How To Rock Your Wedding Decorations With DIY Kits

How To Rock Your Wedding Decorations With DIY Kits

My wife and I love to go to movies. We recently went and saw "Captain America: Civil War". Which we really liked. And what amazes me about movies - even the bad ones, is that how much craftsmanship goes into the making of these movies.

And I don't just mean the acting. And the lighting and filming.

But really, how many of these sets are hand-built. From scratch.

And how they make the movies come alive in front of our eyes.

The same thing is true for weddings. What turns a ho-hum wedding into a spectacular event is the little details.

But most of us do not have millions of dollars to make our weddings look like a million dollars.

Yet with some simple DIY craftsmanship you can pull off some amazing decorations.

For example, if you are having a sit-down reception with assigned seating, you need to identify the tables.

While you could put out boring placards, do you know what would be even better?

Illuminated numbers on the tables. The example turns simple cardboard cutouts and votive candles into a romantic identifier for your tables. This is simple for any adult to make using the kit.

You may have drinks to put on ice to chill down for the reception. And we all know ice cubes are boring. Hardly romantic. Yet, on the wedding kit site, they show how to use silk roses in the ice to make your ice cubes part of your romantic decorations. And even older kids can help make these decorations.

And if you have out of town guests, you can provide them with a special treat. With an extra special homemade smores kit.


        It is not difficult to imagine a world short of ambition. It would prob ably be a kinder world: without demands, without abrasions, without disappointments. People would have time for reflection. Such work as they did would not be for themselves but for the collective. Competition would never enter in. Conflict would be eliminated, tension become a thing of the past. The stress of creation would be at an end. Art would no longer be troubling, but purely celebratory in its functions. The family would become superfluous as a social unit, with all its former power for bringing about neurosis drained away. Longevity would be increased, for fewer people would die of heart attack or stroke caused by tumultuous endeavor. Anxiety would be extinct. Time would stretch on and on, with ambition long departed from the human heart.
Ah, how unrelievedly boring life would be!
         There is a strong view that holds that success is a myth, and ambition therefore a sham. Does this mean that success does not really exist? That achievement is at bottom empty? That the efforts of men and women are of no significance alongside the force of movements and events? Now not all success, obviously, is worth esteeming, nor all ambition worth cultivating. Which are and which are not is something one soon enough learns on one' s own. But even the most cynical secretly admit that success exists; that achievement counts for a great deal; and that the true myth is that the actions of men and women are useless. To believe otherwise is to take on a point of view that is likely to be deranging. It is, in its implications, to remove all motives for competence, interest in attainment, and regard for posterity.
        We do not choose to be born. We do not choose our parents. We do not choose our historical epoch, the country of our birth or the immediate circumstances of our upbringing. We do not, most of us, choose to die; nor do we choose the time or conditions of our death. But within all this realm of choicelessness, we do choose how we shall live: courageously or in cowardice, honorably or dishonorably, with purpose or in drift. We decide what is important and what is trivial in life. We decide that what makes us significant is either what we do or what we refuse to do. But no matter how indifferent the universe may be to our choices and decisions, these choices and decisions are ours to make. We decide. We choose. And as we decide and choose, so are our lives formed. In the end, forming our own destiny is what ambition is about.

The new Panama Canal is opening soon and will cause an 'evolution' in a vital US industry

On October 9, 1913, President Woodrow Wilson opened the Panama Canal by dynamiting the final dikes holding the water at bay.

He did it from the comfort of the White House, keying a telegraph transmitter which set off the explosion from over 4,000 miles away.

In the 103 years since Wilson pushed that button, the Panama Canal has become an international shipping bottleneck, as container ships grew too large for its aging locks.

Much of that will change in June, when a $5.25 billion effort to expand the canal reaches its long-delayed conclusion, allowing ships more than two and a half times the size of the current limit to pass through the famous waterway.

In the United States, the increased capacity could have profound effects on the transportation industry, as the cost of shipping from Asia to ports in the eastern United States would drop significantly. Simply put, bigger ships are more economically efficient and lower per-unit costs.

Larger ships and lower costs meant importers traditionally chose to ship to the West Coast from Asia and then to the Eastern US by rail. 

