Monthly Archives: February 2012

5 Energy-Boosting Tricks to Try Today

As women, we spend our lives in the constant pursuit of balance — and the resulting struggle to meet the demands of career and family can be exhausting. If we aren’t careful, our energy levels can easily become depleted. Feeling tired, sluggish, and unproductive? Check out these five energy-boosting tricks that can get you back on track today!

1. Take a break

Low energy levels are often the result of simply being overworked. If you have the option, take a vacation day! Spend the entire day relaxing, doing whatever you want to do. Don’t have the luxury of taking a mini-vacation? Look for ways to build small breaks into your daily routine. Closing your eyes, clearing your mind, and breathing deeply for even 3-5 minutes can help you regain your focus and productivity.

2. Address sources of stress and anxiety on a routine basis

Mental stress can easily drain your physical energy. Instead of ignoring stressful situations and relationships, address these issues immediately and then move on. Once you’ve eliminated unpleasant thoughts from your mind, you’ll feel more relaxed and be able to focus more clearly on important tasks at hand.

If the stress and anxiety in your life is unavoidable, look for ways to minimize it. Exercise, meditation, massage, and aromatherapy have all been proven to reduce stress and boost energy. The simple act of smelling lavender is thought to increase your alertness, and studies have shown that massage can reduce levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, in the body.

3. Don’t underestimate the power of good nutrition

Sodas, candy bars, and that bottomless cup of coffee may give you a quick jolt of energy, but they can all make you feel worse in the long run. Focus instead on consuming whole grains and complex carbohydrates that are high in protein and fiber and low on the glycemic index in order to keep your energy levels steady throughout the day.

For a quick pick-me-up, a handful of nuts makes a great snack. Cashews, almonds, and hazelnuts are especially high in magnesium, a mineral that boosts your metabolism and helps you feel more energetic. Also make sure that you are drinking at least eight glasses of water every day. If you aren’t, the cause of your fatigue may be simple dehydration.

4. Use supplements

When you find yourself feeling tired and lethargic on a routine basis, consider having a blood test done to determine if your thyroid is functioning properly, or if you have a vitamin deficiency. You might also consider taking a vitamin supplement, which can boost your energy significantly.

Liquid vitamins, such as the Passion 4 Life brand recently featured on Lifetime Television’s The Balancing Act, are said to be more easily absorbed into your system than those in pill form, and they are definitely easier to take as well. Adding a capful of a supplement like Passion 4 Life to your morning orange juice or smoothie is a great way to boost your energy — and to sneak vitamins into your kids as well!

5. Find your purpose and live your passion

Passion is key when it comes to feeling energetic and enthusiastic, and it’s never too late to find yours. Enroll in a class, find a hobby, or even change careers — it doesn’t matter what you do, but it does matter that you enjoy doing it. When you’re working towards meaningful goals and fulfilling a purpose that is truly important to you, you’re more likely to find the energy to make things happen!

By Alyssa Chirco

Photobucket

Working Toward Wellness? How to Stay on Track

February is the month where the rubber really starts to hit the road with wellness resolutions. It always seems as though the gym is a little less crowded, the kale a little more plentiful in the market, and the lure of chocolate is a little bit stronger in the 2nd month of the year. Need a little help staying on track? Use these tips to ensure that you stay on the path to wellness.

Find a Buddy

Lots of things are better with a friend — and wellness is no exception! Schedule walking dates, invite a friend over for a healthy lunch, or simply agree to send each other encouraging emails once a week. If you’re both the competitive sort, make your goals into a game and see who can reach small milestones first.

Go Public

Social media offers an engaging platform to publicize your goals. Announce your intentions on Facebook and you’ll have an entire friend list cheering you on. Want to share even more? Think about blogging your goals. Blogger and Typepad both offer easy-to-use blogging platforms that will allow you to journal the journey.

Get Inspired

Who doesn’t love to watch a success story? It can be very motivating to read and watch other people’s journeys — especially if you can gain insight into their struggles and successes. Many fitness magazines offer before-and-after stories along with tips for maintaining success. Want to follow along as four real-life people pursue their wellness goals? Tune in to Lifetime Television on Mondays to follow The Balancing Act’s Lifetime of Health & Wellness Makeover Series. Read more about the participants on The Balancing Act.

Try Something New

Add a little excitement into your routine by trying something new this month. Check out a newfitness class, prepare a new healthy recipe, or pick up a new book at the library. There’s a great (and so true!) quote floating around that says, “Doing what you’ve always done will get you to where you’ve always been.” Shake up that routine!

