January 2nd, 2014


These tips can help make a great impression, especially when they are used subtly and genuinely.

1. Keep your head up.

When a speaker is looking at how you listen to him or her, it is best to have your head upright. Keeping your chin low can suggest that you’re judgmental or disapproving. Maintaining eye contact helps show attentiveness. Remember though, staring can be seen as a sign of aggression or intimidation, and holding your head too high—with your chin jutting out—can come off as arrogant.

2. Nod when someone is speaking to you.

The head nod is now a helpful tool in maintaining fluidity and agreement in conversation. Three nod intervals have been proven to be the most effective. It doesn’t always have to mean that you agree, just that you are listening.

3. Do not mirror aggressive gestures to superiors.

When an employer or superior uses a dominant gesture, such as the hands on the hips, mirroring that stance can make it appear that you are challenging his or her authority. This is probably not the vibe you want to give off when trying to make a good impression.

4. Do not sit with your legs spread out widely.

For men, sitting with widely spread legs gives the appearance of asserting sexual dominance. It is an inappropriate sitting posture for the workplace, especially when female superiors or colleagues are present. It should be avoided in almost all professional settings.

5. Do not lean back with elbows out.

The classic Know-It-All boss uses this posture very often to suggest a calm and confident attitude towards subordinates. It comes across as very arrogant and it is the posture that women in the workplace hate most.

6. Leaning forward can make the impression of readiness.

When waiting for an appointment, presentation, or meeting, leaning forward while sitting can give the impression of readiness or determination. Usually with a hand or an elbow on the knee or thigh, leaning forward makes you seem attentive and interested.

OfficeDeskGuyKillingIt7. Mirroring body postures can make you seem agreeable—if you’re subtle about it.

When meeting with someone for the first time, initial subtleties like posture, facial movement, and tone of voice can make a big difference. People feel most comfortable with those who are like-minded, so subtly mirroring behavior can be a great way to make a good impression. Remember not to mimic, though, because if someone gets the sense that they’re being mocked, your impression will turn sour quickly.

8. Smiling is contagious and it can make you seem agreeable.

Smiling, in the context of strangers, originated as a submissive gesture to allow others to know that you mean them no harm. Today it denotes a similar message, but isn’t as savage. Smiling is contagious and usually makes people feel more comfortable around you.


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About Spencer Aull

I'm a Senior at Kansas University studying Strategic Communications at the J-School. I like writing, thinking, and playing basketball.

December 23rd, 2013

2072143536_eddaabf9cd_tNational Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is not your typical Christmas movie and yet it seems like everyone watches it at least once around the holidays. Clark Griswold and his family go all out for Christmas, just to have everything, and I mean everything, become a complete disaster. In honor of Christmas fast approaching I thought I’d add in a quote from the movie seeing as it is a personal favorite that I make sure to watch every year. “Where do you think you’re going? Nobody’s leaving. Nobody’s walking out on this fun, old-fashioned family Christmas. No, no. We’re all in this together,” Clark Griswold.

2072182368_21d779be74A classic Christmas movie that has been around for nearly 70 years, Miracle on 34th Street is a must watch this holiday season. When a store Santa shows up drunk to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Doris Walker must find a replacement Santa, and fast. Kris Kringle is the new replacement, the real Santa Claus, but do people really believe it’s him? One of the best lines from the movie, and one that still holds true today; ”Oh, Christmas isn’t just a day, it’s a frame of mind… and that’s what’s been changing. That’s why I’m glad I’m here, maybe I can do something about it,” Kris Kringle.


Another classic Christmas movie that has been around since the early 50s is White Christmas. While trying to save a lodge in Vermont, two soldiers become a song and dance act after World War II. The two play match maker with a sister song and dance act and they hope their performances just might save the lodge. The song White Christmas sung by Bing Crosby is definitely one that will put everyone in the Christmas spirit.

grinchHow the Grinch Stole Christmas, starring Jim Carrey, is definitely one of the most memorable holiday movies. It’s an incredible production of Dr. Seuss’ original and Jim Carrey is just the perfect Grinch. My favorite part is when he’s at home in his mountain-top lair with his dog, deliberating with himself weather or not to go to the Who-ville Who-bilation. He schedule might not allow it. “4:00, wallow in self-pity. 4:30, stare into the abyss. 5:00, solve world hunger… tell NO-ONE!”

