• August 18, 2019

The Trail Blazer: Online Features

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Online Features

  • Pets

    Presenting: America's top 10 shelter dog makeovers

    (BPT) - Millions of dogs enter shelters each year. Most are dirty and matted, and less than half get the grooming they so desperately need. Sadly, these deserving animals are being perceived as ‘damaged goods’ just because of their appearance. To better their chances at finding a fur-ever family, pet industry leaders Wahl and GreaterGood.org have teamed up to donate funds and grooming supplies to shelters nationwide. The goal this year: transform more than 20,000 dogs so their lovable, adoptable personalities can shine through. Hundreds of these amazing makeovers can be seen in the Dirty Dogs Before & After Photo Gallery — including the following Top 10 Shelter Dog Makeovers of 2019.

  • Family Living

    Ease Kids Back into School with Confidence

    (Family Features) There’s nothing like a major milestone in a child’s life to test a parent’s confidence. Big changes like a new school or classroom can be trying for kids and adults alike, but tackling the transition a little at a time can make it easier on everyone.

Top Story

Questions Your Teen’s Pediatrician May Ask

(StatePoint) Routine check-ups are essential for adolescents and young adults. As health risks and concerns are rapidly changing during the teen years, these preventive services can help keep your teens healthy and safe. Experts say that conversations between doctors, patients and their families during these visits are very important.

  • icon Posted: August 17

Pet Central

pets

Having a pet is a lot of responsibility, and we’ll help by giving you lots of tips and tricks! More >>

Fitness

Fitness

Our fitness articles will help teach you how to work out with gym- and home-based exercises. More >>

Crosswords

Crosswords

Enjoy the crosswords challenge in our free daily puzzles, from the harder Sunday crossword to the quicker daily. More >>

Sudoku

Sudoku

Every Sudoku has a unique solution that can be reached logically. Enter numbers into the blank spaces so that each row, column and 3x3 box contains the numbers 1 to 9. More >>




Recent Headlines

Friday 08/16/2019
How Plasma Donations Can Add Up to Life-Changing Medicines for People Around the World
Updated: August 18, 2019 - 2:30 am

(BPT) - What is plasma and how does it help people?

5 tips to protect your connected devices and electronic identity
Updated: August 18, 2019 - 2:35 am

(BPT) - Resourceful thieves and cyber criminals continue to find new ways to hack U.S. consumers’ sensitive personal information. Dumpster diving, stolen or lost wallets and mail fraud should still be concerns, but the digital age of tablets, smartphones, PCs and Wi-Fi networks leaves people even more vulnerable than ever.

What Money Tips Would You Tell Your Younger Self?
Posted: August 16, 2019

(StatePoint) As we age, we sometimes regret those life lessons that might have served us better when we were younger. If you could roll back the years, what would you tell your younger self about money? 

Thursday 08/15/2019
Grill like a boss with big BBQ flavor and bold wines
Updated: August 18, 2019 - 2:32 am

(BPT) - Grilling is one of America’s greatest pastimes, and if you love grilled meat, chances are you also like hosting cookouts to show off your pit master prowess. Once you’ve mastered the art of the char, why not take it a step further? Serve wine that blows the lid off the meal, in the best possible way.

5 ways to elevate your home decor through minimalism
Updated: August 18, 2019 - 2:35 am

(BPT) - The latest trends in home decor reveal a desire for a feeling of tranquility and calmness, perhaps as a response to today’s overly busy and distracted lifestyles. From Marie Kondo’s decluttering craze to a return to natural materials in home design, everyone is looking for a way to create a peaceful, less hectic inner space. When it comes to home decor, less is definitely more.

4 home fix-ups for fall
Updated: August 18, 2019 - 2:31 am

(BPT) - With cooler days and temperate weather, fall is a good time to get outdoors and tackle some larger home projects, as well as prep your home for winter.

Cutting-edge tumor tests reveal new cancer treatment options
Updated: August 18, 2019 - 2:33 am

(BPT) - In the fall of 2017, Elissa Reynolds was shocked by a stage four colorectal cancer diagnosis at 35 years old. Almost two years later, she has hope for the future thanks to innovative tests on her living tumor tissue, which revealed personalized treatment options for her specific cancer.

The Seven Baking Techniques You Didn’t Even Know You Needed to Master
Posted: August 15, 2019

(BPT) - Love to bake but feel like you sometimes do not get the end result you were hoping for? The secret is usually with the technique. It’s time to go back to the basics and break down the top techniques you may not have known you needed to master to be a baking pro.