But if the Canal's increased capacity lowers shipping costs to the East Coast enough, it could mean a sizable loss of freight volume over time for western American railroads, Nerijus Poskus, an expert on international shipping at the booking company Flexport, told Business Insider.

If shippers chose to go through the canal, Western railroads such as Union Pacific and BNSF — the latter best known as a subsidiary of Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway — could potentially suffer a drop in freight volume, while eastern railroads like Norfolk Southern, CN, and CSX could see an increase, Poskus said.

Panama CanalPanama CanalConstruction on one of the major locks underway in Panama.

Specific regions of the United States are likely to see the biggest change: the Ohio Valley, Louisville, Memphis, Nashville, and most immediately, the Gulf Coast.

"Cargo going to Houston used to go to the West Coast. [It] will now be going through the Panama Canal," Poskus said.

Already, shipping giants Maersk and MSC have announced a service to Mobile, Alabama, beginning early next month in anticipation of the canal expansion. Other companies are likely to follow suit.

The ports at Los Angeles and Long Beach, California — the latter currently undergoing a $4.6billion expansion — may see a dropoff in traffic.

"A lot of moving parts"

Union Pacific, the largest American railroad by freight volume, operates exclusively in the western half of the United States. During the company's first quarter earnings call last month, executives dismissed the potential effects of the expanded canal.

"I think the West Coast ports still will remain a very strong, viable competitor," Eric Butler, executive vice president for marketing and sales at Union Pacific, said on the call. "And fundamentally we're not changing our perspective and our outlook that we've had over the last couple years."

Some industry watchers are also unconvinced that the expanded canal can change the game.

"Even bigger ships are going to be going to the west coast than are going to be going through the Panama canal," David Vernon, a transportation analyst at Bernstein, told Business Insider.

Just last year, behemoth container ships like the CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin, which can carry 18,000 twenty foot containers, began serving West Coast ports. Ships able to pass through the new canal will be limited to a capacity of just 13,000 containers.

And in the short term, many East Coast ports cannot yet accommodate even that limit.

Savannah, Georgia, already one of the busiest ports in the United States, began a $706 million project to dredge its main waterway by five feet, but the project will not be concluded until 2021, the Associated Press reported.

In New York, container ships are limited by the height of the Bayonne Bridge, which straddles the port's entrance. A project to raise its roadway will conclude in 2019, according to the Port Authority.

CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin 2.JPGCMA CGMThe CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin. Longer than an American aircraft carrier, it set a record for the largest ship to ever dock at the port of Long Beach in California.

"The other thing that many folks don't incorporate into any analysis of this is the boxes," Vernon said.

A shift in the amount of cargo taking a one-to-two week longer trip though the Panama Canal and to the east coast would mean much more cargo is at sea at any given time and would require cash-strapped shipping companies to buy more shipping containers to maintain the flow of goods — an investment they are unlikely to want to make, according to Vernon.

In terms of exports, railroads west of the Mississippi River may even benefit from the expanded canal, as Business Insider reported in 2014.

Agricultural goods from the American heartland, as well as oil and natural gas from a booming industry in the upper Midwest, will have a dramatically shorter trip from the Gulf Coast to ports in eastern Asia, and it could increase demand for railroads that move cargo from the Midwest south and towards the Gulf.

The ultimate impact of the canal on other industries depends on many unpredictable elements, including the weather. The canal is currently restricted by the water levels in Lake Gatun, which are low because of El Niño. 

"There are a lot of moving parts," Butler, the Union Pacific executive, said.

Add all of this together, and it may be years before the canal once again causes an upheaval in international commerce.

"The change will be an evolution rather than a revolution," Poskus said.

The 'anti-to-do' list is a useful and fun productivity hack

I have a complicated relationship with to-do lists.

They are undeniably useful for plotting out your day or week ahead of time, and they can be a great way to hold yourself accountable for getting things done.

But they are designed to remind you of all the things you haven’t done. As soon as you cross off one task, another one or two or 10 await you.

The whole exercise can be a dispiriting reminder that no matter hard you work or how much you accomplish, there will always be more work to do until you die.

