

Love is the oxygen of life became the central conceit of the film. Mateo chose to set the film on a tiny planet because, as he said, “I just loved setting it on something intimate and small, to capture the intimacy of the story, to contain it and focus on the characters.”

John Lasseter gave the go-ahead for the production of this short message of healing and hope a couple of months before the lockdown in 2020. No one, of course, expected the pandemic to happen in the middle of producing it.

Producing the film, studio executives have told the press, gave everyone involved a sense of normalcy, something to look forward to when getting up every morning. Now, Mateo says, releasing the film is about getting the animated short to the widest audience possible when people need it most. Says director Mateo, “It will be great if it can be a source of hope and healing for a lot of people.”

“Blush” is the inaugural release for Executive Producer John Lasseter at Skydance. Lasseter brings his reputation as an “industry visionary” from his years as Chief Creative Officer at Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar, where he broke new ground for family entertainment with “WALL-E,” “Toy Story 3,” “Ratatouille,” and “Up.” With Blush, Lasseter continues to demonstrate the revitalization of the animation business and shows the dramatic potential of the genre. 

How To Help Your Teen Driver Stay Safe on the Road

How To Help Your Teen Driver Stay Safe on the Road

So you’ve finally reached the dreaded age where they’re able to learn to drive – you hoped that it would never come, because you just didn’t need another thing to worry about. But it did, and now here we are. The best thing you can do now is make sure you do everything you can to help them stay safe on the road!

There are so many things to worry about with a teenager driving, from wondering if they’ll be able to resist breaking the speed limit to worrying about them driving drunk, to more general worries like crashes, insurance, and helping them pay for gas. Even after passing their test there is a learning curve to driving which it can take a while for a new driver to get their head around. However, helping them get it right straight away when they’re still solidifying their driving habits can help them turn into a great driver for life – so what are some ways you can help them stay safe on the road?

Luckily you can help them learn to be safe in several ways. 

  1. Make use of online simulations

Firstly, there are plenty of online simulations you can get them to practice for all kinds of environments, byt using sites like Zutobi Driver’s ed. Not only can these be useful resources to make sure they’ve remembered their theory and help them revise it, you can also do hazard tests and check your knowledge in many different ways.

  1. Teach them what they need to know

If you;re an experienced driver yourself you can take them driving and point out the difficult spots or dangerous areas. For example, if there’s a local roundabout you know how to navigate in a stress free and safe way, you can take them there and show them what to do. Additionally, if you’re out driving and another driver does something dangerous, make sure you take the time to explain why it was wrong.

  1. Improve their reflexes

Reflexes are incredibly important while driving, and there’s no harm in making sure they’re in tip top condition. This will also be a good way to help with their overall health because you can also just help them invest the time in activities which improve their reflexes such as any sports, which will help their reactions during driving and give them many other benefits.

You’re never going to not worry about your teen driving – but with these helpful tips, you can make sure they know what they’re doing on the road.

Maintaining a Healthy Sleep Schedule

Maintaining a Healthy Sleep Schedule

Maintaining a Healthy Sleep Schedule

Getting enough sleep is vital for good health. It is, in truth, just as essential as eating well and working out. Sadly, several factors might disrupt typical sleep cycles. Individuals are now sleeping less than they used to, and the quality of their sleep has declined.

Whether or not one is presently experiencing sleep difficulties, it is beneficial to consider what healthy sleep looks like. So, they do not pressure themselves to rest in a way that is neither typical nor acceptable.

Sleep, How Much is Really Needed?

No one really knows where the idea that people should aim to get eight hours of sleep nightly originated from. According to one explanation, it may have formed from the concept that a day should be divided into fractions. Thus, a third of the time will be spent working, another third on leisure, and the remainder is spent sleeping. According to German research, the average person sleeps roughly seven hours nightly at the age of forty. Nonetheless, everyone has a unique sleep demand. Some may require five hours of sleep. Many may require six. Most definitely, some people need eight hours of sleep, but they might be an exception.

Few persons have built a résumé as polished and outstanding as the one of Alexander Djerassi at a relatively early age. A quick perusal of his biography and notable accomplishments reveals his incredible flexibility. Although sleep is important to survival, Djerassi high achieving lifestyle may not require the same amount of sleep as an individual that may have less on their daily to-do list.

