Why Use Custom Lapel Pins

Why Use Custom Lapel Pins

Worn like a small piece of jewelry, custom lapel pins, also known as enamel pins, are typically adorned on a suit, dress, coat, or jacket and are a classy way to show off your personality. People wear them for a variety of reasons. Some like to show their love of country with a flag pin, others like to express support for a particular cause, and many simply like to collect them. No matter the reason, rest assured that there’s a pin out there for you. Or, you can custom design one to your liking.

Did you know that lapel pins date back to the 13th century? Using a specific metalworking technique called cloisonné; the precursor to the lapel pin was developed near the Byzantine Empire and was popularized during the Yuan Dynasty in China. This type of enamel technique has been refined since and is also used to produce other ornate pieces such as jewelry, fine art, housewares, and hairpins.

While lapel pins don’t have any actual purpose, many would argue that they make a political statement. Still, others would steadfastly contend the pins are all about fashion flare. 

For hundreds of years, lapel pins or brooches have been used to show affiliation to a specific sector of society. In contemporary times, for many companies, large and small, lapel pins have become an integral element of corporate identity. Often times, the design of their lapel pin is the corporate logo or simply the name of the company. 

Businesses also use lapel pins to recognize and reward employees who achieve certain milestones or accomplishments within the organization. They can also make corporate events more memorable for those win pins during competitions.

As a gift, lapel pins are lasting and demonstrate a real sense of thoughtfulness when customized.

Perhaps the single greatest influence on the popularization of lapel pins is the military. The connection between pins and the armed forces dates back to the Legion of the Roman ear when their state-sponsored army could not distinguish the enemy from their allies on the battlefield. The solution came in the form of a custom badge, or pin, for each legion. 

In the medieval period, aristocrats and knights of various levels designed complex custom badges (or pins) and displayed them on their shields as a means of identification. The composition of such badges generally has a specific format, including the symbol, the owner of the badge, history, mascots, auspicious colors, and maxims.

Like many products over the past 20 years, nearly all manufacturing of lapel pins takes place in China. 

The design of each pin starts off very much like animation in that they are all hand-drawn with a blue line. From there, the drawing will be either digitized or finished on a light-box to capture all the intricate details of the design. Once approved, the design is inked, colored, and transferred onto a mechanical sheet. The sheet serves as a blueprint that identifies the measurements and call-outs for manufacturing the parts.

Whether you’re designing a custom pin for personal or professional purposes or collecting custom pins you like, lapel pins are globally popular and there’s a vast assortment to choose from–so here are some tips. When designing your own custom pin, get as much information as possible about your pin’s audience and how your design can best engage their needs or interests. Also, whether you’re working with a single color or a full pallet of shades, color choice is one of the most important parts of pin design. Remember, custom pins can be a compelling visual medium and your color choice helps to immediately communicate ideas and release emotions tied to your overall design.

While lapel pins have been used historically for many purposes, today they’re largely used as a fashion accessory. From floral lapel pins that mimic a boutonniere to badge pins that show affiliation (e.g. country flag) to collar pins, lapel pins come in all shapes, sizes, and forms.

4 Tips On How To Choose The Best CBD Products On The Market Today

4 Tips On How To Choose The Best CBD Products On The Market Today

CBD oil is becoming an indispensable product in every household today. If you are reading this, then you are probably wondering more about the benefits and how CBD oil works (read more about that on Forbes). It’s no secret that the cannabis industry is at its peak today, with more and more research changing people’s perceptions about cannabis.

On the other hand, most people who have not experienced cannabis have a certain fear of being consumed, and being uninformed only takes it to the next level. We’ll try to help you demystify all the myths you may have heard along with the helpful facts you need to know before using CBD products.

CBD As Auxiliary Substance In Health Treatments

Research has shown that CBD contains many antioxidant and neuroprotective substances that are essential for human health. CBD oil provides treatment for many diseases such as some cardiovascular diseases, liver disease and metabolic disorders, as well as many other diseases that cannot be officially treated medically.

Due to its health effects, CBD is very popular and used in some medical institutions worldwide because it acts as a potential cure for over 50 medical conditions.

Positive Properties

CBD oil relieves various medical problems without the effects of THC and does not cause addiction. It can be used by anyone who feels the need for it or simply thinks it will make their life easier.

We can see people’s experiences and confessions on numerous websites, but it is certain that CBD oil has a positive effect on many people around the world. According to recent research, high levels of CBD work great for conditions such as anxiety, stress, seizures, depression, psychosis, and spasms. Also, it is less known today that due to the antiviral and anti-inflammatory effects of CBD, oil also helps with herpes.

