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Archive for July, 2014

Frgrance Free Should Be Every Day!

July 07, 2014 By: admin Category: Consumer Education


Do any of these scenarios sound familiar? You smell a co-worker’s new perfume and almost immediately develop a headache. You walk into an elevator or newly waxed hallway and you feel dizzy, weak or sick to your stomach. You walk into the office restroom and start sneezing (someone has sprayed the air freshener). The culprit is often “Fragrance.”

This mystery ingredient is found in hundreds, if not thousands, of consumer products ranging from personal care items such as soaps, lotions and shampoos; to room deodorizers and carpet cleaners; to laundry detergents and fabric softeners. Due to loopholes in Federal regulations, companies are not required to identify the chemicals that make up this ingredient based on provisions for trade secrets. Synthetic fragrance can include a selection of over 3,000 different chemicals, the majority of which have not been tested for safety.

Perfumes were originally used to mask odors when running water was not available. Today perfumes and other scented products are used to elicit an emotional response. Manufacturers generally add scent to products for branding reasons. Consumers become addicted to the scent, therefore become brand loyal. However, scent has nothing to do with how well a product works. Last fall WHE launched a campaign requesting Procter & Gamble to fully disclose of fragrance ingredients in its Febreze line of products. Over 7,000 people took action and signed our petition. We know this is an issue that affects many of us each and every day.

Exposure to fragranced products can pose significant health risks as demonstrated by compromised respiratory conditions (breathing difficulties), neurologic responses (such as dizziness and headaches), skin irritations (hives and itching), and allergic reactions (runny nose and watery eyes). Fragrance often contains phthalates (pronounced thal-ates), which bind the scent in a product to make it last longer. Scientific studies have demonstrated phthalates impact to our hormones and reproductive development.

Other studies suggest that phthalates are linked to asthma and skin disease in children.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 18.7 million people are affected with asthma in the United States and it is estimated that one in five has tested positive to one or more allergens. Many of the fragranced consumer and personal care products we use contain sensitizing agents that trigger serious health effects.

What’s not healthy for us is also not good for our environment.
Over the past 50 years, the United States Food and Drug Administration indicates that 80-90% of fragrances have been synthesized from petroleum, and some of the commonly found harmful chemicals in fragranced products include acetone, phenol, toluene, benzyl acetate, and limonene. Fragranced products such as air fresheners contain Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), chemicals that keep the fragrance molecules airborne so the fragrances linger longer and reduce our indoor air quality.

It’s especially important to be mindful of fragrance in the workplace and school settings. It has been estimated that indoor environmental quality-related health issues cost businesses in the range of $20–70 billion annually due to lost productivity, decreased performance and absences from illness.1 For some individuals, breathing in fragrances is similar to breathing in secondhand smoke.

Recent legal actions have forced employers to clean up personal air space. In 2010 Susan McBride was awarded $100,000 by the United States District Court under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) when a co-worker’s perfume created a breathing problem. The settlement names the City of Detroit, all employees, and agents of the City as those who must abide by the new fragrance free policy. Notices about the new scent free policy appear in the city’s employee handbook and are discussed during routine ADA training. This woman took action; often times many suffer in silence from exposures to fragrance.

Below are simple steps for developing a fragrance-free workplace:

1) Request employees to refrain from wearing scented products (especially those products where the sole purpose is to produce a scent) and avoid the use of strongly scented personal care products.

2) Reduce the employee’s exposure to the fragrance (may need change in office location) and create modified work schedules when necessary.

3) Telecommute a few days/week if possible (also good for the environment!).

4) Purchase an air purifier.

5) Use fragrance-free janitorial products.

6) Avoid unscented products – they contain chemicals that mask the scent – and synthetic musks such as tonalide and galaxolide that impact both our health and environment.

7) Designate areas of a public facility as non-scented/fragrance-free zones.

8) Educate employees by placing posters around the office to educate all employees about fragrance sensitivity

9) Discuss a fragrance-free workplace policy with your human resource department.

