Wednesday, December 28, 2011

New Year's Resolutions

According to "A New Years Resolution is generally a goal someone sets out to accomplish in the coming year."

I honestly believe the idea is a good one, but honestly, I can't think of one that I really kept. (Most fizzle out a month or so after being made.) So, why do we do it? The promise of hope and new things perhaps? The impetus to change something about ourselves that's less than desirable?

Many of us try to "get fit" or "quit smoking" or "make more time to spend with friends and family" or "get out of debt." All are admirable but kind of vague. The key is making small achievable goals. This way we make some progress which encourages us to keep going.

I'm going to directly quote from: because I felt it really did a good job saying what I wanted to. (I don't usually refer to other articles, but it would have been too hard to paraphrase.)

There is a right way and a wrong way to make a New Year's resolution. Here are a few expert tips to see that your resolution actually makes a difference:

1. Create a Plan
Setting a goal without formulating a plan is merely wishful thinking. In order for your resolution to have resolve, (as the word "resolution" implies), it must translate into clear steps that can be put into action. A good plan will tell you A) What to do next and B) What are all of the steps required to complete the goal.

2. Create Your Plan IMMEDIATELY
If you're like most people, then you'll have a limited window of opportunity during the first few days of January to harness your motivation. After that, most people forget their resolutions completely.
It is imperative that you begin creating your plan immediately.

3. Write Down Your Resolution and Plan exists to help you formulate a plan, which we then help you stick to. But even if you don't use, commit your resolution and plan to writing someplace, such as a notebook or journal.

4. Think "Year Round," Not Just New Year's
Nothing big gets accomplished in one day. Resolutions are set in one day, but accomplished with a hundred tiny steps that happen throughout the year. New Year's resolutions should be nothing more than a starting point. You must develop a ritual or habit for revisiting your plan. helps you stick to your plan by providing email reminders that arrive when it's time to work on a given task.

And finally... 

5. Remain Flexible
Expect that your plan can and will change. Life has a funny way of throwing unexpected things at us, and flexibility is required to complete anything but the simplest goal. Sometimes the goal itself will even change. Most of all, recognize partial successes at every step along the way. Just as a resolution isn't accomplished the day it's stated, neither is it accomplished the day you reach your goal. Rather, it's accomplished in many small increments along the way. Acknowledge these incremental successes as they come.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Roses are red, hot lips are too...

Why is it we have to dare to wear red lipstick?  It's a perfectly nice shade actually. Lately, we have seen celebs sporting the trend on the red carpet, at events and in casual everyday wear.

Why have they been doing this? Some believe it's because of the period pieces many of them have been performing in. Others think it's very festive especially at this time of year.

It's not just a look for holidays like valentines though. Red lips are a great way to add drama to an otherwise natural look.  They are also perfect if you are looking to take a daytime look into nighttime.

Some folks grew up thinking, much like I did, that red lips belonged solely to powerful, confident & sexy people. (The rest of us could wear pink! LOL) I personally did dabble in red lips mostly for Halloween costumes or dance recitals -- where high visibility was important. But don’t be scared if you have never tried red lips before; you can always start with a sheer lip shade.

One of the benefits of red lips is it's artificial but instant teeth whitening effect. (see picture below)

I do know that some ladies prefer more of a burgundy or blood red, but I kind of like the fire engine or cherry red. It really pops especially when you tone down the rest of your makeup wearing neutrals on the eyes. Also, what color/pattern of clothing you choose to wear with it can also make a difference. (Exactly how much attention do you want?)

I decided to try something: for 1 week I'll be wearing Mary Kay Really Red creme lipstick topped with Rockn' Red lip gloss. Let's see what kinds of reactions I get...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Trendy hats, coats, boots, etc to keep you warm this winter

About a month ago I was talking about not letting yourself get cold and dehydrated. And since then I've talked about various parts of cold weather protection. I think I managed to suck the fun right out of things, so this week I wanted to touch upon something more pleasant: keeping warm and looking good at the same time!

The key is layers of thin clothes. Feel free to mix it up with different colors, textures & patterns. I believe the idea is to allow you to adjust your body temperature by adding/removing layers as needed. You could wear a tank top or thin jersey followed by a cardigan,

Many times we can lose body heat from our heads, as we forget to cover them. You don't however have to wear a knit cap with a big puffy pom-pom on top. There are other options. Headbands are a nice alternative, although they don't cover the top they at least keep the ears covered and can be worked into most hairstyles. A smart wool cap or fedora will do too.

Nowadays not only are scarves warm, but they come in so many varieties/styles that they are truly stylish and can pull an outfit together. Indoors or out, scarves are "in."

My personal dilemma is: mittens or gloves? I love gloves, but find mittens more efficient at keeping my fingers/hands warm. I'll leave it up to you which you choose to use. (I recently discovered gloves, by Finger Logic, with special finger tips that have capacitive threads in them allowing you to use your touchscreen technology without leaving your hands cold.

You may want to have several jackets/coats to choose from -- for different occasions and weather conditions. For instance wearing leather in the rain/snow is not advised. But a nice fluffy parka with a hood would be. I also have "snow shoveling" coat Vs a "going out on a Friday night" coat. Sometimes the lighter weight jackets can be worn from fall right into spring, depending on your mastery of layering mentioned above.

I believe that most people would think twice before donning "long underwear" but don't even blink if you suggest wearing leggings. (Much thicker than tights or nylons, they keep your legs warm when you wear dresses and skirts (or maxi sweater/dresses.) However you could wear them under your jeans, as a little insulation, when spending prolonged hours outside --  if you're out ice skating or "walking in a winter wonderland" perhaps.