5 easy relaxation techniques to reduce stress at home
Updated: August 18, 2019 - 2:34 am

(BPT) - Moms have to-do lists that are never done. From getting the kids to school, prepping family meals and everything in between, it’s a 24/7 job and can be hard to find a moment to stop and take a breath of fresh air. While the home should be a sanctuary to relax and de-stress, the reality is that a lot of life’s biggest activities happen there. The good news is that it only takes a few minutes to ground yourself through meditation. In fact, recent studies by the National Institutes of Health indicate that meditation can improve relaxation, lower blood pressure and reduce anxiety. Learning a few easy meditation techniques will give you the ability to power through even the toughest days.

Time to think harder about your checking account
Updated: August 18, 2019 - 2:33 am

(BPT) - When we imagine “financial literacy,” we often think about credit cards, loans and debt. But these building blocks of our financial infrastructures tend to cloud our perspective, pushing important details, like checking accounts, to the sidelines.

Hints To Help You Be Engine Smart, Earth Kind
Posted: August 15, 2019

(NAPSI)—Knowing where to look can help you save money at the fuel pump.

Ticket To Work Helps People Regain Independence
Posted: August 15, 2019

(NAPSI)—Millions of Americans get Social Security disability benefits yet want to work. They may be glad to know about a federal program that can help them enter the workforce while maintaining access to benefits. Thanks to Social Security’s Ticket to Work program, free employment support services help people prepare for work, find jobs or progress in their careers.

Rising child star and mom share their top 5 tips for preparing to go back to school proud
Updated: August 18, 2019 - 2:34 am

(BPT) - Sponsored by Office Depot and OfficeMax

How to Update Home Lighting to be Easy on the Eyes
Posted: August 15, 2019

(StatePoint) If you ever experience eyestrain, tired itchy eyes, blurry vision or headaches, it may be time to give your home a lighting makeover.

5 Classroom Technologies Making Learning Easy and Fun
Posted: August 15, 2019

(StatePoint) New technologies being introduced into the classroom are making learning easy, fun, and engaging, and are transforming education in the following ways:

Wednesday 08/14/2019
Presenting: America's top 10 shelter dog makeovers
Updated: August 18, 2019 - 2:31 am

(BPT) - Millions of dogs enter shelters each year. Most are dirty and matted, and less than half get the grooming they so desperately need. Sadly, these deserving animals are being perceived as ‘damaged goods’ just because of their appearance. To better their chances at finding a fur-ever family, pet industry leaders Wahl and GreaterGood.org have teamed up to donate funds and grooming supplies to shelters nationwide. The goal this year: transform more than 20,000 dogs so their lovable, adoptable personalities can shine through. Hundreds of these amazing makeovers can be seen in the Dirty Dogs Before & After Photo Gallery — including the following Top 10 Shelter Dog Makeovers of 2019.

How to protect your children from life-threatening allergies
Updated: August 18, 2019 - 2:30 am

(BPT) - As a parent or caregiver, you do everything you can to keep your children safe, happy and healthy. You do your best to plan for the expected, but it's usually the unexpected that can have the most impact.

4 back-to-school essentials to help keep kids healthy
Updated: August 18, 2019 - 2:34 am

(BPT) - New backpack? Check. Cool new shoes? Check. The right 24-pack of crayons? Check.

How To Scratch Head Lice Off Your List Of Worries
Updated: August 16, 2019 - 2:39 am

(NAPSI)—One of the most common human parasitic infestations around, head lice affect an estimated 6-12 million Americans annually, most of them children.

Entienda sus opciones
Updated: August 16, 2019 - 2:38 am

(NAPSM)—Para muchas familias, pocas cosas son más importantes que la enseñanza y un creciente número está tomado cargo de la educación de sus hijos.

Historical Fiction, Real-Life Thriller And Lovable Characters To Round Out Your Reading List
Updated: August 16, 2019 - 2:38 am

“The Ticket” by Karen Schutte (Green Spring Publishing)

5 budget-friendly projects that boost your home's value
Updated: August 18, 2019 - 2:34 am

(BPT) - Whether you plan to sell your home soon or you simply want to make your property more modern and livable, there are many things you can do to increase the value of your house. The good news is you don't need a massive budget to make a big impact. Here are five affordable things you can do to boost your home's bottom line.

Ease Kids Back into School with Confidence
Updated: August 16, 2019 - 2:39 am

(Family Features) There’s nothing like a major milestone in a child’s life to test a parent’s confidence. Big changes like a new school or classroom can be trying for kids and adults alike, but tackling the transition a little at a time can make it easier on everyone.

Back-to-School Bus Safety
Updated: August 16, 2019 - 2:39 am

(Family Features) Another school year means millions of children across the country are boarding buses at the beginning and end of each day, and it provides an appropriate opportunity for parents, teachers, school administrators and students themselves to practice and enforce safety guidelines in and around the school bus.

Simple Steps for Back-to-School Success
Updated: August 16, 2019 - 2:39 am

(Family Features) Finding new clothes and gathering pens, pencils, notebooks and other supplies are always part of the back-to-school fun, but there are other needs and wants to consider when another school year rolls around.

