Top 5 Features to Look for in a Minivan

Minivans offer a full range of comfort and practicality for families. If you’re in need of a larger vehicle with better gas mileage, go ahead and embrace your decision to become a minivan mom or dad. Minivans boast plenty of family-friendly amenities, including comfy “captain’s chairs” for driver, front row passenger, and second row seating, while offering a “separation zone”, or third row of seating to help prevent sibling rivalries from getting out of hand. That being said, not all minivans are created equal, and they’ve changed a lot since the early 2000s.

Here are the top five features to seek out in a new minivan purchase:

1. DVD Video Bluetooth Systems

Gone are the days of the kids annoying you with “I spy, with my little eye….” on your morning commute. Instead, most 2018 minivans come outfitted with a DVD video Bluetooth enabled system, which distracts passengers with on-demand connectivity to your kids’ favorite movies, HDMI access, and a high-quality onboard sound system that’ll keep the passengers entertained on short and long trips.

2. Full Storage Roof Rack

Got paddleboards, skiis, or are you transporting a new mattress home? Luckily, you have a full roof rack on your minivan. You can use your roof rack for transporting sporting equipment (i.e., kayaks, bikes, skis, snowboards) or attach a roof cargo baskets or roof bags for secure, weatherproof storage while freeing up interior space.

3. Siding Power Doors

The minivans of our youth (I’m looking at you mom and dad) offered manual sliding doors that were often too heavy and awkward to kids to open and shut. However, the minivans of 2018 offer automatic power-sliding features—which make the back seat passenger entry and exit much more convenient. The doors automatically slide smoothly open at the simple press of a button. All you need to do is sit back and relax, and you’ll never have to worry about catching little fingers in the doors.

4. Power Folding Seating

While sometimes you require third row seating on long family trips; sometimes you wish it wasn’t there. Voila,  fold-away third row seating that offers more cabin and storage space when you need it most! Plus, the automatic power-folding feature, gets rid of third row seating with a simple push of a button.

5. Rear Power Liftgate

You emerge from the grocery store with one too many bags and no extra hands to unlock and lift your van’s back liftgate. Never fear, you sprung for a minivan with a automatic rear power liftgate so you can conveniently press a button to automatically access rear storage when you need it. Use it to boost accessibility when moving furniture, tools, groceries, pets, and just about anything—no extra hands needed!

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Gout is caused by excessive levels of uric acid in the body, which accumulates around a joint in uric crystals resulting in pain, inflammation, and discomfort.

The triggers of a gout attack, also known as a “flare up”, differ from patient to patient in severity and also source. For instance, while stress can trigger a gout attack in some individuals, others may be more susceptible to high uric acid levels after consuming certain types of food or drink. A gout attack (gouty arthritis) typically rears its ugly head due to exposure to certain triggers. Knowing what causes your gout flare ups will help you avoid future gout attacks as well as your specific triggers.

  1. Stress

Anxiety or stress, particularly due to being ill from another sickness (i.e., flu, pneumonia, or even medical surgery) can lead to a spike in uric acid production and gouty arthritis. If you see your doctor about another illness or medical matter, advise them you have gout so they can help manage symptoms and avoid a gout flare up.

  1. Prescription and non-prescribed drugs

Believe it or not, medications you take to treat other conditions (i.e., heart disease, hypertension) can often trigger a gout attack. In fact, medical professionals know that certain types of beta blockers, diuretics, and even mild aspirin can trigger gouty arthritis, which is why it’s important your healthcare team is aware you also have gout.

  1. Sugary drinks

According to arthritis experts, the high fructose corn syrup found in highly processed juices and sodas can trigger a gout attack. So avoid them by swapping soda for water or herbal tea.

  1. Alcohol

Wine, beer and liquor may be a nice accompaniment to dinner, but these alcoholic drinks can also cause uric acid levels to rise. Gouty arthritis due to alcohol is often caused by dehydration, as the kidneys are unable to dispose of excess uric acid in the blood without enough water. Keep in mind that wine is the least linked to gout attacks and can often be enjoyed by gout patients moderately.

  1. High purine foods

Purine is a substance that triggers uric acid production. It makes sense that gout sufferers should avoid foods rich in purine such as seafood (i.e., salmon, anchovies, sardines, mussels) as well as organ meats (i.e., liver) and certain vegetables (i.e., spinach) if they want to avoid a gout flare up.