Speaking of are made for just that! (Sorry, really bad pun of song lyrics.) Weather you're a fashionista or just looking for something practical, your primary concern is keeping those cute toes of yours warm. Depending on the occasion, you may need/want to have several pairs to chose from. I actually suggest having a change with you, if you've been out frolicking in the snow but want something cute for later at night.

So get out there, get creative, play with looks and styles and most of all have fun!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Why am I getting zits now? I’m not 16 anymore!

 Adult acne is more common than we once thought. about 1/4 of men and 1/2 of women can suffer from it. As of right not there's no instant fix but there are a few good treatments.

Acne usually begins with blackheads Blackheads are not dirt, they're actually the result of oil and dead cells getting trapped in a pore where they block the duct and mix with bacteria. They then turn black when exposed to air. Red pimples develop when blackheads become inflamed and they spread when touched with dirty hands. When the pimple becomes infected, it develops a whitehead or pustule. These can break and cause scars.

There are often different reasons why adults develop acne compared to kids. Some are: Stress, bad cosmetics, hormones and birth control pills. (Stress causes your oil glands to overcompensate. Bad cosmetics lead to bacteria-laden pores. Hormones cause the sebacuous glands to overact and birth control pills with androgen in them can cause breakouts.) Some women develop adult acne after menapause.
As we get older our skin doesn't bounce back like it used to, so sometimes adult acne can have longer-lasting effects than the kind younger people have. This leads to more scarring. It can also make the sufferer feel rather self-conscious. 

Treatments for adult acne are similar to the ones for teenagers but we have to be a bit more gentle. People tend to scrub too hard, which causes inflammation. Whatever you use, prescription strength or over-the-counter, proper care should be taken to manage the drying effects on the skin.
For acne that does not respond to over-the-counter methods you may have to see a dermatologist. There are also acne treatments that specifically address hormonal acne and new progress is being made in laser acne treatments. While seeing a dermatologist can be expensive, it may be necessary if over-the-counter remedies have been ineffective.

Overall, determining the best treatment for adult acne can take time and money. What works for one person may not necessarily work for another. Spend time evaluating the various options in eliminating adult acne and start experimenting. Finding the solution to your case could mean trying many products before finally finding success. But do not get discouraged and know that you are not alone, an acne-free existence could be one product away.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Nailed it!

I am guilty of just painting my nails one color because I don't have a steady enough hand to do the traditional pink and white french manicure.

But now that the trend is moving towards using brighter or even darker colors, AND you're even allowed to flip it around, I'm more intrigued.

Have you tried a gold tip french manicure with a dark burgandy, black or navy blue? Perhaps pink and red is more your speed? (Try silver or sparkles even.)

Maybe your nails are short and you don't want to emphasize it with a wide stripe up top? Then mimic the half-moon at the base of your nail with color.

The key here is contrast. Why bother doing it, if you can't see it? Just think of two great colors that look stunning together.

Another thing I'm seeing now, and dying to try out myself, is magnetic nail polish. (I thought the crackle gel polish was cool but this really is neat!) The idea is just after you paint the nail, you hold  it over the cap which conveniently has a magnet built into it. After 30 seconds to a minute the rippled effect starts to set. 

I'd highly advise waiting another minute or two before adding a top coat to seal it -- or you might just drag the brush right through your trendy new look. Unless that's what you're going for, like the way a cake decorator pulls a toothpick through a stripe of icing to make it have a point.

Why not take it to the next level? Use a magnetic color as your primary, and then use a daring contrasting color as the tip -- once you've let the ripples set.

[I don't have permission to publish the photos I've seen (as I don't own them) but I hope the descriptions give you an idea what I'm seeing out there.]

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Uggs – Warm, cute, but are they good for your feet?

Let me just say right off the bat, I don't wear Uggs or any other brand of sheepskin "boot." I think they're overdone slippers and they lack anything practical. They have no arch support, aren't waterproof, and because they don't have any way to vent the heat and moisture from your foot (socks or no socks) it's a prime home for bacteria and foot fungus.

That being said, much like slippers, they're comfy. My sister-in-law who (shall remain nameless to protect her identity) LOVES hers and has more than one pair in different colors/styles. Maybe it has more to do with the idea that the celebrities wear them, so why shouldn't the common folk?

Personally, being of the piscean persuasion, I truly believe as my zodiac sign reigns over the feet, that it's no surprise I have small feet to support a short, round person and constantly have foot troubles. (From foot and back pain to athletes foot -- if I don't wear supportive shoes or "air out" my feet respectively.) My problems aside, I've researched it and found that I'm not alone in my beliefs.

Podiatrists have also claimed that this boot design does not always provide the stability that some people need and the heel often rolls towards the inner edge of the boot. This can be a sign that the arches of the feet are weakening and may be at risk from a strain injury and discomfort and pain are often the result. Using UGG-like boots to keep your feet warm makes sense but walking longer distances in them may give you more than you bargained for. Sacrificing comfort for style can come at a price. (Much in the same way you wouldn't wear stilettos all day and night without a break, or to run a marathon.)

If you have healthy feet, and wear them for comfort not "walking" you'll probably be fine. But if you already have foot problems, such as myself, your best bet is to treat them as indoor shoes/slippers or not wear them at all.

(Well at least during the summer you have an alternative to the flip flop - which I feel is equally as bad as the Ugg-like boot. Maybe you'd be better off with a pair of Crocs! At least they've been approved by the American Podiatric Medical Association for helping to eliminate plantar pain and achy feet. Now if only they could come out with a winterized version...)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Chapped lips – what to do about them.

Signs and Symptoms of Chapped Lips

Chapped Lips are characterized by dry, cracked, flaky and sore lips that can affect people from time to time at any time of the year. Occasionally, chapped Lips can be can be painful, embarrassing, and uncomfortable because they can interfere with many daily activities, such as smiling, eating and talking. 

