Monday, February 22, 2016

4 Easy Ways to Winter-Proof Your Makeup

5 Easy Ways to Winter-Proof Your Makeup

Perfect your pout

If you have cracked, flaky winter lips, stick with a tinted lip balm that contains sunscreen. If your lips are in good shape you can opt for moisturizing lipstick, but avoid matte or long-wearing lipstick formulas as they can be drying.

Perfect your pout

Wake up your complexion

Don't forget blush: It'll make a washed-out face come to life. Sweep a soft, peachy-hued (for fair skin) or warm, terra cotta-toned (for darker skin) blush onto the apples of your cheeks and blend towards your cheekbones.

Wake up your complexion

Prevent windburn

On the most blustery days, create a barrier between your face and the wind by applying a richer, extra-moisturizing emollient or salve, notes Real Simple. For more protection, put up your parka’s hood, or wear a hat and a scarf that you can bundle up around your neck and nose.

Prevent windburn

Don’t skip sunscreen

Skin-ravaging UV rays are present year-round. Add in the sun-reflecting properties of snow (and outdoor activities like skiing) and it's clear that your summer SPF routine is just as important in the winter. Get in the habit of wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30 daily, no matter what the season.

Don’t skip sunscreen

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2 Homemade Acne Treatments

2 Homemade Acne Treatments

Homemade Acne Treatments - Toothpaste

Your teenager is bemoaning a prominent pimple, and the day before the dance too! Tonight, have her or him dab a bit of non-gel, nonwhitening toothpaste on the offending spot, and it should be dried up by morning. The toothpaste dehydrates the pimple and absorbs the oil. This remedy works best on pimples that have come to a head. Caution: This remedy may be irritating to sensitive skin.

Homemade Acne Treatments - Toothpaste

Homemade Acne Treatments - Olive Oil

Okay, the notion of applying oil to your face to treat acne does sound a bit wacky. Still, many folks swear this works: Make a paste by mixing 4 tablespoons salt with 3 tablespoons olive oil. Pour the mixture onto your hands and fingers and work it around your face. Leave it on for a minute or two, then rinse it off with warm, soapy water. Apply daily for one week, then cut back to two or three times weekly. You should see a noticeable improvement in your condition. (The principle is that the salt cleanses the pores by exfoliation, while the olive oil restores the skin’s natural moisture.)

Homemade Acne Treatments - Olive Oil

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Sunday, February 21, 2016

4 Additional Benefits of Kissing Sugar Goodbye

4 Additional Benefits of Kissing Sugar Goodbye

It never fails that after a holiday like Halloween (and going forward through the end of the year) that people start bringing their goodies in to the office to share with everyone, if for no other reason than to get them out of their own house! These last few months of the year are the toughest for sugar addicts trying to reform their ways.

For a while after writing my previous article "Eight Benefits of Kissing Sugar Goodbye," I was doing pretty well, but after finding myself in a bit of a relapse, I need some additional reminders of why I should avoid all these sugary temptations!

Starve the Addiction

I always think it will be good idea to have "just one" piece of candy or cookie that someone brings in. I'm always wrong. Who am I kidding? I can't eat just one! If I haven't eaten a lot of sugar in a while, I do start to lose my taste for it, but the more I start to nibble and eat "just one," the more my body starts to scream "Give me more!" Before I know it, I'm eating it by the handful with no end in sight. It really becomes a downward spiral from there, and all the negative consequences of eating sugar start to rear their ugly heads. Really - it's better not to start.

Healthier Teeth

We all know that sugar is bad for your teeth. The plaque-forming bacteria in your mouth feed on sugary substances (and other carbohydrates)[2], and it's the acidic byproduct produced by these bacteria that contributes to the formation of cavities, gum disease[1], and the like. I know from personal experience that if I've been eating a lot of sugar, my teeth and gums start to develop a sensitivity to cold which makes drinking or eating anything cold excruciating! And of course no one looks forward to sitting in the dentist chair under the drill to have cavities filled.

Increased Nutrients for Your Body

If you're not eating sugar, presumably you're eating something containing more nutritive value instead. Veggies, fruit, meat, nuts, cheese, etc. all contain nutrients that are vital to your body's well-being. If you fill up on candy and sweets, you don't leave room for what your body really needs to properly function. If you want to look, feel, and function your best, choose to fuel your body with foods that give you what you need.

