Are We Turning a Corner in the Fight Against Sexual Harassment?

The past few weeks have seen a series of high profile Hollywood personalities accused of sexual harassment. In some cases, this behavior has occurred over a period of years. They were apparently able to carry on for so long because no one dared go up against a person with that degree of power. Denial of employment, threats of being blackballed, and other forms of coercion were used, and when those failed, hush money was offered.

Hollywood is certainly not the only industry where such criminal activity takes place, but because of its reputation for glamor, it often holds the spotlight. Now that spotlight is being shone on a part of the movies that everyone knows exists, but tinsel town would like to keep quiet. The big question is: will it make a difference?

You don’t have to do much research to find previous instances of harassment similar to that allegedly committed by figures like Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, and Brett Ratner. Many people enter the movie industry based on the lure of money, glamor, and sex. The power dynamic can feed into a growing sense of entitlement that may occur when a person begins to find fame.

However, while scandals have broken out before, we have not seen so many at one time. Also, the penalties that the alleged perpetrators will likely end up paying seem far greater. What is clear is that these stories will not be going away overnight and that is a good thing.

There has been some worry expressed that this could lead to caution that might even impede some people’s careers, but this seems like much less of an issue than the thought that it will instead give pause to would-be predators. It will also likely lead to more and more victims coming out and making their stories known.

Managing Vet Bills Without Compromising Your Pet’s Health

For many of us, our pets are our children and the thought of compromising on their care can be quite distressing. However, the reality is that, depending on your financial circumstances, vet costs can take a substantial bite out of your savings. As with humans, there is no way to know for sure whether your pet will be healthy more often than not, though there are some things you can do to lower your vet bills:

Do your research

Vet costs can vary from clinic to clinic, just like any other service. Talk to friends about how satisfied they are with their vet care and the cost of that particular doctor. If you pet needs a major procedure, don’t be afraid to ask around for an estimate. It might take some time to find the right doctor who also offers the right price, but it is worth the effort for both that procedure and work that will be done in the future.

Put away money in advance

If you don’t have pet insurance, you can still plan ahead for future bills by putting a little money aside each month. Look at your budget and decide both how much you can put away and how much you typically spend at the vet in a year. You need to exceed that amount in order to help meet the cost of unexpected expenses on top of regular ones (eg. yearly shots).

Know when to stop treatment

It can be incredibly painful to stop treating your pet and ask for them to be put down, but you have to weigh the options honestly. If continuing with a treatment will prove to be a hardship for you and the benefits for the animal are not substantial, eventually you have to recognize when the time has come and be able to make that tough decision.

How to Have a Great Halloween Party

Now that another Thanksgiving Day is behind us, Canadians have Halloween to look forward to at the end of the month. Have you had a Halloween party recently? They can be extremely fun, not only when you are having them, but also when you are in the planning stage and getting them ready.

Here are some tips that will help you plan your next terrific Halloween party:

Make some cool invitations

Use your artistic skills (or ask an artistically inclined friend) to come up with a suitably gruesome, but fun, design for your invitations. Try to incorporate the theme of your party. For example, if zombies are the theme, make sure that is reflected in the invitation.

Create a food and decorations list

Choose food and your drinks that reflect the season. They can also be indicative of your overall party theme. For example, if vampires are the theme, serve a drink that is red and frothy like blood.

Decorations should suit the theme, while also reflecting a Halloween look and feel in general. Choose some decorations that will only be used this year and others that you can reuse for later Halloween celebrations. That way, your planning will be partially completed in advance.

Buy or create a costume

There are many excellent costumes on the market, though you can also create your own. This approach will make it more uniquely individual and all-around you.

Think up some Halloween games

You can rely on old standbys like bobbing for apples, or even create all new, fun games that reflect both your guests’ tastes and the theme of the party.

Be spontaneous

Once the party starts, the planning stops. Go with the flow, monitor how your guests are enjoying themselves, and adjust accordingly. But most important of all…never forget to enjoy yourself!

Is Online Shopping Becoming the New Normal?

How often do you shop online? We will wager that it is a lot more often than you thought you would, even just a few years ago. News sites are full of stories about how seemingly indestructible retail giants like Sears and Toys “R” Us have faltered badly recently. Changing shopping habits is not a new thing, but online shopping has created a major sea change when it comes to how people are buying not just rare or offbeat items, but even the basics of daily living.

For example, grocery delivery was something that was not so unusual in, say, small-town America. But now even people in major cities are buying their food online and having it delivered. Substantial benefits have occurred, but mostly for a handful of major retailers and a large swath of consumers. Competition is always beneficial when it comes to keeping prices down, and the fact that online retailers often do not have brick-and-mortar storefronts and much smaller employee rolls means that they can offer their goods for a lower price. Combine that with the remarkable convenience of shopping online and it becomes a proposition that is just too good to pass up for many consumers.

This has led to a dramatic drop in the number of people not only going to stores, but to shopping malls in general. Sears has filed for bankruptcy protection and many are predicting that the retail behemoth will never recover. Toys “R” Us managed to get an infusion of cash that will keep the lights on, but that is of little help to the various organizations owed money.

