Thursday, April 28, 2011

Can't Lose That Fat? Try This

When an "expert" starts talking about ways to help get rid of fat on our bodies, we all listen.  Kind of like when E. F. Hutton speaks.  It just gets your attention.

Dr. Oz knows this and he is talking about it a lot.  I think he really wants to help women...and I think he likes high ratings too.  This information on metabolism boosters, is straight from his show in case you missed it, where he shared this research-based information.  He stands behind it and, most importantly, he says "It's perfectly safe".

Sometimes, usually after 40,  you realize the pounds are creeping up on you and weight is settling where it never did before.  What diet haven't we tried, at least for a few days?  Dr. Oz has 5 new "Fat Busters and Metabolism Boosters" that are particularly effective for over-40 weight gain.  If you are a lot younger, save this post.  You'll need it later!

1.  Konjac Root Fiber- The most potent natural fiber according to Dr. Oz.  It keeps you feeling full, regulates your hormones and regulates your sugar balance.  Take one 30 minutes before meals and see if you are less hungry.
2. L-Carnitine-This supplement converts the sugar in your cells to energy and you feel more energized.  I had never heard of this one before. Always read the labels for dosage and let your doctor know what you are taking.  L-Carnitine works better if taken with Vitamin C.

3. Raspberry Ketone- I can't wait to try this one.  It burns fat!  You only need one a day...from raspberries but your wouldn't eat enough raspberryies to make a noticable weight difference.

4. Unworkout Workout-Workout smarter, not harder.  There are some people out there who exercise several hours a day...and still don't lost the weight.  Can you imagine how frustrating that would be?  He says the excess exercise can make you ravenous...Overeating then undoes everything you've worked to accomplish.  Several hours of exercise daily is not the answer.

5.  White Bean Extract- When we eat our food, it digests in the stomach.  The starches/carbs dissolve into sugars.  Sugar becomes fat if not burned off.  That's one reason sugar makes us fat.  White Bean Extract prevents starches from changing to sugar!  No sugar.  How smart is that.  Take before meals.   Throwing white beans in a salad is great too but not enough to have this effect.

These "foods" may be taken together but Dr. Oz suggests you just choose one. Take it and see what happens.
Have fun trying some of these.  Come back and let us know what works....or doesn't.

Enjoy your day!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Look And Feel 20 Years Younger

Who in their right mind wouldn't love to look 20 years younger?  Before you say it's impossible, just listen up.  Today Oprah's show features  Bob Greene, her personal trainer.  He is teaching a group of women to learn to take care of themselves and reminds us all, "Don't be at the bottom of your own list!"

Here is his 4-step plan.  This information is directly from today's Oprah show.

I.  Exercise

Exercise is non-negotiable and makes the biggest difference in our health.

Level 1:  First 30 days:        200 minutes of cardio a week. 
Level 2:  Second 30 days.   300 minutes a week

Add stretching and light weights 3 days a week.
If you use a treadmill, elevate it or it's not helping.
Excercise early in the day so it doesn't disrupt your sleep.

II. Skin

A.  Taking care of your skin makes a big difference in the way you look.
      1.  Exfoliate daily
      2.  Cleanse day and night, especially at night
      3.  Nourish day and night, especially at night

B. Anti-Aging Treatments Available Today
      1.  Laser Treatments
      2.  Vaporize moles
      3.  Microdermabrasian
      4.  Fillers

III.  Sleep

We all need 7-9 hours a night to avoid putting our health at risk.  Leptin is a hormone produced while we sleep and it helps regulate the appetite.  If you are not sleeping 7-9 hours you, are probably not getting enough Leptin to help control your appetite.  Considering that I just dozed off during the show with my laptop in my lap, no doubt, I do not get enough sleep!

Caffeine and alcohol disrupt sleep.  Menopause brings reduction in estrogen which interfers with sleep.

REM sleep is about 25% of our sleep time and that is when we dream.  Slow-wave sleep (stage 3 sleep)  is what we really need and we get less and less of it as we age...even though we need more and more of it.  Although napping is good if you need to be reenergized,  it may lower your sleep drive and interupt your sleep cycle.

