Halloween: Why You Should Be Giving Out Tricks Not Treats

halloween-candyThe fact is that American kids consume too much candy on Halloween.  A study by Ogden and Carroll found that over a third of children and adolescents in 2010 were defined as obese or overweight. A study carried out by the NPD Group (that undertakes market research on eating trends) found that a staggering 4 percent of all candy consumed during the year is consumed on this one day alone.

So what is the solution?  Well, you probably don’t want to be that parent that gives out tricks rather than treats.  And you can’t control what others are doing.  But you can exert some level of control over what your family is consuming on Halloween.  So, take some expert advice.  According to mother of three, registered dietician and spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Sarah Krieger, one way to handle the Halloween candy rush is to cut back on something else that you are eating on that day that is not so healthy such as sugared drinks or granola bars – anything with added sugar.  Then, sit down with your kids ahead of time to discuss what they intend to do with their Halloween candy.  Maybe they want to keep some and give some to charity.  Or maybe they want to give you the candy and let you decide when to give it to them, slowly.

In addition, it is wise to make sure you serve your kids a healthy, wholesome meal just before all the candy fanfare begins.  That way if they are full on good foods they are less likely to completely over-indulge.

At the end of the day Halloween is a lot of fun.  But it really doesn’t have to be all about eating as much candy as you can.  A lot of the enjoyment is in the collecting, going door-to-door, dressing up, trading with siblings and friends etc.  So as a parent, try to make the focus on that rather than the total over-consumption of Halloween candy.

19 Professional Photography Myths Debunked

Photography enthusiasts all over the world are struggling to launch their careers while grappling with challenges they never thought they’d come across. Professional photographers from across the globe, such as Ray Kam, Thomas Devaux and Neil Krug, have developed their businesses despite such hardships, carving into the industry in their own ways.

Jim Harmer, founder of Improve Photography, host of the popular Improve Photography Podcast, author, and photography enthusiast, compiled a list of 19 myths which he believes must be debunked if you want to give professional photography a real shot:

  1. Being a pro photographer will allow me to work my own hours.
  2. If I charge $75 for a 1-hour shoot, I’ll be making $75 per hour!!!
  3. Getting tons of compliments about your photography means you’re ready to shoot professionally.
  4. Clients will love your photos if you take creative shots.
  5. Second shooters are optional for weddings–even high budget weddings.
  6. Paying for a nice website will bring in clients.
  7. You can earn as much by selling a CD of the images as you can by selling individual prints.
  8. A second body is optional.
  9. Working on a handshake is good for business.
  10. You’re perfectly capable of writing your own contract.
  11. You can avoid learning lighting and buying flash gear by calling yourself a “natural light photographer.”
  12. If you don’t have enough clients, you can do a giveaway on your Facebook page to get things rolling again.
  13. You can become a destination wedding photographer by writing, “Available for travel” on your bio page.
  14. Networking is optional.
  15. Nobody will notice that your portfolio consists of the same 5 people in every shot.
  16. Your portfolio will look great even if the models look average.
  17. People are dying to read your blog.
  18. If you love photography, you’ll love being a pro photographer.
  19. Photography is a growing industry.

Harmer explains each myth in detail, pointing out the potential pitfalls for those who believe them and offering solutions for each problem. View his full article here.

photo by: Hossein Ghodsi

Quiet, Reserved Actor Finds Love Where He Least Expects It

120718KeithJill1Sometimes love is found where you least expect it… That is certainly what happened to New York University graduate Keith Powell, the man who played “Toofer” on the hit television series 3o RockHe explained that despite the fact that his career seemed outgoing, the publicity actually made him withdraw and remove himself from social experiences.

“I was feeling judged a lot, and I was closing off from people,” Mr. Powell explained.

Four years ago, when Powell was 29, a former classmate asked for his help with a workshop for a new play. Since the season of 30 Rock had already ended production, Powell agreed.

There he met Jill Knox, an actress who he described as “really hot, but also a little nutty.” He was surprised by the openness with which she discussed her love life, recent breakup and general life stories. “The things she said were so charming and funny,” he said. Still, Powell was much more reserved, and kept his distance.

Less than a week later, however, Powell found Jill waiting for a bus and asked her out for brunch. They went back to her apartment instead, and ended up talking for hours. Knox talks openly about how Powell was not her type, and that romance was not on her mind. According to her he was too skinny, and too young. But, Knox gave him a chance and the two grew ever closer. Powell also convinced Knox to expand her love and painting and pursue a career in the visual arts.

“We had so much in common,” Powell shared. “And also, I realized that I needed someone like her who is a little reckless and who throws caution to the wind.”

“Keith was crazy about Jill,” a friend said, explaining that Powell would always talk about how talented Knox was. “Keith was always a very grounded guy, very logical and sensible.”

