Thursday, February 16, 2017

Why I LOVE Turbo Tax

Hiya friends!

This is NOT an ad. This is just an honest opinion by a once very stressed out American who had yet to file her taxes. Taxes always stress me out because I want to make sure that I do everything right and I have a pretty big fear of "getting into trouble" regardless of who you are. I surely do not want Uncle Sam knocking at my door and I tend to do my taxes as quickly as humanly possible so that I can cross that off the annual to do list.

This year I was a bit more nervous about filing my taxes than in years past because I haven't done them on my own...since I was in college. And that was like more than a decade ago. Not to mention, I have been adulting a lot more lately and I switched jobs last year and am now working in a state in which I do not reside.

Instead of searching for a reputable tax professional, I decided to give turbotax a go and I am so glad that I did. They made it so easy to walk through and complete my return from multiple states. There are many filing options to choose from and they help you sort all that out by asking you simple questions about your lifestyle, work, etc. In fact, everything was simple. If I wasn't sure of something, I clicked on the help box and my question was explained in terms I could UNDERSTAND! I was pleasantly surprised. You don't pay anything until the end when it is time to file and even then there are choices for payments for the software but also to the government if you owe. If you don't owe, you can enter your bank account information or request a check. That's it! Done. Whew!

The entire process took me some time as I had to organize myself, my paperwork, and read through the simple steps laid out by the software but overall it was an easy, stress-free experience. I think I spent an hour or two on it and most of it was just my need to read everything. Give it a try! Leave a comment and let me know what you think of Turbo Tax!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The need for language interpreters in hospitals

This is not a topic in which I typically discuss on my blog but it is one that I have found to be of need lately. In thinking about healthcare and appropriate access for all, it is important to remember that there are some who struggle articulating their thoughts and ideas as english is not their first language.

With the rapid growth of social diversity not only in the US but also in the whole world, language and cultural barriers are becoming more of an issue. The problem causes worse consequences to foreign patients who are having a difficulty in communicating using the English language.

Here are some cases of tragic incidents that happened as a result of a language barrier. In 2006, a ten-month-old girl was diagnosed of a drug overdose after her parents, who happen to speak mainly Spanish, accidentally administered medicine 12.5 times more than the prescribed dosage. The local pharmacy and hospital staff, unfortunately, didn’t have anyone who can speak in Spanish to explain the correct dosage to the parents. In another case, a mother misinterpreted the doctor’s prescription and put oral amoxicillin inside the ears of her daughter suffering from otitis media. In 2014, an eighteen-year-old baseball player has been thought to suffer from drug overdose for the longest time. It was too late before the doctor discovered that he was actually having a brain hemorrhage.

As what was discussed from the previous cases, the language barrier has resulted in misdiagnosis and poor understanding of doctor's’ prescription and recommendations. Worse comes to worst, a simple illness can lead to a life-threatening condition.

In the most recent survey of 2013, there were approximately 40.4 million immigrants in America who speak foreign languages at home other than English. Roughly half or 20.4 million of these foreign speakers are considered having limited English Proficiency (LEP). The majority of this group use either Spanish or Chinese as their first language. The number of LEPs is expected to increase by more than 46% in the next five years. And according to Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, nine percent of the total US population is at risk of adverse consequences similar to the cases discussed above.

At the present, most of the medical institutions do not fare well in providing permanent translators inside their establishments. And even if they have, the translators are not trained to work well in the medical field. The good thing is, there are already a lot of medical interpreters that you can find online. These are well-trained medical translators capable of assisting in health consultations, medico-legal sector, and also in insurance companies. These medical interpreters, who are fluent in various international languages as well as the American Sign Language, can easily be reached 24/7. Availing medical interpreter services is not only cost-efficient but also effective in reducing the risk of misdiagnosis and failure to follow medical instructions on the patient's end.

The development of medical interpretation is a growing need in this time of rapid cultural diversification. Not only it can save lives, but it can also contribute to the healthcare community by transferring medical knowledge through various cultures. A simple reminder before hiring your own medical interpreter: choose the one that you can trust. Beware of those that aren’t certified to practice their skill in the medical field. Getting one can lead to inaccuracy and little understanding of immediate medical attention that must be provided to the patients.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Top Tips for Picking the Perfect Sofa

