There are Charlie Brown Christmas trees and then there are gorgeously plump pines, but somewhere in the middle are the perfectly sparse and aesthetically clean option: the sparse tree.
Typically, a sparse plant isn’t necessarily a good thing. But designers are turning the tables these days. Emily Henderson made the 7′ Unlit Artificial Balsam Fir Christmas Tree from Target in her Portland house look effortlessly chic, using a combination of gorgeous black and white ornaments, plus a touch of red and gold.
Similarly, Bri Moysa of Emerson Grey Designs took an IKEA tree and made it look much more expensive by adding in natural elements and simple ornaments.
The sparse tree effect works especially well if don’t have the space in your home to get a massive tree or you’re just looking for something new and different. It somehow manages to appear both farmhouse chic and clean and modern all at once, and it works in both formal settings or more casual rooms.
Investing in a good artificial tree also allows you to change the look from season to season, using it in a variety of rooms and settings. Many faux trees are pre-lit, so you won’t have to struggle with wrapping and camouflaging cords, which also detracts from the clean aesthetic you’re seeking.
Here, lifestyle blogger Julie Blanner created a delicate skinny tree, dressing it simply in garland for a look that lets the beauty of the tree itself shine through. It’s a clean, peaceful aesthetic.
And, here, Blanner dresses the same tree with pale pink glass ornaments and faux crystal and pearl garland for an understated yet gorgeous appearance. It’s an excellent example of “less is more.”
Are you a fan of the sparse Christmas tree trend?
Article by Taylor Mead and Erricca Elin Sansone for House Beautiful.
Washington D.C’s first Black archbishop is now also the first African-American cardinal.
Pope Francis announced 13 new cardinals Sunday in a surprise declaration from his window overlooking St. Peter’s Square, including Wilton Gregory, who was tapped as archbishop in the nation’s capital last year.
Gregory, 73, previously led the Archdiocese of Atlanta and has spoken forcefully about the need for improved race relations in the Church. He replaced Cardinal Donald Wuerl, who resigned in October 2018 over criticism of his handling of sexual assault allegations.
“Ours is the task and the privilege of advancing the goals that were so eloquently expressed 57 years ago by such distinguished voices on that day,” Gregory said during an August Mass that marked the 57th anniversary of the Rev. Martin Luther King’s March on Washington. “Men and women, young and old, people of every racial and ethnic background are needed in this effort.”
Pope Francis announced Sunday that Wilton Gregory and 12 others will be appointed cardinals. (Andrew Harnik/)
Nine of the 13 newly appointed cardinals are under the age of 80, making them eligible to vote in the next conclave to select Francis’ successor.
Oh my gourd—you won’t believe these amazingly creative DIY ideas.
From pumpkin recipes and spiced beverages to jack-o’-lanterns and mums, everyone knows that fall and pumpkins are practically synonymous. You might not know, though, that you can truly transform the bright orange seasonal staple into absolutely anything you please, from lanterns to votives to, yes, even a wood-burning stove. Let your crafting skills shine this October 31 and think outside the box with these genius Halloween pumpkin decorating ideas.
Brian Woodcock photo
Painted Stencil Pumpkin
We’ve brought old school country to the pumpkin! Get your paint pens out and get drawing.
Make the pumpkin: Lightly draw a stencil pattern around the center of a medium- size white pumpkin. Use black, orange, and yellow paint pens to cover drawing.
Washi Tape Plaid
Layer different colors, widths, and patterns of washi tape to create a simple plaid pattern.
Make the pumpkin: Layer different colors and widths of washi tape vertically and horizontally on a medium-size orange pumpkin to create a plaid pattern.
Wrapped in gauze with differing sized eyes, you better watch these little stinkers. They might just wiggle over and steal some candy.
Make the pumpkin: Wrap a small white pumpkin with strips of gauze, holding strips in place where necessary with hot-glue. Attach two differently sized black buttons with hot-glue to create eyes. Tack down a length of thin black twine with staple-gun staples to create a mouth.
