Thursday, January 31, 2013

Cuticle Oil

You have probably seen those little bottles of oil near the nail care products in the store. It's purpose is to keep your cuticles moisturized especially in the winter. The best time to use it is after bathing. Apply it before you apply your body lotion so it's not so messy. By the time you are done it will be absorbed into the lotion on your hands and feet. I use it to quick dry my nail polish. It creates a slick surface so I don't gouge my fresh polish. I also use it while I watch TV in the evening so it has time to absorb. Be careful not to get it on fabric and upholstery.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

"She Wore Blue Velvet..."

Avoiding Bed Bugs While Traveling by Lacy D.


"Bed Bugs"

I’ve been traveling across the country and staying in hotel rooms consistently for the last 7 years. My biggest fear is not a terrorist on the plane or getting lost in an unfamiliar city...it’s bed beg infestation. In an effort to prevent any contact with bed bugs I have done extensive research and take precautionary measures when traveling.

First, a few fun facts about bed bugs. They are tiny insects that crave your blood and can be anywhere - offices, hotels, your home...clean or unclean conditions. They are not poisonous and are not known to transmit disease. Their bites are like mosquito bites and the itching can easily be treated with topical ointments. Their appearance looks similar to an apple seed - flat, reddish brown, oval

Orkin Pest Control offers a very simple traveling guide to help avoid taking bed bugs home with you. Think of the acronym S.L.E.E.P. to remember the following action steps:

(S)urvey surfaces for signs of an infestation, such as tiny rust-colored spots on bed sheets, mattress tags and seams, and bed skirts.

(L)ift and look for all bed bug hiding spots, including underneath the mattress, bed frame, headboard, and furniture. Typically, they come out at night to feed, but during the day, they are most likely found within a 5-foot radius of the bed. Look specifically for fecal matter which is very similar to the appearance of pepper.

(E)levate your luggage on a luggage rack away from the bed and wall, since bed bugs can often hide behind head boards, artwork, picture frames and electrical outlet panels.

(E)xamine your luggage carefully while repacking and when you return home. Always keep luggage off the bed and store it in a closet or other area, far away from your bedroom at home.

(P)lace all your clothing from your luggage immediately in the dryer for at least 15 minutes at the highest setting upon returning home from travel.

I take protection to the next level with a few travel tools that I refer to as "peace of mind products." The first one is "Rest Easy" environmentally friendly spray to kill and repel bed bugs. Next is my trusty "Sleep Sack." This is a satin sleeping bag. I cozy up in it and pull the hotel sheets and comforter to my knees. Both products are available at "Bed Bath and Beyond." A website I find very useful is  www.bedbugregistry.com You can type in the city and state and you will see a full list of hotels with bed bugs as well as their official reports from people. Bed Bug Registry also has an iPhone app to make research even more simple.

If you have been attacked by bed bugs and they have infested your home call pest control immediately. You want to catch them early as they reproduce quickly.



Saturday, January 12, 2013

Lacy D.'s Travel Tips


I asked my friend, Lacy, to share some of her travel tips. She is a young, professional woman who logs many miles every year.

Luggage - I recommend using luggage that has organizational features on the inside and has easier transporting options than something that has high eye appeal. If you travel as much as I do, spending a ton of money on a beautiful piece of luggage is just not worth it. Even if it’s high end it will still show wear and tear plus your taste may change in the future. Currently, I'm using the Samsonite 151 Series 20” Spinner. I purchased this on sale at Taylor Trunk on Hurstbourne Parkway, a locally owned store that often has really good sales. A few of my favorite features include: spinner wheels, expansion zipper, the option to pack clothes on a hanger and plastic pockets on the inside.

