4 Ways to a Greener Funeral

No one wants to think about the end of life, but it’s an inevitable part of living. Some would argue the brevity of the human life is what makes it so beautiful. That said, you do want to leave the world a better place than you found it. There are a number of ways you can take a more green approach to the end of your life.

1. Avoid embalming.

Many of the chemicals used to delay the decomposition of the body can be toxic to the environment. You can opt to not be embalmed and then become a natural part of the food chain once more. After you die, your body will go on to be a food and nutrient source to a number of plants and insects. In a way, you’ll live on through the life you give to other creatures.

2. Use biodegradable urns.

If you want to be cremated instead of buried, you can be. However, consider purchasing a biodegradable urn; while your family can hold on to your remains for as long as they need to, in time, the urn will decompose and break down, becoming a part of nature once more. It is composed of all natural, long-lasting materials that won’t be harmful to the environment when they’re no longer needed.

3. Leave a living marker.

Rather than having a huge, bulky tombstone put down to memorialize you, consider having a tree planted on your grave instead. The tree will assist the surrounding environment with oxygen production, as well as provide shelter to a number of animals. A small plaque can be installed in the tree to state its purpose. This is a great way to be remembered while still helping the environment.

4. Encourage a green funeral.

Many funeral parlors offer services where only recycled materials are used in the ceremony. This means you won’t be contributing to the carbon footprint anymore when your funeral service arrives. The hymn sheets, programs, and more are made of recycled paper, while the flowers come from local and organic growers. Refreshments can also be purchased locally to help out the local economy.

By following these four steps, you can take your place in the circle of life and help leave the world a better place than you found it.

The One About the First Holy Communion That Mattered

It was around this time last year when my daughter had her first holy communion. It was a day she was really looking forward to and losing sleep over. More than being able to wear a really stunning communion dress, she was so excited to receive Christ’s body and blood for the first time. She knew that it marked a significant milestone in her life as a Catholic.


And then it had me reminiscing about my own holy communion ages ago.

Two days before my first holy communion, i had a bit of a freak accident involving my left eyebrow, a rock and an open car window. From out of nowhere, a rock came flying towards me through the car window, hitting me on my eyebrow. Blood gushed like Niagara Falls, and I was rushed to the nearest hospital. My mom prayed to all the saints she knew as the doctor stitched my eyebrow.

Because of what happened, my upcoming communion turned out to be more meaningful to me. I felt thankful and blessed to have been spared a worse kind of fate. At the age of 8, I prayed to God like I never did before. What I felt in my heart was a real personal communion with Jesus. Knowing that I was going to receive his body and blood filled me with unspeakable bliss.

The lessons and tenets we learn about the church are meaningless until they leave an impact in our lives. Only then can we say that we are truly living the life of a Christian.

Keeping Your Dog Healthy

Your dog depends on you to keep it safe and healthy. Studies show that many health issues your dog may develop can be directly related to its diet. People have become more diligent about reading the labels on the food products they buy for themselves. For your dog’s sake, you should be just as diligent about reading the label on the food and treats you purchase for it.

Once you begin reading the ingredients in some of the dog food and dog treats you find, you’ll understand the importance of buying dog food that uses USDA chicken breasts, USDA lean beef and fish that is never farm-raised. It’s important to feed your dog food that doesn’t contain fillers and preservatives. Feeding your dog food that is human grade and contains no sodium can prevent or alleviate a variety of health issues.

Keeping your dog on a healthy diet is beneficial to its digestive system. It’s often the fillers in dog food that trigger allergies in dogs. Changing their diet can relieve the itching and scratching. A high quality dog food can help boost your dog’s immune system. Eating a healthy diet can improve your quality of life by helping you stay healthy and active. The same is true for your dog. When you love your dog, you want them to be around for a very long time. Feeding them a good quality food and healthy treats can increase their longevity.

In addition to making sure your dog eats healthy food, you also need to provide a safe environment for your dog. This means taking steps to assure that your dog can’t get to household cleaners and other toxic products in and around your home. Medications should be kept in a secure location. Learn what human foods are toxic to dogs and make sure no one feeds those foods to your dog. Your dog shouldn’t be outside off leash unless you have a fenced in area for it to play in. Your dog needs exercise. Regular trips to the dog park, a play day at doggie day care or daily walks can help your dog maintain muscle strength.

It’s your responsibility as a dog owner to properly train your dog. Treats are a motivational tool in a dog training program. Be sure that you use healthy dog treats to reward your dog for their good behavior.