A Christmas Story is definitely another one of the all-time Christmas favorites. Whether it’s because TBS plays in 24 hours leglampstraight on Christmas Eve every year, or because the humor in it is just so timeless, I’ll always associate the movie with the winter season and time with the family. I don’t think I’ll ever get over how funny the little brother, Randy, looks in his restricting and thickly padded snowsuit.

Wonderful Life

It’s a Wonderful Life has withstood the test of time for more than 65 Christmas seasons and is one of the original iconic Christmas movies. The film has heavy themes dealing with some serious issues, but mixes nicely with some occasional light-hearted humor. All-in-all it’s just a great movie to watch curled up by the fire. American cinema lovers will never forget the snowy, black-and-white depiction of New York in 1946.

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About Kelsey Stoskopf

December 10th, 2013

Supernatural beings have been idolized, worshipped and admired throughout history. Here’s a modern look at supernatural beings through the lens of the comic book. Listed are the Top 10 Heroes, the Top 5 Villains, and the Top 5 Honorable Mentions from some of the most popular comics of the last few decades.



The Flash

The Flash


10. The Flash- This super speedster was first introduced back in 1940 and has been embodied by four different characters since. Being able to think and move at the speed of light, the Flash also has superhuman endurance and can even phase through walls.


Dr. Manhatta


9. Dr. Manhattan- From the graphic novel “The Watchmen,” Dr. Manhattan was created after physicist Jon Osterman was accidentally locked inside an Intrinsic Field Subtractor and disintegrated into only atoms. After piecing himself together, Osterman gained the ability of super strength, telekinesis, the ability to manipulate matter, duplicate himself, grow or shrink to any size and he can perceive the past, present and future all at once.

The Thing

The Thing


8. The Thing- The most beloved character from the Fantastic Four, Ben Grimm was a rough-and-tumble Air Force Pilot before being mutated by cosmic radiation. Now appearing like a giant, orange rock-monster, the Thing possesses super strength and physical invulnerability. What you may not know is that he occasionally loses his powers when returned to his human form. In this case, he wears a suit of armor designed to replicate his rocky form, by his friend and fellow Four member, Mr. Fantastic.




7. Daredevil- This crimson crime-fighter makes up for his blindness by way of superhuman sensitivity in his other four senses. His hearing is so sensitive that he can act as a lie detector when interrogating criminals by listening to changes in their heart rate. His sense of touch is so sharp that he can read the words on a page by simply running his finger across it. Something that might surprise you is that he’s a dedicated Catholic and a lawyer when he’s not taking part in vigilantism.


6. Thor- Originating in Norse (Scandanavian) mythology, the hammer-wielding God of Thunder belongs to the Asgardian people. Thor is the strongest, most physically gifted Asgardian and has the ability to travel through time. His trusty hammer, which is named Mjolnir, allows him to fly at supersonic speeds simply by throwing it in the direction he wants and hanging on. Unknown to many, Thor has the ability to go into the “Warrior’s Madness,” where his stamina and strength are increased tenfold. The only problem with this is that he attacks anyone around him–friend or foe.


Wonder Woman


5. Wonder Woman- With strength and agility comparable to that of Superman, Wonder Woman is definitely the alpha female in the DC comic universe. Olympian goddesses blessed Wonder Woman with super strength, wisdom and intelligence, heightened senses, the ability to fly and beauty. Something I didn’t know was that her abilities can be removed if her magical bracelets are chained down by a male.


4. The Incredible Hulk- This big, green mass of superhuman ability was created when scientist Bruce Banner leapt in the field of a gamma bomb in order to save a teenager named Rick Jones. After the gamma radiation seeped into his body, Banner became subject to monstrous transformations when he was scared or angry, which people referred to as the Hulk. Did you know that the original Hulk was intended to be grey-colored, but was accidentally published in green due to ink problems?


The Wolverine


3. Wolverine- Commonly referred to as Logan, the Wolverine is a mutant that possesses extraordinary senses, physical ability, and a mutation that allows him to regenerate his body tissue very rapidly in order to heal himself from almost any type of physical injury. Because of his ability to regenerate, Logan was chosen for an experiment and forced to undergo a complete skeletal procedure that left him with a metal called adamantium fused to his bones. He has three razor sharp adamantium blades that extend from his knuckles and possesses a “berserker rage,” during which he fights with incredible aggression. What you might not know is that Wolverine is very well-traveled, multilingual, and highly trained as a pilot and a covert operative.




