New Affordable Home Personal Assistants from Amazon and Google

You know that we have entered the age of the Internet of Things, with these AI (Artificial Intelligence) devices that soon will be found in most connected homes. By now, you may have heard about these hot new home tech devices developed by the two tech giants, Amazon and Google. They’re both quite affordable, so it’s time to give them a try. Plus, they make the perfect gift for any tech lover that you know.

Amazon’s Echo Dot comes in black or white and can be wall mounted or sit on a shelf

Amazon Echo Dot

Amazon has developed the Echo Dot, which is a compact and more affordable version of the Amazon Echo, without the larger speaker.

The Echo dot is a puck-sized personal home assistant, named “Alexa”. You can ask Alexa many things, such as daily weather forecasts, news updates, and even jokes. Alexa will tell you what your day looks like, once connected to your calendar, as well as the day and time. It can sit discreetly on a shelf or can be mounted on a wall.

The Google Home Mini
By Mrschimpf – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=63705836

Google Home Mini

The Google Home Mini is powered by Google Assistant. Also puck-shaped, it has a soft mesh cloth covering. It comes equipped with the Google Home Assistant which can answer all your questions regarding your day’s events, control your lights, play some music, and start your TV at your request. It’s like having your own personal assistant.

Features

Both devices will play your favorite music when requested, through the built-in speaker is not great. Instead, it comes with an audio port so that you can plug in your existing speakers, or connect a wireless one via Bluetooth.

Once you’ve downloaded the app on your smartphone, you can follow the steps to connect to your WiFi network.  There are all kinds of skill sets you can add that are provided by different companies and available through the app.

One of the best things they do, however, is the smart home control. If you have any other device, such as the Nest, Honeywell, or Hive to name a few, you can enable your personal assistant to control them. Then you can just walk into the room and ask to have the temperature turned up the lights switched on or off, the TV, and on it goes.

Fight over App Add-ons

Currently, the two tech companies are battling over the YouTube app availability. Unfortunately, this all becomes confusing and unpleasant for the consumer. We can only hope they will “play nice”, and keep app availability open to all.

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8 Best Packing Tips for a Stress-free Flight

Flying can be stress-free

Fly with confidence when you follow these 8 simple tips

Make a Packing List

You’ll have more piece of mind if you keep a checklist of what you are packing. It will eliminate any worries about having left anything behind.  Once you’ve packed and zipped up your baggage, you can be confident of what’s inside, without having to open them and rummage through to check for an item.

Mark Your Checked Luggage!

There are so many luggage sets of the same or similar color, so it’s a great idea to mark yours in some distinctive way so that it will stand out and be easier to identify picking out from the luggage carousel. Mark your luggage with a colored strip of tape, stickers, or tied shoelaces or ribbon so it is easily recognizable.

Be aware that some airlines are cracking down on “smart luggage” that uses GPS technology, as the lithium-ion batteries it uses can be a fire hazard. Although there have not been any reported cases of fires caused by lithium batteries from these equipped suitcases, airlines are concerned about their safety. “Smart luggage’ includes an I.D. “chip” that stores the owner’s personal contact information, flight info and enables tracking the luggage using GPS technology, amongst other features.

Rolling Your Clothes

Rolling your clothes seems to be the best way to go to maximize the amount of clothing you can pack. Done properly, it will also minimize wrinkles. Rolling can be a little difficult for bulky puffy items like vests, coats, and sweaters, so you may have to fold these items flat.

Follow the 3-1-1 Rule

All liquids brought on to the plane in your handbag and/or carry-on luggage must fit in a 3.4 oz bottle, inside a clear quart-size sealable bag. Mascara, lip gloss, toothpaste and aerosol items are all classified as gels. Foods such as peanut butter, pudding and icing also fall into this category, however liquid prescription medication is exempt. Failure to follow this simple rule will cost you holding up the line plus having your items confiscated.

Your Carry-on Bag

Many of us bring gifts when we travel. While wrapping them is allowed, it’s not encouraged. Airport personnel may unwrap them if they need to check what you’re carrying. Make your life easier by packing all your liquids and gels in your checked luggage. This includes bottles of wine, liquor or beer, so long as you are within your allowed personal limits. Otherwise, you must conform to the 3-1-1 rule as outlined above. It’s good to include at least one extra change of clothes, in the event your checked bag is delayed.