Eagle Creak Pack-It Folder - I purchased this item two years ago at Taylor Trunk and it has changed my life. It can easily hold up to 12 different articles of clothing! It keeps my nice suits protected and best of all it saves space. I rarely check luggage and I’m able to do that because of the Pack-It Folder. If I was not using the Eagle Creek Pack-It Folder I would definitely follow Louis Vuitton’s ‘The Art of Packing Video’. http://www.louisvuitton.com/front/#/eng_US/Collections/Women/Travel/stories/The-Art-of-packing

Thirty-One Bags - My sister-in-law is a rep for Thirty-One and is always hooking me up with handy bags that have definitely made packing easier. One bag I like is the Zipper Pouch. I store all of my cords (over four to be exact). The other Thirty-One bag is the make up bag for brushes, feminine items, deodorant and a straightener.

Bare Minerals Make Expandable Make Up Bag - Yet another product that has changed my life. It organizes all of my brushes and make up and it keeps it flat. Many times I’m home briefly to only unpack and repack, with this make up case there is no extra work. Everything is ready to go! I also like it because it is easy to clean with a disinfectant wipe.

Belkin 3-Outlet Mini Surge Protector- There is tremendous peace of mind with this item protecting your computer and smart phone. This features three outlets and 2 USB ports AND it has a swivel feature rotating make plugging it in easy no matter how awkward the plug may be placed.

Gear Ties - Keeps all of my cords neatly wrapped together I use 3” and 6” Gear Ties. (Pink of course!)

Travel Fresh Sleep Sack - I’m not quite sure how I would function without my Sleep Sack! A Sleep Sack is a personal sleeping bag that takes up very little space in your luggage. I absolutely hate hotel sheets and comforters no matter how nice the hotel is. When I use the Sleep Sack I only pull the hotel bed covers just below my knee. I feel warm and have peace mind that the sheets are no where near my face and mouth. Sleep Sacks can be purchased at Bed Bath and Beyond. Look for the 20% coupon. I have 3 three, gold satin, leopard print satin and white cotton.

Hefty Slider 1 Quart Storage Bag - May not be the cheapest but they are durable and you can fit more liquids in this than any other quart bag.

"Best Practices"

In my bathroom closet I keep a Rubbermaid container that says "Travel" on the front. In that container I keep all of my essentials stocked: Toothpaste, dental floss, extra toothbrushes, travel-size bottles, zip lock baggies, extra bottles of mouthwash, etc. I periodically check what needs to be replenished as I’m headed out the door to the grocery.

I cannot stress enough how important it is to pack your own healthy snacks. It’s not uncommon to find yourself in a situation where you are rushing to catch your next flight, trying to be on time for a meeting, or stuck in a place where healthy snack options are limited. Let’s face it salted peanuts can get old. I usually pack almonds and a couple of Larabars. I also stock up on Dr. McDougall’s vegan dry soups from Amazon. (they’re a much healthier version of ramen noodles) It may not be exactly what I’m craving at the moment, but there is no denying that it has certainly saved me when my only options were fast food and candy. Added bonus: Starbucks and Caribou Coffee will give you a free hot water. I pick up a banana and hot water from one of those places and I’m good to go for a quick lunch. I also pack my favorite tea packets. It’s always good to bring with you a few comforts from home especially if you travel extensively.

Resistance Band - I have chosen not to workout in a hotel gym unless I am traveling with my husband. I have opted to stay in the hotel room and use an exercise band instead. It is very easy to pack and I know I’m getting a decent workout! Here are a few exercises I do with it.http://www.shape.com/fitness/workouts/total-body-sculpting-resistance-band-workout?page=5

Keeping everything clean and disinfected is a must when traveling. I pack two travel packs of antibacterial wipes. One goes in an outside pocket of my carry-on, the other in my purse or my professional bag. I always wipe down the seat and arm rests on the airplane before sitting down.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Cosmetic Counter Samples