Because of the discouraging nature of to-do lists, I have a habit of abandoning them: My computer contains countless Word files, Outlook tasks, and sticky notes littered with uncompleted assignments and chores.

But there is one list of tasks that I have never been tempted to abandon: a color-coded spreadsheet that tracks every article and blog post I have written or edited, and every podcast or video I have appeared in, since the beginning of 2013.

Thanks to this spreadsheet, I can tell you exactly how many pieces of content (for lack of a better term) I worked on last year (486), and the previous year (310), and the year before (292). (The increase reflects the fact that I shifted my focus from longer articles to shorter blog posts in 2015.) I use shorthand to identify each article—phrases like “zombie lobsters,” “sexy potato calendar,” and “college in Boston,” which contain just enough information to jog my memory.

At a single glance, this spreadsheet allows me to see everything I have done as a writer and editor over the past three years.

Obviously, you don’t care how much work I produce. But I do, and so do my bosses. And though my system might seem excessively self-congratulatory, I encourage you to consider adapting it to your own work. It has been an invaluable tool for setting goals, improving my productivity, and getting a handle on my impostor syndrome.

If you read productivity blogs, you may have come across the concept of the “done list,” of which my spreadsheet is one variation.

Job seekers prepare for career fair to open at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, January 6, 2011.  REUTERS/Mike Segar   Thomson ReutersJob seekers prepare for career fair to open at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey


The done list takes different forms depending on who’s telling you about it. Entrepreneur and venture capitalist Marc Andreessen has recommended writing all your daily accomplishments on an index card and “at the end of the day, before you prepare tomorrow’s 3x5 card, take a look at today’s card and its Anti-Todo list and marvel at all the things you actually got done that day.”

Others suggest goosing your to-do list with things you’ve already doneto give yourself a sense of momentum. The concept of done lists has drawn enough support to beget an app called, straightforwardly if ungrammatically, I Done This.

The idea behind the done list is simple, regardless of what the list looks like. Keeping track of what you do makes you feel productive, which makes you feel happy and energized, which translates into more productivity going forward. “The simple act of writing down and keeping track of what you accomplish is motivating and illuminating,” write I Done This’ Janet Choi and Walter Chen in an e-book subtitled “The Science of Small Wins.” “Your done list gives you credit for the full breadth of your accomplishments, capturing everything that came up during the day that might not have been preordained by your to-do list or initial plans.”

I was not aware of I Done This, or any of the productivity literature on done lists, when I started keeping my spreadsheet.

job fair careerJustin Sullivan/GettyJob seekers wait in line to enter the San Francisco Hire Event job fair on November 9, 2011 in San Francisco, California. The national unemployment rate dipped this past month to 9 percent in October after employers added 80,000 jobs.


My list emerged haphazardly after three things happened within the space of about a month: My boss asked me to increase my writing output, I read an Ask Polly advice column that suggested ending each day by writing down “at least two things you did that day that you’re proud of,” and I started seeing a cognitive behavioral therapist who encouraged me to challenge my maladaptive beliefs about myself through various journaling exercises.

One of those maladaptive beliefs will surely be familiar to many readers: I felt like a fraud and thought I didn’t deserve to be where I was. (Being told by my boss that I needed to up my output only reinforced this belief.) The spreadsheet was a way to counter my impostor experience with cold, hard facts: It was impossible to believe that I was a fraud when I was looking at a document full of evidence of everything I had accomplished. My done list helped me increase my production and fight my self-esteem problems in one fell swoop.

It has also helped me take a big-picture view of my work and be more deliberate, and realistic, about my goals. Some done-list proponents, such as Andreessen, suggest destroying (or ignoring) your done list after you’ve reflected on your accomplishments each day or week—but I’ve found that adding each day’s done-list items to a single spreadsheet has been invaluable.

millennial employment unemployment jobs careers


During my annual performance reviews, I can draw on actual data instead of just evaluating my work based on my feelings and recollections. Keeping notes on what I’ve been up to also helps me identify trends in my work and set realistic goals for the future.

Just by skimming my done spreadsheet, I can get a good sense of the subjects I’ve been writing about and pull out examples of the kind of work I’d like to do more of.

