Posts tagged with "home"

Four Tips to Level Up Your Business

The new year invites you to reflect on old practices, abandoning those that no longer serve your purposes and embracing those that bring the changes you seek. What daily procedures add unnecessary stress and “fat” to your operations, and which can propel your organization to the next level?

Every enterprise is different, requiring leaders to spend time in mindfulness. They must examine where they want their organization to go and the best path for getting there, keeping in mind current societal trends and realities such as a changing climate.

Savvy business leaders draw inspiration from Taoist wu wei principles, meeting the demands of the world as it is instead of fighting like salmon swimming upstream in a futile attempt to change the course of unyielding tides. Embracing these principles entails a seismic mindset shift from the western philosophy of “the hardest path brings the most rewards.” Still, it can result in greater success and happiness among your team. How? Here are four tips to level up your business in 2023.

1. Take Maximum Advantage of Technology Solutions

Technology changes for the average person in the blink of an eye. It moves even more quickly in the business world as profit-driven economic models demand innovations for large organizations able to pay the price. The result? A world of apps and programs for streamlining your daily operations while maximizing profits.

Today’s AI goes far beyond keeping your company running on schedule. It can map your retail stores, advising you of the optimal product placement for maximizing sales. Builders can use virtual reality in construction project planning, but this isn’t the only application of such software. It also enables you to immerse clients in an interactive experience to highlight the benefits of your services.

Even the humble business card has evolved. As the world goes paperless, more organizations employ an electronic version that immediately stores your contact information in a prospective client’s cellphone, ensuring you’re only a click away when they need you.

What other solutions should you consider? Here are four ways technology solutions can help you level up your business in 2023:

  • Smart contracts: Does it seem like every legal contract covers the same territory? Smart contracts keep the essential language intact for legal compliance while allowing you to customize terms for specific clientele.
  • Advanced positioning technology: Keep track of where your packages are in transit. Instead of providing customers with rough delivery estimates, you can pinpoint their product’s arrival and tell them where it is in the supply chain at any given time.
  • Cloud technology: These solutions allow diverse teams to connect over broad geographic areas while keeping your information secure. They also minimize downtime due to inoperable devices.
  • Blockchain technology: A blockchain is a decentralized ledger for recording transactions. While the financial applications are obvious, this technology also plays crucial roles in health care when protecting patient information and ensuring continuity of care.

2. Keep the Human Element First and Foremost

The COVID-19 pandemic gave birth to the Great Reset, and businesses and individuals are still struggling to integrate their daily routines and operations into this new reality. While the media abounds with stories of conflicts between C-suite executives and their workforce, they ignore the opportunity inherent in this moment to redefine the business world and make it more human and sustainable.

Lee Iacocca said years ago that business is, after all, nothing more than a bunch of human relationships. However, many leaders need to pay more attention to the one they have with their staff. For example, multiple companies have seen top talent flee after issuing seemingly arbitrary “return to the office” orders amid soaring profits when their workforce is happier and more productive from home.

Before issuing such edicts, mindfully reflect on what you hope to accomplish. Is it increased collaboration? If so, could you meet that objective by offering a more flexible hybrid schedule? Decrease expenses by exchanging pricy single-use downtown real estate and instead investing in less costly co-working spaces for occasional meetings.

If your only objective is to exercise more power and control over your staff, reflect carefully on that decision. Why make more unnecessary work for yourself if the numbers show remote performance offers equivalent productivity, especially if it results in top talent leaving for less capricious shores? You could be killing the proverbial golden-egg-laying goose. Reality shows the following benefits of remote and hybrid work:

  • Fewer commuters: Resulting in fewer emissions and less stress from battling traffic.
  • Improved productivity: While study numbers vary, most show a significant increase in overall productivity when employees choose their workspace.
  • Decreased sick days: Telecommuting allows workers to perform on those days when they can handle light desk duty but don’t want to infect the entire office.
  • Fewer costs: Pricy lease agreements aside, it’s far less expensive for businesses to allow telecommuting. It costs money to secure the premises and run the lights and heat beyond rent.

3. Embrace Environmental Responsibility

The evidence for climate change is evident everywhere in changing weather patterns. These disruptions will only grow more severe if people fail to take action now, costing businesses untold thousands in reparation costs in coming years and taking an unimaginable toll in terms of human suffering.

Furthermore, embracing sustainable efforts can drive profits. Several recent studies indicate consumers will pay more for eco-friendliness. They also prefer to do business with companies that share their values, such as environmental consciousness and corporate responsibility.