2. Spiderman- Peter Parker was just your average, nerdy high school science-whiz until he was bitten by a radioactive spider while visiting a science exhibit and laboratory. As a result of this bite, Parker gains the proportionate strength, agility, and ability to climb, of an arachnid. He later designs his own “webbing” that he can shoot out of contraptions around his wrists and becomes the acrobatic vigilante we all know and love. Something that I learned was that Spiderman is actually turned into a giant spider in a comic issue from 2004.


1. Superman- As the golden boy of supernatural beings in comics, Superman represents the comic book superhero on every front and has been described as an American cultural icon. Known for being almost irritatingly powerful, Superman has super strength, super speed, the ability to fly, both laser and x-ray capabilities in his eyes, the ability to create strong winds and the ability to exhale freezing air. What you may not know is that Superman has been defeated twice, both times in famous fashion. Once by the uncontrollable intergalactic monster Doomsday, and once in a fight against the Batman.






5. Loki- The evil adopted brother of Thor has always been the lesser of the two, but even as an average member of the Asgardian race, he possesses enhanced physical traits and an alien metabolism that allows him to withstand almost all physical damage. His intelligence is at a genius level and he is a very skilled magic user. I also found out that he’s shapeshifter, and can morph into animals or the forms of other people.


4. Catwoman- As the original love interest in Batman’s life, the Catwoman has famously bordered the line of friend and foe for many years. She’s not an evil genius, not even a killer for that matter, but she has a knack for breaking and entering as well as theft. Her iconic weapon of choice, the whip, has certainly done a number on Batman on multiple occasions. The creator of Batman said he developed Catwoman’s character to add a little sexuality to the comic.




3. Venom- This memorable face of evil is actually a “Symbiote,” or an alien being that acts as a gooey liquid parasite that tries to latch onto human beings. Once he has, Venom has amazing shapeshifting and camouflage abilities that make him a nightmare for Spiderman. What I didn’t know was that since Venom latched on to Spiderman a few times, he has learned how to shoot webbing similar to Spiderman’s even from a different host.


2. The Joker- The Joker is an ever-popular criminal mastermind and maniac who loves two things: dressing like a clown and telling funny jokes. Originally a chemist and engineer, then a failed a comedian and criminal, the Joker owes his creepy appearance to a chemical accident caused by the Batman. He’s known for his arsenal of comic prop weapons and manic behavior. He is considered by many to be one of the greatest villains in American pop culture.




1. Magneto- The primary villain of the X-Men, Magneto, is a holocaust survivor and a very powerful mutant with the ability to move and manipulate all forms of metal with his mind. Many know him by his cover identity, Erik Lehnsherr. Magneto is a very complex character whose intentions are benevolent (the protection of the mutant race from violence), but not executed as such. He uses violence against humans and other mutants and is protected by his small army of followers, the Brotherhood of Mutants. He has, however, come to the X-Men’s aid in the case of mutual enemies. His uniqueness and ambiguous character put him at #1.



(Heroes who have no supernatural abilities)

5. The Green Arrow

4. The Punisher

3. Captain America

2. Iron Man

1. Batman

Know someone who just loves comics? Find them the perfect gift from one of our 11 “Entertainment Genres” gift categories or try our Gift Matching service right here!

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About Spencer Aull

I'm a Senior at Kansas University studying Strategic Communications at the J-School. I like writing, thinking, and playing basketball.

December 3rd, 2013

The world has seen its fair share of styles, fashions and cultural trends since the beginning of man. From all shapes, sizes and colors, it seems that the human mind is never short of creativity when it comes to developing new appearances.

Natural hair texture, color and growth patterns are genetic, however people can shape, cut, dye and manipulate hair in many ways. And people have been doing so for ages. Here are some of the most culturally iconic hairstyles in history.

CaesarThe Julius Caesar

Named after the great Roman military leader and politician, this hairstyle can be described as a short to medium length with a horizontal edge across the forehead. It sometimes includes short curls on the sides and top.

The Qing QueueChinese Queue

During the Qing (Manchu) dynasty in 17th century China, this hairstyle was made a legal requirement for men in order to display the authority of the Qing family. The hairstyle involves the front half of the skull from the temples and above to be completely shaven and the rest of the hair braided into a ponytail in the back.

Louis_XIV_of_FranceKing Louis XIV

In the 17th century, people of royalty and wealth began wearing long, usually curled wigs to either cover baldness or to keep from getting head lice. Although the French King Louis XIII started the style, it was truly popularized by his son, Louis XIV.

The BobBOBhair20s

Although the Bob hairstyle had shown up a few times throughout history, American women during the 1920’s popularized this short to medium, straight cut style. Usually, the length of the hair was tailored to match the jaw or shoulders of a woman and the style became a symbol of modernity and the advancement of women in society.