Of course, we need to make a distinction between CBD oil and Hemp oil. Both have their benefits in the treatment of various health issues. You can find more details about their differences and application on the Daily CBD Mag, where you can go into more detail about the products you need in a particular health situation.

The Negative Sides

Research has not yet confirmed the negative side of CBD oil, and all possible side effects occur with products that are not available for sale. Although CBD does not cause psychoactive effects as is the case with THC, it does affect the body in other ways.

Patients using highly-concentrated CBD oils, or oils prescribed by a physician, have noted a decrease in other medicines, an effect on motor function and an increase in tremor in Parkinson’s disease.

In some cases, consumption can also cause a hangover, but it is important to note that none of these negative aspects of CBD use is common and occurs in extremely rare cases.

What To Know When Buying A CBD Product?

Today, the market is overloaded with CBD oil products. So we have to ask ourselves how to choose the best for us. It’s not always easy, but some criteria can help you make your choice more easily.

Keep in mind that not all CBD oils are of the same quality, so make sure you always get one from a trusted manufacturer. GiftWits is one of the sites where you can get more information about CBD-based products or manufacturers and be sure to find a quality product for yourself.

1.   Buy Products From Reliable Companies Only

Given that the CBD industry is still under-regulated in some countries, it is important to know that you are buying from reputable sources. It can seem difficult to say which companies are reliable unless we look at how professional their websites are. You can also look for product reviews.

Still, the best, most reliable way to check a company’s reliability is by looking for third-party reports. According to the Observer, reputable CBD manufacturers will test the series of their products to prove that the products are exactly as described. To ensure there is no bias, a third-party lab is used. Usually, laboratory reports will detail what cannabinoids are and in what amounts they are contained in a particular product.

It will also tell you if any chemicals like those from fertilizers can be found in the product. By checking the reports in the lab, you will know that you are buying from a reputable company.

2.   Extraction Methods

Another detail to pay attention to is how CBD was extracted from the hemp plant. There are many ways to get cannabinoids out of hemp, including olive oil! However, this generates extremely low returns and is not profitable for the companies.

As a result, most companies use other techniques such as dry ice or solvent. When solvents are used, it compromises product safety. Although most companies that use solvent extraction will take steps to eliminate as many harmful products as possible, it is not the safest method of extraction. Instead, opt for a company that uses CO2 extraction.

This method involves the use of carbon dioxide at a certain temperature and pressure so that it acts as a non-toxic solvent. It is a very efficient method, but it also ensures that the final product will be 100% safe.

3.   Opt For Broad-Spectrum Products

The effect of CBD is that it is best combined with the synergy of various cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids.

This led to the development of the concept of “entourage effect”. Although this term is widely accepted today, scientists have only recently endorsed it. When CBD comes in combination with a full or wide range of cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids, a significant change occurs: the effect is achieved at low doses.

4.   Pay Attention To The Packaging

When it comes to packaging, this criteria is very important. Almost the same as extraction mode.

First of all, it is important to know that glass packaging will better preserve the composition of the oil.

Besides, the glass packing will not allow UV rays to penetrate inside the bottle, and thus not impair the quality of the product.

CBD Based Products

The main ingredient of most products is CBD oil, and the difference is in consumption and form. Different modes of consumption result in different effects on the person. For some methods, such as consuming CBD oil under the tongue, the effect is the fastest and most effective.

1.   CBD Oil / Tincture

The usual and also the simplest form of CBD consumption. It is taken orally, sublingually or across the skin.

2.   Capsules

They are used as a daily supplement to the nutrition and normal functioning of the central nervous system. They are taken orally before or after a meal.

3.   Vape Liquids

Today, it is possible to consummate CBD oil with an e-cigarette or vaporizer that heats the oil at low temperatures.

4.   Creams

They are very useful in skin diseases. These creams are based on CBD oil or isolates and are applied directly to the skin.

5.   Food Products

Foods that contain different cannabinoids. Most often they are based on CBD oil or isolates. They come in many forms, from chocolate to chips.

The most controversial Arab Billionaires in the Middle East

The most controversial Arab Billionaires in the Middle East

We love them, we hate them and we want to hear more about them. These are the young princes and elites of the Gulf that wreak havoc on yachts and destroy hotels rooms while roaring down the streets of London in Ferrari’s. There are very real consequences of their wild behaviour, and many people that need to wait on them or work the night shift have a lot to say. We list the most talked about Arab playboys (and girls) that escaped the pieties of their home countries to indulge in short-lived freedom and sometimes tragedy.

