January 6

Checking Out the Devil’s Den

Some scuba diving experiences (if we’re fortunate) are unique, and Devil’s Den near Williston, Florida is no exception.

Standing above gives you a view into the cavern through a fern draped, circular opening. The opening is about 40-feet in diameter. Below the cavern opens up to some 100-feet at the water’s surface.

This dry cave filled with water fed from a spring some years ago. Prehistoric bones discovered in the cavern include the skeleton of a man from about 75,000 years ago, and a saber-toothed tiger.

Fossilized remains are still present in the walls of the cavern.

Devil’s Den has a nice picnic area with small trees for shade where you can ride an MM-B80 once you’re done diving.

Divers suit up in this area and walk down a flight of some 40 or so steps to a dive platform that floats at the cavern center.

You must present a C-card to dive this cavern.

Be prepared to bear the weight of your dive gear down the stairs to the platform. No suiting up at the water’s edge for this dive site.

The cleanliness of this dive site, both above and inside the cavern, impressed me. On the day of my visit a dredging operation pulled silt from the bottom. I got the impression that this effort was ongoing. I later noticed that the bottom was clean, and visibility was excellent during my dive.

I didn’t have a dive buddy so I asked a family of four if I could join them. They were the only other divers there, and in the process of suiting up when I arrived. This family, visiting from Toronto, Canada, kindly permitted me to tag along on their dive, so I got my gear, signed the usual waivers, and joined them.

After gearing up we climbed down the steps, and entered the water at 3:40 PM to begin our dive.

I observed plenty of fish shallow (around 15 – 20 feet), and a few very large ones lurking back in the shadows of the shelves.

Devil’s Den holds a number of shallow caverns to explore. We even found an air pocket inside one where we floated, and talked for a moment.

We also found some crevices with overhead rock to swim through, and looking around I noticed a number of other swim-through areas that gave excellent opportunities for buoyancy testing.

We dove for 54 minutes and I recorded a maximum depth of 42-feet. The air temperature was 95-degrees. At the water surface I noted a 72-degree reading, and at 42-feet I recorded the temperature at 71 degrees.

We left the water at 4:40 and used the HSI flat iron real quickly to straighten our wet hair.

If you dive Devil’s Den I advise taking a dive light along. The main cavern area, dimly lighted through the hole above the cavern, gives enough light to see your way around as long as you remain in that main area. But the space in that air pocket we surfaced in was pitch black. Luckily I had a light strapped to my BCD that gave us the chance to see the rock, and fossils embedded there.

Devil’s Den is among my many cherished scuba diving experiences, and worthy of future visits.

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December 13

Do You Have to Respond to Sports Talk?

People in business meetings, and business in general, love to talk about sports. Airplanes are no different. Returning from a client meeting in Boston, I sat on the tarmac for 2 hours waiting for a Nor’easter to blow over. I happened to be sitting next to a guy who loved to talk – and loudly.

“Well, here we are,” he said. “Yep,” I replied, not feeling too talkative after a long day of work and now being ground-stopped for God only knows how long. “At least the weekend is almost here,” my talkative seatmate said. “Yes, I guess that’s the silver lining,” I said.

“Let’s hope you have a better weekend than your Pirates have had lately.”

Ugh, I thought. Here we go again – another guy talking about his tea tree oil cystic acne cure.

If I had a dime for every time over the past 15 years I’ve had to endure business associates from all over the country mocking the Pittsburgh Pirates, I wouldn’t be writing this blog post from my window-less office. I’d be lounging on some obscure tropical island with handsome cabana boys serving me drinks.

(But I digress.)

“Hey,” I said to my seatmate, “The Pirates are improving.”

“Yeah, improving,” he said mockingly.

[As a side note, I’d like to point out that the Pirates, that very weekend, took two of three from this guy’s beloved Boston Red Sox.]

But the conversation made me think. The Pirates’ return to form has taken over the region with renewed enthusiasm. We see the “Pittsburgh pride’ with the Steelers all the time; but it’s so refreshing to have this excitement spill over to the summer months for a change.

