How to network within your own neighborhood

Why networking strengthens your neighborhood

Just like social networking can strengthen a company, networking — both online and in person — can strengthen the people around you. There’s some truth to the saying “it takes a village” and, in modern times, that village is typically your neighborhood. It’s more than borrowing a cup of sugar or hiring a babysitter, neighborhood networking promotes healthy relationships, encourages safe social situations and provides services and advice to other families in need of some help.

Neighborhood networking made easy

One way to network with the people around you is through the ever-growing world of social media. With many connection and networking sites at our fingertips, people can easily inquire about schools, find or form mommy groups and support groups, raise money for fundraisers, swap information, share homeowner’s updates, organize a school carpool and form a neighborhood watch program.

Social networking neighborhood sites like allow neighbors to exchange information and build a community in a safe and secure way. The easy-to-use platform confirms members by address and allows private, secured communication through the site, email or by text message. With sites like Nextdoor, neighbors can meet, mingle and share advice and services, which makes life easier and more manageable.

Meet your neighbors

Busy lives call for busy actions and when it’s within the comforts of your own neighborhood, a simple and polite wave through the glass of a car window suffices — most of the time. Whether you’re leaving late, focused on the workday ahead or coming home to spend time with your family, some busy neighbors save time by waving instead of stopping for an introduction or to chitchat about life. But when you’ve lived in a neighborhood for years and years and you find yourself doing the same simple actions, there comes a time when an introduction or conversation is the long overdue and polite thing to do.

Tips on how to introduce yourself to your neighbors:

  • Plan a neighborhood block party and make sure the invitation suggests all are welcome.
  • Set up an email list and start exchanging email contacts through the neighbors you do know.
  • If a neighbor has a new baby, bring over a frozen dinner or card congratulating them on the new arrival. Life-changing events, like a birth, tend to bring people together — even neighbors.
  • Play with your kids in the front yard on the weekends and after work. Most neighbors will be out walking their dogs, getting some fresh air or playing with their kids after a long day at work or on the weekends when schedules are less hectic.
  • Stop and say hello when you drive or walk by.

How to make new friends in your neighborhood >>

Share the wealth with each other

When you take the time to network and get to know your neighbors, you learn about the strengths, services and advice different people have to offer. When you pull all those resources together, your neighborhood suddenly becomes one strength in and of itself.

You might find your neighbor’s daughter is an experienced babysitter, the guy three houses down is an insurance broker or the lady around the corner walks dogs for people while they are at work or on vacation. Instead of enlisting the services of strangers through broad social networks, you can network and confide in the people around you. Chances are, even if you don’t know the neighbor well, one of your other neighbors does and can vouch for his or her credibility.

How To Prepare Artichokes (VIDEOS)

Artichokes can seem pretty intimidating — they’re big, green, bulbous and prickly. If this keeps you from buying them fresh at the market, it shouldn’t. We’re here to show you the different ways to clean, trim and prepare artichokes for cooking — and then we’ll show you how to eat them.

The first step is learning how to clean the artichokes, which is probably the most involved part. All you have to do is remove the lower leaves, trim the spiky leaf tips with scissors, trim the stem with a knife, and you’re ready to cook (see here for a detailed step-by-step guide with photos). After that, it’s just about cooking them. Steaming and boiling/braising are the most typical methods — see how it’s done below. Artichokes can also be stuffed and baked, pan-fried or grilled.

Just in case you’re wondering, artichokes are actually flowers in the thistle family. They’ve been grown in the Mediterranean region for centuries. But in the United States they’ve only been around since the 1800s. So, we Americans are way behind — it’s about time we catch up and eat some more artichokes.

The Psychology of Fragrance Ad Casting

Who – New York Times columnist and co-author of Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide.

Because – He has raised our consciousness about the struggle for gender equality and forced us to look at injustice around the world.

Photographed – By Brent McDonald in Yida refugee camp, in South Sudan, on February 16, 2012.

The Story

Nicholas Kristof likes to take his kids with him when he travels, but they don’t spend a lot of time at ­resorts. In 2008, he took his eldest son, Gregory, then 16, to South Sudan, and they sneaked without visas into two parts of northern Sudan—Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan, where the war is now raging. At 13, his daughter, ­Caroline, complained to him that her friends always went to the Caribbean for vacation. “So we went to the Caribbean—Haiti,” he says with a wry smile. “The cholera clinics.”