What can you do to green your organization? Much depends on your budget and objectives, but these ideas can help you defray costs while improving your environmental footprint:

  • Use local suppliers: Build your reputation with other business leaders in your community while reducing shipping costs and the resulting emissions from transport.
  • Go paperless: Digital signage reduces the need for printing, and email or collaboration apps can replace old-fashioned memos, improving data security while reducing waste.
  • Make environmental upgrades: Is it time for a new building? Consider LEED-certified builders to make your new structure comply with the highest environmental standards. Putting in parking? A covered lot with solar panels lets electric vehicle owners charge their rides while at work, keeps customers cooler and provides surplus green energy to the grid.
  • Set up green initiatives: You can increase community visibility by participating in local cleanups or sponsoring such efforts.

4. Interact With Your Customers 

The final tip to level up your business in 2023 is perhaps the easiest — ask your customers what they want. This simple task alone can propel your name above and beyond the rest in a world where many products don’t even come with instructions anymore, let alone a dedicated customer service line where confused buyers can get support.

How can your customers reach you? Make it clear how they can get in touch by providing this information on product packaging and your company website. Consider contracting with a third-party organization to provide telephone and chat support.

Finally, use algorithms to your advantage. It’s a snap to add “like/dislike” buttons or include electronic feedback forms that generate reports enabling you to judge the popularity of various offerings.

Lindsay via David Purdy by 360 Magazine

The Benefits of Medication-at-Home

Taking medication is not without risks, especially for the elderly. Drug interactions can have unexpected and unintended effects. Side effects can lead to complications. Directions can be misunderstood. The recommended dosage can require adjustments. The list goes on and on.

Traditionally, doctors and other medical professionals had close interaction with the elderly patients whom they treated in assisted living or rehabilitation facilities. They were readily available for fielding questions and could quickly address issues related to prescription medications.

Today, however, medical models are changing. Many elderly patients are turning to the “aging in place” concept of medical care. This model empowers those with chronic medical conditions to receive appropriate care in their homes rather than at an assisted living or rehabilitation facility. 

The aging-in-place model offers a host of benefits, including better affordability and the ability for patients to stay more connected to their social circles. However, it also creates a distance between patients and their doctors that is much greater than they experience in care facilities. Because of this distance, patients have less available guidance from doctors when it comes to managing their medication.

Supporting aging-in-place with medication-at-home

To fill the gap created by the aging-in-place model, the world of healthcare is turning to an innovative method of medication management that is referred to as “medication-at-home.” This new model for patient care looks to pharmacists to provide an enhanced level of care for their patients. It looks to the clinical expertise that pharmacists bring to the care continuum as a key resource for patients who are looking to use medication safely and effectively while aging-in-place.

Appreciating the important role that pharmacists play in this new health landscape requires understanding how often pharmaceuticals are prescribed to the elderly. In 2010, studies showed that 87 percent of US adults 65 years-of-age or older used at least one prescription medication. By 2019, that number had grown to 89 percent. Elderly patients who do not use prescription drugs have come to be the rare exception. 

It should also be noted that aging in place may soon be a necessity rather than an option. The aging population in the US is leading to what some are calling an assisted living crisis. Those in the 65 and older category comprise approximately 46 million Americans today. By 2050, that demographic is expected to nearly double. As the number in need of care continues to increase, finding space in assisted living facilities may prove to be an overwhelming challenge, leaving home care as the only available option.

Providing expert medication oversight

For those experiencing aging-in-place, the medication oversight that the medication-at-home model provides is essential. Polypharmacy, which is the term used to describe the use of multiple medications, is a reality for most elderly receiving medical care. Figures on polypharmacy show that among those 65 or older, an estimated 44 percent of men and 57 percent of women take five or more medications.

Pharmacists have the expertise that is necessary to provide medication reconciliation for those who are taking multiple prescription medications. This process involves pharmacists reviewing the entire listing of medications that a patient is taking to determine overlaps or possible adverse reactions that may result from combinations of drugs.

In an assisted living setting, doctors would have access to the full slate of medications that patients were using. With aging-in-place, patients may receive prescriptions from a variety of doctors, including their primary care physician and other specialists. Pharmacists may be the only ones who have the complete picture of the medications that aging-in-place patients are taking.

Pharmacists are also uniquely positioned to provide essential guidance to patients as they begin with new medications, such as those that might be prescribed after a hospital visit. Studies show that 20 percent of hospital readmissions are medication-related. Among those, 70 percent were considered preventable. When pharmacists step in to assess how new medications might interact with what a patient is already taking, as well as to provide clarity on the proper procedure for taking new medications, unnecessary hospitalizations can be avoided.

Medication reconciliation is an ongoing part of the medication-at-home process. It begins during the onboarding process and is assessed on an ongoing basis. Rather than simply filling and billing prescriptions without oversight, medication-at-home elevates the process to the level of clinical pharmacy care. As a result, aging-in-place patients receive the same attention to detail that they would receive from caregivers at an assisted living or rehabilitation facility.