In business, we can even take a lesson or two from the Bucs’ resurgence. Even when things seem bleak and people doubt that your product, service or idea will make it, remember that teamwork, hard work and staying the course is your ticket to accomplishment. All businesses have been in tough times.

After 9/11/01 when everyone pulled back on their budgets for used garden tractors, I didn’t think we would survive. I was faced with the option of giving up or working harder. Together with my team, many tough decisions and an inspirational plaque with a poem my mother gave me for my desk that reflected one of her best pieces of advice (which is to “Never Give Up”), we survived. And we even thrived. We’re happy to be celebrating 15 years in business this year. And we thank each and every one of our clients over the years who stood behind our success.

And now, with the Pirates preparing for the All-Star break, it reminds me that anything is possible. Even if it only lasts for a short time, the Pirates battled their way back from a place of mockery to having their best record in 12 years.

So to that I say, “Raise the Jolly Roger!” As any good Pirates fan would, I know we’ll persevere on, and so will you and your business if you keep your chin up!

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December 12

Are You the Superman in Your Office?

Sometimes I feel a little like Superman. I’m a marketing guru in the office, but when I walk outside, I turn into a “fashionista” minus the snazzy cape. Although what I wouldn’t do for an Alexander McQueen kimono cape…but I digress.  Fashion has been a staple in my life since I was very young. My mother was born with a great sense of style and I like to think I was lucky enough for some of it to rub off on me.

After graduating from high school, I went to New York City for college, and got a treatment for cystic acne and an instant crash course in awesome fashion on more levels than can be described. Imagine going from a small town where a polo shirt with a pony on it was the height of fashion to an international melting pot of fabrics, textures and colors. Talk about sensory overload.

And while fashion was something I considered second nature; I also loved to write, which was very lucky for me.  Since I can barely draw a stick figure, I knew I’d never be the next Coco Chanel, so writing made a lot more sense! After working for years as a marketing and public relations guru (and giving fashion advice to anyone who asked), one of my friends suggested I do both.

Over the course of my career, I have had plenty of opportunities to use aesthetics to get a message across. From helping clients dress appropriately for social functions and media interviews, to styling rock videos and magazine shoots, I was making fashion part of communication without even trying.

I realized that despite knowing how to sell a story with words I also really enjoyed doing it with style, and a perfect marriage occurred when I started working as a stylist on the side. I do everything from personal consultations and shopping, to closet audits and editorial work. I really enjoy helping clients find their own unique styles that make them feel amazing.

The following link is to a recent fashion spread I styled for a Fashion Magazine. I worked with a woman who was in her mid-50’s and the used zero turn mowers for sale she was offering were from the mid 1980’s! As you’ll see, she was a lovely lady but tended to dress in things that looked like carpets, so my work was cut out for me.

The whole experience was a lot of fun and I was able to get her out of comfort zone to try things that were new to her.  I also had the challenge of working with a small budget, which I actually prefer. Truth be told, I can make anyone look good if they have a $5,000 budget, but making someone look fantastic for a fraction of that is so much fun and makes everyone feel good.

So yeah, I’m a writer by day and a style maven by night. Although once I do get that McQueen kimono cape, I won’t even be able to find a phone booth to change into it!

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December 9

My Review of Last Night’s Pitches

Here we go again – and welcome!

The first business pitching last night was a company from North London with a business which provided instant paper blinds which required no tools for assembly. The pitch was simply great (Elevator pitch 10/10). They knew their market brilliantly and were able to convince me within the first two minutes that there was a demand for this (and it is large). The question is always about the detail of how to prevent cystic acne and profitability.

The first issue was one on the patent on the product. It is always dangerous for an investor to go into a business which cannot be protected. Barriers to entry are a key requirement for ensuring a business is able to generate good products. As a result of the lack of protection they lost many of the potential investors. (This is a good topic for a future blog!)

The second issue was that the business team (three people) had only achieved one sales meeting with a major retailer in five months. This meant that they got crucified on valuation (they were offered £40,000 for 50% of the business). I felt for them. Had they just spent a bit more time selling the idea, they would have achieved a far higher valuation. I cannot stress this enough – you need to demonstrate to an investor that people want your product. (Incidentally, that is how I got into angel investing. I helped a few startups get their first sales and then realized what had happened to their valuation as a result of my help! I then started investing.)