In 2012, Powell really did throw caution to the wind and popped the question while the couple appeared on House Hunters Renovation. The two were married on October 12th, 2013, at the Tribeca Rooftop.



Owning or Admiring a Piece of History

Clemens Manuscript at Shapell Manuscript Foundation
Clemens Manuscript at Shapell Manuscript Foundation

Certainly, many people today enjoy collecting autographs, documents and other items from the rich and famous. Some people enjoy trying to get autographs from living celebrities, while others enjoy a piece of history.

There are different ways to obtain these pieces of history and to enjoy such a prize. Here are a few ways to do so.

  1. Fan club mail: If you write to a celebrity, they will often send you a headshot with a signature. Now, the signature won’t be a handwritten one, but will usually be a computer generated copy.
  2. Find someone who knows someone: One way to get the signature you want is to actually meet the person. This is obviously not easily done, but if you find connections, you might be able to either meet them yourself and get their signature, or have someone else do so.
  3. Auctions and collectors: Historic documents and memorabilia do come up for sale at times. You can look for antique sales and can see what auction houses have to offer. A reputable manuscript foundation like Shapell Manuscript Foundation has fascinating documents and items from famous people throughout history. A few of their recent examples include one of the last documents ever signed by William McKinley before he was killed and a mock-up by Samuel Clemens of his title page and dedication of “More Tramps Abroad.”

With a bit of ingenuity and perseverance, you should be able to own (or at least admire) pieces of history from the rich and famous.

Nature Exhibits Fascinate Children and Adults Alike in Dallas, TX

Children of all ages are fascinated by the natural world around them. Animals large and small, unique and fascinating plants, even the skeletons of creatures long gone captivate their imaginations and expose them to different forms and stages of life on Earth. The Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas, Texas, works to create interactive experiences to teach children about the many living things with whom we share our planet, while introducing them to new concepts, spectacular animals and new perceptions.

The museum currently has a traveling exhibit open to visitors called ‘Animal Inside Out‘, which explores the biology, zoology and physiology of creatures of all sizes. Created by Dr. Gunther von Hagens and Dr. Angelina Whalley, the exhibit teaches visitors about the skeletal structures,muscles, tendons, ligaments, and nervous systems of various animals, including cows, horses and ostriches, as well how animals breathe, eat and reproduce. Dr. von Hagens and Dr. Whalley hope that their eye-opening exhibition will inspire a new appreciation for living things and awareness for the importance of animal conservation.

The Perot Museum recently ended the ‘Recycle Reef’ summer exhibit, and has additional exhibitions on the way, including ‘The World’s Largest Dinosaurs’, presented by Highland Capital Management with Co-Founder and President James Dondero.

“Dinosaurs rock!” Jim Dondero explained. “The science and fantasy of dinosaurs inspire children of all ages. We are proud to help bring the World’s Largest Dinosaur exhibit to Dallas.”

The ‘World’s Largest Dinosaurs’ exhibit is scheduled for next April.


Halloween Cupcake Recipe

Halloween_cupcakes_with_orange,_black_and_white_sprinkles!Halloween is on the way and your home is undoubtedly bustling with costume preparations, large stocks of candy, and plans for trick-or-treat. The internet is bursting with last-minute costume inspirations, home decorating ideas, and recipes for everything ranging from homemade candy to spooky family treats.

Handbag.com has several popular recipes designed to impress your guests and children, including cookies, cakes, candies and cupcakes. Here is a recipe for some simple, spooky Halloween cupcakes:

What You’ll Need:

  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 50ml Mr Hugh’s rapeseed oil
  • 25g cornflower
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 75ml of milk
  • 100ml of double cream
  • 3 large free range eggs
  • 300ml self-raising flour, sifted

For the frosting:

  • 175g softened unsalted butter
  • 600g icing sugar
  • Food colouring of choice (typically orange)

The site explains:

Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4
Line a muffin tin with the cupcake cases of your choice.

Melt the butter on a low heat in a small pan, then remove from the heat and set aside. In a bowl add the sugar, rapeseed oil, cornflour and vanilla extract and beat in the butter that has just been melted until smooth and creamy.
Then whisk in the egg followed by the milk and cream and gently fold in the flour in batches trying not to over beat but ensuring all the ingredients are well incorporated.

Divide the mixture between the cases until the cases are two-thirds full. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 20-25 minutes or until light and golden and the sponge bounces back when touched. A skewer inserted in the centre of the cupcake should come out clean. Leave the cupcakes to cool slightly in the tray before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

Cream together the softened butter, food coloring and the icing sugar until combined. Spread the icing on the cooled cupcakes with a pallet knife or pipe the icing onto the cupcakes. To finish decorate each with Halloween theme cake toppers.


Stay tuned for more creepy recipes for the upcoming holiday!