I saw a woman applying make up from the samples in the store the other day.  The samples are full of bacteria and should never be applied to the face.  A shopper has no idea how many people have handled the samples or where they have applied them to their bodies.  Most cosmetic counters have cotton swabs and cotton pads for applying a sample to the back of your hand.  You can tell right away if the sample color will blend with your natural skin tone.  Most counters have containers of make up remover so you can get the sample off your skin right away.  The United States has a flu epidemic going on right now so we must be careful about touching things that others have touched.  NEVER go into a store's cosmetic counter and apply your make up.  Not only is it not sanitary but it's very bad manners.  I watched a woman sneak and apply make up at a Clarins counter while the Clarins consultant was helping a customer at the other end of the counter.  The woman was very disheveled and looked like she was suffering from a hangover.  She had just had a pedicure in the salon so I guess she felt the need to do her make up before she left the store. Naturally she didn't BUY any of the products she used.  When the consultant asked if she could help her the woman asked to see a product.  When the consultant left to get the product the woman took off.  I witnessed a woman in Sephora applying lip gloss directly to her lips from the sample tube.  That is a sure fire way of catching a cold, the flu or Herpes. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

FENG SHUI TIPS for SNAKE YEAR 2013

BY SUSAN LEVITT


2013 is the year of the WATER Snake. Water is the most yin/feminine element, but yin is not considered weak in Chinese astrology and feng shui. Instead, Water is the most powerful element for it can move around any obstacle in its path without losing its essential nature. Water can, in time, dissolve the hardest mountains.

Snake year is quiet and introspective, yet still powerful and intense. The volume is turned down after the energy of the previous Dragon year. In Snake year, events occur very slowly preparation and planning are key. So in a Snake year, more than any other year, it is very helpful to focus on your  bedroom in your home for rest, healing, and retreat.

In feng shui, a Water environment is a cool dark room. The ideal Water environment is quiet, soft, and restful. Water's colors are black, blue, and shades of blue like turquoise and azure that bring a sense of calm and peace. The element Water when taken to the extreme in an environment is like the bedroom of a depressed person: too dark, cluttered, lacking light, the curtains drawn, and it feels melancholic. You don't want that much Water in your environment, but it is important to have a Water room to rest and restore, such as the bedroom or bathroom. 2013 is the year for feng shui in your bedroom.

Water objects in the home and office include all types of reflective surfaces including mirrors, glass, and cut crystal. Water is also represented by waterways, rivers, streams, pools, fountains, and aquariums. Visual art that is abstract and asymmetrical also symbolize Water. Indoor fountains are often used in feng shui to move energy and add Water to an environment. If you add a fountain to your home in Water Snake year, be sure that your fountain is always in good working order. And listen to it. If it makes a sputtering sound, or the motor is too loud, then that fountain is not a peaceful addition to your home. Another way to add water is with an aquarium. But live fish are a commitment. If you do not have the time, interest, or love of small animals to dedicate time to keeping fish as pets, even in a fish bowl, then do not get any fish.

Feng shui is important at New Year to welcome new opportunities. Clean your home as if it is spring cleaning but done now. Move any piece of furniture that has not been moved during this past year to clean behind and below it. Do not start a new year and a new cycle in a messy or dirty home environment. Snake year should be calming, so no chaos or clutter in 2013! If you have clutter anywhere, now is the time to get rid of it. What is clutter? Any item that you do not use. Clear out all closets, drawers, and storage areas if they have clutter and are not organized and tidy. If how to handle money is not clear to you, or you have no idea where or how to invest, or if financial information seems hidden, then you definitely must have no clutter hidden, stashed, or hoarded. Money is symbolized by Water in feng shui. Money can flow like water -- if your home is clean, and you use your Water room the bedroom to heal, rest, and stay balanced in Snake year.

FENG SHUI TIPS:

ADD  BEAUTY


Fresh flowers bring fresh aroma that clears the air for New Year, especially if your home feels dark, over heated, or musty. Add beautiful flowers to welcome the New Year and to increase abundance. And plants offer fresh oxygen to improve health. The energy of a room is brightened by the addition of flowers and plants. So be sure to follow this one tip and add fresh cut flowers or a healthy plant to your home for Chinese New Year. Lucky flowers are orchids, peonies, and lilies. Chrysanthemums have a scent that not everyone likes, so be fussy about scent. Roses are fine in a home or office, but remove them if there is much arguing (influence of the rose's thorns.) No thorny plants like a cactus, indoors or outdoors. Instead, grow lush plants that have soft round leaves like a jade plant or philodendron. Outdoors, it is more fortunate to have plants that stay ever green and do not ever lose their leaves. Healthy bamboo is lucky because the stems become longer and stronger as the plant grows.

