Using Zoning Laws to Protect Affordable Housing

After five years of negotiating with Mayor Mike Bloomberg's office, the New York City Council has approved extension of a zoning-law amendment aimed at protecting affordable housing units in several districts. Affected areas include the Garment District, West Chelsea and Hudson Yards – three areas that have seen a lot of new developments and increases in property prices.

The new zoning law prevents both landlords and developers from significantly changing more than twenty percent of existing units in multi-family buildings. Renovations and updates can be made, but can't significantly alter the unit's price.

Historically, when an apartment or townhome complex is renovated, the result is increased rental or purchase prices. The ability the charge higher prices is typically the motivating factor behind renovations and upgrades. While the city council doesn't want to interfere with a property owners right to make changes (or profits), it has also seen low-income people repeatedly forced to move out of renovated properties that they can no longer afford.

The Chelsea area, in particular, has become a popular place for new developments – both residential and commercial. City Council members were concerned that landlords – in an effort to capitalize on higher-end business – would renovate existing structures to the point that they would become unaffordable for current residents.

City Council members also hope the new zoning laws will preserve some of the older architecture in the affected districts. The new law extends an existing Special District amendment that was passed in 1974. It affects all multi-family buildings of three units or more that were built in 1974 or prior.

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A Mother’s Day Wish

Any holiday is tough to get through after the death of a loved one, but Mother’s Day can be especially hard for those who have lost their mother, and for those mothers who have lost a child. Holidays tend to be painful reminders of what you’ve lost and how you used to celebrate that day. Whether you’ve lost your mother or you’re a mother who’s lost a child, this Mother’s Day is for you. Find a way to celebrate it in a way that brings back memories of your departed loved one and sheds light on the wonderful celebration of mothers everywhere.

Buy Flowers

Flowers are one thing that any mother would love to receive. If you have lost your mother, buy a beautiful bouquet and deliver it to your mother’s memorial. Pay her a visit and tell her how much you still love her. If you are a mother who has lost a child, buy a bouquet for yourself. Set the flowers out to remind yourself that you are a wonderful mother, on this day and every day.

Celebrate with Your Children

If you’re suffering the tragic loss of a child, there’s no doubt that mother’s day will be tough. But don’t forget the other miracles you have in your life. If you have other children, let them celebrate you the way you deserve to be celebrated. It’s okay to be sad and to reflect on the loss of your child, but try not to shut out your other children. They love you very much and will want to take this opportunity to show you.

Celebrate with a Different Mom

Losing a parent is heart-breaking, no matter how old you are. You relied on your mother for things that no one else could provide; support, advice, and unconditional love. Although no one can replace your mom, you can still honor Mother’s Day by celebrating a different mom. Maybe you have a grandma or aunt in your life who you are particularly close with. Perhaps your friend’s mom has been particularly supportive to you over the years. Reach out to one of these other moms this Mother’s Day so that you don’t let the day go by uncelebrated. Your mom would be happy to see you connecting with someone in her absence.

The reason Mother’s Day is so special is because it gives us a reason to give thanks to the woman who brought us into the world and for the many wonderful things she did for us thereafter. If you are that woman to someone, this day is for you, whether that ‘someone’ is with us here on Earth or not. If your own mother has past away, there’s no reason why you still can’t celebrate her on this very special day.

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How To Stop Eating Sugar

Sugar is one of the most addictive foods we can put into our bodies. Sugar is the ingredient that I believe kept my animal brain caught in a repetitive cycle of binge eating.

Sugar addiction goes beyond candy and cakes… it’s the simple, refined carbohydrates that cause an insulin spike in our blood sugar. This also triggers parts of our brains which can become addicted, just like someone becomes addicted to heroin.

I’ve gotten many emails from readers asking questions about how to deal with their addiction to sugar, which is usually the triggering food for a binge. There are common themes in the questions, and I can relate to many people who are disgusted with their failed attempts to break the habit.