Is Having a Sleep Schedule Truly Important?

A lack of sleep is a major contributor to obesity. People who get enough sleep eat fewer calories than those who don’t. Hunger hormones are disrupted by sleep loss, and it is thought to be the cause of poor appetite control and weight gain.

A good night’s sleep can improve problem-solving abilities and memorization. Conversely, brain activity has been found to be affected by insufficient sleep. Many areas of athletic and physical performance have been proven to improve with more sleep.

-A lack of adequate sleep each night has been related to a higher risk of heart disease and stroke.

-In general, poor sleep patterns are significantly connected to adverse effects on blood sugar.

-Sleep disturbances are closely connected to depression, especially in individuals who have a sleeping problem.

-Getting adequate sleep each night can boost your immune system and aid in the battle against the common cold.

-Lacking sleep might lower your social abilities and your capacity to perceive the emotions of others.

In conclusion, maintaining a consistent sleep routine might make it easier to fall asleep and to awake. Furthermore, by establishing a pleasant atmosphere and indulging in calming activities before night, minor modifications can drastically enhance one’s sleep and improve overall well-being.
Normal sleep schedules and habits alter with time, so people usually get less sleep as they age. Furthermore, if an individual wakes up feeling refreshed and can go through the day without becoming drowsy or overly exhausted, they are likely obtaining adequate sleep. Alexander Djerassi believes that good sleep is one of the cornerstones of health, alongside nutrition and exercise. People certainly cannot attain ideal health unless they pay attention to their sleeping habits.

Harmful Chemicals in Make-Up You Should Be Aware Of

Harmful Chemicals in Make-Up You Should Be Aware Of

Harmful Chemicals in Make-Up You Should Be Aware Of

Many people think that makeup is safe and will be used to help a person enhance their beauty. Helen Lee Schifter knows that this is not true. She knows a lot about the makeup industry and the harmful ingredients that go into these products. Schifter has done some research and wants people to be aware of the harmful ingredients that are being put into makeup.


These chemicals can interrupt the ability of the body to produce hormones. They can lead to nerve damage as well as issues with the reproductive system. These chemicals can mimic the chemicals that are found in the body. They are used in makeup products to make them more flexible and to be able to hold in color and scent. They have been found in everything from deodorant to lip balm and nail polish. They are often listed on the label under fragrance so it is best to avoid products with just this word listed.


Lead has been banned for some time but it is still showing up in makeup products. Lead has been linked to fertility problems. There was lead found in over 33 top lipstick brands. Lead is not added to the makeup but enters it through contamination. Color additives such as those in lipstick are found to contain lead.

Quaternium 15

This compound in makeup can release dangerous formaldehyde. It can lead to cancer in the human body. These chemicals are often used in maraca and pressed powders. In addition to cancer, this chemical can lead to skin irritation. It is often listed on the label under quats and has been used as a preservative and conditioning agent.

PEG Compounds

These compounds are petroleum based and can be used to make the makeup softer and thicker. They are often found in creams including foundations. These compounds can release toxins that have been known to cause damage to the nervous system. They are also releasing these chemicals into the environment.

Butylated Compounds

People may have heard of these in the form of BHT or BHA. They are put into the makeup so that they have a longer shelf life. These chemicals may lead to allergies and they have been known to damage organs including the organs of the productive system. These items should be avoided. Since they are commonly a person is at a higher risk if these compounds are in their makeup.


These are often used as a preservative and they can easily get into the skin. These chemicals mess with the hormones in the body and they can mimic estrogen. This has been linked to an increase in breast cancer. These chemicals also impact the nervous system and the immune system. There have been several warnings issued for parabens so it is best to avoid products that contain them. These are some of the harmful things found in makeup that Helen Lee Schifter wants readers to be aware of. When a person is shopping for makeup it is best to look for those that are all-natural.

What to Expect in Moonlighting: An Oral History by Scott Ryan

What to Expect in Moonlighting: An Oral History by Scott Ryan

If you’re someone who devours new television shows, are the go-to person for recommendations among your friends, and want to hold your fame, you’ve got to read this. You’re about to earn some serious brownie points by being the first to know all about the 80s iconic show, Moonlighting. Here’s a little chat with pop culture storyteller and television historian Scott Ryan.