For years, this point about nutrition really didn't matter to me; I felt healthy enough, and I didn't see any need to change. As I approach middle age, and I learn more about the proper functioning of my bodily systems, the more I realize how quickly my body responds in a positive way to "real" food and more healthful options. It's so great to be able to think clearly and not feel sluggish all afternoon!

A Sense of Freedom

If you're not enslaved to the addictive power of sugar, there is a sense of freedom! You're not worried about walking past the free samples in the bakery section or the colorful array of choices in the candy isle, because sugar no longer has a hold on you. If you've been eating foods that are healthy and good for you, you're not weighed down by food guilt. Kick sugar to the curb!

Whether you are motivated by weight loss, physical appearance, personal health and energy, or the effect your food decisions have on others, feel good about your choices and enjoy the freedom that ensues!

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Saturday, February 20, 2016

The Benefits of Pumping Breast Milk

The Benefits of Pumping Breast Milk

The Benefits of Pumping Breast Milk - Breast feeding. Everyone knows the many benefits of breast feeding. Everything from providing your baby with anti-bodies, lowering the risk of allergies and respiratory diseases to possibly being linked to higher IQ's as adults. But breast feeding is a very personal decision, and  any woman who chooses to go this route is dedicating at least six months of her life to eating right (or at least staying away from certain foods), minimizing if not eliminating the consumption of alcohol, cigarettes and drugs, prescription or not. On top of all that, there is the sore, sometimes bleeding nipples, the feeling of fullness , and the controversial issue of breast feeding in public. I had trouble with this  myself, I wasn't even comfortable breast feeding, under a blanket in front of my family and friends, let alone out in public!! Which is where pumping came into the picture. And why, when I had my second child, I almost immediately began pumping again!

The benefits of pumping for me were many. Firstly, the baby. He wasn't getting enough food. He was jaundice (a yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes) and after two weeks, still hadn't reached his birth weight. A sure sign that he was under nourished. But how? I thought to myself, I feed him every 1.5 hours, and each feeding is lasting about 45 minutes! Surely he is eating enough! But no, both myself and the baby were bad at breast feeding! Now, we could have gone to see a lactation consultant, which is actually highly recommended and was actually our next move. But we had a function to go to one night, and with my bashfulness, we decided it would be best if I pumped a bottle instead. After about half an hour at the event, the baby became inconsolable. I ended up going outside to keep from disrupting the event. It was a passing comment from another mother that prompted action. "He's hungry, that's all" I decided to give him the bottle to see if it would calm him down. It did! And in a hurry. He gulped down about 3.5 oz in no time. So he was hungry, starving actually, even though I had fed him only a hour earlier. 

 The very next day we invested in a dual breast pump, they are kind of pricey, but worth every penny! Our boy started to gain weight right away,(though it can be kind of stressful trying to breastfeed and pump enough at the same time). We knew exactly how much the baby was drinking at a time, taking the guess work out of breast feeding.

Secondly, as hinted at above, time was another huge benefit. I went from 45 minutes a feeding (every 1.5 hours) to seven minutes a pump, every 3 hours. (the time between pumps varies with the needs of the baby. The more often you pump, the more you will produce. Also the setting of the pump will affect how much you produce, if the pump is turned way up, your body will think you have a very hungry baby and will produce milk to match.) That was HUGE for me. No more disappearing on our company, eating cold meals and all around avoiding doing anything. With a set schedule of when you have to pump, the freedom grows! It also allowed me to rejoin my sport teams, and leave the baby at home with dad!

Thirdly, I could stock up. With pumping, you will over produce, and very easily.It will be no time at all (if you choose) that your deep freeze will be full of frozen milk, and that's a good thing! It meant that I could wean myself off while still having enough milk to feed the baby for months.( I think I finally stopped pumping around 9 months, but had enough milk saved up, that the baby got the good stuff until one year!) There are varying opinions on how long frozen breast milk is good for, from 3 months to a year. Myself, I never let it go past 3 months. 