Never Check Essential Items

Always keep your most important and essential items with you in your carry-on luggage.  Your passport, id, jewelry, electronics, meds, and any other valuable items should always be kept with you on the plane.  Airlines work hard to keep all checked luggage ending up in the right location, but we all know someone who has had their luggage delayed or even lost completely!

Think Layers

Often, we are traveling from one climate to another and dressing in layers makes it easy to remove or add as needed for temperature changes.  You will want to wear stylish and yet comfortable clothes that allow for extended sitting and stretching on your flight. Packing in layers also makes it easier for your bag to be scanned by airport security and keeps you moving along to your destination quickly.

Your Personal Item Allowance

Airlines usually allow one personal item, and one carry-on bag to be brought on board at no charge. Don’t waste your personal item on a small purse. Bring a larger bag that you can fit more items in. You can stow it under the seat in front of you and keep anything you need for the flight close and handy.

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10 Awesome and Unique DIY Gifts

Sometimes making your own gifts takes more time and ends up costing more than you plan on spending. But there’s no denying the thoughtfulness and the special impression a homemade gift makes. Check out these awesome ideas, that won’t eat up your time or budget.

1. Kitchen Utensils and Tea Towels Gift Set

Buy a stack of colorful tea towels and some quality wooden kitchen utensils and wrap them all with some butcher’s twine for a great hostess gift this holiday season.  Adding a tin of some home baking or share some of your favorite recipe cards, with a baking dish or new pie plate.

2. Unique Tea Towels

Another great tea towel gift idea is to buy some plain color tea towels. I would suggest white, ivory or a light grey. Make sure you wash them first. Then, using a black permanent Sharpie pen, add a favorite quote or message that would apply to the person that would receive this gift. You should probably plan it out on a sheet of paper or even lightly pencil it on to the tea towel. If you’re stuck for a suitable quote check the internet for something coffee or tea related or any other inspirational quote. These will be fade a bit when washed, but that just adds to the rustic charm!

3. DIY Succulent Garden

All you need is a wooden box to begin with. You can paint it black or charcoal grey and then sand the edges for that rustic touch. Add some potting soil, and 3 small succulent plants, and maybe some twine around the box and that’s it!

4. Clay Magnets

For this gift, you will need some hardening clay, some cookie cutters, ink stamps, small magnets, and glue. Start by rolling out your clay to approximately 5mm thickness. Use your cookie cutters to cut out shapes. Use your ink stamps to stamp on a pattern, or any other object that will leave an impression. You can experiment with the colors and patterns. After they have dried, glue a magnet to the back. There you go!

5. Tick Tack Toe Game

Here’s what to make if you or your daughter have collected a lot of round smooth stones this past summer. Sew a little drawstring bag with a piece of burlap or plain white cotton fabric. Use a permanent black Sharpie marker to make tick tack toe squares. Use eight stones. On four, draw white o’s and on the remaining four, draw four white xs.

Place all the stones in the bag for storage.  Add a tag to your gift that says ”You Rock!”.

6. Wine Bottle Gnome

A cool way to add charm to your wine bottle gift is to create a gnome topper. You will need some felt, glue, a pompom or wooden knob or button for a nose, and some faux fur fabric for the beard. Cut the felt into an 8” x 10” rectangle, and the faux fur into a triangle 2” wide and about 4” long.  Wrap the rectangle into a cone shape and fasten it with glue.  Glue the fur beard onto the inside of the hat, and finish with the pompom nose. So cute! And you can make a whole tribe of these guys.

7. Birdseed Ornaments

Mix 3/4 cup all-purpose white flour
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons corn syrup
1 envelope unflavored gelatin

Add 4 cups of birdseed and knead into a stiff dough. Arrange cookie cutters that have been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray, on a piece of parchment paper, and pack in the dough. Use a straw to make a hole in each.  When they are dry, push the seed shapes out of the molds.

Cut pieces of red and white twine to hang the ornaments to tree branches for our feathered friends to enjoy. For gifting, wrap them in clear cellophane. Instead of the cookie cutter shapes, you can also make ball-shaped ornaments.

8. Lavender Bath Fizzes

Homemade lavender bath fizzes in a glass jar are perfect for the home spa lover.

