Riley Heruska
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If you think of annual checkups as something reserved for kids and people with pre-existing conditions, you're not alone. Roughly 62 percent of Americans fail to get an annual physical done, even if 92 percent say that they think yearly checkups are important. Scheduling a doctor's appointment can be a hassle, and if you're fairly healthy, it can seem unnecessary and expensive. No one really wants to spend an afternoon in a sterile office.  

However, research indicates that everyone can benefit from annual physical checkups, no matter their age or background. If you're one of the few people who does schedule and attend a yearly doctor's appointment, here are some of the benefits you'll reap. 

You Can Identify Your Risk Factors and Monitor Them 

When you visit a doctor every year, you establish a baseline record. You go over your family history, lifestyle choices, and other important factors in your health. By establishing this record and a relationship with a trusted doctor, you'll have an easier time picking up on changes in your body.  

The Doctor Can Screen for Preventable Diseases and Conditions 

As much as you don't want to get your blood drawn or wait to have your pulse checked, these screenings can help you catch diseases in their early stages or even prevent them altogether. When you go to your annual physical, your doctor can check for everything from unhealthy cholesterol levels to signs of cancer and STDs. The more you know about your body, the better you can protect it from serious conditions. 

You'll Stay Up to Date on Your Vaccinations 

August is National Immunization Month, so many people have been talking about how important it is to keep up your shots. By visiting your doctor regularly (at least once a year), you can make sure that you haven't fallen behind on important vaccinations. Vaccines aren't just for your own health; they're a part of being a responsible citizen and protecting the health of others

Have you scheduled your annual physical for 2018? If you haven't, it's not too late to do so. 

Riley Heruska
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At approximately 7:55 PM, an officer was dispatched to a major accident at the intersection of Preston Road and Beverly Drive. He found that a pickup truck, driving northbound on Preston, had T-Boned a car that was driving westbound on Beverly. The car driver was lying on the sidewalk after being assisted out of the vehicle by bystanders. The driver of the truck, a thin black male, was seen fleeing the scene on foot. The driver was later found with a gunshot wound to his back and transported to the Parkland ER. 



An officer responded to the 3600 block of Beverly Drive to a reported burglary of a vehicle. The victim stated that she went to her vehicle that was parked in the driveway at 9:30 AM and realized that someone had entered without permission. The console was open and its contents were emptied onto the front seat. The only thing that appeared to be missing was $10 in cash. A crime scene was conducted. 



At approximately 10:19 AM, an officer was dispatched to the 4300 block of Westway Avenue to take a report of a burglarized vehicle. The victim advised the officer that at 6:00 PM the night before, he had parked his car in the circle driveway of his residence. When he returned in the morning, he found that his briefcase had been stolen from the passenger seat. 


At approximately 2:07 PM, an officer was dispatched to the intersection of Beverly Drive and Douglas Avenue to take a FLID report. The victim stated that she was in the 4300 block of Mockingbird Lane in stop-and-go traffic when a vehicle behind her hit her rear bumper. She pulled into the HPSV to exchange information, but the other car fled. 


While working as a security guard at the Highland Park Shopping Village, an off-duty officer was called to the scene of a FLID. He found that one vehicle had paint transfer damage on the rear passenger side bumper. The owner of the vehicle stated that she had been inside her vehicle when someone else backed into her car. The other driver left the scene without providing any information. 



An officer responded to the 4300 block of Bordeaux to meet with a victim who claimed his wife's earrings had been stolen from a dish on the vanity located in the master bathroom. His wife had taken the earrings off and placed them in the dish on the evening of August 10. Other jewelry was in the tray, but only the earrings are missing. An AC company had stopped by to conduct some repair, but the victim stated that he does not believe the handyman is a suspect. There are no signs of forced entry.  

All information provided by HPPD 

Riley Heruska
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Two residents came home from vacation to find jewelry items missing from their house in the 4400 block of Emerson Avenue. It appears the items were stolen between 8:00 AM on August 8 and 12:00 PM on August 12.  