Supporting healthy adherence

To experience the full benefits of their prescriptions, patients must adhere to the prescription guidelines. If they fail to take the right dose at the right time under the right conditions, the medical benefits of the medication can fail to be realized. Lack of adherence is thought to be one of the biggest risks for patients who are taking medications in an aging-in-place setting.

The medication-at-home model can provide significant adherence support to patients. One solution it provides is medications that are synchronized to one fill day and cycled into a continual fill date. This takes the confusion that can result from refills off of patients and the caregivers who support them. By packaging medications in date and time stamped pouches, patients have a much easier time of adhering to their medication schedules.

In addition, the medication-at-home process also facilitates the same type of multi-dose medication packaging that is made available at onsite care facilities. This method, which is proven to increase success rates with medication adherence, places all of the medications that must be taken at the same time in the same packaging, removing the need for patients to institute their own organization methods.

To further support the medication process, pharmacists can coordinate delivery services that ensure patients have what they need when they need it. Throughout the entire process, the medication-at-home team stays in contact with the patient to provide coaching, counseling, and whatever other reassurances are needed.

Reducing healthcare costs

Finally, medication-at-home facilitates a solution that makes effective healthcare much more affordable for elderly patients. By 2028, out-of-pocket costs for facility care are expected to total more than $266 billion. Aging-in-place dramatically reduces those costs. By leaning on the historically underutilized expertise that pharmacists bring to the healthcare puzzle, medication-at-home makes aging-in-place and the benefits it brings to patients a viable healthcare solution.

Lindsay Dymowski is President of Centennial Pharmacy Services, a leading medication-at-home pharmacy, and co-founder and principal of The Centennial Group, a pharmacy management company supporting community pharmacies and health systems. Combining her over 15 years of pharmacy experience with her entrepreneurial spirit, Lindsay knows exactly what drives successful pharmacies, launches collaborative provider programs, and gets the attention of payers – and it’s not dispensing medications. It’s how well you can support an organization’s goals to better health outcomes with patient-centric pharmacy care.

Most Instagrammable Houseplants via 360 MAGAZINE

Most Instagrammable houseplants

  • The Aloe vera plant is the most Instagrammable houseplant, with over 5 million posts on the platform
  • In second place is the Agave plant with just under 2 million posts
  • Haworthia takes the third spot with just over 800 thousand Instagram posts

New research has revealed the most Instagrammable houseplant, with the Aloe vera plant, taking the top spot in the rankings.

The research conducted by Hollywood Hills real estate experts RubyHome established the most common houseplants and succulents on Instagram and analysed the number of hashtags for both the scientific name of each houseplant and the more commonly used names.

The analysis revealed that the Aloe vera plant (scientifically known as the Aloe barbadensis miller) had the highest number of hashtags on Instagram, making it the most Instagrammable. The plant has 5,155,019 combined hashtags on the platform to date. The plant has been a household favorite for centuries due to its medicinal and cosmetic purposes. The Aloe Vera plant secures its top spot by totalling over five million posts on Instagram from the use of the following hashtags: ‘#aloebarbadensismiller, ‘#aloevera’, ‘#aloeveraplant’, and ‘#aloeverasucculent’.

Agave Americana, otherwise known as Agave, places second with 1,835,178 posts on the platform. Agave plants have a multitude of uses, but their main benefit is that their sap and juices can be used to treat many gut-related issues. It is also rich in nutrients which is why many see it as a more natural alternative to honey and sugar.

The third most Instagrammable plant is the Haworthia plant. Scientifically known as  Haworthiopsis attenuata, the plant has a total number of 824,048 posts on Instagram. The plant’s popularity is due to its ease of care, as it can tolerate many different lighting conditions and can last long periods in dark spaces.

The fourth most Instagrammable houseplant is Sedum which is also known as Stonecrop. The plant is extremely popular among beginners as its appearance is exceptionally versatile; not only is this a great selling point for the plant, but it can also endure harsh conditions and survive prolonged periods without water. The plant has 704,823 posts in total on Instagram.

In fifth place is Mammillaria, also known as Pincushion Cactus, with a total of 529,729 posts. With only 175,000 fewer posts than a Stonecrop plant, the pincushion cactus is popular among cactus lovers because of its small size and ease of care.

The Dracaena trifasciata is the sixth most Instagrammable plant, with 513,093 posts. The plant is also nicknamed the Snake Plant, and they are popular for its interesting skills of purifying the air and releasing oxygen during the nighttime.

The seventh most Instagrammable houseplant is the Hoya Plant, otherwise known as Wax Plant. The popularity of the Wax Plant is due to its sweet scent, attractive and lengthily leaves, and pretty floral accents. To date, the plant has 303,440 posts on Instagram, which secured its seventh position.

In eighth place is the Curio rowleyanus plant, also known as String of Pearls. Despite being an extremely delicate plant, String of Pearls is a beautiful addition to any plant collection. Similar to many other succulents, the plant is straightforward to maintain and has 233,711 posts on Instagram.