And lastly, pumping allowed my husband and our family and friends a chance to feed the baby. He got passed around, because it is a beautiful thing when you get to feed a sweet little innocent child, the way they look up at you with their eyes so full of love... mmm, there's nothing like it!! My husband has said many times with our first and now with the second child, it has made him feel more involved, creating a deeper bond between him and the child. Also, it has taken away some of the sleep envy that is common when the husband gets to sleep away while the mother has to wake up, feed, burp and usually change the baby. Now because the milk is pumped, all he has to do is roll over and pop the bottle in the babies mouth, burp him and go back to sleep! Also, we are now able to leave the baby with grandma, giving us time to get projects done, that would have been very difficult had we been forced to do it with the baby in the house.

Pumping has worked for us, while it might not work for everyone, I believe it is worth taking a look at.

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5 Reasons Why Kids Should Not Drink Soda

5 Reasons Why Kids Should Not Drink Soda

5 Reasons Why Kids Should Not Drink Soda - There are many reasons why kids should not drink soda, but despite this fact, a large number of kids, perhaps alarmingly so, routinely indulge in this sticky, sweet substance. And this is not surprising. Everywhere you turn in society, kids are exposed to soda in grocery stores, restaurants and vending machines. You'd be hard-pressed to find kids who do not at least know what soda is, even if their parents don't let them have it and/or they've never tried it.

Soda is a beverage that many kids tend to love once their buds catch a taste of this sugary beverage. The best way to encourage kids not to drink soda is not to expose them to it at a young age, however there are parents who don't see the harm in "just a taste" of soda and introduce it to developing palates.  Unfortunately, unless a kid is adverse to the carbonation, chances are they'll quickly develop a taste for the sweetness in sodas.

No Nutritional Value

Soda contains absolutely no useful levels of nutrition. Basically, soda is a liquid beverage full of empty calories that do not offer any benefits to growing children. If anything, in a sense this can deplete their nutritional health because if kids are drinking soda, this means they are likely drinking less of the healthier beverage options that contain vitamins and calcium. They may also be eating less food because their bellies are filled with a whole lot of empty calories. Calories that eventually, over time, can lead to childhood obesity and/or other health problems.

Weight Gain

Empty calories are going to lead to weight gain for those kids who aren't as active. This may not be such an issue for toddlers, preschoolers or younger children, but when kids hit the tween and teen ages, drinking too much sugar (including its GMO-laden corn syrups and other artificial sweeteners) can become problematic. According to Harvard's School of Public Health, "two out of three adults and one out of three children in the United States are overweight or obese." Sugary drinks are considered to be one of the major contributors of early obesity.

Tooth Decay

The levels of sugar contained in a single serving of soda are staggering and kids that drink soda on a daily basis are going to have all that sugar constantly coating their teeth. Eventually, this could contribute to tooth decay because of the tendency of soda to dissolve tooth enamel.


While it's true many sodas do not contain caffeine, many of the popular brands do. Most kids are active enough without needing a boost of caffeine to add to an already active child. Drinking trace or excessive amounts caffeine can contribute to hyperactivity.

In an article published by the Washington Post in August 2015, it was cited the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found a whopping 73 percent of young Americans (aged 2 to 22) consume caffeine regularly. Granted, the amount of caffeine coming from soda dropped from 63 percent in 1999-2000 to 39 percent in 2009-2010 (the most recent survey), but it's still a lot of soda drinking.

Experts are also concerned those sodas have been replaced by caffeine-packed energy drinks and fancy sweet-tasting coffees for teens. Both of which can contain even higher levels of caffeine than sodas. Additionally, scientists are still actively studying the long-term effects of caffeine on developing kids. These studies are beginning to find caffeine, even in low doses, has negative cardiovascular effects on kids. Caffeine is found to increase heart rate and blood pressure in children. It also interrupts sleep patterns, worsen stomach problems, increase moodiness and have an affect on anxiety levels.

Screws Up Taste Preferences

When kids become habitual soda drinkers, they are more than likely to eventually become routine adult soda drinkers which can lead to other health problems, including lowered calcium and other vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Not exposing children to the taste at a young age is a good idea because once those little taste buds experience the sweetness of soda's sugar, it can become much harder to deter them later on.

If kids are given alternate choices during the younger formative years (preferably good ol' fashioned water), chances are higher they'll turn to different beverage options when they become old enough to make their own drink choices.