Common signs and symptoms include dryness, redness, tenderness and sensitivity, cracking, splitting, peeling, and pain. If dry lips are causing inflammation and bleeding, it is strongly recommended that you consult with your doctor immediately since it can lead to severe infection.

Causes of Chapped Lips

Chapped lips can have several causes, including dry weather, overexposure to extreme temperatures, dehydration, lip biting, smoking, certain medications, deficiency of vitamins, iron or essential fatty acids, change in climate and ill-fitting dentures. 

Dry, swollen, or cracked lips can also be caused by allergies, infections, drugs, winter colds and flus, and a number of other medical problems. 

Treating/Chapped Lips

Lips are skin just like the rest of your body but they don't produce their own oils. So you have to provide them. Many lip balms have natural oils that are safe for your mouth.  Try to avoid colors, scents and flavors as they have additives that may not be so good for you. 

Along with drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated, eating vitamin a rich foods like carrots, tomatoes, and green leafy vegetables will help. 

You should exfoliate them periodically, and protect them from the environment. (Never ever lick of bite your lips, it will cause more chapping. Use a gentle lip mask or your toothbrush to get rid of the deposit of dead cells that will cause more drying and flaking.)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I'm cold, but I'm not thirsty!

Did you know that it's just as important to stay hydrated in the colder/drier winter months as it is in the hot/humid summer months? We generally sweat when we're hot which lets us know to drink more water, but we don't get those same cues when we're cold, because sweat evaporates quickly in cold, dry air, so you can still become dehydrated. 

You might be tempted to drink coffee or tea to warm up but they are diuretics and can cause you to actually lose water, so you have to compensate with water. Also, remember to keep your skin hydrated in the dry winter air, too. Skin is the body’s largest organ. Keep it healthy, and it will help to keep your entire body healthy.

When you sweat you loose fluids, and under normal circumstances, your body would register the loss, giving you the urge to drink and stopping the kidneys from getting rid of water. But in the cold, your body decreases blood flow to your extremities and pumps it into your core to hold all that heat in while you’re out in the cold. With all that blood rushing towards your vital organs and away from your extremities, your body and brain don’t register that you have lost significant amounts of fluid and might be dehydrated. When this is the case, the effects of dehydration can become severe before you even realize you’re dehydrated. That’s why it’s critically important to stay properly hydrated before and during cold weather activity, well in advance of the actual urge to drink fluids.

Also, when you’re cold, your blood viscosity increases. With hypothermia, for example, the blood can become as much as 200% more viscous. (Like motor oil, higher viscosity means it’s thicker, harder to pump.) The water content of your blood is another factor in viscosity—so, when you’re out in the cold, staying sufficiently hydrated becomes that much more important.

We tend not to think about being thirsty when it’s cold, neither when we’re just going about our lives nor when we’re working out, but that’s when it’s really important to pay attention to drinking enough. And it’s especially important in higher altitudes where the air tends to be dryer.

Just to be clear, dehydration can kill. Considering that our bodies are made up of 50% to 65% water, this element is critical to virtually all our physical functions. Every organ and system of the body depends on water, so a shortage of fluid can naturally lead to serious health consequences. 

The body's initial signs and symptoms of dehydration are: 
  • Thirst
  • Decreased urine output. The urine will become concentrated and more yellow in color.
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Dry nasal passages
  • Dry, cracked lips dry mouth the eyes stop making tears sweating may stop muscle cramps nausea and vomiting lightheadedness (especially when standing). weakness will occur as the brain and other body organs receive less blood.
  • Coma and organ failure will occur if the dehydration remains untreated.
  • Irritability & confusion in the elderly should also be heeded immediately.
If an individual becomes confused or lethargic; if there is persistent, uncontrolled fever, vomiting, or diarrhea; or if there are any other specific concerns, then medical care should be accessed. Call 911 for any patient with altered mental status - confusion, lethargy, or coma.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Baby it's Cold Outside

Brrr, is it winter already? Recently my area (New England) fell into a cold spell. The first thin I reached for was a sweater (the next was hot cocoa.) 

Why does it always feel worse when it's windy out?

Wind chill (or wind chill factor) is the air temperature we feel on our exposed skin because of the wind blowing across it. You might notice when watching the weather that the wind chill temperature is always lower than the air temperature.

One of the ways our bodies loose heat is through "convection." The faster the wind speed, the more readily the skin/surface cools.

NOAA's National Weather service has a chart that helps you see this better. Also on this page is a neat little calculator that shows you what the temperature feels like on a given day based on wind speed:

Note: Wet clothing and the duration of a person's exposure to wind also affect the felt air temperature. The wind chill formulas do not take account of the variation of clothing worn and how wet or dry a person is. The typical assumption is that a person will be properly dressed and dry.

Since hypothermia is no joke, I wanted to make sure everyone takes precautions this year.

What is hypothermia?
Hypothermia is a condition in which a person's body temperature has dropped significantly below normal. This occurs from inadequate protection against exposure to cold temperatures. The very young and elderly are the most susceptible to developing hypothermia when exposed to cold temperatures.

The risk and extent of hypothermia is directly influenced by presence of wet clothing, contact with metals, wind-chill, and extent of temperature gradient between the body and its surroundings. Vulnerability is increased when circulation is impaired by cardiovascular disease, alcohol intake, exhaustion, and/or hunger.

