Stay Safe on the Road This Winter

5 Tire Safety Tips for Cold Weather

From slick roads caused by snow and ice to cold temperatures that can wreak havoc on many vehicle components, winter driving can prove challenging for even the most experienced drivers. When temperatures drop, it’s important to pay attention to your tires, as they are the only direct link to the road below. At 45 F – the same temperature you can see your breath – all-season tires start to lose their traction and gripping capabilities, becoming dangerous in cold and wet weather. To help stay safe on the road this winter, consider these tips from the experts at your local Discount Tire.

Get Pressure Right and Check It Often
Tires lose air due to impacts and pressure of bumps and turns. At least once a month, especially before long trips, check the air pressure in your tires when they’re cool. Low pressure can lead to poor handling and gas mileage, excessive wear and overloading. Colder temperatures can also impact air pressure. For every 10-degree drop in ambient temperature, tires lose one pound of pressure (PSI). Keep a tire pressure gauge in your vehicle to ensure each tire is filled to the manufacturer’s recommended inflation level (typically located in the instruction manual and on the inside of the driver-side door) and add air as necessary.

Check Your Tread
Tread depth determines a vehicle’s safe stopping distance, which is vital during winter weather. In extreme cold, the rubber of all-season or summer tires can stiffen and may not provide sufficient traction on snow or ice. You can check the tread depth by sticking a penny upside-down in a tread groove. It’s time to replace your tires if President Lincoln’s entire head is visible. You can also visit your local Discount Tire to have a technician check your tread with the industry’s first tire tread depth reading mobile computing system.

Rotate Often
To help ensure proper traction, particularly during the winter months, tires should be rotated every 6,000 miles, or earlier if uneven wear develops. One easy way to remember: Have your tires rotated every other time you have your oil changed.

Double Check Your Trunk
Many newer vehicles have replaced spare tires with tire inflation kits that include puncture-coating sealants and air compressors or run-flat tires. Check to see what is included with your vehicle and consider adding a roadside assistance plan in case you experience any issues during inclement weather.

Consult with an Expert
Stay educated about your tires and know how to keep them safe. If it is time to replace your tires, begin with an option like the Treadwell online tire-buying guide. Using decades of data and experience, it delivers optimal winter tire recommendations personalized to your specific vehicle, where you live and your driving habits. By booking an appointment online for a free winter tire safety check at a local store like Discount Tire, you can experience a 30% shorter average wait time. Plus, with an end-to end customer experience, you can even stay in your vehicle while service is performed.

For more winter tire safety information, or to find a location near you, visit DiscountTire.com.

What to Wear for Christmas Events: Our Edit for the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Ho, ho, ho. Like elves, we’re busy curating a mix of inspiration and information to have you looking your best this Christmas season. With all the events dotting your calendar, it’s time to start planning outfits. Are you heading to a farm to select a tree to decorate? Perhaps your inbox is filling up with invites to cookie swaps, company parties and a fancy shindig or two. Wondering what to wear for Christmas events this year? Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. From casual to couture, get ready to rock around the tree in style. It’s officially time to get into the holiday spirit. Read on for our tips for a fashionable 12 days of Christmas for women.

DECK THE HALLS IN STYLE

When December arrives, it’s time to kick preparations into high gear. From baking family favorites to decorating your home—the to-do list can appear naughty and nice. Keep it casual yet chic while ticking off items from your checklist. For an ensemble that takes you from a tree farm to the mall, reach for your favorite jeans. This woman’s wardrobe hero will get you through the season in style.

When thinking about what to wear for Christmas, reach for denim that goes the extra mile. For all-day comfort and movement, savor this season’s trending straight-leg jeans and rock a higher waistline. You’ll thank us when you’re placing a star at the top of the tree or sampling another cookie. Easily style dark-rinse jeans with a Fair Isle sweater and boots this December for serious après-ski vibes. Also scoring major style points in women’s winter 2021 fashion are lug-sole boots. Grab this utilitarian style for winter walks to admire neighborhood lights or department store windows decorated for the season. Your feet will thank you when you’re walking in a winter wonderland.