Officers responded to a disturbance at a gas station in the 8400 block of Preston Road. Upon arrival, suspects had already fled the scene in a stolen vehicle. The police were advised that the suspects had stolen beef jerky and donuts. 


At approximately 11:47 PM, officers conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle that was observed driving without lights in the 7800 block of Preston Road. The driver of the vehicle was later issued a citation for an offense and was released to a guardian. A report was completed. 



An officer made contact with a subject that was laying on top of a vehicle in the 4400 block of Lovers Lane, drinking beer. He was arrested for public intoxication. 


An unknown person entered a habitation in the 3600 block of Bryn Mawr and stole kitchen appliances. 


During a traffic stop in the 8200 block of Preston Road, an officer found the passenger of a vehicle to be in possession of marijuana. The passenger was arrested and booked into UPPD jail. 



Officers were called to the 3500 block of Hanover on a disturbance call. Officers made contact with a victim who said he had been assaulted by a worker on his job site. The worker was still on scene with the officers arrived. The victim wanted to press charges on the worker, and the worker was arrested at the scene for assault and transported to the University Park Jail. 


A reporting person's paint spray was taken without his content from the 3400 block of McFarlin Boulevard between 2:00 PM and 4:45 PM. 



A suspect took a shirt from a store in the 4400 block of Lovers Lane and did not pay for it. 



A resident reported receiving threats from a former patient. 


A victim reported a burglary of a residence. An unknown person entered the residence in the 6600 block of Golf Drive and took a purse without permission. 


An unlocked vehicle was taken during the night while it was parked in the 4500 block of Glenwick Lane. 


A victim said that the suspect tried to order $2,200 from their store. 



An unlocked vehicle was entered overnight in the 4400 block of Larchmont and a wallet was stolen from the console. 


A suspect removed a pistol from a victim's unlocked vehicle door overnight without permission. The vehicle was parked in the 4400 block of Larchmont Avenue. 


A citizen reported that an unlocked car was burglarized overnight by an unknown person while it was parked on the street in the 4400 block of Larchmont Avenue. 

All information provided by UPPD 

Riley Heruska
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If you’re like most people, you dread Sunday evenings. They’re the calm before the weekday storm, and rather than using them to prepare, we’d rather relax and watch TV.

Interestingly, Business Insider has revealed that many successful people make Sunday their favorite day of the week. They use it as a springboard for the rest of the week and set themselves up for success. As crazy as it seems, they enjoy their Sunday evenings.

Tired of feeling lazy and unproductive at the end of the weekend? Here are five things everyone should do before the chaos of Monday hits.

Review Your Weekly Calendar

Instead of thinking about all of the things you have to get done this week, sit down and actually make a list. Remind yourself of upcoming appointments. Make manageable to-do lists. Figure out your dinner plans and grocery shopping trips. By preparing a little, you’ll find that you dread the start of the week less.

Get Moving

You don’t have to be a gym rat to reap the benefits of physical activity. Sunday nights are for long walks with your partner or a bike ride around the park. Get outside and get your blood pumping. The exercise will take your mind off stressful topics. It can also help you sleep better and start the week well-rested.

Unplug From Social Media and Technology

You’re about to be inundated with messages all week. Give yourself a break on Sunday nights. Put away your cell phone, shut off your computer, and decompress. This will give you the chance to reconnect with family and recharge your batteries for the busy work week.

Take 15 Minutes to Tidy Up

You don’t have to be a Marie Kondo fan to understand that a clean house creates a clean mind. Don’t start cleaning out your closet or re-organizing the garage at 6 p.m. on a Sunday. Instead, look around the house and decide what you can get done in 15 minutes. Maybe you can change the sheets or run the vacuum. Put away the haphazard piles of shoes and clear the countertops. Small efforts make a big difference.

Go to Bed Early

You might be tempted to squeeze every ounce of weekend freedom out of your Sunday night. Unfortunately, staying up late won’t make you feel better about the week to come. Recent studies have indicated that sleeping extra on the weekends can actually help compensate for the sleep you lose getting up early during the week. Don’t sacrifice those precious hours of shut-eye for yet another Netflix binge-session.