Don’t Lose the Luster
Updated: August 16, 2019 - 2:39 am

(Family Features) Durability is one reason homeowners choose natural stone for their kitchens and bathrooms, but the greatest appeal is often the sheer beauty of the material. Maintaining that luster and shine requires a bit of effort, but the ability to enjoy the unique character of natural stone makes it all worthwhile.

Natural Stone in the Shower
Updated: August 16, 2019 - 2:39 am

Stylish Storage for Renters
Updated: August 16, 2019 - 2:39 am

(Family Features) Just because you rent or live in small quarters doesn’t mean you can’t have ample storage space. It means you just have to be a bit more creative in figuring out where to put things, even when it seems hopeless to get a handle on organization and clutter under control. 

Save Time with a Dream Closet
Updated: August 16, 2019 - 2:39 am

Summer Sweat Sessions
Updated: August 16, 2019 - 2:39 am

3 tips for surviving workouts in the heat

A Romantic Rendezvous
Updated: August 16, 2019 - 2:38 am

Celebrate love with a Caribbean cruise

Teachers’ Top Needs for 2019
Updated: August 16, 2019 - 2:38 am

(Family Features) Great classrooms don’t happen by accident. Teachers across the country work hard to build vibrant, energizing learning environments for their students, which often means everything from microscopes to pipe cleaners, graphic novels to oboes, class pets to field trips and much more. As a result, teachers spend more than $1 billion from their own pockets each year on supplies.

Prepare Your Kids to Head Back to School
Updated: August 16, 2019 - 2:38 am

(Family Features) Whether your child's stance on heading back to school is eager and enthusiastic or falls a bit short of that level of excitement, by working together your family can gear up for a successful school year.

Ways to Make the World a Better Place for Seniors
Updated: August 16, 2019 - 2:38 am

(Family Features) By 2050, the senior population (adults age 65 and older) will be more than double that of the world’s youngest citizens, and the number of people living beyond age 80 is expected to triple over the next 30 years.

Prepare Your Family for Hurricane Season
Updated: August 16, 2019 - 2:38 am

(Family Features) Severe weather events, like hurricanes, are powerful and can come on quickly, often leaving a trail of destruction in their wake. Because power outages are also common with strong storms and natural disasters, preparing your family ahead of time can help ensure safety.

Seek Outdoor Entertainment for Personal Satisfaction
Updated: August 16, 2019 - 2:38 am

(Family Features) Making time to enjoy the outdoors is a simple way to boost your physical and mental well-being, no matter your age. Whether you venture out to the porch to watch the sunset or lace up your golf shoes for an afternoon on the course, there are plenty of ways you can take in some fresh air.

Keep Summer Movie Season Going at Home
Updated: August 16, 2019 - 2:38 am

(Family Features) The summer movie season may be winding down, but that doesn’t mean you have to limit your enjoyment of films outside the theater.

Improve Academic Outcomes through Access to Health Care Coverage
Updated: August 16, 2019 - 2:38 am

(Family Features) With each school year, parents dust off their annual checklists that help them organize their needs as their kids head back to the classroom. This school season, make sure one priority at the top of your to-do list is ensuring your children have health insurance.

School Day Solutions
Updated: August 16, 2019 - 2:39 am

Family-friendly recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner

Simplify Back-to-School Dinners with Nutritious Meal Plans
Updated: August 16, 2019 - 2:39 am

(Family Features) Back-to-school season can be cluttered between after-school activities, week­end sports and evening homework – as well as making dinner each night. Creating a master meal plan with quick, simple and nutritious meals is an easy way to take control of your family’s hectic schedule. Start by stocking the pantry with staple ingredients that amp up the nutrition and flavor of your family favorites.

Simple, Family-Friendly Solutions
Updated: August 16, 2019 - 2:39 am

(Family Features) During the hustle and bustle of a busy school week, juggling after-school activities, homework, dinners and next day lunch prep can be exhausting. Finding ways to simplify evenings while running a more efficient kitchen routine can make life more delicious for parents and children alike.

Add Mushrooms to Your Snacking Menu
Updated: August 16, 2019 - 2:39 am

(Family Features) Mix up your snacking habits with a more nutritious option to serve ahead of a meal or on its own. These Roasted Portobello Mushrooms with Beets and Goat Cheese are ready in just half an hour with only eight ingredients, allowing you to dish up a flavorful bite without going overboard in the kitchen.

Back-to-School Food Fit for the Family
Updated: August 16, 2019 - 2:39 am

(Family Features) As parents and kids navigate back-to-school routines and extracurricular activities, making healthy food choices is essential to keep everyone energized and engaged. 