Hi Scott, your latest book, “Moonlighting: An Oral History,” still holds its position on the top 50 Television History & Criticism books on Amazon since its release. Congratulations!

How’s the overall response so far? 

It has been incredible. I have been getting emails almost every other day from fans of the series. I always put my email in the back of all my books and say that if you have a kind email to send, send it. I do not have interest in the mean ones. Most bookstores have not been carrying the book, so we need more stores to jump on the eighties bandwagon.

Why did you choose to write about Moonlighting?

 I have always been amazed that no one had ever written a book about it.  I have wanted to write this book for years. Finally, two years ago, Glenn Caron gave me his blessing and I ran with it.

Would you say this book is mainly for those who are fans of the show?

Well, you are asking the author. No author would say his book is for less people. But I honestly believe this book should be read by all television lovers. This will really explain to viewers how hard it is to create a piece of art. And how much harder it is to make a quality piece of art. I have had many interviewers tell me that they never saw an episode of the series, but they loved the book.

What can you share about “Moonlighting: An Oral History” that will resonate with today’s television viewers and potential readers?

I think they will get a look at how Moonlighting changed the way TV was made and produced. It is also a great reminder at how viewers want TV that challenges them. That making average TV should be thought of as the greatest crime. There is a really amazing story in this book. I was lucky to get to tell it.

Can you share some of your fanboy moments from your time meeting and interviewing some of Moonlighting’s cast/crew members? 

Look, I got to watch an episode of Moonlighting with Cybill Shepherd. We watched over zoom together. I will never forget that my entire life. Jay Daniel produced Roseanne, Moonlighting, Cybill and he is now one of my dear friends. I have been blessed to talk to the very  people that inspired me to be a writer. I will never get over how my life and their lives  intersected. This entire process has been a dream for me.

What’s the one thing you learned about Moonlighting that bowled you over?

That the network just let them spend as much money as they wanted. There was no one on set telling them to finish an episode, or cut a scene or anything. They were just left alone because the ratings were so good. I also finally figured out exactly how they filmed Season 4. I have never understood why they didn’t have Cybill and Bruce in scenes together, but they are in every episode. It just didn’t make sense. It took lots of interviews to piece together the filming sequences. But I think readers will love the answer to that question. I am not telling you, though. You’ll have to read the book.

Aside from Moonlighting, what are some of your favorite binge-able shows of all time? 

Well Twin Peaks and thirtysomething have always been my favorite. I also love anything by David E. Kelley. Right now, I love Hacks on HBO, Good Fight on Paramount + and Ted Lasso on Apple +, but my goodness, who can afford to buy all those platforms. Just forget it and read my book.

Ready for some rapid-fire questions? Here we go:

Morning person or a night owl 

Morning person (that kills me to say that now)

Television shows or movies 

TV all the way

Movie theatre or streaming at home

 Streaming, I don’t need to hear a stranger’s comments on the film. I am fine.

Popcorn or Nachos

 Nachos and piled so high they are messy.

Night Court or Family Ties

 WOW. This is an amazing question and a stumper. It is basically even, but I was so in love with Mallory, that FT has to win. But great question.

A preferred writing snack

 Grapes. I know that sounds weird, but I love to stop and start when I am writing. I adore getting up and getting something. So I love for it to be grapes. You write a few paragraphs, then you go to the fridge, get a grape and go back and sit down and then rinse and repeat.

What was the last movie you watched?

 Jackie Brown. Which will give you a hint at what I want my next book to be about. The Movies of Tarantino.

Solving Mysteries in Real-Life and Fiction: T L Bequette

Solving Mysteries in Real-Life and Fiction: T L Bequette

Hi T L Bequette, congrats on your first novel, “Good Lookin’: A Joe Turner Mystery.” We’re so excited to hear more about you and the book. Let’s get to it.

As a criminal defense attorney, your practice involves defending accused murderers. How did you shift gears and decide to write fiction?

I’ve always loved to write creatively. As an attorney, I have plenty of opportunities to write, but creativity is generally frowned upon. You can’t make up the law, after all. So, when I finally stopped making excuses and started writing, it was a wonderful feeling—like seeing an old friend for the first time in years.