IV.  Healthy Eating

Bob recommends a 1700 calorie a day diet. 
 Half your place should include fruits and vegetables. 
Replace starches with whole grains, brown rice, and soy.
Use spices like ginger. You can put 2T of  basil in salads, or throw in 1/4 cup of parsley.
Each meal must include super foods like almonds, sweet potatoes, blueberries, eggplant, olive oil, and lentils.

Bob says, "Have a multi vitamin, calcium, and an at least one omega-3 tablet every day of your life."  And that's a quote. 

Check out this excerpt from Bob's book if you are interested in participating in the Challenge.

All the best in your "looking and feeling younger" journey!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Is Your Computer Screen Dirty?

My computer screen is so dirty.  I must admit.  I've had some kind of fear of cleaning it.  Today I will face that fear and do it anyway!  Take off my shoes and walk on those hot coals!  I can do this.

Here is what I have found out through researching reliable sites.  I personally am no expert but they are, at least they think they are.

Shut down, unplug, remove battery first.

1.  Do not use paper towels or any kind of paper product. Paper is made from wood and there might be a small splinter. Can scratch.

2.  Do not use tap water or mineral water.  They leave mineral spots on your screen.  You may use distilled water. 

3.  Do not use soap.  Use vinegar instead.  Spray vinegar on a soft, lint free, dry cloth.  Do not spray the screen like you're cleaning a window.  They used to say you could clean your screen with iso-propyl alcohol but recommend against this now.  Some "computer people" I know still use alcohol though.  Use at your own risk.

4.  Resist the temptation to spray with Windex.  It's not a window.  It can degrade your screen.

5.  Do not spray anything onto the screen.  No drips allowed.  That's why you spray the cloth.

6.  Gently wipe from top to bottom. Do not scrub! Do not press hard. Be gentle.

7.  Special LCD cleaner cloths that you use once and throw away are now available for anyone who just cannot overcome this fear. 
8.  If you can't overcome this fear, I suggest you not bungy jump.
9.  My computer now smells a little like vinegar but it is spotless.  I can see myself in it!
Let my know how it works for you.  How do you clean your screen?

Friday, April 22, 2011

A Bright Green Good Friday

Today is a purely personal post for me.  I am writing it just for pleasure.  In my own little corner of the world birds are chirping after a refreshing overnight rainfall.  It's all new, again, and they are celebrating the newness as they sing, call and respond to each other.

My window is open and the fresh cool air is there for the taking.  Just-planted blooms are all perked up and the long established ones look new.  It is Good Friday.  It is Earth Day. 

Good Friday is a dark, somber occasion in many respects.  It feels grey and drab to most.  Good Friday services are quiet and reflective.  Once we have the whole story, however,...the one Nature tells, the one the Bible tells, the one Life tells....Good Friday is just a step along the way.

All of us have times and issues we wish would hurry on past and get out of our experience.  Even if we are old enough and wise enough to know it is all just part of our path and the best is yet to come, we still never relish our own Good Fridays.  We often wonder why we have been forsaken, why we are suffering so.

And then comes morning!  The mourning is over.  Weeping may have endured for the night but joy DOES come in the morning. 

May we take this Earth Day seriously, and may we take it lightly and joyfully too.  May we open our windows, literally and figuratively, and go outside and relish in all that Mother Earth has for us today.  May we contribute to her well being and not to her demise.  Clean up, recycle, plant, grow, reuse, garden, celebrate, forgive, forget, create, write, paint, sing. 

We are here to enjoy life, to walk through the somber times always knowing joy is ahead... and to leave everything better than we found it.

Enjoy this special day!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Keeping Cleaning Clean And Green

Welcome Karla!  And thank you!

Karla is the owner and editor of Classy and Fabulous.

When I visited Karla's blog I felt like I was home.  We are both about living well and seek to share a myriad of ways to do so.  You are in for a treat so just enjoy this guest post in honor of Earth Day Week.

Hello 'Healthier and More Prosperous Living' readers! I am honored to be a guest blogger today at Sandra's lovely blog. We met last week when I did a guest post for Karen of Strictly Simple Style and she kindly asked me if I'd love to contribute to her blog for Earth week. We both share a love for health as well as all things green and planet-friendly. Thank you for having me Sandra!

