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Rumors, gossip, exclusion. Mean girls have a lot of weapons in their repertoire – here’s how to combat all that nastiness.

Step 1 No matter how intimidated you may feel on the inside, do your best to exude confidence on the outside. Standing up straight and maintaining eye contact will send the signal that you’re not a doormat. Mean girls single out targets they deem weak, but often stay away from confident girls.

Step 2 When possible, travel in a group of friends. Mean girls tend to shy away from packs, instead focusing their attention on solo prey.

In need of friends? Sign up for extracurricular activities, or get a job after school where you can meet teens your age outside of school.

Step 3 Be nice and stay nice. If you’re in a class or after-school activity with a mean girl, compliment what she’s wearing or nonchalantly offer help with a math problem. If you can get one mean girl on your good side, the rest may fall in line.

Ask a parent or older sibling for advice. Almost everyone has had at least one experience with bullies.

Step 4 Mean girls thrive on reactions, so if you’re not making any headway, go into “ignore mode” and pretend you’re immune to everything they say or do. This will probably only work a few times, though. If the mean girls are really determined, ignoring them is not a long-term solution.

Step 5 Confront mean girls using the divide-and-conquer approach. Calmly talk to an influential girl one-on-one, and ask her an up-front question like, “Did I do something that made you mad?” Use “I” statements rather than “you” ones. A mean girl can easily deny anything you say about her, but she’ll have a harder time arguing against your personal feelings.

Before your conversation, rehearse your replies, imagining how you’ll firmly, but politely, stand your ground and stay confident no matter what.

Step 6 If the mean girls are relentless, causing you to become depressed or anxious, or threatening to get physical, involve your parents and the school faculty. Though it may not seem like it, popular kids don’t actually run the school. Those who do run it can help put any mean girls in their place.

Tyra Banks, Victoria Beckham, and Rosario Dawson all say they were once the constant targets of mean girls.

Category:Aliya Leigh Live - Podcast -- posted at: 9:23pm EST
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This subtle trick will lengthen your school report without your having to write a single extra word.

Step 1: Begin to edit When you’re finished writing your paper, launch your word processing program’s “find and replace” function. Often this is under the “edit” menu.

Step 2: Type in periods Type a period in the spaces for “find” and for “replace.”

Step 3: Increase the size Highlight the period in the second, or “replace,” space. Increase its font size. For example, if it’s in a 12-point font, increase it to 14-point. You usually do this by clicking on the “format” and “font” options; sometimes you’ll have to click “more” to see these options.

Step 4: Make the switch Click “replace all.” This will change the font of all your periods.

Don’t change your entire paper’s font size or set ridiculously wide margins—that’s too obvious!

Step 5: Watch it grow Re-measure your paper. Depending on how long your report was to begin with, simply enlarging the periods can add anywhere from one half to two—or more!—pages.

If you have a 16-page, 12-point paper, changing the periods to 14-point will stretch the paper to 19 pages!

Category:Aliya Leigh Live - Podcast -- posted at: 9:14pm EST
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We’d all like to think we’re fabulously fascinating at all times. But it’s good to know the signs that you’re boring someone, just in case.

Step 1: Check out their eyes Check out the other person’s eyes. Are they darting around the room, as if looking for an escape? Or, worse, are they completely unfocused, as if they’ve lapsed into a coma?

Check out their feet, too; if they’re pointed away from you, they’re poised to run.

Step 2: Be aware of their responses Be aware of their responses. If your discourse isn’t eliciting anything more than polite nods, the occasional “really?” or a monotone “wow,” it’s time to change the topic — or let the other person speak.

Step 3: Watch for topic switches Watch out for sudden topic switches. If you’re waxing poetic about one topic, and your listener suddenly introduces a whole new one, consider that a clear sign you’re boring.

Avoid talking about your dreams. An informal study showed that most people find other people’s nocturnal fantasies a major snooze.