When you only have a vague sense of what you’ve accomplished in the past week or month or year, your goals for growth and improvement will necessarily also be vague. When you know exactly what you’ve accomplished, you can set specific, achievable goals.

To be honest, the main reason I keep maintaining my done list is that it feels good. Unlike most productivity hacks, it doesn’t feel like a chore or like something I’m making myself do; it feels like a pleasure. I get a frisson of self-satisfaction every time I update it. (For what it’s worth, it does not take much time to maintain—I spend maybe 30 seconds a day updating the list.)



You might roll your eyes at me for wanting to pat myself on the back for every little thing I get done at work. But most productivity techniques require a little self-trickery. Why not trick yourself into feeling better about your work, just by paying closer attention to how you actually spend your time?

Depending on the nature of your work, it might not be feasible to record every discrete project you complete, the way I do.

But if you struggle with feeling unproductive or fraudulent, you should try some form of done list—whether it’s keeping an ongoing list of your accomplishments from month to month and year to year or just jotting down the most important things you’ve done at the end of each day.

Whether or not you also keep a to-do list—I currently do, for what that's worth—reflecting on the things you’ve done will give you an occasion to step off of the treadmill and feel satisfied for a moment before you get back on to face everything you haven’t done yet.

Here's why Elon Musk keeps promising the impossible

There were two big takeaways from Tesla’s latest earnings report on Wednesday, and they seemed breathtakingly contradictory.

The first was that the company is behind schedule on production of its latest vehicle, its losses are mounting, and two key manufacturing executives are leaving.

Time to lower expectations, right?

Apparently not. The second piece of big news was that the company is dramatically revising its production schedule for its next vehicle, the Model 3. No, not pushing it back but moving it forward—by two years.

Whereas CEO Elon Musk once said he aimed to be shipping a whopping 500,000 cars a year by 2020, he told investors this week that he now expects to achieve the same goal by 2018. That’s 10 times the number of vehicles it shipped in 2015, and more than six times the number it hopes to deliver this year.

In a letter to shareholders, Musk wrote:

Increasing production fivefold over the next two years will be challenging and will likely require some additional capital, but this is our goal and we will be working hard to achieve it.

“Challenging” is an understatement. Shipping 500,000 cars means not only continuing to rev up production of Tesla’s existing models but bringing online the world’s largest electric battery factory and cranking out hundreds of thousands of Model 3 sedans, an entirely new vehicle that the company just unveiled this month and has not yet begun to mass-produce.

As MarketWatch’s Jeremy C. Owens put it: “Elon Musk wants to launch a rocket to Mars as soon as 2018. His goals for Tesla Motors may be even more ambitious.”

spacex launch may 6 2016 pad flickr


To recap: Tesla is behind schedule on production of the Model X SUV, and at the same time, it’s drastically accelerating its production schedule for the Model 3.

It also lost $283 million last quarter, its 12th consecutive quarter as a money loser. And so of course it’s planning to ramp up capital spending, too. All this, just weeks after Tesla candidly chalked up the Model X delays to its own hubris.

Welcome to Musk’s own version of Steve Jobs’  reality-distortion field.

Coming from almost any other CEO, such a disconnect between promises and results could be written off as delusional bluster. But Musk’s track record of promising the impossible is matched only by his track record of delivering the wildly improbable.

Tesla Model 3Tesla Motors


It’s rare that Tesla fully meets its own incredibly ambitious timelines for delivering new cars. And yet, by coming even remotely close to meeting them, the company routinely blows away the expectations of its skeptics, dazzles the press and the public, and leaves competitors choking on its nonexistent exhaust.

But does it have to be this way? Why couldn’t Tesla publicly reaffirm its target of 500,000 vehicles by 2020 while privately aiming for 2018? Why not underpromise and overdeliver for once?

Well, there are practical reasons why it makes sense to set an aggressive timeline, some of which Musk elucidated on the earnings call Wednesday. For one thing, the consumer demand is overwhelming: More than 325,000 people plunked down a deposit to reserve a Model 3 in a single week.