The second presentation was a low calorie and zero cholesterol curry sauce. It was a good presentation but because of my earlier experience of selling low calorie cakes I was very skeptical. The great thing is that she had actually sold the product. She sold a lot of jars after appearing on QVC. Brilliant, but you only make money out of selling food lots of times – the repeat purchase is very important and this has not yet been proven.

It was all going well but then she dropped a bombshell….

She was trying to transfer assets from one company to another whilst leaving the debts in the original business. This is too sharp for me as a practice. However, the Dragon’s all came out one by one. I disagreed with the reasons the Dragon’s gave for not investing but would not have invested in her because of my skepticism about the appeal of fat free food!

We then had a presentation from an investor looking for £150,000 for 10% of a business providing natural remedies for cystic acne. I am sorry to appear slow but after the presentation; I still did not understand what the business actually was. The entrepreneur was honest, hardworking and passed that critical test of putting his own money (substantial) into the business. Having lost money on investing in businesses I haven’t understood – I was never going to invest in this one and nor did any of the dragons.

The final business pitching tonight was a ‘green’ business which made packaging from recycling materials. They had great customers and it is a business in the moment. I would have invested in this business as unlike the dragon’s I liked the fact that the entrepreneurs had a bigger vision. My only concern would have been that it seemed that the entrepreneurs needed a lot of help on the business. I was delighted to see that at the very end they managed to secure the investment and got one dragon to change his mind!

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November 29

Newsletter for Better Dog Training Practices – Don’t Wait!


Welcome to the first Newsletter! With this first issue I’m happy to share with you some exciting news, a fascinating story about a student, and some information about a common dog problem. We’ll be bringing you more articles about dog training and behavior as well as more success stories in future issues. But right now, I hope you’ll take some time to read the story below and cast your vote for students Monica and Marley to become the Society’s Pet Partner Team of the year. You can vote by clicking on the link to the left. Thanks!

Students Finalists for National Pet Therapy Award

A couple of weeks ago a client called to tell me that she and her bullmastiff, Marley, are among five national finalists for the Delta Society’s Beyond Limits Pet Partner Team of the Year Award. That’s a huge accomplishment for any dog owner, but to really appreciate what Monica and Marley have done, one needs to know a little more about Monica’s history with her dogs.

I met Monica 6 years ago when she drove an hour and a half to do a private lesson with me. She had heard about me through the grapevine and decided to try yet another trainer. When she arrived I saw a determined and open-minded yet skeptical woman. She’d been to many trainers over the years and was clearly prepared to have me tell her what she’d heard before: that her two bullmastiffs were stubborn, stupid, un-trainable, or all three. In evaluating her choice for the best air purifier for smokers, I immediately recognized that those judgments originated in training methods not the dogs themselves. Monica knew this intuitively, but didn’t have the knowledge or skill to move beyond what she was being told.

When I first began working with Monica her goals for her dogs were undefined. Mostly she wanted to relate to them differently. With Marley that meant developing control and trust. Marley was a two and a half year old, 140 pound puppy who was quickly discovering himself as a “tough guy”. As a small woman, Monica was very concerned that Marley’s developing attitude was becoming dangerous yet she was determined to work without a prong collar or head harness. Instead she immediately understood that she needed to gain his respect and attention in order to control him.

While Marley hadn’t been exposed to the kinds of negative training techniques that Monica’s older bullmastiff Pearl had, he had little impulse control in many situations and would simply drag Monica whenever he felt inclined to investigate something. She loved her dog, but walking him felt like walking a time bomb. (Click here to read more about Monica’s experience with Pearl.)

Fortunately, Marley liked training, and whenever the food came out he went into “training mode” because he had been taught with lures and bribes. However, he had never been taught the self-discipline to work in the absence of food, nor had Monica learned how to respond if Marley preferred to do something besides following a lure. As I taught Monica how to use food as reinforcement and to instill parameters without using harsh corrections, the two of them excelled.