What are the symptoms of hypothermia?
  • Uncontrolled shivering
  • Slow or unclear speech
  • Feeling extremely tired
  • Stumbling when attempting to walk
  • Confusion (person cannot think clearly)
  • Semi-consciousness or unconsciousness

What should I do if someone has hypothermia?
  • If a person becomes unconscious, get medical help immediately. If cardiac arrest (heart attack) has occurred, have someone call for medical assistance and then apply CPR.
  • WARNING: Do not warm the person too fast.
  • Bring the person indoors or to a dry place protected from the wind.
  • Remove wet clothing and cover the person with dry blankets. Make sure to cover the head, hands, and feet.
  • Put the person in a cot or bed next to a warm -- not hot -- heater.
  • Lie under the covers next to the person to transfer your own body heat. If possible, have someone else lie on the other side.
  • Give the person warm -- not hot -- broth or soup. Do not give alcohol to drink.
  • Wrap an infant inside your own clothing against your skin.

How can I prevent hypothermia?
  • Wear warm, multi-layered clothing with good hand and feet protection (avoid overly constricting wrist bands, socks, and shoes).
  • Wear warm headgear. This is particularly important since significant heat is lost through an unprotected head.
  • If possible, change into dry clothes whenever clothing becomes wet.
  • Find appropriate shelter to stay warm. 

(Please note: If left untreated, a person can develop early frostbite, or frostnip; superficialfrostbite; or deep frostbite, or freezing. Frostbite usually affects the nose, ears, upper cheeks, hands and feet.)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

All that and looks to Boot

I have problems with wearing tall boots because I'm shorter than average and have full curvy calves. But for the general populace:

Tall boots
Casual or dressy, flat or heeled, a pair of tall boots is one of the most versatile footwear items you can have in your wardrobe.

Tall boots, are about knee high, but most of the following tips will apply to styles that fall between a few inches below your knees to a few inches above your knees.

While many boot styles will work with the outfits listed below, simple, classic styles are far more flexible. A simple black knee-high boot will work with most jeans, as well as just about everything else in your closet.

Long Skirts

A skirt that is long enough to cover the top of your boots is one of the most flattering items you can pair with tall boots. While many women tend to think only of fuller skirts for pairing with knee high boots, narrow skirts can look fabulous with tall boots as well.

Skinny Jeans

They're really the only type of jeans that are good for tucking into tall boots: everything from dressy heeled boots to casual flat styles.


The absolute best footwear for below the knee gauchos is a pair of tall boots -- but beware of wearing this style of wide cropped pants with boots that are too casual or trendy. Opt instead for a simple heeled dress boot, or a flat boot that has a bit of polish to it.


Many women don't think to wear tall boots with dresses. They should though, because the look is dynamite.

The dresses are your standard, everyday sort of dresses: wraps, sweater dresses, shifts, minis, tunics, a-lines and empire dresses.

Again, this look is best with simple, classic tall boots, and is not meant for overly-casual or super-trendy styles.

Outfits to Avoid with Tall Boots

·  Baggy or Pleated Jeans and Pants
·  Shorts

Although the technology to make the calf of a tall boot more forgiving is coming along, I generally prefer ankle boots, because I can create the illusion of a taller boot.

Ankle Boots with Long Skirts

Whether they're flat or heeled, ankle boots and long skirts are a classic combination.  Whatever your style, the key is to show no leg. If the skirt isn't long enough to cover the top of the ankle boot on its own, add a pair of tights.

Short Skirts and Ankle Boots

This look is definitely a little more difficult to pull off, because a lot of women don't like their legs. But it works well because instead of showing no leg, you're showing a lot of leg -- the real trouble comes in when you only show a little leg. Look for skirts that are a couple of inches above the knee or shorter and skip anything that's too full.

The Best Pants for Ankle Boots

This one is nearly a no-brainer -- ankle boots work with any kind of pants. The advantage to wearing them over shoes or taller boots is that you get ankle coverage without the bulk of a knee-high boot.

Ankle Boots with Leggings or Tights

Cropped leggings don't work well with ankle boots. Long leggings or tights however, look great -- assuming of course, that leggings look good on you in the first place. If they don't, pairing them with ankle boots isn't going to make the situation any better.

Clothes to Avoid Wearing with Ankle Boots

· Cropped Pants
· Cropped Tights
· Mid-Length Skirts with Bare Legs
· Pencil Skirts
· Shorts
· Capris

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

What comes around, goes around.

Is it just me, or does fashion tend to be cyclic? I'm not sure if it's because of "hand me downs" from family, or that we wax nostalgic for our younger years, but sometimes something is just such a good idea that you can't help but use it again.

There are two things to consider, frequency and duration. 

Frequency: One school of thought says that fashion cycles about every 20 years (or once per generation.)  More often then not they're just revamped, recycled looks with new names. Some designers take inspiration from other decades trying to improve upon what has already been done.

Duration: Nowadays the turn around time might run shorter as the internet has sped up how quickly looks get from the runway to our closets. Then we get bored and put them away for a few years. Generally speaking, most fashion trends stick around for at least a year. Some trends, usually the most understandable ones, last longer. So how do you know how long a trend will last? The answer: you don't.

Never fear though, buying power can keep a trend on life support. Sometimes consumers love a look so much they just won't let it die: capris, crops, tank tops and flip flops are all examples of former trends which actually became wardrobe staples.

The best defense however, against quickly changing trends is to have a wardrobe stocked with mostly classic looks: jeans, T-shirts, blazers, little black dresses. Use trendy items as an addition to a core wardrobe to give it some kick.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Creative ways to exercise

I admitted last time I don't LOVE going to the gym. So that means I have to get creative in order to find ways to fit exercise into my life. Below is a list I found (because I'll tell you right now I'd never be able to come up with this many on my own. Also, I have no idea what some of them are!)


If you don’t exercise regularly, it’s probably because you haven’t found an exercise that you truly enjoy. That’s partly because we keep hearing about the same old types of exercise over and over again, but there are hundreds of ways to get regular exercise. 