What do you do on your Sunday nights to make the coming week easier? Let us know in the comments.

Riley Heruska
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Image licensed from Shutterstock

If your child is a junior or senior in high school, you’re probably spending a great deal of time discussing higher education. There are 176 different colleges in Texas, which can make the application process overwhelming if you don't already have a school in mind.

You’ve heard the big names in Texas universities like UT and Texas A&M, but don’t forget to consider some of the smaller schools with amazing reputations. Here are five colleges that you might not know much about, but are definitely worth considering.

Austin College - Sherman, TX

Okay, I should probably admit that this is my alma mater. Go Roos! However, my praise for this school goes beyond my own personal experience. 

Austin College is a small liberal arts college that values real-world experience and education above everything. Seven out of 10 AC students study abroad in some capacity, and AC encourages every student to pursue a life of commitment and personal growth. Surprisingly, 97 percent of their 2018 graduates completed their degree in just four years. 

Ranked in the top 100 liberal arts schools in the nation, this is one school that academically-inclined, driven students should not overlook.

Southwestern University - Georgetown, TX

Also in the top 100 liberal art schools, Southwestern University is an excellent choice for high school graduates seeking a beautiful campus with a rich culture. Southwestern offers small class sizes, plenty of student engagement opportunities, and challenging academics. More than half of the students travel abroad at some point, and everyone can pick from more than 40 different majors.

An added bonus: The Southwestern University campus is within driving distance of the entertainment in Austin, but it’s removed enough to offer peace and quiet for long nights of studying.

McMurry University - Abilene, TX

When most people list schools in Abilene, they think Abilene Christian University (ACU). However, that’s not the only school in the city.

McMurry University offers a liberal arts education to students of all faiths and backgrounds. With a low student-faculty ratio and many popular majors, including Business and Psychology, this school offers a great deal of opportunity to dedicated students. Maybe that’s why it’s ranked 12 in the 2018 of Best Colleges in Regional Colleges West.

Howard Payne University - Brownwood, TX

With just over 1,000 students enrolled in 2018, Howard Payne University is one of the smallest schools on this list. However, most view its small size as a huge benefit. The school prides itself on offering personalized instruction and opportunities for every student. The pre-law program is one of the best in the state, competing with much larger schools. Their teaching, social work, and business programs are also impressive.

Howard Payne is ranked 13 in Regional Colleges West and is increasingly recognized for academic excellence. If you’ve never thought of visiting Brownwood before, now might be the time.

St. Edward’s University - Austin, TX

This school is a wonderful option for students who love the hip atmosphere in Austin but who don’t want to attend an enormous university like the University of Texas. St. Edward’s is a private institution with around 4,000 students enrolled. The lovely campus offers a beautiful view of Austin, and the academics are highly-ranked.

St. Edward’s University is number 15 in Regional Universities West, and its students continuously distinguish it as a place of learning and growth. The school places great emphasis on service projects and internships, which have direct impacts on students' futures.

Did you attend any of these awesome schools? Let us know in the comments!

Riley Heruska
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Every parent wants to encourage their child to eat healthy foods, but sometimes, picky eaters can be unbelievably stubborn. If your child refuses to touch anything green, here are some techniques you can use to increase their veggie consumption without causing a tantrum. 

Lead by Example

According to the CDC in 2017, only 9 percent of adults actually consume enough vegetables. How can you expect your children to eat their peas and carrots if you barely eat yours? Start incorporating more veggies and fruits into your daily meals so that your child learns from a good role model. After all, you should be eating cancer-fighting foods like broccoli, too. This is your chance to boost the whole family's health. 

Make the Veggies Interesting 

A bland motley of steamed veggies hardly appeals to a toddler's sense of excitement. Ask yourself how you can make the vegetables more enticing. Tell your dino-obsessed kid that broccolis are trees and he's a reptilian herbivore. Challenge them to mimic Bugs Bunny when he eats carrots or put cheese on their Brussels sprouts. TV shows and books tell kids they're supposed to dislike vegetables, so you need to convince them otherwise. 