10) Visit the WHE website for examples of fragrance-free workplace policies.
To download a brochure, view WHE’s fragrance-free workplace presentation, or contact us to develop a policy, visit: www.WomenForAHealthyEnvironment.org/pages/fragrance-free-day.
1. http://blogs.cdc.gov/niosh-science-blog/2009/04/indoor/

Social Security of Many Flavors

July 07, 2014 By: admin Category: Consumer Education

By Patricia Thibault
Social Security District Manager in Pittsburgh, WV

Do you scream for ice cream? If so, July’s the month for you. (If not, read on just the same—we have a surprise for you at the end.) July is National Ice Cream Month and July 20 is National Ice Cream Day.
Take your family to get ice cream and you’ll find a variety of flavors. Same with Social Security. Most people think of retirement, but that’s like limiting yourself to vanilla. At Social Security, we offer a variety of benefits.

Retirement—by far our most popular flavor. Most people need about10 years of work (40 credits) to qualify for retirement benefits. You can retire as early as age 62 (generally, benefits are permanently reduced) or wait until full retirement age (currently age 66, but gradually increasing to age 67) for a larger benefit payment. Put off retirement and earn even more.
To learn more, read When To Start Receiving Retirement Benefits, available at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs

Disability—if you become disabled and unable to work, you may qualify for Social Security disability benefits. The number of credits needed depends on how old you are when you become disabled.

Learn more at www.socialsecurity.gov/disability

Survivors—in the unfortunate event of your early demise, your family may be eligible for Social Security survivors benefits. In most cases, you need to have worked about 10 years for your surviving family members to qualify for survivors benefits. Learn more at www.socialsecurity.gov/survivorplan

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)—this needs-based program pays benefits to aged, blind, and disabled people with low income and few resources. Find out more at www.socialsecurity.gov/ssi
Your family may be more excited about a trip to the ice cream parlor than a discussion about benefits, but it’s good to know that Social Security offers a variety of benefits when you need them.
Don’t like ice cream? July 20 is National Lollipop Day, too! So grab a lollipop and visit www.socialsecurity.gov. There is so much you can do online, you’ll feel like a kid in a candy store. Chances are you’ll complete your business before your lollipop.

Why should I use the color Yellow in my Kitchen?

July 07, 2014 By: admin Category: Consumer Education

Yvonne Phillips FSII
Feng Shui Business Coach
Feng Shui for Basic Everyday Living!


Any of the shades of the Earth tones are great for your kitchen.
The kitchen has a lot of the fire Energy already because of the big energy of your appliances.
So the trick now is to balance it with the Earth element. It can be any of the earth tones, yellows through the orange tones.

Do not use the color red in your kitchen because you are actually adding fuel to the fire element. This can make for heated discussions in the kitchen and crabby, grumpy people! Negative energy will also affect the making of your food.

Refresh your kitchen by cleaning out the cabinets of old spices and down size all of those extra items that are hiding in the back. Check out your pots & pans, do they fit in the cabinet?

Do you have old décor on the tops of your cabinets? Time to refresh and cleanse the area.

Add new fresh energy to the space with opening windows to shift the old stale air out and bring fresh chi to all in the kitchen.

Working Professionally From Home

July 07, 2014 By: admin Category: Consumer Education


Sometimes it’s hard to be taken seriously when you work from home. The stereotype of the typical home office worker is someone who spends most of the day in a robe. Yet how much of that is reality?

Sure, there are days when I start writing early, get on a roll and look up to see it’s noon or later and I haven’t taken a shower. But most of the time I try to get ready before I sit down to work. It’s too easy to spend the day in pajamas.

It’s not fair, but it’s true that when you work from home you have to be more organized, more disciplined and more professional than your corporate counterpart.

If you answer the phone in a corporate office with co-workers talking in the background, it’s fine. If you answer the phone in your home office with the dog barking, the baby screaming and the doorbell ringing, your professionalism takes a nosedive.
There are a few simple things you can do to maintain your professionalism:

Check your voice mail message to make sure you are the only voice on it and that your message is clear. There shouldn’t be any background noises.