Here are 101 different creative exercises that will suit every type of circumstance and personality. Consider whether you prefer to be indoors or outdoors, like to engage your mind or just bliss out, be social or be solitary, and any other insights you have about what you enjoy doing.

1. Juggling
2. Stunt pogo sticking
3. Tree climbing
4. Mountainboarding
5. Unicycling
6. Practicing Jedi Skills (the Jedi Workout)
7. Walking on water
8. Picking up litter around the neighborhood, town, park or beach
9. Playing video games (Wii, Dance Dance Revolution, etc.)
10. Fruit picking (not too slowly!)
11. Volunteering (Try fitness oriented charities)
12. Fire juggling
13. Drumming
14. Bouncing with Spring-Soled Shoes
15. Sex
16. Ropeless jump roping
17. Sit and Be Fit
18. Kite Surfing
19. Virtual horseback riding (or iGalloping)
20. In the nude
21. Pogo sticking
22. Parkour
23. Tricking
24. Punching and kicking your way through your favorite action flick
25. Dancing your way through your favorite musical
26. Hula Hooping
27. Playing tag
28. Joggling (juggling while jogging)
29. Roller Hockey
30. Roller Derby
31. Leaf pile diving (includes raking!)
32. Gladiator Workout
33. Finding online workout videos
34. Wearing weight loss shoes (or sandels)
35. Playing capture the flag
36. Water balloon fights
37. Snowshoeing
38. Bicycling on Water
39. Squirt Gun Fights
40. Pillow Fights
41. Underwater Rugby
42. Underwater Soccer
43. Synchronized swimming
44. Hop scotching
45. Riverboarding
46. Marco polo
47. Slip and slide
48. Playing touch football
49. Snow kiting
50. Giving the dog a bath
51. Miniature Golfing
52. Baton Twirling
53. Sledding
54. Hacky Sacking
55. Making snowmen (BIG ones!)
56. Building snow forts
57. Walking in place while watching tv
58. Boot Camp Workout
59. Swimming with Porpoise Flipper
60. Learn Self Defense
61. Geocaching
62. Orienteering
63. Window Washing
64. Cleaning the garage
65. Clean the attic
66. Landscape the yard
67. Doing laundry
68. Trampolining
69. Inflatable jumping castles
70. Swinging
71. Playing Twister
72. Cheerleading
73. Canyoning
74. Bouldering
75. Snowkiting
76. Skysurfing
77. Belly dancing
78. Circus Skills (Look for circus schools)
79. Gardening
80. Riding a Scooter
81. Clubbing
82. Walkling (juggling while walking)
83. Poll dancing
84. Street luge
85. Arm wrestling
86. Stability balls
87. Rock Climbing
88. Sandboarding
89. Sea Kayaking
90. Ice climbing
91. Exotic Dancing
92. Laughing (laughter yoga)
93. Karaoke (with a lot of dramatic dance moves!)
94. Dodgeball
95. Frisbee Golf
96. Ultimate Frisbee
97. Long boarding
98. Car washing for charity
99. Beach combing
100. Sand dune climbing
101. Samurai Sword Classes

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Exercise is a double-edged sword

I am not a big fan of just going to the gym for a mindless workout. I do however find adding music, changing up the routine or doing it with others makes it more enjoyable. That being said, I'm going to focus on individuals exercising alone in the gym...

Growing up in the 80's I was told aerobics was the way to stay fit. Weights were for body builders. But, as I've studied the human body in college I realized this was not so. We need both forms of exercise to trully mak our bodies fit (and if you need to, lose "fat" weight.)

Why Cardio is good for you:
Weight loss.
Stronger heart and lungs.
Increased bone density.
Reduced stress.
Reduced risk of heart disease and some types of cancer.
Temporary relief from depression and anxiety.
More confidence about how you feel and how you look.
Better sleep.
More energy.

Strength training helps you:
Develop strong bones. 
Control your weight. 
Reduce your risk of injury. 
Boost your stamina. 
Manage chronic conditions. 
Sharpen your focus. 

As you can imagine I tried both forms at different times in my life and would get bored after a while.  Circuit training includes several exercises. So, you can prevent boredom by switching exercises in the series frequently. Doing so can keep you motivated and prevent burnout. 

What's nice about circuit training is the short bursts of resistance exercise using moderate weights and frequent repetitions, followed quickly by another burst of exercise targeting a different muscle group.
Because the exerciser switches between muscle groups, no rest is needed between exercises. This gets the heart rate up, which usually doesn't happen during resistance exercise. Sometimes, to up heart rate further, aerobics are sprinkled between the resistance exercises.

Why circuit training is good for you:
improves both strength and endurance
jump-starts metabolism

So what should my heart rate be when exercising?

Target Heart Rate Zones by Age *
Age Target Heart Rate (HR) Zone (60 - 85%) Predicted Maximum HR
20 120 – 170 200
25 117 – 166 195
30 114 – 162 190
35 111 – 157 185
40 108 – 153 180
45 105 – 149 175
50 102 – 145 170
55 99 – 140 165
60 96 – 136 160
65 93 – 132 155
70 90 – 123 150
Your Actual Values
(Actual values are determined from a graded exercise test)

Target HR: Max. HR:
* This chart is based on the the formula: 220 - your age = predicted maximum heart rate

FYI: Weight loss is a matter of simple arithmetic: To shed pounds, you must burn more calories than you consume. And when it comes to burning calories, the greater the exertion, the greater the rate at which calories are burned.
Working out at about 60% to 75% of your maximum heart rate (the so-called "fat-burning zone") burns fewer calories than working out at 75% to 85% of your maximum heart rate (the so-called "aerobic" or "cardio" zone).  
But caloric burn depends on a workout's duration as well as its intensity -- and it's easier to work out longer when exercising at a lower intensity.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Right Amount of Exercise

