Justin B.Stivers T H E L AW O F F I C E S O F A P R O B AT E F I R M
Why Have Just 12 Days of Christmas When You Can Have a Whole Month?
Christmas was always a big deal in my family when I was growing up. We celebrated the holiday with the various traditions that are common to most families: wake up in the morning in our Christmas pajamas, go downstairs for a traditional breakfast, then sit by the tree and open presents. The routine provided a platform for us to forge bonds with each other. But just because Christmas morning was pretty standard doesn’t mean the rest of the month was. I learned to love the holidays because of a tradition my mom and dad started for us kids. They had a unique calendar that they would pull notes from; on each note was written some kind of gift for us. There was a gift every day in December, each one unique and exciting. They weren’t monumental presents but small and deliberate. One day might have been having ice cream together, and another would be an activity of some kind. The tradition evolved, and as we grew, so did my parent’s efforts. Now that I’m older, I understand the attention my parents put into it. I respect the effort, but even more, I appreciate the purpose. The emphasis was never on gifts; it was about doing something together so we could grow closer as a family. Holidays like these remind me of how life changes. As more nieces and nephews enter the equation, my family’s Christmas priorities shift. My oldest nephew is 5 years old, so our focus is now on the young kids, making memories for them that will last a lifetime. The emphasis was never on gifts; it was about doing something together so we could grow closer as a family.
It’s a welcome shift for me because as I grow older, I find joy in the time I get to spend time with my wife and family. Of course, navigating Christmas as a newlywed provides interesting revelations. For example, in my family, we had a fake tree decorated with a random assortment of ornaments with no method to the madness. It’s not uncommon to see one of mine from when I was 4 years old next to something brand-new. We weave in some colored lights as an Elvis Christmas album plays in the background. It takes about an hour and a half to decorate, and we make a day out of it. On the other hand, my wife prefers a real tree, hates colored lights, and believes ornaments should be neatly placed
on the tree. Luckily for me, we have our place, and my parents have theirs.
The city of Miami inspires me, but being home in Knoxville grounds me. Every time I push my life forward, I go back for the holidays and remember the roots of it all. The more I progress, the more I find it essential to spend time with family. It allows me to grow closer to those who truly make me better. Life always needs that balance, and Christmas is the perfect time for it. I hope everyone finds that this holiday season.
_Justin B. Stivers
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WHAT YOUR EYES CAN TELL YOU ABOUT LOVE Is Love at First Sight Real?
The idea of love at first sight is wonderfully romantic. Two strangers see each other across a crowded room. There’s an instant, magnetic attraction, and suddenly they’ve found their match for all of eternity. In a world in which dating often requires a lot of work —work that comes with disappointment, rejection, and uncertainty — falling in love at first sight has strong appeal. But can it actually happen? Can your eyes tell you anything about love? The connection between the eyes and love has been described in poetry and prose since time immemorial — it’s the stuff of heroic epics and fanciful fairy tales. And evidence has increasingly shown that the human brain is hard-wired to both display and notice visual cues when gazing at a potential love interest. Enlarged pupils are one such cue. When you survey a person or object you are interested in, your brain releases a surge of dopamine — a chemical that controls the brain’s reward and pleasure centers —which causes your pupils to dilate. In this sense, beauty really is “in the eye of the beholder.”
For example, Sears allegedly sold a Kenmore washing machine at a “sale price” of $999.99, compared to a “regular price” of $1,179.99. The problem was the so-called sale price was actually the price that product was offered at every day. Therefore, it wasn’t actually on sale. Duping your customers is a bad business practice, but what makes it illegal? Well, California law requires that retailers post a retail price no higher than what the product was sold at within three months prior to the ad. “Families today … are striving to get the very most they can get from an extremely hard-earned holiday shopping dollar,” said LA City Attorney Mike Feuer. “They deserve to make an informed decision.” After the suit was brought against them, the retailers all quickly moved to settle, promising to never engage in false reference pricing again. Most retailers offer discounts around the holidays to encourage shoppers to come into their stores or visit their Promotions and sales are great tools in any business’s arsenal, provided they aren’t out to mislead customers. Big-box stores may try to manipulate innocent people, and it’s up to aggrieved customers to hold those corporations accountable. Nearly every year, you’ll read about a class-action lawsuit that develops in response to the shady tactics of businesses eager to secure those holiday shopping dollars. Are there great bargains to be had on Black Friday? Of course. But if something sounds too good to be true, it very well might be. Keep your eyes peeled and don’t let retailers trick you into a purchase you wouldn’t make otherwise. In the last decade, researchers have determined that from a romantic and reproductive standpoint, both men and women are attracted to partners with bigger pupils. Studies demonstrate that when women are at their peak fertility, they might subconsciously be more attracted to a person with sizable pupils because it could indicate a partner’s attraction to them. Likewise, researchers have reported that men seek out women with dilated pupils due to the association of larger pupils with youth and longevity. The connection between the eyes and enthrallment has inspired some of Shakespeare’s most iconic sonnets, and the science behind our eyes validates some of the Bard’s romantic claims. But does this connection between larger pupils and attraction corroborate the idea of love at first sight? If you believe that attraction equates to true love, then absolutely. But if your definition of love requires a little more depth, then you may have to toss aside the idea of love at first sight and instead view your partner’s eyes as mere “windows” to their soul.