Use a separate business line or your cell phone for your business. Some of my clients forward their business lines to their cell phones most of the time to avoid missing calls.

Make sure that the only people who answer your business phone are associated with your business. I’ve found that toddlers and teenagers are the worst receptionists!

If your kids, dog, neighbors and anyone else in or near your home office is making noise when your phone rings, let your voice mail take the call. No one wants to miss an important call from a client but coming across as unprofessional may not be worth answering the phone and jeopardizing the good impression your client has of you.

Working from home has its fair share of challenges. Having to convince others that although you don’t rent outside space you can still be professional, shouldn’t be one of them.
Have a question about working from home? Connect with a SCORE mentor online or in your community today!

About the Author
Lisa Kanarek is one of the nation’s leading homeoffice experts and the author of several books, including Working Naked:A guide to the bare essentials of home office life. She is the founder of
HomeOfficeLife, a consulting firm that advises home-based business owners on all aspects of working from home including home office set up, function, productivity and technology, and is founder
of the blog www.WorkingNaked.com

July 2014 Events

July 07, 2014 By: admin Category: Consumer Education

Business Exchange Networking Lunch

* Give a 1-2 minute commercial for your business.
* Bring business cards, brochures, and samples.
* Make new business contacts.

July 2 - Wexford, Four Points by Sheraton Pittsburgh North,
910 Sheraton Drive, Mars/Wexford, PA 16046
RSVP: email Carol Briney at

July 9 - Mount Lebanon, Atria’s, 110 Beverly Road, Mt. Lebanon
RSVP: email Michelle Zmijanac at

July 23- Fox Chapel, Comfort Inn (Old Holiday Inn) in RIDC Park,
Ohara Twp
RSVP: email Carol Briney at

Time: 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Cost: $18 (Bring cash; No-shows will be billed for the lunch)
RSVP: By Monday prior to the event
For more info, go to: http://clicks.aweber.com/y/ct/?l=4gu7_&m=JIM8RHSHveZhGz&b=OVl79fJOdFdnIllp8g_dZA.


The WSBA Network Lunch

A Networking Luncheon for Women Business Owners & Professionals
“Get Heard, Get Noticed, Get Leads”

A networking event open to any business woman who would like
to increase her business contacts/clientele. Our networking
format will be structured to provide participants with high
profile and networking. Bring 20-30 business cards/brochures,
cash for your lunch check, and be prepared to give a 60-second
commercial about yourself.

July 9- 11:30 a.m.- Shaler/Gibsonia
July 11- 1:00 p.m. - Allegheny Valley
July 14- 1:00 p.m. - Beaver County
July 11- 1:00 p.m. - Robinson/Airport
July 15- 1:00 p.m. - East End

July 16- 1:00 p.m. - South Hills
July 18- 1:00 p.m. - Monroeville
July 22- 1:00 p.m. - North Hills
July 23- 5:30 p.m. - After Work (Allegheny Wine Mixer(Butler St.)
July 31- 1:00 p.m. - Washington

Women’s Small Business Association
$2 meeting fee (plus the cost of lunch)
RSVP: Required (Any “Yes” RSVPs who do not show
will be charged a $20 no-show fee.)

For more info and to register online,
go to: http://clicks.aweber.com/y/ct/?l=4gu7_&m=JIM8RHSHveZhGz&b=vBxXk2mVjd0jewt2ghX9RQ.

Contact Eileen Conniff Marzullo
at 412-429-9919 or marzullope@verizon.net for additional information


Conscious Leadership MasterMind Group

Program Leader: Bonnie Artman Fox, A Conscious Choice, LLC

Is your organization less productive than you know it could be?
Is there conflict amongst your team that contributes to staff
turnover? Would you like to become a more effective leader?

The Conscious Leadership Mastermind Group is for Leaders to
collaborate about best practices to create a positive work
environment that builds employee engagement.

Build awareness to your values and the esssence of who you want
to be as a leader. Conscious Leadership inspires you to walk
your talk as a leader and deal with interpersonal challenges in
the workplace directly, respectfully, and collaboratively.

