Monthly Archives: February 2012

7 Healthy Snacks for Kids You Might Not Have Thought Of

Need a few new ideas for after-school snacks for your hungry crew? And you? Here are a few to keep stomachs in your family satisfied.

1. Hummus

Made with healthy chickpeas, hummus can be used as a sandwich spread, a vegetable dip, or as a topping for chips and crackers. It’s also the perfect consistency for babies learning to eat from a spoon.

2. Popcorn

Use air-popped or stove-popped. This way, children get the fiber benefits — minus extra butter and preservatives — while enjoying the crunch. A few cups of air-popped popcorn contains very few calories.

3. Whole grain crackers

These have become more of a commonplace on supermarket shelves, and can be purchased in bulk at some membership club stores. Serve alone or with nut butter spread on top.

4. Croutons

These crunchy pieces of toasted bread come in large sizes — perfect for small hands. Mix them with fruit, or carrot and celery sticks for a crunchy snack. Rothbury Farms makes organic croutons in a variety of seasonings — including whole grain. Lifetime Television’s The Balancing Act recently featured Rothbury Farms with all kinds of uses for croutons in cooking.

5. Granola

A delicious choice served with sprinkling of dried fruits. Cook up large batches and freeze on a cookie sheet, and then transfer to a freezer storage bag. Do watch the serving sizes. Granola has healthy oats and nuts, but tends contains quite a bit of sugar. You can control the portion by making your own.

6. Dried vegetables

You can dry these yourself with an oven or food dehydrator, or purchase them in packages at most grocery stores. These are a great alternative to chips, and just might entice your children to try something green.

7. Salsa

Tomatoes, onions, garlic, peppers, spices: salsa’s main ingredients contain lots of health benefits. Serve with a limited number of chips or use multigrain crackers (see above). Salsa can also be added to hummus and used as a dip with a Mexican food meal.

What do you do when a stranger approaches you in a parking lot?

The Number 1 Question Asked By Women:

What Do You Do When a Stranger Approaches You in a Parking Lot?

The most commonly asked question is what do you do if you are approached in a parking lot by a stranger? No one likes to be rude but bad guys can take advantage of your good nature. So what do you do if you’re approached?

The best self defense is to not allow yourself to be put in a vulnerable situation in the first place. The best way to do this is to keep your distance, everyone has their own personal space and if you allow that stranger to come too close to you then you may not have enough time to react.

The best way to keep your distance from a potential attacker is to extend your hand up in front of you at eye level and ask that person what they want. You can say whatever you feel comfortable saying to that person. Excuse me can I help you? Please keep your distance, what do you want? Etc… This act alone can improve your odds of survival. The person approaching you now knows that you are well aware of them; bad people want the element of surprise and easy targets. Now that you have your hand up anyone in the parking lot looking in your direction can see that this could be a bad situation. You don’t have to say anything; your hand up says it all! With today’s instant communication most people have cell phones and can call 911 to report that something is going on in the parking lot that does not look right. Please send an officer right away!

Keep in mind if that person is a good guy he will apologize and walk in a different direction. If they are a bad guy they are going to keep talking and continue their approach. At that time you need to determine if they are after you or what you have.

They’re Everywhere!

There is so much fraud out there it’s hard to blog solely about auto repair scams. A couple of my close friends have been looking for jobs and since I’ve been trying to help them, I’ve seen what people go though during a job hunt these days. There’s no way to sugarcoat it, it’s depressing and demoralizing. Not only do you send out 100’s of resumes that get no reply, let alone a phone call, but there are so many con artists out there, you just start to lose faith in the human race.

One of my friends, Liz, has been working out of my office, so I’ve been getting an up close and personal look at what is going on.

The first week Liz was looking she called me up in high spirits informing me she had been hired. Having just seen her, I questioned when she went on an interview and she said she hadn’t. Liz had been emailing back and forth with someone and he’d “hired” her this way without even meeting her. Huh?