Crassula ovata, also known as the Jade Plant, ranks ninth by a whisker with 233,151 Instagram posts, just 560 fewer than the String of Pearls. The Jade Plant is extremely popular, especially in Asia, as it is thought to bring financial luck. Its gorgeous vibrant green leaves are another selling point of this plant which is a beautiful addition to any plant lovers’ collection.

The tenth most Instagrammable houseplant belongs to the Schlumbergera bridgessii, otherwise known as the Christmas Cactus. The plant has a total of 189,128 posts on Instagram, which secures its tenth position. It is a colourful, exciting plant which blooms bright pink or lilac flowers in indoor spaces around Christmastime.

A spokesperson from RubyHome commented on the findings: “Houseplants are an incredible way to incorporate life and colour into any living space, which is why they are an essential part of creating a calm and zen atmosphere in any home.

It is fascinating to see such large numbers of hashtags for so many houseplants, showing how many social media users love watching their homes spring to life with their easy-to-maintain plants. It also proves just how popular the social media platform is for sharing insights into their interior design choices.”

Eight Ways AI Is Empowering Workplaces

The future is coming and the current world is changing to keep up with it. Artificial Intelligence (AI) refers to highly developed systems that can be programmed to do something – which is perfect for the working world. AI can be used for recreational activities, but it can also help out tremendously in the workplace.

As AI becomes more attainable for more businesses, the workforce is bound to see some growth and feel empowered thanks to the capabilities of these machines and programs.

1. Solutions for Monotony

Many jobs involving physical labor could be considered monotonous or mundane. They don’t challenge people’s brains, and many workers may risk hurting themselves to do their jobs correctly.

To protect human lives from becoming endangered, AI can be programmed to take care of much of the simple physical labor that workers currently do. AI can streamline labor-intensive jobs like packing boxes and loading trucks.

While this occurrence might sound like it leaves people out of jobs, it does quite the opposite – it lifts those employees up. They are now free to complete higher-priority tasks, and they may even find a job supervising the robots that do all the heavy lifting for them.

2. Create More Jobs

With AI to do easy jobs, the need for middle management is shrinking. Even though it sounds bleak, the presence of AI actually creates more jobs. Entry-level skilled workers can retain more autonomy over their actions and job descriptions.

Because AI can make predictions and decisions based on small things, entry-level workers can be given more thought-provoking tasks. These jobs will allow them to perform tasks that mean something to them rather than do something that doesn’t require much attention or effort. It might also mean higher base pay for those in entry-level positions.

3. Streamlined Scheduling

AI can help with scheduling purposes in the workplace. Without having to worry about fitting things into their schedules, employees can go about their day and simply follow what tasks have been given to them.

Employees can save up to five hours of busywork just by handing their scheduling off to artificial intelligence. With this form of streamlined scheduling, employees can feel at ease and always know what to do next. All they need to do is check their schedule – and if there’s an issue with anything the AI has created, they can always adjust it manually.

4. Hiring Process

AI can also speed up the hiring process. What may have taken a long time in the past can be swift, thanks to the advancements of AI. For example, AI can sift through resumes and look for keywords or certain qualifications.

AI makes it so much easier to sort through resumes, and they can even send a quick rejection email to the applicants you decide not to move forward with. This streamlined hiring process can allow HR and other valued members of the workplace to focus on their other tasks rather than sorting through dozens of applicants when they only want to view the best.

5. Monitor Quality

AI can monitor the quality of conversations in your workplace on all levels. It can be tremendously helpful, thanks to automatic call recording and transcriptions. Your employees can learn more about what they’re doing right and what they need to change.

You can use these automated notes to help train both existing and future employees on new features and new tasks that they might need to get used to.

You can also use it to monitor the quality of a job your employees are doing. If one employee isn’t doing well, you might want to spend more time training them in a certain job area. Alternatively, you can switch one employee to a different progression path if they seem to be doing better elsewhere than their assigned tasks. All in all, it helps people grow in their careers.

6. Improved Training

AI can be trusted to train new recruits without leaving out any information or showing any biases. It’s an excellent replacement for human beings, who may make mistakes while teaching people.

With AI, you can choose to have each individual train at their own pace. Advanced AI may be able to detect where many trainees are falling short. From there, an AI program can better supplement new workers with additional material that can help them grasp certain concepts.

AI can also help in other areas than just the onboarding process. It can send someone information about a client before meeting with that client. For those working in sales or other fields where they need to speak up a lot, having an AI send them detailed info about the people they’re going to speak to can be a lifesaver. Eventually, employees will work past these difficulties and shine like they’re meant to.

7. Self-Service Channels

People are independent. They want to solve problems themselves if they can.