* Identify your core values
* Recognize your reactive tendencies when it comes to conflict
* Find tune your listening skills
* Learn attention training strategies to improve focus and
* Bridge the gap between leadership and employees

Date: July 9, 2014
Time: 12:30 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. (lunch included)
Place: Westmoreland County Chamber Office, Tollgate Road,
Greensburg, PA
Host: A Conscious Choice, LLC
RSVP Date: July 7, 2014
Further info: call 412-877-8331 or send an email to:
To register, go to:


Don’t Price Your Product TOO high or TOO low!

Speaker: Elizabeth Bowers, Director of Licensing,
Corporate Small Business Liaison Officer, DCKworldwide

How do you price your product or service? Join us for a practical
lesson on basic business math with examples you can understand
and apply to your own business. This interactive workshop will
cover what goes into a pricing structure so each business can
determine prices and a marketing/sales plan that meets your needs.

Date: July 10, 2014
Time: 12:30 - 3:30 p.m.
Place: Volunteers of America, 1650 Main Street, Sharpsburg, PA
Host: Volunteers of America of Pennsylvania
Cost: Free
To register, call 412.782.5344 (x209) or email

Time is Money
Presented by Fayette County Cultural Trust in partnership with E-Magnify
July 15, 2014 (12:00 - 1:30 p.m.)
Location: Connellsville, PA
Join us for a Lunch & Learn session. Topics & Speakers:
“Blessed Are the Flexible For they Shall Not Be Bent Out of Shape”
Elizabeth Bowers
Corporate Small Business Liaison Officer
dck worldwide, LLC
“Time Management for Small Business”
Lyzona Marshall
Business Professor
Seton Hill University

The forum is free, but seating is limited. RSVP required. For more information and
to register, please contact J. Michael Edwards at 724-626-1645 or jmedwards@zoominternet.net.

Do It Yourself Business Resources
Speaker: Marty Stahl

Network with incubator participants and learn how to get the best
benefits from the support available in the Working Order incubator.
Learn how to connect with field professionals, how to increase
your marketing efforts, how to access educational materials and
what you should be doing to increase business during the Do It
Yourself Months of Summer.

Date: July 16, 2014
Time: 12:00 - 1:00 p.m.
Place: Volunteers of America, 1650 Main Street, Sharpsburg, PA
Host: Volunteers of America of Pennsylvania
Cost: Free (Bring a brown bag lunch)

To register, call 412.782.5344 (x209) or email

Disability Resource Breakfast
Thursday, July 17, 2014
8:30 – 9:30 AM
Speaker: Bonnie Rubin, Executive Director of Pittsburgh Disability Employment Project for Freedom
Topic: Join us to learn about employment options for people with disabilities and how the Employment Tool Kit is expanding employment connections for graduates of Project for Freedom. Learn about the available resources that can help people with disabilities find and stay employed.
Volunteers of America of Pennsylvania
1650 Main Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15215
RSVP: 412.782.5344 x 209 or volunteersofamerica@voapa.org

Does This Stress Make Me Look Fat?
Presented by Laura Crooks, RN, MEd, Certified Wellness Coach,
Owner of You Bloom Wellness

(It probably does) Learn how stress makes you crave certain foods,
raises your blood sugar and leads to developing belly fat AND what
you can do about it.

Permanent weightless begins in your mind, not in your mouth!
If you are done dieting, counting points or calories, depriving
yourself and are ready to change from the inside out I can help
you. It is more than what you eat that helps you lose weight and
keep it off; your sleep, happiness, stress, mood, energy, as well
as how and why you eat all factor in. By changing your mindset
and underlying behaviors you can create a new, healthier lifestyle
that can prevent disease and support you in maintaining your weight

Date: July 17, 2014
Time: 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Place: Walnut Grill, Bridgeville
Host: Pittsburgh Professional Women
Cost: $35 for PPW Members; $45 for Non Members
RSVP: Suggested by July 14

Register online at:


Women’s Power Lunch
Come be a part of the longest running networking luncheon in the
Pittsburgh area. Bring 50 business cards or brochures to hand
out and be prepared to give a short presentation on your business
to introduce yourself to other business women and professionals.