Mix together: 1 cup baking soda, 1/2 cup cornstarch, and 1 cup citric acid.  Spray with water from a spray bottle, while mixing with the other hand.  Add just enough water so that the mixture holds its shape when squeezed.  You can add food coloring if you wish. For example, four drops of blue and eight drops of red give a nice light lavender color.  Add drops of essential lavender oil. An option is to also add two or three dried lavender buds. Knead everything well. Now press mixture tightly into a silicone mold. You can add a few more dried lavender buds on top of the cubes.  After they have hardened, put the cubes in glass jars, and add some ribbon and some lavender sprigs to decorate.

9. Photo Ornaments

You’ll need round wood ornaments with distressed edges. Print out your favorite photos in black and white and cut them into circles to fit on the wooden ornaments leaving an even border all around. If you have a photo editing program on your computer you can enlarge and crop them to fit, or add the location and year the photo was taken or the name of the person in the photo, just to give some ideas. Use a foam brush and some matte “ModPodge”, or similar clear glaze. Once dry, brush the back in the same way. Punch holes in the tops and add some twine to hang the ornaments. What a nice way to preserve treasured moments!

10. Milk and Honey Soap

Milk and honey soap smells great, moisturizes, clarifies and is naturally antibacterial. You’ll need 1 lb. of goats’ milk soap base, a silicone mold ideally in a honeycomb shape, organic raw honey, and some yellow and red soap colorant.

Place cubes of the soap base in a four cup size measuring glass, and melt in the microwave in 30-second increments.  Add 3 tablespoons of honey, and a few drops of yellow coloring, and some red for a more golden yellow color. Pour into the mold and allow to cool.

Package them in clear cellophane wrap or glass jars for a lovely gift.

 

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The Downside of the Desk Job

Sitting at a desk all day has become the new smoking. Being trapped in a chair, typing madly and staring at a computer all day can lead to body and health problems. But perhaps your job requires just that. How much exercise should you squeeze into your day to undo the damage?

Hunching, neck tension, and eye strain are a few of the downsides of that desk job.

The good news is that by including some daily exercise, and making good ergonomic choices, you can avoid any problems.

Lower Back Strain

The most common desk-job complaint is lower back pain. Slumping or slouching can cause you back to be out of alignment. What to do? Alleviate immediate pain by rocking your pelvis back and forth while sitting on your chair. This will loosen your back muscles. For the long-term, make sure your back reaches the back of your chair. If not, add a cushion. Also, your feet should be resting flat on the floor, so the weight of your legs are supported and not adding strain to your back. If not, add a footstool. Including a few daily ab crunches can strengthen your core, also taking less strain off your back.

Wrist Strain

Whenever you are using a mouse of pounding on a keyboard, your wrist tendons get a workout. The constant repetitive motion can cause tension and fatigue. Poor posture can decrease blood flow, causing tingling and numbness. Quickly relieve tension by doing a prayer stretch, palms together and elbows out, lowering your hands for a good 5-second stretch. The long-term solution is to hold your hands naturally and out horizontally over the keyboard. Also, use a wrist rest and rest them often.

Neck and Shoulder Pain

To release a tight neck, keep your spine straight push your chin forward, and then reverse the movement pulling your head back. Repeat four times. For both your neck and shoulders, tilt your right ear down to toward your shoulder, leaving your left arm down by your side. Repeat on the opposite side. Hold for 60 seconds and repeat up to four times on each side for immediate relief from tightness.

For the long-term, adjust your workstation so that your monitor is directly in front of you, not angled to one side. Use a chair with adjustable arm rests, so that your arms can rest at a 90 degree angle. This takes tension from the shoulders.

Eye Strain

Having a monitor placed incorrectly­–too far away or too near, blinking less often, and starring at one for hours on end can lead to sore dry eyes.

To quickly relieve tension, look away from the screen every 20 or 30 minutes, and hold the gaze for at least 20 seconds. Even better, get up and take a walk away from your desk and give your eyes a chance to focus on other objects.

If you wear glasses, makes sure you have the right prescription glasses for the location of your computer screen.  It is recommended that your computer monitor is 20 to 40 inches away from you. The top of the monitor should be roughly at eye level. You can also place a filter over your monitor to reduce glare.