The death of Sheikh Rashid
Dubai’s own Sheikh Rashid recently died at the age of 33 this past September. The prince was known for his fast life between drugs, sex and wild parties. In the Emirati circle, he was also described as a major drug abuser and steroid user. He frequently went into “roid rages”, or rages of anger that often resulted in extreme violence. After frequent visits in rehab, he withdrew from important roles and public life.

Dubai’s most promising ruler clearly wasn’t ready to give up his freedom. In 2008 he was stripped of the title Crown Prince, as his younger brother, Sheikh Hamdan, aged 32, was given the job in his place. This came shortly after he was rumoured to be involved in a homicide, as it is alleged tha t he killed an assistant in the ruler’s office, a claim never proved.

The Saudi Prince that accosted 5 women in Beverly Hills
Shortly after the mourning period for the late Sheikh Rashid, a new scandal erupts. The 28-year-old Saudi Prince, Majed Abdulaziz Al-Saud is reported to have accosted five women in Beverly Hills. In his massive mansion, the prince like to party and reportedly attempted to force a woman into performing sexual favors.

The police reported that four more victims came forward the same day. A neighbour of the prince reported witnessing a bloodied woman calling for help , and believed she may have worked for the prince on the compound. The prince paid 300,000 USD in bail and was scheduled to appear in court late October. Contrary to popular belief, Saudi princes do not enjoy diplomatic immunity.

The Saudi Princess that abused a Maid
Princess Buniah al Saud ended up in an Orange County Jail for pushing her Indonesian maid down the stairs of her Orlando home back in 2002. An unlikely place for a princess, Al Saud denies the claims and faced an arrest that caused an international uproar and a stern look at the way Saudi royals treat their servants. Although this isn’t a case of abusive partying, it draws a similar pattern. A rich, royal-tied individual that inflicts harm on individuals within their homes.

The maid originally immigrated from Indonesia to become the hand servant of the princess, working for a salary of approximately $200 USD a month. Today, the whereabouts of the princess is unknown as she was last seen in the premises of the Saudi embassy in Washington.

Sheikh Khalid al Qasimi, the fashion prodigy dies at age 39
The son of Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, ruler of Sharjah, has actually lived in the UK since he was nine years-old, and had established himself as a Paris fashion-week brand in 2008. On his rise to fame, Sheikh Khalid al Qasimi was notorious for orgy-filled parties, as sources reveal that he was one of many royal princes that hosted 36-hour events. Many testimonies have surfaced , describing similar events in hotels rooms covered in human feces and yacht parties filled with drugs and expensive rewards for thos e willing to do their host’s bidding.

The princess that skipped out on a $7 million-dollar hotel bill
Princess Maha, the second wife of the late Nayef bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, tried to flee the Shangri-La hotel in Paris in 2012. Recently widowed, the princess had been staying in the five-star hotel and had a retinue of 41 rooms over a five-month stay. With an entourage of over 60 people and limo drivers, escaping a hotel bill of that magnitude proved to be challenging.
The princess has also reportedly attempted to skip bills owing to her many shopping sprees at the famous Place Vendome in Paris worth over $20 million. Containers of her luxury goods were auctioned off to foot the bill.

Luxury Consignment is the Next Christmas Trend with The RealReal

Luxury Consignment is the Next Christmas Trend with The RealReal


Are you putting off your holiday shopping until the last minute? If so, you’re not alone.

Nearly 53 % of people end up putting off shopping for gifts until the last minute. Not enough time and not enough money are two of the biggest reasons cited for gift procrastination, and a lot of this has to do with the mindset of holiday purchases.

Buying used items was once taboo, but lately has come into vogue. “It’s the thought that counts” has caught on in many different areas of life, including in the items we purchase. This year, you don’t have to put off your shopping due to money constraints. High-end consignment and resale companies like The RealReal are making it easier than ever to purchase unique items in ways that are convenient for the customer. Here are six reasons to consider secondhand shopping for your presents this holiday.

Reason 1: It saves you money.

Think about all the times you’ve spent money on things your loved ones don’t need — like candles, physical copies of movies, or gag gifts. 45% of consumers have admitted to overspending during the holiday season, which has put a lot of pressure on the national debt average. The pressure to buy things new has hindered people’s gift-giving in the past, but it doesn’t need to anymore. Now that you don’t have to worry about putting yourself into debt buying your loved ones presents, you can focus on buying your loved ones the things they want or need.