All things change, but it is tough to predict exactly how much online shopping will continue to affect the retail environment in the next five years. Over the long haul, we might actually be at the beginning of an unstoppable march into a time when brick-and-mortar stores become something that you only read about in history books.

The Joys of Productivity

Bosses everywhere strive to achieve a level of healthy productivity in their workplaces. By that, we mean that employees are healthy in a manner that is sustainable for both the company and their personal well-being. However, as you may have encountered in one of your employment roles over the years, it is possible to become far too busy to be effective as an employee or function well as a human being. However, going too far in the opposite direction is not good either as tempting as it may be at times.

Do what you can to find the right balance because being productive is very good for you on the whole. Here are a few reasons why:

You can learn many new things

Keeping busy means almost inevitably trying and learning new things. If you do not do very much, or you simply do the same things over and over, you pass up on a great chance to learn new skills. This will also help you become more open to trying new things.

It keeps your brain healthy and active

Have you ever heard the phrase “use it or lose it”? Well, it can apply to your brain as well. Learning to do new things and performing activities that keep your brain active and stimulated can help to maintain its health.

You can help you do better at work

Even in workplaces that do not have video cameras on at all times, supervisors notice whether employees are being active and productive. If you are simply sitting around and doing the bare minimum of work, it will be noticed whether you think it is or not. Employees who take the initiative and go above and beyond usually are the ones who get rewarded. That can mean either a raise or a promotion.

Don’t Forget to Relax

That probably seems like an odd title for an article. I mean, who forgets to relax? Well, you might be surprised to know that many of us are not taking the necessary time to relax each day. That can have consequences for both our physical and mental well-being. Here are just a few reasons why you need to set aside some time each day to do nothing but relax.

Heart health

We all know that high blood pressure is bad for your heart. There are many things that can cause this condition, including a lack of proper relaxation. So, sitting around and “doing nothing” can actually have some heart benefits. Just do not do it excessively because you still need a proper amount of exercise every day.

Brain health

Just like you can overdo it with your body, it is entirely possible to overwork your brain. That affects your decision-making skills and accuracy, and not in a positive way. Also, failure to properly relax can lead to such mental health conditions as depression and anxiety, as well as frequent and debilitating headaches.

Sleep health

Trying to sleep when your mind and body are not in a state of relaxation often results in substandard sleep or even no sleep at all. Not getting a proper rest at night negatively impacts both your mind and your body, and can have seriously negative effects on both.

Stomach health

You have probably heard the expression “my stomach is tied up in knots.” While that does not literally happen, prolonged tension is bad for your stomach because it can lead to conditions like ulcers. Prolonged anxiety can also make you feel sick to your stomach, which is certainly unpleasant. No one likes to feel ill, so take some time to relax and allow your inner systems to slow to a crawl.

Ways That You Can Save Time

Many of us are so busy, it feels like we barely have a chance to sit down and rest. Even so, it still seems like there are always things that don’t get done. There must be a way to get more hours out of the day! Well, technically, there isn’t, but there are things you can do to save time each week. Here are a few to keep in mind:

Plan Ahead

Make a list of things you need to get done and figure out the most efficient ways to do them. That way, when some free time comes your way, you can jump right in and get started on them.

Be Flexible

If you need to do work on your computer, consider getting a laptop. That way, you can work almost anywhere.

Turn Off Your Phone

You would probably be horrified to learn just how much time you spend each week looking at social media. Turn off your phone at several points in the day and just concentrate on the job at hand. If you have to turn off your phone and put it in another room, then do so.

Cook for Many, Even If It is Just You

We can spend a lot of time preparing meals, so why not spend a little extra time one or two days, and then no time the rest of the week? Make a large portion of one or two meals and then freeze the rest, which you will then eat over the course of the next few days.

Get More (and Better) Sleep

It is hard to overestimate the importance of a good night’s sleep. If you are tired, you not only work more slowly but also with less and less accuracy. Try your best to get 7-8 solid hours of sleep every night.

The Benefits of Writing

Almost all of us perform some type of writing during the course of a typical day. This may be filling out forms, creating reports, answering emails, or drafting memos. Then there are those among us who write for living or for pleasure. Those falling into the latter categories earn some additional benefits from learning that the average person does not.

Jump Start Your Brain

If you have trouble getting started in the morning, writing can be a good way to jump start your brain. It does not have to be anything complicated; even just writing out a few sentences about what you plan to do that day or even your hopes and dreams can get things rolling in a positive way.

Expand Your Vocabulary

Many people tend to use the same words over and over because those are the ones they are most comfortable with. There is nothing wrong with that, but there is also no reason why you should not expand your vocabulary.

A broader vocabulary makes you more efficient and effective at most any job. It will also improve your conversational skills and that will make you a more interesting person to talk to.

Make You More Marketable

You may be excellent in your line of work, but it never hurts to have a backup plan. In this day and age, increasingly few vocations are evergreen thanks to ever-changing technology. Entire types of career can and will disappear in the future. That means the competition for the remaining jobs will be more intense, so they will ultimately go to the candidates with the best qualifications.

Being a good writer can make you a candidate that stands out from the pack, even if writing is only a part of your job duties. Supervisors like well-rounded employees who can more than pull their weight; being a good writer will help you achieve that status.