Today I'll be sharing some green cleaning recipes and tips with you. There are so many easy changes we can make on a daily basis to not only keep our family's safe and free from toxins but also respect the environment too. When it comes to cleaning products, we aren't limited to mass-produced chemical-filled options, some of the best solutions come from nature with the most simple of ingredients, often things you might have in you kitchen already.

3 Powerful & Simple Ingredients:

1. Lemons

2. Baking Soda

3. Distilled White Vinegar

Here's How you can use these Ingredients:

Fabric Softener

Since most fabric softeners contain toxic ingredients that often cause lung irritationm, skin allergies and asthma, try something a little different. Use 1/8 cup of white vinegar in your rinse cycle for great results that will never leave your clothes feeling coated and won't irritate your skin. Don't worry-your clothes won't smell like pickles- I promise! Make sure you are using Distilled white vinegar, not malt or apple cider vinegar. The static cling comes from mixing natural and synthetic fabrics in the dryer. You can add a fragrance-free dryer ball into the dryer to keep clothes static-free.

Dishwasher Rinse Aid

Vinegar has yet another wonderful use and that is getting your dishes sparkling clean! Yes, that's right, just pour vinegar into your dishwasher's rinse aid dispenser and it will keep them clean and spot-free.

Carpet Deodorizer

Use baking soda as a carpet deodorizer, especially if you have pets. Sprinkle some onto the carpet, let is sit for about 15 mins and then vacuum it up.  Baking soda absorbs odors in your fridge/freezer and it will do the same for your carpet and rugs too! You could always mix a few drops of essential oil such as peppermint, lemon or orange into the baking soda before sprinkling for extra freshness. 

Shower Mildew Preventer

They say vodka is a natural mildew preventer. I don't know about you, but that sounds like an expensive way to clean! There is another natural alternative though. Vinegar will do the trick. I keep a spray bottle filled 3 parts vinegar, 1 part water and spray the shower after each use, especially the chrome. It keeps it shiny and free from hard water spots. Bonus-it's great for spraying outside your home to detract ants and other annoying insects.

Garbage Disposal Freshener

While little artificial citrus discs are available from the store, wouldn't you rather use something natural to clean and deodorize your garbage disposal with? Use left over citrus rinds or rinds/flesh from squeezed lemons and oranges. Put one or two in with a little water into your disposal and voila, any bad smells will be gone! The citrus is biodegradable and does not contain artificial fragrance, phthalates, etc.

Cutting Board Cleaner

When you have finished using your cutting board whether it be wooden, plastic or glass, always use the flat side of a lemon-half or slice to clean the cutting board afterwards. This is my favorite thing to use after cutting garlic, it takes the potent smell away. It works great on your hands too after handling fish or garlic.

Drain De-Clogger

When drains get a little clogged always check for hair first.Once you've cleaned that out, if your drain is still not working right, use baking soda and vinegar. First pour some baking soda in, maybe about 3 tbsp, then add some white vinegar and try to cover the drain and let it fizz and foam away. Once it sits for about 10-15 mins, pour boiling water (from a kettle or very hot tap) down the drain. It will start dissolving the grime naturally unlike the chemical-laden and poisonous drano-type products that are horrible for the environment.

Window Wash

Use vinegar in a spray bottle and recycled newspaper to clean your windows/mirrors. This is a much more eco-friendly and non-toxic way compared to ammonia-based products.

*For extra elbow grease, add some coarse salt for more scrubbing power! For 1001 great cleaning solutions using vinegar, click HERE.

There is a plethora of great natural products available to you, if you don't feel like mixing and making your own. Try Seventh Generation, Method or Ecover. There are many but those are my three favorite brands. They offer everything from hand soap and dishwasher detergent to dryer sheets and diapers! They can be found online, at a Whole Foods Store or in some cases your local grocery store. If you are a die-hard Lysol fan, a non-toxic alternative is Seventh Generation's 99.9% germ free disinfectant spray which is not harmful to the planet, your family or pets, the key ingredient is Thyme oil using Clean Well technology. I use it for everything and it is completely safe around food as well.

I hope you will try these natural methods so that you can reap the benefits of spring cleaning without worrying about the toxic cloud that will pollute your indoor air quality as well as our waterways, soil and precious fish.