The most common reasons people try to stop eating sugar are usually due to poor health, feeling obsessed and «crazy» around it or trying to lose weight. Many people share that they can’t seem to break away from bread, pasta, sweets or alcohol. The most frustrating part, I think, is that most of us realize that junk food and processed foods aren’t good for us. But even though we know that, trying to break a habit of eating it regularly can be very challenging.

Before I pin-pointed sugar as the culprit for my addictive behaviors to binge eating, I would go most of the day eating very little (to make up for a binge the night before), and using sugar substitutes in my coffee or drinking diet soda to stave off hunger. By evening, I would be starving… and naturally craving foods with instant energy, like carbs and sweets. By this point, my animal brain was feeling deprived and looking for energy. My ability to consciously choose healthy food options was severely negated because my brain would be in survival mode.

Because I’d binged the night before, it made it very easy to again turn to binging because I had started creating a habit. Once a habit forms, your brain has begun creating neural pathways that make repeating the habitual behavior much easier the next time.

It wasn’t until I reached very low points in my habits, hating myself and my inability to stop binge eating, that I started seriously studying what was going on with my behavior. That’s when I discovered how addictive sugar can be, and realized I was battling a hormonal shift in my brain each time I ate sugar. Not only had I created a behavioral habit, but I was dealing with an addicted brain.

There’s no easy way to quit a habit when you have an addiction. To cure yourself from a habit and addiction to sugar, you have to stop eating it. In order to do that, it really helps to know what to expect from your brain as it breaks an addiction. When you know what to expect, you can deal with challenges as they come up.

The things I found most useful were understanding how the brain works and studying the psychology of habits. Then I began to apply what I’d learned and was able to break through my binge eating habit.

Quitting sugar meant also giving up my devotion to artificial sweeteners. I had to do this for two reasons: one, to adjust my taste buds so that I wouldn’t crave sweetness, and two, to restore the proper gut flora in my belly to begin to metabolize food normally again.

As I broke my addiction to sugar, I replaced sugary foods in my diet with healthy fats. I found that eating healthy fats, proteins and an abundance of vegetables curbed my cravings. For this period, I stayed away from carbohydrates (refined or whole grain) and fruits.

Once I had broken my addiction (it took about 2 1/2 months of focused effort), I had replaced my diet with all whole foods and began incorporating fruit and whole grains. The fruit tasted yummy and sweet at this point, and I would be satisfied having fruit or a bowl of oatmeal at the end of the day when I normally would have craved sweets or sugar-free candies.

Now, I notice that if I start to pine for sweets, it appears to be after I’ve gone several days without whole grains or unrefined carbs. I feel comfortable with having some whole grain toast, oatmeal or something similar… and the temptation goes away. For me, eating whole grains work better to curb the sugar craving than eating fruit, because fruit metabolizes quickly and raises blood sugar faster.

Here’s some key tips for how to start breaking your habit and stop eating sugar:

1. Don’t replace sugar with artificial sweeteners.

According to an article in the Huffington Post, a 2013 study in the journal Diabetes Care found that artificial sweeteners can actually alter the way the body metabolizes sugar. A 2008 animal study found that rats given artificial sweeteners ate more calories throughout the day and as a result, gained weight. The researchers found that the ingestion of artificial sweeteners essentially caused confusion between the gut and the brain. The authors of the study stated that, «sweet foods provide a ‘salient orosensory stimulus’ that strongly predicts someone is about to take in a lot of calories. Ingestive and digestive reflexes gear up for that intake but when false sweetness isn’t followed by lots of calories, the system gets confused. Thus, people may eat more or expend less energy than they otherwise would.»

Replacing sugar with sugar-free foods or sweeteners is like swapping out cigarettes for cigars. It does nothing to alter your taste preferences and cravings for sugar. And it appears that it can even trigger you to eat more, and change the bacteria in your gut… causing your body to actually metabolize more calories from the food you put into your body.

2. Try adding milk and exercise.

Sugar gives you a «feel good» response, and that’s part of what you become addicted to. So the key is to add in other ways to get that response instead of sugar.

What if you could boost one of your most efficient acting «feel good» effects through other things, like milk or exercise?