With that in mind, AI can be used as chatbots to help customers navigate through your website. While customer service is important, so is allowing your potential customers to make their own decisions. An estimated 90% of people value customer service from a brand.

Chatbots can give automatic responses that can either answer a person’s question or lead them to ask more intense questions. Then, your customer service support can jump in and talk to them. It’s great for your customer representatives, too – they can prioritize the people who have questions that aren’t easily answered on your website.

8. Work Processes Will Change

When AI is implemented at a grand scale, work processes are bound to change. It will be challenging to adjust to a new type of workflow at first, but in the long run, it could mean less work for people on every rung of the ladder.

Investing in AI allows you to fill in any gaps left behind when people are doing work for high-quality jobs. Employers should know exactly how things might change soon, and they can prepare their teams accordingly.

Discover Puerto Rico × Pantone

Boriqua Interior Designer Cristina Villalón curates tips on how to best incorporate the color Puerto Rico Sunshine into a space. This fiery red-orange color created by Pantone is a combination of the sunbeams that grace the island throughout the day, refined by a physicist and professor at the University of Puerto Rico. Villalón, a leading designer in Puerto Rico with projects all over the Americas is the ideal eye to recommend how to integrate Puerto Rico Sunshine into any room or décor.

According to Villalón, orange is a dynamic color. It should be used to add energy to a room and make a space come alive. Thus, if you reside in a cold place, adding an orange wall will automatically add warmth and ebullience to the space.

Puerto Rico Sunshine alongside neutral tones such as gray have a neutralizing effect to tone down the brightness. For full island-vibes, blues also complement orange beautifully and make the perfect combination in a vibrant beach house or beachy themed room. It is recommended to use only one vivid color, like Puerto Rico Sunshine, in any given space. Using a neutral palette and natural textures, then adding pops of this bold orange in accessories makes for a soothing yet cheerful space. Painting an entire room a strong, overwhelming color can be a bit too much for most interior design tastes. Villalón recommends painting one wall in a room the brighter, statement-making color, and the rest a more neutral tone. Not only will the accent wall stand out and become a focal point, but it won’t overpower the rest of the décor elements and make you want to run out of the room! Other trends include incorporating accent colors in a wall mural. A wall mural permits you to incorporate as much or as little of an accent color as you would like, and you can also add texture and visual interest with the pattern or design you choose.

A great way to offer cohesion to the room is to paint only one wall an orange, like Puerto Rico Sunshine, and then repeat the color via furniture pieces or accessories. Some of these ways include adding color to the entryway of your home, updating older furniture, framing a mirror, or even making your own artwork. The eye-catching possibilities are as endless as the sun’s rays. Color is an extremely powerful force and too much of anyone can leave a room or space unbalanced. Yet the right amount can invigorate a home and its visitors!

Cristina Villalón is the Co-founder, Principal Interior Designer and the Director of Álvarez-Díaz & Villalón® | Architecture & Interior Design. Recognized for her attractive, welcoming, and functional interior designs, Villalón was awarded in 2015 with the Star on the Rise Award from the Design Center of the Americas (DCOTA). In 2016, Cristina was named among the Top 40 Under 40 by the magazine Design: Retail and that same year, Caribbean Business awarded her the same distinction. Villalón is a proud mother of three beautiful daughters, a recycling activist and gender equality, an insatiable reader and a lifelong learner.

Discover Puerto Rico and Pantone featured in 360 MAGAZINE.

*Special thanks to Discover Puerto Rico for providing images and access to Cristina Villalón.

FlexiSpot bike product via Vaughn Lowery for use by 360 MAGAZINE

FlexiSpot Standing Desks

With an increase in hybrid and remote work since the onset of the pandemic, employees have been bound to their homes instead of their typical offices to complete daily work tasks. FlexiSpot offers a range of standing desks that are sure to spice up your new at home office.

Offered in a range of chic, height-adjustable models, FlexiSpot desks showcase an advanced design sure to meet all of workspace needs. With easy assembly, these desks make for the perfect gift this season for those work-from-home professionals that are looking to further manage their workstation.

FlexiSpot’s All-in-One Comhar Standing Desk ($399)

With a simple, classic look, this classy and height adjustable standing desk showcases a hardened glass desk top finish off with rounded edges to ensure safety. Created with an array of storage spots throughout the desk, the Comhar too has a pull-out desk drawer to offer even more organization. Equipped, too, with three differing USB charging ports, you’ll never have to worry about your devices being sufficiently charged while you’re on that big business call!

FlexiSpot’s Kana Bamboo Standing Desk ($329)

Sporting an eco-friendly essence, the Kana Bamboo standing desk comes produced from ethically obtained bamboo. This material not only ensures added strength and durability but serves as a natural option for those looking to modernize up their home workplace.