Creepy crawly spiders love to make home in a pumpkin adorned with a rickrack web.
Make the pumpkin: Attach horizontal lengths of large gray rickrack around the top three-fourths of a medium-size white pumpkin with hot-glue. Attach vertical lengths, allowing them to sit in the pumpkin’s natural grooves, with hot-glue. Attach mini plastic spiders with hot glue.
Creepy spider made from buttons, string, and pipe cleaners slither about pumpkins. The very idea is sure to make your skin crawl!
Make the pumpkin: Thread red string through the holes of a large or medium-size black button in a crisscross pattern; knot or glue in the back to hold in place. Cut eight 1- to 2-inch lengths of black pipe cleaner and glue to the back of the button with hot glue with four on each side; shape into legs. Attach a smaller black button with hot-glue to make a head. Repeat as desired. Attach a black string to the back of the larger button with hot-glue, and hang spider around stem or attach directly to a pumpkin with hot-glue.
As the times changed, so did my design style. When it became clear that my stairs needed an upgrade, and I was unable to find an affordable runner carpet that I liked, I went for the full-on painted stairs. Although there were a few glitches along the way, it was a pretty easy project to do.
MATERIALS AND TOOLS – Paint – Primer – Tape measure – Painter’s tape – Carpenter’s square
STEP 1: Prime and tape
I decided to go with a low-luster enamel paint. I chose the Porch and Patio Floor paint from Behr and had it color-matched to go with my furniture. After first priming and painting the stairs in my base color (which happens to be the same color as the house’s trim), I went to work on taping. I used a tape measure and decided how wide I wanted my center “runner” to be, used the angle to get a straight line, and then used painter’s tape to create a line on each step. It definitely gets tricky going over the lip and trim pieces, so you want to make sure you seal the edges well.
Photo: Painted Therapy
STEP 2: Measure
After getting the first piece of tape on, I marked the width of my trusty DVD case (we were watching The Lion King, so why not?), made a straight line with the angle, and applied this next line of tape parallel to the first (making sure again to seal the edges well). Then I did it all over again on the other side of the stairs.
Side note: I have a sweet reader who reminded me of a very special tip (that I forgot until AFTER the stairs were painted). Paint over your tape edges with your base color. If you do so, you will seal the tape with the base color, and the next color (in my case gray) cannot get under that pesky tape. BRILLIANT!
STEP 3: Paint.
Once I had finished the stripes, I then painted the tread of the stairs. You may want to paint every other step, giving yourself a dry place to step up and down, but I chose not to do that, since there was enough dry room on the sides. Let it be noted that I did use a paint additive to give the stairs a little rough texture and create traction. I didn’t want my little girl to wake up one January morning, socks on feet, and slipping down the stairs to me. Additive can easily be found in the paint section of your paint store.
Photo: Painted Therapy
And there she is! I’ve decided I like the stairs. They are much easier to clean too, as I just sweep down and vacuum up. I chose not to put poly on the stairs, but I have no problem with them looking “worn” over time. By then, I’m sure my decorating style will have changed again anyway.
This guide comes to us from Debbie—wife, mother of two, and the creative force behind the popular DIY blog Painted Therapy. Eager to try anything, from painting stairs to making art from old shipping pallets, Debbie is on a mission to prove that home improvement can be both fun and therapeutic.
The drama-filled show is set to return for another season in 2021.
With all of the twists and turns, it’s no surprise that Yellowstone has become one of the hit TV shows of the summer. The story of the drama-filled Dutton family’s Montana ranch is filled with cliffhangers, making it perfect for binge-watching. Kevin Costner stars as patriarch John Dutton, who, along with his children Kayce (Luke Grimes), Beth (Kelly Reilly), and Jamie (Wes Bentley), does whatever it takes to protect his ranch and fortune. Season 3 came to a head during the eventful finale, which ended with a bomb and gunfire, leaving viewers wondering who would survive to see season 4.