Three Great Gifts for Mom This Holiday Season

With the holiday season just around the corner, it is time to start thinking about how to spoil all of the special people in your life. While family can always be tricky to buy for, nobody is ever quite as challenging as a mother figure. Christmas is the best time of year to show Mom how much you care and appreciate her. Usually, mothers have a lot of stress during the holiday season, which makes finding a special gift all the more important. Here are a few ideas for special gifts that you can get the mother in your life this holiday season.

Recreate Old Family Photos

For the nostalgic type, a great gift for your mother this holiday season is to put together an album of recreated family photos. If you have siblings, look for old photos of the two of you and find clothing and settings which are similar. Even recreate your hairstyles. This is a hilarious, thoughtful, and inexpensive way to give you mom a heartfelt gift this year. She will also surely get a good laugh out of it.

Pick Out a Piece of Sentimental Memorabilia

Rather than giving your mom a generic gift, choose something to give her that has some meaning behind it. Something that made you think of her is a great way to show you affection and gratitude. This could be a beautiful piece of jewelry that you saw or a memento that you picked up on vacation. You might also consider a collectible or small figurine that your mother can put in her home to remember how much you love her. The Willow Tree Collection of figurines, designed by Susan Lordi is a great gift, which express peace and serenity. A large collection of these figurines and other gift idea’s are available at Coppin’s Gifts.

Pamper Mom

Finally, if you want to really spoil Mom this holiday season, consider surprising her with pampering. You can take her out for a spa day or buy her a gift card at her favorite nail salon. This is a fabulous way to show your mom that you appreciate all of her hard work, especially at this time of year.

Great Gift Ideas for New Parents

Do you have some people in your life who have just welcomed a new baby into this world? If you do, you should make sure that you give them a great gift to help them celebrate this blessed event. This can be a very daunting task because there are so many baby gifts to choose from. It would be very helpful to find out what baby items the couple already has so you do not buy a duplicate by accident. Here are a few great gift ideas for new parents.

1. A crib

Cribs can be expensive. Because of this, you should probably only buy a crib for a couple that you know very well. There are many different styles of cribs to choose from. Some are made of metal, while others are made from wood. You should consult some baby product websites to see which cribs have the highest safety ratings. Cribs can be difficult to assemble. Because of this, you should hire someone to build the crib so the new parents do not need to be bothered with it.

2. Clothes

The new baby will need a lot of clothes. This can be a gift that you can have fun buying. Babies will not know anything about the clothes they are wearing. This means that you will not need to worry about them not liking the clothes you have bought. A very cute idea would be to buy some NFL baby clothes from http://www.babyfans.com/.

3. Stroller

Strollers have certainly become much more elaborate over the past 20 years. You should take some time and carefully look at all the models that are currently available. Decide if the parents would prefer a simple or high-end stroller. It might be a good idea to ask the parents what type of stroller they are interested in. This will prevent you from wasting money on a model that is too elaborate. You might also want to get a jogging stroller if the parents are into fitness.

4. Food and diapers

This might seem like an odd gift. However, baby food and diapers can be very expensive. Therefore, buying the new parents a gift certificate that they can use for baby food will definitely be appreciated. Many new parents are not in the best financial situation. Anything you can do to help lighten the load in terms of their expenses will be a good thing. nfl

When Good Looks Sell: How to Maintain an Attractive Commercial Space

fMaintaining an attractive commercial space should be a top priority for any business. As with home renovations, commercial design features eventually fall out of fashion or into disrepair. Yet, many business owners delay the remodeling process out of fear that the project will be too costly or disruptive. If your business needs a facelift, follow these four tips to help ensure a smooth renovation process.

1. Prioritize.

One of the most important steps you can take as a business owner is to identify which repairs and renovations are truly top priorities. Anything that is not working properly or poses a health risk should obviously move to the head of the line. However, you should also cast a critical eye on your business space to determine which improvements will give you the most bang for your buck. If your business has a greeting area, for instance, it may be worth your time and money to invest in an eye-pleasing area that makes a good first impression on customers.

2. Budget carefully.

Renovations can bring significant price tags, and commercial renovations in particular can create complex financial consequences. When you budget for physical repairs, make sure that you take into account the costs of any necessary permits and licenses. If you lease your space, you should also ensure that renovations are permitted under your lease terms. Finally, consider whether you will be able to stay open during renovations. Any lost income should be included in your budget for the project.

3. Hire a good team.

A good contractor will be able to help you estimate many of your expenses and can work with you on the overall budget. The key here is to find commercial contractors like Renovation Experts who have experience in commercial redesign and remodeling. You may have loved the contractor who remodeled your home, but commercial renovations have unique needs and entail unique challenges. It is important to work with a team that understands the exigencies of remodeling a commercial space.

4. Create a detailed timeline.

In collaboration with your contractor, you should develop a timeline for project completion. Whether or not you close your space during the remodel, the goal is to minimize disruption to your business. If you are particularly concerned about deadlines, consider offering your contractor an incentive for early completion.