 I was rightly skeptical (well ok, I’m always skeptical) but this particular job involved kids and I couldn’t understand who would hire someone in this field without meeting them. When I read all the emails, there were so many red flags I couldn’t believe she hadn’t seen them but Liz was so desperate she had lost all good sense. Even though she had supplied her resume, this emailer kept asking her for her personal information to be spelled out. He just thought she was perfect for the job, but “inconveniently” he was out of state and couldn’t meet her right away (oh please). He did, however, order some packages for the kids and wanted her to pay for them on their arrival. For her to complete this task he would need her checking account so he could wire her the funds to pay for it. Yeah right, I suppose he’s a wrongfully deposed Nigerian prince too. She received a variation on this one countless times.

Then there were the series of emails that wanted her to click on some website to fill out her personal info, either because they wanted to issue her a company credit card or because they wanted her to fill out an employment application. All of these hiring her via email, sight unseen.

  

My first instinct is to yell “who would fall for this?”. But truth be told, Liz did. I’ve had to alert other job hunting friends to be careful and even after explaining the cons they still didn’t get how they could be “taken” and might have fallen for it as well. I guess it should be no surprise to me that there are scams in every facet of our society but it still irritates me each time I run into them.

Morale of this story: If by the 2nd email someone hasn’t made an appointment to meet with you, move on. (I’ve heard you should use the same rule in online dating as well).

 Good luck!

Travel Safety Tips

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Many women travel as part of their business. If you stay at a hotel here are a few suggestions on how to stay safe:

  1. Don’t let the front desk attendant publicize your room number. If he or she announces it out loud when giving you your key, ask for a different room.
  2. Start with the basics: always beware of your surroundings when approaching your room.
  3. Avoid staying on the first floor. Many safety experts recommend staying somewhere between the third and sixth floors — where rooms are high enough to be difficult to break into, but not so high that they’re out of the reach of most fire engine ladders.
  4. Keep the door to your room locked at all times. If you are inside the room, turn the deadbolt and fasten the security chain.
  5. Check the locks on the windows (and balcony door, if applicable) as soon as you arrive, and notify the front desk if any are not functioning. It’s a good idea to check these locks again each time you return to the room, as housekeeping may open them and forget to close them again.
  6. If you travel often, consider buying a portable alarm system like a security door stop for added protection. These movement-sensitive devices can awaken you if a door lock should happen to fail. If you don’t have one, place a chair under the door knob.
  7. When you leave your hotel room, pull the door completely closed behind you. Make sure the latch has engaged. Take a moment before you leave to try the door and make sure it is closed and locked.
  8. Do not open your door to strangers. Use the security viewport to see who is outside your door. Do not trust someone claiming to be a hotel employee if you are not expecting one. If you are unsure, call the front desk to check. Leave the security chain engaged while opening the door for further protection.
  9. When you leave the room, leave the TV or radio on, or put your “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door; both of these tricks will give potential thieves the impression that you’re still there. (You can contact the front desk to arrange a housekeeping visit even if the “Do Not Disturb” sign is up.)
  10. The hotel parking lot and hallways should be well lit. Report any outages to the front desk and ask for a security escort if you feel unsafe.
  11. When entering or leaving the hotel after dark, use the main entrance.

Remember, safety can be simple!

Archive Your Family History with 1000 Memories

Opening a shoebox of old photographs is like unlocking the door to your personal history, flooding your senses with the moments (and the occasional misguided outfit) that shaped who you are. That’s assuming, of course, that you can find the shoebox somewhere in the depths of your garage. Or it’s not in your great aunt’s closet. Oooor, it hasn’t been lost to a flood in your basement. Our precious memories deserve better than this, don’t they? Don’t we all want to honor our old family photos, especially ones of friends and relatives who are no longer with us?

Time to bring your past into the present. 1000memories wants to help you get your photos out of shoeboxes and help you scan, organize and share them with your family and friends. Think of it like a “Facebook for yesteryear”— scan and upload your pics, then date and tag them with the names. Add stories, audio, video and memorable quotes too, and 1000memories will arrange it all in a beautiful layout for each family member, so you can string together your family history and everyone can upload their own personal collections.