Make a budget and stick to it, then do your shopping. You’ll find that the more you shop secondhand, the more you can find and the happier you can make people.

Reason 2: It’s better for the environment.

One of the motivations behind luxury resale companies like The RealReal is to slow down fast fashion’s impact on the environment. In the United States alone, as much as 21 billion pounds of fabric makes up landfills. Unfortunately, fast fashion isn’t slowing down even as landfills are piling up. If consumers were to continue using clothes at the rate they have been and letting them end up in landfills, we would have to further exploit natural areas for landfill space.

Additionally, fast fashion is one of the top contributors to carbon emissions in the world. Luxury clothing and accessory consignment, instead, aims to make the sale of apparel cyclical — meaning nothing is wasted.

For the RealReal, the process looks like this: consumers send their item to The RealReal for evaluation, the piece is then authenticated, marketed, and sold to someone secondhand. The whole process is multifaceted in its benefits. It prohibits landfills from becoming overrun with usable fabric, it slows the demand for raw resources related to clothing and accessory production, and it slows carbon emissions globally. The person who once owned the item, as well as the platform the used garment is marketed on, all make a profit. Finally, the new customer receives a quality item at far less of a cost than it usually would cost.

Reason 3: It helps you focus on what your loved ones want.

Let’s face it — we’ve all been in the situation before where we’ve been so focused on getting something for our loved ones that we have lost sight of what they wanted. In other words, we’ve impulse-bought items in the past. 80% of Millennial-aged shoppers admitted to impulse buying this year, and the pressure to impulse buy during the holidays is even higher. Instead, focus on making lists (or gathering lists) of things your loved ones want. Then, incorporate secondhand shops like The RealReal into your shopping routine to get the most out of your shopping.

Reason 4: Luxury consignment lets you get higher-quality items for your loved ones.

Another symptom of impulse purchases is that you might end up getting something for lower-quality to save a little money. Knockoff and department store brands might have cheaper deals on new items, but that does not mean those products will last. Purchasing luxury items at lower costs, even pieces that are used, means you are gifting your loved ones quality gifts while still being able to save a little bit of money.

Reason 5: It is convenient.

If you live in a city, chances are you live near a consignment or thrift store. After all, there are over 25,000 secondhand stores in the United States alone. If you don’t live in or near a city, however, online consignment brands like The RealReal make it easy for consumers to purchase and receive their items quickly. You can even do your shopping while you’re on a break at work — so you have a little more time to yourself during the holidays.

Reason 6: The items you purchase will almost always be unique or hard-to-find.

One of the biggest fears that we face when it comes to buying presents for our loved ones is the fear that we’ll purchase them something they already have. Most people have received something that they already own as a present, and even more, have received duplicates of the same item. Purchasing an item from a secondhand retailer, like The RealReal, means that you will likely not be giving the same present to a loved one that someone else is. High-end fashion items usually are released on a limited basis, meaning they are harder to find in the first place. If you find a vintage item, these are not only valuable but useful and unique. Likely, if you’re buying an object used, the gift recipient will not only like it but will be receiving an item unlike anything else on their list.

Buying used is not only trendy and fashionable — it makes sense. Now more than ever, there are quality secondhand stores available worldwide that are more than willing and able to bring their customers authentic luxury goods, as well as other secondhand deals that are sure to be a hit this holiday.

Up Next on the Dishh:

5 Women’s Outerwear Types & How to Pair Them in Winter 2019

5 Women’s Outerwear Types & How to Pair Them in Winter 2019

You may be one of those gals that thinks that investing in one simple coat for the winter is a viable fashion choice. However, you should really think about collecting a variety of outerwear to suit every occasion and to match every outfit. Why? Well, first of all, coats of different lengths, hefts, and styles are designed for different kinds of weather. 

But, the reason why most women want to build an entire coat wardrobe is so they can match any ensemble they put together. Here are some examples of must-have coats and accompanying outfits that simply match them to a tee.

1. Overcoat

An overcoat is the winter time’s answer to the classic trench. And, like the trench, it is long enough to keep you warm, but it also has the requisite thickness for the season. They are extraordinarily elegant and sophisticated. It is also timeless, and, as such, every woman should have this classic hanging in their coat closet.