Kristof, 53, uses his twice-weekly New York Times column as a bully pulpit to advocate against one uncomfortable global injustice or another, from government abuses in the Sudan to the torture of circumcision that mothers ­inflict on their daughters across Africa and parts of Asia. He has spent the last ten years focusing on the oppression of women. Half the Sky, published in 2009, tells heart-wrenching, grisly stories of female exploitation, sex trafficking, slavery, and death. Not the typical stuff of Oprah’s Book Club, but after Winfrey devoted an entire show to it, sales of the book skyrocketed and it spent more than 60 weeks on the best-seller list. The book inspired the kind of grassroots activism that would envy: It’s been discussed among prison populations, turned book groups from Connecticut to Oregon into fund-raisers for women’s organizations, and inspired a documentary series by the same name that will air on PBS in October. Today, Kristof continues to make us think about the world’s unsung victims and heroes. “We in the news business don’t cover reproductive health, sex trafficking, and maternal mortality very well,” says Kristof, who has made it his job to change that record. “People always ask me, Do you get depressed when reporting on poverty and global conflicts? I go back because it is hard to deal with. Gender inequality is not just a women’s issue, just as the Holocaust was not just a Jewish issue. It’s the moral issue of the twenty-first century.”

18 Great DIY Christmas Ideas for Enhancing the Christmas Spirit

On Wednesday night, 666 people (seriously) put themselves through their own form of hell by taking the long way to the top of one the tallest buildings in the world when they scaled the Empire State Building from its stairwell. That’s 1,576 steps and 86 flights of hamstring- and gluteal-writhing agony all the way to the building’s glowing observation deck.

Runners ranged from guys like Thomas Dold—a German who won in a time of 10:38 for his seventh consecutive year—to firefighters (in full gear) walking up for charity.

Obviously we aren’t about to recommend trying something like this unless you have a bizarre running bucket-list, but the good news is you don’t have to slog up 86 flights to reap benefits from working out on stairs.

In a British Journal of Sports Medicine study, sedentary people who walked a 199-step staircase for 8 weeks at least twice a day 5 days a week—a daily total of about 10 minutes of climbing—increased their VO2max (a measure of aerobic fitness) by 17 percent compared to a control group.

Holiday Style Inspiration: Elle Macpherson’s Aspen Chic

It’s an hour before kick-off and 42 degrees F. There’s only one reason you’re standing around in this weather when you don’t even have tickets — you’re a fan. But roughing it in the tailgate lot doesn’t have to be a grudge-match. All you need to make yourself comfy and have fun is a little know-how.

We’ve got spirit! Yes, we do!

First, you’ll need to set the stage. You can relax in normal clothes with your besties (and central heat) at your house. Don’t just throw on your favorite player’s jersey. Add those extra touches like crazy team earrings (maybe even some you made yourself), face paint and more. You aren’t the only one who needs a makeover, either. you can buy magnets and streamers in your team’s colors to give your vehicle a spirited makeover.

Make a playbook

You’ll want to plan ahead to make sure you’ve got everything you need. If it’s going to be cold, bring the necessary supplies to stay warm. Some stadiums have well-organized tailgating areas, which means you may have access to electricity. Find out before you go. You’ll also want to make sure you’ve got comfortable seating, a way to listen to or watch the game (portable radio or TV and plenty of batteries — don’t use your car’s radio or your battery could suffer). You may even be able to bring a portable generator.

You’ll also need game grub. Buy one of the portable grills we like and make sure you have plenty of food for everyone in the cooler. Bring extra food, as you’re likely to have party-crashers as you make new friends at the game. Don’t forget munch-ables like chips and dips, pretzels and nuts. Bring a separate cooler (or two) for sodas, water and beer.

A Required Dose of ‘Culinary Intelligence’

Just as I was about to extol the many virtues of Peter Kaminsky’s new book, brilliantly titled Culinary Intelligence: The Art of Eating Healthy (and Really Well), I happened upon a dose of Culinary Insanity in the food pages of today’s New York Times. In an article about an exemplary initiative to teach doctors about nutrition, a recipe appears that is so unhealthy as to render the project questionable.

Who’s in charge here? Who makes the decisions about what is healthy? And why would anyone choose a drink that contains more sugar than a Coke to illustrate the idea behind healthful food consumption? Not only does the simple recipe for limeade contain 24 grams of refined white sugar per serving (that’s 90 calories worth of sugar alone), but it is made with peanuts, which may trigger a bout of allergies for some. Really, what were they thinking? It reminds me a bit of the book Why French Women Don’t Get Fat, where the premise is certainly laudable — eat small portions of delicious things — but, alas, there was not a nutritional analysis in sight and many of the recipes that looked healthy were not, even in petit portions.

5 Crazy dating apps that will come handy

Did you see the short film Sight, made by a team of visual arts students, that examined what dating would be like if it were an eyeball-implanted app? (If not, check it out here!) The apps below don’t go that far, exactly, but we might be closer than we think to a future in which dating resembles Minority Report more closely than When Harry Met Sally. Not to freak you out or anything.