Add exercise to your day

All that excessive sitting can leave your hips and legs tight and your glutes inactive.

Try taking time for a daily walk or run. Take time to do a few leg stretches before heading out such as leg swings from side to side and forward and back. Do 20 swings each way. Add a squat, and a hold it for up to 60 seconds. These are just a couple of stretches to help you limber up a bit. There are many more you can do if you need to and many resources online where you can find them. Any activity you can add to your day where you are not sitting would be a benefit!

 

 

 

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Top 5 Spices for Your Health

Add more than flavor when you add spices to your life

When it comes to spices, they don’t just make your food tastier. Research shows there is a multitude of benefits to your health. In countries where people consume a lot of different spices, the incidences of diet-related illnesses such as heart disease and cancers are relatively low.

Here are the top spices to include in your spice cabinet:

Turmeric

This spice is a root that is part of the ginger family and most often sold in ground powdered form. The root can be found in many health food stores.

It is orange/yellow in color and often found in curries, and tossed into smoothies.

From aiding wound healing and digestion, relieving colds and respiratory problems, to enhancing immune function, turmeric is a powerhouse spice to have in your cupboard.

Perhaps the most pressing reason for taking turmeric is its’ anti-cancer benefits. Preliminary studies have found that curcumin, the active ingredient, can inhibit tumor cell growth and suppress enzymes that activate carcinogens. It also shows promise in preventing and treating Alzheimer’s disease.

Ginger

Also a root. Can be purchased ground or whole. Ginger can soothe nausea and an upset stomach, aids in digestion, and relieves sore muscles and osteoarthritis pain.  Easily make a ginger tea with hot water added to a cup with a few slices of ginger. Ginger can be used in many sauces and stir-fry cooking, as well as being the essential ingredient in gingerbread and gingersnap cookies, used in its’ powdered form.

Cinnamon

One of the oldest known spices, this rolled brown bark can be purchased whole in sticks, in ground form, or as an oil.

Consuming as little as a ¼ tsp a day has been shown to stabilize blood sugar levels in those with diabetes. Cinnamon is sweet without adding calories, and is often found in gum and candies and used widely in baking. Apparently just smelling the spice improves attention and memory.

Cinnamon is an excellent source of minerals like potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, zinc, and magnesium. It is also known to reduce inflammation.

Saffron

The dried stamens of the Crocus sativus plant, saffron has always been prized for its flavor and its medicinal properties. It contains several chemical compounds that are known to be antioxidant, disease preventing and health promoting. It has been used as an antidepressant since the antioxidants help protect the body from oxidant-induced stress.

Chili Peppers

Chili peppers contain a compound called capsaicin, which has an anti-bacterial, anti-carcinogenic and anti-diabetic properties. What this means is they boost metabolism causing one to burn more calories, and stimulate brain chemicals to make us feel full longer.

They add heat to your dishes and a strong spicy flavor while providing high levels of your daily requirements of vitamins and minerals.

 

 

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Refresh Your Mind and Spirit with a Hobby

Spending your leisure time learning a new skill can be very rewarding.

Living a full, healthy life is not just about eating well and working out. It includes making time for yourself.  No matter how busy or how old you are, you can always make space in your life for something new. From dancing, cooking, playing an instrument, to traveling, reading, and writing, to name a few, there is sure to be an activity that complements your current lifestyle. The benefits are many, from relieving stress and boredom to boosting health and in turn, longevity.

You Choose it

It makes sense to spend your leisure time doing something that compliments your job, or how you otherwise would spend your day. If you are a writer or a graphic artist spending long hours on your computer or laptop, you will want to do something where you are more active, such as hiking, yoga, pottery, or playing an instrument. If your job is a solitary one, perhaps you would want to find something that allows you to be in a more social setting. Keeping active gives the body and soul an energy boost, and can ward off illness. When you feel better, you sleep better.

You Own it

There is so much in life that we have no control over but a hobby can change that. A hobby is something you choose to do. You take control of it, when and how much time you spend on it. Devoting time to your leisure time pursuit helps you learn to manage your time more efficiently. You learn to better structure your time to create that chunk of time that frees you from other demands and obligations.

Pride of Accomplishment

It’s just as much about the journey as the completion of learning any skill or new project. But there’s that unmistakable feeling of personal pride and accomplishment upon completion or the pleasure of learning something new.