Plan to Succeed

Another favorite quote — “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Take a little time each week to set your intentions. Jot down lists and schedule time. Wellness deserves the same attention (or more!) as all of the other activities in your life. Make it a priority!

By Katrina Simeck

Photobucket

Aw, What a Cute Puppy!

Aw What a Cute Puppy! Have you noticed how many advertisements have those cute little lab puppies in them? You know why that is right? They are one of the cutest puppies around! Like everyone in my family I love cats and dogs. Growing up as a child we always had animals… cats, dogs, hamsters, birds, you name it! Would I have helped someone who was looking for their missing puppy? Just like any other kid I wanted to help, but we were always told to stay away from strangers. And be especially careful of anyone claiming to have lost an animal or offering candy. Naturally like any other good parent I have instilled the same values in my children, nieces, nephews, etc… So now let me tell you a story about my daughter’s best friend in school. Like with any BFF she went everywhere with us, including family vacations. She would get to hear all of the life lessons learned by kids traveling in a car on vacation. We treated her like our own and watched her just the same. Returning from one of our summer road trips we happen to stop at one of the popular fast food restaurants for a break and French fries (the diet of preteen girls). Like all kids, they didn’t want to wait for the parents so they rushed outside to the car. Needless to say I was shocked when I walked outside to find “the friend” leaning into the car next to us saying “aw what a cute puppy! I couldn’t believe it! The crazy thing is that the male occupant of the car didn’t stop her. Now maybe it was all harmless but I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Thinking about it now something didn’t seem right. An older man with a puppy on his lap sitting outside a fast food restaurant by the playground? Maybe I am being too suspicious, but wouldn’t you think that the person in the car would have discouraged her or reminded her about talking to strangers? That probably happened 8-10 years ago and I remember it like it was yesterday. Recently my daughter (now older) found a lab puppy. It’s absolutely adorable! Grandma who is an animal lover doesn’t have a dog so she was the first choice of who to give it to. Now here’s a lucky animal that receives royal treatment! Of course we promised to pet sit when she goes on vacation. Well grandma already had a vacation planned so we began our week of puppy sitting forAw What a Cute Puppy! Have you noticed how many advertisements have those cute little lab puppies in them? You know why that is right? They are one of the cutest puppies around! Like everyone in my family I love cats and dogs. Growing up as a child we always had animals… cats, dogs, hamsters, birds, you name it! Would I have helped someone who was looking for their missing puppy? Just like any other kid I wanted to help, but we were always told to stay away from strangers. And be especially careful of anyone claiming to have lost an animal or offering candy. Naturally like any other good parent I have instilled the same values in my children, nieces, nephews, etc… So now let me tell you a story about my daughter’s best friend in school. Like with any BFF she went everywhere with us, including family vacations. She would get to hear all of the life lessons learned by kids traveling in a car on vacation. We treated her like our own and watched her just the same. Returning from one of our summer road trips we happen to stop at one of the popular fast food restaurants for a break and French fries (the diet of preteen girls). Like all kids, they didn’t want to wait for the parents so they rushed outside to the car. Needless to say I was shocked when I walked outside to find “the friend” leaning into the car next to us saying “aw what a cute puppy! I couldn’t believe it! The crazy thing is that the male occupant of the car didn’t stop her. Now maybe it was all harmless but I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Thinking about it now something didn’t seem right. An older man with a puppy on his lap sitting outside a fast food restaurant by the playground? Maybe I am being too suspicious, but wouldn’t you think that the person in the car would have discouraged her or reminded her about talking to strangers? That probably happened 8-10 years ago and I remember it like it was yesterday. Recently my daughter (now older) found a lab puppy. It’s absolutely adorable! Grandma who is an animal lover doesn’t have a dog so she was the first choice of who to give it to. Now here’s a lucky animal that receives royal treatment! Of course we promised to pet sit when she goes on vacation. Well grandma already had a vacation planned so we began our week of puppy sitting for Snickers as promised and I found myself on the other side of “aw, what a cute puppy”! We took Snickers with us everywhere that she was allowed. I was completely amazed how many complete strangers walked up to us to play with her. We took her to a bonfire the first night and a woman actually swooped her up off the ground to snuggle with her. Remember, we teach women and girls how to escape from a potential attack so I was starting to feel funny when kids and young girls were walking up to play with Snickers. Obviously not because I didn’t want them to play with her, but because the parents weren’t around! I am a good person and I live in a relatively safe community but the parents had no way to know that. Over the weekend we were at an outside café and a little girl came up to pet Snickers. Her parents were inside. I told she needed to be with her parents and then she could play with the puppy. She could have been kidnapped before they knew what happened. It’s sad that as much as the world has changed, the oldest gimmicks are still around. Please make sure your children aren’t the victim of a missing puppy scenario. Remind your children that if an adult is asking for help they should go tell their parents, teachers, or another adult. Tracy Vega- Simple Self Defense for Women Snickers as promised and I found myself on the other side of “aw, what a cute puppy”! We took Snickers with us everywhere that she was allowed. I was completely amazed how many complete strangers walked up to us to play with her. We took her to a bonfire the first night and a woman actually swooped her up off the ground to snuggle with her. Remember, we teach women and girls how to escape from a potential attack so I was starting to feel funny when kids and young girls were walking up to play with Snickers. Obviously not because I didn’t want them to play with her, but because the parents weren’t around! I am a good person and I live in a relatively safe community but the parents had no way to know that. Over the weekend we were at an outside café and a little girl came up to pet Snickers. Her parents were inside. I told she needed to be with her parents and then she could play with the puppy. She could have been kidnapped before they knew what happened. It’s sad that as much as the world has changed, the oldest gimmicks are still around. Please make sure your children aren’t the victim of a missing puppy scenario. Remind your children that if an adult is asking for help they should go tell their parents, teachers, or another adult.

