Category Archives: Happy & Healthy

New Year Promises 2012

New year, new promises?  I read an article that I decided would be my first post of 2012: 30 Things To Stop Doing To Yourself.  These are some great ideas for new years resolutions & some will (hopefully) just get you to think about some bad habits that should be curbed.

Here are a few that I want to highlight…

Stop being scared to make a mistake.  This one is hard.  I don’t like making mistakes, but sometimes you really do never know until you try!

Stop putting your own needs on the back burner.  It is actually okay to be a little selfish sometimes.

Stop worrying so much.  No one likes a worry wort and no one likes to hear a broken record.  More action in 2012!

Stop focusing on what you don’t want to happen.  Sometimes we focus too much on the negative and not enough on the positive.  It’s good to know what you don’t want, but it’s important to keep positive goals in mind.  Your brian is actually more likely to focus on the negative words, so think walk carefully versus don’t trip

What are some of the things you’d like to stop doing to yourself in 2012?

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Happy & Healthy…Interesting Article About Gardening & Being A Frugal Locavore

I want to share an article I read, which was in the New York Times last month.  This is such an inspirational story of a dedicated woman going back to the land to feed & take care of her family.  It truly makes me want to keep up all that I have already started to do in my own life & go even further.  I already participated in a CSA (community supported agriculture) this year, tended to my own little herb garden & use alternative cleaning methods, whenever possible.  Now to just convince my condo association that a compost bin won’t look horrible in the neighborhood…


Susan Gregory Thomas, author of “In Spite of Everything: A Memoir,” and the article I read in the New York Times, brings gardening, cooking & cleaning to a whole new level.  She gives examples of how she makes her own bread, raises chickens, plans a garden to feed her family, and makes her own cleaning products. The cost savings are incredible.  This mother of 3 is able to live on $100 a week for food, which alone is amazing, but even more is that she is able to do it in a healthy way and live in a city.  Truly inspirational.

Here is the link to read her article & story:

Back to the Land, Reluctantly 

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Living Room Decorating Tips & Feng Shui

I’m figuring out the layout of our living room & have been struggling.  The design I had initially mapped out ended up causing horrible energy in the room, so naturally I looked up some Feng Shui tips…

Living Room Do Not’s

  • The television should not be your main focal point or have a central position in the room.  Essentially- don’t organize your room AROUND your TV!  If you can, put it in a stand or case that has doors that can be closed when it is not in use.
  • Do not place the seating with the backs towards the door-the seating should be place to welcome those who enter (but not necessarily facing the door).
  • Avoid placing the sofa against a window.
Living Room Do’s
  • A fireplace IS a good element to have as the room’s focal point.
  • Important that the room is inviting.  If you don’t have a fireplace, have the ability to have a conversation easily be the focal point.
  • Strategically place mirrors to give off more light into the room & make it look larger.
  • Light dark corners.
  • The living room’s main table should be tidy – the main table (i.e. a coffee table) symbolizes health.
Did you know…There are 8 points of a room when you walk into it:
Power-ahead
Reputation-centered on right wall
Family-centered on left wall
Knowledge-left front corner
Friends-right front corner
Marriage-right back corner
Wealth-left back corner
Career-immediate right of doorway
My sources of information & additional reading:
How to create the perfect feng shui living room on FengShuiCrazy
Feng Shui Living Room  on FengShuiRoomDesign

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Happy & Healthy…Buffets, salad bars & Sulphites

Bit of a personal story, but thought it might be helpful to my readers…

For a while I’ve been wondering if I might allergic to something in the salad bar at my small local grocery store, so I was keeping a food log of things I ate.  But an old college friend of mine recently reminded me that our dining hall back in college was rumored to put something in some buffet items that would sit out all day to keep them from going bad or causing food poisoning, so I then thought maybe the store was putting something into the food?  Buffets, especially at “all you can eat” restaurants, have always grossed me out, but my small local grocery store putting things in my food, too?  My favorite salad dressing and salad toppings?  Say it isn’t so!  After a little research, I discovered it’s actually possible that it might be something else entirely…

Here’s what I’ve found:

Cafeterias…Apparently many just use an antimicrobial wash additive that “reduce microorganisms on the surface of fruits and vegetables” (DiamondBakcOnline.com).  While I’m a little cautious about what the wash actually contains, what about the myth about laxatives in the food?  How else can the fact that nothing “stayed with you” after you left your dining hall in college?  Why would laxatives be put in your buffet food, anyway?  The rumor is that it would be to make sure that the food doesn’t stay in you long enough to absorb contamination or food poisoning.  Realistically, laxatives in cafeteria food is hard to prove & most college dining halls deny any laxative additives- especially since it would technically be illegal, I believe.  The blame on upset college cafeteria bellies is usually put on things like a change in eating habits, stress, an introduction of new spices to the diet (UPressOnline.com) or being hungover (let’s be honest…it was college…), but how can one explain this happening for working adults, too, who eat from the hot/cold bars at their local grocery store or cafeteria?  We’re all stressed out?  Hmm I guess that is possible in our day & age…But  I had to do some more research…


My (personal) possible solution: Sulphite (or Sulfite) Sensitivity

Back in 1986 the FDA banned the use of sulfites on veggies and fruits, which was typically put on them to prevent them from turning brown, BUT many salad dressings still contain sulfites, as well as dried fruits (i.e. raisins, dried apricots, etc).  Hmm so that may be the answer, folks… Sulphites!