If you bring home a lovely orchid, after the flower wilts, cut away the dead stalk and insert a good-quality silk orchid into your container. Then your orchid seems to be always in bloom, instead of a dead stalk tied to a wooden stake. Silk flowers are a wonderful way to add light and life to your environment. A red blossom adds to your money luck. So if you are budgeting a bit and money conscious in this Hare year (which is advised) use a silk flower to have an orchid always in bloom without spending on a new orchid.

FIRST THING SEEN
When entering your home, what is the first thing seen? Your eye goes somewhere, so be observant in every room of your home. Make sure that the first thing seen in each room is inviting, clean, and inspiring when you enter. You do not want to see a pile of paperwork or any type of mess. Organize each room so that the first thing seen sets a pleasant tone and makes the room inviting to enter. The first thing seen should be so attractive that you want to be near it.

Not everyone has natural artistic talents, but everyone can aspire to improve the beauty, comfort, and general appeal of their immediate surroundings. Read a few interior design books or magazines. Be open to cultivating your own sense art, beauty, and aesthetics.
PAY OFF DEBT
It is very fortunate to start the Chinese New Year with no debt. (A mortgage or a school loan are not in this category.) If you have personal debt on New Year, get out of debt in 2013 and organize your finances so next year Horse 2014 you can start the year with an even balance of your accounts.
Financial responsibility is easier in a Snake year because Snake is naturally thrifty like Snake's best friends the Ox and Phoenix (Rooster). Learn to cook if you enjoy fine food, or learn to bake if you enjoy good-quality deserts. No need to spend when you can do it yourself. Are there public gardens near where you live, or a nature area, or body of water? That's free and healing, perfect for the Water Snake.

PAINT ONE ROOM


The energy of any environment can be transformed completely by adding a couple of coats of paint. If each room of your home has white or ivory walls, all that white is too much of the element Metal which can lead to arguing and bickering. When the weather warms up in summer of Snake year (which is Snake's power season) be sure to paint at least one room with color. It can be a small room such as a bathroom, but all-white walls in a home is too much Metal which leads to imbalance. Good colors for a small room are soft blue for a bathroom or light green for a bedroom. Be sure the blue or green are restful and not too bright. Yellow is good in the kitchen, gold in the dining room. What room to paint? Paint the area that looks the most rundown and is in most need of sprucing up.
 
EMBELLISH YOUR MONEY CORNER

Snakes love money. 
The money corner of each room is located in the far LEFT-hand corner from the entry. This corner represents money, prosperity, abundance, your cash flow, and financial state. This is where you focus to increase your wealth, understand your finances, enjoy affluence, open doors to financial opportunity, and experience luck and fortune. Money and wealth so strongly influence, even control, our lives. Embellish your money corner, keep it clean, and then stay financially balanced. No need to overspend without regard for consequences, and no need to hoard or scrimp. Balance is key.
One way to develop money consciousness in Snake year is to go one full day and do not spend any money at all. No cash or ATM cards pass through your hands for 24 hours. Buy nothing when you are out on the street, even if family members, friends, or colleagues encourage you to do so. You might start to get an idea of how you handle money, or if money is handling you.

How many rooms in your dwelling? That's how many money corners are in your home, and every money corner can be transformed to create wealth, prosperity, and abundance. A one-room home has only one money corner, but a home with many rooms has many money corners, one in each room. More rooms just mean more corners for increased finances, success, and material security.
START IN YOUR LIVING ROOM

Every room of your home or office has a money corner, but the most important room for wealth is your living room. Start in your living room because the living room is where action, movement, and conversation are strongest. In feng shui, this is a “yang” room, meaning masculine and active. Start your feng shui money journey by standing at the entry of your living room. Then observe what is in your far left-hand money corner. 