Soda and children has long been a source of conflict in society. For a while soda companies were even putting soda machines in schools, and schools were willingly accepting them because it helped increase their spending budgets, but this caused backlashes with health advocates. As a result, this avenue of product distribution has become far less popular and many schools stopped this practice. In the U.S., in recent years, even the White House has gotten involved with getting junk foods out of the schools with First Lady Michelle Obama making a big push for this movement. 3  As an alternative, soda manufacturers tend to turn to other places, such as malls, which are still a good venue for snagging young people as consumers - with the  potential they'll eventually become loyal customers.
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Thursday, February 18, 2016

5 Ways to Exercise Your Brain

5 Ways to Exercise Your Brain

We all agree that physical exercise is essential to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. We focus on keeping our bodies fit, but do we adequately exercise our brains? The brain is a big muscle, and can be stretched and developed just like the other major muscle groups in our bodies.

There are a number of companies out there that offer brain development games and exercises. Companies like Lumosity, and CogniFit are not few and far between. But did you know that there are some simple and practical ways to exercise your brain from anywhere in the world?

Check out these 5 ways to exercise your brain from anywhere :

Play Strategic Board Games

Playing board games that require strategic thinking and tactics are a great tool for developing the mind. Games like Chess and Checkers are easy to start a pick up game with anyone, and are somewhat universal. Take your time. Think through your next move(s), and anticipate the move(s) of your opponent. 

This exercise can also teach us how to read and percieve situations, including how to anticipate the responses and reactions of others. A valuable skill to possess. We live on a social planet, and learning to observe and understand people is crucial no matter where in the world you are. 

Switch Hands

This one seems simple, but is definitely easer said than done. Try writing without your dominant hand and see how well you can use your brain to tell your other hand what to do. There may be some difficulty, but that is all a part of the fun. Stretching your brain and teaching your muscles to do something that they are unfamiliar with is key. 

Think of how this could apply in social situations as well. Most of us have been in situations that were unfamiliar, and pushed us to adapt and develop new habits - no matter how difficult it may have been to do so. Ultimately, with perseverance and determination, we succeed at building new skills and growing as individuals in the process. 

Play Card Memory Games

This one is simple, and can be done alone or in large groups. Take a regular deck of cards, and place them all on a flat surface face down. Then, flip two cards over at a time with the goal of matching the two numbers. If they are not a match, then return them to their face down position, and try to match two different cards the next time. Once you have flipped over two cards with the same number, pick those cards up and place them in a pile off to the side. Continue attempting to match the remaining cards.

This card game will help improve your memory skills. It may be difficult when you first begin, but you will see over time your ability to remember the location of certain numbers will improve. Try this exercise once or twice a day and see how often you forget where the car keys are. 

Test Your Recall

I love lists. I actually receive pleasure out of creating lists and checking the items off one by one. But, I must admit, I use lists to help me remember things that I have to do that day, month and even year. However, this game not only requires you to make a list but to memorize as many items on that list as you can. I know, sounds counter productive but it is well worth it!

Try it. Create a list. Then, spend 30 seconds looking at the list and try to memorize as many items as you can.  Now, put the list face down and try to jot down as many items from the list that you can remember. Then, compare your original list with the list of items you could remember and see how well you did. 

This exercise has improved my effectiveness at work and at home. My lists have gotten shorter, and more concise. At times, I can even make mental lists, and not have to write anything down. Now that's progress.  I trust that you too will find the same beneficial results when you practice this method. 

Improve Your Photographic Memory

Improve your photographic memory by, well, memorizing photographs or moments in your everyday life. This one is great, especially if you enjoy people watching as much as I do. Choose a specific scene, and then spend 30 seconds memorizing specific pieces of it. Whether it is the color of someones shirt, the style of someones hair, the color of their dog, the number of birds in the pond, the type of flower in the garden. Whatever you choose to point out, try to remember as much as possible. Then, after 30 seconds, you write down everything that you saw. No matter what comes to mind. Sometimes, things come to mind that you didn't intentionally point out - this is good!

Developing a observant mentality can move you forward in your family and career in ways that may surprise you. You can learn an endless amount of new skills and opportunities if you have the ability not only to see and observe, but to truly remember and call upon those memories at the right time.