Here is a list of foods/drinks that MAY contain Sulphites: Sulphites Table and WebMD examples

Common reactions/symptoms to having a Sulphite Sensitivity (per Sulphite.ca): Gastrointestinal, hives, headaches, swelling, trouble breathing, rapid heart beat.

If my story & findings sound like it may be the answer to your tummy troubles, too, I’d suggest you talk to your doctor to see if Sulphites are the culprit!  Everyone is different, though.

Regardless if you might have a Sulphite Sensitivity or not, here are some facts about salad bars & buffets…

While salad bars may be convenient & have many healthy options, they might not actually be the best or healthiest option.  Per an article in the New York Times back inAugust of 1999, salad bars are essentially a breeding ground for contamination and bacteria.  Food is often left out for too long, not kept at proper temperatures and/or expired.

Per another article I read (on Tesh.com), salad bars are actually worse than hot buffets!  Heat kills many viruses, but salad bars are typically cold, thus transmitting viruses and bacteria.

Hot or cold, think about it- do you know where the person in front of you who just touched those salad tongs last had their hands?  Did they just scratch their nose?  Do they have a cold?  Are they breathing all over everything as they’re reaching for that scooper on the other side of the bar?  Hmmm maybe I really should consider bringing my lunch from home more often…better for my wallet & wellness!

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Fun with Fingers Friday…Kitchen knife safety

After a rather traumatic evening of blood, bandages and a trip to the walk-in clinic, I have decided to forgo my usual Fun with Frosting Friday post and talk about knife safety.  Even if you know better, it’s good to have a refresher/reminder every once & a while on the proper way to hold veggies/fruit while you are chopping them!  Here’s to your fingers… and keeping all ten of them!  

(P.S. I’ll be fine, just a little embarrassed & bandaged due to some slippery carrots…)

Kitchen knife safety & how to chop vegetables or fruit:

1. Look at what you are doing- don’t look elsewhere while you’re chopping…being careless can mean less fingers!

2. Don’t forget to wash your veggies, first, then dry the veggies off & the cutting board, too- slippery cutting boards mean slippery veggies!

3. Use the proper equipment- use a chef’s knife or a paring knife & make sure it’s not rusty or dull.

4. Hold the veggie with the tips of your fingers, like this:

Keep your fingers out of the way of the knife’s sharp blade!

5. Chopping vegetables like a pro is not only safer, but more efficient!  Cut down with the knife at set intervals.

6. Avoid cutting too fast- haste makes waste!

7. Make sure your Tetanus shot is up-to-date.  This may seem like an odd point, but if you’re working with metal, it’s better to be safe than sorry!

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Here is a good video series, if you are interested in learning more: 

Video Series: How to cut vegetables

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However, if you do end up cutting yourself, here are some fun finger puppets you can make or buy to cover up the ugly bandage!


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Happy & Healthy…. Back exercises to do at your desk

I have had back issues ever since I was a teenager.  I ruined my back with giving kids I babysat for piggyback rides, picking heavy items up without using my legs and slouching.  I’m paying for it now.  I threw my back out last year and went to see a physical therapist (aka PT) for a couple weeks.  Unfortunately, I did not see the PT long enough (or keep up with the assigned exercises) and ended up throwing it out again.  Lesson learned.  I’ve been seeing a chiropractor for a little over a month now & she’s fabulous.  I’m going to start seeing a PT again, soon, too, to get some exercises that will suit my needs and make my back stronger.

If you have a desk job, like me, you probably spend a good amount of time sitting down.  Our bodies weren’t designed to sit the entire day, but we don’t really have a choice now, with everything being done via computer these days!  Anyway, here are some suggestions that my chiropractor had for those of you who sit at a desk all day (she recommends stretching/getting up every hour!)…

The proper sitting/desk position (click on the image to learn more):

Here is a hip opener stretch my chiropractor suggested to me, which I’m to get up and do just about every hour:

And here are some other desk exercises for you to try while you are at work (sorry for the random images….but you get the idea):


Misc other desk suggestions…

A balance ball chair!  This thing looks awesome!  Find one that suits you on Amazon.com!

NOTE: These are just a few suggestions for you, so you don’t have pain (like me).  I’m not a licensed doctor, so if you’re really having back troubles, please go see a chiropractor or physical therapist!

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Happy & Healthy

So I’m not all about stuffing my face with yummy food & crafting- I also try to stay healthy and active.  This being said, I’m starting a new Category in my blog called “Happy & Healthy.”  I will post tips and suggestions I come across that will hopefully help you, my lovely readers, boost your healthy thoughts/actions & and all-around wellness!

Happy to have tips on issues you’d like to see in this category!

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