Overcoats come in assorted colors, but the most popular hues would have to be black, navy blue, red, white, and camel. These neutrals match with nearly anything, but the elegance of the silhouette makes it the perfect 9-to-5 work coat. After all, it is perfectly-matched with a wool scarf, shiny black gloves, and a briefcase or tote bag.

Beneath your overcoat, try a power blazer in an eye-catching color, such as jewel green which will certainly get attention. A crisp dress blouse with a bow closure in front, reminiscent of those worn by glass ceiling-breaking 80s businesswomen, cinches this look, along with a black, mid-length pencil skirt, and black leather knee-high boots. Throw on a simple necklace and a pair of diamond studs and you have a career woman look updated for 2019.

2. Faux-fur Jacket

Faux-fur is ultra-feminine and reminiscent of old-school Hollywood glamour, yet it is still responsible and in line with today’s values. The 2019 version of the fur is now waist-length or a bit below that. Faux-furs also come in a plethora of colors rather than just those hues that are designed to emulate the animals that they are meant to replicate. This season’s colors include yellow, wine-red, and blue.

While these funky spins on a classic design can be combined with nearly any outfit, they really accentuate most evening dresses with their sophistication. This is especially true with the upcoming winter holidays. They counter yet complement the quintessential “little black dress,” while they can also match sparkly, sequin-covered evening wear paired with black tights, a statement necklace, chandelier earrings, and bejeweled stiletto heels. A velvet hat and gloves complete the outfit.

3. Denim Jacket

A denim jacket certainly is a must-buy for all women. Though it did go out of style for a bit in the 90s, probably because the grunge movement wanted nothing in common with hair bands, it made a comeback around the turn of the last century and has been uber-popular ever since. The retro piece is now a must-have, and it works so well with the new Western wear look that has been sweeping the country.

For example, a cropped jean jacket would look great with a girly peasant blouse paired with dark or stressed jeans and rugged Western boots. In lieu of a scarf, a rope-like, suede choker works well, and you can top it all off with a chic cowboy hat. To up the cuteness factor, braid your hair into pigtails!

4. Quilted Jacket

Quilted jackets were quite obscure just a couple of years ago, but they are now common outerwear that can be dressed both up or down, depending on the outfit you are wearing beneath them. The warm, cozy feel of these coats is comforting throughout the winter months, yet they also have a lightweight quality to them that makes them the perfect choice to compliment a bulky, oversized cable knit sweater.

Try a sweater in a bright, solid color and pair it with patterned leggings. Finish off this fresh fashion choice with comfy, fur-lined, suede booties with small chunky heels. To lengthen your torso, try a nearly waist-length necklace, or one that is double that length and wrapped around twice. Match this with hoop earrings and a beret and you are ready for a sleigh ride!

5. Leather Jacket

A little bit edgy, but still strictly casual, this particular jacket adds style to any don’t-give-a-care ensemble. It brings the sexy without overdoing it. Create a rebel look by placing it over a vintage or vintage-inspired modern rock tee, along with minimal jewelry and silky scarf wrapped around the neck multiple times with still enough length to hang a bit. Go totally punk with biker boots, fingerless gloves, and light-blue skinny jeans torn just enough to expose both knees. The style is timeless and it is sure to show everyone who is really in control each time you walk into a room. What’s more, with a little leather dye, you can keep your leather jacket looking new each season.

In conclusion, each woman should have enough variety in her coat collection to match any winter outfit that she dares to put together. The jackets listed here are basics that all women should have because they are not only classics, but they will be sure to have the perfect coat for every occasion. After all, a true fashionista would never have a one-size-fits-all coat that she wears everywhere. Variety is the spice of life!

Boozy Breaks: Safe Drinking for Solo Travelers

Boozy Breaks: Safe Drinking for Solo Travelers

Traveling alone can be one of the most rewarding activities that anyone can do. Not only will you learn a lot about other cultures, but you will also give yourself time to reflect on what you desire in life and what you believe in. For this reason, we recommend that everybody try traveling solo at least once.

However, traveling alone also requires a lot of safety precautions to be taken. For example, the same situations that can be very liberating for some, might feel unsafe for others. Therefore, it’s important to understand how to keep yourself safe while traveling on your own.

One of the most wonderful things about traveling is that you are able to immerse yourself in the local culture, eating and drinking things that you wouldn’t be able to find at home. Despite how much fun it can be, drinking is often one of the most unsafe things you can do while traveling alone. 