LUCKY MONEY COLORS

In your money corner, add the colors of wealth – red, purple, gold, and sometimes green – which are perfect for your money corner. Decorate with these colors in the money corners of your home and office. Red curtains in the living room bring money and success because red is such a powerful color in feng shui. Red, purple, and gold are recommended for strong financial success.
And remember there that must be no clutter in your money corner, especially in a restful Snake year. New financial opportunities cannot enter if this corner is full of stuff, clutter, and piles of papers. Bankruptcy? Money problems? Look at what you've placed in the money corner of your living room. Really look and become more aware of your environment, especially in this area. No junk, no clutter, and no obviously unlucky items like a paper shredder or garbage can.

NO CANDLES AND NO MIRRORS IN LUCKY MONEY CORNER

Candles, a fireplace, a heater, or other fire feature are not lucky in your money corner because it as if fire is burning your money! If you have candles in your money corner, just remove them. If you have no options about a fireplace in this corner, place three healthy house plants at the base of the fireplace to calm the fire energy. Be sure to chose plants with full round or lush leaves such as a peace lily, jade plant, or philodendron.
And no mirrors in your wealth corner. Mirrors are often helpful in feng shui to reflect light, but mirrors are not good in your money corner! Money comes in, but then goes (is reflected) right out. You cannot get ahead because expenses rise to meet any increased income. If you have a mirror in your money corner, take it down and hang it elsewhere.
 
FLOWERS AND PLANTS
It's fortunate to add plants, flowers, and healthy bamboo to your money corner. Flowers and lush plants with round leaves, such as a jade plant or rubber tree, are also very positive embellishments. Just be sure that your plants stay healthy throughout Hare year. If not, recycle the withered plant and replace it with a fresh healthy one. A bouquet of fresh flowers is excellent to add beauty, fragrance, and luck, but be sure to recycle the flowers when they lose energy and begin to wilt. No dead or dried flowers, and no potpourri. Silk flowers are superb in feng shui so you can add a big bunch of silk flowers to your money corner in a red vase or other lucky money color such as purple, gold, or green.
Bamboo is especially lucky in feng shui because as it grows, the new growth is stronger and longer. Bamboo sways gently in the wind, meaning that it is easily adaptable to change. But be sure your bamboo does not dry out and become yellowed. If you have bamboo, keep it watered and transfer it to a larger container when it outgrows the container it was in when you bought it.
In some Asian markets you can purchase what is referred to as a “money plant.” This potted plant usually is decorated with gold or red charms. But this type of plant tends to get leggy as it grows, with the long stringy branches weighed down by the charms. So this money plant is not your best choice. A lush round jade plant is better choice than a money plant. An overgrown money plant looks tacky, and tasteful Hare dislikes anything tacky or ugly. No cheap charms. This is your year to cultivate beauty. Nature gives us beauty through flowers and plants -- perfect for Snake year money luck.
PAINT COLORS

Paint colors correlate to the five Taoist elements of Fire, Earth, Metal, Water, and Wood:
FIRE/HEART/LIVING ROOM - In Chinese medicine, the element fire is represented by the heart. The living room is the heart of the home. Your living room is best in bright and lively colors, or with bright accents, to stimulate conversation and activity.
EARTH/STOMACH/DINING ROOM - In Chinese medicine, the element earth is the stomach. The dining room is where we eat and digest food. The dining room is best in earthen tones of gold, terra cotta, or other soft yin colors. Red paint in a dining area is too stimulating and people eat too fast.
METAL/LUNGS/BEDROOM - In Chinese medicine, the element metal is the lungs. The bedroom is where we sleep and breathe deeply while resting. Best bedroom colors are white, cream, and soft pastels. Avoid bright big prints on bedding and drapery, especially in a child's room.
WATER/KIDNEYS/BATHROOM - In Chinese medicine, the element water is the kidneys, and therefore correlates to the bathroom. Paint this room in a soft, quiet, and calm color for peaceful elimination of waste and for soothing bathing or showering.
WOOD/LIVER/KITCHEN - In Chinese medicine, the element wood is the liver. Wood is used in a kitchen to feed the cooking fire. The kitchen must be kept very clean because this is where food is prepared, but green accents or a plant is recommended.