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Chakra Meditation for Beginners

Through meditation and awareness, you can bring your physical and mental health to a more harmonious state.

Chakras have been identified and used for centuries in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Ayurveda. A chakra is a center of life energy within our bodies. There are 7 key chakras areas and include 7 colors associated with each.

Chakras are powerful energy centers within our bodies.

Chakras can become blocked and cause an imbalance in your body. When this happens, the other chakras may become over-energized to compensate for any area that has shut down. Clearing the energy flow within each chakra can have a powerful healing effect on any physical malfunction connected to that energy center and your general sense of well-being.

The 7 chakras and colors are as follows:

  1. Root Chakra: Colour – red.  Found at the base of your spine. It governs your connection to the outer world, your foundation and your fundamental needs for food, shelter, clothing, etc. It can be thought of as a tether cord that ties you to the earth.
  2. Sacral Chakra: Colour- orange. Sits just below the navel. It is involved in your creativity, your imagination, impulses, as well as your reproductive organs. Balance is needed here for exploring the world, and coping with changes.
  3. Solar Plexus: Colour- yellow.  Sits just above your navel. This chakra is associated with your digestion and personal inner strength. Balance here is needed to allow you to embrace the things that you experience and understand your place in them.
  4. Heart Chakra: Colour – green. It is the center of compassion, altruism, and love, the center of our emotions. An imbalance here can cause respiratory problems and high blood pressure. When this chakra is in balance, you are able to form emotional connections with others.
  5. Throat Chakra: Colour – blue. Governs communication and self-expression. It’s like a translation center where all that is entering our bodies can be communicated outwardly. A blockage here can lead to isolation and susceptibility to infections.
  6. Third Eye Chakra: Colour – indigo. Sits just above your eyebrows, between your eyes. It represents a more spiritual side of you, your psychic center, as well as and your intuition. It allows you to see how the world around you is interconnected.
  7. Crown Chakra: Colour -purple and white. Sits right at the top of your head. It represents your power connection to the wider world.  It feeds meaning into our lives. When it is in balance, you have a sense of confidence and well-being,

How can you unlock a blocked chakra?

Begin with self-guided meditation involving all the chakras to bring your entire body into balance.  All that you need is 30 minutes and a quiet place where you can sit undisturbed. You can begin by trying to visualize each chakra center and the colors associated with them. Devote several minutes to each chakra and visualize the energy passing through it.

We can discover so much about ourselves, if we allow ourselves the time and space, to tune in to these important areas of our bodies.

Through meditation, we can find a balance of energy flow of chakras with our bodies.

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How Can I Become a More Patient Person?

Would you describe yourself as being a patient person? Most of us do, though our definition of patient varies from person to person. Do you feel you could use some help in this area? Try the following suggestions:

Beware of Instant Gratification

Much of our consumer society is geared towards towards delivering what we want as fast as possible. This can be quite gratifying and it is very easy to start thinking that all of us life should be this way. One way to develop patience is to make yourself wait for things, even when you don’t have to. That way, you will develop the mindset that not everything can or should come your way instantly.

Accept Dissatisfaction

Let’s face it: even if you had all of the money and power in the world, you would still be dissatisfied at times and there would be nothing you could do about it. No one likes being stuck in traffic, but there is usually nothing to be done. Thus, instead of fuming (which accomplishes zero), just settle back and accept the situation. Concentrate your thoughts and energy on something else.

Deep Breaths

This sounds simplistic, but there is a reason that doctors and therapists continually recommend taking deep breaths: they really do help to calm you down. This is also a strategy that you can literally do anywhere at almost any time. It also doesn’t cost you a penny.

Stopping Impatience When It Starts

We’re sure that you know precisely when you are starting to feel impatient. Whether it’s your blood pressure or some other physical sign, one can almost always know when an angry outburst is coming.

This is a good thing because it gives us a chance to stop it before it starts. As soon as you can feel impatience rising, take a step back and recuse yourself from the situation.

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Is Green Tea Actually Good for You?

If you are looking for healthy foods and practices on the Internet, you can find all kinds of articles recommending all kinds of things. But how much of what you read is actually true?