Fake Discounts and Angry Shoppers A MASSIVE BLACK FRIDAY LAWSUIT
Shoppers flock to retailers every Black Friday in hopes of securing the best deals on the year’s hottest products. There are many nasty aspects of Black Friday — the long lines, the overzealous shoppers, the limited stock of items — but phony pricing and fake sales shouldn’t be among them. But that’s exactly what happened to folks in Los Angeles during the 2016 holiday season, leading to the biggest Black Friday lawsuit in history. In December of 2016, the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office sued J.C. Penney, Sears, Macy’s, and Kohl’s for a practice called “false reference pricing,” a nefarious tactic whereby retailers lie about the original price of an item to make a discount appear bigger than it actually is.
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TAKE A BREAK
How to Indulge Your Sweet Tooth With Less Sugar SURVIVING THE SEASON OF SWEETS Cookies, cakes, and pies, oh my! The holiday season is brimming with sweet treats of all kinds. Sometimes it can feel like candy and sugary desserts are around every corner, and yet you still want to indulge. However, when you consider that over 50 percent of Americans are insulin-resistant, prediabetic, or diabetic, that piece of pumpkin pie with whipped cream starts to look more dangerous than appetizing. During the holidays, how can you satisfy your sweet tooth without worrying about consuming excessive sugar and calories? Skip the candy and go for the fruits and nuts. Keeping a bowl of fruit and nuts nearby can help keep sugar cravings at bay. Dried fruits, such as cranberries, pineapple, or apricots, are both sweet and nutritious. Just be sure to check the packaging for added sugars. You can even make your own dried fruit with a food dehydrator. This way, you are completely in control of the ingredients. No matter what you do, just be mindful not to overindulge. Dried fruit is high in sugar and calories, but the fiber and vitamins make fruit much healthier than just about any other sugary treat. Another way to cut down on your sugar intake is to use dark chocolate in all your chocolate-based treats. Dark chocolate has about half as much sugar as milk chocolate, twice as much healthy fat, less cholesterol, 4–5 times more iron, twice as much potassium, fewer carbs, and more flavonoids and theobromine. The antioxidant properties of the theobromine and flavonoids make dark chocolate as good for your heart as it is for your soul. If you have a recipe that calls for chocolate, reach for the dark stuff, whether it’s dark chocolate chips, cocoa powder, or baking chocolate. While it may seem as though everyone and their grandma is overindulging in sugar this season, know that you have the choice to opt for healthier sweets. And come NewYear’s, you won’t have to spend the first fewmonths of 2019 working off that extra cookie weight.
ROASTED DELICATA SQUASH WITH ALMONDS
This sweet and spicy squash dish is the perfect centerpiece for a holiday feast. If you have a family member or loved one who avoids animal-based products, they’ll be very grateful for a dish made with them in mind.
3 delicata squash (about 1 pound each), halved and seeded
1/4 cup roasted almonds, preferably Marcona, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon agave nectar
1/4 teaspoon Aleppo pepper or smoked paprika Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Chopped fresh chives, to garnish
1. Heat an oven to 350 F. 2. On a workspace, brush cut sides of squash with olive oil and season cavity with salt, pepper, and Aleppo or paprika. 3. Place squash cut-side down on a baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes. 4. Remove squash from oven, let cool for 5 minutes, and top with crushed almonds, chives, and a drizzle of oil and agave nectar. 5. Serve immediately.
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305-456-3255 Jbstiverlaw.com 150 SE 2nd Ave Ste 1001 Miami, FL 33131 INSIDE THIS ISSUE
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The Month of Christmas
What Your Eyes Can Tell You About Love The Biggest Black Friday Lawsuit in History Roasted Delicata Squash With Almonds Surviving the Season of Sweets
Everything You’ll Need for an Ugly Sweater Christmas
Ugly Sweater Parties A Fun Trend You Can Easily Follow!
store to pick one up. However, if you have a sweater that’s been cozied up for years in the back of your closet or a drawer, now’s your chance to give it new life. Arm yourself with a hot glue gun, thread, and needle, and patch Santa, Rudolph, or Frosty on it. And let it be known that an ugly sweater isn’t complete without sparkles, beads, and sequins galore. WHAT EXACTLY IS AN UGLY SWEATER PARTY? It’s rather simple — slip on your favorite Christmas sweater, gather all your friends and family members, make sure there are plenty of refreshments and games, and you’re guaranteed to have a top-tier party. A few ugly-sweater-themed games that should be on the agenda include an ugly gift exchange, which is similar to the white elephant exchange, except with the gaudiest gifts you can find; an
ugly photo booth, complete with terrible, tacky props; and, of course, an ugly sweater contest.
This is the only time of year when slipping into a lurid red sweater with a stuffed Santa sewn on the front is considered trendy. So adorn yourself in the frumpiest, tackiest sweater you can find, and have some fun this December!
It’s speculated that the first ugly sweater party took place in Vancouver, Canada, back in 2001. Since then, the trend has become one of the most popular holiday party themes. Come Thanksgiving, you’ll start to see racks in all types of clothing stores lined with hideous sweaters. If you’re ready to jump on the ugly-sweater-party bandwagon this Christmas season, here are a few things to keep in mind. YOUR VERY OWN UGLY SWEATER Ugly sweaters come in all shapes, sizes, and prices. You can head to H&M or a local thrift
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