HOW CAN I WATCH SEASON 3?
If you haven’t watched past seasons of Yellowstone, you have time to catch up! The show is not on Netflix or Hulu, but seasons 1 and 2 are available to watch on the new Peacock streaming service. Season 3 has not launched on Peacock yet, but you don’t have to wait long! Season 3 will be available on Peacock on November 22, 2020. If you have cable TV service, you can sign in to watch all episodes through the Paramount Network. If you just can’t wait, individual episodes are also available to purchase through Amazon.
When will season 4 premiere?
Well, don’t worry. There will be a season 4. According to Deadline, “Paramount Network has ordered a fourth season of its flagship series Yellowstone starring Kevin Costner, ahead of its Season 3 premiere on the summer.” Filming for season 4 was delayed by a few months due to the COVID-19 pandemic but picked up shortly before the season 3 finale aired.
Chief Joseph Ranch, where Yellowstone is filmed, confirmed on August 21 that filming for season 4 had begun, and Forrie Smith, Jr., who portrays cowboy Lloyd, reported from his first day of shooting. No release date for season 4 has been announced, but the past three seasons all began in June, so we expect season 4 to air in June 2021, as long as the delay in filming hasn’t put production behind schedule.
If Dexter‘s original series finale didn’t quite cut it for you, the newly announced revival hopes to make things right.
Showtime’s serial killer drama wrapped its eight-season run seven years ago by — SPOILERS ALERT, AND I AM NOT KIDDING — killing off this main character and then sending Michael C. Hall’s titular vigilante into fake death-imposed exile in the middle of nowhere. AKA the infamous Lumberjack Ending.
But with the 10-episode revival picking up in real time, so many years later, “We basically do get to start from scratch,” returning showrunner Clyde Phillips told the Oct. 16 episode of THR’s always entertaining TV’s Top 5 podcast.
“We want this to not be Dexter Season 9,” he continued. “Ten years, or however many years, have passed by the time this will air, and the show will reflect that time passage. So far as the ending of the show, this will have no resemblance to how the original finale was. It’s a great opportunity to write a second finale.”
Given the lukewarm reaction to the September 2013 series finale, from both viewers and even series lead Hall himself, “This is an opportunity to make that right,” Phillips said. “But that’s not why we’re doing it.”
As for righting/retconning any specific perceived wrongs, “We’re not undoing anything,” Phillips maintained. “We’re not going to betray the audience and say, ‘Whoops, that was all a dream.’ What happened in the first eight years happened in the first eight years.”
Michael C. Hall, sharing his own take on the original series finale, told The Daily Beast in 2014, “Liked it? I don’t think I even watched it,” adding: “I thought it was narratively satisfying — but it was not so savoury…. Just inherently because of how long we’d done it, because of the storytelling capital we’d spent, because our writers may have been gassed… Maybe some people wanted a more satisfying-maybe they wanted a happy ending for him, either a happy ending or a more definitive sense of closure.”
If you’re being honest, lying is probably a big part of your daily life. Even if you’re not running a pyramid scheme or cheating on your partner, little “white lies” or “untruths” likely fly out of your mouth as regularly as planes do at JFK Airport. Sometimes it’s out of kindness, sometimes it’s out of convenience—but either way, it’s a lie. And that’s the truth.
“I’ll be there in 5 minutes.”
When you’re running late, “5 minutes” can really mean anything from 10 to 20 minutes. So if someone tells you they’re “20 minutes late,” you might as well get comfortable.
“We need to catch up!”
Making polite conversation when you run into a coworker can often make you want to run in the other direction — yet for some reason we feel obligated to make plans for a more in-depth catch-up before scurrying off. It’s not real unless someone sends a calendar invite, and chances are, neither one of you is going to follow through.
“That name sounds familiar.”
No, the name of your co-worker’s boyfriend’s former college roommate probably doesn’t sound familiar, but but it still feels good to seem so well-connected.