Though you might typically have a friend or family member with you at a bar to monitor a drinking environment, traveling alone often means that you will be in situations that you are not familiar with, increasing your chances of having a negative experience.

That being said, there are plenty of ways to prepare for your traveling experience and make sure that you stay safe at all times while consuming alcohol on vacation.

 Always Have a Way to Get Back to Your Hotel

This might seem like an obvious tip for some, but getting to your hotel while in a city or town you’re unfamiliar with can become quite difficult while intoxicated. For this reason, we recommend that you always figure out your path home before you begin drinking. If you are someone who prefers to use ridesharing applications, you should make sure that your preferred app services the city that you’re in and that your phone is fully charged.

Something important to consider when planning your trip home is that public transportation does not always run at consistent intervals. For example, in cities like Berlin or New York, it can be easy to get around with public transit during the day and evening, but the frequency of certain services slows down greatly after midnight. Make sure that you are able to get back to your hotel quickly and efficiently.

 Set a Drink Limit for Yourself

Let’s face it—it can be easy to overdo it when you are out trying new drinks in a new place. To prevent yourself from becoming too intoxicated, we recommend that you set a drink limit for yourself. It’s also worth noting that you should factor in alcohol percentage when deciding your drink limit. For example, if you typically have a few beers, drinking one absinthe drink with exponentially higher alcohol content might be sufficient. Not only can having too many drinks leave you impaired, but alcohol poisoning can be fatal. 

 Always Turn Down Drinks

Though it’s easy to believe that everyone is kind, it’s important to remember that there are plenty of people out there with bad intentions. Free drinks are often one of the ways for predators to drug and subsequently abuse solo travelers, so you should never accept drinks from strangers or even people you’ve just met.

Know What to Say When Turning Down a Drink

We recommend that you always have lines prepared to turn down drinks. Here are some examples:

  • “No thanks, I already have a drink”
  • “I’m waiting for a friend”
  • “I already had too much tonight”
  • “No thank you, you should have it”

Use Yelp to Find a Bar

Online review sites like Yelp can be great resources for determining which bars have controversy surrounding them. When deciding which bars to go to, you should be aware of which bars are respected and which ones have certified bartenders. By doing this, you can make sure that you are safe throughout your travels. Be sure to do your research! 

In Conclusion

Traveling alone can be an intimidating thing to do, but it can also be very rewarding if you keep certain safety precautions in mind. If you ever feel doubt about a particular situation, always trust your gut. It is definitely better to be safe than sorry! We hope that this list has been helpful so that the next time you’re traveling alone, you know exactly how to drink in a responsible manner!

Wow Your Favorite Couple with These Timeless Wedding Gifts

Wow Your Favorite Couple with These Timeless Wedding Gifts

Are you looking for a great wedding gift that will last for generations to come? It seems like every guest has the same ideas when it comes to wedding presents. Wall art, kitchenware, and tons of monogrammed décor are some of the favorites. Worried about getting the perfect gift? 

Don’t be. There are far less cliché gifts to get your favorite couple. These heirloom-worthy wedding gifts will let your favorite couple know how much they mean to you for decades to come.

An Antique Hope Chest or Writing Desk

Antique furniture pieces are an icon of heirloom gifts, and they make for great wedding presents. Look for a unique hope chest or pick up a vintage writing desk. Your friends are sure to appreciate the effort you put into picking a great showpiece for their home and for their children to inherit.

You should be able to find a plethora of options at your local antique furniture store. Consider the decor styles that fit your friends’ home and be sure to write a sweet note to go along with it as a keepsake. Inquire about the history of the piece and include that in the note as well.

A Rare Book for Reading Enthusiasts

If your friends love to read, look for an early printed copy of one of their favorite books. It’s not difficult to find a great deal on a popular edition of timeless classic literature. You don’t need to spend thousands on a first edition, but a semi-rare hard-copy from their favorite author could be a huge thoughtful gesture. The best part is that early pressings may increase in value as their rarity grows. That makes rare books an awesome family heirloom that can last decades from children to grandchildren.

A Silver Picture Frame

If a picture says a thousand words, a beautiful silver picture frame turns it into a novel. Every couple wants to preserve the memory of their wedding forever. It represents the moment when they dedicated their lives to each other for eternity. 

A classic silver frame adds the perfect touch to a perfect moment. The best thing about silver is that it can endure a lifetime of being moved, packed, and passed down to a generation created by the couple’s love for one another.