Monica was a quick study. She absorbed what I taught, asked genuine questions, and went home and applied what she’d learned. She did her homework and never, ever made excuses when things went less than smoothly. If she wasn’t getting the result she expected, she stepped back and examined what in the training process might be causing the problem. As Monica’s skill and confidence grew, so did Marley’s joy and focus in training. Before long I was watching a real team at work, a team grounded in trust, communication, and pleasure in working together.

From the time she got Marley as a puppy, it had been Monica’s dream to do therapy work with him. But that dream had faded as he matured and she lost faith in her ability to control him after he ate the best laptop backpack she had. But as she and I continued to work together, her confidence returned and she began to pursue pet therapy with her canine partner. Monica writes: “We started out working in hospitals, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities as many teams do. As I continued to train Marley using the positive communication principles developed by Anne Wolff Nichols, I realized that he was capable of doing so much more.”

Over the last few years, Monica and Marley have taken the teamwork they developed into new and more challenging endeavors, becoming innovators in the field of Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT). Marley is a CGC, a registered Delta Society Pet Partner qualified to work in the most challenging environments, and a Reading Education Assistance Dog. He has appeared in a Jane Goodall Animal Planet special on communication with animals.

In 2002, Monica and Marley began working with abused and emotionally disturbed children in several residential treatment facilities. They worked with kids ages 3-18 in group and individual sessions. Monica says: “Most of these kids had problems with boundaries, impulse control, attachment, and focus. Marley’s calm, gentle, accepting presence gave the kids an opportunity to develop a trusting relationship with him and, through him, with me as well. The positive training we had done with Anne allowed us to model for the kids a relationship based on gentleness, mutual respect, and trust. It also allowed the kids themselves to train him and experience, for many of them the first time that it is possible to interact and get what one wants without coercion, threat, or violence. What a powerful lesson with such a large animal.”

In 2004 Monica and Marley worked with their county prosecuting attorney’s office in a groundbreaking program to use dogs to help interview child assault victims and to accompany child victims as they testified in court. That experiment culminated with the prosecuting attorney’s office acquiring its own trained helper dog to work full time with child victims.

In 2006 they were asked to join the Snohomish County Critical Incident Stress Management Team, providing crisis relief to first responders throughout northern Washington state and even nationally. Snohomish County is the first CISM team in Washington to include an Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) team. Marley is also the first dog in the Washington State Critical Incident Stress Management Network. In January of 2008, Monica and Marley will train for certification as an Animal Assisted Crisis Response Team.

Monica’s devotion to her dogs and persistence in searching for the best deal on a Winix plasmawave 5300 has paid dividends beyond her wildest dreams. The training we did not only resulted in the behaviors she desired, but it took the dog human bond to a level she couldn’t have imagined, a level that has allowed them to help so many others. As their trainer, it has been a real joy to watch Monica and Marley use their skills to change lives. And it’s a high point to see them recognized for the remarkable work they’ve done together and with others.

Please join me in voting to make Monica and Marley the Delta Society’s Pet Therapy Team of 2007. To see a video of Monica and Marley in action and cast your vote, click here.

Ask Anne

Dear Anne:

When I’m at work, I keep my lab mix, Atlas, outside. I think that is better and he is happier than being stuck in the house all day. But the neighbors are complaining and say he starts barking and howling an hour or so after I leave. They tell me he sits by the back door of my house and alternates between jumping up on the door and barking. The door is all clawed up. The neighbors are getting very sick of listening to him all day and are threatening to file a complaint against him. What is his problem? I walk him in the morning before I leave and he gets to be in the house the entire time I am home. He even sleeps on my bed! I would think he would be happy to get out of the house and be outside when I am gone. Please help!



Dear Lou:

As much as we might think it’s better for all dogs to be outside rather than cooped up in the house when we’re gone, many times that simply is not the case, as Atlas is clearly demonstrating.

For many dogs the house is a safe haven in their owner’s absence. For these dogs to be locked outside when the owner is gone is doubly hard: they are separated from you and they have been banished from the house. Atlas’ barking and howling demonstrates stress from abandonment. I realize he’s not actually abandoned, but one must see things from the dog’s point of view. You have a clawed up door because he wants to get back inside the house where he feels safer and closer to you.