Step 4: Question a lack of questions Don’t assume that someone who isn’t interrupting you or asking questions is spellbound. More likely, they’ve mentally checked out of the conversation.

Step 5: Look into your heart If someone is boring you, look into your heart. Boredom is often a two-way street.

A 2009 study concluded that people who report that their lives are boring are more likely to die younger than those who find their lives interesting.

Category:Aliya Leigh Live - Podcast -- posted at: 9:08pm EST
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Wondering how the Affordable Care Act affects you? The health care reform bill, passed in March 2010, included 46 key provisions. Here are some highlights.

Step 1: Realize the timeline

Realize that not all of the provisions of the law went into effect immediately. The changes are being implemented gradually, with some of them not starting until 2014.

Step 2: Understand the immediate changes

Understand some of the immediate changes: patients under 19 can’t be denied coverage based on a pre-existing condition, insurance companies can no longer rescind coverage, preventive services like mammograms are fully covered, children may remain on a parent’s health insurance plan until age 26, and lifetime coverage limits have been prohibited.

Tip: The provision concerning young adult coverage takes effect whenever health plans renew coverage on or after September 23, 2010, so some adult children may have a gap in coverage.

Step 3: Review the 2011 changes

Review the 2011 health care reform measures: free preventive services for seniors on Medicare, a new program designed to connect seniors to community care after hospital stays, and prescription drug discounts for qualified seniors.

Tip: An Independent Payment Advisory Board will focus on ways to reduce Medicare costs and waste.

Step 4: Examine the 2012 provisions

Understand the health care reform provisions of 2012: financial incentives to hospitals to improve their quality of care, a switch from paper to electronic health records, and the establishment of a long-term care insurance program for adults who become disabled.

Step 5: Look at the 2013 laws

Take a look at the provisions slated for 2013: Medicare will adopt a new bundle payment system designed to encourage health care providers to work more efficiently, Medicaid payments to primary-care doctors will increase, and states will receive additional funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which covers children not eligible for Medicaid.

Step 6: Check out 2014

Check out the key 2014 changes: individuals who don’t already have health insurance are required to buy it or pay a fee, insurance companies may not discriminate based on pre-existing conditions, annual coverage limits are eliminated, and people who can’t sign up for coverage through their employers may buy it through exchanges that offers a choice of affordable health plans. And, in case you were wondering, members of Congress will get their health care insurance through exchanges, too.

Tip:

According to Healthcare.gov, the Affordable Care Act is expected to reduce the deficit by more than $100 billion by 2020 by cutting government overspending and reining in waste, fraud, and abuse.

Category:Aliya Leigh Live - Podcast -- posted at: 9:00pm EST
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Is your cursing and cussing out of control? Stop the profanity with this behavior modification plan.

 

Step 1: Realize why you're cursing

Realize why you’re swearing: it’s often just a lazy way of expressing rage or frustration. Learn other anger management coping skills and you may not be so tempted to curse so much.

Step 2: Hear how unattractive it is

Pay attention the next time someone else lets a few choice words rip. Is that really how you want to sound to others?

Step 3: Learn some new words

Scan a thesaurus for satisfying stand-ins for your favorite swear words. A good vocabulary allows you to be as cutting and colorful as you want to — without the foul language.

Step 4: Imagine an audience

The next time you’re on the verge of a four-letter tirade, ask yourself if you’d use this language around a young child, an elderly person, or a clergy member. That should stop the swearing.

Step 5: Go ahead

Go ahead and drop the F-bomb — if you’re in pain. A group of researchers concluded that cursing intensifies our fight-or-flight response, making us better able to withstand pain by minimizing our perception of it. Guess that explains all the swearing in hospital delivery rooms!

Category:Aliya Leigh Videos -- posted at: 8:53pm EST
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Sandra Bullock tops this year's list of best paid actress up against other big earners including Jennifer Aniston and Angelina Jolie

Category:Aliya Leigh Videos -- posted at: 8:39pm EST
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