Available in a selection of four desktop sizes, this desk comes in the shape of a rectangle as well as a curved design. Each purchase of a Kana Bamboo Desk ensures one dollar donated and a tree planted from One Tree Planted.

FlexiSpot's Kana Bamboo Standing Desk via Stacy Callahan for use by 360 MAGAZINE

FlexiSpot Adjustable Standing Desk Pro Series ($399)

Furnished with added resilience and lifting speed, the Standing Desk Pro Series was designed for those who are extremely motivated by their work. Showcasing the use of a desk frame that is both scratch and stain resistance, this desk is sure to withstand the toughest of workdays.

Offered in an array of desktop choices, each Standing Desk Pro Series is equipped with energy-efficient LED light and a keypad that can program three stored height levels, with a programmable sit/stand reminder system.

FlexiSpot's Adjustable Standing Desk Pro Series via Stacy Callahan for use by 360 MAGAZINE

CEO of FlexiSpot, Lane Xiang, said, “Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to show your loved one that you’re thinking about their health and wellness. Gifting that special someone with a FlexiSpot ergonomic standing desk can help eliminate work-from-home challenges and create a positive and productive remote work environment.”

Order your own FlexiSpot Standing Desk today at www.flexispot.com.

About FlexiSpot

Renowned for their selection of ergonomic products that ensure for consumer flexibility, FlexiSpot specializes in goods that aid the work from home process. Each product optimizes customer activity, organization and flexibility. FlexiSpot aims for optimal condition and design of all their products, elevating the lifestyle of each consumer.

Rihanna via Vaughn Lowery for use by 360 Magazine

Rihanna Pregnant

By: Skyler Johnson

It was discovered earlier today that global superstar Rihanna is pregnant with her first child. Her baby bump was revealed when she was photographed with boyfriend A$AP Rocky in his hometown of Harlem. At the time, the couple was seen holding hands, with Rihanna wearing a long pink puffer Chanel jacket adorned with jewels over her stomach

The couple went public in November of 2020, and have grown closer since the pandemic after being friends for several years. Both have separately talked about wanting kids together at some point, with Rihanna suggesting she wanted kids before she turned 42. According to MSN, she once stated, “I’m a Black woman. I came from a Black woman, who came from a Black woman, who came from a Black woman, and I’m going to give birth to a Black woman. It’s a no-brainer. That’s who I am. It’s the core of who I am in spirit and DNA.” No other information on the pregnancy has been released. 

About Rihanna

Rihanna is a Barbadian superstar and singer, known for songs such as Diamonds, S&M, and Shut Up and Drive. She’s also a businesswoman, with her makeup line Fenty Beauty and her clothing line Savage x Fenty. She’s also an actress, having appeared in Home, Battleship, and Bates Motel (the series.) Her ninth album is expected to be released in the near future. 

About A$AP Rocky

A$AP Rocky is a rapper and musician. His debut track, Peso, was leaked online and quickly received airplay. He’s a member of the A$AP Mob, which is where he received the moniker. 

illustration by Reb Czukoski for use by 360 Magazine

Elevate Your Space

Tired of staring at the same four walls? Or has something about your home bothered you persistently? Even if you’re not ready to commit to time and money, there are many little tricks and changes you can DIY that can have a significant impact on the look and feel of your home interior design. Beyond feeling better, many of the easy switches homeowners can make are also far more environmentally friendly, creating a greener, cleaner home.

Here’s a list of inexpensive ideas from experts to elevate your indoor space and tips on how you can change your home’s atmosphere.

  • Plants

Live plants, faux plants, emotional support plants! There are so many options to choose from.
If you have the space and light for live plants, they are able to change the overall appearance of a space, and they have also been shown to boost moods, increase productivity and concentration, reduce stress, and eliminate air pollutants. This makes for a healthier, happier interior space that looks good and makes us feel good, too. In fact, there are many studies on how having plants encourages self care.

However, artificial plants are also great for those who want them just for decorative purposes. They never outgrow their pots, the leaves will never droop, and there’s no need to worry about watering them. Pet-safe and child-safe, perfect for those who travel a lot.

  • Pets

Nothing compares to the unconditional love from a pet that keeps you company. Pets, especially dogs and cats, have been proven that they can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, ease loneliness, encourage exercise and playfulness, and improve your overall health. While caring for an animal can help children grow emotional and social skills, pets also provide valuable companionship for adults. Other benefits include comfort and support, as dogs are very present and they know how to sit there and be loving.

  • Sponge an Old Door

A few decades ago, sponging an entire room or hallway was a major trend. With today’s color technology, one can paint doors in tight or small hallways to add texture and drama to a once drab space.

While traditional sponging only used 2 to 3 colors, with 4 to 6 colors, this same technique can inherit or take on characteristics of rusted copper, stone or marble – depending on your color choice and technique used. Sponge painting is a technique that can create a beautiful array of ombre color effects, one color blending into another. While this might sound complicated, it involves nothing more than applying a base coat of color, then using sponges to dab on another color so that the underlying color shows through.