How did Joe Turner start to take shape in your mind? When did you know you had to get the story out there? 

I’ve practiced criminal defense for nearly thirty years, so my job has given me quite a trove of real-life tales that are often crazier than fiction. Also, a significant part of the book follows the exploits of twin boys. As a father of teenage twins, I’ve gained some insight there as well. They would disagree, by the way

Book cover of Good Lookin' by T L Bequette
Available on Amazon

In “Good Lookin’: A Joe Turner Mystery,” how much of it would you say is fiction and how much of it is derived from real life? 

The protagonist, Joe Turner is a criminal defense attorney like me. When faced with defending a client who is actually innocent, he stresses out and drinks too much. Also, a bit like me, I suppose. Joe is also a smartass and very witty—like I would be if I could magically stop conversations and take lots of time to think of great lines.

If you weren’t a criminal defense attorney, would you still write a crime mystery? Do you want to explore other genres?

That’s a great question. I’ve thought about other genres, but I have so much material and stories yet to tell, I think mysteries will keep me busy for a while.

If you have a chance to partner with Netflix, who would you like cast for as Joe Turner? 

Kyle Chandler, I think. He’s likeable.

Besides the real-life observations, where do you draw your inspiration from?

In my genre, Louise Penny is a wonderful writer. Also, you can’t beat John Grisham for storytelling.

Without giving much away, can you think of the one scene that made you go, “Ah, this is perfect!” 

Is it okay to have two? The first involves an abusive bully. Spoiler alert, I suppose, but let’s just say I enjoyed writing the resolution of that part of the story. Also, there is one final twist in the very last line of the book. I think it’s cool.

T. L. Bequette

Here are some rapid-fire questions for you. Answer with the first thought that comes to your mind. Ready? Let’s go. 

Tea or Coffee


‘Rear Window’ or ‘L.A. Confidential’

Rear Window

Jazz or Country Music


Prefer writing in the morning or late at night

Early am

Video Game or Movie


What’s the one thing you learned when writing the book? 

That organization — keeping plot lines and characters straight — is an underrated part of writing.

Tell us one thing about yourself that we likely don’t know. 

I once worked in the largest prune dehydrator in the world.

Why hire an outsourced finance & accounting department?

Why hire an outsourced finance & accounting department?

Hiring an outsourced finance and accounting department might not sound like the obvious next step for your business, but actually outsourcing is a very economical thing to do. As well as taking a task off your hands, it means you don’t have to hire a whole team for your own business which saves you time and means you can keep focusing on growing your business financially, not growing the number of employees and cutting into your profit margins. Outsourcing this kind of work is also very efficient – you tell them what to do and they go away and do it rather than you having to have a direct hand in everything that goes on.

Secondly, by outsourcing you are essentially handing it over to the experts – this will be a firm that handles all sorts of financial and accounting contracts for a living, which means they’ll have a wide range of experience and formidable problem solving skills when they run into any kinks, which means not only that your finances and accounts will be in good hands but also that you won’t be having to put out fires or explain problems every five minutes – provided you make sure you give them all the information they need to do their jobs properly when you’re starting out.

Having an in-house team does have its benefits. There’s nothing wrong with having a dedicated team which is only working with your company – it means they know the ins and outs of day to day business for a start, and secondly people who work directly for a company tend to be more invested in the outcome of their work meaning they may be more committed to finding the best solutions for you as it affects them too. However, outsourced accountants and financiers also want to be the best in their business – so though they may not be attached to your business in an emotional sense, they will still want to do a great job for you, so you’ll want to work with them in the future.

It’s also very easy to find the right outsourcing firm for you, especially if you use an outsourcing firm like CFOshare CFO for hire who will do the heavy lifting for you and find the perfect accounting and finance firm to do the work for you – ensuring they suit your business and understand your needs. This takes the work out of finding a firm for you, and makes outsourcing this department an even more sensible choice!

Ways to Protect the Rainforest

Ways to Protect the Rainforest

Be involved in protecting rainforests

There needs to be more thought into awareness of our environmental surroundings, in general. This not only pertains to the environment where we reside but also around the world. With that said, one might point out our moral obligation to protect our global rainforests from potential destruction.

This article is to promote the awareness of the different ways we, like people, can protect such rainforests. While taking steps to protect such rainforests may sound difficult to some, it’s quite simple when it comes down to it.