Aw, What a Cute Puppy!

Aw What a Cute Puppy! Have you noticed how many advertisements have those cute little lab puppies in them? You know why that is right? They are one of the cutest puppies around! Like everyone in my family I love cats and dogs. Growing up as a child we always had animals… cats, dogs, hamsters, birds, you name it! Would I have helped someone who was looking for their missing puppy? Just like any other kid I wanted to help, but we were always told to stay away from strangers. And be especially careful of anyone claiming to have lost an animal or offering candy. Naturally like any other good parent I have instilled the same values in my children, nieces, nephews, etc… So now let me tell you a story about my daughter’s best friend in school. Like with any BFF she went everywhere with us, including family vacations. She would get to hear all of the life lessons learned by kids traveling in a car on vacation. We treated her like our own and watched her just the same. Returning from one of our summer road trips we happen to stop at one of the popular fast food restaurants for a break and French fries (the diet of preteen girls). Like all kids, they didn’t want to wait for the parents so they rushed outside to the car. Needless to say I was shocked when I walked outside to find “the friend” leaning into the car next to us saying “aw what a cute puppy! I couldn’t believe it! The crazy thing is that the male occupant of the car didn’t stop her. Now maybe it was all harmless but I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Thinking about it now something didn’t seem right. An older man with a puppy on his lap sitting outside a fast food restaurant by the playground? Maybe I am being too suspicious, but wouldn’t you think that the person in the car would have discouraged her or reminded her about talking to strangers? That probably happened 8-10 years ago and I remember it like it was yesterday. Recently my daughter (now older) found a lab puppy. It’s absolutely adorable! Grandma who is an animal lover doesn’t have a dog so she was the first choice of who to give it to. Now here’s a lucky animal that receives royal treatment! Of course we promised to pet sit when she goes on vacation. Well grandma already had a vacation planned so we began our week of puppy sitting forAw What a Cute Puppy! Have you noticed how many advertisements have those cute little lab puppies in them? You know why that is right? They are one of the cutest puppies around! Like everyone in my family I love cats and dogs. Growing up as a child we always had animals… cats, dogs, hamsters, birds, you name it! Would I have helped someone who was looking for their missing puppy? Just like any other kid I wanted to help, but we were always told to stay away from strangers. And be especially careful of anyone claiming to have lost an animal or offering candy. Naturally like any other good parent I have instilled the same values in my children, nieces, nephews, etc… So now let me tell you a story about my daughter’s best friend in school. Like with any BFF she went everywhere with us, including family vacations. She would get to hear all of the life lessons learned by kids traveling in a car on vacation. We treated her like our own and watched her just the same. Returning from one of our summer road trips we happen to stop at one of the popular fast food restaurants for a break and French fries (the diet of preteen girls). Like all kids, they didn’t want to wait for the parents so they rushed outside to the car. Needless to say I was shocked when I walked outside to find “the friend” leaning into the car next to us saying “aw what a cute puppy! I couldn’t believe it! The crazy thing is that the male occupant of the car didn’t stop her. Now maybe it was all harmless but I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Thinking about it now something didn’t seem right. An older man with a puppy on his lap sitting outside a fast food restaurant by the playground? Maybe I am being too suspicious, but wouldn’t you think that the person in the car would have discouraged her or reminded her about talking to strangers? That probably happened 8-10 years ago and I remember it like it was yesterday. Recently my daughter (now older) found a lab puppy. It’s absolutely adorable! Grandma who is an animal lover doesn’t have a dog so she was the first choice of who to give it to. Now here’s a lucky animal that receives royal treatment! Of course we promised to pet sit when she goes on vacation. Well grandma already had a vacation planned so we began our week of puppy sitting for Snickers as promised and I found myself on the other side of “aw, what a cute puppy”! We took Snickers with us everywhere that she was allowed. I was completely amazed how many complete strangers walked up to us to play with her. We took her to a bonfire the first night and a woman actually swooped her up off the ground to snuggle with her. Remember, we teach women and girls how to escape from a potential attack so I was starting to feel funny when kids and young girls were walking up to play with Snickers. Obviously not because I didn’t want them to play with her, but because the parents weren’t around! I am a good person and I live in a relatively safe community but the parents had no way to know that. Over the weekend we were at an outside café and a little girl came up to pet Snickers. Her parents were inside. I told she needed to be with her parents and then she could play with the puppy. She could have been kidnapped before they knew what happened. It’s sad that as much as the world has changed, the oldest gimmicks are still around. Please make sure your children aren’t the victim of a missing puppy scenario. Remind your children that if an adult is asking for help they should go tell their parents, teachers, or another adult. Tracy Vega- Simple Self Defense for Women Snickers as promised and I found myself on the other side of “aw, what a cute puppy”! We took Snickers with us everywhere that she was allowed. I was completely amazed how many complete strangers walked up to us to play with her. We took her to a bonfire the first night and a woman actually swooped her up off the ground to snuggle with her. Remember, we teach women and girls how to escape from a potential attack so I was starting to feel funny when kids and young girls were walking up to play with Snickers. Obviously not because I didn’t want them to play with her, but because the parents weren’t around! I am a good person and I live in a relatively safe community but the parents had no way to know that. Over the weekend we were at an outside café and a little girl came up to pet Snickers. Her parents were inside. I told she needed to be with her parents and then she could play with the puppy. She could have been kidnapped before they knew what happened. It’s sad that as much as the world has changed, the oldest gimmicks are still around. Please make sure your children aren’t the victim of a missing puppy scenario. Remind your children that if an adult is asking for help they should go tell their parents, teachers, or another adult.

