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Forget Cars: Park Your Guests in the Garage


Converted garage takes on cozy-cottage charms for live-in in-laws,

Q: Are we crazy to think of converting our garage into a guesthouse -- maybe a "granny suite"? It has a cathedral ceiling, concrete slab floor and opens into the back garden, which is nice. We just need some encouragement. Plus some ideas, like what to do about the stained concrete floor; should we cover it with hardwood or ceramic tile?

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Serge Gainsbourg Portrayed as Larger Than Life

All countries relish in their own tall tales. Britons boast of the legend of King Arthur, the only man who could extract the mighty sword Excalibur from its stony prison. Americans exalt fictitious giants, such as Paul Bunyan, and characterizations of real-life heroes, such as George Washington's inability to tell a lie. 

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Work It! Suiting up for Work


Back to school, back to work. As we celebrate Labor Day and the end of summer, it's time to get down to business again and rethink those professional wardrobes."What to wear to work is an issue that's more complicated than merely adhering to a dress code," says Lisa Armstrong, author of "Harper Bazaar Fashion: Your Guide to Personal Style." The good news according to Armstrong is that what we do choose to wear professionally is "an opportunity to express your individual style."

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Pulling Designs Out of the Past for Present-Day Walls


Q: We are slowly doing over a Greek Revival house. There's been a lot of serious rehab, so we're just getting to the "fun" part -- choosing colors and wallpapers. But it's not so much fun after all: I'm overwhelmed, especially when looking at all those books in the wallpaper shop! Could you help me narrow down my choices to designs that would be appropriate for a house that dates to l910? We are people who like formal, own antiques, but don't want fusty or busy. 

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Kia Optima Hybrid: 40 mpg Highway and Built for the Long (and Comfortable) Commute


The Optima Hybrid, starting at $27,250,

The Kia Optima Hybrid sounds too good to be true: a midsize sedan that gets 35 mpg around town, 40 mpg on the highway, costs less than $30,000 and comes equipped with near-luxury features and state-of-the-art engineering.That's all true -- and the closer you look, the better it gets. The Optima Hybrid is an engaging car to drive for those who get into the electronics and finesse of a gasoline-electric powertrain. Green enthusiasts will appreciate how far you can go on battery power. And the Optima Hybrid gets the top five-star NHTSA safety ratings, according to SaferCar.gov.

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Free Financial Advice for Newlyweds

A wedding is an optimal time in life to review one's financial status as well as to make financial resolutions for the years to come. Since marriage is a blending of two unique personalities, it is also a blend of a variety of money habits. Marriage may blend a saver with a spender or some other combination.

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Painting Paneling: Easy RX for Wood Distress


Q: Is it a crime to paint over old wood paneling? We are rehabbing a l9th-century farmhouse that has seen better days. It was used as a barn for years and the paneling (it's either oak or pine -- hard to tell) was really abused by the elements? My husband is holding out for refinishing, but we have so much else to do, I want to paint. Help us decide! A: Renovating -- like life itself -- is always about priorities. Do what means the most, the quickest.

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The Heat Is on for Autumn Films

Kids are heading back to school (already!). Giant robots are giving way to think pieces (well, not entirely, as you'll see later in this column). Fall is just around the corner, and that means an array of films vying for more-refined eyes (mostly) and a thinner but satiating slice of the box-office pie. Here is a slew we're looking forward to as temperatures cool outside.

Sept. 2: "Shark Night 3D" -- Not to be outdone by their pint-size, razor-teethed pals the piranhas, sharks are going three-dimensional in late summer. Guaranteed to be a b-movie delight. Starring Sara Paxton.

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Some Cliches You Just Have to Live With


 Q: Hate "cocktail" tables..."coffee" tables, too! By any name, I think it's a boring cliche to always put a low table in front of every sofa. Makes it hard to get in and out and to sit down, too. I'd like your thoughts on the subject.

A: Remember why cliches become cliches in the first place: because they are so inherently right you really can't improve on them.

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Laughing in the Face of Danger

A Stanford University study reports that humor, especially the positive kind, helps people better cope with frightening or disturbing events by forcing a change of perspective and a new appraisal. Negative humor works too, but not as well.

Writing in the journal "Cognition and Emotion," the Stanford scientists showed study volunteers a series of specialized images categorized by their emotional content. After viewing the pictures -- car crashes, corpses, scary animals, dental exams -- the participants were asked to rate the intensity of their emotions, positive or negative.