As we live in a time where social media is more prevalent than ever, Helen Lee Schifter encourages young people to use social media to our advantage. As social media platforms like Twitter and Youtube have the capability of reaching a vast audience, using these platforms to promote rainforest awareness is something everyone can do. Even if such posts, for instance, don’t earn that many watchers, every post counts if more people get involved.

Utilizing the internet is especially important when raising awareness of how we can protect rainforests. We can showcase steps for people to understand in the easiest way possible. One of those steps would be reducing carbon footprint.

For those who may not know, carbon footprint refers to the amount of carbon dioxide that’s released by fossil fuels. This is why it’s recommended that one take up an alternative route of fuel if possible.

That’s why it’s also important to research on the internet for alternate uses for fuel. There may be something possible for one to take up on that’s beneficial for the environment thanks to a reliable internet source. It can’t be stated enough regarding the importance of how the internet can be helpful in times like this.

In regarding the preservation of rainforests, one can also attempt talking to their local politician in doing something regarding such preservation. This is especially important for those who live not too far from rainforests. There could be more of a chance of such politicians deciding to do something about protecting the environment.

Talking to people and promoting rainforest awareness ties into why it’s important to stay active. Persevering is a requirement when discussing environmental issues, as one shouldn’t give up trying to protect rainforests. Even if there aren’t many results now, it’s important to keep striving for the results that matter.

It can take a long time for any real change to come to fruition. One must be patient in expecting any level of change. One’s patience may influence others to do the exact thing and thus, create a difference by getting more people involved in the process. One can also look to others on what they should do regarding the protection of rainforests. Getting advice from others who are much more informed on the current state of rainforests can also be motivating. An example of this would be someone named Helen Lee Schifter, who’s an editor for Hearst. Helen Lee Schifter herself says we should participate in protecting rainforests by educating ourselves.

5 Organizational Tips to Know When Cleaning Out a House

5 Organizational Tips to Know When Cleaning Out a House

It happens to the best of homeowners: With the passing of the years, clutter builds up in surprising places. If we stubbornly ignore this clutter, a mountain of junk will grow. When things start to get out of hand, it might feel impossible to imagine ever cleaning out the junk.

Here are some tips for getting started that will make cleaning possible.

1- Look For Trash

When we think of the word trash, a garbage can comes to mind–but the trash in your home isn’t always smelly and can be difficult to see. Old receipts, expired coupons, broken clothing and food crumbs make your house feel stuffy. When you remove these bits of trash and toss them into a dumpster, you’ll begin to notice a new spaciousness in your home.

2- Go Through Your Closets

Some of us hang on to clothes that are old or have been outgrown. A house can become overrun if these things are not sorted out. Beginning in the kids’ closets, remove apparel that has become too small.

When the closet is organized, you’ll feel better about things like doing the laundry. This process also gives you an opportunity to buy clothes that fit.

3- Donate!

Some of the clothes and toys you clear out aren’t trash. They’re in great condition; you just don’t need them anymore. Fill cardboard boxes with items you plan to donate to those in need. It’s a good feeling to watch your house become cleaner. Knowing that you’re helping someone only makes it better!

4- Stay On Top

Every day you bring in mail and leave it on the counter. Your used tubes of makeup are forgotten in the bathroom drawer. You spill cereal under the table, swear you’re going to sweep it up, and find it there a week later.

You can make a difference in the clutter of your home by staying on top of messes like this. Toss empty lipstick tubes in the trash instead of your bathroom drawer. Sweep that cereal as soon as it falls–a tiny spill adds to the mess. Don’t let these things increase the clutter.

5- Do It In Parts

You can’t expect your home to look pristine in a day. Make realistic goals. Come to terms with the fact that it can be weeks before you notice a change.

Focus on cleaning one room at a time. If you look at the mess in the hallway and the kitchen, it’s easy to get discouraged. Start in the master bedroom and move on to the other rooms. This method keeps the work load manageable so you won’t be overwhelmed.


Home is the place where you feel secure. You cook great meals, make memories with family, and relax with books or the television. Keeping the house organized prevents it from becoming a burden.

Don’t let the task of decluttering frighten you; follow these steps and get the task done!