WHAT TO WEAR TO A CHRISTMAS PARTY

During the Christmas season, nestled in between the mail are a plethora of green, red, and metallic lined envelopes spreading cheer and joy with updates from near and far. Aside from smiling photos, this pile may also contain an invitation or two to celebrate the season. Whether you’re headed to a tree-trimming party, ice skating gathering or swanky soiree, it’s time to plan your ‘fit. Rules have changed, and this time of year we follow the mantra, more is more. When wondering what to wear to a Christmas party, consider the time of day, venue and any dress code indicated on the invitation. Do you have gatherings planned for the outdoors? Baby, it’s cold outside, so level up your outerwear for a feminine, yet polished look. Or snuggle up with a blanket scarf for a festive feel. Read on to see how we’re getting ready for parties this yuletide season.

TREE TRIMMING PARTY ENSEMBLES

If you’re heading to an intimate tree trimming party, keep your ensemble simple, yet cheerful. Women’s sweaters are having a major moment. They’re the perfect solution when trying to figure out what to wear to Christmas parties. This season, we’re crushing on vegan-leather skirts paired with soft sweaters with elevated details. Think square necklines ideal for framing delicate layering necklaces. Or perfect puff-sleeve pullovers that add just the right amount of drama when you’re decorating the tree. For a gift for the hostess with the mostess, bring an ornament and your favorite appetizer to share. After all, tree trimming parties are collaborative; it’s all about making memories with family and friends.

WHAT TO WEAR TO AN OFFICE CHRISTMAS LUNCH

Lunch holiday event toasting to the crew? Yes, please. When thinking about what to wear to an office Christmas lunch, keep it effortless. Consider the type of women’s business attire you typically wear to the office and elevate it with dazzling accessories. If your workwear go-to includes black trousers, pair them with a blouse with feminine details. We’re talking about everything from silky fabrications to sheer sleeve details. Make it a December to remember with a bow blouse to evoke the packages under the tree for a special Christmas twist.

WHAT TO WEAR ON CHRISTMAS EVE TO CHURCH

Are you going to church for services or is a concert full of your favorite carols on the to-do list? Then thinking about what to wear on Christmas Eve to church is undoubtedly on the agenda. For midnight Mass, you’ll want to arrive early to score a seat. When running into old and new friends, let your layers do the work. Wool-blend overcoats provide much-needed warmth on a frosty December night and win a ton of style points. If the weather allows, leave your coat unbuttoned to highlight your dress. Keep your legs warm with tights. Choose from patterned or opaque stockings to complement your apparel. Play it safe with flats or a low-stacked heel in case you arrive late and it’s standing room only.

OUTFIT INSPIRATION FOR A CHRISTMAS EVE OPEN HOUSE

‘Twas the night before Christmas, and you find yourself home for the holiday. Wondering what to wear for Christmas to visit friends and family? Keep it straightforward for impromptu neighborhood get-togethers and open houses. We’re mad for plaid. Choose traditional tartans like Royal Stewart and Black Watch for pants or skirts. Timeless checks are never a bad idea in our holiday style book. Think buffalo, houndstooth and tattersall. Pair your plaid with cashmere sweaters, organza blouses or soft knit turtlenecks. Round out your outfit with gold statement earrings to glitter and glow alongside a pair of slingback flats. Don’t forget to check your list (twice) to make sure you wish your nearest and dearest season’s greetings.

SLEIGH ALL DAY IN PJS FOR THE COZIEST CHRISTMAS

You have our permission, not that you need it, to spend the day in your pajamas. Go ahead—let visions of Sugar Plum fairies dance in your head. Opt for sleepwear in playful patterns and luxurious fabrics. Treat yourself to fuzzy slippers and a knotted headband for a Hallmark channel movie marathon. If your family tradition involves going to the movies and bringing home takeout, swap your PJs for loungewear sets. No need to knit pick, but we love velour jogger sets with slip-on sneakers for next-level leisurewear. Deciding what to wear for Christmas can be as simple as reaching for your coziest pieces to stay toasty. Now that’s a gift that keeps on giving.

WHAT TO WEAR ON CHRISTMAS DAY

No matter your plans, figuring out what to wear on Christmas day for any woman can be tricky. Let your schedule be your guide. Are you hoping for a low-key day that’s full of opening presents and seeing what surprises were left in the stockings? A dressed-down day calls for pajamas, slippers and elevated leisure sets. Hosting the in-laws and looking to dress to the nines to celebrate your favorite holiday? Don a lush velvet jumpsuit, heels and add sparkle with gem embellished hoop earrings. From comfy and cozy by the fire to chic and shimmering at the dining room table, anything goes on December 25th. This is the day to lean into soft fabrications in rich colors all while making a bold statement.