  • Epoxy Countertop

An epoxy coating will last longer than pretty much any other type of coating and epoxy coating by itself is scratch resistant due to the composition of its ingredients. When done right, epoxy countertops provide a long-lasting and durable surface. Their non-porous nature also means that they’re resistant to moisture and have other characteristics such as compactness and good leak resistance. While epoxy countertops provide a glossy look that can make cheap materials look more luxurious, you will still need to use common sense and not place hot pots and pans on it as they are not the most heat resistant.

  • Refresh Old Fixtures with Edison Bulbs and LIFX Lights

A really simple way to add character to your interior design is by changing the light bulbs that you use.
Edison Bulbs exceeds the warmth of an incandescent bulb, making your environment warm and cozy while adding detail. However, keep in mind that they are not the best at lighting the entire room.

If you’ve been anywhere on the Internet in the past few years, you’ve probably seen those color-changing bulbs and wanted them. Not only do they change colors, LIFX lights can also be accessed away from home and are energy-efficient, though their main selling point is their colors.

  • Hang a Skateboard

When it comes to interior design, hanging a skateboard deck on the wall probably isn’t the first thing you would think of doing.

However, this has become one of the latest trends in recent years and has grown so much that it now holds a spot in the modern art world. Skateboard deck wall art gives personal touch and could also potentially become a hobby (though it might be expensive) – and a complete freedom of expression.

  • Build or Fabricate an Installation

An easy fix to an empty space is building or adding an installation, such as a wall mural or wall art to dress your space up. A popular one is faux ivy leaves dangling from your shelves or walls. Be sure to save and reuse any paper scraps as well as recycle any waste possible!

As cryptocurrency has started to take a huge presence in the media world, it’s not surprising that people also want to show off their digital art, and digital art display systems such as Token Frames has made it possible for you to display your NFT art in your home, office, or anywhere else you wish.

  • Install Floating Shelves

Floating shelves offer minimalistic support – barely visible to the eye but giving extra storage and glamor. It seems futuristic in nature and has a “suspended in mid-air” vibe.

Additionally, the floating shelf can be used for an array of things: jars, plants, books, lamps, and more. You can choose the design or color you’d like them to come in and be creative with it.

  • Buy and Use Multi-functional Furniture

Multi-functional furniture reduces clutter and helps to save space – sometimes even providing extra storage. This helps to keep your interior tidy and make the area feel inviting. Such examples include storage tools or ottomans that can also be used as seating or a side table, folding chairs that can easily be compacted and kept away, or sofa beds that can easily be unfolded for a spot for guests to sleep on. There are many other options and furniture that provide multi-functions.

  • Hang a Light Box Painting or Design One with Rechargeable LED Lights

Light has always been used in a plethora of artistic works. Neon lights, backlight, sculptural light, and in most recent years, LED lights. These lights have been used for store signage and in malls for the longest time, and it has been a trend to also use them as a decorative piece in your homes today. Not to mention, they can be easily DIY-ed with purchasing a few strips of LED lights. They’re great because there are no visible wires and they won’t put holes in your walls as they are magnetic.

  • Create a Gallery Wall

You’ve probably seen amazing images of gallery walls online and wished that you could get the look in your home. Good news: creating a beautiful look with wall art is simpler than you think! You don’t need to be a pro interior designer to create a breathtaking gallery wall. Follow Desenio’s step-by-step guide full of gallery wall ideas to get an insta-worthy look in your home.

  • Resurface Old Platforms

While a full-fledged renovation is not always on the table, resurfacing old platforms or surfaces can always be a fun full day project to do (depending on the scale of the project and what is used). Countertops, walkways, doors, and so on. Benjamin Moore sells a glitter paint that brings a touch of shimmer and adds character to any room. This is ideal for an accent wall of even a piece of furniture.

Resurfacing is a cost-effective alternative and a low-cost investment that could potentially last for years to come.

  • Create Vintage, One-of-a Kind, Minimalist Interiors

A modern and artistic piece of furniture is unique, but the price tag isn’t always the most inviting. However, there are many thrift store options available for you to pick up an old piece of (broken) furniture and refurbish it to look like a one-of-a-kind item.

Many people throw out perfectly usable table tops when some of the legs are worn out, and you can always cut off the legs and replace them with something else – a traditional table could look really special with hairpin legs.

Another hot item that has made a comeback is the modern style glass standing desks, a simple and elegant design that you could purchase for $2000, or simply pick up materials from a hardware store and DIY it for less than a tenth of that price.

By opting for a more natural and modern minimalistic style, cut down on the need for extraneous décor items. Choose to bring in one of our earlier tips, plant life, as a way to make a home feel alive instead of bogged down.