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Embarking on home improvement projects is a rewarding journey that can elevate your living space and enhance its functionality. From addressing water damage with companies that clean up water in the basement to upgrading roofing and gutters, and even considering Anderson window replacement, these hacks are designed to transform your home seamlessly. In this article, we explore seven ingenious home improvement hacks that will breathe new life into your living space.

1. Water damage prevention and cleanup 

Companies that specialize in cleaning up water in the basement play a crucial role in preventing and addressing water damage. Protect your home from potential disasters by addressing leaks, floods, or excess moisture promptly. Investing in professional services ensures a thorough cleanup and mitigation of water-related issues, preserving the structural integrity of your home.

2. Roofing and gutters upgrade 

Upgrading your roofing and gutters is a fundamental home improvement hack that protects your property from the elements. Consider durable roofing materials such as asphalt shingles, metal, or architectural tiles. Additionally, ensure your gutters are clean and well-maintained to prevent water damage and potential leaks. Regular inspections and prompt repairs contribute to the longevity of your roof and the overall health of your home.

3. Anderson window replacement 

Enhance your home’s aesthetic appeal and energy efficiency with Anderson window replacement. Anderson windows are renowned for their quality and durability. Upgrading to energy-efficient windows not only improves insulation but also adds a timeless and elegant touch to your interior and exterior spaces. The investment in high-quality windows pays off in energy savings and increased home value.

4. Creative storage solutions 

Maximize your living space by incorporating creative storage solutions. Utilize under-the-stair storage, built-in shelving, or multifunctional furniture to optimize every square foot. These solutions not only declutter your home but also add a touch of innovation to your decor, making your living space both functional and stylish.

5. Smart home technology integration 

Embrace the future of home living by integrating smart home technology. From smart thermostats and lighting to security systems, these technologies enhance convenience, energy efficiency, and security. Smart home devices can be easily controlled through mobile apps, providing remote access and customization options to suit your lifestyle.

6. DIY painting projects 

A fresh coat of paint is one of the most transformative and cost-effective home improvement hacks. Whether it’s an accent wall, a room makeover, or refreshing exterior surfaces, painting projects can instantly breathe new life into your home. Experiment with different colors and finishes to create a personalized and updated look.

7. Energy-efficient lighting upgrades 

Switching to energy-efficient lighting options is not only environmentally conscious but also financially savvy. Replace outdated incandescent bulbs with LED or CFL alternatives to reduce energy consumption and lower utility bills. Additionally, consider installing motion sensor lights in outdoor areas for enhanced security and energy efficiency.

Embarking on home improvement projects is an exciting endeavor that allows you to tailor your living space to your preferences and needs. From addressing water damage with professional cleanup services to upgrading roofing and gutters, considering Anderson window replacement, and embracing creative storage solutions, these home improvement hacks offer practical and innovative ways to transform your home. Whether you’re looking to enhance aesthetics, increase energy efficiency, or optimize functionality, these hacks provide a roadmap for a more comfortable and stylish living environment.


Donating to a cause is an act of generosity and compassion, but have you ever wondered what truly happens to your cancer donations or international border donations once they leave your hands? Questions surrounding administrative costs, effective utilization of funds, and the overall impact of contributions are pivotal in guiding donors toward making informed choices at top donation organizations. Delving into the operations of well-known charities like the Wounded Warriors Project, St. Jude’s, the Salvation Army, JDRF, and Sloan Kettering, this exploration sheds light on the transformative journey your donations undertake.

1. Administrative overheads

One of the first stops on the journey of your donation is the realm of administrative costs. Many charitable organizations allocate a portion of funds to cover essential operational expenses, including salaries, office space, and other overheads. While necessary for the smooth functioning of the organization, savvy donors often look for charities that maintain a reasonable balance, ensuring a significant portion of contributions directly supports the intended cause.

2. Program funding

A substantial chunk of your donation typically goes directly to fund the programs and initiatives championed by the charitable organization. Whether it’s feeding the hungry, supporting medical research, or providing education, this segment of the journey ensures that your contribution translates into real-world impact. Savvy donors inquire about the programmatic breakdown of funds, seeking transparency on how their money will be utilized to make a difference.