I am always trying to update my style and this includes my home furnishings. Winter is a good time to update home furnishes and decor as you can often get great items on sale. After the holiday rush, it is tough for retailers to earn sales from consumers as many have spent more than usual on gifts. To entice consumers, many retailers will deeply discount items in hopes of earning some sales. I always like to look for new furniture in late January and February because of these sales. Currently I am looking at purchasing additional seating for my home. We have recently renovated our basement space and the current sofa in the family room will soon make its way down to the basement. Before that can happen, I must find a new sofa at a reasonable price. There are several things to consider when purchasing a new sofa. I have outlined some below.
A sofa is the focal point of a living room. It is essential you select the perfect style to complement a room’s size, shape and interior design, as well as your lifestyle. With so many options to choose from, you might not know where to start. However, you are in luck, because here are some top tips for picking the perfect sofa.
The Ideal Fit
The size of your living room should determine the size of the sofa you select. If you have a large living room, you must identify the right size couch to fill the space. You should also consider whether you want to incorporate other furniture items, such as a coffee table or additional chairs.
If your room is on the small size, a compact couch might be the way to go. A two-seater couch could be a great addition to a small living room and, if you have the space, you can add a complementary chair for additional seating. Remember to measure a sofa to ensure it is the right size for your space, and you should also measure your doorway to ensure it fits.
The Best Shape
You might dream of owning an L-shaped couch, but is it practical for your living room? There’s no denying that corner couches are a stylish addition to the home, but they can take up a lot of space, so ensure it complements your room’s size and shape. If you do have the space, it’s important to note that L-shaped couches work in harmony with coffee tables. Visit Danetti for living room inspiration.
A Stylish Alternative
Instead of opting for a two or three seater couch, or a corner sofa, you could always incorporate a day bed into your living room or bedroom. This beautiful furniture option works best by a window and offers a compact design that’s perfect for any size room.
Lovely Leather
Leather can stand the test of time, so it’s ideal for those looking for a couch that’s made to last. This is one material that never goes out of style and can adapt to various design changes you’ll make throughout the years. It’s also simple to clean, so it is ideal if you have children or pets.
Be Brave with Suede
Suede is one of the softest materials on the planet, which just oozes sophistication and luxury. So, it is a wonderful material for a sofa, right? Well, that depends on how messy you are. While suede is comfortable and chic, it can also be easily destroyed, so you should only opt for this couch material if you are not a klutz or if you don’t have children or pets.
Whether you love bold prints, plain colours or luxurious materials, there is a couch out there to suit your taste. However, don’t buy the first couch that catches your eye. Consider your room size, interior colour and seating requirements before you make a purchase, because you will not want your sofa to become a focal point for all the wrong reasons.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Methods For Mindfulness: How To Master The Art of Breathing

Methods For Mindfulness: How To Master The Art of Breathing

In your mindful moments, focus on breath is one of the main techniques that will keep you present. Without breath-awareness, your meditation or yoga practice is far less efficient. There are many benefits of breathing with intention, which relates both to your physical and mental well-being. There are specific methods and techniques that will guide you toward proper practice of mindful breathing. Luckily, via the employment of modern tools and programs, you can build upon what you already know and enact. Here is an overview on the art of breathing, with methods and tips that will inform and enhance your practice of mindfulness:

The Benefits of Breathing

Mindful breathing can help calm your nervous system and bring you increased awareness toward everything that occurs around you. When you aren’t in your meditation practice, you can still breathe mindfully and enjoy everyday things. With enhanced senses, you can take extra pleasure in things like the distinct smells and tastes of the food you eat, the sounds of nature and watching people process the world around them and act in accordance with what they perceive. With this awareness, you are also able to focus more on your thoughts; in turn, this clarity will allow better communication and listening skills. You can easily communicate your deeper feelings and emotions as well as ideas that are more cognitively challenging. For example, if you meditate or have a mindful 10 minutes of breathing before a big meeting at work or a school seminar, you are better able to express yourself verbally and follow the thought processes of your colleagues without getting caught up in any adverse emotions. The focus derived from mindful breathing also increases the attention you have for your work or projects. You will be able to stay on task for longer and go about your day with deliberation. The Eco Institute has completed many studies that link breathing practices with the aforementioned sensations and changes that result within the mind and body.

Proper Practice

Begin your mindful breathing practice in scheduled blocks at first. Plan to do your breathing exercises or meditation at particular times of the day. A consistent schedule will help you build your breathing practice and skill. Utilize a meditation guidance app, like Headspace, which can keep you on the right path, throughout the process. Headspace has 10-minute sessions that will only take a small chunk out of your morning or work time lunch break, but will revitalize your energy for the duration of the day. Once you’ve established your schedule, try and find times throughout the day when you can breathe with awareness so you can reap the benefits more often. Have deep, focused breathing sessions in your car before you start it, immediately when you return home from work or when you wake up from sleep.

Helpful Tools

Have a specialized soundtrack that can set the tone for your bliss. Ambient music is best, as it is instrumental without a patterned melody. If the music had lyrics or a pattern, you’d be more likely to focus on the composition of the song rather than your breathing. YouTube offers many meditation playlists or you can check out Radio Sri Chinmoy for free meditation music. Another useful gadget is Spire — a wearable device that tracks breathing patterns. The app was designed for the iOS system, like that of the iPhone 6s, and provides you with breathing alerts and guided meditations. The wearable will pick up on your physical activity and, in working with the app, will provide real-time results.

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