Do you clean naturally? What are your favorite ingredients or products to use?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Why Did This Post Make Me Cry?

Is it Springtime where you live?  Are you working in your yard?  I just came in from planting a few things and it felt really good to have my hands in the dirt.  Six or eight hostas, mostly transplants from my mom's yard, and three variegated canna lillies from my uncle's farm all found a new home here today.  I'm 'petting along' two hydrangeas Larry gave me for Valentine's Day.  They stayed in the house a little too long before moving outside.

I love my plants to tell a story.  When we moved from our prior home of 20 years, I left plants dear to my heart.  We were displaced for five months while our new home was being built so I couldn't take my babies with me!  The new residents didn't know the stories.  They didn't know the beautiful white peach tree on the corner was from my Grandfather's farm, and wouldn't have cared about that certain little pink azalea, a gift for being in my friend's 4th wedding.  My mother's acuba plants got left behind too, as did the big bright yellow forsythia, from just a little cutting from my grandmother, and always the first thing to bloom after winter was finished.

My mother's motto, one of them, is "always leave a place better than you find it", so I just chalked up my loss to adding beauty to Mother Earth.  My older son, Trip, is among the best at beautifying the planet and leaving a place better than he found it.  He is a talented and creative landscape designer.  In addition to his formal degree training from the University of Georgia,  he has the "growing things" family gene.

I know he is hard at work in Denver this Earth Day Week.  When he was 15 he gave me a boat full of beautiful pink azaleas strategically positioned among the pines in the back yard.  It was one of the best Mother's Day gifts I've ever received. Wish, wish, wish I had a picture of that boat.  There were many other planting times and so many beautiful plants in that yard we had to leave.  But we left it 'better than we found it'.  That's for sure.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Are You A Creature Of Habit?

Yesterday I did a wonderful thing for my health.  I didn't take a jog, get my teeth cleaned, or eat spinach.  I spent the day with girlfriends.  Research shows this wonderful tonic does as much good for us as going to the gym.  Laughing, sharing, destressing,and connecting is as good as it gets.

"I am such a creature of habit", said one of the girls.  Everyone affirmed agreement and sited ways this plays out in their life.  One said, "I always sit in the same place at church", and that comment alone got almost 100% agreement with stories of times someone they knew was offended when their place was taken. (church are you listening?  this is a biggie if you want to grow)

"We always sit at the same place at the table", someone else added. "Always wear the pink scarf with the red dress", "always eat lunch at 12:00 noon", always, always, always.

 And, yet, when we begin to live each day just like the one before, living the same day over again, we are missing the joy of life.  Are we not?

When our lives become predictable in too many areas maybe it is time to give this "creature of habit" thing a rest!  All of us want to continue learning throughout our lives.  At least we say we do. We want to grow and keep our minds strong and creative.  We don't do that by boxing ourselves in.  Research shows that the brain "loves" novelty. It likes it when different neuro-transmitters are firing, not so much when the same pathways turn into ruts. Learning spikes when something new is on the horizon, when the teacher does something different, when newness is part of our experience.

When I was a teacher I always enjoyed trying new strategies.  If I didn't, I soon got bored, and so did my students.  One day I was cajoling a colleague to get out of her rut and try something different and she said, "Sandra, I like ruts!"  And there is a place for that too.  Structure is good.  It provides a stable platform around which to build our daily activities.  Routine is comfortable.  We know what is coming next. As much as the brain likes novelty, it also thrives on routine, the well worn neural pathways in our brain.  Neither extreme disorder and spontaneity nor extreme habit and routine serve us well. 

As in most of life striking a balance is what we seek.  Should we become too regimented....and we find ourselves doing "this" every Monday, and "this" every Tuesday, and sitting "here" on Sundays, and serving "this for dinner on Thursdays", maybe we are just a tad out of balance.  I challenge you to take a day, or even a week, whoa, and step out of some aspects of your routine.  Choose a different seat for dinner, wear the purple scarf with the red skirt, drink lemonade instead of Coke.  Just do if differently.  And for heavens sake, please sit somewhere different at church!

Monday, April 11, 2011

How Do You Recycle?

Do you recycle?  Does your place of employment recycle?  Does your gym recycle?  