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Sale Suckers


 Whenever kids start heading back to school, you can bet that retailers are gearing up for major sale events -- tempting us all to get into new fall clothes at bargain prices. While you may pick up a few great deals when you're at the mall buying the latest Uggs for your daughter, chances are that most of us will become what style expert Amy Goodman calls "sale suckers.

"Yes, we're all usually "suckers" about saving money, but according to Goodman, who wrote "Wear This, Toss That" (Simon and Schuster, $27) you may want to pay more attention to what you really need instead of blowing the holiday budget months in advance. Here are some of Goodman's "sale suckers" to watch for when hitting the stores this month:

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Walk on the Wild Side Leads to High Design


 Q: We were shopping for our new condo and fell for a rug with a wild pattern in a lot of different colors. I'm really afraid it will take over our lives, but we can't stop talking about it, so I thought we'd ask you if there's a way to decorate around such a rug?

A: Don't decorate around it -- decorate to it! Make the rug your focal point and repeat its colors on the other ingredients in the room, which should be neutral enough to play second fiddle to what's going on, on the floor.

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Building a Stronger Community Is Good for Your Health!


In his recent book, "Outliers," author Malcolm Gladwell cites a study that proves a strong localized community actually improves your health. The study is centered on Roseto, Pa., a small community comprised mainly of immigrants from a small Italian village also named Roseto. This village attracted international attention in 1950 when it was exposed as having the lowest rate of heart disease in our whole nation.

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A Healthy Frozen Treat


Camp Pocono Trails in Reeders, Pa., is a 350-acre summer camp for children where losing weight is the emphasis and camp activities range from tennis, drama and boating to fitness training and cooking instruction.

Nicole Selinsky, nutrition director for the camp, has developed healthy recipes that appeal to youngsters. She shared her recipe for frozen Berry Pops.

For more information on Camp Pocono Trails, go to www.newimagecamp.com.

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Don’t Sweat It: Top 10 Summer Beauty Tips


When it comes to putting on our makeup in the summer, many of us think, why bother? It just seems to sweat right off when you walk out the door! Still, you want to look your best. And yes, you can look cool and collected even in the summer months, according to the beauty pros at Francois Nars Cosmetics, who keep up with the latest beauty trends and transform hundreds of models for designer runway shows each season.

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Simple Tips to Keep Your Home Cool Without AC


Cooling our homes in the summer can account for 45 percent of our home energy use, yet it could be reduced to 10 percent or less with a few thoughtful changes. Incorporating natural ventilation into your home will help you slash your energy use and carbon emissions drastically.

Become aware of the seasonal wind patterns and the air flow around your home. Most areas have gentle breezes in the summer that can be directed into your house through landscaping and opening certain windows.

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Coloring Your Guest Room Calm


Q: We have a tiny room to make over for guests at our country house. I need help making it feel special. Any ideas from color choices to furniture will be appreciated.

A: How's this for inspiration? Designer Matthew Patrick Smyth created this soothing stay-over room for a decorator show house — a somewhat harrowing process that he details in his new book, "Living Traditions" (published by The Monacelli Press).

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Simply Sam

Here's the thing about Sam Zien: He fails.

As business manager for a San Diego biotech firm, he failed to adopt a corporate image: "I was always the guy who wanted to be more funny than serious."

In the summer of 2001, he quit that job to launch his own TV travel series. Another recipe for failure: "I had neither travel nor TV experience."

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BERGEN BUSINESS WOMEN TO HOST NETWORKING, EDUCATIONAL, AND AWARDS EVENTS IN JUNE

[media:20110601145824708 width:0 height:0 border:1 align:left link:0 alt:0 linksrc:disp]NJAWBO Meetings Include Presentation on Retirement for Women; Annual Awards and Installation Banquet to Honor Local Women in Business and Non-Profit Realms

BERGEN COUNTY, N.J., May 30, 2011 – The Bergen chapter of the New Jersey Association of Women Business Owners (NJAWBO) will host its Network at Noon luncheon and its annual awards banquet to honor local business women in June, as follows:

• Tuesday, June 7 – Diane McGuire, a financial services representative from MetLife Solutions Group in Paramus, will give a presentation with her team titled “This is Not Your Mother’s Retirement” from 12:00 to 2:00 p.m. at Palmer’s Crossing restaurant at the Clinton Inn Hotel, 145 Dean Drive in Tenafly. McGuire will discuss her team’s unique approach to effective financial planning for women and the challenges women face on road to retirement. The cost is $17 for NJAWBO members, $22 for non-members. Reservations are required and can be made by calling the chapter hotline at (201) 444-8773, ext. 5 or by email to lunch@njawbobergen.org.

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Flag Dance - Culture Night at Trinity Presbyterian Church of Paramus 4

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