While renovation can be an overwhelming prospect, the rewards at the end of the process generally outweigh any challenges along the way. By following these four steps, you can help ensure a successful commercial renovation.

Recognizing Special Canine Friends in Your Life

Many people now consider their pets to be valued members of their families. No longer relegated to the mere status of an animal that is owned, a dog now can hold a special place in its family’s household. Some people even throw parties for their dogs to celebrate their canines’ birthdays or adoption dates. When you get invited to one of these dog-centered events, you may wonder if you should bring along a gift. As with being invited to any special event at a person’s home, etiquette calls for you to arrive with some token in hand. You can make the right impression by coming with a canine-specific token like a dog gift basket.

Gifts such as these that are catered for dogs are actually quite popular around the world today. Dogs are given treatment that show others that these animals are treasured friends and family members. As such, as you consider what present to buy for the party, you may find the idea of giving a basket full of dog treats to be appealing. Dogs often love to eat treats that are flavored like bacon and chicken. You can show your friend that you too value the dog in question by bringing a treasure trove of dog treats to the party.

Like people, dogs need frequent baths to stay clean and to avoid the doggy smell that many people find unappealing. If your friend has noted that his or her dog sometimes gets dirty, you also may show up to the event with a basket full of dog hygiene products. Your friend will know that you want his or her dog to stay as clean as possible and also that you want the canine friend to be bathed with safe and sweet-smelling products.

You also may want to honor the human behind the party’s occurrence. When you shop online, you can find people baskets that also would make for ideal gifts. People, like dogs, enjoy the occasional treat. You can find baskets that have candy and other sweets in them. You also can find gifts that are appropriate for corporate gatherings if you want to avoid seeming too familiar with those in attendance. Gift baskets can be ideal because they typically contain more than one item. You actually give the guest of honor several items all at once instead of a single gift.

A dog is definitely man’s best friend.  Treat it right, and you’ll have a buddy who’ll stand by you through thick or thin.

What to Do if Your Home Has Been Burglarized

Coming home to realize you’ve been robbed can be a scary and frustrating experience. It’s hard to know how to react after you’ve felt your safety has been violated and your possessions compromised. However, there are a few things to keep in mind to hopefully help catch the person who burglarized you and prevent them from doing it again.


The first thing to do is leave your home and call 911. You may have the urge to immediately search the rooms to see what’s been taken, but don’t risk the chance that the burglar is still in your home. After the police arrive, they will do a search of your place and take a report. You want to make sure to not touch anything as to not disrupt fingerprints potentially left at the scene. It’s best to stay out of the way while the police work and answer any questions they have.


If you or one of your family members did by chance see the person fleeing from your home, make sure you can be as descriptive as possible to the police. They will ask the sex of the person, hair color, build, and other distinguishing factors. Try to remember as much as possible to help them create a character sketch of the burglar. Any information that you can provide will help investigators. What was the person wearing? Did they have a limp? Any visible tattoos? These kind of characteristics help create a better picture for the police.


Make sure not to return to your home until the police have arrived. Head to a trusted neighbor’s house or stay in your locked vehicle. Be observant of any suspicious looking vehicles or people around the neighborhood. Take down license plate numbers, if you can and make any notes of anything that looks out of place. Again, the information you provide, while it may seem unimportant at the time, could be useful later on.


After the police have left, you’ll need to take an inventory of what’s missing to file a claim with your insurance. The officer will leave you a report number, which you can provide to your insurance provider. They will ask a series of questions including if there was any property damage from the person breaking into your home. Be as detailed as possible and take photos of everything that relates to the robbery. You most likely will still be shaken up from the chain of events, but try to do this as soon as possible after the police have come to your home. You’ll be able to remember more and the insurance company can file a claim right away.


While locked doors and closed windows may have seemed safe enough, it is a good idea to look into a home security system that will alert a security company and 911 if something like this should happen again. Even installing motion sensor detectors can be a good preventative tool while you research options for your home. You should also be sure to have a sign made for your front lawn that states that you have a security system. You can easily get one made at eSigns.com. If you do choose to keep firearms in your house, please be sure to be educated and make sure your kids are also educated about gun safety.


If there is anything new that pops up in the days to come, make sure to share it with the police. Leave it to them to handle the case and don’t try to investigate the criminal activity yourself. Just be on the lookout for any unusual activity in the neighborhood and keep an eye on Craigslist for the next few days as burglars might try to sell stolen goods.