  • Install Dimmable Switches or Choose Natural Lighting

There are many good reasons to install dimmer switches around your house. Instead of just turning lights on or off, you get a wide range of variety by installing a dimmer switch. Additionally, when the lights aren’t functioning at full capacity, they use less energy and save bulb life. Dimming lights can also make a room more comfortable and create a lovely ambiance for a party or event. Most dimmers are designed to fit a standard wall box opening, which makes it easy to replace the switch for any incandescent or halogen light with a dimmer.

Setting up your workspace near a window or skylight can also help make an area feel warmer and more welcoming. Natural light is also very flattering on Zoom! Additionally, opting to bring as much natural light as possible into a space can avoid the unnecessary use of electricity better for both home and wallet. By taking advantage of all lighting options, a home can feel bigger and brighter.

  • Paint Dingy Walls

Walls that have collected dust and dirt over the years? You can always paint over a dirty, chipping and flaking surface, but the trick for new paint to stick is to clean the surface and sand them down to be free of dust that could interfere with your paint ability to adhere to walls.

illustration for Alex Bogdan for use by 360 magazine
  • Collectibles

Collectibles like wine, music albums, records, posters and concert tickets are for enjoyment and fun, while some other figurine collections like KAWS or Tenacious Toys might be a little more expensive. Whether it’s a family tradition or an investment, collectibles often add character to someone’s home with personal touch.

  • iHome Technologies

Today’s advancement in technology enables you to have an automated home, one that is intelligent enough to understand your needs and lifestyle. With the touch of a button, what you want is executed immediately. iHome now offers full lines of alarm clocks, portable speakers, Bluetooth vanity mirrors, sleep therapy wellness products, and a licensed line of smartphone, tablet, and smart home products.

By: Armon Hayes, Kai Yeo, Justin Lowery × Vaughn Lowery

Troubleshooting Smart Home Tech

While Still Working from Home

It’s been almost two years since the COVID-19 pandemic forced many businesses to shift their physical models and adapt to a remote, virtual environment. Now in 2022, the rise of Omicron variant cases has resulted in offices sending their employees back to work from home again. A recent [1]survey from Assurant shows that full time work from home activity is expected to increase by 33% as the pandemic continues, tripled from 11% when the pandemic began.

This upward trend in work from home culture also comes with an upward trend in smart home device connectivity, particularly right after the holidays when people want to work simultaneously with their new smart televisions, smart speakers, and other devices operating in the background. Renters and homeowners alike have even opted for smart home appliances and amenities included with the property, as the demand for smart home technology increased by [2]nearly 25% at the end of 2021 and is expected to accelerate throughout the next few years.

Even with new smart home technology products presented at the recent CES® 2022, troubleshooting these devices when not working properly can be stressful, especially when the company’s IT department can’t come to the home environment.

How Do I Go About Troubleshooting My Devices?

As the first instinct of many would be trying to fix the problem themselves or going directly to the device manufacturer, there are simple steps one can take, while not interrupting workflow at the same time.  To ensure smooth connectivity in every corner of the home, one should start by keeping a close eye on issues shown by the existing Wi-Fi router, such as web pages loading slowly or video playback constantly buffering.

If the router frequently displays issues with the network, the user should consider adding a Wi-Fi range extender in the home to increase the wireless bandwidth across different rooms. This would be an extreme help for company video meetings and software capabilities even when two people in the same household are both working at the same time.

When connecting a new smart device to the Wi-Fi network, one should also check the speed of the device and adjust the positioning accordingly where the internet connection is the strongest in the home. The existing service provider may even offer additional bandwidth options increase the desired connectivity as best as possible.

The Future of Support

No matter the device or the problem, troubleshooting can be time-consuming and hinder work productivity. Just imagine how a client would feel if one were struggling to join a video meeting or email a report that was due an hour ago. Support needs to be similar to an Amazon retail model in streamlining a one-stop shop to troubleshoot any smart home device without ever having to go to the manufacturer.

Whether it’s learning how to set up, connect, or get the most out of a particular device, tech support needs to be humanized to make it as convenient and comprehensive as possible for the person to understand. No one should have to still wait to get a response from an online ticket request they filled out days ago or wait on hold for hours just to speak to someone in a foreign country with a language barrier.

Consumers need to feel confident in the products they purchase, and companies need the assurance from their employees of working through these difficulties to keep their own products and services afloat.  

Even though the work from home culture with the pandemic is continuing, it doesn’t mean old tech support ways have to.

About The Author: 

Scott McKinley is AVP, Premium Technical Support for Pocket Geek Home. For more information visit www.pocketgeekhome.com.  

Sources

1, 2: https://www.assurant.com/newsroom-detail/Features/2022/January/smart-amenities-in-properties