If not, it's never too late to start.  Usually it is as simple as raising awareness, placing a recycle container in a convenient place, and having an easy way to get rid of it.

If you are already an avid recycler, please share how you've incorporated recycling in your daily life at home or at work. If you haven't started yet, here are five easy steps to get started.

1.  Find out if your garbage/waste company picks up recyclables.  Most of them do now.  Find out what they take.  The list keeps getting longer and longer.  My outside "garbage can" now usually holds only one, maybe two, small bags a week. 

2.  Designate a box for your daily newspapers and another for your old magazines.  When everyone is finished reading, put them in the box and out they go once a week.  Easy.  Another option is to recycle your magazines to nursing homes and assisted living centers.  Taking your name and addresss off the front is a good idea if you are concerned about identity theft. 

3.   Keep a special trash can by your printer.  Recycle that paper.

4.  When you empty a can or plastic beverage container, immediately rinse it out.  Not good to support the bugs in the community!  I keep mine on the kitchen cabinet until my next trip to the garage.  Then straignt to  the recycle bin.

5.  Children outgrow their clothes.  We get tired of ours and buy new ones.  Recycle what you no longer use.  Give it away to friends, take it to Goodwill, or to a local homeless shelter.  You can even sell it on EBay if you need the cash.  Just make sure it gets back in circulation.

There are just a few ways to get started.  Share what works for you.

What an easy way to help the planet!  What a good thing to do for your children and their children.  Doing what you can to leave a cleaner Earth ...a smaller footprint some say.  That is what it's all about for me.  

Photo Challenge Continues

Still catching up.  This photo is unedited.

The photo below is cropped and warmed up.  I think the photo is greatly improved.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Learning About Photography From SITS

This photo is part of the SITS Photo Challenge Day 1. I'm caching up...a late starter!  

I love the geometry in these photos.  Usually this is not the angle from which we view a table top and it creates a whole new perspective.  The beauty of the lines, and the contrast between straight and curvy, is interesting.  Also I like that the chair is sort of in the 'sweet spot' rather than centered. 

I need help with using Flickr.  Any experts out there?  It only allows me to send one photo at a time from Flickr to Blogger.  Each photo creates an entirely new post!  I'm stopping with this one until I learn better.  If you are a Flickr user, please help! 

Perspective and Pattern
All In A Row...

Table Top Perspective
Table Top Perspective

Perspective and Pattern
It's All In How You Look At It...



Thursday, April 7, 2011

SITS Photo Learning Challenge: Day 3

I love learning and being part of challenges.  My belief is that life-long learning is a cornerstone of a healthy life.  May we continue to open our minds and fill them with newness as long as we all shall live.  (sounds like wedding vows)

Today's topic is Lighting in the SITS Photo Challenge.  I haven't studied it yet, I confess, but I took photos today and experimented with lighting.  I am working on an oil painting of our dog, Buddy!  We love him to pieces and no painting could do him justice, but this is what I've come up with so far. He is still under construction. The photos of the painting were taken inside in a room with lots of windows in the early afternoon.  In the first photo I used the flash.  In the second photo I didn't. 

Taken Indoors With A Flash at 2:00

Taken Indoors With No Flash at 2:00

I took these photos with my HTC EVO phone...

Which one do you like better?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

What Do You Read?

Don't most of us wish we had more time to read?  I know I do.  Tell me about your reading habits.

1.  Do you sit with a book and read three hours straight?  Or do you read a chapter and wait so long that you have to re-read it to remember what it was?

2.  Do you read one book at a time?

3.  Do you read magazines?

4.  Where do you read?

As for me:
1.  I never read 3 hours straight.  The only thing I might do 3 hours straight is paint or blog/write.  Reading makes me sleepy too.  After 30 minutes I am usually dozing.  And often I look back at a chapter..."Oh yeah, I remember now...."

2.  No.  I usually have several going.  I have my audio book in the car which I LOVE since I'm almost always alone in the car.  Favorite 'me time'.   I have my book-club-book going.  So at least two.

3.  I devour magazines!  Maybe I like Real Simple best.  And you?

4.  You can't come in but I read in the bath tub with bubbles.  My next favorite place is the library in a comfy chair.  I get so distracted if I just grab my book and flop on the sofa.