It may be difficult to resume normalcy after an ordeal like this has occurred. Give yourself time and don’t be afraid to call on friends and family to come over and help put your house back in order, since it can be emotionally exhausting and stressful to have to relive it. If you live by yourself, accept invitations of people who want to stay with you for the next few days. Installing a security system will be the first step in order to protect your home and allow yourself peace of mind, but it is a traumatizing event and you should allow yourself ample time to recover.

Four Options for Remembering Your Cremated Loved One

Cremation has grown increasingly popular in recent years, as the cost of a traditional burial has skyrocketed. However, deciding what to do with the cremains can be difficult. If your loved one has expressed a desire in cremation or you’re researching cremation for yourself, here are four of the most popular options for placing cremains at rest.

A Niche in a Columbarium

Columbariums usually resemble broad hallways lined with spaces for urns. Some columbariums seal the niche with a remembrance plaque, while others leave the niches open to showcase the urns within. Costs range wildly, depending on size of the niche, where it’s located in the columbarium, whether or not a plaque is required and where the columbarium is geographically. Purchasing a niche will create a public space for all friends and family to grieve, making it an attractive option.

Home Display of an Urn or Urns

It is also perfectly acceptable to display urns in the home. This is an especially attractive options for families who move frequently and don’t want to leave loved ones’ remains behind in another city. Ashes can also be split among two or more urns. For example, if a parent dies and the children wish to each have an urn, there’s no problem with splitting them. Containers range from handsome bronze urns to hand-made pottery urns to attractive steel boxes.

Scattering of Ashes

While this may seem romantic and freeing, the legality of scattering depends largely upon local laws and is considered littering or polluting in some areas. Most crematories crush any fragments in the cremains, but it’s not unheard-of to find teeth and bits of bone still intact. This could be cause for alarm should they be found, so any scattered cremains should be pulverized. If you want to scatter human cremains, check your local laws and regulations before doing so.

Burial of Cremains

If a loved one has been buried in a traditional plot, it may be possible to have cremains interred with them. Some people also choose to bury the cremains at home, or at a place the deceased loved. Others plant a tree over the ashes, so that the tree will stand as the beloved’s marker. As with scattering, various laws exist regarding the practice of burying ashes, whether contained in an urn or not.

Cremation is becoming more and more common. What to do with the cremains, however, largely remains an issue of personal preference and the will of the deceased’s survivors.

How to Throw the Perfect Boodle Fight

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From sending invites to making sure you have food and drinks enough for everyone, planning a party can be quite an arduous task, no matter how much you enjoy having people over. And although having one ‘pot luck’ style is a good hack, your guests would much rather prefer that you, as the host, took care of everything.

The ‘boodle fight’ is a great way to check at least one of your party preparations off your list—setting the tables—because a boodle fight only requires a single long table and a lot of food.

Few know that we have the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) to thank for the concept, as the boodle fight originated from the military’s practice of members of the army, regardless of rank, gathering around a long table and eating food spread over banana leaves with their bare hands.



A typical boodle fight layout. Photo from www.angsarap.net <http://www.angsarap.net/2015/05/21/what-is-a-boodle-fight/>


As primal as it sounds (‘boodle’ fight is military jargon for ‘attack the food’ after all), a boodle fight need not be so messy. Just follow these tips to make your boodle fight the talk of your barkada:

boodle21.  Have a theme.

Few things are more fun than themed parties, and your boodle fight’s can be reflected in the decorations, activities and, of course, the food! Prepare a lei for each guest, and serve kalua pork for a Hawaiian luau; spice up your guests’ evening with a Mexican fiesta, complete with tacos, enchiladas and margaritas; or go organic and serve only vegetarian delicacies!


  1. Come in costume.

Have your guests come as opposing characters, and prepare for a real fight! Heroes and villains, nerds and jocks, #TeamNicki and #TeamTaylor—the possibilities are endless! At the end of the night, award the guest with the best costume and prepare a consequence for that one friend who was just too lazy to dress up (oh come on, we all have one).

  1. Create food stations.

Encourage guests to move around and mingle by creating food stations—meat in one area, seafood in another, and desserts at the end. You also have the option of creating several stations of the same mix of food items, so guests don’t crowd the table. Print cute labels and directional signage for your stations so your guests don’t get lost in all the food!

  1. Have an accessible wash area.

Since you’ll be eating with your hands (as much as possible), your guests will appreciate a wash area complete with hand soap, lotion, and the works. Surprise them with a masseuse giving free hand massages to make it more special!

  1. Have food delivered.

Save time and have food delivered instead! With foodpanda, you can order food online from over 1,000 restaurants of different cuisines (Like Greenwich, Andoks, Omakase, Cibo, Pepper Lunch etc) and have them conveniently delivered to your doorstep via www.foodpanda.ph or the foodpanda app.



So gather your friends, order food, and have the best boodle fight! That’s one match you won’t mind having with one another.