Tesla Model 3AP Photo/Justin PritchardTesla Motors unveils the new lower-priced Model 3 sedan at the Tesla Motors design studio in Hawthorne, Calif., Thursday, March 31, 2016.


The longer Tesla keeps them waiting, the greater the chances they’ll change their mind. Secondly, if it’s true that Tesla needs to raise more money, the aggressive timeline might help to persuade investors of that urgency.

But Musk said it’s really about motivating the company’s employees and third-party suppliers, and about the inevitability of missed deadlines. Explaining his target of July 1, 2017, to begin mass production of the Model 3, here is what he said:

Now, will we actually be able to achieve volume production on July 1 next year? Of course not. The reason is that even if 99 percent of the internally produced items and supplier items are available on July 1, we still cannot produce the car because you cannot produce a car that is missing 1 percent of its components. Nonetheless, we need to both internally and with suppliers take that date seriously, and there needs to be some penalties for anyone internally or externally who does not meet that timeframe. This has to be the case, because there’s just no way that you have several thousand components, all of whom make it on a particular date.

In other words, Musk is acknowledging that the company is setting an impossible deadline. But his reasoning is that pretty much any deadline is impossible when you have a project with so many (literal and figurative) moving parts. So, if you’re going to blow a deadline, isn’t it better to blow an aggressive one than a conservative one?

That makes a lot of sense, and it resonates particularly with someone like me, who has ADHD and has missed virtually every deadline I’ve ever set in my life. But I have another theory about why Musk keeps making these sorts of lavish promises. It’s a theory rooted in my experience covering Musk, talking to people who have worked for him, and reading Ashlee Vance’s well-reported biography of him. If I’m right, it also helps to explain how he keeps almost achieving those crazy goals, what went wrong with the Model X, and perhaps even why those two production executives are leaving.

I don’t believe that Musk’s insane-seeming ambitions are just about motivating his employees and suppliers. They’re also about motivating Musk.

Elon MuskMike Windle/Getty Images for Vanity FairTesla Motors CEO and Product Architect Elon Musk speaks onstage during 'What Will They Think of Next? Talking About Innovation' at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on October 6, 2015 in San Francisco, California.


Musk is the kind of person who runs on adrenaline, works best—or perhaps only—under insane pressure, and is gripped by existential dread the moment he finds himself working on a problem that feels the slightest bit quotidian or mundane. And he expects the same of the people who work for him.

Sending a rocket to Mars is a problem that gets Musk’s blood flowing. So is building an electric supercar, building the greatest sedan ever made, and building the biggest battery factory the world has ever seen. For that matter, so is running both Tesla and SpaceX at the same time, while also helping to lead SolarCity.

But mass production? Logistics, supply chains, assembly lines? Taking orders, fulfilling orders, setting and meeting reasonable timetables? Those aren’t Muskian problems. They’re normal human problems. And that petrifies him. The day that Tesla becomes just another car company will be the day Musk can no longer find a thrill in running it, and may in fact be unfit for the job.

And so Musk takes a normal human problem—ramping up production of a new vehicle over the next four years—and converts it into a superhuman problem. Not just ramping up production but doing it on a historic scale, and in record time.

The Model X, as originally conceived, wasn’t a properly Muskian problem either. The company’s roadmap called for it to crank out the Model X as a relatively simple variation on the existing Model S, buying Tesla time and revenue to focus on the Model 3. How boring, for a person like Musk.

Tesla Model XHarold Cunningham/Getty Images


And so the X began to sprout novel features straight out of a Bond movie, such as hydraulic falcon-wing doors and a bioweapon defense mode.

Musk promised Wednesday that Tesla has learned its lesson and will avoid such extravagances on the Model 3. Which helps to explain why he had to find some other way to keep things interesting. Simply mastering the complex science of mass production was not enough. “Tesla,” Musk said, “is going to be hell-bent on becoming the best manufacturer on Earth.”

And with that grand pronouncement, Musk can breathe again, the catastrophe of becoming an ordinary person running an ordinary company averted. The pressure to meet people’s reasonable expectations lifted, he can now refuel himself on the pressure of his own unreasonable ones—and push everyone around him to do the same.

