Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Interior Design Ideas from Barbara's Design Solutions

If you're looking to bring some creativity into the spaces where you live and work, check out the interior design products for home, office, dorm, and more created by Barbara's Design Solutions.

Barb created her line of affordable artisan bathroom decor products with the idea that people should be able to take the guess work out of decorating their bathrooms and just focus on the paint. Her bathroom decor ideas include shower curtains, bath mats, wall art, soap and toothbrush dispensers, bathroom scales, and wall clocks.

Over time, Barb has created a line of Eco Friendly Aluminum Triptych Wall Art, with a variety of imagery and colors to suit many tastes. She has also designed monogrammed bath sets and coordinated black and white accessories for a classic, yet modern look. Her shop offers a unique and diverse collection of products.

By the way, if you like monogrammed products, Barb also makes monogrammed car floor mats upon request. In fact, she does a lot of products on request, so if you have an idea for art or accessories that you'd like to buy, just let her know, as she is glad to work with you on custom orders.

Learn more about Barb's products on YouTube, starting with the video below.

If you like her work, please subscribe to her channel and tell a friend.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Meet Rachel McMinn, Author

Rachel McMinn is high school English teacher who was born in the UK and who lives in Connecticut. She is also the mother of a two-year-old girl. Her debut novel, The Other Side of Loneliness, was published in June of 2016. Learn more about the book on Amazon and Goodreads.

1. How did you come up with the idea for the story told in your debut novel?

As a teacher, I have met many students who have faced a lot of hardship in their short lives. What always amazes me is the utter resilience they display. They manage to navigate their way through problems that, as an adult, I am not sure what I would do about. My novel was inspired in part by that resilience and the idea that so many of us are going through our day with problems that we hide from the rest of the world. I am a firm believer in being kind to everyone since sometimes the person with the biggest smile is the person facing the greatest hardship behind closed doors. At some point we have to let others in because a hardship shared, is less of a hardship.

2. How would you describe your protagonist, Riley?

Riley is a teenage girl that has experienced a tragedy that has turned life as she knows it, upside down. She has a lot of emotions and feelings that she isn't sure what to do with, feels like she knows it all, and at the same time feels like she knows nothing at all. The teenage years are tough anyway; school, friends, relationships, trying to figure out who you are and what you believe and what you want to do with your life. There is a lot of pressure. Add a traumatic experience to that and you have a recipe for disaster. Riley is very typical in that way. She is balancing her emotions and trying to understand how you can love and hate at the same time. There is a very confusing duplicity to life and emotions, and Riley is learning that lesson early in life. She is scared to let friends and loved ones help because she has experienced loss and doesn't want to risk losing anyone else. I think that is a feeling that teens and adults alike can relate to.

3. As an English teacher, when do you find the time to work on your own writing?

I'm a full-time English teacher with a two-year-old daughter so life is certainly hectic. I keep a notebook in my purse and write when I have a spare moment: waiting rooms, when my daughter naps, lunch breaks. I still nurse my daughter, so I have to pump at work and I have gotten pretty good at balancing the pump and my notebook! At home I will get on my laptop for twenty minutes before I start getting ready in the morning or for a half hour before I go to bed. I might not have a huge block of time to write but all of those little sessions add up. I wrote The Other Side of Loneliness in about 7 months.

4. What audience did you have in mind as you wrote your novel--were you thinking of your students in this context as you wrote?

I was absolutely thinking of my students as I wrote this novel. As a teacher you don't just teach your subject area; you also give a lot of pep talks about handling life. I don't pretend to know it all, but I try to give my students good advice so they can make better decisions or try to get them to stand back and analyze a situation before acting. I think about what I wish I had known when I was their age. This book takes some of those life lessons and puts them into novel form. I think that young adults and adults will enjoy this book because the real core message is that we all have issues that we hide from the public; we all struggle and that is okay. It is okay to not know what to do. We can choose to stay stuck and suffer or we can accept our issues and figure out what to do from there. This book is about the importance of friends and support systems, forgiveness, and that understanding that no one is perfect. That is what makes us human.

5. As the school year comes to an end, what are your plans for the summer?

Well, contrary to popular belief, teachers do not really get the summer off! I will be teaching summer school a few days a week and spending some time planning for next school year. When I am not working, I will be spending a lot of time at the beach; I love being outdoors! I run and summer is really my training season, so I will be doing that in preparation for a half marathon in the fall. I have a two-year-old daughter, Lillian, and I love every single moment with her. I will be spending a fair amount of time finger painting, collecting bugs, and visiting the farmer's market with her. Of course, I hope to have some time to read and write and I'll be waiting to be inspired for my next novel!

Thanks, Rachel!

Meet Eric Hoyt, President of First Access Medical

Eric Hoyt is President of First Access Medical, LLC (FAM). He is a United States Military veteran who has worked in the healthcare field for thirty years. He founded First Access Medical, which is a medical device distributor that brings unique protection products to solve everyday common challenges and problems in hospitals, medical offices, and home health settings.