Article is compliments of Rory Stenback and Sheri Epps-Frederito with Stitch Fix. Visit http://www.stitchfix.com to schedule your next fix!

A Perfectly Layered Pie

The star of your next spread can be hidden away in the refrigerator for a surprise delight for your guests. It’s topped with chocolate syrup and chopped pecans, and your loved ones just may vote it to be their favorite dish. It’s an Arkansas Possum Pie, made with three delicious layers and crunchy toppings for a show-stopping dessert.

Whether it’s a holiday, birthday or reunion, this pie is a perfect conversation starter. It’s sweet, crunchy and filled with creamy, delightful layers of goodness. Find more unique dessert recipes at Culinary.net. If you made this recipe at home, use #MyCulinaryConnection on your favorite social network to share your work.

ARKANSAS POSSUM PIE

Crust:

3/4 cup butter

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 1/2 cups pecans, crushed

Cream Cheese Layer:

12 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 cup powdered sugar

4 tablespoons heavy cream

Pudding Layer:

3 egg yolks

2 cups whole milk

1 cup sugar

1/3 cup cocoa powder

3 tablespoons cornstarch

2 tablespoons flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whipped Cream Topping:

1 cup heavy whipping cream

4 tablespoons powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

chocolate syrup

1/2 cup chopped pecans

Heat oven to 350 F.

To make crust: In saucepan, melt butter; add flour, brown sugar and crushed pecans. Stir until combined. Press into 9 1/2-inch deep pie plate. Bake 15-20 minutes until crust begins to brown. Cool completely.

To make cream cheese layer: In medium bowl, mix cream cheese until creamy. Add powdered sugar and heavy cream; mix until smooth. Spread over cooled pecan crust. Refrigerate.

To make pudding layer: In medium bowl, whisk egg yolks. Add milk; whisk until combined. Set aside. In separate medium bowl, whisk sugar, cocoa powder, cornstarch, flour and salt until combined.

In saucepan over medium heat, add egg yolk mixture and flour mixture. Whisk constantly until pudding begins to thicken and bubble. Add butter and vanilla extract, stirring until butter is melted. Pour chocolate pudding in shallow bowl. Cover with plastic wrap touching pudding to keep it from forming skin. Refrigerate 30 minutes. Pour pudding over cream cheese layer. Cover pie with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.

To make whipped cream topping: In stand mixer bowl, add heavy cream, powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Whip until stiff peaks form. Spread whipped cream over pudding layer. Drizzle pie with chocolate syrup and sprinkle with chopped pecans.

7 Tips to Pick the Right Home Service Providers

One of the most frustrating challenges of keeping a home in top shape is finding reliable help when you need it. Whether your home projects are emergency repairs or planned upgrades, it’s critical to find the right home service providers. There are likely plenty of plumbers, contractors, remodelers, carpenters, handymen and painters in your area, but it can be difficult to choose which ones can be counted on to do the job right.

Consider these simple, straightforward, free tips from the exerts at Best Pick Reports to help guide you through the process of picking home service providers for any type of home project.

Know Exactly What You Need Done

Begin by having a clear idea of the work that needs done to your home. The more specific your intended outcome, the better. For example, it’s fine to know you would like to remodel your bathroom. However, it’s better to know you want to redo the countertop, sink and tile work, but you’re fine leaving the toilet and tub untouched. Knowing the scope of work you want done can help you find the best home services professional for the job. It can also improve the likelihood the quotes you receive are as accurate as possible.

Ask Around

Ask your neighbors, friends, family members and co-workers to recommend home service providers they’ve hired. Asking around is an easy and reliable way to get credible recommendations. It can be especially helpful if you’re new to the neighborhood. A word-of-mouth recommendation often speaks volumes about a service provider’s reputation because it comes from a customer with first-hand experience working with the provider. Compare notes from different neighbors then narrow the list down to the most popular and highly recommended names to continue vetting.

Search Social Media

Social media platforms can be excellent sources of information. Just search nearby home service providers by name and see what others are saying about them. Some home service providers may even include testimonials and before-and-after pictures of recent projects on their social media feeds. These can give you an idea of the quality of their work.