Those who do not wish to toil under such conditions know where to find the door. Musk, meanwhile, will be on the factory floor, driving himself and everyone around him as hard as he always does. “My desk is at the end of the production line,” he said Wednesday. “I have a sleeping bag in a room adjacent to the floor.”

Not that he’ll be using it much.

Unique Ideas For Gifts For Weddings

Unique Ideas For Gifts For Weddings

Are you attending a wedding sometime soon but still don't know what to get? Are you presently tired of the exact same old thing and being so predictable? Forget about the blenders, coffee makers, vacuums, or crystal the happy couple will never use. That's what all others will get them! Let's be realistic, going that route also feels very impersonal.

However, you will need to bring some kind of gift with you. Not just is it polite, additionally it personally sends them a message regarding how you truly feel about them, and what type of life you hope they will live together. That's why you wish to get a gift that is unique, personal, and represents the bond you might have together with the couple.

Below we have offered several unique wedding present ideas that will certainly become a hit with just about any couple.

Unique Ideas For Gifts For Weddings


Jewelry is really a beautiful and practical gift to give many couples. It doesn't need to be expensive, although if you think that is the best route then of course stick to it. But jewelry is not only a pendant with a chain, a brooch, or possibly a hairpin. Jewelry is tremendously customizable. You might have it customized with the date from the couple's wedding or their names. Lockets having a picture of them inside is incredibly popular. You will be not limited to the bride either. Lots of grooms like jewelry also, especially if it's an intelligent ring or cuff-link. The chances are endless.


Weddings certainly are a lovely time and energy to present the happy couple with designer bags which may get a great deal of use in the future. They don't mean it should be simple hand bags either. A great way to gather a number of smaller gifts together is actually by getting a large, nice tote bag that may be stitched using the specifics of their wedding and placed other gifts inside. Using this method the pair have a wonderful keepsake of their wedding while also using a new and durable storage item for home.

Adult Gifts

If you know the couple sufficiently to understand they would like a more adult gift, then go ahead and, make their day! Most adult novelty shops carry fun and hilarious gifts for newly married people. Sexy clothing, lotions, games, and also other such novelty items may well be a big hit for the best couple. It's certainly a really personal and memorable gift! (Note: We recommend the couple open this gift out of sight of the in-laws.)


Knowing the tastes from the couple could lend anyone to buying some wonderful works of art to present them being a wedding gift. Paintings, sculptures, as well as other mediums make fantastic gifts, particularly if the couple are relocating to a brand new home together. Just be sure that you really do understand the couple's tastes - otherwise your gift could end up quickly re-gifted or stuck in storage forever.

Personalized Items

Personalized items always come up with a lovely and detailed gift to present anyone, much less a newly married couple. You have have pillows, photo albums, frame, dishes, as well as furniture customized for their tastes or reflect them as individuals. The number of choices under this category are endless, and there is no doubt that your particular gift will likely be totally unique on the list of other gifts the happy couple receives. What a great way to build a memorable gift!

You can get more wedding tips by reading more articles like this from Mark Wilcox at

DIY Beeswax Wood Treatment Recipe (3 Ingredients Only!)

Save money on an expensive wood polish and make your own with just three simple ingredients. Olive oil adds moisture to prevent wood from drying out and cracking, beeswax helps seal the wood and protect the surface after cleaning, and lemon gives it that clean, fresh scent.

(Image: Susan Hudson)

This simple DIY beeswax polish will restore the shine not only to wooden furniture, but to bowls, toys and even trays. It brightens and preserves the natural beauty of both finished and unfinished wood.

(Image: Susan Hudson)

Things You'll Need

  • 2 tablespoons beeswax
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon essential
  • Container with lid
  • Soft, clean cloth
(Image: Susan Hudson)

How to Make the Beeswax Wood Treatment

Step 1

Combine the olive oil and beeswax in a heat-proof container. A glass measuring cup works well. Heat in short bursts in the microwave, stirring between, until the beeswax is melted. You can also bring a couple of inches of water to a boil in a saucepan. Turn heat to low and set the measuring cup in the saucepan. Stir occasionally until the beeswax is melted.

