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Five Unusual Uses for Pumpkins
Carving jack-o’-lanterns is an obvious way to use the pumpkins you pick up this month, but don’t stop there. Pumpkins are a versatile gourd you can have all kinds of fun with. Here are five cool things to do with them.
Create a potpourri burner. Using a small variety like a Sugar Pie pumpkin, cut off the top, scoop out the inside, then carve circles into the sides and lid of the pumpkin. On the underside of the lid, rub cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice, then insert a few whole cloves. Set a tea light inside—when it’s lit, the spicy scent will last for up to 6 hours.
Carve a cooler. Throwing a party? Slice off the top third of a large pumpkin. Scoop out the insides, then place a bowl inside the pumpkin or smear Vaseline on the inside and cover it with plastic wrap. Fill it with ice and beverages.
Make your own pumpkin purée. It’s easy. Cut your pumpkin down the middle, then scoop out the guts and seeds. Place your pumpkin cut-side down in a baking dish with a cup of water and bake for about 90 minutes or until the flesh is tender. Scoop out the flesh and puree in a food processor. You can use the puree for everything from pies to pancakes, even cocktails.
Feed your skin. Pumpkins are rich in zinc and vitamins A, C and E, which makes it good for your skin. For an easy DIY facemask, mix five teaspoons of pumpkin purée with three teaspoons of brown sugar (which will naturally exfoliate your skin) and add a splash of milk. Mix it together and apply to your face, avoiding the eye area. Leave on for up to 20 minutes and rinse.
Roast the seeds. Rinse seeds well, coat with oil and popcorn salt, then bake in a single layer. Pumpkin seeds can be used as a crunchy outer layer of candied apples, an addition to brownies or garnishes for salads.
Sentiments
“If you had to identify, in one word, the reason why the human race has not achieved and never will achieve its full potential, that word would be ‘meetings.’”
 –Dave Barry
Seven Companies That are Making Meetings Better
Work meetings may be considered a necessary evil, but what if you could make them a force for good? Some companies have taken steps to up the value of their meetings and get employees excited about gathering together.
Here are five ways to revolutionize your staff meetings.
  1. Make them memorable. Employees of software company TINYpulse rarely forget a meeting because they start at unusual times. For example, the company’s daily staff meeting begins at 8:48 a.m. This practice has eliminated tardiness almost completely, according to the company.
  2. Make them fun. Every Thursday, baby food manufacturer Plum Organics gets out coloring books and holds a brainstorming meeting where staff members color and talk. At mobile game publisher Genera Games, employees attend meetings while shooting hoops on the basketball court. Experts say active meetings keep people engaged as well as foster creative thinking.
  3. Make them effective. Brivo, a security management software provider, keeps meetings on point with its “no rehash” rule. Employees can raise the “no rehash” Ping-Pong paddle when the conversation gets redundant. This keeps discussions moving forward instead of stuck in endless chatter.
  4. Start them on time. At the Inquisium division of Cvent, employees are rarely late to meetings. That’s because they’ve instilled an unusual punishment: Latecomers must sing in front of the group.
  5. Make them short. At O3 World, a digital design and product development agency, they have technology called a Roombot that signals when it’s time to wrap up and dims the lights at the end of the meeting. Business development consulting firm Just Fearless sets a 30-minute time limit for meetings. Founder Kisha Mays says if the meeting runs long, the chairs are removed and everyone must stand until the end.
Three Reasons Your Social Media Marketing Isn’t Working
Social media has been the buzzword in online marketing for a few years, but many small businesses would admit they haven’t seen the results they’re hoping for. If it feels like you’re spinning your wheels on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or other social networks, here are a few reasons why your marketing efforts may be stuck.
  1. You’re still trying to do it for free. Facebook earned nearly $12.5 billion in 2014, a large portion of which came from advertising. This is because Facebook drastically lowered the percentage of ads that can be viewed organically (for free). For business owners, this means that if you want to use Facebook as a marketing tool, you must fork over some cash. The good news is, even small advertising budgets can have significantly large returns.
  2. You’re trying to push instead of pull. Some companies still think that social media is an easy way to advertise their products and services to a large number of prospective buyers. But businesses are quickly unfollowed if they get too salesy. For social media marketing to work, you can’t push your products. You have to win people over by making them like your brand. Less selling (pushing), more engaging (pulling).
  3. You’re trying to do it all. The top 10 social networks collectively boast nearly 2.2 billion people as unique monthly traffic. Given this impressive statistic, it’s only natural to want a piece of that pie on each of those networks. However, it requires a lot of time and energy to be consistently present on even just one site. For best results, find one or two networks where much of your audience congregates, and focus on sharing relevant content. Don’t spread yourself thin.

The National Group
627 South Earl Ave. | Lafayette, IN 47904 US



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