“I didn’t get your text.”
Blaming a failure in technology is one of the oldest tricks in the book. You got the text, the text simply didn’t get your attention.
“I was going to say that!”
No, you weren’t going to say the clever thing you just heard someone say. You just wish you had.
If you’re so humbled by whatever award or accolade you just received, why do you keep talking about it? Humble people don’t brag, they let their accomplishment speak for itself…and befriend people who will tell everyone so they don’t have to.
“I’m too tired.”
On the surface, this is true—we’re all tired. It’s a lie, however, when you say you’re too exhausted to go to the movies with a friend, but stay up until 3am watching videos on the internet.
“I didn’t mean to!”
Everyone has done something wrong and then blamed it on an accident. Maybe try a different excuse next time you spend 20 minutes guessing your significant others’ passcode, scrolling through their photo library, and sending yourself every suspicious photo they’ve ever taken.
“I’ll do it later.”
Yeah, maybe you will do it later, but probably even later than the late you initially imagined. Stop using vague language to shield your laziness. You’re not fooling anyone.
“This is delicious.”
When tasting someone’s cooking, always go with a polite reaction — even if it’s a bit of a fib.
“It was here a second ago…”
If it was there a second ago, the search would be over. It’s more likely that it was there two days ago and has since been moved — or you’re just plain forgetful.
“This is the best gift ever!”
A sweater that isn’t your style, doesn’t fit, and is so coarse even the moths don’t want anything to do with it is “the best gift ever”? It must be one of those Christmas miracles you hear about.
“I was only kidding”
Put your foot in your mouth, and now you’re trying to back-pedal? Chalking the blunder up to a joke is one way to do it…though it’s not very convincing.
“I’m busy that weekend”
It’s a lot easier to make plans up than it is to actually make and keep real ones. Especially when you really, really, really don’t want to.
“I’ll just have one.”
Lying to yourself might not seem that bad, but it also impacts the people who invite you to try their nachos.
When it comes to Halloween decor, your first thought might be to carve pumpkins for a table arrangement or hang a fun and spooky banner to make a drab room more festive. While these are certainly no-fail Halloween decor ideas, there’s one element that you shouldn’t overlook: your front door. Make a great first impression this year with these Halloween door decorations that are guaranteed to be the talk of your neighborhood. Whether you love all things creepy of prefer understated Halloween decor, you’re sure to find a favorite here.
Keep Out Cardboard Planks
Turn your home’s entrance into a graveyard—the perfect project for dedicated Halloween enthusiasts. Add a “Keep Out” sign on cardboard slats, place cobwebs all over your door, hang a ghost, position a few gravestones on your steps, and you’re ready to celebrate.
If you’re pressed for time, go for a jack-o-lantern door. Begin by using masking tape to hang orange gift wrapping paper. Then, enhance the look by cutting an eye, nose, and mouth from gold paper. You can finish the look by adding tree branches, pumpkins, cabbages, and faux crows.
The novel coronavirus has been a crash course for many people on washing their hands properly. But the devices we carry in our hands may also need cleaning as well. In particular, our smartphones could use some attention as often as our hands, since we check them 96 times a day, according to 2019 research from tech company Asurion.
Don’t forget your other smart devices
Smartphones aren’t the only smart devices we touch periodically through the day. Smartwatches, earbuds, computers and smart speakers and displays also have surfaces which may need some cleaning, too.
Here then are a few ways to clean many of these surfaces, particularly from viruses, including COVID-19.
1. Waterproof cases
Washing your smartphone? In some situations, smartphones can handle a dunking. But a 20-second spin under the water faucet is likely not a great idea.
A waterproof case may make a difference, however, and Catalyst makes cases that can handle an appropriate level of cleaning recommend by the Centers for Disease Control, (CDC) for the iPhone. Catalyst has even made a video that shows exactly how well its cases hold up — suggesting people wash their phones every time they wash their hands, as long as one of their waterproof cases are on there.