(Image: Susan Hudson)

Step 2

Once the beeswax is completely melted, let the mixture sit for a few minutes to cool slightly. Then stir in the lemon essential oil. Lemon not only adds a fresh clean scent, but it's also a fabulous degreaser. This helps keep the polish from leaving excess residue on surfaces.

(Image: Susan Hudson)

Pour the mixture into a container that has a lid. To give the polish a smooth consistency, continue to stir until the mixture is room temperature.

(Image: Susan Hudson)


  • The beeswax will keep in a lidded jar for up to one year. Avoid adding any water to the polish.

How to Use the Beeswax Wood Treatment

Step 1

First make sure the wooden surface is dusted and clean. Then dip a soft, clean rag into the jar to get a bit of beeswax polish on the rag. A little goes a long way so start with a small amount. Gently wipe the wood surface with the polish. Apply polish all over the wood and let it sit and soak into the wood for about 30 minutes.

(Image: Susan Hudson)

Step 2

Then use a clean cloth to wipe up any excess polish and buff the wood slightly to make it shine. Surfaces will be somewhat slippery after polishing so use caution.


DIY Hand Painted Margarita Glasses

A south-of-the-border celebration does not kick into gear without margaritas, so why settle for plain margarita glasses? These glasses, hand-painted with limes and strawberries, are easier than you'd think to recreate. And they're sure to get everyone in the party spirit.

Hand-painted margarita glasses
(Jonathan Fong)

Things You'll Need

  • Margarita glasses
  • Enamel craft paint
  • Paint brushes
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Sketch paper and pen
  • Masking tape
with hot soapy water, rinse, and dry. Then clean the surface of the glass with a cotton square dipped in rubbing alcohol to remove any remaining oily residue.
Clean the glass with rubbing alcohol
Jonathan Fong
Step 2

Painting on the glass freehand is difficult for most people. It is much easier to draw an image on a piece of paper and tape it to the inside of the glass. This way, you have a pattern you can trace with the paint brush. This one image of a lime slice will be repeated around the glass.

Tape a pattern to trace
Jonathan Fong
Step 3

Dip a narrow paint brush in enamel paint, and trace the pattern. Look for water-based enamel paints in the crafts store. They are easy to work with and easy to wash off with water. As you paint, don't worry about brush marks or imprecise painting. The imperfections give the glass an artisan feel. Keep moving your template around the glass to continue painting limes.

Using the template
Jonathan Fong
Step 4

Paint the peel of the lime a dark green, and the fruit section a lighter green. The middle section of the margarita glass actually looks like a lime cut in half, so cover this section in dark green paint.

Painting the limes
Jonathan Fong
Step 5

When the paint dries, usually within an hour, paint the next layer, which is the white membrane of the rind. Using a narrow paint brush, paint some white paint along the inside edge of the dark green peel, as well as two lines within the light green section to create "wedges."

Paint the white part of the rind
Jonathan Fong
Step 6

On the base of the glass, paint the outer rim a dark green and the inside a light green. When it dries, paint the wedges with white paint. If it helps, draw a template first and place it under the glass to trace.

Paint the glass base
Jonathan Fong
Step 7

The technique to paint strawberries is similar to that of painting the limes. Draw a strawberry on a piece of paper and tape it to the inside of the glass. Then paint within the lines with red paint. Move the template around the glass to paint several strawberries.

Painting strawberries
Jonathan Fong
Step 8

Use a narrow paint brush and dark green paint to draw the green leafy section of the strawberries, called the "hull."

Painting the green hull
Jonathan Fong
Step 9

When the red paint is dry, paint seeds by dipping the wooden end of a brush in white paint and dabbing the point onto the glass.

Painting the seeds
Jonathan Fong
Step 10

Because the stem is in the way, painting a strawberry at the base might seem difficult. But there's a trick. Just turn the glass upside down and paint the strawberry on the bottom of the base. You will see the design through the glass. Paint the white seeds on the top of the glass base, and they look like are on the actual strawberry.

Painting the base
Jonathan Fong
Step 11

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, place the glasses on the baking sheet, and place in a cool oven. Turn the oven to 350 degrees and heat for 30 minutes. Leave the glasses in the oven until completely cooled. Now the glasses are hand washable or top shelf dishwasher safe. (Note: Different paints have varying heat set instructions. Read the label of the specific paint you choose.)