An Engraved Music Box

There aren’t many gifts more timeless than a delicately made music box. You can personalize your choice of gift with options like extravagantly jeweled to modest minimalist designs. The focus should be making the gift unique. A customized message on the inside means that you put extra effort into your sentiment.

A Quality Musical Instrument
If your friends are musically inclined, a small guitar or a grand piano (if you want to go big) would wow your friends and all of the other wedding guests. A very nice stringed instrument could be the perfect gift for under $1000 to a couple that loves music. If you’re looking for a smaller gift, search for a beautiful mandolin or ukulele. Classical instruments can last for generations to come, and again, an engraved message is an opportunity to add sentimental value. 

A Grandfather Clock

If you want to make a grand impression at your next wedding party, seek out grandfather clocks at your local vintage shop or look online for a newer model. This wedding present will get lots of attention. Antique grandfather clocks can require a lot of maintenance, so keep that in mind if you go that route. Modern versions are much easier to handle, and they don’t require constant adjusting. The new couple will have a daily reminder of your thoughtfulness every time the clock chimes. It’s a bonus that it will work as a great conversation piece for guests.

Cardio Chronicles: Why Strength Just Isn’t Enough

Cardio Chronicles: Why Strength Just Isn’t Enough

In recent years, there has been a big shift away from cardio and towards strength training. Sure, there is a new niche for long-distance running and other cardio-related activities, but these athletes usually forego strength training altogether. In a world where bodybuilding and strength-related training such as powerlifting and strongman dominate the fitness landscape, is there room for cardio?

Strength Training in the Limelight


Social media websites have made strength training a mainstay of the fitness world. People of all demographics and backgrounds have found a newly-kindled fire that is fueled by Instagram and other visual apps where people are sharing photos and videos of their physiques and accomplishments in the gym.

Although there may be a pinch of vanity in all this, the fact that people are finding the drive to engage in strength training is a positive thing. However, in the pursuit of a better, more muscular physique, cardiovascular activity has been left by the wayside by many. 

Empirical Evidence


The best place to start is with our experiences and observations. Bodybuilding competitions have been around for decades. The sport of bodybuilding has evolved from the pursuit of aesthetic and athletic physiques to packing on as much muscle mass as possible.

Bodybuilders from the so-called golden era of the sport, namely the 70s and 80s, included cardio in their workouts several days a week. As a result, not only could they train for hours but also get through an entire competition with ease.

Today, we see bodybuilders running out of breath mid-competition just from hitting a couple of poses. This happens as a result of the compounds they use in order to achieve their physiques combined with the lack of cardio when compared to their golden-era counterparts.

You might ask: isn’t that an extreme example to use in proving the necessity of cardio? After all, a strength training workout involving weights, when programmed correctly, can provide our heart with the activity it needs in order to maintain a healthy cardiovascular system. So, why do cardio at all?

While the effects of different types of training on our health have surprisingly eluded scientists for years, new findings are beginning to shine a light on how our bodies react to cardio and strength training. Hypotheses that were the products of gym-bro discussions are now being proven or rejected by scientific data.

A 2018 study on the differences between cardio and strength training presented an important distinction. Their research showed that participants that performed cardiovascular training on an exercise bike produced three times the amount of FGF21 than their weight-training counterparts.

Fibroblast growth factor, or FGF21, is a hormone that positively affects metabolism. FGF21 also seems to play a role in cell growth and tissue repair, both of which are instrumental in muscular development and strength gains.

Synergy of Cardio & Strength


The aforementioned study seems to connect cardio to strength training via the FGF21 link. Achieving a higher metabolism means that you can burn more calories at rest. Strength gains and muscle growth require the consumption of adequate protein from your diet. On the other hand, achieving an aesthetic physique requires that you burn excess calories so that you can get to a desirable body fat percentage. This means that by doing cardio, you can boost your metabolism more than by strength training alone.

Another benefit of cardio on your strength regimen is that it can reduce the effects of delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS). Besides hydrating and getting enough sleep, cardio will mitigate the effects of a hard workout with weights. The boost in circulation from a light cardio session will help deal with the lactic acid build-up and inflammation that results from an intense strength training session. 

Finding a Balance

The research is overwhelmingly supportive of strength training for people of all ages. Besides an increase in muscular strength, the benefits of such a regimen include stronger joints, lower risk of diseases such as diabetes, higher self-esteem and lower occurrences of mental issues. The physical and psychological benefits of a program centered on strength training can only be magnified by incorporating some cardio into your fitness regimen.