Head Back to School with a Balanced Breakfast
Updated: August 16, 2019 - 2:39 am

(Family Features) With each school morning comes the importance of getting children up, ready and out the door for a day of learning and adventure. To help your little learner truly make the most of each lesson, a nutritious breakfast can be just the right way to get the morning started.

Flavorful, On-Trend Asian-Inspired Summer Entertaining
Updated: August 16, 2019 - 2:39 am

(Family Features) Summer is the perfect time to bring out the grill and enjoy creating a flavorful meal when entertaining your family and friends. While some choose to whip up classic recipes, you can heat things up by taking advantage of all the seasonal ingredients and popular culinary trends, such as opting for authentic, Asian-inspired recipes.

An Easy Solution to After-School Snacking
Updated: August 16, 2019 - 2:39 am

(Family Features) The early morning chaos and activity-packed evenings of the back-to-school season can make finding time to connect challenging. Throughout the day, there can be small windows of time that your family can make the most of – even if only for a few moments that matter.

5 Ways to Keep Your Cat Happy and Healthy
Posted: August 14, 2019

(Family Features) While cats can be quite independent animals, they still rely on their pet parents to maintain their well-being. It’s up to pet owners to provide the adequate care, nutrition and home environment to ensure their furry friends live long and healthy lives.

Making the Back-to-School Transition Easy from Kindergarten to College
Posted: August 14, 2019

(Family Features) It’s time to get your household organized for another school year and all that comes with it.

Tuesday 08/13/2019
The cost of complacency: How auto-pay can drain your dollars
Updated: August 18, 2019 - 2:35 am

(BPT) - When it comes to managing your monthly bills, it doesn’t get much more convenient than auto-pay. Because this option eliminates missed payments and late fees, it’s easy to see why three-quarters of Americans have opted in, with anywhere between one and seven monthly payments, according to recent survey findings.

However, consumers are also discovering that enlisting in auto-pay isn’t without its financial downsides. The following survey findings from TheZebra.com (an insurance comparison site) show how auto-pay can make consumers complacent.

* Nearly a quarter of people (23%) admit to not paying attention to what’s coming out of their bank accounts. If the result is an overdrawn account or a billing error slipping through, that can prove to be a costly mistake.

* One-third (29%) of respondents confess to forgetting to cancel services linked to autopay after they’ve stopped using the services. A couple prime examples of this are a music streaming service subscription or a gym membership.

* Nearly half of consumers indicate that once auto-pay is set up for their car insurance payments, they never get around to re-evaluating their fees. Considering the market value of our cars depreciates every year, this suggests that many consumers are missing an opportunity to get the best coverage at the best price, as car insurance rates can change daily.

* Finally, by not taking time to evaluate costs or cancel unused services, consumers are paying the price. Some 29% of respondents estimate they’re losing $100 annually, but for high-ticket items like a gym membership, the savings could be in the thousands.

Now that you know the high price you may be paying for the convenience of auto-pay, here are some tips to help you stay in control of your finances.

1. Keep track of your statements. Because money is withdrawn from your account each month, it’s easy to lose track of your spending. Otherwise, if a price hike takes effect or if you end up consuming more services than expected, the consequence can be a higher-than-expected bill. If your bank account lacks the funds to cover it, you’ll end up with an overdraft, which can end up costing you more than any late fee! So when auto-pay takes effect, make sure you review the monthly statements. If you see an additional charge or a price hike take effect, follow up immediately.

2. Research rates at least twice a year. While your service provider may offer excellent service at a great rate, it’s always possible there’s a better deal for you somewhere else. Take time to research and compare the going rates for things like internet service and car insurance — you may be pleasantly surprised. To make sure you follow this step, set up six-month reminders on your phone or calendar and commit yourself to following through. If you end up using the service less often than you planned — or not at all — this reminder can give that much-needed nudge to reevaluate.

3. Take time to fully understand your options. As you know, some service agreements, such as gym memberships and mobile phone contracts, can’t be canceled without penalty — at least, not until you’ve reached a specific end date. But don’t make the mistake of thinking this rule applies to all service agreements. For example, did you know you can switch your car insurance anytime without paying a penalty? It’s true! In fact, once you switch, your old insurer will send you a rebate for the balance, even if time remains on your six- or one-month policy. So go ahead and shop around. If you find a car insurance provider that’s more affordable and provides the coverage you need, you can reap the benefits right away. Just remember, if you do decide to switch, don’t cancel the old policy until the new one is officially in place. Otherwise you might get charged a penalty for the gap in coverage.

How to save on a big bill: Car insurance

Looking for a better price on car insurance? TheZebra.com allows you to see how your current policy stacks up to the rest. The Zebra is the only auto insurance comparison site that shows you all your options side by side, and never sells your data. When you shop around with The Zebra, you can rest assured knowing you won’t get any unwanted calls or emails. Visit www.thezebra.com and see how much you could be saving on car insurance.