Every medical professional will tell you that exercise is important. In fact, getting enough exercise is vital to the health of our body. And, we do not realize that exercise is really as important as eating right. Too often, exercise is connected with losing weight. And, while exercise is an important part of weight loss, it is also an important part of our daily health. Therefore, regardless of your weight loss goals, exercise should be part of your lifestyle. How much exercise is the right amount of exercise to be healthy? Health experts say that 90 minutes of exercise a week is the optimal amount of exercise to remain healthy. For the average person, this means you could spend 30 minutes a day, 3 times a week, exercising. Consistency of exercise leads to better results. (An intense weekend athletic activity, or constant working out each can cause damage.) For the vast majority of us the best form of exercise is something that we enjoy doing for a moderate amount of time on a regular basis.

What's Right for Me?
One of the biggest reasons people drop an exercise program is lack of interest: If what you're doing isn't fun, it's hard to keep it up. The good news is that there are tons of different sports and activities that you can try out to see which one inspires you.
When picking the right type of exercise, it can help to consider your workout personality. For example, do you like to work out alone and on your own schedule? If so, solo sports like biking or snowboarding may be for you. Or do you like the shared motivation and companionship that comes from being part of a team?
You also need to plan around practical considerations, such as whether your chosen activity is affordable and available to you. (Activities like horseback riding may be harder for people who live in cities, for example.) You'll also want to think about how much time you can set aside for your sport.
It's a good idea to talk to someone who understands the exercise, like a coach or fitness expert at a gym. He or she can get you started on a program that's right for you and your level of fitness.
Another thing to consider is whether any health conditions may affect how — and how much — you exercise. Doctors know that most people benefit from regular exercise, even those with disabilities or conditions like asthma. But if you have a health problem or other considerations (like being overweight or very out of shape), talk to your doctor before beginning an exercise plan. That way you can get information on which exercise programs are best and which to avoid.

Rewards and Benefits
Exercise benefits every part of the body, including the mind. Exercising causes the body to produce endorphins, chemicals that can help a person to feel more peaceful and happy. Exercise can help some people sleep better. It can also help some people who have mild depression and low self-esteem. Plus, exercise can give people a real sense of accomplishment and pride at having achieved a certain goal — like beating an old time in the 100-meter dash.
Exercising can help you look better. People who exercise burn more calories and look more toned than those who don't. In fact, exercise is one of the most important parts of keeping your body at a healthy weight.
Exercise helps people lose weight and lower the risk of some diseases. Exercising to maintain a healthy weight decreases a person's risk of developing certain diseases, including type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. These diseases, which used to be found mostly in adults, are becoming more common in teens.
Exercise can help a person age well. This may not seem important now, but your body will thank you later. Women are especially prone to a condition called osteoporosis (a weakening of the bones) as they get older. Studies have found that weight-bearing exercise, like jumping, running or brisk walking, can help girls (and guys!) keep their bones strong.

The three components to a well-balanced exercise routine are: aerobic exercise, strength training, and flexibility training.

Aerobic exercise is any type of exercise that gets the heart pumping and quickens your breathing. When you give your heart this kind of workout regularly, it will get stronger and more efficient in delivering oxygen (in the form of oxygen-carrying blood cells) to all parts of your body.

Strength Training
The heart isn't the only muscle to benefit from regular exercise. Most of the other muscles in your body enjoy exercise, too. When you use your muscles and they become stronger, it allows you to be active for longer periods of time without getting worn out.
Strong muscles are also a plus because they actually help protect you when you exercise by supporting your joints and helping to prevent injuries. Muscle also burns more energy when a person's at rest than fat does, so building your muscles will help you burn more calories and maintain a healthy weight.

Flexibility Training
Strengthening the heart and other muscles isn't the only important goal of exercise. Exercise also helps the body stay flexible, meaning that your muscles and joints stretch and bend easily. People who are flexible can worry less about strained muscles and sprains.
Being flexible may also help improve a person's sports performance. Some activities, like dance or martial arts, obviously require great flexibility, but increased flexibility can also help people perform better at other sports, such as soccer or lacrosse.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Power drinks for hydration

Traditional sports drinks such as Gatorade and Powerade include water, salt, and sugars in proportions that help the body absorb fluids and salts lost in sweat and in the breath while exercising. The sugars not only help the body take in the water, but also provide fuel for muscles that need sugars to keep performing well during long walks, runs, or bikes. A small amount of salt helps protect the body from hyponatremia, (also known as water intoxication), which can happen if you drink a large amount of water without any salt.

Energy drinks are formulated to deliver caffeine and other stimulants, such as guarana or ginseng, to give the drinker a rush of energy. They are not designed to replace lost fluids during exercise. Some come in small cans that deliver a large amount of caffeine in a small amount of fluid. Many are carbonated, which can lead exercisers to experience burping, nausea and a bloated feeling.
While energy drinks do provide short-term energy to the body, they do not provide long-term, usable energy. The caffeine and additives found in energy drinks cause a spike in blood sugar levels and provide short-term energy to the body. This causes the inevitable "crash" in energy after the sugar levels wear down. Additionally, since caffeine is a diuretic, it causes fluid loss.
This can be potentially dangerous when other stimulants, such as ginseng, are added to the drink - these stimulants can enhance the effects of caffeine. Other ingredients, such as guarana, contain extra caffeine on top of the original sugar levels.
The high sugar concentrations in energy drinks slow fluid absorption into the blood system, increasing the probability of dehydration. When a high level of sugar is in the blood stream, the body is not able to provide fluid to cells. This is a precursor to dehydration because when you consume an energy drink, there is not enough fluid in the body to dilute the high concentration of sugar in that beverage.