Watch this week’s Twirl and check out Carley’s teenage fashion faux-pas (hey, cut her some slack— it was the 80s).

Digitwirl is the weekly web show that offers simple solutions to modern day problems. In 3 minutes, Digitwirl brings busy women the very best time, money, and sanity-saving technology, and then teaches them how to use it, step-by-step. Digitwirl was created by technology lifestyle expert Carley Knobloch, who uses lots of technology to manage her busy life as mom of two and entrepreneur. Become a subscriber to get weekly show alerts and exclusive deals at Digitwirl.com, or follow Digitwirl on Twitter at @digitwirl.

May all the fashion be renewed!

Ok, so 2012 is here with a vengeance so  OUT WITH THE OLD AND IN WITH THE NEW, AND I MEAN THE NEW YOU!!

The energy has really changed.
I swear I feel it and I’m pretty excited!
So what profound changes are you making? Is it a new job, a new weight, a new you?
I’m hoping all of the above.  I’m a firm believer and lover of change. Change represents to me, the space to be better, try new things, do it different, be prosperous, get out of the slump, learn and grow as a human being.
It isn’t something to be afraid of; it’s something to truly EMBRACE!

Recently I had the pleasure of working with a woman (lets call her Nicole) who ran a department at a huge company.
Let me start by telling you that this woman not only is an extremely hard worker but has people skills and sales skills like I’ve never seen before. Selling ice to Eskimos is an understatement and problem solving with grace is her middle name. Any company would be lucky to have her!
So what was the problem?
She felt a bit overlooked, undervalued and unappreciated
When I went to her work place to get an idea of what she was talking about I found it to be true.
The power was missing, but it wasn’t missing from those around her. No, they were just reacting to her own interpretation of herself and something had to change.

I saw the problem as very simple. I noticed that she dressed somewhat casual for her position. She didn’t take herself seriously according to her look.
The truth is she really needed to believe from the inside, that she was worthy.
Well, sometimes you need a little help and you have to fake it til you make it, so that’s where I stepped in.
As a fashion stylist I know that first impressions are the most important and it doesn’t stop with what comes out of your mouth or how much make up you have on, it includes what you’re wearing and how you’re wearing it.
As the saying goes…When you look good you feel good. And there’s a lot of truth to that.
You can argue all you want but deep inside you know that the cold hard facts are this:

When you put on that sexy red dress and stilettos, do your hair and make up, throw on that perfect scent and walk out that door with you comes a sense of self confidence and sexiness. You begin to act the part. You feel sassy and you act sassy!
If you go out with your hair in a pony tail, no make up, bland khaki shorts and an old t/s you feel just like that, Old and dull. You become introverted because you don’t really feel good about yourself. It’s a pretty subtle thing and can go unnoticed for years, that is til Lisa Styles come along and slap some sense into you!!

So that’s what I did.

Nicole dressed in a manner that said I’m not serious about my job.She wore clothes that were inappropriate for someone running a department and because she dressed as such those around her saw the same. She mismatched pieces, some of which were about 100 years old, handed down and so unlike her personality. It made her feel insecure and off a bit. She hadn’t a clue how to begin to dress the part.

Part 1
My task began with a straight and to the point consultation, having her narrow down what she’s comfortable wearing and my new suggestions for her. I explained the different looks and what they say about a person. A woman wearing a pant suit means business, is tough, strong and confident and unafraid. Wear the same idea with a skirt and now you are reminding everyone that you’re a woman. Each piece of clothing you wear says something to everyone you pass, whether you believe it or not.

Part 2
Closet restructuring: I went through her closet, getting rid of ALL things unnecessary and unwearable. This part is pretty painful, but extremely necessary. You know those items that really haven’t been touched in years. That dress you wore on a date with your husband 5 years ago. The top that’s too sexy for your age or looks like something your daughter should be wearing. That sort of stuff.