Date: July 18, 2014
Time: 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Place: To be announced
Cost: $22.00 (Prepayment required)
RSVP: By July 16th

Questions: Contact Suzanne at Suzanne@womenspowerlunch.com
or 724-452-5152.

Register online at: http://clicks.aweber.com/y/ct/?l=4gu7_&m=JIM8RHSHveZhGz&b=Txnh2nED0rTvX.RAkm2UlQ

9 Ways to Get a Celebrity Without Raiding Your Piggybank!

Speakers: Becky Auer & Weston Lyon

At this month’s No BS Marketing Meeting, Becky Auer & Weston Lyon
will show you how to leverage celebrities in your marketing to
grab attention like never before and position your business in
the lime light!

Date: Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Time: 3:00 - 5:30 PM
Place: Sigma’s Conference & Event Center,
1717 Babcock Blvd., Pittsburgh, PA 15209
Sponsor: No BS Marketing Meeting
Cost: FREE for First Time Guests; $20 for Returning Guests
RSVP Date: Monday, July 21

Registration Web Address:

Business for Breakfast Networking Event

Featuring: Timothy James, Google Pittsburgh

Topic: How to Gain Clicks and Influence Customers

Join us for Business for Breakfast. Network with fellow business
professionals, enjoy a continental breakfast, and listen to an
interesting and informative speaker.

Timothy James of Google Pittsburgh will present ideas on how
to make the most out of your Internet marketing budget. Tim
will talk about a few Google services and some general approaches
to leverage advertising technologies in order to gain customers
and increase traffic. If you are planning an online marketing
campaign, don’t miss this upcoming Business for Breakfast.

Plenty of parking is available in the Bakery Square Garage and
is free for the first three hours.

Date: July 23, 2014
Time: 8:00 - 9:30 a.m.
Place: Google Pittsburgh, 5th Floor, Bakery Square Offices
Host: Pittsburgh Business Times
Cost: $25 (includes continental breakfast)
RSVP: Suggested by July 18th
Register online at:
For more info, contact Kelli Komondor at 412-208-3845 or


Entrepreneurial Thursday Networking Event

A casual weekly networking event for those interested in what’s
innovative and positive in Pittsburgh. A jazz, soul & blues happy
hour show plus open-mike interviews with local executives.

Date: July 30, 2014
Time: 5:30 - 8 p.m.
Place: Rivers Club, 301 Grant St, Level Four, One Oxford Centre,
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
Host: Jessica Lee
Cost: $5 (hors d’ouevres included)

For further info, email smarshall@pghgateways.org.

The Entrepreneurial Thursday networking event is held each Thursday
evening. For information on upcoming events and featured themes,
visit http://clicks.aweber.com/y/ct/?l=4gu7_&m=JIM8RHSHveZhGz&b=XsN2d_weDhrErQgAUTHvCw.

Meet the Lenders
Presented by The River Town Program, hosted by E-Magnify & SBA
July 31, 2014 (9:00 - 11:00 a.m.)
Location: Point Marion, PA
This is a unique opportunity to learn about financing opportunities with representatives
from Pennsylvania and West Virginia lending institutions, economic development organizations,
and certified development companies.
Topics & Speakers:

* Getting the Bank to Say Yes (Melanie Ansell; Melanie provides business consulting
under Seton Hill University’s E-Magnify program)
* Covering Your Needs from a Few Thousand to $100,000 (Tim James, Loan Officer,
Washington County Council on Economic Development & Business)
* Funding Hospitality & Tourism (Anthony J. Canino, Loan Officer, The Progress Fund)
* Rural Financing (Dana Kendrick, Economic Development Department Manager, Fay-Penn
Economic Development Council)
* Banking on It (John Malone, Senior Vice President, Somerset Bank & Trust)
* Partnering a Deal (Edward Nemeth, Manager, Business Finance Assistance, Southwestern
Pennsylvania Commission)
* Financing Options to Acquire and Improve Commercial Real Estate, and Capital Equipment
(Rebecca L. MacBlane, Executive Director, Regional Development Funding Corporation)
* Financial Institutions introduction by Mark Protch, SBA lending relations specialist