The company also makes these cases for the Apple Watch, iPad and AirPods.
Beasyjoy also claims its waterproof cases for the iPhone 7 and iPhone X can be used underwater, fully submerged, for up to two hours. The company also says the phone can be washed as well.
2. Unplug and clean
AT&T has suggested that people can clean their tech devices — but only after they’ve been unplugged. Key here is to use a 70 percent isopropyl alcohol wipe or liquid then sprayed on to a lint-free cloth. You want to make sure your device, whether it’s a smartphone, smartwatch or smart display is also powered down.
Sprint is advising customers that smartphones are what the CDC calls “high-touch” surfaces, which means they should be cleaned with a household cleaning spray or wipe.
Apple specifically suggest using a 70 percent isopropyl alcohol wipe or a Clorox Disinfecting Wipes, and with them wipe off hard surfaces of an Apple product that are not porous, including a display and keyboard — but not on fabric or leather. The company also says not to use bleach.
Google makes the same suggestions for its Pixel smartphone on how to clean both the screen and the surrounding surfaces on the device.
At Lenovo, the company is suggesting that after leaving the cleaning solvent on a surface for “the prescribed contact time,” you then wipe the surface down with a dry, lint-free, soft cloth.
3. Hydrogen peroxide
While the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) includes hydrogen peroxide on its list of disinfectants to use against the novel coronavirus, it is what you should use only as a last resort. The problem? Kapersky, a cybersecurity firm, notes that hydrogen peroxide along with ethanol can ruin the oleophobic coating on a device, which is what keeps the surface smooth and able to repel fingerprints.
4. Don’t lend your phone to others
Whatever method you decide to use to keep your devices clean — it’s likely also a good idea to not lend them to anyone else right now. Then, try and follow the manufacturer’s suggestion as much as possible.
This article originally appeared on GearBrain.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.
Smartphones are a huge investment, so most people want to hang onto them for as long as possible. In fact, research by Strategy Analytics shows that smartphone users are now waiting up to almost three years before replacing their phones. While this can be a good strategy for your budget, keeping a phone longer than it is intended to be used can come with some consequences like poor sound quality, security issues, and more. Not sure if your cell phone situation is dire? Here are the telltale signs that it’s time to part ways with your trusty companion.
If a full charge lasts only a fraction of the time it used to and your phone constantly needs to be charged, it’s time for an upgrade, says Jonathon Nantz, a production support engineer with Republic Wireless. Over time, like anything else that’s used a lot, your cell phone’s battery will wear out. If your phone doesn’t have a replaceable battery, then you’ll have no choice other than to buy a new phone.
No one can understand you
Can you hear me now? If the answer is suddenly no, even when you’re in tried-and-true calling locations or have four service bars, the problem might not actually be your connection—it might be your microphone. When your mic starts to wear out, people on the other end of your calls will continuously complain that they can’t understand what you’re saying because your voice sounds very quiet or the sound cuts in and out
Your phone isn’t VoLTE-capable
Did you know that 3G is on the way out? It is, and if your phone doesn’t support VoLTE (Voice over Long Term Evolution, a new way to make a service connection so you can make a phone call and use your data at the same time), your phone could become a glorified paperweight that doesn’t get service. If you were unaware, you’re not alone. A survey conducted in early 2020 across all mobile carriers found that 79 percent of people didn’t know that 3G networks would be shutting down. “Check your settings to make sure VoLTE is turned on,” says Andrew Moore-Crispin, Director of Content at Ting Mobile, an MVNO mobile service provider. “[If your phone doesn’t have this feature,] there are lots of VoLTE-compatible devices you can choose from without breaking the bank.”
To find out if your phone has VoLTE, you’ll need to go to the connection settings or the cellular data options on your phone. The specific area that contains the VoLTE setting will vary depending on the type of phone you have and the carrier, so your best bet is to call your phone service provider and ask if your phone is VoLTE capable. While you’re talking to customer service, ask the representative to walk you through the process of finding the VoLTE setting to be sure that it is turned on, since many phones don’t have it turned on as the default.