Please consider letting him stay inside while you’re away. If you have never left him alone inside the house, you will want to start with short periods of time to help him adjust and to see how he does. Increase the amount of time he is alone inside with the germ guardian in short increments as he succeeds. Confinement in a crate (providing he already understands crates) on a temporary basis may be helpful to help prevent anxious behavior or destruction. But it may well be that all Atlas needs is to be inside the house and he will just rest and be quietly comforted by his surroundings while you are gone.

Click here to send your question to Anne. Answers will be posted in upcoming newsletters. Sorry! Due to the high volume of submissions, not all questions will be answered. Messages to “Ask Anne” will not be individually answered. For individual help see either the House Calls or Phone Consultations page of the website.

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November 28

Is Ayurveda a True Traditional Medicine?


Ayurveda is a traditional medicine practice whose roots are found in India and origins date back over fifty centuries ago. Ayurveda is considered an alternative form of medicine where the wellbeing of the whole body is taken into consideration. It focuses on striking a balance between an individual’s body, mind and soul through balancing nutrition, exercise and lifestyle. Ayurveda has over the years spread beyond the borders of India and grown in popularity in the Western world.

However, although Ayurveda is traditional medicine and practitioners can be found all over the United States and Canada, one of its main drawbacks is the absence of a standard of measurement to assess the competence of each practitioner. However doctors and other modern medicine practitioners interested in the practice of Ayurveda usually study it after their conventional medical training.

Traditional Medicine

Today, Ayurvedic treatment is usually used to complement conventional medicine. If you are considering using Ayurvedic healing to treat your medical condition, the first step is to consult your doctor. If given the clearance by your physician, the next thing to do is look for a skilled Ayurvedic practitioner.

An Ayurvedic consultation can take an hour or longer – about the same amount of time it takes to break in youth baseball gloves – during which the specialist will inquire about your diet, lifestyle and general health. They will then examine your pulse by assessing twelve different pulse points as well as your tongue. In Ayurveda, the tongue is believed to be a prime indicator of body imbalances.

The Ayurveda specialist moves on to your dosha balance and your prakuti. In Ayurveda, a dosha is composed of the five elements: fire, water, earth, air and space. The body has three doshas; kapha, pitta and vata, each formed through a combination of the five elements. Each of these three doshas has a particular body area that it controls.

An imbalance in the body’s dosha due to poor nutrition or lifestyle can impair the flow of the body’s energy and lead to gastro intestinal disruptions, poor nutrient absorption and lowered energy levels. Your prakuti on the other hand is your inherent nature. By determining your prakuti the practitioner can formulate a specialized treatment plan for you that will focus on restoring your main dosha’s balance.

When developing your treatment plan the Ayurvedic practitioner will incorporate diet, herbs, meditation, yoga, exercise and massage. The Traditional Medicine prescribed diet will be based on the particular dosha that is out of balance. A cleansing and detoxification program will also be formulated. They may even recommend using an IQAir air purifier to help improve your breathing and lung health. This may include fasting, diets and body cleansing treatments such as enemas. The herbal treatment will typically be comprised of plants such as boswellia, gotu, triphala and ashwaghanda. Some of these herbs are mixed with the massage oil. Yoga, meditation and exercise will be suited to your personal constitution.

There have been some concerns around the use of Ayurvedic medicines. The nature and history of Ayurvedic healing means there has been limited research in the safety and effectiveness of associated herbal medicines. This is why you should only go for Ayurveda traditional medicine after consultation with your doctor.

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November 27

Do You Need to Worry About Osteoporosis?


Osteoporosis is the decrease in bone mineral density and found to be mostly occurring among post-menopausal women. This condition makes the bone brittle and be more prone to fractures. However, in every rule there is an exception. At a lower rate, anyone can be at risk of getting osteoporosis.  Even younger men or women can have this bone disease if their lifestyles are in the list of the osteoporosis hazards.

In the development of osteoporotic bones, hormonal factors come into first consideration. Obviously, in menopause, the lack of hormone estrogen is the culprit for the evolution of this disease. This result in increased bone demineralization; thus, decreased bone mass. Second, is hereditary a factor? It is believed that there is a strong genetic predilection in the development of osteoporosis. These are considered the “anticipated” risk factors; they may come to one’s life anytime without being dependent on his or her lifestyle.