Heat set the paint

McDonald's is making its biggest ever change to the Big Mac

McDonald's is testing some big changes to its core menu item: the Big Mac.

The chain is testing a "Grand Mac" and a "Mac Jr." The "Grand Mac" has 61% more beef than the regular Big Mac, an extra slice of cheese, and a larger bun, Columbus Business First reports.

The Mac Jr. is a single-patty burger designed to be eaten on the go.

grandmacMcDonald'sThe Mac Jr., Bic Mac, and Grand Mac.

The chain is testing the new burgers through June 6 at hundreds of restaurants in central Ohio and Dallas/Ft. Worth.

Nomura analysts Mark Kalinowski said the tests are a good sign for McDonald's.

"We view the new tests... as a sign of the company's evolving willingness to have no 'untouchables' on the menu," Kalinowski wrote in a note to clients.

He said he's hoping McDonald's also tweaks its french fries.

"We look forward to some of the french fry line extensions we've seen overseas (such as McDonald's Australia's Loaded Fries) perhaps being tested stateside one day, if we're fortunate.," he wrote.

McDonald's also recently revealed it would be building a new restaurant with all-you-can-eat fries.

Pizza Hut wants to be like Uber

Pizza Hut has an unlikely new inspiration.

The chain is rolling out new digital tools that are inspired by tech startups, like Uber.

The pizza chain is officially launching "Visible Promise Time," which allows customers to see what time their pizzas will be prepared, ready, and delivered before they place their order, the company has announced in a release.

On top of that, the chain is testing a service that allows customers to track the exact location of their pizza by tracking the delivery driver’s GPS location.

"I think what we’re going though is … the 'Uber-ization' of our customer experience," Pizza Hut’s Chief Digital Officer, Baron Concors, told Business Insider. "A lot of people think Uber really transformed the transportation industry, but I think they’ve really transformed commerce."

Imagining Pizza Hut through the lens of Uber, Visible Promise Time is similar to Google Maps estimated time, allowing customers to plan their schedule around their pizza pick-up or delivery before even placing their order. The GPS tracker is even more analogous, with visuals that seem instantly familiar to any Uber user.

pizza hut @PizzaHut on Instagram


According to the company, this will be the first time a pizza chain has introduced an estimated timeline prior for customers to placing the order.

Pizza Hut has tested Visible Promise Time for the last several months, with the company slowly rolling out the service starting in late January. Customers have responded enthusiastically to the increased transparency, says Concors.

The pizza chain has recently doubled down making purchasing and delivering pizza easier, with Yum Brands CEO Greg Creed saying in the company’s most recent earnings call last week that the chain’s new motto is "easy beats better." The concept came to Pizza Hut managementlast year when Pizza Hut executives realized the chain had focused too much on making pizza that customers enjoyed, instead of cutting delivery time, according to the Associated Press.

"We’re always brainstorming on innovation and ideas to make the experience easier," said Concors. "I think part of 'easy' is how we bring that authenticity and transparency to our consumers."

dominos no touch orderDomino'sDomino's has been implementing technology.


For pizza chains, making things easy for customers has become closely tied with new technology, like Visible Promise Time. Pizza Hut reports that 46% of delivery and carry-out orders at the chain come through digital channels; competitors Papa John’s and Domino’s reports more than half of sales are from digital.

With such a thriving digital business, much of the recent innovation in the pizza industry has been tech-focused. Domino's has tested options such as a "no touch" ordering app, as well as a rolling delivery robot in Australia. Technology is crucial to getting ahead in the pizza industry, with most executives (Concors included) convinced that there is no limit to how much digital sales can grow in the near future.  

To keep up with the increasingly tech-centric competition, Concors says that Pizza Hut is focusing on personalization and ease of ordering. 

So far, the strategy of simplicity has been working for the chain. Pizza Hut reported that United States same-stores sales grew 5% in the first quarter of fiscal 2016, due to in part, according to Concors, to increased customer loyalty thanks to new tech innovation.

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