The touch screen is glitching
Have you noticed that your touch screen is getting less compliant to your swipes? When the sensors on it are starting to fail, sometimes your phone will work just fine, and then other times you’ll need to swipe or tap repeatedly to get a response. When this starts happening, you’re not losing your mind or imagining things—it’s a sign that you need to start looking for a new phone. You can typically get your screen repaired, but if your phone is on the older side, it may cost more to make the repair than your phone is worth.
Troubleshooting isn’t working
DIY phone fixes, like cleaning your charging port to improve charging and drying out a moistened phone, can keep your phone running for a long time. There’s a time, though, when not even troubleshooting will make a difference. If you’ve tried rebooting your phone, checking it for malware, and installing the necessary software upgrades and it still remains slow or laggy, it’s time to say goodbye, according to Nantz.
It randomly reboots
If your phone randomly reboots, it could be a sign that your phone has malware and that hackers may have access to it. If, however, you scan your phone with an anti-malware app like Malwarebytes or Bitdefender and you don’t find anything amiss, your phone may just be old and worn out. Worn out electronics can glitch, causing them to malfunction and randomly restart.
The operating system is outdated
When you can’t update to the latest operating system due to outdated hardware, your phone can slow down and potentially be vulnerable to security threats, says Moore-Crispin. Google the latest OS for your phone type and check in your phone’s settings to make sure your device is updated. If it can’t download the latest update, it’s time to upgrade. Just FYI, it usually takes around three years for a phone to have an outdated operating system, though this isn’t a rule. It can happen sooner or later, depending on the phone manufacturer.
You can no longer get technical support
“Depending on how old your phone is, your manufacturer or local repair shop may think your device is considered obsolete,” says Moore-Crispin. When this happens, you won’t be able to get tech support or replacement parts for your phone anymore. That means if it’s glitching out, there’s really nothing you can do but get a new phone.
The camera is terrible
At this point, just about everyone uses their phone as their personal camera. If your photos are cringe-worthy, with grainy images and less-than-brilliant colors, it’s time to make a change. Even budget phones have great cameras these days. Typically, if your phone’s camera has single-digit megapixels (your phone will often say something like 5MP or 8MP beside the camera lens on the back of the phone), then you should probably consider replacing it. The more megapixels, the better the resolution. Camera phones today have up to 20 megapixels, which means they take photos just as well as many newer digital cameras, with clear, crisp images. You should also look for phones with zoom capabilities and the ability to take photos in low-light conditions.
It has internal damage
If your phone looks like it’s been dropped off a Ferris wheel, it’s time for it to rest in peace. “We all drop our phones occasionally, but if your device is experiencing internal damage that goes beyond a cracked phone screen, you may be due for an upgrade,” says Moore-Crispin. Signs of internal damage can include a touchscreen that doesn’t work properly, random phone reboots, or a screen with blacked-out pixels.
You never have enough storage
Are you constantly deleting photos and uninstalling apps because your storage is full? And your phone doesn’t have external memory that you can upgrade in the form of a better microSD card? It’s time to face facts: You need an upgrade. The only way around this, really, would be to save your photos to a cloud service like Google Drive or iCloud and use as few apps as possible. Older phones have around 4 to 8 GB of memory, but that doesn’t really cut it with today’s apps, especially if you want to store photos on your phone, too.
If you don’t use a ton of apps and still use a regular camera for most of your photos, 32 to 64 GB of memory should work for you. But you can get up to 1 TB of memory storage on new phones, which is especially important if you want to take photos with your phone and store them there, as well.
You do the headphone wiggle
Headphone plugs take a beating from dust and lint constantly getting in the port and from regular use, and after a while, they stop working as well as they should. If you’re constantly wiggling your headphone jack so that you can get sound to come through, no matter what headphones you try, then you need a new phone.