1. How did First Access Medical first get started as a company?

First Access Medical LLC actually started as Access Medical LLC. We realized we had to form a company to promote and advance a product that we had developed: the Cathguard. Back in the 90s, I started working in a dialysis unit, and it wasn't long before I realized there wasn't an effective way to deal with the exterior lumen of a central line venous catheter. I had patients young and old dealing with the rigid plastic and sharp clamps of their catheters excoriating their skin. At that time the only remedy was to wrap the lumen with gauze and tape. It was a very difficult process as well as ineffective and dangerous for the catheter at the insertion site.

I began making a protective cover from sterile material we had on hand. I was hand making the covers/pockets for the patients in my dialysis unit. It wasn't long before every patient with the catheter wanted a catheter protector.

2. What inspired you and Cidnee Hoyt to create a product to assist patients who require catheters?

I could no longer keep up with the demand as the covers were disposable and required a new one at every treatment. We found a local medical device manufacturing company in our town. We formed a company, Access Medical LLC, to manage the financial responsibility of a company. We formed joint venture with a medical supply company to help us sell the catheter protectors. At that time, I was the chief dialysis technician, and my wife, Cidnee Hoyt, was in nursing school, working full time, and raising four children. The name Access Medical is derived from the first letter of everyone in the family at that time to include for children, Cidnee, and myself.

We knew the device had a future when the patients started demanding the Cath-PRO. I had one gentleman tell me it was the best night's sleep he had gotten since having the catheter placed.

I remember a 16-year-old female patient came to our unit and was crying uncontrollably; she could not be consoled. We asked her, what was the matter? She said, "This thing is so ugly!" I provided her with a catheter protector that managed the catheter as well as gave her discretion for the device. It completely changed her attitude, and from then on, every time I saw her, she had a smile on her face. She told us, "Thank you so much!"

3. What makes the Cath-PRO a unique product, and how does it help patients as well as medical professionals?

The Cath-PRO help support the exterior lumen of the central line venous catheter. It prevents suspended weight from pulling at the insertion site during times between treatments. Due to its design and water repellent material, it adds an added layer of protection from infectious ambient elements. It conceals the catheter under clothing, making it almost invisible. The Cath-PRO speeds up treatment times by avoiding the cumbersome issues involved in using taping to wrap line clamps and caps. The dialysis center business is a high pressure and very fast paced environment, and the Cath-PRO allows a seamless transition from treatment to exit as well as quick treatment initiation time. When the Cath-PRO goes on, patient and care giver know that the treatment is done and the patient is ready to go!

4. Does First Access Medical sell products mostly to hospitals or visiting nurse services or individuals or...?

Due to the reorganizing of First Access Medical, we offer the Cath-PRO to hospitals, dialysis providers and patients.

The re-engineered design of the Cath-PRO we offer to oncology floors cancer treatment centers as well as home treatment care that involves central line venous catheters. The larger version can accommodate multi lumen catheters as well as varying lengths. Cath-PRO can be embossed with company names to promote healthcare organizations, such as treatment centers, radiology centers, and catheter OEMs.

5. If someone has an idea for a medical device, is it possible for them to collaborate with your company?

Due to our experience, taking our idea from kitchen table to global sales has given us the experience and understanding how to navigate the complex medical device market. We understand and appreciate the perspective of the front line caregiver and patient as well as the federal regulatory mandates of government entities that regulate the medical industry. We also understand the professional world as it relates to medical sales and manufacturing.

Thanks, Eric!

First Access Medical provides top-quality catheter protectors required in the therapies of dialysis. All the products are subjected to FDA rules for manufacturing. 50% discount for first-time orders. If you have any questions, please call: 432-213-3709

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Meet Diana Galimzyanova, Filmmaker

Diana Galimzyanova is a writer and director based in Moscow, Russia. Her four award-winning short films were accepted to more than thirty five festivals in thirteen countries. She is just launching a crowdfunding campaign for her first feature-length film, which will be the first ever female-directed Russian film noir with reverse chronology. Learn more by visiting

1. How did you become interested in filmmaking?

I've always been interested in writing. Ever since I was in first grade, I would write something, a short story, a play, or even a treatment to a novel. I also tend to think in pictures at least half of the time, but I don't have a real talent for literature; my stories are too schematic. Basically, I'm just writing treatments with tons of details and plot points, and that's why I love writing screenplays because they are like schemes. And I've been a huge movie buff from a young age. So eventually I realized that I want to be a filmmaker to tell the stories I see the way I see them.

2. Have you always liked film noir, and do you have any favorite noir classics?

I've been a fan of film noir for the last ten years or so; it's such an amazing style. My favorite film noir is Sweet Smell of Success, a pure masterpiece of art. I'd say it's one of my favorite movies of all time, not just favorite film noir. I'm also a huge Hitchcock fan, and Shadow of a Doubt is both my favorite Hitchcock film and the second favorite film noir.

3. What's your process like as a writer, and how was it different writing a feature-length film rather than a short?

I usually see the crucial scenes in my mind's eye in all the details then I need to put them into words. Like with The Lightest Darkness, I saw the beginning and the end in pictures, and then I filled the middle with words. I think it was essentially the same with all of my scripts; sometimes I also saw a couple of scenes in between. With The Lightest Darkness, I did a detailed outline for the first time; it was like an investigation and research. I really enjoyed the process, so also I outlined the short script I wrote after The Lightest Darkness. I think I'm going to outline everything from now on.