As with anything in life, your fitness goals are achieved through a balanced approach. Find the right amount of cardio to support your strength training pursuits. If you find equilibrium between cardio and strength training, you will watch your health, strength, muscle mass and endurance gains increase hand-in-hand.

Partner Workouts: A Fast Track to Heart Health

Partner Workouts: A Fast Track to Heart Health

If you’re looking to improve your heart health, working out with a partner may be one of the easiest ways to do it. It requires little to no change to your workout routine, yet offers tons of heart healthy benefits. Accomplish your health goals while spending quality time with someone who motivates you to be your best self!

Increases Motivation

When you work out by yourself, it’s easy to let yourself off the hook when you don’t want to do it. But when you have a workout partner, there’s someone else counting on you to show up and give it your all. Plus, it’s much more difficult to skip a workout when you know someone is waiting for you.

It can also motivate you to work out harder or longer. Even if you’re not a competitive person, knowing that your partner is working harder than you or plans to work out for a few more minutes can motivate you to push a little harder.

Increases Heart Function
Oyxtocin is known as the “cuddle” or “love” hormone because it is released when we feel a strong connection with others. For example, many women have claimed that they don’t remember the pain associated with child birth because of that “feel good” hormone. It is also that heightened feeling of bliss associated with sex.

Oxytocin can affect your blood pressure and heart rate, improving both. These changes lead to better heart function, making the heart more efficient and less susceptible to heart problems. The effects of working out with a partner, double that impact.

More Fun

At first glance, fun might not seem to be a heart health benefit. But it is, in more ways than one.

First, if you’re having fun, you’ll naturally exercise longer without realizing it. The longer you exercise, the more efficient your heart will be at regulating its pace. 

Second, if you’re having fun, you’re also laughing. Laughter decreases stress hormones (as does exercise), increases good cholesterol, and makes artery inflammation better. 

Safety in Numbers
Depending on your specific heart health concerns, working out with someone else can give you a sense of safety. If you’ve had a heart attack or are at risk for having one, it can be reassuring to know someone is there to call 911 or operate an AED in the case of an emergency.

Trying New Things
It’s easy to fall into a routine with exercise. The problem is that our body stops responding to routine when it isn’t being challenged. When that occurs, the benefits of that exercise decline over time. By working out with a partner, you’re less likely to get stuck in a routine.

A partner can encourage you to shake things up and try something new. Doing new and different workouts will challenge your body’s muscles to draw oxygen from circulating blood. This removes some of the stress from your heart so that it doesn’t have to pump as much blood to reach those muscles.

Reduces Stress
We all know that both exercise and spending time with friends can reduce stress. But sometimes we can cause ourselves stress by trying to figure out how to fit in both. Working out with a friend accomplishes both activities. You’ll get all the heart health benefits of working out, plus all the heart health benefits of spending time with a friend.

TIP: You can work out with the same friend each time or different friends now and then, so you get to maximize the quality time you spend with friends.  As a bonus, you’ll have the benefit of working out with different levels of competition, further improving your heart health.

Working out with a partner has many advantages. Whether you work out with your significant other, a good friend, or a buddy you meet at the gym, give it a try. Your heart, and the rest of your body, will thank you. 

Top Reasons Why You Must Invest In A Smart Thermostat

Top Reasons Why You Must Invest In A Smart Thermostat

When we think of thermostats, we think of modern homes and the pursuit of efficiency but the idea of a thermostat has been around for centuries. Ancient Greeks invented central heating and the ancient Egyptians created the first primitive air conditioning unit. Of course, thermostats have evolved significantly since those first attempts but what’s clear is how important temperature control has always been for us to live more comfortably, especially when we are at home. 

So if ancient Greeks and Egyptians were looking for more comfort back when things weren’t as easy, shouldn’t we have it easier these days with so much advancement in technology? Enter the smart thermostat. While the mechanical thermostat has served us for many years, the smart thermostat is proving to be far more beneficial for homeowners. A smart thermostat will reduce your energy bill significantly. It will regulate your home’s temperature and create heating zones where you need them such as in your living room. 

A smart thermostat will let you create an automatic heating schedule and it is an ideal choice if you enjoy a specific temperature in your home. This technology will adapt to the changes in the weather and keep a constant sense of coziness, so you can always feel at ease the minute you enter your home. Once you install a smart thermostat, the technology is easy to use from home or with your cell phone or tablet. For more information about the smart thermostat, here’s an infographic depicting the fascinating history of this often-undervalued gadget.