The Remington iLight Pro Hair Removal System – Two Week Follow Up and Second Application Info!

Are you curious what has happened over the past two weeks, since I initially brought you a feature about the Remington iLight Pro hair removal system?  Do you think I’ve got good things to say after two weeks?
WATCH THIS VIDEO UPDATE:
Honestly guys…this product really seems to be working great!
Can you imagine…6 months of NOT HAVING TO SHAVE your armpits or legs (especially during the summer)?
That means…we could limit shaving your legs, armpits, and other areas (bikini area) to only a few times a year!  OH MY GOODNESS…this could be the answer to ever woman’s prayers!
Seriously, check back in two weeks…when I bring my final update about my 3 application process with the Remington iLight Pro and I will hopefully be showing you pictures of my “ACTUAL” armpits…hair free and ready for SPRING!

PATIENCE AND THE FREELANCER

Like most careers, a freelance writing gig has its highs and lows. One of the biggest highs is working with many different clients. One of the biggest lows is chasing paychecks from all those different clients. Besides, putting a wrench in the budget, it just feels crappy to not get paid for work done well and on time.

Thankfully, chasing down clients doesn’t happen often. Usually I see payment within 30 days. Sometimes up to 60. Only once before, did it seem to take more than 3 months, but that company was reorganizing and I did believe that no one was in charge. And now there’s this…


Hey, look at me! I look like I am begging for… um…maybe a paycheck I invoiced 120+ days ago.
It was Day 107 when I started writing this post. And then I hesitated. Maybe it’s not the right thing to do, plus I had that idealistic “oh, it’ll probably come tomorrow” recording playing in my head.

On February 13th, approximately Day 120, I thought, “Hey it’s been 4 months since I sent that invoice.” I’ve been waiting an entire season for a paycheck. In other terms, I have been waiting the time it takes a baby to start solid foods. I got pissed, and resurrected the post.

I tapped on a few keys, then hesitated again. I wrote to the woman who hired me. Mortified that I was still waiting to be paid, she told me that some checks went out on Friday, and that maybe mine was with that bunch. Our fingers were crossed.