4. Would you tell us more about your debut feature film?

It's a twisted story about a neurotic private eye who struggles to finish the case. When he takes a train voyage, his own dark secrets begin to reveal themselves. I'm striving to make a real film noir, with all the themes and tropes, not just the chiaroscuro lighting and blinds. So like the best film noir, it's a bit of a thriller a bit of a mystery and a bit of a drama. I want it to feel like it was made in the 40s. Although the film is not set in the 40s, all the characters are dressed in the 40s style and use props from 40s. But they also Skype with each other. I see it as an alternate universe where things are a bit different, like in that show Gintama where aliens invaded 19th century Japan and brought the technologies with them, but there are also signs of 19th-century Japan in that world, like samurais with swords, etc.

5. What is your advice for other women who want to make films with protagonists that more closely represent their lives than the characterizations we see in the mainstream media?

You should fight for your work, even if its a fight with yourself, that voice the tells you maybe I should write my female protagonist as a more convenient character like we usually see in media because the viewer wouldn't get her otherwise. So you start putting on the metaphorical makeup to cover all the imperfections of your female character to make her look more socially acceptable and likable. But this attitude is damaging. Women are all different and diverse, and most of them are not represented in the mainstream media. Luckily this trend has started to change. Now we see more female protagonists that are three dimensional strong vulnerable though flawed empowered. I hope it's just a beginning of the new way.

Thanks, Diana!

Meet Pragathi Yadhati, Actress

Born in Anantapur, India, Pragathi Yadhati is a film and theater actress who lives in New York. In addition to acting, Pragathi writes plays and poems, and she also does modelling work. Learn more about her by visiting her IMBD profile.

1. How does it feel to be an Indian actress in New York City?

It feels great. In this era of globalization, the world is coming together sharing all the different cultures that exist in it. I'm glad that I have the opportunity to portray my own and contribute to creating this awareness of multicultural impact globalization has. New York audiences loved my performances in off-Broadway shows like Bollywood Wedding, Baggage Claim, and others, and my stand up comedy which introduced our culture to them. We all know that a high percentage of Indians are into IT as engineers, and many of them work here in the United States. But there are hardly any Indian actors who represent this population or capture the essence of their lifestyles. I'm working in cross cultural movies that are mainly targeted to present this to the American audience and at the same time provide a platform for those Indians to connect their lives with the global culture.

2. What was it like for you to attend the well-known Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute?

It was a wonderful experience and I learned a lot in the two years that I spent there. Apart from acting on stage and in front of camera, I've learned the importance of punctuality and discipline. I learned how to keep my body, mind, and soul in tune so as to perfect the craft that I perform.

3. Would you tell us about some of the awards you've won so far for your acting work? What are some of your achievements so far?

As I'm working my way to doing big things, one of my short films got nominated for the Best Film at Queens World Film Festival (2011), and the other one just got accepted at the prestigious Heritage Film Festival. One of my Indian short films won the Best Short Film award at the Kalaignar Television channel awards show called "Naalaiya Iyakkunar 3" in 2012. Now I'm working in a feature film which is the first language agnostic film ever made. Apart from these, I’ve received several prizes in dance and acting growing up when arts was just an extracurricular activity. I performed on many a great stages in my hometown in India such as Hari Hara Kala Bhavan, Thyagaraya Gaana Sabha, and others, all places dedicated for performing arts and cinema. I won several prizes for these performances and received them from the hands of notable people in India like the present Home Minister for the State of Telangana, India, Nayani Narasimha Reddy (formerly the Technical Education Minister of the State), elite stars of South Indian cinema like Ramya Krishnan and Chiranjeevi. I feel fortunate to have received several awards from award winning seasoned actors and movie industry prominents like Dadasaheb phalke award winner (India's highest award in cinema) Dr. Akkineni Nageswara Rao , C. Narayana Reddy, Telangana Shakuntala , Madhukar Anand, Shobha Naidu, and others. The tradition in India is that the awardee is honored by donning a silk shawl around their shoulders for their contribution to excellence in their field. I feel extremely proud to have received such an honor by Mr. Nageswara Rao and Mr. Reddy at such a young age that I was.

4. As someone who enjoys writing as well as acting, do you hope to expand your career into writing and possibly directing work in the future?

Acting and performing is my passion. There is nothing like being on stage, in the moment and in front of the live audience. And there is no feeling better than reaching out to and touching lives of millions of audience through cinema. I choose to be an actor.

Putting in words what you want to bring to live performance is a tough process. I love writing and I enjoy this process of writing. I've started writing my own screenplays. But I haven't thought about directing yet though.

5. What else would you like American audiences to know about you--and when can we see you on screen?

As many of you in New York call me, I'm your Indian girl. An authentic Indian girl who has roots in India and education in America. Who else could better portray all those Indian roles that you wanna see on TV and movies? With a few projects currently in works, I'm looking forward to more opportunities that give me a challenge to bring out my full potential and present it to the audience.

Thanks, Pragathi!