One study for example, showed that consumption of whey protein (a major protein found in milk) increased serotonin (a feel-good hormone first isolated at the Cleveland Clinic that is associated with mood elevation). Other studies have found an association between exercise and serotonin increase as well.

3. Try healthy fats and get away from «fat free» processed foods.

Healthy fats, like those from olive oil, avocados, coconuts, nuts and seeds, not only provide nutrients for your body, but they make you feel satiated. Though it seemed counter-intuitive to me at the time, I increased my fat intake when I first started working on breaking my habit. I used half-and-half in my coffee, started putting avocados and nuts in my salads, enjoyed cream cheese and ate whole eggs instead of egg whites. I was surprised (and grateful) to find that this really helped curb my sweet cravings.

Fat free varieties of foods are generally injected with a heap of chemicals and added sweeteners to make them taste decent even though they are fat free. This is similar to eating sugar-free stuff; it’s filler food that doesn’t help anything. It either triggers you to eat more («hey, it’s fat free, why not?») or leaves you wanting something more fulfilling.

4. Don’t get too hungry.

This was another hard one for me, because I was so used to depriving myself all day long in order to balance out the effect of my binge eating. So I had trained myself to completely ignore my hunger cues. By the time I would sit down to eat, I would be starving… and, obviously, binging was the natural result.

Eating small amounts of food throughout the day keeps your blood sugar on even keel. This keeps your body from craving simple carbohydrates in order to get quick energy. It also prevents you from feeling like you want to eat the kitchen sink when you finally allow yourself to eat. It can go a long way towards helping you break a binge habit or sugar addiction.

5. Get rest.

Stress is a huge activator for triggering a craving for sweets. Why? Because the sweets give that «feel good» response that provides a temporary respite. It’s also «comfort food» that your animal brain naturally wants when it feels threatened with stress.

How do you cure stress? Obviously, life sometimes has circumstances where you can’t avoid stress. But there are ways you can care for yourself during these times to help. Plus, at the rapid pace many people have today in their lives, we’re generally always under a certain level of stress.

Getting quality sleep and taking a day or two off once a week isn’t a luxury… it’s a necessity. If you’re sleep deprived or burned out, you’re not going to make quality choices. Your animal brain will kick in to help you survive… and we know how much the animal brain likes quick energy from simply carbs and comfort foods.

Add an hour to your sleep however you can – go to bed 15 minutes earlier, then 30, then 45, then an hour. Turn off your screens an hour before you want to go to bed. Arrange a 20-minute power nap in the afternoon. Go to a park and chill out when the weather’s nice, even if it’s only for a half hour.

6. Try gum and tea.

Gum and tea keep your mouth occupied when you’re feeling nibbly. Tea comes in hundreds of varieties and flavors-as does gum. Popping in a stick or having a cup of tea can get you over an afternoon slump or after a meal when you’re craving something sweet.

ENVÍO y DEVOLUCIÓN GRATIS – Gran colección de Camisetas de fútbol oficiales – Descubre camisetas de equipos y selecciones europeas en camisetasfutboles.es. by Chelsea Lorynn O’Brien

Barca’s Got The Bark And The Bite!

Wearing their white colored away kit, Man U kicked off as the stronger side with Cristiano Ronaldo threatening to score five minutes into the game. But with Barca midfielders Andres Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez possessively controlling the ball, Man U soon lost control. Iniesta in his Nike T90 Laser II football boots paved the way for the opening goal when he found Samuel Eto’o, who deftly hit the net.

Red, white and blue

The atmosphere in the stadium was electric as fans from both sides came out in full support of their favorites dressed in their team colors. The stands seemed draped in shades of red, white and blue! The new Nike FC Barcelona home soccer gear saw a return to traditional vertical stripes of red and blue, said to be «designed to inspire the kind of football the club’s famous for – spirited, passionate and oozing Catalan pride!» And did it work! Post half time, midfielder Lionel Messi headed the ball over Edwin Van der Sar and clinched the second goal. He seemed adequately thrilled with his brand new boots – custom made Adidas F30i – and happily kissed them!