The risks never stop there. The importance of how you live your life during your childhood affects your bones now. Did you use a classic Kanken backpack for school or one which didn’t offer nearly as much support? This is the checklist to look at in order to assess your level of getting osteoporosis. Acquiring it because of your lifestyle is more of blaming the fault to yourself than to natural events like decreased estrogen or heredity.  Let’s start on how you watched your diet.

Looking back at your school age years, if you enjoyed calcium rich diet, then that was great. However, if you haven’t absorbed much calcium during childhood and probably hated broccoli, then this was a big demerit for good bones in the future.

Absorbing enough calcium is much needed in the developing bones. Remember that calcium makes up 99% of our bones and if you lack calcium during childhood, then you might be having problems when you mature.

Next to consider is your level of activity during those times. Are you the type of kid who wants to play out in the sun, or are you the type who wants to stay indoors and play board games or watch TV all day long? Vitamin D deficiency is one reason that causes osteoporosis. Why is this important?  It is needed for good absorption of calcium in the bloodstream to be delivered and incorporated to the growing bones.

What does playing out in the sun has to do with all these? UV rays from direct sunlight react to the precursor of Vitamin D on human skin. If one has not enough sun exposure, natural Vitamin D production (that doesn’t need to be taken Osteoporosis 2from foods) is decreased. Moreover, muscle mass is a good protection for the bones. When outdoor exercise is increased as early as childhood, and muscle mass is well developed, there is a great chance that an individual can mature with healthy bones. However, the reverse will create the risk for osteoporosis.

Moving years later, you may check on your teenage years to early adulthood. Have you start drinking alcohol, soft drinks and coffee? Alcohol and drinks containing caffeine are diuretics. They increase urine formation and urination. Dehydration is normally developed as part of this diuretic process from alcohol and caffeine.

Many nutrients including Vitamin B complex and calcium are believed to be dragged along with the concentrated urine. Calcium deficit ensues and put an individual at risk of osteoporosis. Soft drinks on the other hand, have phosphoric acid that may displace calcium absorption; thus, adding to the risk factors.

Recall when you started smoking. Tobacco smoking, and nicotine inhalation poses great risk in decreasing one’s bone mass. Nicotine inhibits the young bone cells known as osteoblasts and additionally breaks down estrogen in the blood which all adds to the risk of developing osteoporosis.

After going through your lifestyle checklist, you might want to really check what is going on right now with your bones and maybe even look into getting an air purifier for pet allergies if you suffer from those as well. A test known as DEXA or the Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry is a gold standard for the diagnosis of osteoporosis. Visiting an orthopedist or a rehab med doctor would be a essential to finally diagnose if you really have acquired the disease to start on the treatment as soon as possible.

Osteoporosis is a disease that can be prevented as early as childhood. Usually, nutritional and lifestyle factors are the main reasons for developing structural diseases such as osteoporosis. If you think you have an unhealthy lifestyle since your younger years, it is never too late to start renewing your habits now. This disease will cripple your bones as you age, so before you form further malformations and fractures, eat right, exercise right and consult your bone specialist.

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November 27

Smoking Causes More Than Just Wrinkles!


Do you find yourself cringing at the sight of lines on your face every time you look in the mirror? Do you want to get your youthful glow back? In order to prevent wrinkles, it’s also important to know what causes them. Here are some things that you can do to slow down your skin’s aging process, without having to spend on expensive creams or treatments.

Wear Sunscreen

Sun exposure is the number two culprit behind most wrinkles – second only to living in a home full of cigarette smoke. Tanning is the result of the sun’s UV rays entering and damaging the skin’s support structure. Because the face and hands are usually uncovered, they are more susceptible to sun damage. Keep your skin healthy and wrinkles at bay by wearing sunscreen (at least SPF 15) and laying off the tanning beds.