For example, green tea has been widely celebrated as one of the most healthy drinks around. But does it actually live up to the hype? Thankfully, yes.

Can Green Tea Make You Smarter?

Not in the sense that it will automatically get you into Mensa, but it does contain the amino acid L-theanine, which increases the production of dopamine and alpha waves, both of which are beneficial for brain function. Improved brain function = improved performance. Doing a better job can make you feel smarter…or at least seem that way to those around you.

Green tea also contains caffeine, which can help you to function longer, but it does not contain as much as coffee or tea, so you get the good effects without overdoing it.

Green Tea Contains Antioxidants

Have you heard of antioxidants? These help to prevent the oxidative damage in your body which can lead to cancer. Green tea is an excellent source of antioxidants, but make sure that you do not put milk in your tea because this reduces the effectiveness.

Green Tea Can Kill Bacteria

Here is a green tea power you might not have suspected: germ fighter! Cavities can result from a build-up of bacteria in your mouth; green tea helps you deal with those germs by inhibiting the growth of streptococcus mutans.

Green Tea Can Make You Thinner

No, drinking gallons of green tea will not automatically cause you to shed those extra 20 pounds you put on over the summer. However, it does help to decrease the build-up of abdominal body fat and green tea is not the least bit fattening.

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Unleash Your Creativity and Imagination

Everyone hits a creative wall sometimes. You find yourself staring at a blank screen, knowing that you must pull ideas and words out from within and commit them. There may even be a deadline looming, adding to your stress and potential agony.

Creativity often comes in bursts and disappears quickly.  This can be very frustrating for both designers, writers, and clients.  If you work in a creative field, there’s nothing more agonizing.

What is creativity? Most of us think of artistic pursuits like painting, writing or making music. But creativity is much more than that. It is a way of thinking and relating to others and the world around us, unleashing the imagination.

What are creative people? Creative people tend to be rooted in reality, but also have a sense of fantasy and playfulness. They hover between perfect introverts and perfect extroverts.  They are both passionate and critical of their own work. It’s this teetering between opposites, this flexibility of being, that can lead to ideas and solutions and what we like to think of as creative thinking.

Instead of beating yourself up, you can take steps in the right direction, promoting the flow of creative juices. Your creativity can be awakened by doing something inspiring.

Calm the mind.

Sometimes it’s life’s distractions that get in our way. This is when it’s a good idea to take a walk or find a quiet spot to meditate and calm the mind. It might be worth a trip to the gym to have a workout, or attend a yoga class. Relieving physical tension can help to calm and relax the body and mind.

Explore.

You can involve others by reaching out and sharing your thoughts and brainstorming ideas. Looking at work done by other designers is often just what you need to launch the solution to your design problem. Sometimes you need to immerse yourself in a topic to understand it and see what’s been done before. Stop worrying so much about originality. You can use a design as a foundation and take it in a new direction by building on it and making it your own.

Taking time out to watch a movie, or read a magazine, blog or book might give you a fresh perspective.

Doodle and sketch.

Get ideas and scribbles down onto paper, no matter how crazy they may seem at first. This is a good idea anytime. Creative people always have a notebook with them, wherever they go. Creativity can strike at any time! While out buying groceries, walking the dog, or at any time throughout your day. Be prepared to jot down any idea when it hits. Before you know it, it will disappear!

Set the stage.

Get comfortable. Love your work environment. Make it pretty. Get happy. Add inspiring music. Be with other creative people, even if this takes you out to a coffee shop.

Inspiring quotes.

Keep a collection of inspiring quotes, and draw from them when needed.

Exercise Your Creative Muscles

Like anything else, creativity improves the more you use it. So, exercise that muscle and try to do something creative every day. Paint, write, doodle, or just get outside and explore every day.

Sleep on it

At the end of the day, if you are not accomplishing what you want, and frustration is taking over. Stop, draw a bath, listen to some gentle music, then slide into bed and have a good night’s sleep. Sleep is vital to reset your brain and reenergize. It’s amazing how many ideas seem to pop into our heads in the middle of the night.

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Five Top Reasons to Use Apple Cider Vinegar Regularly

You’ll find many claims about the many uses and benefits of apple cider vinegar on the internet these days and not many are backed up by science. That doesn’t mean they aren’t true. If you are interested, it is a good candidate for experimentation.