H2O - The Original Energy Drink
The human body is anywhere from 55 percent to 78 percent water, depending on body size. To function properly and maintain optimum health, the body requires between one and seven liters of water per day to avoid dehydration. The precise amount needed by any one person depends on level of activity and climate factors like temperature and humidity. However, most healthcare professionals feel that six to seven glasses of water (approximately two liters) daily is the minimum amount of water the human body needs to maintain proper hydration.

Here are four easy ways to integrate more water into your diet:
Always carry a water bottle
If plain water doesn't appeal to you, purchase one of the many water mix-insavailable on the market like Crystal Light or Kellogs.
Use water in your cooking
Eat fruits and vegetables with a high water content
So put down that energy drink and grab a glass of all-natural H2O.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

High heels - Back pain

Why are they good?
They  make us look taller - to other people as well as changing our perspective of the room.
They don't make you look fat - unlike low-rise jeans, or *gasp* spandex sportswear.
They transform an outfit -  jeans and a t-shirt can take on an entirely different look when a pair of heels is added and they add a feminine touch to suits as well.
They make us look & feel sexy - they change our body stance, making our calf muscles more pronounced, and forcing our butts and chests out -- it's nearly as if high heels force us into better posture , which is always sexy.
They're inexpensive - there are few things that can cost as little and make you feel quite as happy. (They cost you no calories. In fact you burn more in them, as your body uses stabilizing muscles to keep your balance/posture.)

Why are they bad?
High heel shoes cause you to lean forward and the body's response to that is to decrease the forward curve of your lower back to help keep you in line. Wearing high heels causes lumbar (low-back) spine flattening and a posterior (backward) displacement of the head and thoracic (mid-back) spine.
Your hip flexor muscles work much harder and longer to help you walk because your feet are held in a downward position (plantarflexed) and have reduced power to move your body forward.
The knee stays flexed (bent) and the tibia (shin bone) turns inward (varus) when wearing high heels. This position puts a compressive force on the inside of the knee (medial), a common site of osteoarthritis.
The position of the ankle may also cause a shortening (contraction) of the achilles tendon. This can increase the pull of the achilles tendon where it attaches on the back of your heel bone (calcaneus) and may cause a condition called insertional achilles tendonitis.
There is significant increase in the pressure on the bottom (plantar) of the forefoot. The pressure increases as the height of the shoe heel increases. For example wearing a 3 1/4 inch heel increases the pressure on the bottom of the forefoot by 76%. The increased pressure may lead to pain or foot deformities such as hammer toes, bunions, bunionettes (tailor's bunions) and neuromas.

What can we do about it?
Change shoes often. This allows your feet a change of scenery and reduces constant pressure on the different body parts mentioned above. Or go barefoot once in a while.
Wear the right shoe for the job: low heels or flat shoes if you are standing or walking around, sneakers for exercise, boots for inclement weather, etc.
If you must have height, try platform shoes. They help absorb the shock but give the illusion of a higher heel.
Foot soaks and massages are a nice treat. They help stimulate blood circulation. Pedicures are great for this!
Some people may find wearing compression stockings help. They're available in most pharmacies and medical supply stores, but you may want to speak to  your doctor or a podiatrist first.
There's always painkillers, but use this as a last resort. (You should never be in agony, so  please use good jugdment in the first place and you may not need to do this.)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Good night, sleep tight.

Not getting enough sleep does more than make you irritable, sluggish and foggy, but why?
 1. Sleep Keeps Your Heart Healthy
Lack of sleep has been associated with worsening of blood pressure and cholesterol, all risk factors for heart disease and stroke. 
2. Sleep May Prevent Cancer
Light exposure reduces the level of melatonin, a hormone that both makes us sleepy and is thought to protect against cancer. Melatonin appears to suppress the growth of tumors. 
3. Sleep Reduces Stress
When your body is sleep deficient, it goes into a state of stress. The body's functions are put on high alert which causes an increase in blood pressure and a production of stress hormones.  
4. Sleep Reduces Inflammation
The increase in stress hormones raises the level of inflammation in your body, also creating more risk for heart-related conditions, as well as cancer and diabetes. 
5. Sleep Makes You More Alert
Of course, a good night's sleep makes you feel energized and alert the next day. Being engaged and active not only feels great, it increases your chances for another good night's sleep. 
6. Sleep Bolsters Your Memory
While your body may be resting, your brain is busy processing your day, making connections between events, sensory input, feelings and memories. Your dreams and deep sleep are an important time for your brain to make memories and links.
7. Sleep May Help You Lose Weight
It is thought that the lack of sleep impacts the balance of hormones: ghrelin and leptin, important for the regulation of appetite, have been found to be disrupted by lack of sleep. Sleeping less may affect changes in a person's basal metabolic rate (the number of calories you burn when you rest). 
Inadequate sleep interferes with the body's ability to metabolize carbohydrates and causes high blood levels of glucose, which leads to higher insulin levels and greater body-fat storage. This can also lead to insulin resistance and contribute to increased risk of diabetes.
8. Naps Make You Smarter
Napping during the day is not only an effective and refreshing alternative to caffeine, it can also protect your health and make you more productive. People who take a nap at work have much lower levels of stress. (On their break time - don't get caught napping on the job!) Napping also improves memory, cognitive function and mood.
9. Sleep May Reduce Your Risk for Depression
Sleep impacts many of the chemicals in your body, including serotonin. People with a deficiency in serotonin are more likely to suffer from depression. 
10. Sleep Helps the Body Make Repairs
Sleep is a time for your body to repair damage caused by stress, ultraviolet rays and other harmful exposures. Your cells produce more protein while you are sleeping. These protein molecules form the building blocks for cells, allowing them to repair damage.