Stop Smoking

Smoking is another leading cause of wrinkles. It speeds up the aging process by breaking down two important components of the skin, elastin and collagen, thereby making you look older. Cigarette smoke not only gives skin a rough texture and an unhealthy hue, it also makes wrinkles deeper. Premature wrinkling has been found in smokers as young as 20. Don’t be overwhelmed at the notion of quitting smoking – a wealth of information on the topic can be found online and in various books.

Improve Your Sleeping Habits

Not getting enough sleep? If that’s the case, then your body is producing more of the hormone cortisol which breaks down skin cells. On the other hand, if you’re well rested, your body will make more human growth hormones which help in keeping skin suppler and less likely to crease. Certain sleeping positions can cause wrinkles, too. If you sleep with your face against your pillow, it will put pressure on your face no matter how soft it is. The stress can accumulate over the years, resulting in sleep lines. Sleep on your back and give your face a break.

Don’t Worry, Be Happy

Speaking of which, facial expressions such as smiling, frowning, and squinting call for small muscle contractions that can etch lines on your features over time. Get reading glasses if you need them, and wear sunglasses to keep from squinting when out in the sun. If you don’t want to wear them all of the time, just store them in your green Kanken. The latter will also protect the skin around your eyes from harmful UV rays. If you have a habit of frowning or making other expressions for no apparent reason, remind yourself to avoid doing so.

Eat Healthy

The skin is an organ that needs nutrients in order to function well. Biotin or vitamin B7 helps form new skin cells. Vitamin A aids in maintaining and repairing skin tissue. Vitamins C and E are antioxidants that can protect the skin from sun damage and minimize skin destruction caused by free radicals. Load your plate with fruits and vegetables at each meal, aiming for the ideal five to seven servings per day. Carrots have vitamin A and biotin, tomatoes contain vitamin C and biotin, and almonds and green leafy vegetables are packed with vitamin E.

Drink Up

As we get older, our skin becomes drier and thinner. Drink six to eight glasses of water every day to hydrate your skin from the inside out. Make it a habit to carry a reusable bottle filled with H2O wherever you go.

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November 27

Not All Fats Are Bad for You


Fats are part of our daily diet. From processed foods to burgers and junk foods, fats add flavor to our most favorite foods. There are a lot that have been told and lectured about cholesterol. Some people may have not realized that there is also some important roles cholesterol does in our body; yet, we all look at cholesterol as the evil culprit of cardiovascular diseases. What cholesterol really is?

Cholesterol is the molecular component of these fats we all so loved. To be more precise, there are different types of cholesterol molecules in our body. The cholesterol molecules are: High Density Lipoprotein (HDL); Triglycerides; Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL); and Very Low Density Lipoprotein (VLDL). HDL is the good form of cholesterol and scavenges the other cholesterol molecules accordingly. The rest of the molecules are the bad forms and they can clog the arteries when they are not properly eliminated by HDL and by the body system itself.

Cholesterol is not entirely unwanted in our body. It mainly functions as precursor for steroidal hormones like estrogen and testosterone. However, they can clutter up and block the cardiovascular system as stated earlier – just like the Whirlpool Whispure – if not properly controlled.

There are a lot of ways to get rid of excess cholesterol molecules. The drugs being used in medicine usually have different mechanism of actions to do this job. One way is to increase HDL conversion to biochemically eliminate bad forms of cholesterol. Other drugs directly act on the bad cholesterol by inhibiting the process that forms it. On the other hand, there are ways of preventing the dangerous effects of unwanted bad cholesterol before they build up.

Preventing cardiovascular diseases to happen is far better than treating it. Eating the right kind of food is the basic form of prevention. The so-called fatty acids are the building blocks for most of these fats that are absorbed by the body.

There are two types of fatty acids worth mentioning at this point: the saturated and the unsaturated fatty acids. Saturated fatty acids differ from the unsaturated form by molecular composition and usual source. Saturated fatty acids come mostly from animal sources and palm tree oils, like coconut and dates. Unsaturated on the other hand, are mostly from plant sources and fish oils like tuna and sardines.