Raw, “unfiltered” apple cider vinegar is the one to use, one that has the “mother” (strands of proteins, enzymes, and friendly bacteria) in it. It is cloudier than regular vinegar.

Here is what you may find it will do:

  1. Help Control Blood Sugar Levels – You don’t have to be a diabetic, to benefit from controlled blood sugar levels. Elevated blood sugars are a major cause of aging and chronic diseases.  Two tablespoons before bedtime can reduce fasting blood sugars by 4%.
  2. Help with Weight Loss  – Apple cider vinegar can help in 2 ways. Having 2 tablespoons of ACV with water before a high-carb meal will cancel out some of the carbs you eat. The acetic acid found in vinegar interferes with the enzymes in your stomach responsible for digesting starch so you can’t absorb the calories from carbs you’ve eaten since fewer calories enter the bloodstream. The acetic acid also suppresses your appetite and makes you feel full longer and eat less throughout the day.
  3. Boost Your Energy – Next time you feel tired, try a tablespoon or 2 of ACV with water for relief. Stress and exercise can cause lactic acid to build up in the body and cause you to feel fatigued. Apple cider vinegar may be just the remedy that you need.
  4. Treat acid reflux and heartburn – Sixty percent of the adult population will experience acid reflux throughout the course of a year year and 20 to 30 per cent have weekly symptoms.  Contributing causes of acid reflux and heartburn are an unbalanced stomach and lack of enzymes and probiotics. Apple cider vinegar will provide these.  Also, the vinegar increases the acidity of the stomach, which allows it to digest the food you’ve eaten and helps propel it into the small intestine.  Because slow digestion can cause acid to back up into the esophagus and create that nasty burning sensation, not to mention the uncomfortable bloating that can follow.  Simply add 1-2 tablespoons of ACV to a cup of water before meals.
  5. Regulate Your body’s PH and detoxify – Even though vinegar is acidic in nature, it has an alkaline effect on your body. Balancing your body’s PH can reduce your risk of chronic illnesses like cancer and dramatically increase your energy.

There is a multitude of other uses, and here are a few of them to try:

All-purpose Cleaner: Mix 1 cup water, ½ cup apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon dish soap, and a few drops of tea tree oil.

Skin-Toner: 1 part apple cider vinegar to 2 parts water, and applied with a cotton pad.

Fruit Fly Trap: Apple cider in a cup with a few drops of dish soap.

Salad Dressing: Mix together 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar, 1/2 cup avocado oil or olive oil, 3-4 garlic cloves, very finely chopped, Salt and pepper to taste.

Meat Marinade: Combine with garlic, soy sauce, and onion.

Homemade Weed Killer: Spray undiluted onto unwanted weeds.

Dandruff Control: Rub directly onto scalp and rinse after 20 minutes.

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Do You Have a Drinking Problem?

Do you enjoy a drink or two after work? Do you look forward to the weekend because it means you can get rip roaring drunk? There has been much debate over the years about what constitutes too much alcohol. Is it the quantity you drink? The frequency you drink? Both?

There is no clear answer to those questions, but here are some signs that it might be time for you to cut back on your consumption:

Drinking to Relax

There’s nothing wrong with taking an occasional nip to calm down. However, if you are at a point where alcohol is the only thing that will provide you with a sense of relaxation, then it’s time to re-examine your lifestyle.

Hiding Your Drinking

Have you been criticized to the point where you feel it necessary to hide your drinking? This almost certainly means that people believe you are overdoing it and, chances are, you probably do need to cut back.

Blacking Out

It is not unusual for someone to become sleepy and hit the sack after drinking, but if you just plain black out, and then can’t remember what happened, this is a bad sign.

Experiencing Withdrawal

Does your body and/or mind experience issues when you are not drinking? This is an indication that your body has developed an actual need for the alcohol because it is so used to it being in your system. If you find yourself trying to cut back, but are unable, that is also problematic.

Relationship Problems

Has your drinking compromised the quality of the relationships you enjoy with friends, loved ones, and work colleagues?

Increased Intake

Do you find that you can drink increasingly more than you used to? That is also a sign that your body is growing too accustomed to the intoxication.

If you are displaying any of these signs, it is time for you to talk to a professional about how you can overcome this habit.

 

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