Research Your Choices

Whether you get your recommendations from friends, family, or social media, take each one with a grain of salt. Do some digging of your own, researching each option. For each service provider you’re considering, look into any qualifications and certifications they may hold, including any areas of specialization that may be pertinent, and ensure they have the proper licenses and bonding to take on your project. Also check to see what kinds of assurances and guarantees they back their work with.

You can do your homework by visiting websites, making phone calls or both. If you’d like to make the process more efficient, start online. When you’ve narrowed your search to 2-3 options, make phone calls. Calling providers can also provide a first-hand example of their professionalism and customer service capabilities.

Use a Verified Directory and Online Reviews

Look for unbiased customer reviews on independent business directories, forums and review websites. These printed directories and online sites often use a combination of third-party research and consumer reviews to rate contractors. Some even offer guarantees on the quality of work. For example, a directory mailed to homeowners, like the Best Pick Reports, provides recommended pros that have been thoroughly, independently reviewed via an unparalleled certification process. Contractors are included in the report by invitation, which is extended only to companies that have met strict qualifying criteria. Plus, you’ll have the peace of mind that comes with the Best Pick Guarantee. If you’re not satisfied with a guaranteed service provider, you’ll be reimbursed.

Other sites, such as Five Star Rated, the Better Business Bureau and Google Business Reviews, can provide additional background information and reviews to help ensure you’re making the best choice possible. With guides like these, you can expect candid information about who does the best work, along with certification of licensing, insurance, and best business practices. Be sure to avoid sites where highly rated reviews can be purchased.

Review Examples of Finished Projects

Most home service professionals have portfolios of their work. This is especially true for remodelers, renovators, painters, landscapers, and other skilled craftsmen whose work is as much about style as it is quality. As you look through samples of previous work, pay attention to details. Check if everything looks absolutely perfect or if you notice any flaws. Make sure their style is similar to what you’re seeking and look for samples that are similar to the kind of work you want done.

If you don’t see what you’re looking for – or if you notice discrepancies in the quality of their work – don’t be afraid to ask questions. This is your chance to find out all the information you can about the provider and its ability to complete your project.

Seek Multiple Well-Defined Bids

Even if you have a good feeling about the first home service professional you talk to, don’t stop shopping around. Instead, make it a point to get a minimum of three bids before you enter a contract with anyone. This way you’ll have a better idea of whether you’re getting a good deal when you have other proposals to compare it to. Not all home service professionals are created equal. It could easily be the second (or third) provider you talk to who ends up being the most impressive. However, you won’t know that if you end the process with the first bid within your budget. You’re hiring someone who will work in your home. You owe it to yourself and your family to make sure you’re hiring a professional, trustworthy person (or team) for the job.

The best plan is often a combination of these steps and more. That doesn’t mean you have to work through every suggestion, but maybe you ask around, check online reviews, and make a few calls. Do enough investigating to get a solid feel for any provider you plan to hire. Find more information about service providers in your area at BestPickReports.com.

How to Make the Holidays Less Stressful for the Whole Family

Between changes in routine and visiting family (or having them visit you), the holidays can be emotionally overwhelming for children and adults alike, even in “normal times.” Add in inclement weather, the desire for a perfect holiday and parents still working, and you have a perfect cocktail for emotional meltdowns.

“The key to enjoying whatever this holiday season brings is to acknowledge the range of emotions the entire family may be feeling and hold space for those feelings,” said Ariel Acosta from KinderCare’s Inclusion Services team. “By working on a few key things now before the heightened expectations and busyness set in, families can build a toolbox of skills that will help make the season less stressful for everyone.” Consider these tips to help families prepare for a less stressful holiday season.

FIND WAYS TO DESTRESS AS A FAMILY

Throw on some music and have a dance party. Incorporate some simple yoga moves or stretches into your day to create mindful moments. Help your children create a list of calm-down techniques to choose from when they start to become overwhelmed or as a way to reset after an outburst, such as taking a deep breath.

SET EXPECTATIONS FOR GREETINGS

Talk with your children about your family’s expectations around greetings and help them think of and practice different ways to say hello, such as a hug, handshake, high-five, wave or verbal greeting. Giving your children options ahead of time allows them to choose the greeting that feels most comfortable in the moment. To lessen the pressure, make sure family members and friends understand what you and your children are comfortable with. For example, “It looks like Zazil doesn’t want a hug right now, Auntie Mei. Perhaps a high-five would be better.”