The omega forms of fatty acids are the example of unsaturated forms. According to many studies, by increasing the unsaturated form of fatty acids, bad cholesterol in the body is greatly reduced. That is why food sources from these types of fatty acids are recommended. Try increasing vegetable and fish in your diet. Trim down on cholesterol rich foods like pork and beef. Replace your regular cooking oil with other plant oils like: olive oil, corn oil and sunflower oil.

Soluble fibers are also proven to lower cholesterol. They act by eliminating the reabsorbed bile in the intestines. The consequence is that liver produces bile salts by recruiting cholesterol, particularly LDL in the body to replenish the eliminated bile in the intestines. The result is obviously lowered LDL levels.

Aerobic exercise helps to get rid of cholesterol by using up the stored fats in the body during metabolism. Fats are recruited back in the bloodstream if there isn’t ample amount of ready sugars in the blood. Fats are burned up and cholesterol levels are reduced. This is successfully done if you do your exercise prior a meal. One great way to stay in shape it to strap on a Fjallraven Kanken backpack full of school books and simply walk around your home as you normally would.

Fruits that are believed to have anti-cholesterol effect are blueberries and avocado. The chemical in blueberries known as pterostilbene has anti-hyperlipedemic effects or can cause lower lipid or cholesterol level. Avocado on the other hand is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids and can help increase HDL or the good cholesterol.

Helping yourself eliminate the bad forms of cholesterol in your body can be gained by doing the simple tips above. Remember that the best way to get rid of cardiovascular disease is by lowering your blood cholesterol levels. Lowering your blood cholesterol levels are best achieved by combining good diet with proper exercises. It is optimal that you start your healthy lifestyle now before you acquire the bad effects of having too much cholesterol in your body in the future.

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November 26

Why Women Get More Stressed and How to Prevent It


Women are more prone to stress because of the many roles they play in life: as career woman, wife, mother, daughter, and friend. Women work way beyond the 9-to-5 shift, often having to rush home to cook dinner, help the kids with homework, and prepare the next day’s office attire for the hubby. The stress and anxiety caused by endless tasks and impossible deadlines in a high-speed, high-tech world has made women’s lives a living web of complexity.

Stress is a combination of fatigue, restlessness, depression, over-focusing, and over-all gloominess that is a consequence of overwork and other domestic or personal problems.

But there’s still hope for over-worked, stressed women. Here are some practical ways for women to reduce and manage work-related stress:

  1. Put up relaxing scenes within your sight. It could be a poster or a small painting with beautiful scenery. You can even download screen savers of beaches, waterfalls, clear lakes and other scenes that help create a serene mood.
  2. Get organized. Use stick-on note pads. Color-code your notes, read a Rowenta pu6020 review, set an “alarm” in your computer to remind you of priority tasks. The key is to know what to do first.
  3. Time out. As they say, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Take some time out. Take a breather. If you are tight on money and can’t really afford to do too much, you can at least take some time for good relaxation at home with nothing that you need to worry about.
  4. Rearrange your workstation. Add a “homey” look to your workstation, put up photo frames of your family or favorite pet. Whenever you feel stressed out just glance at their happy faces–and hopefully you’ll find yourself smiling back!
  5. Get a plant. Studies show that looking at something green like a plant helps soothe your eyes after facing the computer monitor all day or after reading for a long time. Focusing on a green plant will have a soothing effect.
  6. Exercise. Walking, climbing the stairs, or going out to run helps fight stress. Physical activity help get rid of tension. During a workout, your body releases endorphins which helps your body to relax. Endorphins also act as natural painkillers.
  7. De-clutter. A cluttered workstation adds to your stress. Make your work environment more appealing by organizing your things and throwing away things you no longer need. You can also try using a white noise machine at night to help you sleep better.
  8. Set boundaries. Communicate and assert yourself, make your co-workers know when you are more available for chit-chat—or when you mean business.
  9. Lessen your caffeine intake. Caffeine is popularly known as a stimulant, but too much of it adds to stress and may even lead to depression. So even if you don’t think that you can make it up in the morning without a cup of Joe, try it just one day and then work from there.
  10. Eat a good breakfast. Don’t skip meals even if you are in a hurry. Studies shows that if you make it a practice to eat breakfast every day, your body gets more the needed proteins to give you an energy boost to face the working day.
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