Certainly More than a Club!

On the one side, Man U could boast of star players like Wayne Rooney, Ronaldo, Tevez and Berbatov, on the other side, Barca dominated with the likes of Messi, Henry, Eto’o, Xavi and Iniesta. If the Catalan greats, Barca, scored 100 goals at the Liga, Messi, Henry and Eto’o were responsible for 69 of them! Maybe the white away kit wasn’t too lucky for Manchester United as they saw their dream to win their third Champions League trophy shatter. While the Catalans struck gold with their new look – a V-necked Nike Dri-Fit shirt that has the Catalan flag on the back of the neck and the label ‘Más que un club’ (More than a club) sewn inside. Barca stuck to its policy of not having a sponsor’s logo on their soccer shirts; something they have been adamant about ever since the club was formed. But they retained the UNICEF logo as part of the deal to not take any money, but use it to fund UNICEF’s humanitarian programs.

Three Cheers for the Champions

With this win, Barca now has three trophies to its credit – the Champions League, Liga and the Copa del Rey. Celebrations broke out on the streets of Barcelona when the team returned home. Thousands of ecstatic fans followed the open topped bus that had ‘Tricampeones’ (Three times Champion) emblazoned on it. To mark this special occasion, the players wore commemorative shirts with the words ‘Copa, Liga y Champions’ along with the team members names stamped on it.

Forgetting all protocol, the players ran onto the pitch of Camp Nou stadium and proudly held the three trophies up to their supporters who sang and chanted in reciprocation! The evening was sealed with another lap of honor, this time to the tune of Coldplay’s ‘Viva la Vida’ and crackling fireworks!

Whoever said what’s in a name seemed to have got it all wrong! A name, a number, a color – this is what champions are made of…

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Manchester United Are Back in Business

Manchester United did not have a perfect start to the current Premier League campaign. David Moyes took over from the departing Alex Ferguson and faced an unenviable challenge of meeting the pressure of high expectation. The team lost three games of their initial eight and the former Everton manager’s critics began to sharpen their knives. The Red Devils were clearly imploding and after they had fallen to eighth place on the points table, the naysayers began to question their credentials and some even stressed that mid-table was where United really belonged.

But nine matches later, and importantly, nine unbeaten games later, United find themselves in fifth place, just five points adrift of table leaders, Arsenal. How did the transformation happen? To begin with, Arsenal’s lead at the top of the table was sustained in the absence of games with big teams such as Chelsea, Man City and Man United themselves. The luck of the draw did not favor Moyes whose wards faced off against the likes of Liverpool, Man City and Chelsea, relatively early in the season.

Arsenal had been in a similar situation in 2008 when they blew a five point lead at the top of the table after an injury to their star striker. In the event the Gunners ended up in fourth place, at the end of the season. In the lead up to Arsenal’s match against United, Wayne Rooney drew attention to this fact. Given Gunners’ winning form and the perceived decline of United in the post-Ferguson era, Arsenal were expected to bank full three points from the game at Old Trafford. Liverpool had bearded the Red Devils in their den and Gunners had beaten the Merseysiders; ergo, Arsene Wenger’s men should beat David Moyes’ wards, went the argument.

But van Persie and Man United had other ideas and the home side emerged deserving 1-0 winners to bring themselves within five points of Arsenal who continue to lead the table. United have 20 points from 11 games, and apart from Arsenal, only Liverpool (23), Southampton (22) and Chelsea (21) are ahead of them on the table. It is not unrealistic to expect the Saints to drop down the table as the season wears on. With Arsenal yet to play Man City or Chelsea, the results of those games could have a dramatic effect on the hierarchy of teams on the points table. Consider also that United have upcoming games against Cardiff, Tottenham, Everton and Newcastle, all of which are there to be won, and it won’t be unrealistic to suggest that United may well be at the top of the table by Christmas.

ENVÍO y DEVOLUCIÓN GRATIS – Gran colección de Camisetas de fútbol oficiales – Descubre camisetas de equipos y selecciones europeas en camisetasfutboles.es. by Suresh Iyer