Cook Vegetables Into Dishes

Healthy ingredients are more difficult to pick out when they're thoroughly incorporated into a recipe. Try tempting your picky eater with a broccoli cheese rice casserole or a homemade spinach lasagna. If you really want to be sneaky, puree the vegetables into a sauce so that your little one won't even notice them. 

Use Vegetables in Your Baking 

Veggie desserts hardly sound appealing, even to adults. However, you'd be surprised to learn that you can make a variety of your favorite treats with vegetable ingredients. For instance, this chocolate zucchini cake is delicious. You can also experiment with real carrot cupcakes, chocolate spinach muffins, and healthy avocado brownies

Give Them Dips to Eat With the Veggies 

Most kids can't say no to something slathered in ranch dressing or salsa. See if you can get your kids to embrace hummus and other healthy dips, then serve it with a tray of fresh veggies. In desperate times, you can even resort to smothering vegetables in yummy cheese. 

How do you get your picky eaters to eat their veggies? Leave other suggestions in the comments below!

Riley Heruska
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We've all heard about apps like Headspace and MyFitnessPal, but what other resources exist in your phone? There are dozens of apps available that can help you become a healthier, happier person. Here are ten that you should download ASAP if you want to start caring for your mental health on a regular basis. 

Note: All of these apps are available for both Android and IOS users.


Ever wish you could carry a therapist around with you in your pocket? Moodpath can give you that feeling of reassurance. Experts designed the app to support users through difficult times. It asks important questions and screens for symptoms of depression. Additionally, videos and psychological exercises help you understand your moods and emotions.

Quit That! 

Most of us have habits we'd like to quit. Whether it's smoking, drinking, binge eating, or shopping, this app can help you nix the addiction.The interface is straightforward and ad-free, so you can focus solely on breaking your habit. Doctors and therapists have recommended Quit That!, and hundreds of five-star reviews indicate that it's worth downloading.


Using a variety of techniques and intervention methods employed by Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, this app helps you control feelings of sadness and anxiety. If you consistently find yourself drowning in negative thoughts, Happify can help you overcome the stress and give you ways to improve your life satisfaction. It even calculates our emotional well-being through reported activities, habits, and emotions.


Controlling your negative moods is much easier with a tool like SuperBetter. This app utilizes a game that helps users build resilience and focus on being positive, even when life is tough. Reviewers with chronic illnesses, anxiety, depression, and PTSD have all reported feeling better within 30 days of using the app 


This app was built to aid teens and young adults who struggle with anxiety. It serves as a motivator in your pocket, cheering you on and helping you cope with intense emotions or challenging situations. By shifting your mindset, you can assess what is stressing you out and how you can deal with the problem. 


If you feel alone or misunderstood in your battle with anxiety, this app is for you. Pacifica brings together a community of people who are all stressed and/or fighting unmanageable emotions. The app also equips users with audio lessons, activities, daily challenges, and goal-setting software.

7 Cups 

In today's world, therapy doesn't have to take place in an office with an in-person doctor. 7 Cups gives users access to trained listeners and licensed therapists who provide advice anonymously. They are trained to assist with bullying, panic attacks, eating disorders, relationship problems, and a variety of other psychological issues. Don't give up if you think therapy is too expensive. Instead, download 7 Cups and start working with a professional today. 

What's Up 

This app employs Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Acceptance Commitment Therapy to help users cope with depression and other problems. Users track their positive and negative habits, then work to break the negative patterns. Don't worry, you don't have to do all the analysis; What's Up asks you more than 100 questions to figure out what you're feeling and help put an end to negative thought patterns


Looking for an app that can help with every aspect of your physical and mental well-being? Lifesum tackles everything from eating well to drinking water and thinking positively. The app will even generate a "Life Score" that gives you an in-depth look at steps you can take to feel happier. 