How much sleep do you need?
How much sleep we need depends on what is happening in our bodies. The rapid growth of infancy (16 hrs), youth (10-14 hrs) and adolescence (9hrs) also the demands on the body during pregnancy (9+ hrs in 1st trimester) mean more sleep. Contrary to the common sleep myth, older adults need just as much sleep as younger ones (7 to 9 hrs). Here is a list of sleep needs by group:

A person should be alert and awake throughout the day. Some signs that you are not getting enough quality sleep include: Feeling tired during the day, Falling asleep within 5 minutes of lying down, Experiencing “microsleeps” or brief “nodding off” episodes

Sleep Quality and Sleep Quantity
If you find that you are not getting enough sleep, there are two things to look at: the amount of time you spend sleeping and the quality of your sleep.
Sleep Time: If you spend less than 7 hours in bed (asleep) each night, you will most likely have a sleep deficit. You could also be spending enough time in bed, but have trouble falling asleep quickly. Learning good sleep habits can help you fall asleep faster and get more sleep in the same amount of time.
Sleep Quality: If your sleep is interrupted, if you wake up several times a night or if you toss and turn, your sleep quality may be poor. You need two kinds of sleep each night – deep sleep (sleep stage 3 and 4), which makes you feel refreshed, and REM sleep, which we don’t fully understand, but we know you need it. Developing better sleep habits can help with sleep quality.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Flip flops can be good for your health

It's "back to school" time and college dorm showers are an ideal place for bacteria (like athelete's foot) and fungi to grow. Showers are moist environments, and all it takes is one person with athlete’s foot or some other foot condition to make life worse for everyone on the dorm floor.

Even if the common bathroom showers are cleaned daily, you do not want to shower barefoot. In fact, you should never even enter the dorm bathroom barefoot. Always go in with socks, flip flops, shoes, or some sort of protection for your feet. (Why? Some people have been known to urinate in the showers, and do some weird stuff in the shower.)

For a cheap investment of only several dollars, a simple pair of flip flops  or Crocs (anything waterproof) can save you a lot of hassle and embarrassment from foot fungus or other bacteria at college. Showering with shoes on may be awkward at first, but once you get used to it, you’ll be glad you made the switch.
When it comes time to wash your feet in the shower, simply do it one foot at a time — pull one foot out of your flip flop and balance on the other foot. Be sure to scrub each foot thoroughly as most people don't remember to 'wash' their feet.

Also don't forget to wash your "shower shoes" periodically. Hot soapy water and a little scrubbing should do the trick.

The Bad, the Ugly and the Smelly

1 Athlete's foot is the most common fungal infection and is caused by a fungus that grows on or in the top layer of skin.

     There are actually three types of athlete's foot: toe web, moccasin-type and vesicular infections.

          Toe web infections usually occur between the fourth and fifth toe. The skin becomes scaly, peels and cracks.

          Moccasin-type infections start with soreness on the foot. Then the skin on the bottom or heel of the foot can become thick and crack.

          Vesicular infections begin with sudden outbreaks of large, fluid-filled blisters under the skin.

You can treat most cases at home with over-the-counter lotion, cream or spray. For severe cases, doctors may prescribe pills or medication to apply to the skin.

2 Some signs of nail fungus are thickening, yellowish discoloration, "toe jam" and breakage of the nails.

Plantar warts, caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), can enter the body through tiny cuts or cracks on the feet. It's contracted mainly through walking barefoot in public places - like residence hall restrooms.

What can you do to prevent any and all of  theses? Scrubbing your feet, wearing the right socks, letting your feet breathe and never going barefoot.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Importance of GENTLE Facial Cleansing

Cleansing of the face is very important because our faces have sebaceous glands that make sebum. Sebum is good for the skin and should not be stripped completely. It is an oily substance that provides protection for the skin and stripping it completely will cause the glands to produce more and then you could end up with an over production of sebum, which will cause an oily complexion.

Also, the top layer of the face's skin, the stratum corneum, has fewer cell layers than most other parts of the body. This thinner layer makes the skin more easily irritated. So we have to be gentle. Our faces are expressive and always moving, so using soap will just emphasize tightness.

Soap that you use on your body is far too drying for skin on the face. What is good for the body is not necessarily good for the face. Dermatologists advise not to use soap on the face due to the fragrances, detergents, and deodorants that they contain. Over time, soap on the face will cause wrinkles. It will dry the skin out and remove the sebum, which in turn will harm the skin.

Facial cleansers generally have a low pH that is more acidic. This is important because that avoids upsetting the skin’s acid mantle. Soaps are more alkaline and have a high pH. Products high in alkaline irritate the facial skin. Some cleansing bars are gentle because they have a low pH level. These bars are so mild, though, that they may not be able to remove the oily build up from oily skin types.

A good facial cleanser should contain, moisturizing and hydrating ingredients. It should have cleansing ability to heal and nourish the skin. Also contain antioxidants to counter the free radicals of everyday exposure to the harsh elements in our environment.

Always remember that not all facial cleansers are the same. Some have alcohol and other harsh ingredients in them. Always read the labels and check for ingredients, the more natural the ingredients, the less it will cause irritation to the skin.

Choosing a facial cleanser can be confusing. There are so many different brands on the market. Also knowing your skin type, weather it is dry or oily will help to choose what is right for you. The cleansers come in a variety of different forms, such as creams, gels, foams, lotions, and some have granules for exfoliating. There are even cleansing cloths that have the cleanser right in it, so all you add is the water!