From ancient Africa to Hinduism to modern fashion, dreadlocks have been around for around 600 years. Worn by ancient warriors of the Massai people in Kenya, the style was often dyed red with red ochre roots. Dreads were considered sacred for Hindis and were said to be worn by Shiva, the supreme deity. Revitalized by the reggae movement in the 1970’s, the style of long, matted coils of hair became a symbol of reggae music and peace, due in large part to the iconic musician Bob Marley.

The Mop-TopMopTops

The classic “Mop-Top” hairdo was named for its likeness to a mop and was popularized by the Beatles. The mid-length hairstyle consisted of shaggy hair down to the collar, over the ears, and messily tossed over the forehead as bangs.

AfroThe Afro

Although the style entered the US as early as the 1860’s, the Afro didn’t take off until the 1960’s and 70’s when African American counterculture developed with civil rights movements. As a symbol of pride and identity for African Americans, the style is heavily associated with the Disco Era and is created by combing kinky or curly hair up and out, creating a rounded mass of hair.

The Mohawk

Originally worn by the Native American tribal warriors, the Mohawk consists of the sides of the head being shaven and KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAconsiderably longer hair on the top or middle. The width and length of the longer strip on top varies and there are actually several distinct styles of Mohawk.

Create your own with some of these great hair and beauty products at GiftProfessor.com.

(All Images are licensed as Creative Commons for Reuse and Modification)

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About Spencer Aull

I'm a Senior at Kansas University studying Strategic Communications at the J-School. I like writing, thinking, and playing basketball.

November 19th, 2013

5 facts about Black Friday:

  1. President Roosevelt, in 1939, changed the official date of Thanksgiving to the second to last Thursday in November, so theFDR Christmas shopping season could be as long as possible.
  2. The term “Black Friday” was used to describe the day after Thanksgiving in the mid 1960′s by Philadelphia police officers, bus drivers, and taxi cab drivers. They dreaded the day after Thanksgiving due to the massive amount of people traveling and causing traffic problems.
  3. Nearly 135 million people go out to shop on Black Friday every year.
  4. More than 35 million people turned up at stores on Thanksgiving last year, up 22 percent from 2011 and 58 percent from 2010.
  5. Online sales on Thanksgiving, historically not a banner day for e-commerce, jumped 17 percent, according to research conducted by IBM. On Black Friday, online sales grew by 21 percent.

TrafficEvery year people wait in line for hours, anticipating the opening of the countless retail stores for Black Friday. The hottest deals, the lowest prices and the start of the Christmas shopping season draw people out of their beds at the crack of dawn. Although I’m not one of those dedicated enough to wait in line for hours, or even days, before the opening of a store on Black Friday, my mom and I have always been part of the many that are brave enough to step foot outside of their houses on the Friday after Thanksgiving.

Black Friday shopping has been a tradition between mothers and daughters for as long as I can remember. But the normal routine of getting up around 4 the morning of Black Friday was corrupted when stores that we hit first announced they were opening up Thanksgiving night last year.

More and more people are throwing away the tradition of Thanksgiving with their loved ones for the hottest deals on toysBlackFriday2 and electronics. Unless I have a product clearly in mind, I usually head out without anything that I’m set on buying for my loves ones.  So I am asking myself, “Why line up hours before like the hundreds of people who forgo their holiday time together?” More than 35 million people gave up Thanksgiving with their families last year to head out to the stores early.  Analyst Candace Corlett said, “Once the holiday shopping date is moved forward, it never moves back.” So what does this mean for Black Friday and more importantly, Thanksgiving?  It seems that shopping Thanksgiving Day is in our near future especially when stores are beginning promotions as soon as the clock strikes midnight on October  31st.  For all we know, Black Friday deals could come as early as Halloween–or sooner–in the next few years.

WintertrafficTechnology now makes our lives easier and less stressful.  GiftProfessor.com offers a creative, fun and easier way to get your holiday shopping done fast. Bypass the millions of people, the long lines and the mass crowds and find exactly what you need on our site that represents over 1000 merchants. Spend time with your family this holiday season with the convenience of GiftProfessor.com at your fingertips. Whether on your desktop, tablet or phone, avoid the hectic crowds of Black Friday and get all your holiday shopping out of the way. Try GiftProfessor.com today!


(All Images Used are licensed Creative Commons for Reuse and Modification)

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About Kelsey Stoskopf