Many of us want to start journaling, but we just don't have the time to write every day. Daylio helps with that by prompting you to type out a single line every day. You can also track moods, add activities, and keep notes. As you use Daylio regularly, you'll begin to understand your habits and trends. This allows you to work on becoming more productive.

What apps do you use to stay healthy, both physically and mentally? Let us know in the comments! 

Riley Heruska
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The book is always better than the movie. If you’re a reader, you probably want to get your hands on the written word before you buy tickets to watch the film adaptation. 

There are several big movies coming out this fall that are inspired by popular novels. Now is your chance to read the book before you see the movie, so grab your library card and get started.

The Little Stranger - August 31

In a couple of weeks, this dark mystery will start showing in theaters. It follows the story of Dr. Farady, a country doctor who takes on a new patient. Unfortunately for him, this new patient is haunted by something disturbing. The original 2009 novel by Sarah Waters has been praised for its chilling tale by dozens of critics. Stephen King even claimed that this novel guarantees "several sleepless nights."

The House With a Clock in Its Walls - September 21

Although this novel by John Bellairs was written for kids, there's something deliciously dark about it. Adults and their children will both get a kick out of the quirky story. Read the book as a family, then head to the theaters in September to watch a film that will instantly put you in the mood for Halloween.

Boy Erased - November 2

Nicole Kidman and Lucas Hedges star in this movie-adaptation about a church-supported gay conversion program. The son of a Baptist preacher is forced to participate against his will, and his story is one of bravery and redemption. Labeled as "wrenching" and "moving," Boy Erased is one movie/novel combo you won't want to miss.

First Man - October 12

Written by James R. Hansen, the book First Man details the incredible life of Neil A. Armstrong and his mission to land a man on the moon. The movie version stars Ryan Gosling and is directed by Oscar-winning director Damien Chazelle, so you know you're in for a treat once this film hits theaters.

The Girl in the Spider's Web - November 9

If you're a fan of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (either the book or the movie), you absolutely must check out The Girl in the Spider's Web before its movie comes out. David Lagercrantz hasn't let his readers down with any of his books, so don't expect anything less than genius from this installment in the Millennium Series

Mary, Queen of Scots - December 7

Margot Robbie and Saoirse Ronan star in this dramatic take on the relationship between Queen Elizabeth 1 and Mary Stuart. Antonia Fraser originally wrote Mary, Queen of Scots in 1993, and it has since been heralded as one of the most fascinating takes on this slice of history ever created.

Holmes and Watson - December 21

This movie adaptation is only loosely based on the original classics by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, but still, any excuse to revisit Sherlock Holmes and his trusty sidekick is a good one. Head to the theaters to watch Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly bring the stories to life in a whole new (and humorous) way. 

Which of these are you excited to read and then watch? Let us know in the comments! 

Riley Heruska
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If you're a self-labeled "shopping addict," you're not alone. Recent studies show that about 20 million Americans have an addictive, unhealthy relationship with shopping. The rise of online sales has contributed to compulsive buying, and as with any habit, shopping can become financially and emotionally detrimental when it becomes an addiction. 

Ever feel like you buy things even when you know you shouldn't? Are you tired of racking up credit card bills only to have a home full of things you don't actually need or want?

Check out these five big tips that might help you reel in your urge to spend money on clothing and accessories.

1. Ask yourself the three big questions.

Every time you pick something up and consider buying it, ask yourself: 

  • Do I need it?
  • Is it a good price?
  • Do I love it? 

In order for any purchase to be worthwhile, the answer to at least two of those questions should be a firm yes. Once you start implementing this technique, you'll see how many purchases only fit into one category. If you love to shop, you're often tempted to buy things just because they're a good price or because you love it. This method reveals that those reasons alone aren't enough to justify spending money. 

2. Understand the impact of fast-fashion.

After learning about how much waste the average American household produces and the role of slave labor in the fashion industry, dropping money on cheap clothing doesn't seem as appealing. Find out what kind of practices your money is funding. I promise that $15 shirt won't seem nearly as desirable if you know where it was made, what materials they used, and who reaps the profits of your purchase. 