Part 3:
Shop and Experiment.
I took her out for 3 hours, to try on different styles and sizes to really see who she was.
Each piece you wear either matches your personality or not. It takes a lot of honestly and awareness to know what these things are.
We bought about 8 key pieces and several key accessories to start off.

Part 4
Fittings
We went back to her place and put 2 weeks worth of outfits together.
The update was minimal yet impactful. The end result was Chanel meets J Crew. She was fresh, trendy, sophisticated, professional and styled. She had her own look and she felt empowered. Now I had to see if that feeling would overflow and create something new at work.

Part 5
Testing the waters
I asked her to call me each day with comments and reactions as well as how she felt easing into her new look. The first day was a bit scary for her since she was partly out of her comfort zone. I had made a few outfits that eased her slowly inter her new look to give her time to adjust but the  reactions were so positive that she went full steam ahead wearing her black polka dot  & lace  textured stockings, her layers of accessories, the whole shebang!!. The compliments kept coming and the head of the company saw her several times a week, each time having another positive remark about how she looked, things like “wow, I love that look, wear more of that!” it was truly amazing what happened. Her co workers had a different attitude toward her and most importantly,she began to respect herself. I should tell you that after 3 months she got a promotion and she continues to have me update her wardrobe.  She more confident then ever in her position and knows her worth within the company. Not to say that clothing equals self confidence, but it certainly jump starts the process and when you fake it you end up making it!!!

That small wardrobe change changed her and everyone around her.

For her, 2012 is a new Nicole!!

For comments, questions or request a consultation visit

WWW.LISACSTYLES.COM

also

Follow @lisacstyles

And remember to be glamorous everyday!

Lisa

Could You? Would You? Dumpster Dive for Savings?

I went somewhere I thought I’d never go to save money – into a dumpster.

Let me explain.

As I was complaining about how my city makes us drop our recycling off at the city dumpster (because I forgot this errand twice that day), I chuck Bag Number One into the full dumpster with a practiced sky hook.

As I’m planning the trajectory of Bag Number Two, I see them.

A stack of flyers in door bags – GOLD!

But not for the reason you think.

I have a dog. Therefore I need doggie pick up bags. We’re running low on potty bags and plastic advertising door bags work well for this purpose.

I’m excited about finding free garbage – to use as garbage.

I’m weird like that.

I grab a couple of bags from the top of the bin and dump the contents of the door bags back into the dumpster.

Then I remember reading about people dumpster diving for coupons. I took a peek into the next door bag. Sure enough it held an unexpired coupon flyer.

I grabbed a couple.

Truth?

I ended up with forty.

My coupon strategy is to clip coupons for anything we regularly use from the coupon flyer. Clipping a coupon doesn’t mean I’ll automatically use it. It just makes it easier to find in my coupon file if I want to use it. I leave the rest of the coupons attached to the flyer and store them in a folder in my grocery shopping tote bag.

There wasn’t much for me to clip from the stack. Even though I had enough flyers to clip 10-20 coupons for each item, I clipped 4 like coupons at the most. For me, couponing is not about getting a bunker full of nail polish on the cheap or clearing store shelves just because I can (I don’t work that hard at getting all of the coupons necessary to pull that off. LAZY Budget Chef, remember?) Using coupons is one more money saving strategy I use to save money on the staple items my family regularly uses so I can put the difference toward healthy things that don’t go on sale regularly.

What am doing with the rest of the coupons? I released the rest of the coupons and flyers back into the wild.

It’s illegal to sell coupons. You can legally give or trade coupons to others free of charge though. That’s what I’m doing with the restaurant coupons. I gave a few to a friend because it is her favorite restaurant. I dropped the rest of the uncut flyers off at the recycling dumpster from whence they came.

I was more excited about not needing to buy potty bags than finding hot sauce coupons anyway.

Have you gone dumpster diving? Would you?