More than 20 resources available to assist WV and PA small businesses. The forum
is free, but seating is limited. RSVP required. Please contact Cathy McCollom at
csm@mccollomds.com or 814-395-9139

Presented by Fayette County Cultural Trust in partnership with E-Magnify
August 5, 12, & 19, 2014
Location: Connellsville, PA
Learn QuickBooks for your small business. Three sessions for $150. For more information
and to register, please contact J. Michael Edwards at 724-626-1645 or jmedwards@zoominternet.net


July 07, 2014 By: admin Category: Consumer Education

Air drying herbs is not only the easiest and least expensive way to
dry fresh herbs, but this slow drying process also doesn’t deplete
the herbs of their oils. This process works best with herbs that
don’t have a high moisture content, like Bay, Dill, Marjoram,
Oregano, Rosemary, Summer Savory and Thyme. Moisture
dense herbs, like Basil, Chives, Mint, Tarragon preserve better
in a dehydrator, or try freezing them. Use a microwave or oven
to dry herbs only as a last resort. These actually cook the herbs
to a degree, diminishing the oil content and flavor.

• Harvest before flowering. If you’ve been harvesting all season, your plants probably haven’t had a chance to flower. But non-hardy herbs will start to decline as the weather cools, so late summer is a good time to begin drying your herbs.
• Cut in mid-morning. Let the morning dew dry from the leaves, but pick before the plants are wilting in the afternoon sun.

How To Dry Herbs
1. Cut healthy branches from your herb plants.
2. Remove any dry or diseased leaves
3. Shake gently to remove any insects.
4. If necessary, rinse with cool water and pat dry with paper towels. Wet herbs will mold and rot.
5. Remove the lower leaves along the bottom inch or so of the branch.
6. Bundle 4 - 6 branches together and tie as a bunch. You can use string or a rubber band. The bundles will shrink as they dry and the rubber band will loosen, so check periodically that the bundle is not slipping. Make small bundles if you are trying to dry herbs with high water content.
7. Punch or cut several holes in a paper bag. Label the bag with the name of the herb you are drying.
8. Place the herb bundle upside down into the bag.
9. Gather the ends of the bag around the bundle and tie closed. Make sure the herbs are not crowded inside the bag.
10. Hang the bag upside down in a warm, airy room.
11. Check in about two weeks to see how things are progressing. Keep checking weekly until your herbs are dry and ready to store.

Storing Dried Herbs
1. Store your dried herbs in air tight containers. Zip closing bags will do. I like to use small canning jars.
2. Be sure to label and date your containers.
3. Your herbs will retain more flavor if you store the leaves whole and crush them when you are ready to use them.
4. Discard any dried herbs that show the slightest sign of mold.
5. Place containers in a cool, dry place away from sunlight.
6. Dried herbs are best used within a year. As your herbs lose their color, they are also losing their flavor.
7. Use about 1 teaspoon crumbled dried leaves in place of a tablespoon of fresh
Method 2:
1. Harvest the freshest, healthiest leaves
2. Wash, if necessary, and pat dry with paper towels
3. Stuff 2-3 individual leaves or a spoonful of chopped herbs in ice cube trays.
4. Fill the tray half way with water. Make sure the leaves are down into the water, as best you can. They will tend to float, but we’ll fix that with the next step. Place the half filled tray in the freezer.
5. Once the ice cubes are pretty much frozen, finish filling the try with water. The leaves will no longer be able to float and should be completely surrounded with water. Now place the tray back into the freezer to freeze solid.
6. Once the ice cubes are frozen, remove from the tray and store in zip closure bags.
7. When ready to use, toss the whole ice cube into your favorite stew or dish.