You now have five ways to exercise your brain from anywhere in the world. The first step is committing these five things to memory. Then you can go and try them out for yourself. I hope you make some beautiful memories along the way!
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Top 3 Myths About Women and Strength Training

Top 3 Myths About Women and Strength Training

Top 3 Myths About Women and Strength Training - If I lift weights I am going to get too "bulky". This is the exact thought that has kept many women out of the weight room for decades. The fear of turning into the next Miss Olympia is enough to keep many from the otherwise beneficial effects of strength training. Lifting weights can aid in increasing bone density, joint movement, and strength. In addition to this it is an efficient way of burning calories and can also aid in cardiovascular conditioning if you incorporate plyometrics into your workout regimen. Unfortunately there are still people out there that believe the weight room is strictly for men. I'm here today to debunk three of the most popular misconceptions associated with women and strength training. 

Lifting Weights Makes You "Bulky"

Becoming "bulky" from lifting weights is as likely as being picked up by the PGA if you play golf with your friends every other weekend. This is one of the largest myths that keeps many women from entering the weight room. Before I finally coerced by wife into joining me for my daily gym sessions this was one of her biggest hesitations about starting a lifting regimen. She loved attending yoga, zumba, and spin classes but was very hesitant the first time I mentioned strength training. After explaining to her the benefits of adding this to her workout schedule she gave it a shot and now actually enjoys it. 

It simply isn't as easy for women to put on muscle mass as it is for men. Research shows that testosterone, which is vital in increasing strength and muscle mass is upwards of 20 times less in women than compared to men. This lack of testosterone makes it much more difficult for woman to put on excess muscle as men can. 

In addition this "bulky" look is also very much associated with diet. Many men when looking to "bulk up" not only lift religiously but also consume excessive amounts of food rich in protein and fat to provide their bodies with the increased caloric intake needed to put on extra poundage. A well-rounded diet coupled with a well mapped out strength training program is much more likely to result in a more toned physique and not a "bulky" one. 

Muscle Turns to Fat

This concept has more to do with the fear of what happens when the weight lifting stops. Although excess adipose tissue, or fatty tissue, can indeed accumulate it is typically the result of excessive caloric intake. Think about weight gain like your checking account. Calories which are the building blocks of the food we eat is synonymous with the cash in your bank account. When you eat or drink you are "depositing" calories into your body (or money into your account). 

You burn calories (or withdraw cash) throughout the day both through activity, exercise, and your metabolic rate. (metabolic rate put simply is the calories that are burned by your body just to keep it functioning and alive). The way you start to build excess adipose tissue is when you "deposit" much more calories than you "withdraw". If you were to stop lifting weights but still kept up the same activity level your muscles may began to atrophy (or shrink), but would certainly not morph into excess fat.

Lifting Weights Can Cause Injury

Although lifting weights can result in injury so can almost anything else. You can hurt yourself just as easily running on the treadmill or taking a yoga class if you are unaware of what you are doing. For that manner you could sustain an injury if you bend over the wrong way to tie your shoe. The key to avoiding injury when out on the gym floor is to maintain good mechanics and proper body alignment. Maintaining good body mechanics is as easy as lifting with your legs instead or your back, or when picking up an object from the floor keeping the load close to your body rather than way out in front of you. 

When lifting weights it is important to remember to use slow controlled motions when both lifting the weight during a specific exercise as well as when lowering it down. I see far too many people on a daily basis attempting to lift too much weight and straining, or using their whole body to build momentum to move or lift more weight than they should be attempting. Many of the weight lifting machines in your local gym will have pictures, directions, and the primary muscles being worked outlined on the side of the machine. I urge everyone to take the time to read these directions before starting out on a machine you are unfamiliar with. If you were to buy a brand new electronic device would you just start hitting buttons and pushing and pulling nobs? Of course not, you wouldn't want to risk damaging your new expensive product so you would most likely read through the directions carefully. 

Your body is no different in this instance from the electronic device you just purchased, take care of it and it will take care of you too! In addition to this enrolling the services of a personal trainer is a great strategy to learn the proper way to begin and progress with your strength training program. You can also find a number of great videos demonstrating proper mechanics for specific exercises on video based websites such as YouTube. This provides a more inexpensive alternative to hiring a personal trainer. 

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