GIVE YOUR CHILDREN (AND YOURSELF) GRACE

Talk with your children about the range of emotions you feel throughout the day. This can help them learn emotional literacy and flexible thinking. It also normalizes feelings. When a big feeling does happen, remember to connect before you correct by labeling and validating your child’s emotions: “I can see that you’re really sad we have to leave the party. Leaving makes me feel sad, too. What would help you feel better?”

If your child is engaged in unsafe behaviors, like hitting, wait until after everyone is calm before talking about what could be done differently next time.

“How you handle your mistakes can be a powerful example for your children,” Acosta said. “Once you’re calm, explain what happened to your children. Start by naming your emotion, apologize if you didn’t handle your feelings well and let your children know what you plan to do differently next time. ‘I was really mad you two were arguing and I yelled. I shouldn’t have done that. Next time, I’m going to try to remember to take some deep breaths to help me speak more kindly.’”

For more tips to help your children with social and emotional development, visit kindercare.com.

MAKE SAFETY A PRIORITY FOR HOLIDAY TRAVEL

As more and more Americans hit the road and return to traveling for the holidays, concerns around road safety are top of mind. Nearly half of Americans (47%) plan to travel in the next six months, including 51% with plans to travel for Christmas, according to a survey by 3M. A majority (76%) plan to travel by car, but more than a third of travelers are as concerned about road safety as they are about contracting COVID-19.

“Especially after spending an extended period closer to home, many people are likely to have some trepidation about getting back out on the road,” said automotive expert Lauren Fix, “The Car Coach” and 3M spokesperson. “Being conscious of issues like visibility and distracted driving are important ways to protect yourself and your passengers.” Consider these tips to enhance the safety of your holiday travel.

Before You Go

Check your tire pressure and the condition of your tread. Properly inflated and adequate tires can keep you safe on the road, especially in slick conditions. Visibility is important so you can see the road and other drivers. Make sure you have properly functioning wiper blades and carry extra washer fluid. Check your headlights to ensure they both work, and your lenses aren’t hazy. Use your GPS to help you plan the best time to leave for your road trip, avoiding the major rush hours. Make sure your car has an emergency kit and replenish any items you have used in the past. Include a first aid kit, blanket, drinking water, flashlight, reflective triangles and a reflective vest to keep you visible to other vehicles if you are working on your car on the side of the road or need to walk to get help.

While On the Road

Keep your focus on the road and stay off your phone. Also be aware of the other vehicles and drivers around you. Use GPS to re-route around construction or congestion. If you do come across construction, be sure to keep a close eye on the roadway signage and markings as they can help you navigate the complex roadways safely. If you find yourself driving in bad weather and visibility is an issue, pay attention to road markings to keep yourself oriented to the roadway. If you have no visibility, pull over. Find more road safety information at 3M.com/news.

Recognize Road Safety Markings

Reflective signage and high-visibility pavement markings, along with innovative systems and services, help make roadways and other vehicles more visible to drivers. You can count on safer travel this holiday season with road safety solutions such as: 

Traffic signs: Studies have found that where highly visible signs are installed, crash numbers have fallen up to 46% within 3-6 years. Reflective sign sheeting, ink and overlays increase visibility and driver recognition of these signals. In foggy and wintery weather, fluorescent yellow street signs have also been found to be more easily visible.

Pavement markings: Pavement markings help guide drivers and keep roads safe. In dark and wet conditions, standard reflective pavement markings can disappear. Reflective technology like the options from 3M make road markings visible from longer distances and in wet conditions.

Traffic delineators: Navigating complex or changing roadways can be confusing and dangerous for drivers. Specialized delineation systems are used for construction projects, median barriers and guardrails, putting roadway information directly in sight of drivers and making it easier to navigate roadway complexities.

License plates: License plates need to remain visible on any roadway and in all conditions, ensuring law enforcement can quickly and effectively identify vehicles. By providing vehicle registration solutions and advanced license plate manufacturing equipment, 3M partners with motor vehicle agencies and manufacturers around the world.

Vehicle markings: Government regulations call for conspicuity tape on certain types of large vehicles and trailers in the United States to increase visibility and help prevent traffic collisions, injuries, and deaths.