3. Community outreach

For charities involved in community outreach, your donation might find its way into initiatives aimed at directly benefiting individuals and families. This could include setting up shelters, offering rehabilitation programs, or conducting workshops to empower communities. Understanding how your donation contributes to these on-the-ground efforts provides a tangible connection to the impact you’re making in people’s lives.

4. Research and development

In the realm of medical and scientific charities, a portion of your donation often fuels research and development initiatives. Whether it’s finding cures for diseases, developing new technologies, or advancing scientific knowledge, this segment of the journey holds the promise of transformative breakthroughs. Knowing that your contribution is propelling innovation in these fields adds a layer of significance to your act of giving.

5. Advocacy and awareness

Some charities channel donations into advocacy and awareness campaigns to address systemic issues and drive positive change on a broader scale. Your contribution may fund efforts to influence policies, raise awareness about critical social issues, or promote sustainable practices. This dimension of the journey ensures that your donation becomes a catalyst for lasting societal impact.

6. Emergency response and relief

In times of crises, donations play a crucial role in funding emergency response and relief efforts. From natural disasters to humanitarian crises, your contribution aids organizations in providing immediate assistance, including food, shelter, and medical aid, to those affected. Understanding this facet of the donation journey highlights the agility and responsiveness of charitable organizations in times of need.

7. Capacity building

Some charitable organizations invest in building their own capacity to enhance their effectiveness in the long run. This could involve training staff, upgrading infrastructure, or implementing technology to streamline operations. While this aspect may not provide immediate visible impact, it contributes to the sustainability and efficiency of the organization, ensuring that future donations continue to make a meaningful difference.


With the winter season looming, you might be one of many who are planning to go somewhere warm for the holidays. Whether you are looking into a Turks and Caicos beaches booking, or a Bahamas booking, it may be in your best interest to look into cruise travel this year. However, eating on a cruise ship should be something you want to prepare yourself for first. Here is a list of 5 cruise food pitfalls to avoid:

1. Too much spice

Cruise ship dining often offers a wide variety of international cuisines, and while this can be exciting, it’s essential to be mindful of the spice levels in your meals. The chefs on board may use different spice blends and seasonings than you’re used to, and overindulging in spicy foods can lead to discomfort or digestive issues. To avoid this pitfall, start with milder dishes and gradually explore spicier options as your palate adjusts. Ask the waitstaff for recommendations if you’re unsure about a dish’s spice level.

2. Forgetting to drink water

With all the tempting food and beverages available on a cruise, it’s easy to forget to stay hydrated. Dehydration can lead to fatigue and discomfort during your trip. Make a habit of drinking water regularly, and consider carrying a refillable water bottle to ensure you have access to fresh water throughout the day. Hydrating between alcoholic or sugary drinks is especially important to keep you feeling your best.

3. Open-air dining options

Cruise ship buffets are notorious for their tempting array of dishes, but they can lead to overindulgence and unhealthy choices if you’re not careful. To avoid this pitfall, survey the buffet before loading up your plate. Opt for a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. Avoid mindlessly piling on high-calorie items and save room for desserts in moderation. It’s also a good idea to use smaller plates to help control portion sizes.

4. Too much alcohol

Cruise vacations often include tempting drink packages, but it’s easy to overindulge in alcoholic beverages. Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to a host of problems, including dehydration, seasickness, and poor decision-making. To avoid this pitfall, set a personal limit for the number of drinks you’ll have each day and make sure to pace yourself. Opt for non-alcoholic alternatives or enjoy a mocktail to savor the experience without overdoing it.

5. Piling on the pub grub

Cruise ships often have enticing pub-style or fast-food options available, such as burgers, hot dogs, and fried foods. While indulging in these treats occasionally is part of the cruise experience, overeating them can lead to digestive discomfort and weight gain. Be mindful of portion sizes and balance your meals with healthier options from the ship’s buffet or dining rooms. Consider having a lighter meal before enjoying some pub grub to curb your appetite.

By being aware of these cruise food pitfalls and taking a thoughtful approach to your dining choices, you can fully enjoy your cruise vacation without experiencing unwanted discomfort or health issues. Bon appétit, and bon voyage!