Bad Date Rescue App by eHarmony

If you’ve already sensed that you might be going on a bad date, you might have had the foresight to ask a friend to call you in the middle of dinner and provide a previously agreed upon excuse to get you out of there, pronto. (Remember that Sex and the City episode when Charlotte had Carrie call her to tell her “something bad happened?”) If you didn’t, well, you’re on your own, lady.

Should you use it?: Hey, why not? Suddenly receiving an emergency phone call in the middle of a bad date sounds fake already, so getting it from a robot won’t be that much of a stretch.

Price: Free


So you’ve met someone amazing at a party, but they left before you could exchange info. Aw, we hate it when that happens. With the Friendthem app, however, you can check out the Facebook users around you and find that person, without having to search for them. Boom — friend request sent. Catch is, they have to be using the app too.

Should you use it?: Only if you’re fairly sure that the person receiving the phantom friend request won’t be freaked out. Hint: Some people might be, but if they’ve downloaded this app, they’ll probably just be psyched someone else is using it.

Price: Free


What type of music a person listens to can tell you a lot about what your relationship might be like. Case in point: If you decide to date a rabid Phish fan, prepare yourself for what could be a lifetime of road trips, tours, jam sessions and patchouli. It’s good to know what you’re getting into from the outset, which is where MusicBunk comes in: Invite your crush to be your “bunkmate” via the app, and after he or she accepts, you can browse, comment on and listen to 30-second clips of all of the music that has been synced to their smartphone. The app makes it easy to see which songs you have in common and what their playlists are titled. (Pro tip: If he has a list called “Girls Are Psychos,” back away slowly.)

Should you use it?: Definitely! As long as you’re prepared to be roundly mocked for your extensive collection of the Britney Spears canon circa 1999.

Price: Free


You’re digging a certain guy, but is a relationship in the stars? Find out with MoonIt, which delivers horoscope-based “relationship compatibility results” for two people. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a message like this: “You’re 98% Compatible, We Hear Wedding Bells! You may have just been out to play, but it looks like you’ve stumbled upon your soul mate…”

For MoonIt to work, the object of your affection has to use the app too, so if you’re trying to flirt with a dude in real life, you can jokingly suggest that he download it so you can see if the stars think he should buy you another drink or if you should part ways. MoonIt is essentially a location-based dating app, so you can also meet guys in your vicinity who love horoscopes as much as you do. (If that is, in fact, the kind of person you’re hunting for.)

Should you use it?: Make it clear to a guy you meet in real life that you’re just doing it for fun, and if he’s game for downloading the app (it’s free!) and checking out your compatibility, it could be an amusing conversation-starter. If he refuses to play ball, you’ll either know he’s not interested or that he’s a stick in the mud. In that case, next!

Price: Free


None of these lines is going to win anyone a roll in the hay (at least we hope not), but despite the spelling errors, grammatical mistakes and general cheesiness, iPickupLines is decent for a good laugh — or for getting a few ideas when you start a conversation with a guy you’re interested in. Think: “So what’s the cheesiest pickup line you’ve ever heard? I think my favorite is ‘I was blinded by your beauty, so I’m gonna need your name and number for insurance reasons.'”

And there are loads more where that came from, ladies. (We confess, we actually kind of like this one: “Apart from being sexy, what do you do for a living?”)

Should you use it?: Don’t employ it earnestly, but it’s fun to page through with your friends for a laugh.

Price: Free

10 Steps to Getting Fit While Staying Happy

The impressive performance of UK’s women in the London Olympics has coined an inspiring meme: “Strong is the new skinny.”

In the last six weeks, I have lost several pounds, an inch of fat off my belly, and two inches off my hips. I’ve also gained serious muscle tone in my arms, shoulders, quads, and abs (hello, six-pack!). I did this not with any magical powder, juice fast, Hollywood fad, or crazy supplements, surgeries or ointments, but rather through good old-fashioned exercise and a few minor modifications to my diet recommended to me by a professional fitness coach.

The best part? I’ve been genuinely inspired and happy the entire time. When I arrived in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica in late June to surf, do yoga, and write a novel with my husband Kiran, I discovered that my good friend here, Gem Yates, had just completed two International Sports Science Association certifications: fitness nutrition and certified fitness trainer. She is also an International Surfing Association (ISA) certified surf coach, an international beach lifeguard, a Balanced Body Pilates instructor, and a former professional chef.

Paul Ryan’s P90X Workout – ‘Huh?’ Health Headline Of The Week

This week, picking a ‘Huh?’ Health Headline Of The Week was a piece of cake, since the health-o-sphere was buzzing with talk over newly-designated vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan’s reported workout of choice, P90X. As the is-he-ripped-or-isn’t-he musings began to circulate, we couldn’t escape headline after headline about the politician’s … abs.

Of course, here at HuffPost Healthy Living we had to get in on the fun, presenting you with other famous devotees of the extreme workout program.