Then came Valentine’s Day — a day of love and perhaps…a paycheck! The only exciting thing in my mailbox, however, was a tiny lizard which scared the shit out of me. When I spotted it stationed on the last envelope, nearly white and trying so hard not to be seen, I screeched and threw all the mail in the air. As I collected the letters off the grass, a really cute Wheaton came over to sniff me and say “hello.” That was nice, but the absence of a check was not.

{Confession: I did not sign a contract with this company.}

The freelance gods are frowning upon me; I performed emergency proofreading duties in good faith. I know. I know — a stupid move which actually sometimes makes me think this massive delay is somehow my fault. I hate that that thought actually crosses my mind.

A good friend tells me his sister did a job for the same company, and that they took forever to pay. “But they paid!” he says, attempting to assuage me. I know this is supposed to make me feel better…. kind of like the forgotten 50 you find in a pair of jeans you haven’t worn in a very long time.

I don’t want to sound like an ungrateful, whiny freelance writer — and if you know me personally you know that I am so NOT a WFW, but in the event that I am coming off like one, I shall turn this negative situation into something positive starting….now!

Let’s play…

“GUESS THE NAME OF
THE VERY, VERY SLOW PAYER”

Just leave your answer in the comment section of this blog. If you are correct and the first one to be so (but you may not be a good friend to whom I may have already griped), you’ll receive an autographed copy of a “The Colorful Counting Book,” a short paperback kids book that I made a little too hastily on Lulu. But it’s the thought that counts, right? And it is kind of cute. Oh, I am eager to see the names you come up with, and I do hope you’ll play.

(o.k.- I’m really sorry that the prize is not a cool purse, or a spa service or anything of greater value, but remember, I haven’t been paid — and actually it is kind of cool especially if you have a kid or know a kid that is at the age of learning colors and numbers.)

It is February 15th, and still no check. Maybe tomorrow or the next day or the next or the next or maybe the next………….

Under My Skin

Photobucket

When I’m in the mood to be traumatized, I usually just go bathing suit shopping.  Jeans shopping runs a close second.  But when I really want to be both traumatized and insulted, I can always count on the ladies at the make-up counter of the department store to help me out.  It would seem to me that in addition to whatever beauty schooling they get in eyeshadow blending and lipstick application, they would also benefit from some good old-fashioned sensitivity training 101.

“Can I help you?” asked the woman with dramatically-arched, drawn-on eyebrows that would have made Mr. Spock green with envy.

“Um, I’m looking for a moisturizer,” I said reluctantly.  I was pretty sure I knew what I wanted, but just out of curiosity, I thought I would check out the latest in anti-aging treatments like bat dung serums and placenta creams.

She studied my face for a moment and then reached out and tweaked my cheek.

“Ow!”

“Just checking your elasticity,” she said.

I rubbed my tweaked cheek.  She grabbed something from behind the counter and held it up to my face. A bright light shone into my eyes.

“Severe sun damage,” she pronounced loudly.

I tried to recall if I had willingly come to this counter or if evil aliens had captured me and deposited me here for some kind of dermatological torture session.

“Here’s something that will help with the fine lines around your mouth and the sagging skin under your eyes,” she said, swiping some foul-smelling cream under my eyes and around my mouth.  My eyes immediately began to burn and tear.

“This one is also non-comedogenic so it will help with those clogged pores on your chin,” she said as she swiped some orange goo on my chin.  It quickly hardened so the pained expression on my mouth froze in place.

“…And this one will help reduce the appearance of the deeper lines on your forehead that you get when you frown –  like you are right now.”

Imagine that, I was frowning.

The ironic thing was, before I came into the store, I wasn’t even aware that I had fine lines around my mouth, sagging skin under my eyes, clogged pores on my chin, and deep wrinkles on my forehead.  I just wanted to get a moisturizer for dry winter skin.

“I think you would benefit from these three creams,” she pronounced.   I studied the tiny little jars

“How much?” I asked, as though I hadn’t been horrified enough.

“This one is $130 for 1 ounce.  This one is $150, and this little one is $95,” she said non-chalantly.

I did the math.  “Three hundred and seventy-five dollars?!?!?”

“Plus tax,” she said.  My hardened jaw dropped.

“But in 6 to 10 weeks, you should notice a dramatic reduction in the appearance of all your fine lines and wrinkles!” she exclaimed.

“Yes,” I said, “But if I leave right now, I will immediately notice a dramatic reduction in the appearance of you.”