What works for you? 

Reading is good for the soul.  It's good for the mind, the brain.  It's entertaining, relaxing, and fun. 

Live well and read!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Banish The BUTS

"I would love to start a new business from home, BUT I don't know where to start."
"I could lose weight, BUT I cook for my family and have treats around for the kids and I eat them."
"I 'd like to read a good book,  BUT it just doesn't happen."
"I want to exercise, BUT I don't have time."
"I wish I didn't drink so much wine, BUT I need to relax and unwind."
"I would save money, BUT it's just not possible."

Do these sound familiar?  Anybody you know have a steady stream of "BUTS"?

Someone wise once told me that once you throw in the word "but", it erases everything that went before it. 

We don't mean to erase those good intentions, that's for sure.  We all have certain areas of our lives we'd like to uplevel.  Most of us are incredibly busy and we have to make choices and set priorities.  I am one of those people who just loves so many things I get spread too thin.  All of my own choosing.

Next time you hear yourself say the word BUT, take one moment and consider changing the word to AND.  It acknowledges the truth that we are busy, our lives are full, we truly want to follow through on those good intentions, AND our schedules demand we make choices with our precious free moments.  By replacing BUT with AND, we don't negate ourselves.  We stay in the flow. We keep our desires and our goals alive. 

I am guest blogging soon and I'd really like to write the article today...BUT AND my day is already scheduled to the max.  I want to stay on my diet...BUT AND I have lunch and dinner plans out with friends. I need to go to the gym today BUT AND I'll just take a walk instead.

Just this morning one of my inspirational television "day-starters" said, "You believe what you tell yourself more than you believe what someone else tells you."  So be careful what you say to yourself.  Choose your words as carefully with your self talk as you do when talking to a new friend.

Enjoy the day!  "I would BUT ..."   or  "I will AND...I still have to have that root canal."  Makes a difference.  Try it. Have a BUT-Free day!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Family Photos

One of the greatest pleasures most of us enjoy is being with our families.  When that's not possible we settle for their photos.  Family photos warm up a home like nothing else, don't they.  What else adds such beauty, charm, and love?  Kind of like comfort food for the heart...or eye candy in today's lingo.

We are visiting my husband's mother this weekend.  She is an amazing woman, very intelligent, accomplished, and still beautiful at age somewhere around 85-ish....give or take. 

Yesterday the sun was shining and we spent time 'in the yard'.  I got "new family photos" on my HTC EVO 4G phone..which I love. This week Walgreens has a different tempting photo special every day.  Today's offer is a free 8X10...just for today... using coupon code DEAL8X10.  I've already downloaded a good one of her and Jill and will pick it up tomorrow at my Walgreens, completely free, and mail it to her.

Hopefully she will display it in her home...a home already richly filled to overflowing with family pics but few  are of her.  I hope she will enjoy the surprise!

Friday, April 1, 2011

I Have A Computer In My Back Pocket

First of all, I'll say I love my HTC EVO 4G!  "It's a lot to pay for a phone", I thought when hubby wanted to get this for me for Christmas.  We bought it at a Sprint store with a $100 rebate and it was still a lot to pay for a phone.

Now, three months later, I love, love my EVO.  You know what?  It's really not about being a phone.  It's really a portable computer plus a phone.  Once I got that I decided it wasn't too much to pay...not for a computer.  And I feel like I'm in the 21st century after being so attached to my $29.95 non-camera, plain Motorola from Walmart for two years.

One problem.  I couldn't turn off the blasted alarm!  I mean, you are glad it wakes you up but, jeez Louise, now that I'm up please shut up!  There is a dismiss button but you only get one chance to tap it and if you miss that's when the problems start.  No more chances.  And you can't find it again! It is G-O-N-E!

I had to search for an EVO forum on my laptop and I found many people with the same problem and no workable solution for me. People were resorting to taking out the battery or putting it outside!  Even turning off the phone didn't shut it up.  Finally, I found a solution!  If this happens to you, look at the tiny bar at the top and you will see, among other things, a small alarm clock. Tap it. Then you get the option to dismiss.  Sounds obvious.  It isn't!

Oh how challenging and exciting is this 21st century technology!