3. Make an ongoing shopping list. 

Just because you want to cut back on shopping doesn't mean you have to go cold turkey. In fact, coming to a screeching halt with any habit is almost a surefire way to fail.

Instead, get out a pen and paper and write down a list of items that you're 100 percent okay with buying over the next month. Do you need new jeans? Have you been hunting for a replacement coffee mug? Put those "acceptable" purchases in writing, then stick to that list as much as possible. 

4. Delete the apps that cause you to spend more money. 

Pretty much every app, including Facebook and Instagram, encourages consumerism. In fact, social media advertising revenue is forecast at $51.3 billion USD for 2018. Stores and brands want you to check out their newest products while scrolling through your feeds. Like myself and so many others, you probably give in to their whims more often than you should. 

If you know that Instagram gives you an uncontrollable shopping urge, cut back on the app or uninstall it until you get your spending under control

5. Find healthy ways to curb your urge to spend. 

Most shopping sprees are fueled by a desire to find happiness or to reap some instant gratification. Buying things makes us feel better about ourselves, hence its nickname "retail therapy."

To save money and preserve your sanity, you'll need to find other habits to cultivate when the urge to buy hits. From now on, every time you feel like shopping, go for a jog. Pick up a book. Cook a good meal. By finding other ways to feel satisfied, you'll experience fewer desires to dump money on products that don't make you happy in the long run. 

How do you manage your shopping desires? If you have other tips or tricks, share them in the comments below. 

Riley Heruska
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Sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic is a surefire way to put anyone in a bad mood, but what scientists have found is that spending time in traffic on a regular basis may negatively impact your mental health. This probably isn't that shocking to hear, but what you might not know is how traffic is impacting your brain and emotions. 

Sitting in traffic can leave you feeling fatigued. A study by the U.S. Department of Transportation found that the average American spends just under an hour of time driving every day. Much of that driving is dedicated to simply getting to and from a place of employment. Whether you're carpooling or driving alone, this lengthy drive can leave you feeling drained by the end of the day, which contributes to a feeling of dissatisfaction with your job and an unwillingness to engage in social activities after work. In fact, Dr. Robert Putnam from Harvard suggests that every extra 10 spent commuting results in 10 percent fewer social connections

Traffic-jams and crowded roads can increase feelings of anxiety. 
People who are especially susceptible to anxiety, and those who are not, are all at risk of heightened anxiety levels when they're commuting long distances often. The fear of being late to work or getting into an accident contributes to this problem, as does a general dread of hitting the road on a daily basis. 

Daily commuters often report higher stress levels. When faced with gridlocked traffic and constantly busy highways, humans naturally enter into a stressed state of emotion. This comes from the instinct to protect yourself and deal with a high-intensity situation. Unfortunately, this prolonged exposure to stress also contributes to the risk of cardiovascular disease, feelings of unhappiness, and a lower immune system. 

People with long commutes report lower quality of sleep. The Regus Work-Life Balance Index for 2012 found that drivers who spent more than an hour and a half each day commuting each to and from their place of work reported lower sleep quality and more exhaustion than people with shorter commutes. Plus, your heightened levels of anxiety and stress from driving every day can impact your sleep, which leads to more mental health issues. 

Even an extra half hour spent in the car each day can influence job satisfaction. In fact, a study found that adding 20 minutes to your commute each day can have the same negative effect on your job satisfaction as receiving a 19 percent pay cut. Researchers have also discovered that each extra minute of commuting reduces both job and leisure time satisfaction

You're more at risk of becoming depressed. 
A study conducted at the University School of Medicine in Saint Louis and the Cooper Institute in Dallas found that people with commutes of at least 10 miles each way have a higher tendency toward depression, anxiety, and social isolation. No wonder you feel so down in the dumps when you arrive home after an hour of sitting in traffic. 

How long is your daily commute to work? Do you feel that it impacts your feelings about your job and time? Let us know in the comments.